The Gift of the Persistence of Life

Review of Joy Harjo at Seattle Arts & Lectures

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Keona Tang and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Aamina Mughal

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On February 27, Seattle Arts & Lectures hosted Joy Harjo, who performed a breathtaking blend of song, poem, and musing followed by a Q&A session with Arianne True, the current Washington State Poet Laureate.

The event began with a reading of “Dear Spanish” by Seattle’s Youth Poet Laureate Mateo Acuña. His poem reflected the frustrations and struggles of multicultural people like himself. The poem artfully moves from a bitter tone to an unending longing and desire to understand Spanish, to reconnect with what he loves and his Peruvian roots. His words and reading truly spoke to my experience as an American-born Chinese person, specifically with his reflections on accent, demonstrating a unique command of the poetic form. Acuña’s reading immediately set up a more intimate, almost conversational atmosphere, like he was sharing secrets that could either resonate with the audience or prime them with a mindset of understanding.

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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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"The Stolen Heir" and the Monster in the Mirror

Review of The Stolen Heir by Holly Black

Written by Teen Writer Yuena Kim and edited by Kyle Gerstel


Holly Black establishes herself as the ultimate advocate for all “monster girls, girls who have lived wild, girls who are strange.” This theme provides the pulsing heart of her works, most explicitly divulged in How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate with, “You don’t think monster girls and wicked boys deserve love?”

Black poses this same question in her newest addition to the intoxicating world of Faerie. In the outskirts of the suburbs, where the boundary blurs the Folk and mortal realms, The Stolen Heir introduces Suren. Unloved and unwanted, Suren remains caught on the margins, neither place willing to claim her as their own. Paired in an uneasy allyship with Oak, the heir to the ruling High Court of Faerie, Suren sets off to reclaim her identity and possibly her birthright as the leader of the Court of Teeth. A triumphant return to the familiar world, The Stolen Heir incorporates the gritty, biting tension of Black’s previous works while developing a unique investigation into the meaning of acceptance.

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New Fire for YA Fantasy

Review of Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye
Written by Zoe Loughnane and edited by Teen Editor Disha Cattamanchi


Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye is a fantasy novel which explores colonialist themes, drawing from Yoruba legends and mythologies. The story portrays Sloane struggling to hide her identity while fighting for the very people who would kill her: the Lucis. Sloane must go through mandatory recruitment training known to either kill or break you, in order to thwart them. The world of Blood Scion is rich with magic and lore; the use of African mythology sets it apart from other mythology based books. It is far more frequent to find books with Greek gods or even Norse gods but African gods are untapped source material. It was enjoyable to read a new mythos, being unfamiliar with Yoruba mythology. YA needs more diversity in its titles and this felt like a great example of what new authors should strive for.

I was pleasantly surprised by the worldbuilding in this book. The war between the surviving decendants of the Orisha and the Lucis set the backdrop for the entire plot to unfold. Scions are descendants of the ancient Orisha gods; Sloane being a descendant of Shango, possesses fire áse (fire magic). It was different to see characters who use their hands to perform magic, unlike books such as Harry Potter which uses wands and Percy Jackson which has “enhanced abilities.” Magic systems not limited by magic aids (wands) or ancestry, were refreshing to see, as these overused tropes often dilute the impact of universal themes. It was also interesting to have Sloane’s magic be physically painful for her to keep in and not expend. Magical powers are often written as gifts with no negative effects to the user, but this book depicts magic as a painful burden. The magic systems therefore end up contributing to the theme of oppression and colonialism the book explores; Scions and Yorubas have to hide who they are in order to avoid persecution. Sounds familiar doesn't it?

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Harry Potter (Take Two)

Review of Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts by Erika Lewis

Written by Teen Writer Malak Kassem and edited by Teen Editor Esha Potharaju

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YA author, Erika Lewis, introduces a variation of the Harry Potter series filled with magic, sorcery, and a Hogwarts-like institution: The Academy of the Unbreakable Arts. As we travel through the tale of the main character, Kelcie Murphy, we question what home truly is and how it builds our identity. While Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts allows readers to think deeply about the world around them and their own individual lives, it lacks originality as it is nearly identical to the Harry Potter series.

