Worlds Overlapped

My arts blogging these days has been subsumed by my daily blog, Counselor @ Law, over at

Recent posts there that might have been here, or at least a couple in that category that come to mind, are:

I'm still here! I'm just over there!

Talking Heads Not Talking

Somehow, Harry Shearer intercepts satellite feeds of TV network news personalities as they sit waiting for the show to start or resume.

It's mysterious to me how he does this technically and how he clears copyright. Perhaps because the images captured are of public figures - Anderson Cooper, David Gergen, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, to name a few - statutory and common law rights of personality do not apply? –

In any case, each feed seems to loop longer than any typical break for commercials. And you get to see how each personality passes the time. Chris Matthews stares into the camera as though he were facing himself down in a mirror. Larry King presses his chin into his upturned fist, just as he does when listening to his guests. Then-Senator Obama languidly flips the pages of what looks like USA Today.

I find the "before and after" moments on C-SPAN to yield more insight on the political character, but these silent passages of Harry Shearer's curation - if you give them the same attention you would lend the pictured celebrities when they are talking on the air - do throw into relief how driven these people are. I imagine the average person would look restless and guilty, like she had better uses of her time.

To see things as they are not meant to be presented, that is a gift and that is an essence of art.

So it is fitting that you may see a collection of the Harry Shearer videos, running simultaneously, now at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle. The show is called "Silent Echo Chamber."

This post is republished from William Carleton, Counselor at Law.

From Earlier Today in Tacoma: Video of Rehearsal of Shostakovich Piano Concerto

This is pretty exciting: video from today's rehearsal of the Northwest Sinfonietta performing with pianist Mark Salman.

Sounds like the show will be in Seattle this Friday, Tacoma on Saturday, and then Puyallup on Sunday. Details here.

Reminder - Isaac Layman closes August 14

This just in from Scott Lawrimore. Couple days left to see the big Isaac Layman show. Isaac is a huge talent, the real thing. You should see this work if you don't already know it.

Sounds like Scott is moving, too; will have to get to the bottom of that.

From: scott lawrimore []
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 2:11 PM
To: William Carleton
Subject: Reminder - Isaac Layman closes August 14

Last few days to view Isaac Layman's 110%

Exhibition closes this Saturday, August 14.

Our new space in Pioneer Square opens September 2nd with:
Isaac Layman - Double Down
A critical response created in the wake of  110%

Details forthcoming.

 Lawrimore Project • 831 Airport Way S • Seattle, WA 98134

Stones and a Glass House

The City of Seattle has a controversy on its hands over what to do with some space that will become vacant at Seattle Center, a public area where many performing arts and civic events take place.

A well organized group has proposed a Chihuly museum. Everyone seems to agree, or assume, that this proposal will be wholly funded by the Wright family and won't cost taxpayers anything. It's also stipulated by just about everyone, it seems, that the Chihuly proposal will be the best, economically, for Seattle.

IMG_0651But many feel the Chihuly folks have claim jumped. They don't like how smoothly the Chihuly group showed up with a packaged deal, and want more civic process around the decision of what will fill the available space. Seattle Center is not private property; it is owned and operated by the City of Seattle.

The controversy has moved political forces to slow the process down. Input is being sought; those with alternatives to propose have been asked to come forward. KEXP, an independent radio station with a large online following, looks to be the leading challenger to Chihuly.

Art critic Regina Hackett's latest post about the controversy is the most intelligent and persuasive piece I've read on the affair. She says that "on Dale Chihuly's tide, other boats can rise."

A public hearing took place Wednesday evening at Seattle Center, and I went. A friend went up to the mike and offered his own thoughts on what should be done. He and most of the persons who spoke were civic and polite. But a few who oppose the Chihuly idea were smug. One fellow said he supported a Chihuly museum "in the Northgate Mall," implying that Chihuly's work is tacky for being commercially successful.

I know no good deed goes unpunished and that a prophet has no honor in his own country, among his own kin, and in his own house. But wouldn't it be refreshing if Seattle's government had enough sense to ride out the resentments of the bewildered, went ahead and claimed the brass glass ring?

Isaac Layman Show at Lawrimore Project

The new Isaac Layman show at Lawrimore Project is very different from the prior one.

First impressions of the new show: 

  • There's an older person's sensibility at work here, at odds with Layman's youth. An older sensibility, but contemporary, not belated.
  • The photos are now actually paintings, in spite of being photographs, or layers of images, or digital renderings (I'm not sure which). The fact that a camera is involved merely means these paintings are rendered without paint. 
  • What results is a kind of reductionism: the surfaces of the canvas have no texture. The photographic-like smoothness of each surface rhymes, too, with the consequences of the portraitist's choice to give the subjects time to prepare for the shoot: the oven has removed its racks, the cupboard has ordered its dishes, the doors have walked out of the frame and have taken their hinges with them.
  • The scale of the Otter Pop paintings means you have no choice but to relate them to color field paintings from the last century. But Layman's have so much more narrative resonance than those paintings ever could.

The Sonics Were Never this Hip

I always thought Key Arena was fine place to see basketball. Couldn't understand what the Sonics' problem was with the venue.

Well, anyway, I saw the Rat City Rollergirls at Key Arena last night. It was quite an entertaining show, with roller derby matches, drum and air guitar performances, interviews from the stands, decent stadium food, cheerleaders in drag, and one or two things I can't begin to explain.

One of these things I can't explain is the ritual pictured above, performed by the members of Grave Danger, one of the four roller derby teams.

When the cloaked and daggered ritualists set off, they left behind what the emcee described as a "gigantic, bleeding cupcake."

C-SPAN Kicks Ass

What I like most about C-SPAN is how they keep the cameras running and the mikes open after the event is (ostensibly) over. It's a subversive editorial stance, wrapped in the guise of a lack of a point of view.

But there is a point of view, and it is to catch what's publicly catchable, including those bits that everyone on camera knows will be edited out, or not even shot, by the other news organizations in tow. It's not that C-SPAN is showing you private conversation -- no, the public figures remain at all times aware that they are in public. But C-SPAN often catches them in a slightly less guarded "beltway" public space, something other than the national stage, if that makes sense.

Here's a bit edited together from three photo ops that the President's nominee for the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, gave with, respectively, Senators Specter, Schumer and Brown. In a quick 15 minutes, you glean:

  • Sen. Specter really, really likes being a senator;
  • Sen. Schumer is all about New York (you can imagine Sen. Specter switching policy, party or state, anything to be there; not so Sen. Schumer);
  • Sen. Brown is intensely handled, although that may be self-imposed (notice who closes the door on the cameras).

Solicitor General Kagan is impossible to read. Which is what a lot of people are saying about her now.

Powell Street Cable Car Turntable Turnaround Dance

At the end of the Powell Street run, two cable car workers turn the car around while a boombox on the street sets a beat. This video from last night. Beautiful evening walking weather.

Seattle's Hammering Man is Back to Work!

In a great sign for the economy, Hammering Man's missing arm has been returned and he is back to work!

The video below taken last evening around 7 pm.