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.
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, February 20 marked the culmination of the traveling Noir City Festival in Seattle. Hosted by the “Czar of Noir,” Eddie Muller, the penultimate film was the 1957 German feature, The Devil Strikes at Night.
When doors opened at 5:15 p.m., benefactors flocked to the donor reception, awash with wine, while others saved seats in the theater. Onstage, the Dmitri Matheny trio opened, floating through a half-hour of both the exotic and familiar. While technically adept, the music pertained less to the film or noir mood and more to the superficial Egyptian-themed trimmings of the venue.
We all promise ourselves that the new year will bring a “new me,” but let’s all be honest and admit that the few people among us who still maintain resolutions have already forgotten about them by now. Who even designed the calendar system so that the year would start in the middle of winter? No, the true start of the year is now, with the beginning of Spring! It’s bright, it’s sunny, and we’ve got just the art to give you that fresh start we all need right now!
If you’re looking to shock yourself awake this Spring, there’s no better place to start than Rebecca Brewer’s Natural Horror at the Frye Art Museum. Toying with the psychological effect of the relationship between humans and the natural world, the pieces seem to come alive with their bold and flowing shapes evoking expressionistic painting through the medium of crafts.
My first thought when Greta Gerwig’s Little Women adaptation was announced was “Do we really need another Little Women?” There are already over a dozen adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s classic, some very recent, and this one felt like an Oscar-bait installment in Hollywood’s reboot fever. It’s another iteration of a well-known story, adapted by a famous director with an A-list cast, and all for another white woman’s take on a story about white women—not exactly groundbreaking in terms of representation or social commentary. What was the point of this?
However, I admit I’ll have to eat (some of) my words on this one. Gerwig’s Little Women isn’t without flaws, but it has beautiful cinematography, a strong cast, and a generally well-executed storyline—and as a literary adaptation, and especially one with so many predecessors, it deserves its praise. Gerwig’s screenwriting and directing give fresh new meaning to the tale of the March sisters’ lives in Reconstruction America, but keeps enough of its charm to feel familiar anyway.
Set in the 1860s, Greta Gerwig’s Little Women presents the lives of the March family during the Civil War. With the girls’ father away at war, the four sisters and their mother foster deep companionship and sisterhood. The film features the sisters’ lives, daily challenges, and character growth, and proves itself as essentially a coming-of-age fiction piece.
The production stars Saoirse Ronan as the strong-willed Jo, Emma Watson as the responsible Meg, Florence Pugh as the undaunted Amy, and Eliza Scanlen as the reserved Beth. With a skillful cast, alluring sets, and meaningful script, the film hosts a diverse range of personas, and Louisa May Alcott’s timeless novel is magically brought to life on the big screen.
After many years, we finally have another remake adaptation, but is this remake really worth the hype? Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, a classic tale about the sisterly bond and womanhood in the 1800s, covers aspects of navigating romantic relationships and careers throughout this harrowing time period. Throughout the years, there have been many adaptations of the story of the March sisters, and Greta Gerwig now adds to that stockpile following Gillian Armstrong’s widely received 1994 version. Gerwig’s Little Women is anything but little, giving it its own unique but strange voice in the myriad of these adaptations. It crumbles boundaries set up in the previous one, but also introduces a rather deeper and equal connection with the sisters, although it relies on an audience with previous exposure to Little Women.
One of the many differences in Gerwig’s rendition, is how the plot is expressed; in this case, through a non-linear timeline. Both the book and many previous adaptations have relied on a linear timeline to grow our relationships with the characters, as they themselves grow up. Though it surprised me, the non-linear timeline does not take away from this; in fact, it adds to it. When we see all of the characters grown up, the flashbacks of childhood make it seem like we are traveling back with them. As we know bits and pieces of the present, our minds have to work to connect the dots, making it feel like we are the ones involved in the relationships, as well. When this happens, however, it can also disrupt the emotion of certain scenes. During some scenes that are meant to be sorrowful, for example, a memory might pop up, adding to a more cheerful mood, disrupting the already established tone. This is fine, but the effect may be jarring, and sometimes takes away the emotional climate of certain scenes. Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen in Little Women (2019).
February is such a beautiful month. It’s full of sappy Hallmark cards, sappy Hallmark movies, sappy Hallmark hearts, and… freedom? Yep, February 1, is actually National Freedom Day. In that spirit, we’ve chosen to free ourselves from the cliche of Valentine’s Day as this month’s theme. (Also, a bit of an aside, but February doesn’t have a National Sappy Hallmark Day! Crazy.)
