Twyla Tharp, A I R at PNB

airtwylaThe seasons changed this weekend. Friday night was my last summer music festival. Saturday afternoon Pacific Northwest Ballet kicked off the fall arts season. Like Vin Diesel says in xXx, “I live for this shit.” It is no accident that my house is exactly 3 miles from Seattle Center. Google Maps claims it takes 11 minutes from my driveway to the McCaw Hall parking garage. So when I left my house an hour before AIR Twyla, it was only because my date for the performance – my 9-year-old daughter – was getting antsy. It was a good thing we left early, because it took us over an hour to get there.

We slipped into the empty back row to see the PNB premiere of artist-in-residence Twyla Tharp’s “Brief Fling,” already in progress. I find it disconcerting to miss even the first few seconds of a performance. Not so my kid. Moments after we sat down, she stage-whispered, “I love this one already!”

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Optical 2: Erased Tapes Showcase at Decibel Festival

Subtitle: Who the hell is Nils Frahm and why haven’t I heard of him before?

Obviously a press photo and not one of mine

Nils Frahm (obviously a press photo and not one of mine)

Seattle’s Decibel Festival turns 10 this year, which means it was born just about the same time I quit following electronic music. While I wasn’t paying attention, Decibel grew into a world class celebration of underground and experimental electronic music. The only reason I went this year was to see Ólafur Arnalds.

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Great Panty Caper Revue

theGreatPantyCaper300dpiOne of the things that led me to become a Panty Caperer…Caperist…to join the Panty Caper Street Team was my fascination with the interactive element of the books Coliloquy publishes. They use the data Kindle collects to inform the next book. Did you ever think about what it means when you’re reading on Kindle and a passage is already highlighted with the note “87 people highlighted this passage”? I’m half excited about the possibilities and half creeped out that you can’t even read in private anymore.

 

Today I’m going to focus on the possibilities.

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Great Panty Caper Cover Reveal

It’s a big week in the run up to the release of Tawna Fenske’s interactive romantic comedy The Great Panty Caper. First up, the cover reveal!

In fact, I got all hung up on the question, “What does a cover reveal even mean when you’re talking about an e-book?” and forgot to pay attention to the rest. So that you don’t get as confused as I did, here’s what’s happening:

  1. Cover reveal
  2. Photo contest
  3. Free books!

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Feeling The National and Frightened Rabbit at the Paramount

With The National and Frightened Rabbit sharing the stage, I knew it would be a night for feeling all the feels. And it was. But not quite in the way I expected.   Continue reading

Breaking Character

characterstereotypesYou know how people always say you should do the things that scare you? There’s a lesser known corollary that sometimes you should do things that aren’t you. Daytime TV is full of makeovers – Goth girl in a pink dress!  – eighties movies are full of dorky characters transformed into love interests. People love makeovers because they hint that inside each of us is someone else, someone more than the ordinary us. Sometimes we just get tired of inhabiting our own skin.

There is opportunity for profound growth when we realize how much of who we are is by choice, even if we find out we like the choices we usually make, thankyouverymuch. I like to test my idea of who I am on a regular basis. Sometimes I just like to see the look on my friends’ faces when I do something completely unexpected.

So, I’m going to break online character. I have always been an enthusiastic supporter of the books and music I like, and I rarely review or interview an artist I don’t think is good or at least interesting. But usually I like to keep a journalistic veneer on the proceedings. Until now.  Continue reading

In Defense of Smell

Chanel-No-5-perfumeOn the bus this morning, I was reading Natasha Narayan’s book, The Maharajah’s Monkey. I enjoy the Kit Salter series about the Indiana Jones-like adventures of a bold Victorian-era tween even more than my daughter does. My mind was absorbed in the hunt for a missing French explorer when a new passenger boarded the bus in a miasma of herbal odor. Since the passage of I-502, such fragrance on the streets of Seattle is not unusual. But this particular gentleman’s variety was of an extreme skunk such as I hadn’t experienced since my own days in the subcontinent.

Everything smells more in India. I’ve been to other hot climates, but no place reeks like India. One of my classmates in Tamil Nadu once complained that India is a place of bad smells. But I disagreed. Yes, the entire of city of Chennai reeked of sewage. In the un-air-conditioned villages where we lived, we often stank ourselves. The hot dusty smell of livestock was ubiquitous, as was the diesel smell of two-stroke engines and unmuffled buses. Smoke from cooking fires choked our nostrils daily. But the smoke was accompanied by the spicy odor of the curry it cooked; meals accompanied by the sweet sugary smell of chai. Rich incense wafted from every doorway. The strings of white flowers I wore in my hair were a protective turban of honeyed scent wherever I walked. India is a place of hellish stench and heavenly fragrance, Shiva’s rot and Parvati’s grace inseparably intermingling.

Photo found here.

Photo found here.

The muted, watercolor odors of the Pacific Northwest – moist earth; musty house; mold; the Northwest at its most pungent, low tide – pale by comparison, if not literally, at least synesthetically. We work in offices with windows that don’t open, where notices are posted announcing policies against perfume and fresh flowers on behalf of those with allergies. The fragrances in the industrial cleaners used in those offices are designed not to be noticed – to create the illusion of sterility. We strive for odorlessness, forgetting that sterile is, by definition, the absence of all life.

Not my hair; photo found here.

Not my hair; photo found here.

Living in a world without smell is a little like living with your eyes closed. When you finally open them, the light can be blinding.

But once opened, you’re not likely to close them again.

Discovering the Secret of Life at Bumbershoot

I didn’t plan to drag two children under the age of 10 to all three days of Bumbershoot. But that is exactly what I did.

My festival preview lives here, and my survival guide is here. My compatriots over at Three Imaginary Girls and the KEXP blog (not my compatriots- just good coverage) have, I think, covered most of the shows. So I am free to talk about the secret of life.  Continue reading