Monday, February 28, 2011

Shipping Out

Illustrator and blogger Tessa Hulls leaves Seattle tomorrow for a bike ride across the country. As far as art is concerned she'll be out of internet range until at least July, though she has hinted that she'll periodically post travel updates on her blog. Tessa has a show up at Bherd Studios in Greenwood at the moment, part of a terrific series that she has been creating on migration and memory. Nomads and wanderers are well represented in Hulls' lovely visual repertoire, and one hopes that she finds hosts across the country who are equally receptive to her travels. Good luck and godspeed! You can see the show until March 9th, and which point Hulls will be in...Coeur d'Alene?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Let's Ride

A beautiful and timely cover adorns the latest issue of The Ride, a journal of writing, art and bicycling out of the United Kingdom. The image is by I Love Dust, and you can see their gorgeous covers for issues 1 through 4 right here. As always, the new issue is a stunning combination of fine writing, lush photography, and brilliant illustration, all themed around bicycles of every conceivable form and style. A must-read for us literary biker types. The Ride #5 is available on their website or at a small handful of American cycle shops. You can download pdfs of issues 1 and 2 if you want to take a look before spending your hard earned dosh. Or you can just take my word for it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Here Comes The Story of the Hurricane

In October 1966 Rubin "Hurricane" Carter was a successful boxer, in training for a shot at the world middleweight title. He was arrested for the murder of three patrons at the Lafayette Bar & Grill in Paterson, New Jersey based on a description of the killers as "two Negroes in a white car." Carter was cleared by a grand jury when the one surviving victim failed to identify him. Regardless, the State produced two new eyewitnesses who made positive identifications, a sham of a trial followed, and Carter was convicted and sentenced to three life prison terms.

During the mid-1970s, his case became a cause celébrè for a number of civil rights leaders, politicians, and entertainers. He was ultimately exonerated, in 1985, after a United States district court judge declared the convictions to be based on racial prejudice. After serving 19 years in prison – 10 of them in solitary confinement – Carter has become a tireless advocate for the wrongfully incarcerated. He serves as director of the Association in Defense of the Wrongfully Convicted, headquartered in his house in Toronto and also serves as a member of the board of directors of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta and the Alliance for Prison Justice in Boston. Carter recently published a new memoir Eye of the Hurricane: My Path from Darkness to Freedom billed as "a document of his spiritual and factual history." Carter reads from and signs his new book in Seattle, at the University Bookstore, on Thursday February 24 at 7pm.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Back to The Future

A beautiful ongoing project by Argentine photographer Irina Werning. She is mining the photo albums of friends and family, and working with them to revisit the scenes of childhood photographs. The resulting series, Back to the Future, is a fascinating look at how people change as they age, and how they stay the same.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hobo Grunt

Puppeteer Kevin Augustine is a brutal and poetic puppeteer who's New York-based company, Lone Wolf Tribe, has won all manner of accolades for their blend of puppets and actors, and for their uncompromising look at difficult subject matter. His current show, Hobo Grunt Cycle, looks at the trauma of damaged war veterans through the experience of a severely injured fight-ring pit bull.

Written and developed by Augustine, the show is touring with a traveling cast that includes one of Seattle's most beloved and most wayward puppeteers Adam Ende. The show has already passed through festivals in Holland and Brazil, won a prestigious UNIMA Award for Excellence in Puppet Theatre, and now lands in San Francisco for a 3 week run at the EXIT Theatre. The show opens tonight, February 17, and runs through March 5. Tickets availablehere.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Landscape Permutations

Vancouver, BC photographer David Semeniuk asks "What does it mean when different sites, at particular points in time, can easily substitute for the same place?" We may not recognize a place we've seen many times before. A place we've never visited seems strangely familiar. Semeniuk pastes a photo from one location atop a photo from somewhere else, and in the resulting image the two places are almost indistinguishable. His series Landscape Permutations is a lovely - and somewhat creepy - meditation on the way that contemporary urban landscapes have lost their specificity.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hi. Just a Note

hi. just a note to say that ever
since the robbery, things've
kinda quiet down. altho theo's
kidnappers haven't returned him
yet, dad got promoted to den
mother, so things are not all
going downhill / mom joined the
future fathers of alaska. really
likes it / you oughta see little
dumbbell. he's nearly two now.
talks like a fish & is already
starting to look like a cigar /
see you on your birthday
                                  big brother

Bob Dylan
-From Tarantula

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Taqwacores

In an unusual blast of historical synchronicity, the documentary The Taqwacores opens tonight at the Northwest Film Forum. The film, which documents the rising political and creative force of young Muslims, follows the unlikely birth of Muslim Punk Rock around the world.

