Announcing the 2020/2021 Teen Editorial Staff!

Meet the leaders of the TeenTix Newsroom!

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TeenTix is proud to announce the 2020/2021 Teen Editorial Staff. This year's Teen Editorial Staff (TEDS) is comprised of six teens: Anya Shukla, Eleanor Cenname, Lily Williamson, Lucia McLaren, Mila Borowski, and Triona Suiter. The TEDS are the leaders of the TeenTix Newsroom, and work to curate reviews and arts coverage for the TeenTix blog. Teen Editorial Staff members decide which TeenTix Arts Partners' events to cover each month, write an editorial about their curatorial choices, and assign Newsroom writers to review each event. TEDS members interface with TeenTix Arts Partners to set up press tickets for each review, and edit all Newsroom writing before it is published on the TeenTix blog. The Teen Editorial Staff is a group of skilled writers, editors, and leaders, who keep the pulse of the TeenTix Press Corps and the Seattle arts scene.

Statement from this year's Teen Editorial Staff: “The goal of the Teen Editorial Staff is to promote our local Arts Partners while amplifying the perspectives of the next generation of arts patrons. The TeenTix Newsroom fosters arts journalism by teens, for teens. We are dedicated to elevating youth voices and encouraging them to think critically about the arts and media they consume.” About the Teen Editors Anya Shukla

Anya (she/her) is a 12th grader at Lakeside School, where she sings acapella and writes for the newspaper. She joined TEDS to support teens interested in arts criticism and find others who love writing just as much as she does. Beyond the Newsroom, Anya also serves on the TeenTix New Guard and is the co-founder of The Colorization Collective, an organization that supports teens artists of color. Eleanor Cenname

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A Socially Distant September

Teen Editorial Staff September 2020 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Anya Shukla and Triona Suiter

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This is a strange time for the arts world. Art is a community effort, a group-bonding experience… yet right now, we’re all watching these pieces in separate locations, isolated and alone. We hope our reviews provide the connective tissue between your viewing experiences and someone else’s—a chance for you to reflect on artwork alongside our writers. If nothing else, we’ll offer you arts recommendations to brighten your socially distant September.

If you want to get dressed up, grab some snacks, and make the most of your at-home viewing with pieces that would have been shown physically in any other year, then sit down to watch Pacific Science Center’s online footage of Laser Dome 360, Whim Whim’s XALT, or NFFTY 2020. Extra points if you bring $5 and your TeenTix pass!

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Am I Totally Buggin’?

Review of Clueless

Written collectively by the Teen Editorial Staff

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This year's Teen Editorial Staff spent an evening watching the film Clueless, and brushing up on their review writing as they prepared for the launch of the 2020/2021 TeenTix Newsroom. Read on to hear what today's teens think of the '90's teen classic! ANYA

One could argue that the film’s haphazard plot structure serves to emulate Cher’s ditziness. Unfortunately, her character also confuses me. Near the beginning of the movie, Cher holds up a test to a picture of her mother, who died during a routine liposuction, and cheerfully says, “98 in geometry; pretty groovy, huh?” Cher is smart enough to get 98% of her answers correct… and she uses words like “impotent” and “capricious” in her everyday speech. But, at the same time, her logic leaves much to be desired in her other classes; she thinks her El Salvadorian housekeeper speaks Mexican. There’s a distinct disconnect here that is left unexplained. How can Cher be a brainiac but at the same time be so utterly clueless? How can she be logical enough to write proofs in geometry, but fail to structure a coherent argument in debate??

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Left of Revolution

Review of the Left at London Live Concert at KEXP

Written by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras and edited by Press Corps Teaching Artist Ma'Chell Duma

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Pointed, sarcastic, political, trans, Left at London, the stage name of musician and comedian Nat Puff, is a leftover gem of the Tumblr generation, what happens when the formerly silenced of us get a platform and a little bravery. With little effort, she’s remained stuck in my head ever since I heard the fated words, “nobody asked for this and nobody wants this, but here’s 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' in a major key!” At the risk of sounding too much like a “kids these days be on the internet” kind of statement maker, Left at London, her music mixed with her brazenly political Twitter and effortlessly hilarious Tik Tok, has formed the perfect storm of persona.

