Keb’ Mo’ at The Washington Center

Time seems to award Keb’ Mo’ rather than age him. With 14 albums under his belt, a slue of Grammy Nominations and Awards, as well as Blues Foundation and BMI Awards, he’s a proven musical American classic.

He will perform Thursday, October 11 at 7:30 pm at Washington Center for the Performing Arts. His latest album release was “TajMo” in 2017. Though this wasn’t the first time Keb’ Mo’ performed with Taj Mahal, it was the first time they recorded music together.

“The collaboration between Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ sounds spontaneous, with mutual respect for each other and for what each one represents in the music,” reviews Blues Rock Review. “Keb’ Mo’ wrote most of the songs on ‘TajMo’ and it has, in general, more of Keb’s background despite the fact that he said that Taj Mahal became a mentor to him.”

As for solo recordings, in 2016 he released “That Hot Pink Blues Album,” a compilation of live recordings during his 2015 tour. “Keb’ Mo’s combination of masterful, anecdotal writing skills, distinctive guitar versatility and rich, resonant, blues-soaked vocals are a testament to his respect in the music industry,” Blues Magazine reviews. “Every song tells a story, and every story reminds listeners of why Keb’ Mo’ is one of the most multi-talented and engaging musical raconteurs on today’s roots rock and blues scene.”

Keb’ Mo’ has carried on blues traditions while also implementing his original americana style, garnering countless fans. He’s even used his talents for Playing for Change Foundation, a non-profit organization built to support music education internationally.

A few years ago when Keb’ Mo’ performed at The Aladdin Theater in Portland, Portland Radio Project described, “In true Keb Mo fashion, his music is a representation of who he is and what he likes. He doesn’t worry about which genre it fits into; he just wants to make something he’s happy with. Lucky for us, we happen to like it too!”

Tickets range from $39 to $62, with VIP tickets available for $105 that include a meet and greet and photo opportunity with Keb’ Mo’, as well as an autographed gift package. Tickets are available at https://www.washingtoncenter.org/event/kebmo-1810/

JORDAN MARIE McCAW

 

Dragon Boat Festival celebrates culture!

The dragons will be back in the water on Saturday, April 28, for one of the area’s most colorful spectacles, the Saint Martin’s Dragon Boat Festival. The event, now in its 13th year, will welcome 48 Northwest teams at Olympia’s Port Plaza for intense but friendly competition between dragon boat teams. The festival serves as a fundraiser for the Saint Martin’s Office of International Programs and Development, which welcomes students from around the world to the University and helps to foster cultural exchange and education.

Dragon boat races lead off the Saturday morning of a South Sound weekend filled with extraordinary entertainment. All festival activities are free and family-friendly. Other weekend highlights in downtown Olympia include Arts Walk, Procession of the Species, and the Olympia Farmer’s Market. Making it a springtime destination weekend, many stay overnight and enjoy the great activities available in Thurston County, including wine, beer and coffee tasting, paddle boarding and kayaking, shopping, and hiking in the famed Capitol State Forest.

More than 1,200 participants are expected to take part in the festival’s dragon boat races and nearby multicultural performances.

Dragon boats have been raced for some 2,000 years in China and East Asia. While the events origins are obscured by time, the most popular legend states that dragon boat races commemorate the fishermen who paddled their boats on the waters of China’s Miluo River in search of the body of exiled statesman-poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in despair over the human suffering and political corruption of his time. Today, dragon boat races are a way of celebrating community and culture.

The Dragon Boat Festival begins at 9 a.m. with welcoming remarks by Saint Martin’s University President Roy Heynderickx, Ph.D., and Honorary Festival Chair, Secretary of State Kim Wyman, followed by the “Dotting of the Eye” ceremony and a traditional blessing of the dragon boats. Races begin at 9:30 a.m., with competition between paddling teams drawn from Northwest schools and universities, government, community organizations and businesses. The final heats of the race will commence at 4 p.m., followed by a closing awards ceremony.

