Archive | March, 2014

At the Intersection of Film and Culture

21 Mar


Before the light and airy University of Puget Sound venue saw sunset and darkness slowly settled, nearly 90 people gathered on Thursday to become acquainted with Norwegian words, win prizes, and bid on small auction items as part of the Sister City International Film Festival’s screening of the Norwegian film The Other Side of Sunday.

A jovial mature audience was cautioned to hang in there, past the film’s first 10 minute racey beginning.  Most of us in the audience had lived through the 60’s and needed no warning against any blush that may have come.

The venue, Commencement Hall, grew dark in a beautiful way, as a rare sunny afternoon outside turned to evening, then night. The film absorbed attention and was vivid in its portrayal of rural Norwegian life in a secular household of the 1950’s. 

This story was billed as a coming of age story about a Protestant minister’s daughter, but at its core there seemed a broader coming of age, women gathering courage, one generation after another, to find their own truth, freedoms and life apart from traditions of male dominance disguised as piety.  It was called a dark comedy, though that may be more in the Shakespearean sense, happy ending rather than laughs.

I thought this film was a treat and well worth seeing. I imagine there will be discussions among members of the audience in the days that come.


March 27: Featuring the sister city of Morocco with a screening of Defining Love, A Failed Attempt

Acting overlaps reality, bridging roles with those in one’s life. Hamza and Zineb travel to a remote area in the Atlas mountains in Morocco to research for parts they’re supposed to play in an upcoming rendition of the legend of Isli and Tisselt – a tale of two lovers whose tears are believed to have created the two lakes that bear their name. Zineb and Hamza, both emerging from failed relationships, meet Mohammad, a young shepherd, who is a dreamer. DEFINING LOVE is a meditative exploration of the invisible in our lives, with nature as its witness.

April 3: Featuring the sister city of Cuba with a screening of Esther, Somewhere

A year after the death of his wife Maruja, Lino Catala, a staid old man is approached by Larry Po, another quirky old man with multiple personalities. Larry confesses Lino that his late wife, Maruja, led a double life: by day an ordinary housewife, and by night an impressive bolero singer. From this moment on, the two elders join in a thorough search of Maruja´s past while trying to find the whereabouts of Esther Rodenas, the great love of Larry’s life. While following the trail of the women he loved, a friendship develops between the two that definitively transforms and shows them that life does not end in old age.

Where: University of Puget Sound, Commencement Hall, Tahoma Room (corner of N. 13th and Lawrence Street)
Time: Doors open at 6 pm, cultural program starts at 6:15 pm, film starts at 7 pm
Cost: FREE! Seats are limited to first come, first serve

More information about the 12th Annual Sister Cities International Film Festival is available at

The Tacoma Arts Commission is proud to support this event through Arts Projects funding.


Dane Gregory Meyer PhotographyThis review was written by Tacoma Arts Commission member Dane Meyer. Dane has been a professional photographer for over 25 years and owns Dane Gregory Meyer Photography. He has served on the Tacoma Arts Commission since 2009 in a desire to give back to the community and support the arts as an economic engine and core for Tacoma.

KRUNK: Urban Fusion

17 Mar
KRUNK 9: Urban Fusion

Redd Williams addresses the audience and performers of KRUNK 9: Urban Fusion.

Hip-Hop reigned supreme in the DASH Center’s annual KRUNK dance showcase, which was held on Saturday, March 15 to a sold-out show at Theater on the Square in downtown Tacoma. The event attracted an amazing array of diverse dance troupes from Seattle, Portland, Renton, Bellevue and Spanaway, as well as several Tacoma groups who are members of the DASH Family.

About 100 dancers and 14 troupes participated in the festival including a special dose of “family” as the Dope DASH Dads (or D3) and the DASH Center Moms staged competing hip-hop performances designed to prove that kids don’t have the corner on cool (the Dads won the audience vote). I found the performances electric, energetic, intelligent, technically proficient (often superb), and suitably provocative.

The performance was followed by a series of four dance workshops on March 16, taught by professional hip-hop artists, including performers and choreographers. One of the workshop instructors, Redd Williams, spoke eloquently to the performers and audience after the show saying, “I’m from St. Louis and we don’t have anything like this there.” He admonished the performers that, “performance is different from dancing.”

Redd Williams also reminded the audience that next year marks the KRUNK festival’s 10th Anniversary. To celebrate, DASH is planning to audition an “All Star” crew comprised of top performers from all the participating dance troupes and feature their All-Star performance during the KRUNK show. You will want to stay tuned for March 2015!

The Tacoma Arts Commission is proud to have supported this event through Arts Projects funding.

For information about DASH: | (253) 507-9466 


JanBrazzellThis review was written by Tacoma Arts Commission member Jan Brazzell. Jan is principal counsel and CEO of Advancement Consulting. She has served on the Tacoma Arts Commission since 2008 and is passionate about the arts and how they help children and adults achieve their intellectual and human potential.