The film took its inspiration from the influential novel of the same name by the Rochester, NY-born Islamic convert Michael Muhammad Knight. The riotous and revolutionary book invents a fictional Muslim punk scene in Rochester, and the story unexpectedly catalyzed the creation of a full fledged hardcore movement among the Muslim faithful in Islamic communities around the world. The film, which took more than 3 years to make, follows a band of Muslim misfits across three continents from the United States to Pakistan to track the uncompromisingly brave actions and attitudes of these rebellious musicians, and their impact on the young people who come to see them.

The film opens tonight, February 11, the day that a surprisingly strong youth movement forced Hosni Mubarak from power, and runs through the 17th.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Shadows of a Fleeting World

"I think photography should not be an imitation of paintings, but it should contain a feeling similar to that of poems." Dr. Kyo Koike, Seattle Camera Club

In 1924 the Seattle Camera Club was founded by a group of Japanese immigrants to the Pacific Northwest. While camera clubs were a popular phenomenon at the time, the work of the Seattle Camera Club stood apart for its stunning quality and unique sense of poetry. The group deliberately practiced pictorialism, a style of fine art photography interested in the effects of transient light and Japanese compositional elements. They developed innovative darkroom techniques to create unique soft-focus photographs that reflected contemporary painting styles, especially Impressionism. The records of most camera clubs have long disappeared, but the Seattle Camera Club’s works were saved thanks to the foresight of the late Robert Monroe, who for 17 years was the director of Special Collections in the University of Washington Libraries and a founder of the Book Club of Washington.

The show Shadows of a Fleeting World at the Henry Art Gallery presents over 100 works by Seattle Camera Club photographers and others in the Seattle area who worked who worked side by side with the SCC during the movement’s heyday in the 1920's, including prominent Seattle photographers like Imogen Cunningham. The show opens with a panel presentation on February 11 and runs through May 8.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Street artist Akay, based in Sweden, has been responsible for one creative project after another since the mid-90's. One series of works offers "complicated technical solutions to aide in simple acts of vandalism." His new robo-rainbow uses a bicycle and a drill-driven apparatus to quickly produce a symmetrical rainbow arc. But don't take my word for it, check out this swell video.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

To Hell With February

February is the month where people start thinking about Spring. They’ve endured November, December, and January, the holidays are well past, and now February -- which is just dark and cold. Personally, I’ve always been kind of depressed in the month of February. I used to joke around with friends in college that February was coming and it kind of took on a persona. This is when I was living in Buffalo. February is darkness and brutal cold and all gray and ice and dirty snow. It’s a disgusting month that must be stopped.

From an interview with Shane Jones at Bookslut.

It's a perfect moment to pick up Shane Jones' charming novel Light Boxes. Jones was born in Albany and educated in the impressive poetry program at the University of Buffalo. In 2009, at the tender age of 29, he published Light Boxes, his first novel, as a “chapnovel” by Publishing Genius in an edition of 500 copies. Light Boxes, now published by Penguin in considerably larger numbers, is a small and bewildering fable of a town battling to free itself from the brutal hold of the month of February, which has maintained its grip for 300 days. When the despairing townspeople, led by the valiant Thaddeus, suffer reprisals from February and its priests for trying to break the weather, a group of former balloonists don bird masks and instigate a rebellion. It's a lovely little book, full of sadness and magic.

A fine interview with Shane Jones at 3am Magazine.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hurley, Pegaso, Manohara

The unusually experimental bike shop 20/20 Cycle is hosting an otherworldly musical event this week. On a single inspired bill the cult hero and folk music legend Michael Hurley joins Latin psychedelic duo El Pegaso, along with the Vashon Island-based Indonesian folk band Orkes Manohara. A true adventure in global weirdness within the confines of an over friendly neighborhood cycle store. Absolutely not to be missed. On Saturday February 5 at 8:30pm. 2020 Cycle is at 2020 E. Union St. in Seattle.