Left at London’s KEXP concert represents a small and tender piece of the puzzle of her as a performer. Channeling the legacy of punk girls with sparse and biting lyric the likes of Le Tigre or Sleater-Kinney, Left at London is a force armed with a laptop and a guitarist. Dressed in a painted jumpsuit and glitter, Left at London is a reminder of all Seattle punk should be: loud, a little messy, political, and mostly, unapologetic.

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A Unifying Jazz Experience

Review of Duende Libre presented by Town Hall Seattle and Earshot Jazz

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Mila Borowksi and edited by Teen Editor Tova Gaster

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My experience with jazz, or any music where vocals take a backseat to instrumentals, is extremely limited. Before attending this event, my exposure to jazz had mainly consisted of the soundtrack to La La Land and the songs played by my school’s jazz band between long orchestral performances. While my newness to the genre did not lessen my appreciation for the Duende Libre Trio’s performance, none of my previous experiences were able to aptly prepare me for such a musical journey.

Presented by Earshot Jazz and Town Hall Seattle, Earshot listed Duende’s inspiration as including “Afro-Cuban Jazz to Brazilian Samba.” The result was a creative and authentic concert that was exciting to behold. This jazz band truly explored the vastness of the many cultures they draw from through their own melodies, and produced a work that displayed their creative talent. Unfortunately, the health concerns that we are all too familiar with resulted in this concert being performed in a livestream format, affectionately referred to as a “digital stage.”

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Community Art in COVID Times

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Joshua Caplan and edited by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras

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Historically, art has been used to interpret surroundings, and reflect those surroundings back to us in an encouraging, enlightening, or thought provoking way. This type of art allows for introspection, discussion, and a sense of resonance. A more immediate type of art, without a topical focus, can simply please the aesthetic part of our minds, distracting from the gloom of our surroundings and ourselves. A chance encounter with art, in these distressing and occasionally dull times, can add a small pocket of reflection or joy to one’s day.

In this period of pandemic and glaring inequity, creativity has flourished in many corners. When businesses were forced to close to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and board up their windows to protect their vacant properties, Seattle-area visual artists saw these expanses of plywood as an opportunity to create community-centered public art..

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Tangerine: A Powerful Picture of Black Trans Lives

Review of Tangerine at Northwest Film Forum

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Taylar Christianson and edited by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras

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The world of Tangerine starts in a donut shop. It’s Christmas Eve in L.A., and Sin-Dee Rella has just been released from a month in prison, only to discover her boyfriend, Chester, has been cheating on her in the short time she’s been gone. Sin-Dee and her best friend, Alexandra, set off on a vibrant and emotional journey through West Hollywood, looking for revenge on Chester and his side piece—if they can find them.

Directed by Sean Baker (most recently known for The Florida Project), Tangerine is a hilarious and emotionally resonant buddy comedy about the lives of two Black transgender sex workers. Famously filmed on an iPhone 5S, the film creates a beautiful, saturated world populated by an authentic and talented cast, including first-time actors Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor as Sin-Dee and Alexandra. Both Rodriguez and Taylor contributed hugely to the story and tone of Tangerine, informing the film with their experiences as Black trans women and their knowledge of L.A.’s sex work community. Tangerine’s main plot is inspired by a conversation overheard by Rodriguez about a trans woman whose boyfriend cheated on her with a cisgender woman, or a “fish”, while she was in prison. During the movie’s development, Rodriguez made a particular request of Baker: to “show the harsh reality of what goes on out here… I want you to make it hilarious and entertaining for us and the women who are actually working the corner.” Baker credited Rodriguez for changing his original vision of a bleak drama into something “that would present these characters to mainstream audiences in a pop culture way, so that they could identify with them.” Mickey O’Hagan and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez in Tangerine, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

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2040: An Accessible and Hopeful Look Into the Future

Review of 2040 screened virtually by The Grand Cinema
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Valentine Wulf and edited by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes

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Climate change is scary. There’s no way to mince words with this one. We’re constantly being bludgeoned with articles and news headlines and cynical documentaries about how the end is nigh. It’s overwhelming—but there’s still hope.