Kelcie was raised in Boston, in what the sorcerers in the book deem the Human World. She was passed on to several foster families throughout her childhood, and like many foster children, Kelcie dealt with uncaring families who treated her with cruelty and inhumanity. Throughout the book, she constantly mentions that she doesn’t like to remember “those times,” emphasizing the trauma her experiences left her with. However, they have also made her a responsible young person. At just 12 years old, Kelcie thinks ahead, knows how to defend herself, and is independent. Her background is very similar to J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter, who grew up with an unfair aunt and uncle who mistreat him within their home.

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Announcing the Mentorship for Teen Artists of Color 2022 Summer Cohort!

Applications Open Now!

Summer Mentorship Grapic

TeenTix, in partnership with The Colorization Collective (a teen-run organization that promotes diversity in the arts) is excited to announce our 2022 Summer Cohort of our Mentorship for Teen Artists of Color (M-TAC) program. This program will specifically allow teen artists of color to hone their artwork under the guidance of professional mentors. This is a great way for teens to better their craft, build connections in the arts community, and present their art!

This mentorship is for teens interested in visual arts (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.), writing (poetry, creative nonfiction, etc.) and performing arts (musical theater, acting, etc.). Teens will be put into either a visual arts, writing, or performing arts cohort, and each group will be paired with a professional mentor of color to create or workshop a piece specifically for the program showcase.SCHEDULE:

The Summer M-TAC program will run from 10 AM to 1 PM PST on the following dates:

Wednesday, July 6

Wednesday, July 13

Wednesday, July 20

Wednesday, July 27

Wednesday, August 3

There will also be an hour-long showcase on Wednesday, August 10.

All meetings are conducted virtually, via Zoom. Teens receive a per-meeting stipend for their participation.

Teens in the M-TAC program will also have the opportunity to participate in workshops during the school year, as well as present their finished work during the TeenTix Teen Arts and Opportunities Fair in June of 2023.


Applications are open now and close at 11:59 PM PST on April 30, 2022. Applicants must be ages 13-19 and a current TeenTix member to participate. (Not a TeenTix member yet? Don't worry - sign up for free right here!)

If you need assistance filling out this application, please contact Anya Shukla at

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Espionage, Tech, and the Role of Journalism in a Changing World

Review of The History and Future of Espionage in the U.S. presented by Town Hall

Written by Teen Writer Lucia McLaren and edited by Teen Editor Triona Suiter

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Journalism has a natural affinity to the arts. Plays and movies require less expertise to analyze without being questioned by experts—that is, you don’t need a degree in film studies to write a good article on The Empire Strikes Back. Hyper-specialized tech fields like espionage and intelligence politics are the very opposite. Where art is public, intelligence is private, and many people have little to no understanding about how critical agencies like the CIA or FBI work.

Here is where people like Amy Zegart come in. Her book Spies, Lies, and Algorithms covers intelligence agencies and their related fields in a human, comprehensible light, and in Town Hall’s The History and Future of Espionage in the U.S., she talks with KUOW executive producer and Town Hall regular Ross Reynolds about why that coverage is so important.

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A Celebration of All Things Verse

Review of Spotlight Poetry livestreamed by the Hugo House

Written by Teen Writer Bayla Cohen-Knott and edited by Teen Editor Mila Borowski

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It just wasn’t fitting for such an event to end with the Zoom window closing. More fitting would have been a standing ovation before reflecting in a dim lobby while eating scones. Instead, I closed my laptop, left alone to contemplate the words of visiting poets Tess Taylor and Julia Guez, who joined the three hosts of The Poet Salon podcast, Gabrielle Bates, Luther Hughes, and Dujie Tahat. The event was described on the Hugo House website as “a celebration of all things verse.” It truly lived up to that.

