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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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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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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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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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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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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A Good Movie is Harder to Find than a Good Woman

Review of A Good Woman is Hard to Find, screened by The Grand Illusion Cinema
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Eleanor Cenname and edited by Teen Editor Olivia Sun

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When, in these uncertain times, we try to find peace, comfort, or perhaps even distraction in art, I want my art to feel like comfort food. Specifically, I want the artistic equivalent of mashed potatoes. Delicious? Yes. Relatively inoffensive? Indeed. Given the choice, would I eat it every day? You bet. Lately, I’ve sated my desire for comfort art through Queer Eye. It makes me believe in the good of humanity and self-love. But this isn’t about Queer Eye; I am here to talk about Seattle Grand Illusion Cinema’s virtual screening of Abner Pastoll’s thriller, A Good Woman is Hard to Find. The film seems to be born of humanity’s worst and is the antithesis of all that I want in art right now...except in one key way: it is thoroughly entertaining.

Sarah, a meek, widowed mother of two young children remains desperate for closure after the recent murder of her husband. When a drug dealer who steals cocaine from a local mob uses her house to store his ‘product,’ she uses him to find her husband’s murderer. All of this is coupled with Sarah’s strained relationship with her mother, her struggle to make financial ends meet, a perverted grocery store employee, a police force that seems altogether unconcerned with her husband’s murder, and her son, Ben, who became mute after witnessing his father’s death. The film ultimately plays like a violent iteration of the clichéd ethical dilemma: Would you steal a loaf of bread to feed your family?

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Culture-Crushing Gentrification in Capitol Hill

Review of Vanishing Seattle film, screened at the Capitol Hill Arts District Streaming Festival
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Maia Demar and edited by Teen Editor Tova Gaster

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I’ve grown up with Capitol Hill. I went to daycare at Seattle Central College, elementary school at T.T. Minor, and came back full circle to Central for dual enrollment as a junior in high school. My dad works for The Stranger, right next to what used to be Value Village and what’s now a WeWork building. Even my aunt and uncle are Seattle artists, but they actually recently moved to Bremerton. For artists, the rising prices of gentrification have made it impossible for them to live on Capitol Hill. These cultural shifts in Seattle’s historic arts district are exactly what is discussed in Vanishing Seattle, a work-in-progress short film which was streamed digitally as part of the Capitol Hill Arts District Streaming Festival.

Vanishing Seattle is also a local movement documenting the increasing gentrification of Seattle, both on their website (vanishingseattle.org) and their popular Instagram account (@vanishingseattle). They post pictures of the displaced or diminished old Seattle, often those of artistic or cultural significance, in an effort to bring awareness to the incredibly gentrified condition of Seattle.Screenshot from the Vanishing Seattle film.

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Part 3: Keeping Cultured During Quarantine

Find out how some of the TeenTix-ers are staying artistically engaged while socially distant.

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This is the third installment of our “Keeping Cultured During Quarantine” series. Enjoy these recommendations from TeenTix Newsroom writers, New Guard members, and Press Corps teens about how to fight the collective cabin fever!Daisy

Ok, so actually, my favorite kind of art right now might not even be classified as art (but in my head it is)! My favorite kind of art right now is . . . . PEOPLE!! (People are art!) The best quarantine activity EVER is to watch people tell me things about their life (over a socially distant video call, don’t worry!), or things that happened when they were little, or anything that’s happening in their heads! Good art = stories. Stories = people. People = art!!! Seeing people that I love, even from far away, and getting to know them better, learning more about the stories-that-make-up-who-they-are, is the best quarantine art obsession I can imagine! (Also Parks & Rec.) Hana

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The Art of Procrastination

Teen Editorial Staff May 2020 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Anya Shukla and Kendall Kieras!

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Our quarantine art viewing is still going strong! One thing we have noticed during online school, however, is that we find ourselves procrastinating far more than we used to. Our emails are open, our phones are right next to us, and YouTube and Netflix are only one click away…

There’s also a lot to procrastinate! Some may say that because AP tests are only forty-five minutes, they cause less stress; others believe that because many final exams have been canceled, we don’t need to study; still others think that because many schools are going pass/fail, grades don’t matter anymore. To all those people, we say only this: we’re teenagers, and even when it’s not necessary, we make procrastinating a full-time job! (Also, do you see how we slid in an AP-English-worthy concession there? Take notes, College Board.)

