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

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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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Dance and Sing Toward Summer

Teen Editorial Staff May 2023 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Esha Potharaju and Yoon Lee

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The month of May is the last month of spring—enjoy it before the hot waves of summer hit us with our exclusive curation of art to experience this month!

If you’re in the business of unfiltered, unscripted stories, then The Moth Mainstage is the May event you’re looking for! Watch five storytellers develop and shape their stories with the Moth’s directors.

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A Vivid Portrait of a Playwright

Review of How I Learned What I Learned at Seattle Rep

Written by Teen Writer Daphne Bunker and edited by Aamina Mughal

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The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production of August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned at the Seattle Rep is a striking one-man show from the moment the Rep’s spacious yet intimate space darkens. It’s then that performer Steven Anthony Jones, in the role of playwright and poet August Wilson himself, walks through the aisle under a spotlight and up the stairs to the stage. On the stage are clusters of grass and stones, a street light, a desk with a glass of water, two chairs, and a formation of brick wall set pieces. On the foremost wall, white serifed letters are projected, reading “How I Learned What I Learned (And How What I Learned Has Led Me To Places I’ve Wanted to Go. That I Have Sometimes Gone Unwillingly is the Crucible in Which Many a Work of Art Has Been Fired).”

Jones, as Wilson, finishes his ascent and stands beneath the words projected on the bricks. He stands still in the silence before he begins speaking, his voice sounding through the theater with the strength and conviction of a storyteller with something to say. From these first moments, How I Learned What I Learned makes it clear that it is not simply an extended monologue; it’s a back-and-forth between performer, script, and audience, in which Jones brings the intricacies of Wilson’s writing to the theater, and the audience responds with rapt attention. Steven Anthony Jones in August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Photo by Jenny Graham.

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The Young Girl and the Sea

Review of Whale Rider at Seattle International Film Festival

Written by Teen Writer Lula Keteyian and edited by Audrey Gray

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Twenty-one years ago, Whale Rider, written and directed by Niki Caro, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. It was met with critical acclaim, receiving an Indie Spirit Award and an Academy Award Best Actress nomination for Keisha Castle-Hughes, the 13-year-old star of the movie. It has become a cult favorite, though it is rarely screened.

I had the exciting opportunity to see Whale Rider in person at SIFF Cinema Uptown. It was a Wednesday night, and I wasn’t expecting a large audience. Surprisingly, when I entered the theater, I observed that many people had turned up. I quickly learned Whale Rider was this month’s pick of the SIFF Cinema Movie Club. After a brief introduction that explained this to non-members like myself, the lights went down, and an arresting tension filled the theater as the audience prepared to live the world of this film for the next ninety minutes.Film still from Whale Rider directed by Niki Caro

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Things Unseen Created by Those Unseen

Review of From the Ground Up: Black Architects and Designers at MOHAI

Written by Teen Writer Maitreyi Parakh and edited by Aamina Mughal

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Let's start from the vantage point of a bug. Imagine the sheer scale of everything never before acknowledged—the foundations of the environment around, where the very roots of the buildings around you are anchored. Even in this scenario, it is tempting to focus on the central character of the bug. However, after visiting From the Ground Up: Black Architects and Designers at the Museum of History and Industry, this perspective may be shifted into one that is not typically adopted. The exhibit asks, what parts of your surroundings have you brushed past in noticing? Who was integral to the existence of these surroundings?

As David Adjaye said, "Buildings are deeply emotive structures which form our psyche. People think they're just things they maneuver through, but the make-up of a person is influenced by the nature of spaces." The exhibit itself was presented overlooking Lake Union with the information laid out in placards, which lent an integrated feel to the exhibit—seemingly a conscious choice, as a note by the window asks the viewer to consider their own surroundings more thoughtfully. The pieces were varied but characteristic of the works typically found at MOHAI, though this exhibit was a bit more information-dense than others, which made fully understanding it a longer endeavor. There were rows designating specific architects and their contributions, as well as institutes that these architects contributed to, which organized information presented in a clear, chronological order. There was also an interactive element where children could create their own buildings, and several video stations within the exhibit. From the Group Up, photo courtesy of MOHAI

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ArtsWest’s “An Endless Shift”: The Engaging, Unfiltered Truth About the Pandemic

Review of An Endless Shift at ArtsWest

Written by Teen Writer Raika Roy Choudhury and edited by Kyle Gerstel

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An Endless Shift, a documentary theater production about nurses during the pandemic, is a powerful experience. The show is a collage of verbatim interviews conveyed by one performer—Gloria Alcalá—to introduce an often overlooked perspective on the impact of the pandemic. That nuance, combined with the coziness of ArtsWest’s theater, makes for an even more personal experience.

Even before the play starts, the theater space is impressive. The two-tiered stage is close to the seating area, the proximity creating familiarity between the audience and the production. There is blue ambient lighting, and fog lingering in the air. Props are minimal: five chairs are set up at slightly different angles spanning the stage, and a handful of banners accompany them.

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March Events Open Doorways to the Seattle Arts Scene

Teen Editorial Staff March 2023 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Aamina Mughal and Esha Potharaju

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This month on the TeenTix blog, we’re featuring events that force viewers to reject surface level understanding of life. These arts events venture underground, focusing on stories that have previously been untold, underrepresented, or underappreciated.