Gabrielle Bates, who started, showed us the immersive side of verse. She admitted to us that she was quite nervous, as it was her first virtual reading. Often I assume that professional writers are comfortable with vulnerability, so I appreciated her candor. Bates’ openness set the stage for a genuine atmosphere where she delved into spooky fall feels. The first poem she read was entitled “How Judas Died.” Her voice softened and she won us over with her haunting imagery. She continued with “Conversation with Mary,” where she tells us of a nightmare in which she was impregnated by God. Her language was so certain, I was itching to have the lines in front of me to re-read and explore. During her reading of her poem “Pre-Elegy for Dad,” in response to the line “He is my mother,” the Zoom chat was flooded with awed remarks. She finished with “The Mentor.” My favorite line from this poem was “keeping language close to my mouth,” which evoked thoughts of a certain tug-of-war between speaking and voice. Her surreal images and thought-provoking lines threw me right into the deep end, where I would stay for the entire evening. Gabrielle Bates reading at Spotlight Poetry hosted by the Hugo House. Photo courtesy of Hugo House.

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The October Anthology

Teen Editorial Staff October 2020 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Lily Williamson and Lucia McLaren

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Today, it seems as though nothing is united. The world is a chaotic, nuanced place as always. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing—our local arts venues are exploring how parts of a whole can be complementary, inspiring thought instead of confusion. Whether you’re desperate to know when your favorite show will be reopening or just want some fun art during this fall season, we hope our reviews will help you guide your October arts exploration.

If you’re looking for a true collection of short pieces, then there are plenty of events for you to choose from. There’s The 5th Avenue Theatre’s Rising Star Project’s 10 Minute Musicals, a collection of teen-produced and teen-inspired musicals; Pacific Northwest Ballet kicking off their first online season with excerpts from classic dances like Swan Lake in Rep 1; and Hugo House’s Spotlight Poetry, a show with visiting poets Julia Guez and Tess Taylor. Each of these events provides a plethora of diverse topics, all within the same medium.

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Min Jin Lee: Filling The Gaps In History With Fiction

Review of Min Jin Lee's event at Seattle Arts and Lectures
Written by Teen Editor Olivia Sun and edited by Press Corps Mentor Donna Miscolta


You might’ve heard the name Min Jin Lee most recently from the enthusiasm surrounding her novel Pachinko, finalist for the National Book Award. Yet the title “writer” doesn’t quite capture the extent of her talent. Her hour-long Seattle Arts and Lectures talk on June 15, demonstrated that she is also an eloquent speaker, a vocal activist, a loving teacher, a passionate feminist, a proud Korean-American, and the brilliant author of Free Food For Millionaires, various short stories, and essays. Lee says that what interests her more than being a writer is having something meaningful to say, which explains the many roles that she takes on.

At the start of the virtual event, Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Bitanya Giday read her poem “Hyphenated Identity Crisis”. The poem echoes the intersectional identity struggles dealt with in Lee’s writing and in her own life. Lee spent the first half of her talk acknowledging the current civil unrest and pandemic in America. She also recounted her journey, as a Korean-American woman from working-class roots, that led her to the success she has today. In the second half of the talk, Lee entered a Q&A session with E.J. Koh, a fellow Korean-American writer and author of The Magical Language of Others and poetry collection A Lesser Love.

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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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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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Isabel Allende Melts the Audience

Review of Isabel Allende's book discussion, presented by Elliott Bay Book Company at Town Hall Seattle

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Maia Demar and edited by Teen Editor Olivia Sun

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There are many satisfying things in this world, but perhaps one of the most rewarding is when you see a writer speak and they talk exactly as they write. This resemblance goes to show no matter what fictional character an author takes on, their authenticity and passion will always shine through. Isabel Allende, an award-winning Latin novelist, demonstrated this skill with ease. On Thursday, January 30, in an event produced by Elliott Bay Book Company, Allende made an appearance at Town Hall Seattle to discuss her newest novel, A Long Petal of the Sea, with Seattle journalist Florangela Davila.