The Dragon Boat Festival has been a natural outgrowth of Saint Martin’s educational and cultural exchanges with China, which began in 1995. Each year, China is a popular destination for University faculty members teaching business, accounting and general education and for students participating in China study tours and internships in Shanghai and Hong Kong. This spring, 16 students from China are part of the University’s student body.

“The Dragon Boat Festival is not just a Saint Martin’s event, it is a community event! It’s a fun day filled with many family-friendly and cultural activities. I encourage everyone to come,” says Josephine Yung, one of the festival’s founders and the University’s vice president of international programs and development.

The Dragon Boat Festival welcomes the support from organizations throughout the region. Sponsors are the Port of Olympia, the Cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater, Thurston County, Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, Squaxin Island Tribe, Capital Mall, Capitol City Press, Olympia Federal Savings and Olympia Orthopedic Associates.

Opportunities to participate as a team or act as a festival volunteer are still available. For more information about Saint Martin’s Dragon Boat Festival, visit www.stmartin.edu/dragonboat.

 

Marc Cohn and Blind Boys of Alabama

There’s nothing like the musical musings of beloved classics. On Saturday, Jan. 27, Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Marc Cohn and the Blind Boys of Alabama will bring theirs to Tacoma’s Broadway Center for the Performing Arts. 

Cohn’s fans will surely come to hear their favorites from his cache of visionary songwriting. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of his platinum-selling debut album, Cohn will be playing through all of the nostalgic, original classics from that self-titled album.

In an interview with Park Record earlier this year, Cohn said, “I never take for granted that I have an audience, and I’m very grateful for that. So I try to play the songs my fans come to hear.” He added that some artists hate it when there are certain things that are expected, “but it doesn’t bother me at all.”

The key to staying fresh throughout his career, he says, is trying new things with his older stuff. His most recent album release, last year’s Careful What You Dream: Lost Songs and Rarities, featured a collection of demos written and recorded in his early years. Cohn talked about it in an interview with The Sacramento Bee, saying he’d somehow forgotten about those songs. That album, he says, has old demos with songs that his fans know, and also “10 or twelve songs that nobody knows.”

In concert with Cohn, the Blind Boys of Alabama will bring their own arsenal of exciting and traditional southern music. After decades and decades of their southern roots style, today they’re easily recognized as an innovative gospel-style, southern rock band. by Jordan Marie McCaw


Marc Cohn with the Blind Boys of Alabama

Saturday, Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Broadway Center for the Performing Arts, 901 Broadway, Tacoma

broadwaycenter.org

West Coast Debut of 30 Americans

tamThe critically acclaimed, nationally traveling exhibition 30 Americans made its West Coast debut at Tacoma Art Muse-um this fall. Featuring 45 works drawn from the Rubell Family Collection in Miami—one of the largest private contemporary art collections in the world—30 Americans will be on view through Jan. 15, 2017.

The exhibition showcases paintings, photographs, installations, and sculptures by prominent African-American artists who have emerged since the 1970s as trailblazers in the contemporary art scene. The works explore identity and the African-American experience in the United States. The exhibition invites viewers to consider multiple perspectives and to reflect on the similarities and differences of their own experiences and identities.

“The impact of this inspiring exhibition comes from the powerful works of art produced by major artists who have significantly advanced contemporary art practices in our country for three generations,” says Stephanie Stebich, executive director of TAM. “The stories these works tell are more relevant than ever as we work toward understanding and social change.”

Characterizing TAM as a “safe space for difficult conversations through art,” Stebich adds that the museum will hold open forums and discussions during the run of the exhibition, offering ample opportunity, she says, for community conversations about the role of art, the history of racism, and traumatic current events.

Rock Hushka, TAM’s chief curator, expects that for some viewers, this exhibition will be comforting and exciting; for others it may be provocative or uncomfortable. He said the museum will have gallery prompts that invite visitors to examine their own identities and how it affects their reactions.

