Monday, November 23, 2015

49. Three Dollar Bill Cinema: 20th Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival- Welcome to This House

Sometimes one arts event will inform and inspire another. At least that was the case for us with Welcome to this House at the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.

The film, which explored the life of poet Elizabeth Bishop, was in the Festival's "Know Your History" category. It was the perfect sequel to Dear Elizabeth, an excellent play produced at the Seattle Repertory Theatre last season about the friendship between Bishop and poet Robert Lowell. Screened at the Northwest Film Forum Theater on Capitol Hill, the documentary told the rest of the Bishop story. I particularly enjoyed the sequences about the poet's life in Brazil and her fiery relationship with Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo Soares. Prior to the movie the group Puget Sound Old Lesbians Organizing for Change did an interesting and light-hearted presentation about their programs.

Now in its 20th year, the Festival had 26 co-presenters and filled thousands of seats at five theaters around Seattle. It showcased over 30 films selected from more than a thousand submissions. It explored serious and important themes, but was also a lot of fun – there were a dozen parties and receptions over the Festival's eleven days, including a Closing Night Gala to celebrate the winners of both juried prizes and those awarded by popular vote.

Three Dollar Bill Cinema provides access to films by, for and about LGBT people and their families. In addition to the Festival, their programs include outdoor theater, a transgender film festival, youth programs, and acting as fiscal sponsor for film projects. I was pleased to see that the Three Dollar Bill Cinema homepage thanks donors who, through ArtsFund's Power2Give program, helped them establish a new home in the 12th Avenue Arts building on Capitol Hill.

Monday, November 9, 2015

48. Museum of Glass: Bird Lovers Weekend

Forty eight down. Seven to go.

My wife Chris has always loved birds, so the Bird Lovers Weekend was the perfect time for our visit to the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. One seldom has the opportunity to observe world famous sculptors at work. The Museum of Glass, however, provides that chance: it has a working hot shop where you can watch premier artists create fabulous glass art. It is exciting to watch and there is always some suspense. What will the final creation look like? Will it survive the creative process without shattering?

We spent close to an hour in the hot shop on a recent Sunday afternoon observing Finnish master glassblowers Arto Lahtinen and Helena Welling create beautiful glass birds. This is the twelfth year they have spent time in the hot shop creating works designed by Professor Oiva Toikka from Finland's famous Iittala glass company. The museum's hot shop is within a 90 foot tall cone-shaped amphitheater where visitors are very close to the action. You can also watch the work in progress on a large live screen, with commentary provided by Museum staff.

In the hotshop you can watch
the artists at work and follow
the action on a live screen.
The Museum of Glass and the adjoining Chihuly Bridge of Glass opened in July of 2002. The opening was the result of a 20 year incubation and development process involving artists and civic leaders who believed a world-class museum celebrating the Studio Glass movement would help anchor Tacoma's redevelopment. In addition to the hotshop, the museum features galleries that host many exhibitions throughout the year as well as the museum's permanent collection. The museum also has a number of School Programs and, of course, the opportunity to purchase beautiful glass art in its gift shop.

It is exciting and suspenseful to watch
 the glass artists in action.

The museum galleries feature many
exhibitions and a permanent collection.

Bird Lover's Weekend featured an appearanceby the Seattle Seahawks' live mascot Taima, an Augur Hawk.