Note the “s” in “Arts Walk.” The word is plural because, in addition to so-called “visual arts” in all their forms and flavors, Olympia’s Arts Walk offers a variety of edifying entertainment from aerial acrobats to mesmerizing musicians. Five events are highlighted below, but dozens of performers promise to dazzle Olympians from stations all over the city’s downtown core.
Airbound Arts will stage two performances during Arts Walk weekend, one on Friday, April 28, the second the following night. We spoke to Kylie Rench, show producer and rental coordinator for the group, who performs under the name Moonlit Marie. “The one on Friday,” Rench said, “is an all-ages show, and that one’s gonna have some group performances, some performances from younger students and aerialists, some circus, maybe some juggling. They’re real variety shows. And then the second show (will have) mature content, everything from aerial to burlesque.” The latter show is intended for audience members aged 18 and older. “The thing I enjoy most about performing,” said Rench, “is finding that creative expression through movement, and being able to convey some sort of meaning or feeling to an audience member in an abnormal setting.”
PC & J, aka spouses Pat Cole and Jamie Jenson, will perform Friday evening at Childhood’s End Gallery. The pair met at a “jazz jam” at New Traditions Fair Trade and have been performing together for nine years, married for almost a year. “We connected over all kinds of music,” Cole recalled. “We like everything from show tunes to jazz to folk to Joni Mitchell to rock and roll.” Their performances include songs from all those genres. “We play standards. We play a lot of Latin music, but we also play Bonnie Raitt tunes.” They expect their Arts Walk set to last about three hours. “We play tunes from every decade,” said Cole, “back to the ’20s.” They’re even throwing in some Stephen Foster, the composer whose work includes pretty much every song a typical American can name from the 1850s.
Jamie Jenson encourages festival visitors to swing by their show at Childhood’s End, but also to “support live music, especially your local artists. There’s a lot of really great talent in Olympia.” She notes the particular importance of musical exploration in 2023 now that “some of our venues didn’t make it through the pandemic.”
Choro, in which the “ch” sounds like an “sh,” is an instrumental genre of music that arose in Rio de Janeiro in the 19th century. The word means “lament” in Portuguese, but the music itself is usually happy and lively. Choro is true world music that inherits transplanted elements from African rhythms to carioca to polka and waltz, and it can sound a bit like klezmer to modern ears. Traditionally played on flute, guitar and a stringed instrument called a cavaquinho, it can incorporate horns, other woodwind instruments and the tambourine-like pandeiro drum. Choro Tomorrow is a choro ensemble founded and fronted by clarinetist Lisa Seifert, on top of her long hours each week as an immigration attorney. Seifert explained the allure of choro thusly: “It’s very fun to play. It’s virtuosic.” Like jazz, “there is some improvisation in it.” The band, which currently comprises six members including Seifert, will perform Friday evening at Fish Tale Brew Pub. “I have to thank Fish Tale Pub for being part of the resurgence of Latin music,” noted Seifert, who promised audience members will “see the whole band dancing around as we play. It’s really lively, happy music. … They’re gonna make your eyebrows go up. It’s infectious.”
In 2019, six years after the world was bombarded with earnest renditions of “Let It Go,” Walt Disney Animation Studios unleashed Frozen II. The snowy sequel earned more money than its lucrative predecessor and is currently the second-most-successful animated film of all time, exceeded only by The Lion King. At a sing-along screening of Frozen II, The Washington Center for the Performing Arts will give audience members a chance to test their mettle against the staggering vocal chops of Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff and Idina Menzel on such earworms as “Into the Unknown.” (Hey, good luck with that.) Encourage your little Arendellians to don full, ice-princess regalia, as the screening will double as a costume contest hosted by the luminous Lauren O’Neill.
No relation to the late singer-songwriter Amy, Olympia pop band Winehouse is managed by its lead guitarist, Chivan Lim. It assembled in 2018, and its latest single, “We Coast,” was released in mid-March. (Give it a listen at winehousetheband.com.) Appearing Saturday night at Rhythms Coffee, Winehouse began as “a thing to do with friends,” Lim recalled, but “it developed into a little bit of a mission, like, ‘Empower the youth.’ … We would play with other bands in Olympia, but we sound quite different from them.” Winehouse now includes a saxophonist and a trumpeter. “It’s very ‘band pop,’ “ said Lim. “We’re all jazz musicians.” Their 2020 single “Pretty Lips,” for example, added humming sax and SoCal chill to a polished pop ballad tailor-made for weekend Spotify. Added Lim, “We’re excited for Olympia’s rising music scene. It seems like everybody I know is working on music or releasing an album. It’s good that it happened all at once, and I think it’s a different community, so it’s really keeping it alive. … It’s new. I’m super excited for the future.”
So say we all!
Photo credits: the artists
WHAT, WHEN AND WHERE
Airbound Arts Circus Spectacular
7 p.m. Friday, April 28 and 9 p.m. Saturday, April 29
Airbound Arts, 312 Columbia St. NW, Olympia
PC & J
6 p.m. Friday, April 28
Childhood’s End Gallery, 222 Fourth Ave. W, Olympia
5-7 p.m. Friday, April 28
Fish Tale Brew Pub, 515 Jefferson St. SE, Olympia
Frozen II sing-along and costume contest
6 p.m. Saturday, April 29
The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia
8 p.m. Saturday, April 29
Rhythms Coffee, 210 Fourth Ave. W, Olympia
With the exception of the Frozen II screening, which runs $10 a ticket, each event listed above is free