Six Takes on Arcane: League of Legends

Review of Arcane: League of Legends

Written collectively by the Teen Editorial Staff

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The Teen Editorial Staff teamed up once more to bring to light some different perspectives about the recently released Arcane: League of Legends (2021). Read on to see how anyone can gather enjoyment from this new Netflix series, whether or not you're an avid video game enthusiast.DISHA

Having no interest or experience in video games except for the pesky midnight screaming of my brother in the neighboring room, I was pleasantly surprised by Arcane: League of Legends. The unique animation style with its fresh coloring gives life to the characters; the 2D textures utilized to create the backgrounds of certain scenes contrast brightly with the fleshed-out 3D characters, fabricating a somber mood. The brunt of the storytelling is conveyed through an ethereal narration that harkens to a gruesome yet hopeful past (courtesy of Hailee Steinfeld) and lends to the meaningful themes in Arcane’s narrative. The plot hoists itself on the legs of stories and tropes already told—innocence inevitably corrupted by society’s ruthlessness, lost sisters, warring siblings, a battle for the ages—it’s a tale as old as time, pioneered by predecessors such as Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Dragon Prince. However, the show’s worldbuilding and portrayal of war and society is so bracingly revolting, that it highlights a welcome, adult perspective in animation—mostly afforded by its unapologetic swearing and sexual plotlines.

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We’ve Battled Monsters Before, But This Time, It Feels Even Fresher

Review of We've Battled Monsters Before presented by ArtsWest

Written by Teen Writer Kyle Gerstel and edited by Teen Editor Lucia McLaren

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For the premiere of We’ve Battled Monsters Before, ArtsWest transformed itself into a creative fantasyland reminiscent of the chocolate room in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. However, musical instruments are scattered across the stage rather than oversized candy and while there is no chocolate fountain in sight, a tree composed of fabric and paper towers over the audience. Despite the set’s inherent minimalism, the space bursts with color and creativity, as does the show. Photo by John McLellan

Justin Huertas, the creator of Monsters, was TeenTix’s first-ever Crush of the Month, and for good reason. The talented writer, composer, and performer explores his intersectional identities through musical allegories that entertain and inspire empathy among Seattle audiences. However, this was not always the case—according to a January 2010 interview with TeenTix, Huertas “enjoy[ed] writing plays and songs, but the two didn’t mix well for him when he tried to write a musical.” Based on Monsters, I can assure you that is no longer the case. Photo by John McLellan

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Where Digital Media and 19th Century Art Meet

Review of Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience in Seattle

Written by Teen Writer Elle Vonada and edited by Teen Editor Eleanor Cenname

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Vincent van Gogh’s oil paintings are well known and honored by almost everyone who knows anything about art. It’s well known that his struggles with mental illness impacted his art. In a rented warehouse on Occidental Street, Van Gogh: An Immersive Experience displays art in a way that makes it accessible to a modern audience using digital enhancements to warp his work into a dynamic performance that captivates viewers.

Near the entry, a summary of Van Gogh’s life hangs next to a sculpture of his head. The figure holds a projection of Starry Night that looks as if it’s growing onto the figure. Having a three dimensional Van Gogh head as the canvas for a two dimensional oil painting beautifully displayed the depth behind Starry Night and showed how Van Gogh saw the stars. Though creative and captivating, the display raises the question: Does this display change his intent behind his original creation? Is this an expression of Van Gogh or the current creators of the exhibit? Photo by Dan Swartz for Exhibition Hub & Fever

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Uncle Mike Ruins Christmas: Raunchy, Hit-or-Miss Hilarity

Review of Uncle Mike Ruins Christmas at Jet City Improv

Written by Teen Writer Yoon Lee and edited by Teen Editor Triona Suiter

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The winter season brings to mind precious, wonderful memories, and the prospect of making even more. Alternatively, it harkens the mundanity of semi-theatrically unboxing presents for an hour of your day before returning to doing whatever work you had set aside for Winter Break.

