Pop, Rock and Folk, It’s All Shades of Gray

Review of Afterwords presented by the 5th Avenue Theatre

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Zoe Loughnane

The cast of Afterwords A New Musical at The 5th Avenue Theatre Photo Credit Mark Kitaoka

The 5th Avenue Theatre has historically been the first residence of many productions. The newest addition to its repertoire of world premieres is called Afterwords by Zoe Sarnak and Emily Kaczmarek. It follows sisters Kali and Simone as they struggle to piece their life back together following the death of their mother. With the new burden of ever-mounting bills and the house mortgage, they rent out their attic to news journalist Jo, who is similarly in the midst of wading through the churning sea of loss. As they get to know each other, a complex history of intersecting stories unravels and new relationships form. The show bounces between modern-day and the past as we meet our characters and explore their stories. This story is one of love and loss, grieving and healing, hardships and family.

Afterwords was very reminiscent of Rent. A newer, less rock, version of Rent, but Rent nonetheless. It has some of that raw and truthful emotion that Rent’s composer Jonathan Larson loved to utilize in his work. As I sat down in the theater, the first song “After” came on it immediately engaged me. The use of bold harmonies straight off the bat to build the music and draw the viewer in immediately gave me goosebumps and a sense of total encompassment. Now, as we evolve as a music loving society, Broadway evolves with us—Six embraces our pop side, Hadestown our love of folk and jazz and of course Hamilton the popularity of rap. So Afterwords’ pop/rock/folk score was not new per se, but still thrilling, and surprisingly cohesive throughout the show given the differing genres.

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Despite High Production Value, Afterwords, I Was Disappointed

Review of Afterwords at The 5th Avenue Theatre

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Daniela Mariz-Frankel

The cast of Afterwords at The 5th Avenue Theatre Photo Credit Tracy Martin

Despite being overwhelmingly enjoyable to view, Afterwords disappointed on more than one front. After having thoughtfully contemplated the story, I felt the characters lacked development around the mental health issues they faced, and the plot had a very disheartening resolution. The musical opens with a well-delivered monologue, from a character named Jo, then progresses into the story of two young sisters, arty Simone, and Kali, the older, Grammy-nominated sister. They live in their recently deceased mother’s home together. They both struggle with grief in a realistic way—Simone tries to push it down, and Kali is deeply bitter. When Simone brings up the fact that they really need another source of income and suggests they get a roommate, Kali is extremely defensive, but eventually relents when Jo, a war reporter, shows up on their doorstep to apply to be a tenant; she recently lost someone very important too.

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Letting Go of Grief with Afterwords

Review of Afterwords presented by The 5th Avenue Theatre

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Adrian Martin

Eliza Palasz Kali Understudy Kerstin Anderson Simone and Mari Nelson Lydia in Afterwords at The 5th Avenue Theatre Photo Credit Mark Kitaoka

The 5th Avenue Theatre’s Afterwords, a new musical about three women working through an unexpectedly intertwined grief, is a bone-shaking masterpiece.

The show follows sisters Kali and Simone six months after their mom has passed, living together in their childhood home. When finances get tight, they search for a roommate. Jo, a journalist mourning the loss of her mentor, moves in, hoping the change in scenery will help her write his eulogy. The show switches from past to present—it follows Kali and Simone’s mother as she falls in love and cares for her daughters in the months leading to her death, and how Jo’s mentor shapes who she will become—to the women trying to navigate the space they left. The final twist completed the tragedy of the relationship of these five.

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Discussing Wunderkammers and “A Deep Fear of Crappy Jobs”

Interview with Seattle Art Fair curator and artistic director Nato Thompson.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps writer Sitara Lewis.

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Fellow TeenTix Press Corps writer, Rosemary Sissel, and I were honored to interview Seattle Art Fair’s curator and artistic director, Nato Thompson. The Seattle Art Fair 2019 took place at Centurylink Field Event Center August 1-4.

You’ve attempted to create a wide array of different objects and pieces of art and magic that evokes the curiosity rooms of the 16th and 17th centuries, and reading your curatorial statement, it’s almost as if these rooms contained everything. So how is it possible to curate everything?

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Wonderful Art Fair, Happens to Be in Seattle

Review of the Seattle Art Fair.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps writer Rosemary Sissel.

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A tunnel of captive trees reflects itself into infinity. Pieces of wood arranged in the shape of Africa cast the shadow of a face. Another face, painted by many tiny newspaper words, loses its eye.

The Fair is a river of continual images, inviting viewers to look at, question, and interact with collections from nearly one hundred galleries from around the world—and the variety is staggering. A head is suspended upside down by steel cable. A nose is a shoe. A plunger is glass.

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The Santa Claus Effect: An Assessment of Colonized Pop Culture

Interview with panelists from the "Decolonizing Pop Culture" Panel at Northwest Folklife Festival.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps writer Triona Suiter.

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The boy with the warm brown eyes walked away down the sidewalk, turning back to wave before rounding the corner.

Think about that sentence. Visualize it. What did you picture? A busy city street or a suburban neighborhood? A teenager or a young child?

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Whitney Mongé: From Busker to Musician-Entrepreneur

Interview with musician Whitney Mongé at Northwest Folklife Festival.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps writer and Teen Editorial Staff member Huma Ali.

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Whitney Mongé, an Alternative Soul artist originally from Spokane, got her start in the Seattle music scene in 2007. As a street musician, (busking in Pike Place Market), Mongé was enlightened as an artist. It was this time in Pike Place that spurred her into taking up music as her profession.

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Fighting the System: Seattle Youth Rap the Truth

Interview with Creative Justice artists at Northwest Folklife Festival.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Writer Annika Prom.

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“I’m reclaiming the hell out of this space!” Rell Be Free’s shout echoed throughout the theater of the Vera Project, accented with dim blue and purple lights. A teenager with homegrown Seattle beginnings as a musician, Rell Be Free was one of the night’s featured musicians. These artists, youth who speak truth to power, prepared to make themselves heard through rap and spoken word performances at the Northwest Folklife Festival.

Through Creative Justice, youth are encouraged to share their stories using art as an alternative to completing traditional probation. Co-director Nikkita Oliver describes the program as offering opportunities to “liberate ourselves in a creative space.”

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The Hydrant Connects Seattle-Area Youth to Arts World

Interview with Nancy Chang and The Hydrant at Northwest Folklife Festival. Written by TeenTix Press Corps writer Nolan DeGarlais.

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The 2019 Northwest Folklife Festival featured a new exhibit that put youth arts at the forefront. Fitting with Folklife's 2019 cultural focus of "Youth Rising," the A/NT gallery at Seattle Center featured the showcase of The Hydrant Lounge, a collective of youth arts leaders who came together to promote their work and form lasting partnerships within the art world. With an entrance facing the International Fountain, the central location of The Hydrant Lounge greatly facilitated the Lounge's popularity.

The Hydrant, the organization behind the Folklife display, is a youth-created and youth-led artistic "think tank" that seeks to promote emerging figures in the Seattle arts community. Urging young art creators of all kinds to "tap the Hydrant," the organization gives priority to young creators who, without a platform, may feel isolated in artistic fields that are often dominated by the older generations.

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