Award winning Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau shares his hope with us in the optimistic, but not unrealistic documentary 2040. It’s rare to find climate-focused films that aren’t completely devoid of hope, but those that do often propose hypothetical solutions that would cost billions of dollars and require outlandish inventions. What sets 2040 apart from the myriad of other doomsday documentaries is that Gameau’s proposed solutions are ideas and inventions that already exist in the world today. No false promises or far fetched ideas. He calls it “fact-based dreaming.”

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Art, Blooming

Editorial written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Rosemary Sissel and edited by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes

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This is a time of wonderful and long-awaited change. First, quarantine unceremoniously uprooted our traditional forms of creative expression, cracking open the sidewalks of artistic freedom to uncover inventive new ways of creating and sharing art amidst the concrete and gravel.

Now, the Black Lives Matter movement is tearing down institutional oppression, making room for an even bigger and more inclusive garden, and watering all new shoots with the promises of freedom and equality.

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Min Jin Lee: Filling The Gaps In History With Fiction

Review of Min Jin Lee's event at Seattle Arts and Lectures
Written by Teen Editor Olivia Sun and edited by Press Corps Mentor Donna Miscolta

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You might’ve heard the name Min Jin Lee most recently from the enthusiasm surrounding her novel Pachinko, finalist for the National Book Award. Yet the title “writer” doesn’t quite capture the extent of her talent. Her hour-long Seattle Arts and Lectures talk on June 15, demonstrated that she is also an eloquent speaker, a vocal activist, a loving teacher, a passionate feminist, a proud Korean-American, and the brilliant author of Free Food For Millionaires, various short stories, and essays. Lee says that what interests her more than being a writer is having something meaningful to say, which explains the many roles that she takes on.

At the start of the virtual event, Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Bitanya Giday read her poem “Hyphenated Identity Crisis”. The poem echoes the intersectional identity struggles dealt with in Lee’s writing and in her own life. Lee spent the first half of her talk acknowledging the current civil unrest and pandemic in America. She also recounted her journey, as a Korean-American woman from working-class roots, that led her to the success she has today. In the second half of the talk, Lee entered a Q&A session with E.J. Koh, a fellow Korean-American writer and author of The Magical Language of Others and poetry collection A Lesser Love.

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Art Apart with Tacoma Art Museum

Review of Tacoma Art Museum's TAM at Home
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Nour Gajial and edited by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes

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As we adjust to these unprecedented times, quarantine can feel very isolating. Especially for art lovers and museum enthusiasts, exploring museum-quality art has been a big challenge given that most galleries are inaccessible. Thankfully, Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) has created a public website where their collections and exhibitions can be viewed digitally. Although the physical museum setting is absent, their website is an opportunity to continue to connect with art while being physically disconnected. As someone who is not tech-savvy, TAM’s website’s clear tabs and simple design made navigation effortless. The tabs were organized into different categories which made my exploration more focused. TAM’s high quality pictures of art and detailed descriptions gave me a mock museum experience through my computer. While I could talk extensively about all the resources they offer on their page, I found “TAM at Home” and the “TAM Blog” the most interesting. Both pages included an abundance of information about ways you can get involved with art while staying at home.