However, there is humor to be had in the outlandishly horrible, the “[winter-adjacent holiday] gone wrong” that you’ll always remember either as a sore patch, a laughing point to bring up in holiday-related small talk, or a blank hole in the timeline. This notion of being able to look back and laugh is the basis of Jet City Improv’s Uncle Mike Ruins Christmas, a performance in which actors take audience members’ fondest holiday memories and—through the medium of the titular uncle, played by Mike Murphy—decimate them in ways both insane and inane. I found this concept ripe with comedic potential, and having enjoyed what little experience I had with improv shows, I signed up to check out their performance at West of Lenin.

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The Book Versus Book-It

Review of The Three Musketeers at Book-It Repertory Theatre

Written by Teen Editor Eleanor Cenname and edited by Teen Editor Valentine Wulf

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Book-It Repertory Theatre’s production of Alexandre Dumas père’s The Three Musketeers is better designated as an audiobook than an audio “play.” Book-It’s usual format functions on reinterpreting classic literature for performance while maintaining some tone and style from the original work by incorporating narration. In an audio-only context, Book-It’s elegant style loses its magnetism. The adaptation fails to add something new to Dumas’ original work beyond sound effects and a more contemporary style. And in the swashbuckling world of The Three Musketeers, the audiobook-esque performance falls flat.

Lamar Legend’s adaptation and direction stay true to Dumas’ story. Trick Danneker’s D’Artagnan joins a group of musketeers: “the three inseparables,” Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, played by Porscha Shaw, Nicholas JaPaul Bernard, and Nathaniel Tenenbaum respectively. When his landlord, Bonacieux (John Coons), asks D’Artagnan to find his wife, Constance Bonacieux (Kathy Hsieh), D’Artagnan becomes involved in controversy surrounding the Queen of France (Kate Jaeger) and Duke of Buckingham (Basil Harris). D’Artagnan and the musketeers also meet the femme fatale, Milady de Winter (Kate Jaeger), an agent of Cardinal Richelieu (John Coons). Photo of Trick Danneker by John Ulman

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The Future is 0 Keeps Satire Classy

Review of The Future is 0 at On the Boards

Written by Teen Writer Ruby Lee and edited by Teen Editor Valentine Wulf

Jas Keimig Shannon Perry and Tomo Nakayama in The Future is 0 Photo by West Smith

The Future is 0 is an exhilarating night of satirical, refreshing commentary on our current society in the form of a classic game show, hosted by Clay Buff (Claire Buss) and Kat O’Hara (as herself). The show is, in the words of the hosts, “a battle of mental, physical, & psychological challenges” in which three contestants play a variety of absurd games. The contestants spin a wheel to choose the games, which are previewed with hysterical, Adult Swim style animations designed by Nick Shively, who also runs the booth. Subtly, one of the best parts of the show is the retro synth-pop theme music that plays throughout (and I am currently petitioning for its release onto streaming platforms).

Before the games begin, the main host Clay Buff performs her three-minute opening monologue during which an audience member is picked from the crowd to sit in the “Chuckle Throne.” A camera monitors the person's face and will sound an aggressively loud alarm whenever the person isn’t actively smiling and laughing. Besides being a hilariously bizarre intro, this establishes a key part of Clay’s character. Through her need for constant validation and praise and by forcing this audience member to smile and laugh the whole time we see her dictatorial manner. Her take on the classic game show host was eerie and fantastical and had a hypersensitive performative progressiveness that, while a commentary on our “fauxgressive” society, made her character refreshingly new but simultaneously all too familiar.

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Transcendent Chamber Music for Transcending Genre

Review of PUBLIQuartet at Town Hall Seattle

Written by Teen Writer Audrey Gray and edited by Teen Editor Disha Cattamanchi

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A string quartet is precisely the kind of musical act you’d expect to see at a place like Town Hall Seattle. Being a converted 20th century church, their Great Hall has a charming feel about it; people file past stained-glass windows, and slide into church pews with the chatter of any other audience. PUBLIQuartet was the string ensemble about to play that night in the Great Hall, with members Curtis Stewart, Jannina Norpoth, Nick Revel, and Hamilton Berry all taking their seats. The contemporary group advertised their sound as “dynamic, genre-bending chamber music,” a claim just as ambitious as their piece selections for the evening, which included an intriguing array of improvisations based on pieces composed by Ornette Coleman, Tina Turner, Alice Coltrane, and Antonín Dvořák. The stage dressing was simple; with only four seats, it lacked anything showy. Yet from the very beginning of PUBLIQuartet’s performance, from the hushed silence right before the first note was drawn, it became evident that they weren't just there for a good time. They were there to say something powerful.

