Theater & Dance Press Corps Intensive Recap

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The Theater & Dance Press Corps Intensive was a four-week arts-going and criticism practice workshop that ran March-April, 2019. Throughout the four weeks, a group of ten teens learned how to approach theater and dance criticism and practiced these skills by reviewing two plays and two dance performances at different TeenTix Arts Partners. The group met each week to discuss the art they saw and various issues within the field of arts criticism.

The group was mentored by two professional critics, Becs Richards and Melody Datz Hansen, who helped each teen hone their arts writing skills. Stay tuned on the blog for reviews of each event!

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Jason Johnson of The Vera Project, Dogbreth, and More!

Interview with musician and Vera Project Talent Buyer & Production Coordinator Jason Johnson.

Written by Pearl Lomonaco, during TeenTix’s Beyond the Review Press Corps Intensive.

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Jason Johnson, is local a punk musician, in three bands: Dogbreth, Itemfinder and The Exquisites. Their music makes you feel as if you’re at a rock concert. It's very real with live instruments; you can really feel the melody. It’s violently emotive. Each song has its own story, whether it’s about love or just wanting to hang out with friends and watch anime.

When did you start playing music? And why?

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The Vera Project's Jason Clackley

Interview with musician and Vera Project Programs Director & Talent Buyer Jason Clackley.

Written by Noah Chandler, during TeenTix’s Beyond the Review Press Corps Intensive.

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Recently, we were able to sit down with Jason Clackley of the Vera Project, an all ages music venue that showcases up and coming artists. He is also a part of two bands, The Exquisites and Dreamdecay. He talked with us about The Vera Project, his experiences, and about the path of new and emerging artists.

Where are you from and how long have you been making music?

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The Vera Project: Amplifying the Voices of Up-and-Coming Musicians

Interview with musician Hunter Grier at The Vera Project.

Written by Sumeya Block, during TeenTix’s Beyond the Review Press Corps Intensive.

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The Vera Project has become a household name in Seattle since their founding in 2001. They hold shows for all ages with a strong value on no drugs or alcohol within the building, while creating a fun space for teens and adults alike. Many have seen shows, performances, and concerts at The Vera Project, but not many know of the significance it has on the local Seattle artists it partners with. From holding programs, to booking new artists their first shows, it is clear The Vera Project cares about its Seattle musicians and the music community it cultivates. One of these up and coming musicians is the young, dedicated, and inspired Hunter Grier. A fresh high school graduate, Grier, 19, has already released over twelve collections of songs and tells us he has more in the works.

Grier is a DIY artist. When I asked him what that means, he told me “DIY [do it yourself] culture is what the name implies. It’s doing it by yourself, being able to like take projects into your own hands.”

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90% with Jason Clackley and The Vera Project

Interview with musician and Vera Project Programs Director & Talent Buyer Jason Clackley.

Written by Arizona Gibson, during TeenTix’s Beyond the Review Press Corps Intensive.

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The Vera Project is an organization steeped in independent spirit. With roots in the D.I.Y. movement, the entire space hums with a deep reverence for creativity and individuality, and possesses a kind of unapologetic grittiness that’s rare in most mainstream venues. It feels like the grown-up evolution of a punk house—a place carved out by artists with the needs of artists in mind. One artist at the forefront of this carving is Jason Clackley, programs director for The Vera Project and long-time fixture in the Seattle music scene. Sitting before a backdrop of locally-illustrated zine covers, show flyers, and band posters, Clackley speaks animatedly about his youth, his experience with the local arts culture, and his evolution as an artist. His simply-stated personal history feels like a perfect extension of The Vera Project mission.

“I bought a guitar, and I started making music. I took a few lessons and started playing shows, and then I started doing my own shows, and I moved on from there.”

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream Awakens Audiences at Pacific Northwest Ballet

Preview of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Written by Huma Ali, during TeenTix’s Beyond the Review Press Corps Intensive.

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George Balanchine's iteration of A Midsummer Night’s Dream has taken form at Pacific Northwest Ballet for the first time in five years. Inspired by Shakespeare's play of the same name, the tale regards love in its many forms—and trickery as a means to define it.

Set in the enchanted woods that surround the borders of ancient Athens, the tale follows the interference of the Fairy King, Oberon, and his jester, Puck, in the romantic relationships between mortal lovers Hermia and Lysander, and the soon-to-be couple, Helena and Demetrius. When Puck mistakenly puts Lysander under a spell causing him to fall in love with Helena, conflict plagues the forest. Pacific Northwest Ballet corps de ballet dancer Christian Poppe (with soloist Ezra Thomson and PNB company dancers) in a rehearsal for George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo © Lindsay Thomas.