11 Mar


Tacoma’s own MLKBallet presents CHAMBER, an evening of contemporary dance and live chamber music at Urban Grace on March 29Featuring original choreography by Faith Stevens and the world premier of commissioned music for cello, violin, piano, and electronics by local composer Brad Hawkins, CHAMBER blends contemporary dance with new music and bold 20th century works by Claude Debussy, Olivier Messiaen, and John Cage. CHAMBER joins old traditions with new and explores the visual aspects of music and dance performance, as performing artists share the stage.  The event is ADA accessible.

Who: MLKBallet
Where: Urban Grace, 902 Market Street in downtown Tacoma
When Saturday, March 29, 7:00 pm
Tickets: $8, order at Brown Paper Tickets

The public is also invited to a free open rehearsal on Sunday, March 23 at 11:00 am, at Schneebeck Hall on the University of Puget Sound campus.

The Tacoma Arts Commission is proud to support MLKBallet through Arts Projects funding.

Photo by Scott Haydon

Photo by Scott Haydon

About MLKBallet
MLKBallet is a tuition-free dance training program committed to providing accessible, quality ballet training for children in the Tacoma area.  They produce contemporary dance shows in Tacoma as a way of building a dance audience and to provide their students and families opportunities to experience all levels and types of dance in the Tacoma community.

Children’s Museum of Tacoma a Finalist for 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service

5 Mar
Visitors to the Children's Museum of Tacoma participate in Art Sparks hands-on programming. Photo courtesy of the Children's Museum of Tacoma.

Visitors to the Children’s Museum of Tacoma participate in Art Sparks hands-on programming. Photo courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Tacoma.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced earlier this week that the Children’s Museum of Tacoma is a National Medal for Museum and Library Service finalist. The National Medal, the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community, is celebrating its 20th year of saluting institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

Medal finalists are selected from nationwide nominations of institutions that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. This year’s finalists exemplify the nation’s great diversity of libraries and museums and include an aquarium, conservatory and botanical gardens, a university library, individual libraries, children’s museums, art museums, science centers, and more, hailing from across the country.

“Museums and libraries serve as civic gathering places, bringing together individuals in pursuit of educational resources, community connections, skills development, and multifaceted lifelong learning,” said Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “We are very proud to announce the Children’s Museum of Tacoma as a finalist for the 2014 National Medal.  This year’s National Medal finalists illustrate the many ways museums and libraries can excite lifelong learning and civic engagement.”

Finalists are chosen because of their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. The Children’s Museum of Tacoma’s contributions to the community through programs like Pay As You Will admission, the Play to Learn outreach program, and Growing Together initiatives are recognized as programs that lead the nation in innovation, response to community need, and accessibility.

Steve Maxwell, KeyBank market president in South Puget Sound, says this about his company’s investment in Pay As You Will admission: “As a banker, I care about economic self-sufficiency and I know that comes from education. Pay as You Will makes it possible for all children, even those with parents of limited means, to access the museum’s resources and benefit from the power of play. We at KeyBank see our support as an important investment in our community’s children and it is gratifying to see that IMLS also recognizes this innovative approach to community service.”

The Tacoma Arts Commission is proud to support the Children’s Museum of Tacoma through its Arts Projects funding program. The Commission also recognized KeyBank with the 2012 AMOCAT Arts Patron Award for their financial support in making the Museum’s Pay as You Will admission possible.

Photo courtesy of the Children's Museum of Tacoma.

Photo courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Tacoma.

About the Children’s Museum of Tacoma
Located in Pierce County, where 35% of families are low income, 1 in 5 people serve in the U.S. military, and vital early education services are not available to all families, the Museum serves its community through accessible, affordable early learning experiences. 

Responding to community need for low-cost, high-quality, learning experiences and programming for young children and families in its community, the Museum offers:

  • Pay as You Will admission – the first non-profit children’s museum in the nation to offer admission via donation, the Museum welcomes all families to explore the Museum exhibits and benefit from staff facilitated experiences;
  • Play to Learn – a free school readiness program for children ages 1-6 and their parents/caregivers, offered at neighborhood sites across the county;
  • Play Is on Base – enhanced support services for the region’s 50,000 service members and their 60,000 dependent family members;
  • Growing Together – a suite of developmentally and needs-appropriate programming for children with special needs and their families.

Through collaboration with a wide range of community partners, comprehensive output- and outcome-based program evaluation, and input from participants, the Museum has developed and continues to reshape its programs to best meet the needs of the community. Strong programmatic and organizational partnerships create efficiencies while bringing a dynamic quality and strength to the Museum’s programs.

For more information about Children’s Museum of Tacoma, visit

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.  Their mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Their grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.  To learn more, visit

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