Christian Carvajal

Christian Carvajal is an author, director, actor, writer and columnist in northwestern Washington state and a communications consultant for Washington DSHS. He was OLY ARTS‘ founding, managing editor for two years and editor emeritus for two years after that. He has been a regular, freelance contributor to the publication. Carvajal is also a novelist, whose works can be found on his Amazon author page.

Articles

  • Danse Macabre
    Theater Artists Olympia presents four dramatized tales of Edgar Allan Poe in “Poe Nocturne” at Oly Theater in the Capital Mall, January 12- 21, 2024.
  • Danse Macabre
    by Christian Carvajal “Those who dream by day,” wrote Edgar Allan Poe, “are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” If that’s true, we all have much to learn from the inveterate daydreamers of Theater Artists Olympia. TAO normally performs in a Capital Mall storefront a few doors down the …

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  • #ThemToo: Animal Fire Theatre’s Measure for Measure
    In Animal Fire Theatre’s Measure for Measure, “… even a casual read of the play makes it clear the Bard had loftier aims than fun and frivolity.”
  • Leapin’ Lizards!
    “Make no mistake: These are not the killer turkeys from David Attenborough’s Prehistoric Planet (nor our actual, prehistoric planet). No, these are the genetically supercharged Frankenbeasts from the Jurassic movie franchise …”
  • Entertainment Center
    “We’re going back to cabaret style. … There’s something about the community feel,” Center Salon organizer Bryan Willis explains. “You’re talking with other people at your table. … There’s just more rapport (between) the actors and the audience.”
  • The Art of Sound and Motion
    Dozens of performers promise to dazzle Olympians from stations all over the city’s downtown core during Arts Walk Spring 2023.
  • Review: Building Madness at Harlequin Productions
    Desperate to keep their architecture company afloat, Max and Paul hire the mob to build a police retirement home in Kate Danley’s screwball comedy now playing at Harlequin Productions. For people who love those great old comedies from Hollywood’s Golden Era of the 1930s, “Building Madness” is a ticket to hilarity.
  • A Plethora of Plays at Tacoma Little Theater Companies Converge on Tacoma for the first round of this year’s AACTFEST competition
    Five Washington state Theatre companies converge on Tacoma to present five one-hour plays in competition for American Association of Community Theatre’s top regional honors over one weekend in February.
  • Progress That’s a Walk in the Park
    Take a stroll with the Olympia Symphony! In partnership with the City of Olympia, Olympia Symphony musicians have selected OSO recordings, narrated by vocalist, actor, and former OSO guest artist Cheryse McLeod Lewis, to accompany twelve magnificent park walks.
  • Revels and the Queen of the Americas
    Expect miracles, at least those of the theatrical kind, at The Midwinter Revels in Tacoma’s Rialto Theater this holiday season.
  • Falling for a Challenging Play at Olympia Little Theatre
    In many ways the Martins, the quintet of characters who populate Deanna Jent’s hour-long, 2011 play Falling, resemble a typical American family. Mother Tami, in some ways a stand-in for Jent herself, is overwhelmed and fond of red wine. Teenage son Josh demands a day off from school. There’s one all-important factor missing from that synopsis, however: Josh is a person with autism, given to veering from giddy hilarity to violent frenzy with little provocation or warning.
  • A Season of Surprises at Olympia Little Theatre
    It’s surprising and delightful when an amateur company chooses an entire slate of obscure material. Such is the case with Olympia Little Theatre (OLT), which will offer a roster of seven shows entirely new to most audience members. Feeling adventurous?
  • Two Tacoma Theaters Announce 2022-23 Seasons
    After two unprecedented pandemic years, most theater organizations in the South Sound decided to schedule full seasons of live entertainment in late 2022 and early 2023. The state of Washington no longer requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to enter theater spaces, but masks are still required for most patrons. With that in mind and figurative fingers crossed, OLY ARTS is pleased to announce upcoming offerings from Tacoma Little Theatre and Tacoma Musical Playhouse.
  • The Return of the Celebratory Center Salon
    “I’ve been doing salons for about 20 years through the Northwest Playwrights Alliance,” playwright Bryan Willis explains. “I really love the format.” Happily for Willis, executive director Jill Barnes was eager to host a salon in The Washington Center’s black box theater, a utilitarian space adjacent to its main auditorium. It returns this May after a three-year hiatus.