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The Steadfast Preparation for PNB's A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Preview of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Written by Sumeya Block, during TeenTix’s Beyond the Review Press Corps Intensive.

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As the dancers in A Midsummer Night's Dream feverishly practice for opening night, Pacific Northwest Ballet prepares for the rush of people who will be spending their night watching the show unfold.

William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream tells the story of a fight between King Oberon and Queen Titania, and the quarrel between two mortal couples that leads to absolute chaos and disorder. Pacific Northwest Ballet is known for its vibrant, graceful, and effortless performances. But, this does not come without a great deal of effort, grueling rehearsals, and some kinks to work out.

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Beyond the Review Press Corps Intensive Recap

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TeenTix hosted our first ever Beyond the Review Press Corps Intensive April 8-12 at the Downtown School. This was a 5-day Intensive workshop where a group of ten teens spent the mornings learning about arts journalism, and the afternoons applying their new skills. Teens received one-on-one mentorship from professional arts journalists and were able to edit and finalize an article for publication on the TeenTix blog.

Over the course of the week, the group went behind the scenes at several TeenTix Arts and Community Partners. They observed a rehearsal at Pacific Northwest Ballet, interviewed musicians at The Vera Project, and chatted with the leadership team of the Intiman Theatre as well as several participants in the Intiman's STARFISH PROJECT. The teens had the opportunity to write previews, interviews, and feature articles based on their experiences. Stay tuned on the blog to read the articles written during the Intensive!

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Seeing the Sunrise Starts with Survival

Review of A Thousand Splendid Suns at Seattle Repertory Theatre.

Written by Jaiden B, during TeenTix’s arts criticism training workshop, the Fall 2018 Press Corps Intensive.

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The opening scene in the theatrical adaptation of A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Ursula Rani Sarma, contrasts the entire play with the eerie stillness it sets the audience in. By piercing the quiet atmosphere with sharp, lingering notes, this scene stills the air and makes the audience pause for breath. From the next scene onwards, the audience is kept in silence not by the moving musical accompaniment, but by the paralyzing horror with which the play unfolds. The first scene wraps around the audience with the unnervingly gentle, yet strong, sound of David Coulter’s original score performed live. As he is slowly pulled across the stage on a lengthy sheet of fabric, we are introduced to the sole man who effectively ties novel instruments—including a violin, thunder sheets, and even a saw—to the emotional landscape that the characters traverse. We first meet one of the main characters, Laila (a role that is passionately performed by Rinabeth Apostol), with her father (performed thoughtfully by John Farrage) as they read poetry together. This innocent scene does nothing to prepare the audience for the further torment Laila will endure. For the time being though, it beautifully shows the deep connection between the father, Babi, and his daughter. Their connection contrasts the future of ruins with the perfect present, and its perfection hints at a greater danger to come. As the two characters read poems of Kabul, they not only sing the praises of their beautiful city but intertwine their love with profound anguish. Their pain stems from the loss of their city, the very place they hold dear, due to the dangers of a war-torn country that forces them to leave.

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Challenging Viewers in a New Way

Review of “Between Bodies” at Henry Art Gallery.

Written by Eleanor C, during TeenTix’s arts criticism training workshop, the Fall 2018 Press Corps Intensive.

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Art has one true purpose, to evoke feeling, to cause a reaction within someone.

The enigmatic art exhibit entitled "Between Bodies" conjures up complex, even contradictory, responses. At times the immersive installations made me feel as if I was both in our recognizable world and beyond it, leading me to reconsider ideas about representation, humanity, and the environment.

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“Between Bodies” Encourages Interconnected Ways of Thinking

Review of "Between Bodies" at Henry Art Gallery.

Written by Ali R, during TeenTix’s arts criticism training workshop, the Fall 2018 Press Corps Intensive.

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Imagine you’re standing in a dark room with mirrors scattered across it. TV screens hang from the walls and bubbles come across them every couple seconds. On one screen, a fisherman talks about his tradition of fishing. It’s very trippy, like you could be in "The Matrix." This mind-numbing experience is a work of art, “Glistening Troubles” by Susanne M. Winterling, just one part of the exhibition “Between Bodies” at the Henry Art Gallery.

The entirety of the exhibit felt like this. It didn’t seem to fit with other art exhibits. It stood out for its differences, mostly because of its tackling of environmental, social, economic and political issues from a perspective we don’t always see get a voice. Many of the artists use their experiences as members of LGBTQ communities to present these global issues in alternative ways, ways that promote collaboration and unity. It left the viewer thinking long after seeing it, trying to figure it out.