In their first Seattle performance, PUBLIQuartet chose to play pieces from their upcoming album What is American. The work explores issues of identity and belonging in this country, using improvisations of well-known American compositions to expand on the power of music’s diverse history. American born-and-bred genres such as rock, funk, and jazz are used to represent the nuanced title, with genre musicians taking prominent positions in the album’s influences. The group performed renditions of contemporary works by Vijay Iyer, and improvised on Dvořák’s “American” Quartet, a popular chamber music composition influenced by the Indigenous and Black American music Dvořák encountered while in the United States. These compositional choices reflect most heavily the influence of Black music on America’s musical culture as a whole. Photo by Lelaine Foster

With this blend of influences and the added challenge of improvisation, how did PUBLIQuartet connect the dots between seemingly disparate works tied loosely with a label of “American”? It was an incredibly daunting prospect, but PUBLIQuartet surprised me; they made it seem effortless.

Every part of the performance was done masterfully. The group’s selections were tied together with a common thread of artistic reflection, which was accomplished within their improvisations by musically reiterating the similarities between the pieces. They included repeated motifs and rhythmic elements throughout their selections, giving their own commentary on the inspiration behind their reworked source material. By the end, PUBLIQuartet’s selections seemed so well-conceived that I wanted to experience them all over again, just to try to understand them a bit better.

The most magical thing about their compositions was the layered effect. The group balanced musical elements of rhythm, harmony, and melody within their pieces, so there were always several layers of sound, each accomplished with different instruments. In this way, no instrument went to waste—not even a single note. Every moment of the performance was taken up with a perfect blend of the violins, cello, and viola, but never in a way that felt old, repetitive, or dull. The musicians improvised so well with each other that the music never lost its depth, even as the group transitioned between different tones, genres of influence, and techniques. Unorthodox vocal and drumming techniques were layered on top of melodic elements and subtler harmonies, contributing to the distinct impression of PUBLIQuartet’s unique musical identity. Even as the musicians shifted back and forth from atmospheric interpretations of their source material to frenetic and dynamic moments, there was never a dull moment.

PUBLIQuartet’s pure skill and flawless musical layering were not the only impressive aspects of their performance. Their thoughtfulness, passion, and mastery laid heavily upon the audience, and their music lingered with a deep understanding. Alice Coltrane’s music was interpreted with a soulful and somewhat strange spirituality, incorporating both the original artist’s depth and PUBLIQuartet’s unique style. The improvisations on Fats Waller’s Honeysuckle Rose also painted a vivid cityscape with unconventional rhythmic elements. It added a layer of story to the original song, by reimagining it within the context of the life of Madam C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire in America.

PUBLIQuartet's overarching enthusiasm and powerful interpretations tied every exemplary aspect of their performance together. If you closed your eyes as they played, their sound was defined by the fluidity, movement, and dynamism of their composition. PUBLIQuartet’s music was transformative, beautifully atmospheric, effortlessly exciting, and unlike any string quartet I’ve ever heard before. It was a lapse from genre-based confines for the ages.

PUBLIQuartet played at Town Hall Seattle on December 6, 2021. For more information see here.

Lead photo credit: PUBLIQuartet, photo by Lelaine Foster

The TeenTix Newsroom is a group of teen writers led by the Teen Editorial Staff. For each review, Newsroom writers work individually with a teen editor to polish their writing for publication. The Teen Editorial Staff is made up of 6 teens who curate the review portion of the TeenTix blog. More information about the Teen Editorial Staff can be found HERE.

The TeenTix Press Corps promotes critical thinking, communication, and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. For more information about the Press Corps program see HERE.