Some of our shows are more literally related to freedom, like Our Country’s Good, Strawberry Theatre Workshop’s play about the prison system, as well as SIFF’s Noir City, a festival featuring detective-and-crime-filled noir films. SAM’s new Asian Art Museum frees itself from tradition, intermixing art from various cultures in the same gallery. Admissions at Seattle Public Theater and #adulting at 18th and Union connect to our theme in a more abstract way: we all will someday have our first taste of independence—and for some of us, the transition can be rocky. Finally, for all you love-story enthusiasts out there, we’re seeing Mamma Mia! at Kirkland Performance Center, which, with all of its island fun, gives us the freedom to have a good time! And also, we love Mamma Mia!
It’s 2020, and while it’s certain that things are changing, many things have remained the same. Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to see Babylon at the Northwest Film Forum, a nonprofit film and arts center whose main purpose is to incite public dialogue and action through cinematic experiences. It’s been 40 years since this film was made, but that’s also how long it took for it to be officially released in the United States. Babylon had its world premiere at Cannes Film Festival in 1980.
Babylon is a thematically timeless film that tells it like it is. It follows Blue (Brinsley Forde), a member of the Jamaican diaspora in Brixton, South London, during the early ‘80s. Over the course of the film, he faces the harsh reality of bigotry, police brutality, and the struggles of poverty. Behind the microphone is where he finds his peace. Blue and his friends are into dancehall, a genre that’s rooted in reggae, the distinction being dancehall’s digital instrumentation and faster tempo. The ensemble prepare for a dub battle, a clash of sound and lyrics, similar to that of rap battles of Bronx, New York during the same time period.
Showing as part of the Seattle Turkish International Film Festival, Remake, Remix, Rip-Off, directed by Cem Kaya, dives into the Turkish filmmaking world of the 60s and 70s. Focuses the haphazard way the industry was run, in order to keep up with the high paced demand of the Turkish viewing audiences.
Interview clips are quickly intercut between archival footage from low budget, fairly cheesy Turkish films with adept comedic timing. In the famous Turkish movie theater Emek, over 10,000 people would attend screenings of these style of movies in one day. With audiences constantly demanding more movies, and the extremely limited budgets of many of these films, the Turkish film industry was characterized by necessary creativity. Writers would create screenplays by taking the ending from one story and pasting it onto the beginning of another, sometimes even copying the plots of famous American movies. Like Rampage, a Rambo rip-off. At one point, the documentary follows a Turkish film maker as he shows off his collection of iconic American movie soundtracks on vinyl, and describes how these soundtracks were used to score all kinds of Turkish films. Like how the Jaws 2 soundtrack was for scary movies. This plagiarism thrived because Turkey’s laws on copyright were far looser than international copyright law. Throughout the movie we see directors laugh about how they would take stories directly from American movies and boast how they were able to work on over thousands of films in their career. In Hollywood it would be physically impossible to work on that many movies, but it could be achieved through the unique environment of Turkey’s film industry, where speed in creating productions was valued over originality.
Unlikely starts with an incident that made headlines across the country, especially captivating critics of higher education: the Varsity Blues scandal. At least 51 wealthy individuals, including some of America's most beloved celebrities, were caught committing fraud to get their kids into prestigious colleges. Former Full House star Lori Loughlin, for example, passed off her daughters as elite rowers, although I doubt either of them even knew what “coxswain” meant.
Unlikely tells us the enormous amount of media attention devoted to that scandal and other, more general controversies surrounding elite colleges distract us from a graver problem that affects far more people: America’s dismal college drop-out rate. The percentage of students who graduate in six years is less than 60 percent. Many of these students end up saddled with burdensome debt, and since they didn’t get a diploma, their time at (often for-profit) colleges is worthless in the eyes of the job market. As the movie puts it, those with “some college, no degree” are the most likely to question higher education’s value.
2019 was the year of death. We waved goodbye to the beloved characters of film franchises like Star Wars and Marvel, mourned the loss of real life heroes, and said farewell to the 2010s. But now is the time to be reborn with iron clad resolutions for the new year, and what better resolution than to seek out the freshest art of the decade?
