Seattle Reconciles Future Dreams with Past History in September

Teen Editorial Staff September 2023 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Aamina Mughal and Anna Melomed

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With the first installment of articles from the TeenTix Newsroom coming out in the next few weeks, the Press Corps is writing about works that talk about the tensions between one’s dreams and one’s past as well as the different forms that one’s dreams may take.

At ArtsWest, we’ll be covering Matt & Ben, a look at Matt Damon and Ben Affleck before their fame, in their Good Will Hunting era, pursuing their dreams. Though being a comedic take on the two Hollywood headliners, Matt & Ben reminds us to not let our dreams be deferred but to take on the oncoming year in storm.

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5 Takes on the Barbie Movie

The TEDS (Teen Editorial Staff) Review Barbie

Aamina Mughal, Audrey Gray, Anna Melomed, Daphne Bunker, and Kyle Gerstel.

Reviews edited by Tova Gaster and Alison Smith, TeenTix alumni

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To kick off the 23/24 Newsroom Program, the TEDS each saw the Barbie movie. Check back every month to see art criticism for arts events they select and edit reviews of beginning in September! TAKE 1: Written by Anna Melomed, Edited by Tova Gaster, TED alumna

Barbie was a great in-theater experience and a delightful time.

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Diamond(s) in the Rough

Review of Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth presented by Seattle Art Museum

Written by Teen Writer Maitreyi Parakh and edited by Teen Editor Yoon Lee


Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth is an exhibit that is very easy to brush over, though it is located prominently on the top floor of the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). The grandeur of the traditional European classic pieces awaits just beyond the door to the left, as well as a ceramics exhibit that will take your breath away. Next to these galleries, Ikat seems to be very ordinary indeed. Of course, it does open with a majestic display of woven strands dropping down from the planks at the top, resembling an optical illusion. As you turn around this display, each angle presents you with a different view of the threads and their scale, leaving you feeling somewhat disoriented. Justifiably, the piece takes up much of the entirety of the main room, allowing you to soak in its splendor and intrigue. PONCHO (DETAIL), 20TH CENTURY, AMERICAS (BOLIVIA, CHARAZANI), Photo curtest of SAM

When you move on to much of the rest of the exhibit, though, you see a strikingly different approach being taken with the presentation of the pieces. The first thing you notice is the bright colors of the walls, surrounding and enveloping the pieces they surround. It's almost difficult to view the art on its own, seemingly messily done.

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A Legacy of Internment & Immigration Detention

Review of Resisters: A Legacy of Movement from the Japanese American Incarceration presented at the Wing Luke Museum

Written by Teen Writer Maitreyi Parakh and edited by Teen Editor Esha Potharaju

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Resisters: A Legacy of Movement from the Japanese American Incarceration is an unintentionally misleading gallery. The impersonal nature from which history is often told is drastically subverted in this exhibit, featured at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience from October 14, 2022, to September 17, 2023. The gallery is a special exhibition designed by Scott Méxcal, written by Tamiko Nimura, and developed by Mikala Woodward. The exhibit is structured similarly to a maze, where you—placed into the shoes of Japanese Americans facing these aggressions—are led through the passage of time without being able to anticipate what will come up next.

Stories in history that are fraught with tragedy are often dulled down into easy, comprehensible individual values when they are retold. Retellings frequently pick and choose their facts simply by virtue of being a retelling. It would be impossible to cover every single event without meticulously recreating it step by step, as some parts are naturally lost over time. To only cover the certain pieces of the exhibit that remain would be an injustice to all the stories left untold—and to cover the entire exhibit as if it is a holistic record of internment camps would do the same. Instead of picking and choosing a few specific stories, this exhibit and review ask the viewer to put themselves through the experience of internment and view each possible story offered through their own lens. You can hear the recorded testimonies throughout the exhibits echoing through history, just as the exhibit is set up as a timeline that prevents you from seeing what's left to come.

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Yes, "Yellowface" is good—but how are you interpreting it?

Review of Yellowface by R. F. Kuang

Written by Teen Writer Yuena Kim and edited by Aamina Mughal


Going into Yellowface, I was immediately enthralled. R. F. Kuang’s hallmarks—suffocating tension, her unflinching eye for critique, and messy-yet-compelling characters that horrify us, yet keep us engrossed in a compulsive, almost shameful pull—were all put on gleaming display.