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Naughty, Nice, and Noir at Christmastown

Review of Christmastown: A Holiday Noir at Seattle Public Theater

Written by Teen Writer Roy Callahan and edited by Teen Editor Valentine Wulf

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Imagine a world where elves are security thugs, Mrs. Claus is a fake old schemer, and detectives and crime bosses suck on candy canes instead of cigars. In a tribute to two familiar genres we’ve all seen before, Seattle Public Theater’s production of Christmastown, written by Wayne Rawley and directed by Rachel Delmar takes classic Christmas characters like elves, reindeer, and jolly Santas and tosses them into a cauldron with film noir tropes, resulting in a hilarious Christmas romp that also examines dark themes with some dismal twists.

The story centers around Nick Holiday, a hard-boiled detective, who narrates the story to the audience as he works through his comedic thoughts aloud. After a mysterious lady elf shows Nick pictures of Santa’s questionable activity, he is thrown into a spiral of fights, escapes, chases, and interrogations with crazy police, reckless and brilliant cab drivers, and shady families that control the holiday. As Nick runs around the City of Christmastown, trying to uncover the truth about Santa, he begins to realize along the way that there are hidden secrets surrounding Big Red that many citizens don’t want to hear. The city's fate hangs in the balance as Nick faces past issues, confronts new ones, and digs deeper into the dark plot that surrounds Santa.

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Stand in Community, Solidarity, and Love

Review of Community Spread at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

Written by Teen Writer Ava Carrel and edited by Teen Editor Valentine Wulf

We Are In This Together C ID mural part of mural painting campaign that grew up after C ID businesses were boarded up in June 2020 Photo by Tony Ngo

Warm. That was how I felt leaving the Community Spread: How We Faced a Pandemic exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum. After spending a while freaking out about driving on I-90 for the first time, I walked through Capitol Hill, shivering and stuffing my hands in my pockets. Yet, when I pulled open the door to the museum, I was embraced with warm air and excited smiles.

The Wing Luke Museum is in a special spot. It could’ve been built by the Gates Discovery Center, or in Bellevue, but it’s in the International District right near Chinatown. The proximity to the Asian community that the museum honors is an important part of the experience. Walking up to the museum you pass an Asian grocery store, selling fresh dashi stock, durians, and pulled noodles. When I crossed the street, two bundled up elderly Asian women walked past me with arms full of groceries. It’s important that the museum wasn’t built in more developed neighborhoods. The museum isn’t white-washed and doesn’t pander to the desires of those more privileged. The diverse International District neighborhood creates a rich environment for the Wing Luke Museum.

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The Movement of Identity at Archive of Longings

Review of Diana Al-Hadid: Archive of Longings at the Henry Art Gallery

Written by Teen Writer Aamina Mughal and edited by Teen Editor Esha Potharaju

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When you walk into Diana Al-Hadid’s Archive of Longings, you are greeted by what appears to be a block of glittering ice—you’ll later learn that this mountain-like sculpture is called “Gradiva”. The thirteen sculptural pieces speak, in the most genuine way, to the different ways that the female identity can present itself. The “block of glittering ice” alludes to the title character from Wilhelm Jensen’s novella Gradiva, who was famously analyzed by psychologist Sigmund Freud. Gradiva became known in the world of surrealist art as “the woman who walks through walls,” and Frued recognized her as a modern mythical figure. Al-Hadid uses this imagery to highlight the elusive nature of desire, to show the viewer how women are perceived, and to call out where that narrative is lacking. She expertly captures the individual stories of women through imagery like that of “Gradiva”. At the same time, she focuses on the body, and how those two facets of identity, the physical presence and the cultivated experience, work together to navigate the world.

Immediately to the right of the exhibit’s entrance, there’s a sculpture of a staircase titled “Moving Target”. On a plaque, Al-Hadid writes that she creates things on a large scale to show that the physical labor it takes to make art is just as important as the mental labor. Perhaps the most striking of these large-scale pieces is the archway called “Smoke Screen” that is built into the wall, where peeled resin drips like icicles. When she blurs the lines between function and beauty—art and architecture—she works to “obscure a single narrative”.