  • Strip Like the Mountain Is Out: the First-Ever PNW Burlesque Festival
    Valerie Veils, the self-billed “Heroine of the Hoochi Coo,” has dazzled audiences up and down the Pacific Coast. Now she’s extended her talents to produce the first-ever Pacific Northwest Burlesque Festival, a two-day, ecdysiastic extravaganza that’ll twirl its tassels at the Capitol Theater the first full weekend in May.
  • Ain’t No Party Like a South Sound Block Party
    With COVID cases on the decline, it’s time for something new. That’s where Christen Greene saw an opportunity. She’s the programmer of a new summer music festival in Olympia, the South Sound Block Party on Port Plaza this August.
  • One Thrilling Combination at Tacoma Little Theatre
    A Chorus Line, interrupted for two years but now revived at TLT, is truly one singular sensation.
  • A Painted Response to the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
    Artist Becky Knold has released a series of paintings that, intentionally or not, were inspired by or reacted to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • The British Are Coming, the British Are Coming
    Coming soon to The Washington Center for the Performing Arts is a touring tribute show, The British Invasion — Live on Stage, which includes Shannon McEldowney on keyboards and vocals alongside six other onstage performers.
  • Immersed in Van Gogh at Tacoma Armory
    The artistry of Vincent Van Gogh is on moving display at Tacoma Armory thanks to Imagine Van Gogh, a traveling exhibition co-designed by Julien Baron and Annabelle Mauger.
  • The World Returns to Lacey’s Cultural Celebration
    Lacey’s Cultural Celebration returns to Saint Martin’s University this month after two years found solely online.
  • Community Through Harmony: Great Bend Center for Music
    Community is the cornerstone of Matthew Melendez’s approach to music and teaching, whether in person or online. He believes music slips past ideology, identity politics and other distancing factors, thereby helping people meet on common ground.
  • Ensemble Mik Nawooj: A Contemporary Renaissance
    As rap music continues to evolve and diversify, it only makes sense that talented artists raised on hip hop and armed with music degrees seek to sample from the greatest discoveries of every musical era. That’s absolutely the case with Ensemble Mik Nawooj, the hip-hop orchestra coming soon to The Washington Center for the Performing Arts.
  • UPDATED: Big Things Are Coming to Olympia Family Theater
    The arrival of artistic director Lily Raabe to Olympia Family Theater (OFT) means big things for the family entertainment company in spring of 2022. Two mainstage shows open days apart, followed by the long-awaited debut of a musical mystery by Oly playwright Ted Ryle.
  • The Land of Sweets Is Back at The Washington Center
    This year marks The Nutcracker’s jubilant return to The Washington Center, with Josie and Ken Johnson at the helm. Guest artist Lucas Horns will dance the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavalier alongside a cast of over 150.
  • A Full-Length Premiere at the Washington Center
    Composer Andy Akiho’s full-length percussion program, Seven Pillars, debuts this weekend at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, presented by Emerald City Music.
  • A Downstairs Christmas at Pemberley
    In OLT’s “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley,” Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are hosting a Christmas party. That creates endless work for the servants downstairs, but the real hitch is the impending arrival of Mr. Darcy’s sworn enemy, Mr. Wickham.
  • A Wild Hunt for Christmas
    By Christian Carvajal As far back as the heyday of Norse mythology, northern Europeans have cherished and embellished the legend of the Wild Hunt. In some versions, Odin or one of his chief minions led a party of the dead on a rampage through nighttime woods. The legend inspired creations from a Liszt étude to …

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  • Postponement of the Species: Eli Sterling Explains Importance, Benefits
    By Christian Carvajal For two decades, the indisputable highlight of Olympia’s spring arts season was Arts Walk and its attendant, handcrafted parade, the Procession of the Species. Those events will go on hiatus this year due to SARS-CoV-2 and the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Formerly scheduled for April 24 and 25, the revised date of …