At Seattle Art Museum there's Into Existence, an exhibit all about giving new life to the items America discards and using them to express the stories America tells. Witness security gates, afro wigs, and car parts weave together and form into the ideas and dreams of artist Aaron Fowler in the shape of cultural icons and personal figures. If you're left craving a different mix of history and creativity, check out author Isabel Allende and dive into her book A Long Petal of the Sea at Town Hall Seattle. Using the story of two refugees fleeing a fascist Spain in the 1930s to explore motifs of oppression, exile, and hope, this event is sure to please any fans of historical fiction. If you're still looking for that perfect mixture of education and entertainment, then Jaha Koo: Cuckoo at On the Boards might be what you're looking for. It analyses the rocky history of Korea over the past 20 years and the isolationism that currently grips the population through the commentary of a South Korean artist and his three rice cookers.
I walked into the theater ever so slightly confused. After skimming through the NFFTY (National Film Festival for Talented Youth) catalog of hundreds of films, I wondered: what was tonight’s screening, “Powerful Grit,” actually going to be about? As the lights dimmed, I prepared to “buckle [my] eyebelts” as the show description advised. Whatever that meant. However, after watching the screening, I can now define the phrase with confidence: It’s the feeling of peeking out from underneath a blanket when the monster in a horror movie finally emerges; it’s the anxiety one gets when a roller coaster delays right before it plummets; and it’s that combination of excitement and dread that I imagine occurs during the plane ride up to go skydiving.
The screening began with Baby by Vincent D’Alessandro, Kirsten Pasewaldt, and Finley King. It is the story of a single mother, her expectations, and eventual revolt alongside her young, tiara-crowned daughter Baby. Though it has a relatively simple story-line compared to subsequent films in the screening, what stands out is the film’s immersive first-person shots—when Baby runs, the camera follows. When she falls, we fall too. This left a lingering sense of intimacy before being thrown headfirst into the vulnerable and melancholic world of You’re Still Here by Katayoun Parmar.
A Brief Story from the Green Planet is a beautiful— and jarring— film. It follows three close friends on their journey through the Argentinian countryside to return an alien back to its place of origin. The movie is full of lovely, sweeping shots that are full of fondness for the location and the characters and is generally a thought-provoking and well-put-together piece.
The film follows Tania (Romina Escobar), a young transgender woman mourning the death of her grandmother. Tania calls upon her two friends to travel to her grandmother’s home with her. There they discover that, prior to her death, Tania’s grandmother was housing and caring for a small blue extraterrestrial. The creature is roughly three feet tall, with enormous, bulbous eyes and a slight frame, a standard cinematic alien. The group takes it upon themselves to return to the creature to whence it came. Through various encounters with ex-bullies and lovers, a hospital scare, and even an odd, metaphorical mob, the trio confronts their fears and past traumas while simultaneously dragging an impossibly large suitcase containing the alien through the countryside of Argentina. Despite these challenges, the three are able to successfully find their way. Film still from A Brief Story from the Green Planet
As we transition into winter, the streets of Seattle may look grey and uninviting. It’s tempting to stay at home binge-watching shows you know you like. But look again: there’s a world of thought-provoking and entertaining art under the surface of Seattle’s November gloom, and this month, we want to highlight the events you might pass over at first glance.
Bellevue Arts Museum’s exhibition Hidden In Plain Sight explores how old materials can be made new through art. Similarly, a new exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery with the almost-identical title In Plain Sight, relates to this theme as well. Seeking to explore narratives of racial marginalization, class, and ethnicity repressed and overlooked due to systems of oppression, the Henry showcases visual art and photography to question dominant American cultural narratives.
Dust off the skeletons. Carve up the pumpkins. Plant the gravestones in the ground, hang the ghosts around the house, and beware the witch around the neighborhood because it’s finally the second scariest time of the year (behind finals season of course): October! The Teen Editorial Staff knows that this spooky season is kicking into full gear, so we’ve got your back with some great art to curl up to.
