VOLCANO ARTS: The Flat Win Co., "Dawn of 2012," "The Seafarer," "Play It Again, Sam," "Hair," GLBT Book Club & more ...

By Volcano Staff on February 2, 2012


At this point it goes without saying. If you're looking for coverage of local arts in Tacoma, Olympia, and all points in between, the Weekly Volcano is THE place to find it. Our goal is to consistently provide the best local arts coverage possible to our fantastic readers. We're  always on the lookout for ways to shine a light on all the awesome creativity we see around us.

This week's Volcano arts section includes a feature on Olympia's Flat Win Co., as well as reviews of Dawn of 2012 art show at Fulcrum Gallery, Lakewood Playhouse's Play It Again, Sam, Capitol Playhouse's Hair and Harlequin's production of The Seafarer - among other bits of awesomeness.

Here's a look at the Volcano arts coverage waiting for you this week in print and online.


You know the old saying about selling snow to an Eskimo?

Well, that's one way to explain the Flat Win Co., the business/art project of David Scherer Water of Olympia.

Although he hasn't yet sold rain to Western Washington, Scherer Water does sell, among other things, dirt, rocks, gravel and - perhaps most impressive - nothing.

Scherer Water demonstrates the virtues of these products at Olympia's twice-yearly Arts Walk and the annual Lakefair.

In the four and a half years since he started the company, he has sold, he says, more than 5,000 products - including combs, flattened beer cans, twigs and, of course, nothing.

He says this, though, in character. ... -- Molly Gilmore


There's quite a range of imagery and styles in the new show at Fulcrum Gallery, Dawn of 2012. The show features emerging artists - a loosely defined and often over-used term that generally means artists who have not yet received the recognition they deserve. Some of us are emerging all of our lives.

But in this case the artists truly are emerging. Some of these artists have never before had gallery shows. They're young, innovative and exciting. Surrealistic and pop imagery abounds, and there is an interesting variety of media, including repurposed materials.

One of the most exciting works is Gabriel Brown's "Floating Islands Estates," which is a surrealistic city of floating houses suspended from fluffy clouds.


We often speak of a movie or play as a "rollercoaster ride," but it's easy to forget that even the best rides begin with a slow, clanky climb up a hill. In the latter Harry Potter novels, Jo Rowling seemed to relish torturing readers with hundreds of actionless pages, the better to unleash hell toward the end.

Of course, if a writer constructs his or her story this way, then the payoff had better be worth the wait. In the case of Conor McPherson's The Seafarer, boy, is it.

I knew almost nothing about the show when I walked in. "That's good," director Scot Whitney laughed, and like Whitney, I don't want to drop spoilers. Suffice it to say that as we get to know "Sharky" Harkin (Jason Haws) and his blind, irascible brother, Richard (David Wright), we become slowly convinced the play is going nowhere ... and we're wrong. ... -- Christian Carvajal


I haven't seen the film version of Play It Again, but I'm confident I know exactly what old Woody's version of Allan Felix is like, and Smith's rendition is a healthy departure from the type. Like most of his recent roles - Hamlet in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, Vice Principal Panch in Spelling Bee, and others - Smith brings a flailing, manic quality to the typically depressed set of standard Allen neuroses, allowing injections of slapstick throughout.

Felix's romantic tribulations after his wife walks out form the core of the story. He experiences a series of romantic flubs and faux pas in his desperate attempts to convince women he is not the loser he thinks he is. ... -- Joseph Izenman


The musical Hair is much like a jam band concert: it's multi-sensual, it elicits an emotional ride, and it's probably about 15 minutes too long. That said, director Heidi Fredericks shakes every last nugget from Hair's theatrical dime bag at Capital Playhouse.

There's no questioning the difficulty of the material, for this company or its audience. The script is not, shall we say, overburdened with plot, and the lyrics must be hell to memorize, let alone sing. When Leonard Bernstein griped, "The songs are just laundry lists," he had a point. But is any song in the Broadway canon more irresistible than "Let the Sun Shine In?" It lifts itself out of a dirge, "The Flesh Failures," that's as lovely (and hauntingly worded) as "Sun Shine" is bright and beatific. ... -- Christian Carvajal


Last year, Olympia filmmaker Ken Carlson and his team, Mutually Assured Productions, embarked on an experiment. They decided to build their very own film festival from scratch, calling it the Olympia Awesome Film Festival. This one-day event debuted in May, successfully attracting short movies and their makers from across Washington and beyond. OAFF exuded a laid-back style that showed potential to widen its fan base and stick around for years to come.

But alas, sometimes you have to shelve a great idea to make way for an even better one. With 2012 here, Carlson could either foster his fledgling fest into its second year, or quit while ahead and move on. He went with door number two.

Already he's found a project to replace OAFF: writing and producing a feature-length concept with fellow Olympia resident and friend Lyquoc Vo. They haven't yet given away too many plot details of Irresistible (a working title), other than the tough heroine is loosely based on the "femme fatale" archetype of film noir. And given Mutually Assured's track record, it wouldn't surprise me to see violence make a cameo. ... -- Christopher Wood


In amorous Spain, Catalonia to be precise, Valentine's Day is superseded by the late-April holiday La Diada de Sant Jordi, Saint George's Day, a celebration during which lovers exchange books. What better way to show the object of one's affection what's inside one's heart than with a literary work that moves that person? A book that speaks to his or her soul?

But, where to find such a book? Anyone in the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender community is in luck, as recently imported Tacoma resident Matt Lemanski has joined forces with King's Books to form its seventh active book club, the GLBT Book Club.

Above all, Lemanski is a book lover. Sure, he wrote poetry in his teens and 20s. "Like everyone does," he says. As far as movies go?  The last movie he saw in an actual theater was 2007's Juno.  It's no surprise then that his work life found him, after obtaining a Masters in Library Sciences, at a library in his home state of Michigan.

"As part of my job, I was required to lead three book discussions, which I did not enjoy. Those who attended were not looking for books to expand their experience. They were looking for books to underline the bubble they were living in," recalls Lemanski.

He adds with a smirk, "One month we read David Sedaris.  That did not go over well."

It didn't take much twisting of the arm when Lemanski was offered a position with the Pierce County Library. ... -- Jenni Prange Boran