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Updated: 19 min 19 sec ago

Free face painting by Burien Arts to be featured at Arts-A-Glow Festival Sept. 6

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 20:21

What’s fun and free?

Answer: Face painting by the Artists from the Burien Arts Association at the unique Arts-A-Glow Burien Lantern Festival and Procession on Saturday, Sept. 6!

Burien Arts volunteers will be dabbing on the face paint at Dottie Harper Park, located at 421 SW 146th Street, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Face painting will be just one part of a magical evening in the forest on that Saturday, which will also feature lantern art and performers, lantern making, food vendors, tea, treats and an evening lantern procession around the neighborhood.

More information is available at www.burienwa.gov and www.burienarts.org.

‘The Maury Island Incident’ UFO film premieres as series on IndieFlix today

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 15:56

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Maury Island Incident” is a short film that was shot and produced locally during the summer of 2013 (including The Tin Room Bar), and released in May, 2014. It was Directed/Produced by BTB Founder/Publisher Scott Schaefer, Written/Produced by Steve Edmiston, Executive Produced by John White and Produced by Laura Beth & Scott Peterson and Dan House. The movie is currently on the film festival circuit, and will screen next at the Burbank Film Festival Sept. 6.

Today (Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014), is the 67th anniversary of FBI Special Agent Jack B. Wilcox’s 14-page memorandum to J. Edgar Hoover on the subject of “FLYING DISCS SIGHTED BY FRED CRISMAN and HAROLD A. DAHL, TACOMA, WASHINGTON,” as well as the release of film distributor IndieFlix’s “First original series: The Maury Island Incident”!

The link between the 1947 Wilcox memo to Hoover, and the film’s release on this date, is wholly intentional.

As filmmakers, we’re happy to share how inspired we were by the detail and thoroughness of this heavily-redacted memo; its candor, and upon multiple readings, its absolute accuracy in reporting the truth of what really happened off Maury Island in 1947. This overlooked, declassified document truly informed the spine of our film and series.

If you loved The X-Files; if you miss The Twilight Zone’s mix of strange tales and human frailties; if you are simply enthralled about periods of history where the entire country – or planet, even – falls under the spell of a powerful mythology and pop culture brew, then the story of what allegedly happened at Maury Island, and the indisputably twisted and true story of what happened after Maury Island, is for you.

Each week during the next month, we’ll release other once-classified documents obtained from the FBI that track their two week investigation that begins with the tragic August 1, 1947, crash of a B-25 bomber in the forests north of Kelso, Washington, and concludes with a series of clear statements that undermine the only thing you think you know about Harold Dahl’s June 21, 1947, “flying discs” sighting at Maury Island:

That the sighting itself was a “confessed hoax.”

Indeed, our investigation leads to some startling conclusions:

  1. The supposed “confessions” were the real hoax
  2. The FBI knew the confessions were invented, and
  3. That Harold Dahl had made a choice to invent the hoax story even though he knew he’d become “the biggest liar that ever lived” because he feared ongoing public ridicule about his sighting, family pressure, and threats from – you guessed it – the FBI and modern UFO history’s first alleged “Man In Black.”

And if this is true, and you’ve always dismissed Maury Island as a confessed hoax, then everything you think you know about the Maury Island Incident is wrong!

Sixty-seven years ago today, Special Agent Wilcox wrote the memo that explained it all – download a PDF of it by clicking here.

We hope you come back during the next month to track the investigation with us. And please, enjoy the IndieFlix series by clicking here.

Steve Edmiston

Scott Schaefer

Here’s what IndieFlix had to say about the film:

Before Roswell, there was the Maury Island Incident. We couldn’t be more excited to present our first Original Series.

Based on declassified FBI documents, The Maury Island Incident tells the incredible, tragic, and forgotten story of Harold Dahl, who on June 21, 1947, alleged a UFO sighting over Puget Sound, Washington. This sparked ‘the summer of the saucers,’ the modern era of UFO obsession, the first appearance of Men in Black and a governmental battle over UFO sighting jurisdiction reaching directly to FBI Executive Director J. Edgar Hoover.

What our staff has to say:

  • “We are so glad to be working with local filmmakers on this project and hope our customers will enjoy the series as much as we do.” – Ashley, Film Acquisitions Manager

  • “UFO sightings near Seattle? I can’t wait to watch this series!” – Sara, Marketing and Programming Coordinator

And here’s the first episode:

“The Maury Island Incident – Episode 1: An Honest Man” from The Maury Island Incident on Vimeo.

Some relevant links:

  • For a FREE two-week trial to IndieFlix (so you can watch the rest of the series), click here (then look for “Start 2 week trial” in the upper right corner).
  • To read a Q&A of the filmmakers on this new series, click here.
  • To “Like” the film on Facebook, click here.