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  • Ballet Northwest: En Pointe for Half a Century
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL For all the influence they had on popular music genres, aside from success they’ve enjoyed on their own, the Fab Four were only together eight years. Alexander the Great ruled the Macedonian empire from 336 BC till his death a mere eight years later. The Qin dynasty that reunified China lasted a …

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  • PARC Foundation Puts Its Money Where the Arts Are
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL It’s easy to find noteworthy talents in Thurston County. This publication relies on that. What’s harder to find is someone willing to fund such talents until they can be showcased and, if possible, earn financial stability. Thankfully, the PARC Foundation has stepped up that laudable task. Inspired by the success of a …

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  • Women With Wings
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL Starting in January of 1942, Wonder Woman took to the skies in her Invisible Plane. Nine months later, nonfictional superheroines took flight. Sadly, it was their story rather than their aircraft which soon became invisible. On September 10, 1942, Nancy Harkness Love recruited over two dozen female pilots to form the Women’s …

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  • Farewell to the Wizard
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL There’s probably some parallel universe in which one might feel comfortable reviewing a Tacoma Dome performance by the man born Reginald Dwight in London, England. He’s 72 now, so it’s perfectly understandable the guy’s singing his swan song after half a century of touring and worldwide notoriety. There is, however, not a …

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  • Updating Volpone for the 21st Century
    By Alec Clayton Actor, director, writer and educator Christian Carvajal has written a play that will have a reading at La Vida Wine Bar in Lacey. Carvajal’s brand-new, comic script is loosely based on Volpone by Elizabethan and Jacobean playwright Ben Jonson and features the talents of actors Heather Christopher, Michael Christopher, Gabe McClelland, Scott …

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  • The Mueller Report at Washington Center
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL On April 18, 2019, after almost four weeks in the hands of Attorney General William Barr, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings on the subject of foreign involvement in the election of President Donald J. Trump were released to Congress and the public — albeit heavily redacted — by the Department of Justice. …

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  • The Show Must Go On: Queen, Others Headline at Tacoma Dome This Summer
    For music fans who started collecting albums before the arrival of Spotify, Tacoma Dome has scheduled an epic run of bucket-list concert acts.
  • Once Prosaic, Shaped Into Poetry
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL Alejandro de Acosta, philosophy faculty member at The Evergreen State College, is the essayist and translator responsible for a Texas micro-press called mufa::poema. Born in Argentina, de Acosta translated poetry collections by Jorge Carrera and Carlos Oquendo de Amat. His wife, Elise Dressler, is the poetry coordinator who leads a modern-poetry book …

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  • Olympia’s Summer of Shakespeare In Three Acts
    By Christian Carvajal William Shakespeare will be celebrated this summer in a unique trifecta of his work on stage. Three theater companies have joined to create a mini-Shakespeare festival in the South Sound from June through August 2019. Beginning on June 28, Animal Fire Theatre has staged one of Shakespeare’s most outrageous comedies, The Merry …

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  • This Glorious Quest: Harlequin’s Man of La Mancha Inspires Audiences
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s two-part novel The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha, first published in 1605 and 1615 — concurrent with Galileo, the King James Bible and Shakespeare — has been called the greatest novel ever, easily the most influential of the Spanish Golden Age. That novel inspired the 1965 …

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  • Capital City Pride Parade: Steps Toward Progress
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL Back in 1991, the population of Olympia was seven-tenths of what it is now, and stunning social paradigm shifts remained over the visible horizon. Legal, same-sex marriage in Washington State was a generation away — yet our town was already demonstrating its support of what came to be known as the queer …

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  • Thereby Hangs a Tale
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL Lacey will soon have its own theatrical troupe. Artistic director Kevin McManus explains, “Seven of my closest friends and I gathered together to form a theater company. We got ourselves a little 501(c)(3) license and are heading toward a three-production, inaugural season.” That fledgling company is Goldfinch Productions. “It’s exciting and a …