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Actors to Stage Shallow!

Review of Day after day on this beautiful stage at Henry Art Gallery

Written by Teen Writer Maitreyi Parakh and edited by Aamina Mughal

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Day after day on this beautiful stage at the Henry Art Gallery attempts a new take on modern art that unfortunately falls quite flat—despite the interactive 3D aspects of the exhibit. Sarah Cain presents a set with couches positioned for the viewer to look upon the stage, as the name suggests. Viewers are allowed to enter both portions of the exhibit, which takes advantage of the Henry's expansive ceilings to appear all-encompassing. The piece is considered a subversion of serious abstract art, in that much of the strokes that build up the world of this set appear childish and sloppy.

A common critique of abstract art is that it is, in fact, childish. The intention of the exhibit seems to twist this view by intentionally attempting to be less serious, overemphasizing the shock factor of its components in this effort. Cain expends so much energy in trying to convey what the portions of her piece represent, that the overall impact is actually rather underwhelming. Much of the time spent attempting to glean the meaning of the stage simply concludes with "this portion was meant to represent the sky, or the sun, or the grass." Though she clearly tries to launch opposition to the standards of abstract art, Day after day falls short.

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An Amateur’s Look at a Celebration of Ballet

Review of Worlds to Come at Pacific Northwest Ballet

Written by Yoon Lee and edited by Gabrielle Nomura Gainor

Pacific Northwest Ballet recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, a fact evident to anyone passing McCaw Hall’s front-door sign. Part of this commemoration included an experimental new performance: Worlds to Come, displayed every time I passed by the hall on my way to TeenTix meetings in the Seattle Center. Despite having little experience with PNB, or with ballet at all, this celebration drew in my curiosity—later, I found myself celebrating 50 years with them and anticipating many years to come.

Worlds to Come presents exactly what the name implies: choreographers on the cutting edge of the ballet world, imagining what the art form may yield in the coming century. Altogether the three segments of the performance—two of them world premieres—came together at about two hours long. Although the three varied in terms of tone, style, and classicality, all came together for a remarkably inspiring experience that toed the line between classical and innovative.

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Moth to a Flame: The Magnetism of the Moth Mainstage

Review of The Moth Mainstage at Seattle Arts and Lectures

Written by Aamina Mughal and edited by Vee Hua

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From the moment the lights dimmed in Benaroya Hall and the anticipatory applause echoed throughout the room, I felt as though the rest of the audience knew something I didn’t, as someone who had never before been to a Moth Mainstage show. I would later discover that the secret they were all privy to was the specific type of magic that comes with sharing intimate stories. The Moth is an organization that emphasizes the importance of storytelling through their podcast and their live events. Moth events are generally composed of a few storytellers, and this event included five speakers, professional and otherwise. The atmosphere at the show was immediately larger than life, aided by the enigmatic host, Jon Goode.

Knowing that I had to write an article at the end of the show, I diligently pulled up a notes page on my phone and dimmed the screen brightness. My plans were foiled by Goode. He started the show by having the audience pull out their phones and turn on their flashlights, mimicking fireflies - and then asked us to turn them off. I’m immensely glad I did, as the stories told at the Moth can only be experienced with one’s full attention.

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"Sweeney Todd" is a Color-Conscious Triumph

Review of Sweeney Todd at The 5th Avenue Theater

Written by Teen Editor Kyle Gerstel and edited by Press Corps Mentor Omar Willey

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In the program for Sweeney Todd at The 5th Avenue Theatre, director Jay Woods states that her team has “been granted the privilege to investigate th[e] text in the way the late great Stephen Sondheim felt was most important,” to put “risk-taking at the heart of creation.” I assume Woods is talking about the production’s use of color-conscious casting, drawing parallels between one of the most famous revenge plots of all time and contemporary race relations. Although the casting is bold and artistically effective, the production is most impressive because of its consistently strong performances and stunning marriage of design and direction.

Sweeney Todd is wildly popular because it is the rare thoughtful musical theater spectacle. It’s also rare as a mainstream musical centered around cannibalism. The plot is structured so the show is always a few steps ahead of the audience, delivering a satisfying and unexpected narrative without relying on shock value. The score is uniquely atmospheric and the text’s use of dramatic irony is delightful. However, the slow pace often took me out of the world of the show.