If you like your horror spawned from none other than the Bard of Avon, you may find Seattle Shakespeare Company's The Tempest particularly intriguing. The literal and literary magic of The Tempest makes it stand tall among Shakespeare’s many triumphs, and Seattle Shakespeare’s performances will no doubt do justice to the time-tested tragicomedy. More traditional Halloween horror might tickle your fancy instead, so look no further than Dracula at ACT, a modern take on the most iconic public domain demon. A thorough reimagining of Bram Stoker’s 1897 classic, Dracula adapts the classic monster for a 21st century audience while still managing to carve out its own niche within the villain’s long and storied evolution. If you are craving a fresh story that you might not have heard of before, check out We Go Mad at 18th & Union, a haunted house story involving a woman inheriting not just her family’s property, but their demons as well. Incorporating unique puppetry techniques including “cinematic shadow play, modified bunraku, and object manipulation,” this show is not to be missed during your month of fright-filled festivities. You might also be interested in the horrors of reality, and there’s no better place than the Powerful Grit screening of short films at NFFTY. Full of hard-hitting, depressing, and all around feel-bad films, it’s the perfect place to go to get a good dose of the feels. If you’re looking for a time at the movies that’s a little less Sour Patch Kids and a little more Haribo Goldbears, look no further than Brief Story from the Green Planet at the Three Dollar Bill Cinema's Seattle Queer Film Festival. Follow Tania, a trans performer who, after discovering an alien among her deceased grandmother’s belongings, goes on a journey with her two childhood friends to return to the extraterrestrial, face their fears, and discover themselves. And finally, for those of you who aren’t much into the Halloween spirit: no worries! We’ll fast-forward to Turkey Day and Native American Heritage Month by seeing The Thanksgiving Play at Seattle Public Theater. In this story written by Native American playwright Larissa Fasthorse, we hear a comedic take on one journey to uncover and share the true origins of the white-washed Thanksgiving holiday in our country.
CUDDLE stars Hope Shanthi as Dina Razzano, an up-and-coming cuddle therapist as she tries to pave the way for a new bold method of therapy. Created by Adeline Colangelo and directed by John Helde, the series follows Dina as she tries to establish her new business while simultaneously discovering herself. Along the way, Dina finds herself facing many who oppose her non-traditional methods including her own brother, Joe Razzano portrayed by Devin Badoo. Each episode chronicles a new experience for Dina and her business, ranging from encountering anxiety ridden clients afraid of intimacy to hunting for an establishment willing to host a cuddle workshop. The series takes an old classic cliche and puts a fun new spin on it through the introduction of cuddle therapy.
It’s June, and as the weather gets warmer and we finally get a break from Seattle rain, most TeenTixers are looking forward to one thing: liberation—from school, homework, teachers, and the dreaded SBA. So, the Teen Editorial Staff has curated June’s shows around the theme of liberation. We’ve picked art events that demonstrate the complex positivity of this theme in celebration of summer. For visual art lovers, MoPOP’s A Queen Within liberates femininity from traditionally associated beauty standards through fashion. If you’re in the mood to see a live show, ACT Theatre’s Pass Over and Whim W’Him’s This is Not the Little Prince reinvent classic pieces of literature, and Strawberry Theatre Workshop’s Take Me Out takes a swing at raising awareness of the constraints homophobia places on a community through baseball. In addition, CUDDLE: The Series at Seattle International Film Festival and later at Northwest Film Forum explores how something as simple as a hug can be liberating. This month’s lineup is incredibly diverse, so, as summer approaches, get out there and see some art!
Photo credit: Ethan Robertson from Unsplash
Clara, (Liana Liberato), and April, (Hannah Marks), aren’t supposed to be friends. After all, Clara’s new casual boyfriend is also April’s serious ex—their relationship lasted two years, an eternity in the grand scheme of high school relationships. Nonetheless, the two girls meet at a house party in the summer after their senior year: Clara is charming strangers, while April is drowning her heartbreak in tequila. The social order demands that they hate each other, and April is prepared to comply—as she tells Clara, “I want a reason to give you a black eye.” Clara is also uncomfortable, having not known that she was dating April’s ex until a week before their coincidental encounter. Despite their circumstances, the two become fast friends united by their shared sense of humor and desire for adventure. Banana Split, directed by Benjamin Kasulke, chronicles this budding friendship. Although the film’s focus—a friend group’s romantic entanglements—may not be strikingly original, its witty script, nuanced depiction of female friendship, and naturalistic performances, particularly from Marks, make it as fun as the last few weeks of summer vacation.
In an early scene, Clara and April bond over Nick’s (Clara’s current boyfriend, portrayed by Suite Life of Zack and Cody’s Dylan Sprouse) stranger quirks—like his tendency to put his lovers’ noses in his mouth—before deciding that if they’re going to be friends, it has to be on their terms, not his. So they set out ground rules: no talking about Nick, and no telling him about their friendship. Of course, the viewers can predict that these rules will be trampled on by the time the film’s done, but that knowledge of the inevitable confrontation with Nick adds tension to an otherwise lowkey dramedy. Furthermore, their secrecy is threatened by Ben (Luke Spencer Roberts), April and Nick’s dorky, blabbermouth, mutual friend.