Locally Sourced at PNB is a Mixed Bag of Very Highs and Also Some LowsPretty Much Like Life! – seattlepi.com

Posted: November 18, 2019 at 8:44 pm

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As we edge closer to the holiday season and the spectre of Nutcracker peaks around the corner, PNB turns its focus toward the many talents of the Pacific Northwest and the results are astounding, even if a bit uneven. Overall, though Locally Sourced is a joy to behold and McCaw Hall has gone all out with three impressive dances and a pretty darned good art exhibition of some of the finest local artists in Seattle!

The nights performances begins with Eva Stones Foil, a solid, if somewhat forgettable celebration of the chandeliers of the world, no seriously, aside from somewhat safe choreography and music that at times seems at odds with the dancersthis, all-woman designed production is still extremely enjoyable. Breaking each segment into a different topic is a nice touch and having the last trio of dancers facing away from the audience, while perhaps completely off-base reminded me of the Caspar David Friedrich painting Wanderer Above the Sea Fogexcept in this case the actors are womena strong feminist statement, that brings the whole piece around and places women in the long overdo (at least in ballet) role of the heroes.



While Foil highlights women dancersDonald Byrds investigation into the heartache and ultimate aloneness of contemporary romance, begins and ends with the biological bodies of men. Men and women, women and men and men and men. Love and Loss, Byrds sixth ballet at PNB, is the work of an artist at the absolute pinnacle of his work. While both Foil and Wash of Gray are both interesting worksthey do not exemplify their best choreographies, but rather they show artists experimenting with their mediums, trying new things, searching for the best ways to share their visionthey are, essentially, looking for their voices which is also extremely important. But there is something awe-inspiring watching the seemingling effortless power of someone like Donald Byrd as he flexes his muscles and creates moments of flawless pandemoniumthat were unmatched, at least on this stage on this night.

Love and Loss was, for this critic, as perfect a mix of narrative, choreography and music as I have ever seen on the PNB stagein fact, by the end of this danceI felt as strong a sense of transcendence as any I have felt over my years of covering the ballet. What Byrd manages here was to create a sense of the real, that is something greater than the reality before ushis pas de deux are so amazing that they transcend ballet and instead are his languagethat is what happens here, this is an artist communicating directly to us and if we do not understand it is merely because we are not paying attention. In summation, Love and Loss is nothing short of mesmerizing.



Wash of Gray on the other hand is a series of disparate notes, that mix dancing, a muddied multimedia watercolor painting excercise, the sounds of nature and some interesting music. The piece begins with an ingratiating, pandering message to the audience, but not in the Chaucerian, Miltonian or Shakespearean sense, but rather in the please dont get to critical, because this is going to be a mushy celebration of all-things Seattle. This message write large above the dancers warns us that what we are about to witness is the Balletic equivalent of sports comedydont take it too seriously because it was meant to be taken lightly. That said, not taking it too seriously, it really felt like three different things, a dance, a mulimedia exhibition and a musical piece that never quite gell and never quite come togetherbut which might have been, at least interesting, each on their own.

All-in-all, though Locally Sourced is a mostly really good, really experimental celebration of local talent! Go give it a look see!


Okay folks, now for something completely different, I need to take a moment to call out the folks at the Seattle Center, who for the most part run a very tight ship and honestly, it must not be easy to keep everything running smoothly and you must know that this is not something that I am not doing lightly at all. So as a bit of background information, by the time Lily and I had arrived at the Seattle Center, ready to park in one of the four handicap spaces across the street from the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church on the western end of the center, it had already been a difficult week for anyone with a disability, let alone for someone who cares about someone with a disability just trying to get around the various artistic and cultural venues of the city. By the time Friday night had arrived, Lily had been ignored, laughed at, bumped into several times, disability-shamed, scowled at, mostly mistreated and made to feel as though in this age, when as a civilization, when we are actively attempting to correct past sins, that the one group that continues to be ignored most is perhaps the group with the least amount of spoons to spare to make things better in a city constantly on the move. As one person I spoke to about this saidpeople with disabilities and especially those with special needs are often less likely to go out and picket, nor do many have the extra time necessary to fight against every ill that crosses their pathand as I have come to realize, it really is pretty much a constant struggle.

Now, I am not trying to play superman nor am I trying to rescue anyonewell, no more or less so than I always do, which is probably considerable. But what we, what I have experienced over the last two years of going to events at the center is that anytime there is a major event, the very first parking spaces to go away are the disabled spaces. Folk Life for the last two years, for example has used the enire battery of disabled parking spaces along the street behind the Cornish Playhouse near Vera and below KEXP, despite being designated for exclusive 24-hour use by those with WashingtonStatedisability placards. These spaces have also been blocked during other big events by large semi-trucks during the centers big concerts they have every year.

But, last night, really had us both worried, because it showed that taking over the few free disabled spaces that the park has is something that Seattle Center plans to do more often, rather than less often. This past friday, when we arrived at the parking spaces on 2nd Ave N, all but one of them was taken by Valet Parking, I kid you notthe disabled parking spaces were being used, rather than for those with physical disabilties, were being blocked so that people could pay to find parking spaces for sports visitors to the park. This really worried me as there are already very few, free disabled parking spaces around the center as it is. If this bothers you as much as it bothers me, please take a moment to let the lovely, but misguided folks at the Center know that you would like to see them protect and preserve their disabled parking from being used for anything but parking for disabled driversby clicking on this link and scrolling to the bottom or calling them directly: http://www.seattlecenter.com/connect/contact

Do it for someone you love who is disabled.

Thank you and Happy Holiday to you and yours!


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Locally Sourced at PNB is a Mixed Bag of Very Highs and Also Some LowsPretty Much Like Life! - seattlepi.com

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