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  • Arts and Culture Events This Memorial Day Weekend
    By Billy Thomas As the weather continues to warm up, and the sun — that’s that bright thing in the sky, for those of us who have forgotten, due to its infrequent presence — begins to shine brighter, the promise of a long weekend is a reprieve from the slog. For readers who are looking …

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  • Miscast! (in a Good Way)
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL On June 2, Harlequin Productions will offer one performance, the name of which all but dares critics to slam it. That show, concocted by Aaron Lamb, is entitled Miscast! (The exclamation mark is very much Harlequin’s.) Usually when actors are accused of having been miscast, it’s no compliment. Consider, for example, the …

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  • Come to the Fun Home
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL Fun Home, a musical based on the 2006 graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel, is coming to South Puget Sound Community Theater (SPSCC). The musical tells the story of Bechdel’s tumultuous relationship with her parents and her process of coming out, to herself and others, in college. It opened off-Broadway in 2013, then …

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  • Local Theater Makes It Big
    Tacoma Little Theatre’s production of The Pillowman took top honors at the American Association of Community Theatre Region IX competition in Spokane this year and is going to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for the national finals in June.
  • May’s Olympia Design Month: We Build This City
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL Janae Huber and other citizens launched the group Olympians for People-Oriented Places in 2015. Their goal was to support a compact, diverse Olympia designed around attractive public spaces. Abbreviated O-POP, the organization recognizes the challenges of housing an estimated thousand new residents each year without sacrificing environmental protections or civic beauty. Toward …

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  • If Timberline High Student Can Make It There, She Can Make It Anywhere
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL Timberline High School junior Analisa Allen scored a triumph February 28 at Seattle Repertory Theatre by taking regional first place in the 11th-annual National August Wilson Monologue Competition, thereby advancing to finals May 6 at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway in New York City. Allen will test her mettle against finalists …

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  • A Dangerous Search for Unspun Facts
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL Equivocation is the use of ambiguous language to obscure inconvenient truths. It’s also the title of a stage thriller by Bill Cain, directed by Kathy Dorgan for a Saint Martin’s University production at the State Theater in downtown Olympia. The play premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2009. It follows William …

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  • Zap, Zing, Pow — Flavors Explode at E-San Zap Café
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL The largest region in Thailand, slightly smaller than Wisconsin, is a landlocked conglomeration of 20 northeastern provinces. Its name is four Thai characters, transliterated as Esan, Isaan, Isan or at least four other ways. In recent years, thanks primarily to Portland, Oregon chef Andy Ricker, its distinctive cuisine took American-foodie culture by …

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  • Olympia Teens Deliver Verses Louder Than a Bomb at Tacoma Event
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL Louder Than a Bomb (LTAB) is a month-long competition for poets aged 12 to 19. It was founded after the September 11, 2001 attacks by Kevin Coval and Anna West of nonprofit organization Young Chicago Authors. Michael Haeflinger, a poet who volunteered with LTAB in Chicago, moved to Tacoma a few years …

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  • Shake a Shimmy with Mas Uda
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL Each year, Olympia belly-dance troupe Mas Uda donates proceeds from a weekend of workshops and a public performance to a worthy cause. After years benefitting cancer research, Mas Uda made Girl Scouts of Western Washington its focus of generosity beginning in 2015. “That money that we raise,” says Cindy Connolly, troupe member …

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  • Footwear Made Fabulous
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL In 1993, bankruptcy threatened Northamptonshire, England’s nearly century-old shoe factory, WJ Brookes. Steve Pateman ran the firm for his still-living father, Richard, but only 21 employees remained. Pateman received a call from the owner of Laces in Folkestone, a shoe store catering to cross-dressers and drag queens. Pateman was asked whether WJ …

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  • Measure for Measure?
    By Editor On January 31, 2019, Tacoma Little Theatre‘s Off the Shelf program presented a workshop performance of Measure for Measure, a drama by William Shakespeare, adapted and directed by OLY ARTS editor emeritus Christian Carvajal and read by a “who’s who” list of South Sound thespians. The Bard’s poetic language has been preserved in …