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Pivot Turn: Poetry in the Moment of Change

Review of Pivot Turn at Cadence: Video Poetry Festival presented by Northwest Film Forum

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Lark Keteyian and edited by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras

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Referring to people as bodies isn't a turn of phrase I find particularly comfortable. It feels impersonal, even spooky, to separate a person's essence from their physical body; it turns them into something inhuman. However, in the case of Pivot Turn, a series of films that don't always take place in the world we're used to, it feels appropriate. Pivot Turn ran the second night of Northwest Film Forum's Cadence: Video Poetry Festival, which transferred smoothly online in the wake of COVID-19. The films were collected around the theme of a volta, the moment of emotional change in a poem. "Moment of emotional change" might sound like a vague concept, but in practice it's fairly easy to recognize: it's a shift in tone, subject, or feeling. Sometimes you feel the volta as a subtle flip of your heart, sometimes, as the ground moving under your feet. The volta is part of what makes poetry so personal, strange, and effective. As an art form that often relies on dreamy association rather than a clear linear narrative, poetry has to envelop its audience emotionally in order to have an impact. The volta is one way for this to happen: it can bring an everyday object or place into a strange and unfamiliar light, causing the audience to experience the world in a new way.

In Pivot Turn, the voltas were explicitly physical. The shift in feeling was visually represented through movement: dance, animation, bodies of water, human bodies. Different creators interpreted the open concept of "video poetry" in very different ways. Some were visualizations of full poems (think music video for a poem); some focused on fluid physical movement organized in a dream-logic reminiscent of poetry, with very few words. All of the films, however, shared the theme of movement. Black Girl Poem, Daryl Paris Bright + Anatola Pabst. Image courtesy of Northwest Film Forum.

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A Portrait of A Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Review of Portrait of a Lady on Fire, the Favorite Feature at Seattle Queer Film Festival, presented by Three Dollar Bill Cinema

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Mila Borowski and edited by Teen Editor Kendall Kieras

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During this time of quarantine, many of us have taken the opportunity to delve deep into the art of cinematography. Portrait of a Lady on Fire, a story of finding freedom and meaning within the bounds of one’s house and the neighboring, barren coastline, may be particularly compelling as we all adjust to the new confines of our lives. The first scene introduces the viewer to the intense sensory overflow in this movie as the gentle sound of charcoal traces out curves on a blank canvas and dominates one’s attention. Little by little, as with everything in this film, an art class in 18th century France is revealed, taught by Marianne, a painter played by Noémie Merlant. Marianne is provoked by a painting from her past that portrays the film’s namesake: the lady on fire. It is then that the film takes a step back in time to introduce the young woman ‘on fire’ in the portrait: Héloïse, played by Adèle Haenel. Héloïse is opposed to her upcoming arranged marriage, but must send a wedding portrait of herself to the gentleman. A younger Marianne must paint Héloïse’s portrait in secret as Héloïse refuses to pose for a painter. Marianne acts as a companion for Héloïse’s daily walks on the coastal cliffs, cliffs that serve as a haunting reminder of Héloïse’s sister’s recent suicide from similar heights. The plot thickens as the two develop feelings for each other while they explore the remaining days of Héloïse as a free woman before she is wed. Adèle Haenel and Noémie Merlant in Portrait of a Lady on Fire, directed by Céline Sciamma

It is a spectacular journey that relies upon every detail’s precise intention, with the use of audio particularly standing out for its vivid texture, adding to the intriguing plot to create a strikingly artful film. While I have to rely on subtitles to experience the film, the sound design speaks more than any dialogue. The loud rustling of their dresses as they walk silently emphasizes the initial unfamiliarity and unease between the two women. The loud crashing of the waves during an emotionally charged, wordless moment between Héloïse and Marianne helps the viewer experience the crashing in their chests as their hearts beat faster while they stare into each other’s eyes. The concise dialogue is also paramount in generating such emotional scenes. The first vocal exchange between the two women is during their first trip outside, after Marianne learns about the recent loss of Héloïse’s sister. Héloïse charges for the edge of the cliff, stopping abruptly at the edge before saying, “Dreamt of that for years.” Marianne then asks, “Dying?” Héloïse’s response is a simple word that conveys so much of how she feels about her life. “Running.” This motif of freedom is seen throughout the film, particularly Héloïse’s lack of it. In a particularly witty exchange, Marianne inquires as to whether or not Héloïse can swim. “I don’t know,” Héloïse replies. Marianne tells her, “It’s too dangerous if you don’t.” The symbolism of swimming grows to be a powerful metaphor for the lady living on the coast’s missing freedom. This symbol is juxtaposed with the imagery of flames; seen in fireplaces, bonfires, and a bounty of candles. The rest of the thoughtful symbology throughout the film adds thought-provoking depth to this gradual journey. The viewer is given time to digest the layered dialogue and engage fully with the world Héloïse is trapped in. Adèle Haenel and Noémie Merlant in Portrait of a Lady on Fire, directed by Céline Sciamma

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Virtual Film Empowers Arts Communities

Review of All on a Mardi Gras Day and The Maze at Northwest Film Forum
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Maia Demar and edited by Teen Editor Tova Gaster

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“You not gonna fight ‘em, you not gonna shoot ‘em, you not gonna stab ‘em, you gonna kill ‘em with a needle and thread.”