SIFF starts off on March 1st with the 2002 film Whale Rider, the story of a Mayori girl battling against stereotypes with the hopes to one day become chief. Similarly, Seattle Public Theater delves into stereotypes and their harm through the musical 110 in the Shade. The source material of the show was written in the 1950s and centers the theme of uncovering, as the main character Lizzie uncovers her own personal truths.

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"Reorient": Processing Immigration Through Art

Review of Reorient: Journeys Through Art and Healing at the Wing Luke Museum

Written by Teen Writer Harlan Liu and edited by Yoon Lee

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The Reorient: Journeys through Art and Healing display at the Wing Luke Museum features four Asian artists who use their different mediums as ways of telling their stories of immigration and finding purpose. These artists are able to express their gratitude, nostalgia, and defiance through dyed fabric, sculptures, ink-wash paintings, using color and unorthodox shapes to suggest the tone or emotion of a work and appeal to audiences.

First entering the exhibit, there is plenty of blank wall space, wherein only after you turn in either direction can you see the paintings of Victor Wang. His style of art holds a strong influence from his time spent working at a photography studio, as most of his pieces were made using pen ink on photographic paper later blended together with solvent, a liquid used to develop photographs. His use of unconventional materials in his paintings reflect his background as a photo color-corrector and almost makes it look like Wang pulled the art out of the canvas.

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Celebrating the Venues We Love This February

Teen Editorial Staff February 2023 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Kyle Gerstel and Yoon Lee

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It’s love season and we at TeenTix have many partners we adore (partner venues, that is). We love seeing our partners invest in new works, so we are thrilled to have three world premieres from TeenTix venues this February. Dacha Theatre, a new addition to the TeenTix Pass Program, is debuting the electro-synth musical An Incomplete List of All the Things I’m Going to Miss When the World is No Longer.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ACT Theatre Core Company member Reginald André Jackson pursued an extensive research project about forgotten Black theatre artists, which has culminated in the production History of Theatre: About, By, For, and Near. The play explores whether the history of the oppressed can properly be shared without expressing oppression.

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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

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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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A New Year’s Artistic Blessings

Teen Editorial Staff January 2023 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Audrey Gray and Disha Cattamanchi

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With one turn of a calendar’s page, 2023 has arrived. For many, the new year is a time for self-reflection. Some might make New Year’s resolutions to look back on their year in review; others might set on the path to a fresh start. For the more creatively inclined, the new year is a magnificent chance to delve deep into who you are and who you want to become through art. If you’re interested in experiencing the myriad of artistic perspectives the new year has inspired in the Seattle community, check out the events covered this month on the TeenTix Arts Blog, curated by the Teen Editorial Staff.

For those of you aching to return to theater after the holidays, look no further for some truly exciting events. Seattle Repertory Theatre is welcoming in the new year by contemplating change and transformation with Metamorphoses, a thrilling new theatrical production inspired by Ovid’s classic epic poem. If you’re looking to delve even further into history, check out History of Theatre at ACT Theatre, a production that seeks to explore and celebrate the rich, little-known history of Black theatre in America. To challenge your social perceptions, consider seeing This Bitter Earth at Seattle Public Theater, a beautiful exploration of racial issues, Queer identity, and modern love.

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The Holidays Are a Time for Traditions, and Breaking Them

Teen Editorial Staff December 2022 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Aamina Mughal and Kyle Gerstel

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As we enter the depths of winter and the holiday season, art in Seattle is picking up a familiar festive theme—with a twist, of course. Tradition connects us to our heritage and identity, but it can also feel limiting. The ability to evolve traditions and create something new and interesting for the present is and has always been integral to art. Rest assured, there will be plenty of opportunities to revisit and reconstruct our favorite holiday classics this December.

Seattle Public Theater is bringing a Christmas classic to the mix with a revival of their A Very Die Hard Christmas, running from December 3 — 30. Similarly, A Very Drunken Christmas Carol is coming back to the Seattle Opera after a sold-out run in the 2021 season.

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The Subdued Desire of "Decision to Leave"

Review of Decision to Leave at the Northwest Film Forum

Written by Teen Writer Olivia Lee and edited by Teen Editor Yoon Lee

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“If she’s young, beautiful, and foreign, does that make her a murder suspect?” This is the question Decision to Leave (2022), the latest film from enigmatic South Korean director Park Chan-wook presents, never giving a straight answer and throwing off both the characters as well as the audience.

Insomniac Detective Hae-joon (Park Hae-il) is indifferently married to his wife Jung-an (Lee Jung-hyun) and by the way he commits to his investigations, you’d think he’s married to his work. He wades through each day lifelessly until a mysterious new case arises; a man’s mangled body is discovered at the foot of a climbing rock. Hae-joon is electrified by the new case and begins to wonder how the man died. Was it suicide? Was he pushed? He meets the deceased man’s wife, the alluring and suspicious Seo-rae (Tang Wei), and their attraction towards each other grows stronger and eventually beyond professional boundaries, blurring the truth about her husband’s death.

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Appreciating the Details in "The Great Jheri Curl Debate"

Review of The Great Jheri Curl Debate at East West Players

Written by Teen Writer Poppy Lang and edited by Teen Editor Yoon Lee

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The Great Jheri Curl Debate at East West Players explores the relationship between Veralynn Jackson (Julianne Chidi Hill) and Mr. Kim (Ryun Yu), and many different forms of racial bias.

Award winning playwright Inda Craig-Galván created a heartfelt, whitty and incredibly written play that East West Players performed beautifully. Directed by Scarlett Kim, this piece is a meditation on racial bias, overcoming certain preconceived notions, and creating a beautiful relationship.

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