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The Formation: A Performance of Pride and Power

Review of Let ‘im Move You: This Is a Formation at On the Boards

Written by Teen Editor Disha Cattamanchi and edited by Teen Editor Lucia McLaren

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It was with a force of a lion that the dancers gracefully contorted their bodies to the grand bass of the music. The earth-shaking tracks vibrated through Merrill Theater at On the Boards, mixed live at the sound table. Black dancers displayed their choreographed finesse and pride through This Is a Formation, the final work in jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham series Let ‘im Move You. Though the choreographed performance imbued Black Queer pride into a powerful visual performance, it contained elements of full-body nudity that were not highlighted beforehand, creating a somewhat startling performance experience for me. However, the performance skillfully melded ideas of sexuality, beauty, and playfulness into a piece that supersedes the boundaries of dance.

As poe and Beachman guided visitors into the performance space, onlookers noticed that Merrill Theater was transformed to fit the engaging nature of the performance. The seats were blocked off by a long black sheet, eliminating the use of a traditional ‘audience’ structure. Instead, onlookers of the performance were immersed into the formation of dancers. There was no allocated space for the dancers to perform on, no partition or separation between the performers and the viewers. Instead, people circled around the performance to get a closer look at the turns of the dancers’ bodies: the specific positions of their fingers, the darting of their feet to move them to different levels from the floor. This created an intimate and special atmosphere, calling back to a time where performance art was shared in the streets with crowds passing them in the big city.

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Understanding Why Heartthrob Movie Stars Became Just Movie Stars

Review of From Heartthrob to Movie Star at SIFF

Written by Newsroom Writer Malak Kassem and edited by Teen Editor Disha Cattamanchi

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Have you ever wondered what—and who—makes a successful film? Would Hollywood be what it is today without heartthrobs? From Heartthrob to Movie Star dissects how the entertainment industry uses the everlasting effects of the female gaze to produce bankable male actors. The SIFF webinar discussed actors including Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington, and George Clooney and the fame they gained with performances in rom-coms.

Faridah Gbadamosi, the facilitator and creator of the class, treated the event as a discussion while approaching the lesson. Taking place on Zoom, participants responded to questions asked by speaking through the mic, or by typing in the chat box. Participants were able to chime in with their ideas as the lesson progressed. People were commenting on movie clips, and sharing memories that came with certain movies, along with their take on the female gaze. Gbadamosi, who was knowledgeable and passionate about the topics she presented, led the class through enriching and collaborative discussion. Scenes and clips from various films and TV shows were played to observe points in the lesson. The webinar was visual, interactive, and engaging, but mostly, it was informative. Gbadamosi engaged with the virtual format in an engaging way, as it has been utilized throughout the pandemic. However, the zoom format was more isolated, and limited interaction with fellow participants.Viewers could have benefited from an in-person format due to a grander scale of networking with fellow classmates. Nonetheless, Zoom made the class more accessible, as Gbadamosi and myself joined from the east coast. Photo courtesy of SIFF

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Music on the Strait and the Importance of Live Music

Review of Music on the Strait

Written by Teen Writer Yoon Lee and edited by Teen Editor Disha Cattamanchi

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On March 2, 2020, the music department at my school was loading charter buses destined for Benaroya Hall when Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency. With no precedent, the staff made the decision to unload the buses and cancel the event. I specifically remember sitting in the viola section, half the class grumbling about the cancellation, and the other half nervously commenting that perhaps the risk of this mysterious disease outweighed our several months of musical preparation. A week later, my school was closed in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

More than a year and a half later, I have yet to perform in a live event with an audience of more than three people. My musical life has been in front of a camera and under two stereo microphones, taking and retaking videos against a sterile beige background. As nerve-wracking as it may be to perform in front of an audience, there is something special about braving uncertainty and possible mistakes to deliver an honest presentation of your hardest work. It is for this reason that the return of Music on the Strait became a transcendent experience for me.

