Seattle Weekender: Harold Pinter, cheesy sports tapes, and the outdoors
by Quin Benzel
Discovery Park, Seattle Credit: Joe Mabel
The Pinter Fest
On a rainy autumn day in 2005 Harold Pinter was boarding a plane in Dublin, where he had attended a festival of his work, and slipped, hitting his head. Despite his trench and the ground being covered in blood, he sustained only minor cuts to his forehead but was, nevertheless, taken to the hospital.
While hospitalized, and still stirred from the events of the morning, Pinter was phoned by a friend informing him that Sky News had just broadcast that “Harold Pinter is dead” only to soon thereafter, change its story and announce that, no, he had won the Nobel Prize for literature. Pinter was ebullient at the news and proclaimed that he had risen from the dead!
Awaking Pinter from the dead (the Nobel Prize winner did die, for real, in 2008) is exactly what ACT is doing with its Pinter Festival. The theater attempts to elicit the famed playwright’s spirit on stage during performances of four his most acclaimed plays: The Dumb Waiter, Celebration, Old Times, and No Man’s Land.
To add to the revamping of Pinter’s classics, there will also be a film screening showcasing the breadth of his work as well as a cabaret performance with Pinter’s childhood friend Henry Woolf.
If You Go: ACT Theatre, 700 Union St., through Aug. 26, Regular tickets start at $30; students, $15; under 25, $20; and seniors 25 percent off.
Liu Ding’s art
After being closed for renovations since April 17, the Frye Art Museum reopened last week to celebrate its 60th anniversary with Chinese artist Liu Ding’s first solo exhibit in the U.S. Liu Ding’s Store is set up like a shop and engages viewers to discuss the value of art.
Ding’s recent collection, titled Take Home and Make Real the Priceless in Your Heart, is a series of unfinished paintings — Ding calls it a “product line” — mass produced in a factory, including a piece created just for the Frye based on the frame of the museum's “Sin” (Die Suende) by Franz von Stuck. Despite these paintings being made in a factory, albeit to Ding’s custom orders, he signs them under his name, thus provoking questions of authorship and value.
If You Go: Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Avenue, July 14 to Sept. 9. Admission and parking always free.
Sports, leisure, and videotape
Located on Roosevelt Way in the U District, Scarecrow Video might be the planet's largest independent video store. For movie buffs, it's the city's claim to fame, its walls packed to the gills with title after title.
Every so often Scarecrow likes to give something back to its customers when taking a break from helping someone find Win a Date WIth Tad Hamilton and not The Third Man. It's part of the job and probably very painful. Scarecrow has graciously compiled sports scenes from various movies, commercials, bloopers, along with other delights and spliced them together from their never-ending heap of un-rentable VHS tapes. Similar to the video blog site Everything Is Terrible, this movie night is an 80-minute exorcise in laughing at antiquity, preceded, of course, by the opportunity to drink PBR and eat hot dogs. This will be funny.
If You Go: Grand Illusion Cinema, 1403 NE 50th St, July 28, 9-11 p.m., $5-$8. 21 and over.
Bellevue goes nuts for art
Bellevue gets its shot, too. Lately, the only eastside news Seattle hears other than "how's traffic?" are murmurs that an NBA/NHL arena might get put up on that side of the lake. But I digress. Let's dispense with hot button issues for a moment, shall we?
With clear weather in the forecast, Bellevue must be delighted that their 6th Street Fair gets some sun. More than a 140 different artists in Downtown Bellevue will showcase their talents ranging from sculpture, jewelry, crafts, stitching, fabric, glass work, paintings, beadwork, and a ton of other genres of art. Live music of course is on the itinerary, and food is a must have.
The 6th Street Fair is not the only thing happening in Bellevue, however. The Bellevue Arts Museum Artsfair (July 27-29), which is the largest art event in the Northwest of over 300 artists showcasing their work. And the Bellevue Festival of Arts (July 27-29), featuring —guess what — more art!
If You Go: July 27-29, free admission: Read about all the goings on in Bellevue here
The forecast for the next chunk of days calls for clear skies and warm weather. In lieu of an official event, it's better to just recommend going outside. Whatever you do, as long as it's outdoors, is good by us. Go to Lake Washington and do backflips off the high dive, if you're good — and brave — enough. Drive up to Mount Si and hike to the top. It's rewarding, and in the distance Seattle looks like a toy city. Head to Discovery Park and walk around. Golden Gardens has an actual sandy beach that's a great place to throw a Frisbee. Take in a Mariners game and see if the M's can score more than three runs at home against the Kansas City Royals. (Act like you're playing an away game, boys.) Drive out to the coast and see the ocean. Ride your bike. Run through a sprinkler. Play croquet in your backyard. Whatever your fancy, just get out!
If You Go: Just go!