Before Allende came into the spotlight, Davila introduced her as a woman with many accomplishments: she was born in Peru, raised in Chile, and has sold over 56 million books which have been translated from Spanish into more than 35 languages. Other impressive achievements include fifteen honorary doctorates throughout her life and a Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Obama. Allende also fosters an interest in sponsoring philanthropic foundations that specifically work with women’s rights, reproductive rights, education, youth, and global healthcare.

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Bugging Out at Hugo House

Review of Hugo House's Literary Series

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Tova Gaster, and edited by Teen Editor Huma Ali!

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Since everything is in a constant state of change, a huge variety of media can be shoehorned into the theme of “Metamorphosis”. This theme was stretched to its artistic breaking point at the Hugo House’s Literary Series, an evening of readings by acclaimed authors Benjamin Percy, Vanessa Hua, and Keetje Kuipers, as well as a musical performance by vocalist-producer-composer-improviser-goddess Sassyblack.

The Hugo House’s Metamorphosis literary series event specifically referred to Franz Kafka’s iconic story of the same name, in which a man is inexplicably transformed into a hideous beetle. Beyond the mutable theme of change and transformation, an insectoid motif crawled throughout several of the pieces. From author Benjamin Percy’s tale of a girl haunted by cockroaches and smoke, to Sassyblack’s repetition of “straight buggin-out” over spacey recorded beats, this reading was not an event for entomophobes—google search: person who fears insects.

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There Was Nowhere I Would Have Rather Been

Ananya G. gives us the long and short of her experience in this summer's Culture Writing 101.

In June I graduated high school, and in a few weeks I’ll be moving out of my parents’ home and beginning college. Summer is drawing to a close and reflecting back on it, Culture Writing 101 was one of the coolest (although it was pretty hot) parts of my summer.

The first class was right after my freshman orientation at the University of Washington Seattle campus. I got stuck in rush-hour traffic and ended up being late to the first day! But the minute I walked in, I felt welcome. As I sat down and was greeted by the lovely Ijeoma Oluo, our teacher, I immediately felt like this was where I belonged. We discussed current events and news items and I found myself among peers who shared my opinions and love and passion for social justice that I’ve felt all my life. At my predominantly white, suburban, middle-class high school, people often care more about prom or football games than police brutality or LGBTQIA+ issues. In this class I even found people who read the same feminist blogs as I did!

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My Playlist

​Recommended Reads and More from TeenTix Press Corps Writer Emily H.

About the DJ: Emily is a sophomore at Interlake High School who already knows that she will disagree with whatever prompt is on her AP English Language test on Friday, or any other prompt she ever sees because she is a second negative policy debater who can disagree in some capacity with almost anything. Her other talents include having more hair than everyone else she meets and distributing dinosaur stickers to strangers.

1. East of the Web East of the Web is one of my oldest discoveries. When I was 10 and happened upon a link to infinite, absurd short stories available to me on my father’s glossy desktop, I was so enthralled by the copious amounts of worlds I could jump into in a matter of minutes that I forgot where I was. I still like to catch up with the unusual, intriguing stories in between study sessions. My favorites range from classics like “The Lottery” to inexplicable stories like “The Great Orbital Road.”

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To Try the Impossible Before the Inevitable

​Author Amy Tan at Seattle Arts & Lectures


Sounds echo across the walls of Benaroya Hall. They bounce back and forth in the giant space, resounding in each audience’s ears. However, at Amy Tan’s Seattle Arts and Lecture visit on June 5th, 2013, there were more than just sounds echoing across Benaroya Hall: there were unbelievably inspiring, incredible ideas.

Tan has written many world-renowned novels, like the insanely popular The Joy Luck Club, which was turned into a successful movie in 1993 and has been translated in 35 languages to-date. Tan has many other popular and well-written novels, like The Kitchen God’s Wife, Saving Fish from Drowning, The Hundred Secret Senses,” and more.