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Told in Shadow with Catapult

Review of Catapult at Edmonds Center of the Arts

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

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If you’ve ever seen a talent show before, you know the deal. They’re flashy, short performances that get across impressive qualities to the audience—be that someone’s neighbors or a huge crowd and TV audience. Catapult is an ensemble of dancers that got their start on one of the most famous (or infamous) talent shows of them all: America’s Got Talent. They get their reputation from their quirky, creative choreography done behind a screen, such that the audience can only see their silhouettes in shadow. It’s not something done by many. But with such a niche performance, what happens when they break free of the glossy sheen of television?

I went to see Catapult at Edmonds Center for the Arts, once a high school in a smaller area called Edmonds just outside of Seattle. The theater was smaller and the audience was older than their call to fame in Radio City Music Hall. It’s a step down, by most standards, but it meant fewer distractions from the performance itself—something I, as a dancer, was very interested to see. Photo by Peter Dervin

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Finding a New Appreciation at Beyond Ballet

Review of Beyond Ballet by the Pacific Northwest Ballet

Written by Newsroom Writer Haley Zimmerman and edited by Teen Editor Lucia McLaren

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I came to Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Beyond Ballet with a bit of skepticism, or maybe insecurity. My experiences of ballet—dance class at age five, occasional viewings of the Nutcracker—were few and far between, and I was supposed to go “beyond”? But I set my fears aside, put on a dress I hadn’t worn since March 2020, and made it to my seat in the very last row of McCaw Hall.

I found myself behind a trio of honest-to-God ballet students, apprentices at PNB, who chatted away about someone’s partnering and someone else’s port de bras, leaving me somewhat in awe. Before the show, three dancers took the stage to be promoted—promotion, I realized, is a big deal in ballet. After the applause from the audience faded, they ducked behind the curtain, where a muffled cheer went up backstage from their fellow dancers. It was a refreshing reminder that for all ballet’s mystique, it’s also a career, and the dancers are out there working hard and celebrating their co-workers. Then the curtain rose, and the mystique was back. Photo by Angela Sterling

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Fall 21: Whim W’Him’s Unique Explorations of Liminality

Review of Fall 21 by Whim W'Him

Written by Teen Editor Triona Suiter and edited by Teen Editor Valentine Wulf

Underlove tbs shoot Photo by Stefano Altamura

As we move into the shorter days, Whim W’Him opens their season with their annual Fall Showcase, this year featuring “Nova” by Alice Klock and Florian Lochner, “Underlove” by Mark Castera, and “E=16-0163-TSX” by Rena Butler. Presented as both live performances and as films on Whim W’Him’s streaming platform IN-With-WHIM, these three dances traverse the lands of unreality in ways that manage to hit startlingly close to true.

(The following is a review of the films only, not the live performances.)

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Spooky Ad-Libbing With Horror Unexpected

Review of Horror Unexpected: Spooky Sundays at Unexpected Productions

Written by Teen Writer Elle Vonada and edited by Teen Editor Lucia McLaren

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Improv is a journey that the performers and audience take together. Unlike traditional theatre, it does not go through extensive casting, costuming, or rehearsals. Shows that have been through that process will feel more complete and might be easier to watch. However, the beauty of improv comes from that on-the-spot creativity you experience comparatively to rehearsed shows that will not have that same element of spontaneity. It is imperative that the audience keeps this in the forefront of their mind when watching an improvised performance. Otherwise, it can feel as if the actors are underprepared or incompetent for their roles. At times, it can even be frustrating that the fluidity of the plot isn’t maintained throughout the show. Nonetheless, one must remember there is no set plot beforehand, and this is a compromise the audience makes when choosing to see a live improv show. The show you see one night will be completely different than the show another person sees the next. The beauty of improv is that it cannot be duplicated.

Horror Unexpected is a completely improvised horror story portrayed by actors that, like their audience, have no idea what is going to happen next. The show began by taking suggestions from the audience for a place we spent a lot of time growing up and something our home town is famous for. In the performance I experienced, The World’s Largest Porch Swing and the Everest Mall Arcade were suggested. Three performers began incorporating the porch swing into their scene, while another three actors began their scene at the Everest Mall. The Unexpected Productions performers turned these two places into a scary tale of an arcade and small town attraction gone wrong when reality and a game became one. Photo by Bill Grinnell

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La Bohème Lights up McCaw Hall After 18 Months of Darkness

Review of La Bohème at the Seattle Opera

Written by Teen Writer Adrian Martin and edited by Teen Editor Disha Cattamanchi

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McCaw Hall opened its doors for a Seattle Opera performance for the first time since the pandemic. La Bohème, a hundred year old story of love, loss, and illness, was made especially potent as the first show at McCaw Hall in 18 months.