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A Vivid Portrait of a Playwright

Review of How I Learned What I Learned at Seattle Rep

Written by Teen Writer Daphne Bunker and edited by Aamina Mughal

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The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production of August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned at the Seattle Rep is a striking one-man show from the moment the Rep’s spacious yet intimate space darkens. It’s then that performer Steven Anthony Jones, in the role of playwright and poet August Wilson himself, walks through the aisle under a spotlight and up the stairs to the stage. On the stage are clusters of grass and stones, a street light, a desk with a glass of water, two chairs, and a formation of brick wall set pieces. On the foremost wall, white serifed letters are projected, reading “How I Learned What I Learned (And How What I Learned Has Led Me To Places I’ve Wanted to Go. That I Have Sometimes Gone Unwillingly is the Crucible in Which Many a Work of Art Has Been Fired).”

Jones, as Wilson, finishes his ascent and stands beneath the words projected on the bricks. He stands still in the silence before he begins speaking, his voice sounding through the theater with the strength and conviction of a storyteller with something to say. From these first moments, How I Learned What I Learned makes it clear that it is not simply an extended monologue; it’s a back-and-forth between performer, script, and audience, in which Jones brings the intricacies of Wilson’s writing to the theater, and the audience responds with rapt attention. Steven Anthony Jones in August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Photo by Jenny Graham.

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Dance and Sing Toward Summer

Teen Editorial Staff May 2023 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Esha Potharaju and Yoon Lee


The month of May is the last month of spring—enjoy it before the hot waves of summer hit us with our exclusive curation of art to experience this month!

If you’re in the business of unfiltered, unscripted stories, then The Moth Mainstage is the May event you’re looking for! Watch five storytellers develop and shape their stories with the Moth’s directors.

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As It is in Taproot

Review of As It is in Heaven at Taproot Theatre Company

Written by Teen Writer Vada Chambers and edited by Yoon Lee

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Taproot Theater is a small theater staged sort of like a blackbox—there are three sides to the stage and a balcony to watch from above. This leads to a uniquely intimate theater experience and complicated, interesting movement from the actors who need to speak to all areas of the audience. As It is in Heaven, their performance for April, was no exception. As It is in Heaven, premiered in 2009, is as moving as it is witty. It follows the story of nine Shaker women navigating the troubles of their supposedly utopian life—led by three girls supposedly receiving messages from ethereal angels. Tradition battles faith, passion battles reality, and the women faithful must choose between rebellion and safety.

Taproot’s productions typically induce the same feeling as watching a Wes Anderson movie or an opera—sleepy, beautiful, and perfectly executed. All performances there are polished and smooth, but this piece in particular showed off how impressive creating such an immaculate performance really is. Every single movement is thought of, every word spoken perfectly. The show was full of intricate dancing, a dozen songs, and snappy dialogue that seemed precarious—one wrong phrase and everything would have unraveled. However, this amusing, intellectually challenging piece was handled beautifully, creating an impressive, immersive experience. Kristen Natalia, Jenny Vaughn Hall, Chloe Michele, Ashleigh Coe, and Justine Davis in As It is in Heaven at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Robert Wade.

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A Swamp-Sculpted Gallery

Review of Thick as Mud at Henry Art Gallery

Written by Teen Writer Daphne Bunker and edited by Audrey Gray

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The first room of Thick as Mud at the Henry Art Gallery, bathed in terracotta-tinged light, is unfurnished except for its display: snakeskin latticework stretched over two picnic chairs. Rain sounds splatter from speakers in the ceiling, and occasional thunderclaps echo. The descriptions on the wall label the chairs as Sitting Shiva and the overhead audio as Tropical Storm, both by artist Sasha Wortzel. Sitting Shiva is Wortzel’s meditation on endings and beginnings in the South Florida Everglades, where the invasive Baurmese Python has devastated local populations, and the installation sets the tone for the exhibit, establishing a pattern of thoughtful examination of historical and environmental themes conveyed through intricate artistic techniques. Sasha Wortzel, Sitting Shiva, 2020. Burmese Python skin, vegetable - tanned hide, aluminum, plastic. Courtesy of the artist. Installation view of Thick as Mud, 2023, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle. Photo: Jonathan Vanderweit , courtesy of the Henry