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The Sweet and the Bitter

Olivia M. loses her pen, but gains a new literary love affair in Nick Flynn at Seattle Arts & Lectures

Seeing Nick Flynn on February 13th was a perfect palette cleanser for the saccharine day that was to follow. Chocolate and unbridled affection are the chosen dessert and emotion, respectively, for the day, but this lecture on “The Intersection of Poetry & Memoir” was an intriguing, bittersweet morsel, leaving my ears and heart wanting.

Sweet, because I have new holds at the SPL waiting by Flynn: Another Bullsh*t Night in Suck City, The Captain Asks for A Show of Hands, The Ticking Is the Bomb, and Blind Huber.

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Survival of the Unfittest


Stephen Greenblatt walked onto the stage of Benaroya Hall with the air of a man who is accustomed to being in the spotlight. Fairly short with a dark suit, a slightly receding hairline, and a penchant for puns and jokes, he seemed more like your friend’s father than a Harvard professor, New York Times bestselling author, and winner of both the 2011 National Book Award and the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction. Greenblatt poked at the projector remote.

“Is this thing working?” he asked, fiddling with it for a second, before, "ahh!" The projector flipped its slide, revealing the name of his lecture: The Survival of Dangerous Ideas: Lucretius, The Renaissance, and the Modern World. Then, without even pausing to formally begin his lecture, Greenblatt jumped into his introduction , which followed the history and culture of militant Christian orthodoxy. Yet the historical portrait that Greenblatt painted for the multitudes of people who came to hear him speak at Benaroya Hall was fascinating and amazing because it was deeper than just dates and namedropping. Not only can I safely say that I exited the auditorium feeling smarter and more educated about the world around me, but I can also say that I genuinely enjoyed the lecture.

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Drinking Coffee With Eve

Review of Maria Howe at Seattle Arts & Lectures by Tucker C.

When Marie Howe walks onstage, something tells you that she is a woman that you want to listen to. Maybe it is her amazingly, delightfully big hair, which seems to have a personality all of its own. Maybe it is her calm, collected manner, or her erudite sense of humor. Maybe she has figured out how to distill gravitas and perfumes herself with it. At any rate, she is captivating from the start, and so is her poetry. Howe does what any good poet must; her words are finely, exactly chosen, and her poems lead you where she wants you. She made us laugh, wonder, and most of all to delve deep into the mind and souls of her work. Howe writes predominantly in personae, many of them religious. Several of the poems she read that night were written from the perspective of the Virgin Mary, reflecting casually on the Annunciation. Howe certainly does not shy away from megalithic archetypes in her work; perhaps the most striking poem of the evening was her piece written as Eve, describing the moment after the Fall. This is where Howe truly shines. She has the ability to worm her way into the giants of our lore, myths, and tradition, and make them seem human. In no way did her work debase them to make them accessible, but in assuming the personae of figures such as Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and others, she was able to remind us that they were living, breathing people, too. When she speaks to you as Eve, it is not hard to imagine that you are simply having a cup of coffee with your friend over lunch, a conversation like any two people might have. Where society has elevated these characters beyond the stature of normal life, Howe’s poetry was able to casually reach up, bring them back down to earth, and to make them real. In doing so, Howe only makes their stories more powerful and more vivid. Tragically, Marie Howe has left Seattle and is back to doing whatever it is poets do during the work week (of all the great mysteries of life, poetry has yet to explain this one to me). However, other opportunities await. The poetry series at Seattle Arts and Lectures never fails to disappoint, and is not to be missed. Seeing Marie Howe and hearing her work took my brain in new directions, put words together in ways that had me nodding up and down, or laughing out loud, and my money’s on the fact that the next poet that SAL has in will too. Check it out—you’ll be glad you did. Maria Howe was a one night only event Next Up at Seattle Arts & Lectures' Poetry Series: Poetry Triple Threat with Brian Turner, Major Jackson & Susan Rich Thursday, April 14 @ 7:30 PM Benaroya Hall REMEMBER: Seattle Arts & Lectures events are ALWAYS FREE for Teen Tix members, and you can ALWAYS bring a guest for $5.00!

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