Remembering August Wilson

Playwright and longtime Seattle resident August Wilson, who died Oct. 2 of cancer at age 60, was remembered at a service at the Intiman Playhouse on Monday, Nov. 21. His work, most notably his cycle of plays chronicling a century of African-American history, was honored with readings by film actress Charlayne Woodard and Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center Artistic Director Jackie Moscou, while gospel singer Cynthia Jones, accompanied by blues musician Chic Streetman, put on a vivacious performance of the song "Hear Me Talking to You" from Wilson's play Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Memorial organizer Charles Rolland, who was deputy chief of staff under Mayor Norm Rice, recently proposed naming a portion of Mercer Street (between Warren Avenue North and Fifth Avenue North) after Wilson. In closing, Rolland evoked the traditional African notion that death is part of an ongoing cycle: "Through his tremendous body of work, Wilson will live on long after we have gone to join our ancestors." SUZANNE BEAL

 . . . And Drake Deknatel

Seattle and Berlin lost another talented artist on Friday, Nov. 18, when Drake Deknatel collapsed while dining at Cafe Paloma and later died. He had recently undergone heart surgery, but was only 62. Born in New York, Deknatal moved to Seattle in 1981 and divided his time between the Northwest and Berlin. His large, mixed-media paintings were bold, big, and sometimes dark in both mood and color. He was represented by the Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland for many years and by Michael Schultz in Berlin but had recently joined the Catherine Person Gallery in Pioneer Square and was one of 10 artists who opened the new gallery Sept. 1. Local art historian Matthew Kangas admired Deknatel's "beautiful, gestural, abstract canvasses," adding: "He was doing his best work." SUE PETERS

Wal-Mart Exclusive!

As Ron and Robert Galloway prepare to distribute the pro-Wal-Mart film Why Wal-Mart Works and Why That Makes Some People Crazy, Robert Greenwald's critical Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price aims to mobilize people against the world's largest employer one neighbor at a time. Literally. I was the lone viewer at a screening Nov. 15 in a Capitol Hill living room. My host, Jenny Jimenez, was one of thousands of people and groups nationwide showing the movie in what organizers at www.walmartmovie.com claim is the "largest grassroots mobilization in movie history." Jimenez was unfazed by the small audience she hosted, sharing pizza, beer, and political discussion with a neighbor she'd never met. She even gave me a stamp for the comment card. RACHEL SHIMP

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