The sheer variety, texture, and creativity of the installations in Thick as Mud make the exhibit an endlessly fascinating landscape. Many of the art pieces use mud as a medium, but materials aren’t limited to clay. Caked dirt, shaped into geometric reflections of Mission Soledad, California, clings to Christine Howard Sandoval’s paper hangings, titled Pillars - An Act of Decompression, Fire, and Arch- A Passage Formed by a Curve. Dineo Seshee Bopape’s animated video, spliced together from paintings of soil and water from historical sites in the transatlantic slave trade, roils and tumbles in a dark projector room. Earthen pigment stains the white clothes in Eve Tagny’s installation, setting the scene for the artist’s video poetry. Each new display takes the premise of mud in a wildly creative new direction, and the artists use these creative approaches to effectively represent deeply emotional themes, from colonialism’s environmental impact to the racialized violence of gentrification. These innovative aesthetic approaches bring the artists’ stories to vivid life, and each piece is intellectually and emotionally impactful, making the Henry’s enclosed, cozy gallery space feel like a treasure trove of artifacts that powerfully memorialize personal and global histories.

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Reinvigorate Yourself This Spring

Teen Editorial Staff April 2023 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Aamina Mughal and Audrey Gray

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Even though we’re on the tail ends of the UW cherry blossoms, the spirit of reinvigoration, renewal, and reinvention remains in the air in the Seattle arts scene. In April we traveled from Jet City Improv to the Henry Art Gallery quintessential spring atmospheres. We hope you’ve been taking advantage of the nice weather and visiting all of our amazing arts partners!

We first see this theme of reinvention at the Henry with Thick as Mud, an exhibit that explores how mud represents the relationship between humanity and geography. The multimedia showing explores the violence inflicted against the environment as well as the potential for preservation and reinvigoration. Similarly, Ikat at the Seattle Art Museum uses an immersive experience to remind us of the importance of the tangible in terms of fashion. SAM describes this as “A radical departure from today’s factory-made cloth, Ikat serves as a reminder of the power of slow fashion and the sacredness of clothing as art”.

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The Hidden Wonders of LAIKA’s "Hidden Worlds"

Review of Hidden Worlds: The Films of LAIKA at Museum of Pop Culture

Written by Teen Writer Raika Roy Choudhury and edited by Disha Cattamanchi


MoPOP’s Hidden Worlds serves as a wonderful introduction to stop motion and other creative processes in the popular animation studio LAIKA’s films. LAIKA is an Oregon-based studio behind the famous films Coraline, ParaNorman, Kubo and the Two Strings, Missing Link, and BoxTrolls, all of which were nominated for Oscars and PGA Awards. Beyond their critical acclaim, LAIKA is also known for specializing in standalone films and bringing hand-curated artistry back into our increasingly digital media space. Their films are bold and distinctive whilst also aesthetic and thought-provoking, widening the appreciation for animation. It only makes sense for this accomplished studio to be celebrated with a museum exhibit.

Though it lures the viewer in with Coraline dolls, sets, and larger than life room decor such as ceiling spiderwebs and painted floors, the exhibit surprisingly starts with a video. Featuring the animators and producers behind Coraline, the video marks the beginning of its sub-exhibit, explaining the unique, groundbreaking stop-motion techniques used in the movie. Despite my short attention span, I found it truly interesting to learn who was behind one of the greatest animation films and what created its overall success. The video immediately connects the viewer to the exhibit once it's over. From the start, something about it feels off; the video was narrated by none other than the Other Mother, Coraline’s creepy, iconic, soul-sucking villain that sews buttons into the kids’ eyes. I loved this detail because it transitioned well into the physical space, the voice setting a noticeably eerie mood.

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"Metamorphoses": An Endless Battle for Justice

Review of Metamorphoses at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Written by Teen Writer Elle Vonada and edited by Audrey Gray

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Content warning: sexual assault

Before one’s eyes, actors morph into polarizing characters written by an ancient Roman author. Seattle Rep’s compelling performance of Metamorphoses brings Ovid’s stories into the 21st century, giving reason to why humanity has chosen to preserve his literature. The production’s impact is enhanced by expert stagecraft, made most powerful because of how the 2,000-year old fiction remains relevant to modern society. One would expect humanity to have evolved somewhat in the years since then, but this show reveals that the more things change, the more they remain the same.