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  • Measure for Measure? (Full Script)
    By William Shakespeare,Adapted by Christian Carvajal First presented at Tacoma Little Theatre, 31 January 2019 We are in Vienna, an amoral city of ostentatious wealth. CHARACTERS (in order of appearance) DUKE VINCENTIO: a Viennese big shotESCALUS: an aged lordANGELO: Duke Vincentio’s deputyLUCIO: a “fantastic,” or flamboyant bachelorFIRST GENTLEMAN / JUSTICESECOND GENTLEMAN / BARNARDINE: a convictMISTRESS …

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  • Grab a Slice of the Good Life
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL The Yiddish-American word klatch, which can rhyme with either batch or botch, means an informal gathering, usually one that facilitates conversation. Pizza Klatch is an Olympia-based organization that empowers LGBTQ+ youth in Thurston County by providing safe, supportive spaces — and yes, free pizza — in 15 area schools. It’s the result …

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  • Well-Told Tales at StoryOly
    By Christian Carvajal Professional storyteller Elizabeth Lord has been the host of StoryOly since she and Amy Shepard launched that raconteurial showdown in Nov. 2015. It fills Rhythm & Rye the third Tuesday of almost every month. The annual exception arrives each September, when the previous 11 winners come together for a weekend finals round. …

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  • Olympia Little Theatre Triple-Dog-Dares Ya
    By Christian Carvajal For many, the 1983 family movie A Christmas Story is an annual tradition. A middling success at the box office, it achieved immortality on marathon cable-TV airings and home video. Yet it may come as a surprise to fans of Ralphie and his avaricious adventures that they debuted, not in cinemas or …

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  • Duck the Malls
    By Christian Carvajal Olympia Film Society’s 16th-annual Duck the Malls fundraiser benefits independent artists and crafters in the South Sound while supporting visual-arts programming at Capitol Theater. It boasts items from over 50 vendors, including makers of board games, ceramics, dolls and other toys, ironwork, lighting and musical instruments. Homemade desserts are on sale at …

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  • 41st Annual Olympia Toy Run
    By Christian Carvajal As December begins, the 41st-annual Olympia Toy Run means thousands of motorcycles roar up Pacific Avenue onto State, Capitol, Fifth and Deschutes Parkway. Toys and proceeds go to the Salvation Army Toy ’n’ Joy Shop program. All street-legal motorcycles are invited to participate, and many riders return from towns all over western …

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  • Downtown for the Holidays
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL The Olympia Downtown Association presents a cornucopia of holiday entertainment complete with parade the Sunday after every Thanksgiving. Over a thousand people are expected to attend this year’s gathering. Shops compete in “Twinkle Fest” by decorating their storefronts; shoppers win prizes by voting. The Hotel Olympian (116 Legion Way SE) hosts a …

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  • Better Angels: The Great Work Arrives
    THEATER REVIEW by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS What an inspiring, majestic mountain director Lauren Love scaled with her production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America at South Puget Sound Community College. This monumental script is over a quarter-century old now, and there’s still nothing like it in theater history. Even expansive productions like Peter …

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  • Space Invaders at Lakewood Playhouse
    By Christian Carvajal “Across an immense ethereal gulf,” a voice intoned, “intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic regarded this earth with envious eyes and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.” It was Sunday evening, October 30, 1938. The voice was that of 23-year-old wunderkind Orson Welles, already a radio and stage star on two …

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  • The Creative Thinking Behind Washington’s New Certified Creative Districts
    By Christian Carvajal We all know the state of Washington is proud of its creativity. Over 200,000 Washingtonians make their livings in the arts, adding $22.7 billion to our state’s domestic product. In order to be installed in Washington’s new Certified Creative Districts program, however, a community must first meet clear criteria. Managed by Annette …

