By BRYAN WILLIS for OLY ARTS
Olympia audiences have one more chance to catch free, aerial performances as The Brotherhood Takes Flight celebrates the end of its ninth season. Longtime fan Marcia Burnett offers excellent advice to anyone going for the first time: “Come early, especially if you’re going with friends.”
Aerial performances are presented in the tall but curiously intimate confines of The Brotherhood Lounge in downtown Olympia. Burnett always expects a crowd. “It’s a funny thing. Even though the place is packed, the event still feels like one of Olympia’s best-kept secrets. It’s such a unique, incredible performance, I always expect the line to go all the way round the block.”
The season finale June 6 continues The Brotherhood Takes Flight’s summer tradition of featuring only local artists. Aerialist Marlo Winter, core member of The Brotherhood’s resident aerialist company Airbound Underground, will share the airspace in a double-fabric piece with local favorite Karli Stewart. Audiences will also be treated to Eric Sanford on trapeze, Emily Van Kley on hoop, Lily Wilcox and Tush! Burlesque artist Sly Violet.
The Brotherhood Takes Flight has been a central feature of Olympia’s vibrant aerial-art scene, which has grown over 15 years. What makes this particular event so special?
TBTF enthusiast Alexis Sarah has a theory: “The aerialists transform a beloved, local bar into a delightful spectacle of physical curiosity, sheer human strength and artistry. The intimate setting and standing-room-only crowds make the audience practically a participant in the show.”
Performances mix grace, potential danger and artistic vulnerability — a compelling mix that has helped build a loyal audience, including local actor and director Judy Oliver. “I constantly enjoy the strength,” she says, “showcased in fellow, female-bodied individuals. It’s empowering, not to mention the high level and commitment of local talent and creativity. Every show has been fun, breathtaking and inspiring.”
As always, the show starts at 8 p.m., but wise audience members arrive early to find a seat and enjoy happy hour on the patio. Bring tips for bartenders and performers, and stay afterward for a dance party with the sounds of local celebrity DJ Fir$t Lady.
The series is scheduled to resume in the fall, but the all-local format probably won’t be featured again until next June. The season closer is a special event for everyone in the venue. That includes performer Emily Van Kley, who described her love for the Olympia audience: “No matter where we perform, we’re always reminded there’s no audience like the one we have at home.”
The Brotherhood Takes Flight
The Brotherhood Lounge, 119 Capitol Way N
8 p.m. Wednesday, June 6
Free, but tipping is encouraged