Patricia Barker Retiring
Pacific Northwest Ballet has announced that prima ballerina Patricia Barker will retire at the end of the 2006–07 season. The news is not unexpected. Barker is now in her 40s—the decade in which many dancers hang up their pointe shoes. But her departure after more than 25 years with PNB will still spark heated discussion among ballet aficionados, many in thrall of her impeccable technique, others put off by her cool (some call it chilly) stage demeanor. Irrefutably, Barker is PNB's one world-class ballerina—an alchemist who marries perfect form with breathtaking musicality and achieves something ineffable and sublime. But a small cadre of opinionated fans will not regret seeing her step aside to let PNB's many other charming ballerinas shine. (We're looking at you, Kaori Nakamura, Louise Nadeau, Carla Körbes.) PNB plans a Barker tribute Tuesday, June 6.
Gary Tucker for Mayor
Let's start the write-in campaign for the 2009 election now, shall we? The affable Gary Tucker, longtime Seattle PR guy and current Seattle International Film Festival director of development, whipped SIFF's opening-night crowd into a frenzy Thursday, May 25, after nearly everyone had been bored to the point of reprogramming their cell phones during speeches by Mayor Greg Nickels and festival organizers. SIFFsters: We love what you're doing for Seattle, but let your fabulous film festival speak for itself, OK? Or let Tuck do all the talking. Thursday night, he managed to make even a 7-plus-minute list of sponsor names wildly entertaining. Another entity that gets our vote: Chipotle, the P.C. burrito franchise, which was the only food purveyor at SIFF's party that brought enough to feed the hordes. Servers were still doling out fabulous shredded-pork appetizers 45 minutes after every other food table was barren. Viva Chipotle! More SIFF coverage, p. 69. LYNN JACOBSON
Archie Drake's Last Exit
After 39 seasons, 109 roles, and more than 1,000 performances with Seattle Opera, character bass-baritone Archie Drake died practically in action last Wednesday, May 24—returning home from his closing-night performance in Verdi's Macbeth on Saturday, May 20, Drake suffered a coronary and never regained consciousness. Fittingly, his final appearance was in one of Seattle Opera's most striking scenes ever: Lady Macbeth's blood-drenched mad scene, in which Drake as the Doctor and Emily Clubb as the Lady in Waiting added a touch of surrealism, two Victorian figures at the side of the stage amid the scarlet- dripping walls. To the end, Drake made the most of a character role, providing the sort of memorable detail that enriched and enlivened so many SO productions.