Muralist Michael Fajans Dies

The Northwest loses a visionary, an activist, and a motorcycle buff. Plus other arts news.

Michael Fajans 1948–2006

If you've been inside the new downtown federal courthouse, or through Concourse D at Sea-Tac Airport, you've seen the work of muralist Michael Fajans, who died Monday, June 12, in a motorcycle accident on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Fajans was a major presence on the local arts scene, a community activist, an avid biker (who posted frequently on www.bmwsporttouring.com), and one of the first artists to establish studio space at Federal Center South, a Duwamish compound that houses an odd assortment of high-security federal agencies and independent artists. His work reveals a fascination with the blunt reality of human forms and faces and everyday settings and actions—elevating them to a grand scale. Former Gov. Mike Lowry commissioned Fajans to paint his likeness for the state portrait gallery, proverbial warts and all. The governor's reported assessment: "I love this painting. The only problem with it is it looks too much like me." LYNN JACOBSON

Ade's Final Curtain

The dancing at Pacific Northwest Ballet's season-closing 8 Encores was inspired, but the most moving moment came when longtime corps dancer Nicholas Ade took his final bow. At 30, the solid, modest Ade has reached the end of his performing career. After comporting himself with his usual dignity Sunday, June 11, in Balanchine's Diamonds, he was pushed downstage by his comrades. He stood blinking into the lights, unsuccessfully trying to hold back tears, while the audience roared its appreciation. Several fellow dancers handed him roses, and then he was joined onstage by his wife, former PNB dancer Paige Parks, holding their two-and-a-half-week-old daughter, Rory Margaret Ade. Rory appeared to sleep soundly through the tumult, perhaps content to know that while her father is ending one career, he will soon start another, as principal of PNB's Eastside school. LYNN JACOBSON

Or Your Money Back

So proud is North Bend's Unity Theatre of its current production of Herb Gardner's comedy A Thousand Clowns that it's offering not just a senior/student discount, not just a Thursday pay-what- you-can night, but a full money-back guarantee: "If you don't think A Thousand Clowns is the most delightful, satisfying evening of theater you've seen in recent memory, we will give you your money back!" Gary Schwartz, who not only directs but takes the role of Leo Herman, happily reports that no one yet since the show's May 26 opening has taken him up on his offer. Think Intiman or Seattle Rep could get away with the same deal? GAVIN BORCHERT

Etcetera

Velocity Dance Center, Seattle's epicenter for contemporary dance, has tapped the resourceful Kara O'Toole to succeed founders Michele Miller and KT Niehoff as executive director, effective immediately. . . . Seattle Art Museum has announced that the highly anticipated Olympic Sculpture Park on the downtown waterfront will open to the public Saturday, Oct. 28. Weekend-long festivities are planned. SEATTLE WEEKLY STAFF

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