To start, the “TAM at Home” page gives you access to fun art projects anyone can make. The art projects were very simple and required minimal materials which made me feel motivated to create a piece of my own. There was also a specific hashtag for social media which would give anyone an opportunity to be featured on the Tacoma Art Museum Instagram. I thought that this was a really cool idea, as it gives viewers incentive to engage in their own creativity and share their product with a community as well. In addition, I could also view videos of other artists sharing their processes of creating art, which was inspiring, while I perused the fun project ideas. Overall, I thought this page provided realistic, child friendly, and yet fun art projects which could be very useful if you find yourself bored during quarantine.

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Live Performances to Enjoy at Home

Review of KPC at Home presented by Kirkland Performance Center
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Alyssa Williams and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla

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To give people at home the opportunity to enjoy live music while maintaining social distancing, the Kirkland Performance Center brings us KPC at Home, a series of videos showing past live performances at KPC. While I enjoyed watching these throwback performances from the comfort of my own home, the two videos I watched inspired me to go see live music once quarantine ends.

The band Long Live Rock’s performance of Aerosmith’s “Dream On” exceeded my expectations. Each band member contributed to the performance and made the concert sound like a record. For example, the guitarist played difficult riffs throughout the song with ease, and the vocalist sang confidently and skillfully throughout the entirety of the extremely vocally challenging song. My favorite part was the falsetto at the climax of the performance, where the lead vocalist’s voice filled with passion as he put his full effort into the most difficult part of the piece. The band definitely had technical skills strong enough to play “Dream On” accurately, but they also had good stage presence, especially the vocalist, who engaged the audience by walking to the very front of the stage and moving his arms with the rhythm.

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Swan Lake: Flying Away from the Flock

Review of Kent Stowell's Swan Lake by Pacific Northwest Ballet
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Jaiden Borowski and edited by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras

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Welcoming the viewer with a red curtain and the strong classical notes of Tchaikovsky’s legendary score, Swan Lake (via YouTube) begins. Free on the virtual platform for a limited time, this piece, danced by the Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB), granted home-bound viewers an escape to the arts. Obviously, the virtual platform had its own distinct advantages and disadvantages in comparison to the live performance. With easy accessibility and free viewing, the online version surpassed the live performance, but the sometimes fuzzy video and the small screen left it lacking in other respects. Though I doubt many people clicked on the video expecting an equal experience to live performance, it’s noteworthy to mention that the different mediums give distinct advantages to their audience.

Although confined to a small screen, the obvious precision of every movement was incredible. It seems standard to expect the ease of perfection from ballet, but the dancers’ fluid grace still astounded me. The movement was not cookie-cutter neat; instead, it was tailored to fit each character’s personality, a key aspect to the success of the ballet. Whether it was a lilting, drunken friend at the party or the great swan herself, the message of the dancer’s persona was very apparent. But no matter how beautiful the method of storytelling was, the dance had the potential to be quite confusing, especially to someone new to the story, such as myself. Thankfully, a previous YouTube video by PNB outlined the simple story of the ballet and gave details on the characters, primarily the two main characters, Siegfried and Odette. Siegfried is the prince who falls in love with Odette, the main swan. Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Seth Orza as Siegfried, and Noelani Pantastico as Odette, in Kent Stowell’s Swan Lake. Photo © Angela Sterling.

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Celebrate and Graduate!

Teen Editorial Staff June 2020 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Joshua Fernandes and Tova Gaster

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It has been a very long year. Or at least a very long six months. The events that need no introduction have completely changed our way of life, our mindsets, and our perspectives. Despite this monumentally terrible year, we all made it to the summer and now is the time to move forward and celebrate! While maintaining social distancing regulations, of course. To help ease those social summer urges, we here on the Teen Editorial Staff have picked some truly wonderful online art for your viewing and our reviewing pleasure.