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  • Dry Powder: Explosive
    By Christian Carvajal In a surprise August move, Harlequin Productions cancelled its original play choice for October, the Chicago crime drama A Steady Rain. In an interview with Molly Gilmore for The Olympian, Harlequin’s associate artistic director, Aaron Lamb, characterized Rain as “not the story we wanted to be telling at this moment.” Instead, actor-director …

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  • StoryOly Grand Slam
    By Christian Carvajal As StoryOly completes its third season of raconteurial entertainment, host (and professional storyteller) Elizabeth Lord is busily making plans for 2018’s “Grand Slam” finale. Winners from the preceding 11 monthly events compete head to head for the votes of celebrity judges. (Disclosure: This writer was among those monthly winners.) StoryOly is a …

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  • Lakewood Playhouse Celebrates 80th Season
    By Christian Carvajal Now in his eighth year as managing artistic director of Lakewood Playhouse, John Munn has worked to diversify the types of shows audiences can expect from this community theater with big-city aspirations. The troupe’s 80th season therefore boasts everything from light, family entertainment to a six-hour-plus epic about America’s response to the …

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  • High School Stages 2018-2019
    In addition to the varied schedules of theater offered by professional, semi-professional, collegiate and community troupes, the South Sound offers students and other audience members show after show of engaging drama from high school companies. Often, teen performers share the boards with more experienced actors under the guidance of skilled, passionate educators. The following offerings …

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  • Spicy Little Pearls
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL “I did not know that there were other performers like me,” says burlesque artist Perlita Picante, “of my Latin background. … It turns out there a lot of people in that category.” Other Latina, South Sound performers include TUSH! Burlesque founder Frida Fondle, Rock Candy Burlesque’s Vanessa the Witch and Valerie Veils …

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  • Artesian Family Festival in Tumwater
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL for OLY ARTS Every Fourth of July the city of Tumwater pulls out all the stops. Start with the obvious: The Thunder Valley Fireworks Show is, according to festival organizers, the biggest in Thurston County. It’s certainly impressive — but so are the entertainment and events that precede it. Littles will relish …

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  • Enter Broadway Olympia Productions
    By CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL An audacious theatrical venture is about to debut at Olympia’s Capitol Theater. Under the guidance of impresario Kyle Murphy and artistic director Lexi Barnett, Broadway Olympia Productions plans a full season of five Broadway musicals derived from or popularized by cinema. The company’s mission statement promises “a sustainable program which operates on …

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  • An Interview With Shawn Colvin
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS The name Shawn Colvin is familiar to anyone who owned a radio in the summer of 1997, when her song “Sunny Came Home” was a top-10 smash that earned Grammy wins for best record and song. She’d already won “Best Contemporary Folk Album” six years prior for her debut …

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  • Lynda Barry: Evergreen Cuts Are ‘Cultural Genocide’
    by Ned Hayes for OLY ARTS OLY ARTS reported in June that The Evergreen State College was cutting heavily into staff and facilities that made theater possible at Evergreen. The Experimental Theater (COM 124, a 200-seat, black-box venue) and its costume and scene shops will close at the end of the spring 2018 semester. Faculty and staff members …

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  • The End of an Era at The Evergreen State College
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS The Evergreen State College is known for a liberal-arts environment that encourages free artistic expression. However, this spring Evergreen will cut heavily into the budget for staff and facilities that nurture theatrical expression. This year, the last seven shows at TESC will be especially fraught but meaningful, as they …

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  • Procession: Berebitsky’s Marvelous Menagerie
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS   Jerry Berebitsky is the technical director for performing and media arts at The Evergreen State College. He’s also filled similar roles at Olympia Waldorf School and South Puget Sound Community College. Yet, when Berebitsky makes appearances at each Procession of the Species, it’s his animal sidekicks that really …

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  • Say Yes to Pink Martini
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS Portland-based Pink Martini is a danceable jazz combo with international flair. “More and more,” said founder Thomas Lauderdale, “as time goes on and we see the growth of so much bitter divisiveness in America and across the globe, our ambition is to find commonalities and bring people together with …