What will you see in 30 Americans? Works by seminal figures such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Carrie Mae Weems will be on view alongside pieces by younger generations of artists such as Kehinde Wiley, Mickalene Thomas and Kalup Linzy. Woven through many of the works are evocative themes of race and black identity in America, the struggle for civil rights, popular culture and media imagery.

JULIANNA VERBOORT

For additional information:
Tacoma Art Museum
1701 Pacific Ave, Tacoma
253.272.4258
tacomaartmuseum.org

Skating into a Brighter Future

skateSkateboards twist in midair, landing with a crash. Smiles, hollers and 400 youth fill the space each month, an old ware-house across from Tacoma’s popular Opera Alley. Welcome to Alchemy Skateboarding & Education Center. It’s so much more than meets the eye.

Alchemy Skateboarding is a nonprofit dedicated to “providing opportunities for youth to learn and grow through skate-boarding.” The mission shapes athletic programs, mentoring, experiential learning opportunities, a leadership training program, safe drop-in facility and Go Skate Tacoma, an annual citywide celebration. Alchemy even teaches courses in three high schools in the Tacoma School District.

“A skateboarder will crash and fail 100 times before they get a trick done well. They are very tenacious,” said Ben Warner, executive director. “They believe if they keep on working, they’ll get it right. They are innovative and brilliant. We just try to teach them the words and give them an authentic mirror so they can see who they really are.”

This resiliency and persistence is channeled into empowering youth to engage civically, participating in the community to create positive change.

The vision for Alchemy began in 2009 when a small team, led by Warner, em-barked on a trek to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs by longboarding across the country. The team skated from coast to coast, visiting clubs along the way to benefit youth participants.

This transformative journey developed their awareness of the power of skateboarding. From urban centers to desert villages, the team witnessed the unique power of skateboarding and its ability to build strength and confidence in youth.

Need a gift for that hard-to-shop-for teen? How about personal skateboarding lessons? Looking for a unique way to celebrate a birthday? Rent Alchemy’s indoor park for the party. All proceeds benefit the youth program, where no child is turned away. Be the “cool” relative and give a gift that gives back to at-risk youth.

EMILY HAPPY

For additional information:
alchemyskateboarding.org
253.237.4281

Cutting Edge: Art Quilts of Washington

quiltsQuilters quilt and painters paint, but there is a world of di-mension behind the work of fabric artists. As the newest exhibit at the Washington State History Museum—Cutting Edge: Art Quilts of Washington—shows, quilting is an artistic medium in and of itself.

“Traditionally, quilts were hand-sewn from scraps of fabric to meet a practical need—they kept families warm during the winter months,” said Lynette Miller, head of collections for the Washington State Historical Society and curator of the quilt exhibit. “Over time, they have evolved from simply being functional into something decorative and creative, and finally into a means of artistic expression no different from painting or sculpting.”

Cutting Edge: Art Quilts of Washington is a collaborative effort between the Washington State Historical Society, which also has a number of historic quilts from its collection on display, and the Contemporary Quilt Art Association, a diverse group of artists, teach-ers, writers and collectors from throughout Washington. The juried exhibit features the work of association members, who view quilts as an exciting medium of expression and a viable contemporary art form.

“Today’s quilt artists may still use sewing machines, but they are just as likely to use more contemporary technology such as computers and printers or less traditional techniques such as painting, hand-dyeing and bleaching,” said Colleen Wise, president of the Contemporary Quilt Art Association. “They may embellish their work with beads, metal or found objects. They are using quilt-making as a means of expression rather than comfort. Quilt-making has evolved into a true art form with a distinctive American history.”

Cutting Edge: Art Quilts of Washington through Aug. 21 at the history museum, 1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma.

LEAH GROUT

For additional information: washingtonhistory.org