If you find your film recommendation list running low, then Tangerine at Northwest Film Forum might scratch that itch. Following the story of a transgender sex worker and her best friend tracking down the pimp that cheated on her, this drama-comedy is sure to be a wild ride. If you’re looking for something a little more grounded, then you should’ve already seen Blackfish by now. Playing in SIFF’s Virtual Cinema, Blackfish is a 2013 documentary exposing the dark underbelly of Seaworld and their treatment of orcas. If you’re interested in helping out more local populations, there’s always MOHAI’s History at Home website. Sharing new highlights from their museum each week, this is a great way to stay connected and maintain a sense of community while staying apart. If you like your community to be more musical, there’s always Kirkland Performance Center at Home’s weekly throwback videos. Throwing it back to some of KPC’s best performances, this series offers live performances, interviews, and sing-alongs serving as a glowing reminder of the uplifting nature of the rock community. If you want a little more groove out of your music, you have to check out Duende Libre at Earshot Jazz Fest. The self proclaimed “power trio” of Alex Chadsey on piano, Jeff Busch on percussion, and Farko Dosumov on bass is sure to deliver “musical medicine” right to your soul. Finally, if you want something a little more classic, there’s no better option than Also sprach Zarathustra at Seattle Symphony. Inspired by the philosophical novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche, this score is perhaps most well known for its use in Stanley Kubrick's iconic film: 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Commemoration and Confusion

Review of When the Wolves Came In by Kyle Abraham/A.I.M on OntheBoards.tv
Written by Teen Editor Anya Shukla and edited by Press Corps Teaching Artist Imana Gunawan

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I first watched When the Wolves Came In without looking at the program notes, and I was more than a little confused. In the performance, I saw wigs, hip-hop, ballet, images from apartheid, police brutality, but no central message. What did it all mean?

Although I did not know it at the time, When the Wolves Came In is based on Max Roach’s jazz album We Insist Freedom Now, created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, but released early in response to Civil Rights protests. The dance itself consists of three shorter pieces, the abstract “When the Wolves Came In,” “Hallowed,” and the more narrative-driven “The Gettin’.”

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Texas High School SXSW Shorts: Heart à la Carte!

Review of the SXSW 2020 Official Short Film Selections, Texas High School category

Written by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes and edited by Press Corps Teaching Artist Kathy Fennessy

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Making films is really really hard. Making films with borrowed equipment and a budget of $0 is even harder. And making films with borrowed equipment and a budget of $0 while still learning the ins and outs of filmmaking is probably the hardest. Having made films myself for four years in high school, I can attest to this. There are so many ways a film shoot can go wrong, and a lot of a film’s success isn’t about how skilled a filmmaker you are, but rather how well you can solve problems. That’s why I have so much respect for these Texas high school students, not only for making movies, but for making good movies. So anything critical said about these films comes with a heaping helping of respect for the filmmakers behind them. God knows I have made so, so, so much worse.

The first short I watched was Miu Nakata’s Wish Upon a Snowman. It’s a stop-motion piece about a girl eagerly awaiting Christmas, only for spooky happenings to occur. The animation is very commendable, but more than that, I was quite impressed with the set design. I’ve seen a lot of amateur stop-motion where the background is nothing more than a poorly-printed photo of a city street or someone’s mom doing the dishes, but here there are well-constructed and convincing sets, giving the production a sense of professionalism. However, the short lost me towards the middle, when everything became “creepy.” The issue is that I found the original doll way creepier than the generic skeleton. Additionally, it’s a nice touch that the whole short revolves around a literal “nightmare before Christmas” complete with skeleton dog, like the Henry Selick film, and the short wears this influence on its sleeve in a very charming way.

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Songs of Summer: Angel Blue’s Magical Virtual Debut

Review of Songs of Summer part of Seattle Opera's Opera At Home series.
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Sumeya Block and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla

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Virtual art has become the predominant form of expression and community during coronavirus, perhaps because it has the ability to connect audiences and creators alike: the audience sitting in their homes with a cup of coffee, and the creators either alone in a studio or sitting in their own living room. Online art brings connection and empathy to quarantine audiences around the world. Virtual art is human; it’s how we can stay tied to each other in these months of fear and uncertainty.