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  • Drop-Dead Comedy at Standing Room Only
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS When writer Joseph Kesselring commenced work on his most famous of a dozen plays, he intended it as serious drama. Its setup may even have been inspired by grisly murders in Connecticut. Now, over 75 years later, the Broadway draft of Arsenic and Old Lace is one of America’s …

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  • In Defense of the Arts: 2018
    In January 2017, OLY ARTS published our editorial about possible defunding of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Today, the President released a proposed budget that proposes exactly that full defunding. OLY ARTS is thus re-publishing our clarion call from 2017 to retain and expand funding …

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  • Brian Reed, Award-Winning This American Life Voice, Speaks Live at The Washington Center
    By Christian Caravajal and Ned Hayes for OLY ARTS For over 20 years, “This American Life” has given public-radio airwaves an unusual perspective on current events, offering insightful commentary from such writers as John Hodgman, David Rakoff, David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell and of course, the inimitable Ira Glass. Recently, “This American Life” has taken steps …

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  • The Rhythm and Romance of Rosanne Cash
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS Being the daughter of a musical legend can open doors, to be sure, but it multiplies the difficulty of forging a career apart from his shadow. Consider, then, the talent of Rosanne Cash. After the Man in Black recorded a song she wrote, Rosanne formed a partnership with singer-songwriter …

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  • A Time-Traveling Comedy at Olympia Little Theatre
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS Time is of the essence in English playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s 1995 thriller Communicating Doors, opening this weekend at Olympia Little Theatre. The title is a British phrase meaning a passage between two adjoining hotel suites. The story begins 20 years from now, when executive assistant Julian procures the services …

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  • Olympia Celebrates a Festival of Lights
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS One of the joys of living in a broad, multicultural society is the resulting plethora of holiday celebrations. Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, begins at sundown on Tuesday, December 12 this year and lasts for eight full days. It commemorates the revolt of the Hebrew Maccabees against the …

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  • OLY ARTS Editorial Change
    OLY ARTS announces the departure of long-term managing editor Christian “Carv” Carvajal, who served as the publication’s founding editor. Carvajal leaves a healthy, vibrant and well-regarded publication for a full-time position in communications management. Publisher Ned Hayes stated: “OLY ARTS readership will miss Carv’s insightful editorial skill, and I will miss my right-hand man who executed brilliantly …

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  • Behind the Scenes of Cabaret Derriere
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS The creators and performers of Olympia’s Own TUSH! Burlesque are promotional wordsmiths, though some of their enticements are unprintable here. For the troupe’s recurring series at Obsidian, it promises “a titillating romp to celebrate Halloween,” with lots of “sizzle, sass and fabulous fun.” When asked about the name of …

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  • David Wright, 1946-2017
    Thespian David Wright was born near Christmas in 1946. He died this week in Olympia at age 71. Wright was considered a master of the stage and worked regularly as an actor at many theaters along the West Coast. Wright began working with Harlequin Productions in 1992 in their second season, and performed on the Harlequin …

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  • Olympia Little Theatre Presents Powerful 78th Season
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS The 2017-2018 season at Olympia Little Theatre, by far the longest-standing troupe in Thurston County, kicks off August 31 with the astronomers of Silent Sky. After that cosmically inspiring drama, the company presents six diverse plays ensuring quality entertainment for every age and taste. All the King’s Women is …

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  • StoryOly Seeks Icebreaking Storytellers
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS StoryOly bills itself as Olympia’s premier storytelling event. On the third Tuesday evening of each month since November 2015, amateur storytellers have braved the stage to regale full houses at Rhythm & Rye with meaningful anecdotes from their own lives. Tales range from movingly confessional to outrageously frank. Each …

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  • Fungi for the Whole Family
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS Perhaps making up for the pervasive aroma of fertilizer wafting from its mushroom farm in Lacey, Ostrom’s is one of the primary sponsors of the Pacific Northwest Mushroom Festival. This year the event marks its 10th anniversary, and it’s grown — well, like a mushroom. Proceeds benefit Boys & …

