PNB Directors Bow Out

At Pacific Northwest Ballet's June 12 gala tribute to outgoing artistic directors Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, the audience was treated to Cliffs Notes versions of everything the company has become known for over the past 28 years: exquisite renderings of Balanchine ballets (including a luscious excerpt from Liebeslieder Walzer); top-notch production values (the snow scene from Nutcracker); and Stowell's own busy choreography (the peripatetic Daphnis and Chloe). The curtain call featured heaps of flowers, weeping ballerinas, and standing ovations for a visibly moved Stowell and Russell. In the packed McCaw Hall lobby afterward, the directors were toasted by nearly 3,000 ballet fans—among them, former Mayor Paul Schell, Stowell and Russell's three sons (including local restaurateur Ethan Stowell), and the man who will try to fill the exiting co-directors' revered ballet slippers, former New York City Ballet member Peter Boal. LYNN JACOBSON

SIFF TAKES A HOLIDAY

While PNB bid adieu to its longtime leaders, across town, film fans said so long to the 31st annual Seattle International Film Festival. A screening at the Neptune of Gus Van Sant's Last Days (a gloomy, Kurt Cobain–inspired fantasia) was followed by a lively party at the University Tower. SIFF staffers looked elated, no doubt relieved to find themselves alive and breathing after the 25-day cinematic marathon. They also had record ticket revenues to celebrate—up 5 percent over last year. This in spite of the fact that Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith booted SIFF out of its downtown venues this year, dispersing it to Lower Queen Anne (Uptown) and the U District (Neptune). More good news: Word had it that only three features out of nearly 200 failed to show, necessitating last-minute replacements. But the exact number was hard to confirm, since the SIFF office was nearly deserted the day after the party. (See related story.) LYNN JACOBSON

SAM UPDATE

Seattle Art Museum has raised $132 million of the estimated $180 million in capital funds it hopes to collect by 2007. Museum publicist Cara Egan says that figure is "on track" with SAM's original fund-raising timetable. A brief review of where the money's going: Seattle Asian Art Museum closes Monday, June 20, for renovation and is scheduled to reopen Jan. 14, 2006; the downtown SAM expansion, designed by Portland's Allied Works Architecture, is expected to open in the spring of 2007; and ground was broken on the Sculpture Park June 6, with a construction- kickoff party open to the public scheduled for Thursday, June 23. (The fate of the endangered trolley barn, though, is still to be determined.) For info: 206-654-3100 or www.seattleartmuseum.org. NEAL SCHINDLER

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