A beloved Seattle organization that recognizes the power in online performance is Seattle Opera: their website continues the Opera’s work through (sometimes) lonely screens, with performances that are updated weekly. The organization offers a host of ways to engage in opera during quarantine, and their Opera At Home programming is great for those who want to learn more about the medium.

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An Artificial Killer (Whale)

Review of BLACKFISH, screened by Virtual SIFF Cinema
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Eleanor Cenname and edited by Teen Editor Olivia Sun

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Sometimes, we ignore the truth in favor of a more digestible alternative. After all, no one wanted to see the intense pain that turned a captive killer whale, Tilikum, into a violent being. For SeaWorld’s Tilikum, his pain was not only felt physically by a tiny cell that restricted him from swimming 40 miles a day, but also emotionally from unbearable loneliness. With Tilikum’s story as the focal point in a multifaceted depiction of the brutal sea-circus industry, Gabriela Cowperwaite’s documentary BLACKFISH leaves no room for ignorance.

Cowperwaite weaves a cohesive story from interviews, SeaWorld advertisements, archival footage, and 9-1-1 call recordings. This stark combination makes the SeaWorld advertisements more akin to propaganda. Coupled with the interviews, the advertisements are morose and gaudy. But of this footage, the most compelling is an interview with John Crowe, one of the men who captured young orcas and shipped them to sea-parks around the world. Crowe describes his participation in a brutal 1970 capture in the Salish Sea. While Tilikum was captured near Reykjavik, not in the Salish Sea, the message is the same. Crowe regretted his participation in the capture of the orcas because he saw their profound emotional connection to one another as well as grief from mothers who were taken from their young. A scene from BLACKFISH, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. Photo courtesy of Christopher Towey.

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Youth Take Shakespeare Online

Review of King Lear performed online by Penguin Productions
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Mila Borowksi and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson

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The works of Shakespeare, the great Elizabethan writer, are still very much alive and well in the modern theater world. It came as no surprise to me that even the COVID-19 pandemic could not stop the performance of his beloved plays. Not only did Penguin Productions’ troop of 14-18 year olds perform for a digital audience instead of one packed into the red seats of a theater, they also rehearsed entirely on a digital platform.

The video performance began with a short introduction from director Shana Bestock, whose video then fades out as classical music takes over, a transition that will become familiar from scene to scene in this hour-long production. The backdrop of a scraggly tree, surrounded by a desolate and foggy landscape with black shadows encroaching from both sides, took over the screen for a few seconds. It is then that a group of high school students embarked to capture the classic Shakespearean story of King Lear.

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Queerantine: RIP The Pride Parade But We’re Still Out Here

Review of So Pretty Virtual Screening at Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival by Three Dollar Bill Cinema and Northwest Film Forum
Written by Teen Editor Tova Gaster and edited by Press Corps Mentor Jasmyne Keimig

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I was on FaceTime with my best friend when it dawned on us that COVID-19 was really about to cancel pride month—no parade, no all-ages drag dances, no gays making out in Cal Anderson. “I want to vibe with queers!” she said, flipping her green hair at the camera in frustration. I want to vibe with queers, I nodded back. Although coronavirus is dealing a massive and reverberating hit to our community, and to our teen summer pride fantasies, the Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival (put on by Capitol Hill cultural cornerstone Northwest Film Forum and Three Dollar Bill Cinema) is a nourishing socially-distanced dose of representation and genderqueer luv.

Closing night film So Pretty (directed by and starring Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli) portrays the dynamics of a tight-knit group of five gender-nonconforming friends and lovers. They hold immense tenderness for each other, a care which is shown through touch—casual kisses on the lips when they see each other in the crowd at a protest, an arm thrown over a chest the morning after. It’s a healing portrayal of affection between people whose identities are treated as ideological battleground sites by a violently binary society. Before quarantine, So Pretty would have read as sweet and radical. Now, it’s achingly bittersweet.

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