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  • Food, Fun and Fireworks on the Fourth of July
    * Current 2018 Fireworks information here *   2017 Article on Tumwater Artesian Festival by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS Every Fourth of July the city of Tumwater pulls out all the stops. Start with the obvious: The Thunder Valley Fireworks Show is, according to festival organizers, the biggest in Thurston County. It’s certainly impressive …

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  • The Olson Bros Band at Lacey in Tune
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS The Olson brothers of Olympia, Isaac and Luke, formed a country act in 2011. They won the 2013 Capital Lakefair Battle of the Bands and a national songwriting contest with “Sunrise,” an original song they performed at the Grand Ole Opry. That song was inspired by the natural beauty …

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  • A Tabloid Musical at SPSCC
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS Some theatrical musicals originate as great novels (Les Misérables), others (The Lion King) as beloved cinema. Some come to us by way of historical biographies (Hamilton) and some, believe it or not, are still written from scratch. But only one popular musical began as a story in the Weekly …

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  • 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche at the Midnight Sun
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS The next production from Theater Artists Olympia is the product of a series of unexpected events. Last fall, the scrappy troupe announced it’d present a “season of sex,” typified by The Physician in Spite of Himself and Playhouse Creatures. Then TAO lost the rights to a few desired scripts, …

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  • Pug Bujeaud: Superwoman
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS For many people, theater is a way of life. For Olympia-born Pug Bujeaud, it began as a way of staying alive. “I had social anxiety before those things were talked about,” Bujeaud says. “I was so shy in high school that I would walk around the outside of the …

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  • 2017: OIympia Waldorf School Struts Its Stuff
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS Led by Jerry Berebitsky, Olympia Waldorf School has accepted the challenge of portraying a flock—technically, an “ostentation”—of peacocks. That includes at least 30 kid-sized peacock characters and an alpha peacock some 24 feet high, puppeteered by 20 people. The original alpha puppet was created by the Spirit of the …

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  • 2017: Alki Middle School and the Shores of Nisqually
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS Since 1974, the Nisqually river delta has been set aside for public enjoyment as the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. This biologically diverse estuary covers over 760 acres, the largest delta refuge in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a birdwatcher’s delight, with over 200 species alighting there each …

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  • Willy Wonka and the Everlasting Showstoppers
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS “Who can take a sunrise / Sprinkle it in dew?” We suspect any child of the 1970s, or of any decade since for that matter, could immediately answer that musical question. It’s “The Candy Man,” of course—in this case, a very specific candy man, the mischievous (and ostensibly homicidal) …

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  • 2017: The Pride of Madison Elementary
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS According to the Daily Mail, there were over 200,000 wild lions in Africa three decades ago. Now there are a tenth of that number, with only five viable populations remaining on the vast continent. That’s why Madison Elementary is coming to the rescue. “Lion cubs are our mascot,” says …

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  • 2017: The Tigers of Samba Olywa
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS Samba dancing began as semba in Angola, then evolved into its modern form in early-20th-century Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Olympia’s resident samba troupe, Samba Olywa, united to dance in Procession of the Species 1995. Now it performs several times a year under the direction of a seven-member steering committee. …

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  • Garrison Keillor: Our Prairie Home Companion
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS “Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota…” With those familiar words, listeners to A Prairie Home Companion on National Public Radio have delighted for decades to the small-town shenanigans related by master writer and storyteller Garrison Keillor. Keillor hosted the show from 1974, when it was …

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  • Eli Sterling: The Man Behind the Masque
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS It’s no exaggeration to call Eli Sterling the visionary behind Olympia’s own Procession of the Species. He produced a series called Earthbound for Thurston County Television in 1991; it went on to win nine Northwest regional and national public-access television awards. Earthbound, says Sterling, “was dedicated to pursuing a …

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  • Capital Food & Wine Festival 2017
    by Christian Carvajal for OLY ARTS The Capital Food & Wine Festival is an annual 501(c)(3) fundraiser for Saint Martin’s University. Al Eckroth, director of the first and second installments, describes it as “a huge annual block party, where neighbors and friends unite in a spirit of community.” He says the festival “began in 1989 …

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