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Moral Complexity at FADE

Review of FADE at Seattle Public Theater.

Written by Alison S, during TeenTix’s arts criticism training workshop, the Fall 2018 Press Corps Intensive.

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Lucia and Abel don’t meet-cute: she’s a struggling T.V. writer; he’s the janitor for her office building. Their first interaction is when she thanks him for cleaning her room while scrolling through her phone.

Lucia, a compulsive, lonely oversharer in the new city of L.A. quickly spills her life story and problems to Abel. At first Abel, played with gentle firmness by Marco Adiak Voli, is resistant to participate in these conversations. Yet, you can tell from his crinkly-eyed smile that he enjoys her company.

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Human Characters and Harmful Ambition

Review of FADE at Seattle Public Theater

Written by Charlotte H, during TeenTix’s arts criticism training workshop, the Fall 2018 Press Corps Intensive.

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“Oh my god,” I said, turning in my seat. “Oh my god.” Such was my reaction at the end of FADE, a small production by Seattle Public Theater at the Bathhouse Theatre. The show used two actors, and one set. FADE is an unapologetically Latinx play about how people bond and change over time.

Lucia (Pronounced Loo-see-uh, never loo-sha) arrives late at night, and meets after-hours custodian Abel (A-bell, not able). When Abel arrives to clean, Lucia ignores him, that is until she needs help. Yet, Lucia needs more than someone to fix her shelving. She needs someone to whom she can vent to. Lucia tells Abel that the straight, white, cis, male writing staff sees her merely as a token, and her boss sees her as a translator for when he needs to scold his Latina maid. From the beginning she knows she’s on shaky ground. Her writing resume is thin, having only written one novel. She looks down on the show she’s writing for, which from the snippets heard is more like a program from another era. After she softens her spoiled and entitled attitude, she and Abel banter. They discuss who is more Mexican, the correct usage of Hispanic and Latino, and indignities suffered on them by the culturally uninformed and the resentment of being seen as a stereotype—while making plenty of assumptions and generalities about others, and each other.

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Does Sophia Really Need Help? (하나님 도와주세요)

Review of "White Rabbit" at TWIST by Three Dollar Bill Cinema.

Written by Katherine K, during TeenTix’s arts criticism training workshop, the Fall 2018 Press Corps Intensive.

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"White Rabbit" centers around Sophia, a Korean American queer woman who immigrated to the US when she was seven and lives in Koreatown, Los Angeles. She is a performance artist who often speaks at significant places where Koreans and Korean Americans gather. As someone who lived in Koreantown, I recognized many of the locations where scenes of the movie were filmed such as the Koreatown Plaza, making use of authentic locations.

As a Korean American I was able to understand many of the cultural insights and I felt this special connection to the movie. I really enjoyed it. There were also parts of the movie that were in Korean. For every movie, there’s different levels of understanding and this is one of the reasons why I got to a deeper connection than other films I’ve seen.

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Tattoo Fury Folk at the Fremont Abbey

Review of Pickle Boy, Brenda Xu, and Esmé Patterson at the Fremont Abbey Arts Center.

Written by Virginia W, during TeenTix's arts criticism training workshop, the Fall 2018 Press Corps Intensive.

Esme By Rachel Winslow

There is a reason teens don’t review grown up music, it makes us sleepy.

The church-like Fremont Abbey was beautiful on Friday, October 12, with its blue and green lighting and soft stained glass windows. Lighting was calming to watch the music. It was peaceful and so quiet.

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The Appeal of Esmé Patterson

Review of Pickle Boy, Brenda Xu, and Esmé Patterson at the Fremont Abbey Arts Center.

Written by Erin C, during TeenTix's arts criticism training workshop, the Fall 2018 Press Corps Intensive.

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As the flannel-clad audience slowly trickled into the Fremont Abbey Arts Center, it was immediately obvious what kind of show we were in for.

The concert-goers, mainly white couples over thirty who seem to have forgotten that most of us left being “hipster” in 2015, chatted under pretty string lights that zigzagged under the former church’s high ceilings. A lone pair of house speakers played indie rock, folk, and country music that gave further hints to the overall energy of the show to come.

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That’s a Wrap on the Fall Press Corps Intensive!

The 2018 Fall Press Corps Intensive was a five-week arts-going and criticism practice workshop that ran from October 10-November 19, 2018. Nine teens saw and wrote reviews of five art events at different TeenTix Arts Partners. The group was mentored by three professional critics who helped each teen hone their arts criticism skills. Stay tuned on the blog for reviews of each event!

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