La Bohème follows young Parisian artists Rodolfo and Marcello as they fall in and out of love. Rodolfo meets sweet-girl-next-door Mimi, and their love—as well as their subsequent tragedy—become the heart of the show. Musetta, a friend of Mimi’s, carries a more comedic, on-again-off-again romance with Marcello. The underlying fear of disease and how it interacts with the characters economic status as artists is a tragically age old story. It’s a story that felt heartachingly familiar in the midst of the pandemic. Similar to these four characters, there were many artists putting their bodies on the line in this last year, making La Bohème a thoughtful and timely choice from the Seattle Opera.

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Contact High: Intimate Looks at some of the Most Iconic Photographs in Hip-Hop

Review of Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop at MoPOP

Written by Teen Writer Ruby Lee and edited by Teen Editor Esha Potharaju

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MoPOP, formerly known as The EMP, has always been the epicenter for all things pop culture, art, and music in Seattle and is constantly showcasing art in innovative ways. Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop is no exception. This exhibit features four decades of hip-hop through film and digital photography, giving visitors a chance to know what photos didn’t make it onto classic album covers and magazine spreads while overall celebrating the culture and craft that is hip-hop.

Rickey Powell’s work welcomes me at the entrance, a magnificent glowing wall with some of Powell’s original slides from the 80s and 90s. Seeing familiar faces like rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy and TV host Oprah excited me for the work ahead. Throughout the first space of the exhibit, contact sheets (a preview of all the images on the roll of film), framed prints, and magazine spreads tell magnificent stories. It was at this moment that I understood “visual history” to be a completely accurate description of the exhibition.

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The Complex History of Humans and their DNA

Review of Dr. Kathryn Harden's Why DNA Matters for Social Equality at Town Hall Seattle

Written by Teen Writer Aamina Mughal and edited by Teen Editor Eleanor Cenname

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Ideas of social equality and their intersection with genetics are rightfully met with hesitance. Our perception of the field is often marred with stories about how pseudoscience was used to justify racial inequality and ideas of racial superiority. Pseudoscience being used to justify horrendous antisemitism fills the topic with memories of Nazi Germany. The perceived “science” of the time was used to give grounds for the idea that non-Aryan people were genetically lesser, and led to horrifying events like mass genocide, and more specifically as a justification for mass sterilization. At the same time, in our current political landscape, political extremist groups and white supremacist ideology invoke the very real fear that such ideas are making a comeback. Dr. Kathryn Harden navigates these connotations, but sees the intersection between genomics and social issues differently. Dr. Harden, a clinical development psychologist and author of “The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality '', discussed these issues at Town Hall Seattle on Tuesday, October 12, in a lecture promoting her book.

As Dr. Harden explained, DNA and human genome sequencing is becoming an increasingly lucrative technology. She argues that such technology can be used to elicit social change and examine social structures in our society. Dr. Harden, in her work as a psychologist, studies inequality of outcome and how people are channeled into certain outcomes in their lives. In other words, her work examines the aspects of one’s life that lead them to specific places and how early those aspects begin to dictate the rest of someone’s life. Dr. Harden focuses on psychiatric and genetic disadvantages that have significant outcomes, as she explained through her lecture. The human genome is composed of nucleotides, represented by the letters A, C, G, and T, which dictate certain parts of a person’s phenotype, or genetic presentation. Everyone’s DNA is made up of different nucleotides that make them the specific, unique person they are. Dr. Harden uses what are called Genome-Wide Association Studies which measure single-letter differences between nucleotides across a sample group of genomes. Using these measurements, a polygenic score is created, which denotes the effect genetic variants may have on an individual. Essentially, the score tells us how likely an individual is to have a given trait.

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