These are the words spoken by Big Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters, who stars in the short documentary All on a Mardi Gras Day. Directed and edited by Michal Pietrzyk, the 22 minute film follows Demond and his friends as they prepare costumes for the biggest day in New Orleans: Mardi Gras. Demond makes his own costumes from scratch every year, each one more elaborate and feathered than the last. The film’s perspective on African American men defies many stereotypes and assumptions. There are so many mental benefits from being creative, and the film is especially important due to the stigma surrounding men of color discussing mental health.

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Virtual World? See Virtual Art!

Editorial written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Sumeya Block and edited by Teen Editor Tova Gaster

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Is anyone else very, very, very, bored? It’s weird to think that not even a month ago, we were all living entirely different lives. On March 1st, we were still going about our normal routines: taking buses to school, eating lunch (and sharing food!) with friends, and of course, using our TeenTix passes. But all that has changed. Now, I go to my classes via Zoom, I take a walk around the block, and, like everyone else, I try my best to help contain COVID-19. To fill my boredom, I have participated in lots of virtual art. There are many lessons we have learned since quarantine and one of the big ones is that humans are adaptable; we change to fit our environment no matter how drastic the situation.

Just like how we have had to adapt, so has art, by catering to an online audience. One can no longer fill McCaw Hall or the beautiful MOHAI Museum but can instead fill an infinite number of virtual seats through a computer screen. Currently, Jet City Improv is hosting a virtual happy hour via Twitch. Seattle Opera and Seattle Art Museum have created an interactive page full of weekly podcasts, interviews, and hand-picked playlists. And those are just a few of the events going on this month! I love being able to support local art right from my bed by interacting, sharing, and donating to their websites. But the true power of virtual art is the ability to experience it from anywhere, try something new, and hear the voices of people from all over the world.

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Part 2: Keeping Cultured During Quarantine

Find out how some of the TeenTix Newsroom writers are staying artistically engaged while socially distant.

The Beatles

This is the second installment of our “Keeping Cultured During Quarantine” series. Enjoy these recommendations from TeenTix Newsroom writers about how to fight the collective cabin fever! ALISON

I’m a big fan of Kanopy, the criminally underrated streaming service you can access for free with a library card. I recently watched The Way He Looks on the platform, a love story so good it made me giddy. It centers on Leo, a blind teenager with a passion for classical music, and his friendship-turned-romance with Gabriel, the new boy at his school who plays him Belle & Sebastian records. The gorgeous cinematography of São Paulo, the witty conversations, and the honest portrayal of disability are all reasons to watch this film. JOSH

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Saint Frances: A Heartfelt, Unfiltered Story of Womanhood

Review of Saint Frances Virtual Screening at The Grand Illusion Cinema
Written by Teen Editor Olivia Sun and edited by Press Corps Teaching Artist Kathy Fennessy

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Attention: Spoilers Ahead!

There are two types of people in the world: those who have no idea what they’re doing with their life, and those who pretend like they know what they’re doing.

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Creative Cures for Quarantine

Teen Editorial Staff April 2020 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Olivia Sun and Lily Williamson!

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Even though COVID-19 has kept us inside, there are still plenty of ways to stay involved with art while practicing good social distancing. From online exhibitions to performance archives, the Seattle arts scene is still alive and well, even under quarantine.

The coronavirus outbreak not frightening enough? Give Dark Matters at OntheBoards.tv a try—a spine chilling performance combining elements of contemporary dance and theatre. Directed by choreographer Crystal Pite, this performance will take you on a wild emotional journey from the comforts of your own home.

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Keeping Cultured During Quarantine

Find out how our Teen Editorial Staff is staying artistically engaged while socially distant.

The Beatles

Just because COVID-19 cancelled many arts events, that doesn’t mean art stops! We here on the Teen Editorial Staff have been spending our quarantine keeping cultured with the plethora of great art we now have the pleasure of catching up on. From music, crafts, TV, movies, books, scrapbooks, knitting, and cosplaying, we all have our own way of taking advantage of this time. So if you’ve been sitting at home longing for the outdoors like the Disney prince/princess you are, read on for our recommendations on how to beat the collective cabin fever! OLIVIA:

I’ve been feeling extra nostalgic lately, so a lot of my time has been spent reminiscing about the good ol’ days (that is, before the plague hit). After all, I’m a senior in high school, and it won’t be long before my childhood ends, and the next chapter officially begins. So, I’ve spent a lot of my time at home reliving memories through various arts and crafts.

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