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"A Thousand Splendid Suns" Shines at Seattle Opera

Review of A Thousand Splendid Suns at Seattle Opera

Written by Teen Writer Olivia Qi and edited by Esha Potharaju

Photo by Sunny Martini

Content warning: suicide, abuse

A pressing story of love during harsh times, A Thousand Splendid Suns is finally ready for its world premiere at Seattle Opera. The work, commissioned by Seattle Opera in 2015, is written by Seattle-born composer Sheila Silver and librettist Stephen Kitsakos. Based on Khaled Hosseini’s book of the same name, the opera is an epic tale set in Afghanistan from 1974 to 2001. Suns is unforgettably intense, a gripping story brought to life by heart-wrenching music.

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The Young Girl and the Sea

Review of Whale Rider at Seattle International Film Festival

Written by Teen Writer Lula Keteyian and edited by Audrey Gray


Twenty-one years ago, Whale Rider, written and directed by Niki Caro, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. It was met with critical acclaim, receiving an Indie Spirit Award and an Academy Award Best Actress nomination for Keisha Castle-Hughes, the 13-year-old star of the movie. It has become a cult favorite, though it is rarely screened.

I had the exciting opportunity to see Whale Rider in person at SIFF Cinema Uptown. It was a Wednesday night, and I wasn’t expecting a large audience. Surprisingly, when I entered the theater, I observed that many people had turned up. I quickly learned Whale Rider was this month’s pick of the SIFF Cinema Movie Club. After a brief introduction that explained this to non-members like myself, the lights went down, and an arresting tension filled the theater as the audience prepared to live the world of this film for the next ninety minutes.Film still from Whale Rider directed by Niki Caro

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Things Unseen Created by Those Unseen

Review of From the Ground Up: Black Architects and Designers at MOHAI

Written by Teen Writer Maitreyi Parakh and edited by Aamina Mughal


Let's start from the vantage point of a bug. Imagine the sheer scale of everything never before acknowledged—the foundations of the environment around, where the very roots of the buildings around you are anchored. Even in this scenario, it is tempting to focus on the central character of the bug. However, after visiting From the Ground Up: Black Architects and Designers at the Museum of History and Industry, this perspective may be shifted into one that is not typically adopted. The exhibit asks, what parts of your surroundings have you brushed past in noticing? Who was integral to the existence of these surroundings?

As David Adjaye said, "Buildings are deeply emotive structures which form our psyche. People think they're just things they maneuver through, but the make-up of a person is influenced by the nature of spaces." The exhibit itself was presented overlooking Lake Union with the information laid out in placards, which lent an integrated feel to the exhibit—seemingly a conscious choice, as a note by the window asks the viewer to consider their own surroundings more thoughtfully. The pieces were varied but characteristic of the works typically found at MOHAI, though this exhibit was a bit more information-dense than others, which made fully understanding it a longer endeavor. There were rows designating specific architects and their contributions, as well as institutes that these architects contributed to, which organized information presented in a clear, chronological order. There was also an interactive element where children could create their own buildings, and several video stations within the exhibit. From the Group Up, photo courtesy of MOHAI

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"Seattle Asian American Film Festival": A Whirlwind of Feeling

Review of Seattle Asian American Film Festival at Northwest Film Forum

Written by Teen Writer Lily Fredericks and edited by Disha Cattamanchi


Considering that on-screen parts for Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) account for less than six percent of speaking roles in Hollywood films, it feels disheartening that few film festivals attempt to remedy the lack of AAPI representation in the industry. As the first and only pan-Asian American film festival, the Seattle Asian American Film Festival (SAAFF) seeks to bridge the representation disparity by inviting AAPI filmmakers to share their stories with the Seattle arts community to celebrate their creations and gain well deserved recognition.

From incidental murder, to wistful reminiscence, SAAFF boasts a versatile selection with something for everyone to enjoy. The annual showcase includes feature films and shorts directed by a diverse lineup of creators with origins spanning the Asian diaspora. Each film spotlights the universal joys and sorrows that grace our lives, colored by the nuance of varied cultural experiences.

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