Family, friends remember Carol Selander through Burien Arts donations

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 18:57

Programs that offer free art workshops for students will be greatly enhanced by generous donations from friends and family to the Burien Arts Association in honor of Carol Selander, a Burien cultural, civic and philanthropic leader who died June 26.

The donation will also support the new Burien Arts Gallery that opened in Olde Burien last fall.

Burien Arts Association president Sybil Davis thanked Carol’s friends and family for the wonderful contributions to the association’s work.

Known around Burien as “a force to be reckoned with who got things done,” Carol helped found the Burien Arts Association in the 1960s. Burien Arts operates the gallery at 826 S.W. 152nd St., bringing exciting new art exhibits each month to Burien.

Carol passed away at her Gregory Heights/Three Tree Point home surrounded by family. She and her late husband, Ken raised their five children in the family home.

Carol help start the Burien Arts Association with the mission to engage, enrich and entertain all the communities, generations and visitors to the Burien and Greater Highline area through creative and innovative arts programming.

The all-volunteer, nonprofit association’s programming includes the delicious Strawberry Shortcake booth at Burien’s annual Wild Strawberry Festival in June, summer Shakespeare in the Park, Vision 20/20 Fundraising Art Event, Highline Classic Jazz Festival, monthly Sing and Sketch nights, life drawing sessions, face painting at local festivals and student workshops.

Visit www.burienarts.org for information on volunteering or contributing to Burien Arts.

Checks may be sent to:

Burien Arts Association
P.O. Box 66574
Burien WA 98166

REMINDER: Des Moines Rotary’s Blues & Brews Fest will be this Saturday, Aug. 23

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 15:00

REMINDER: For the fifth year in a row – this coming Saturday, Aug. 23 – people from around Western Washington and beyond will be flocking to the shores of Puget Sound at the Des Moines Beach Park to savor tasty licks of mind-blowing blues played by some of the most renowned musicians of the region, all while sampling the suds of local micro-brew masters in a fundraiser aimed at arming children in the Highline School District with musical instruments.

The Annual Blues & Brews Fest returns to Des Moines Beach Park from Noon – 8 p.m. on Aug. 23. The event benefits the Highline Music4Life Program. All of the net proceeds are donated to charity thanks to the efforts of the Des Moines Rotary Club and community volunteers.

“This 21-and-over event, saw nearly 2,000 blues and beer lovers last year, and this year promises to draw an even bigger crowd,” Blues and Brews Fest committee chair and Des Moines Rotarian Brian Snure said.

“The response to this annual fund raiser has been inspiring,” he added. “A lazy summer day on the shores of Puget Sound, drinking good beer and listening to the blues seems like a pretty good way to support music education in our schools.”

This year, Blues & Brews Fest attendees can enjoy 17 micro-brews, three ciders, wine and some mead. The blues, from some of the Northwest’s finest musicians, will begin at 12:30 p.m. and keep rolling until 8 p.m.

Snure said, “On behalf of the Rotary Club of Des Moines Washington, I’d like to thank all of those who have supported this civic event in the past and invite those who have yet to attend Blues & Brews Fest to get your tickets now at www.BluesAndBrewsFest.org.”

This year’s line up includes:

The Wired Band

Click here to view the embedded video.

James King and the Southsiders

Click here to view the embedded video.

The Randy Oxford Band

Click here to view the embedded video.

Curtis Hammond Band

Click here to view the embedded video.

Tickets for this pet-free event can be purchased online for just $25 or at the door for $30. Every Blues & Brews Fest attendee will receive six tokens and a complimentary tasting glass with the purchase of a ticket. Additional tokens can be purchased to sample more beverages. Designated driver tickets will be available at the door for just $15. Parking is free in the Des Moines Marina and around Des Moines, and a complimentary shuttle will be making the rounds.

The prime benefactor for this annual fundraiser is the Highline Music4Life program. David Endicott, president/CEO of Music4Life, who said: “The value of providing musical instruments for students of low-income families in the Highline School District is critical during hard economic times. We find that many families cannot even afford to rent a musical instrument for their kids.”

He added:

“The annual Des Moines Rotary Blues & Brews Festival is a primary way for us to raise funds in support of the Highline Schools program. It also happens to be an event that’s a heck of a lot of fun to attend.”

To purchase advanced tickets and more information, go to www.BluesAndBrewsFest.org.

To learn more about becoming a sponsor, contact Kerry Wallingford at [email protected].

The Rotary Club of Des Moines encourages attendees to drink responsibly.

Shake things up at Burien Senior Program’s Fundraiser on Friday, Sept. 19

Mon, 08/18/2014 - 12:00

Burien Senior Program’s annual spaghetti feed fundraiser is returning Friday, Sept. 19, with a delicious 3 course dinner, glass of wine, amazing silent auction and rockin’ entertainment by Paul Rodriguez – an Elvis Presley tribute artist.

Additional wine is available for purchase.

Pre-registration is required, and tickets are on sale starting August 18th for $15, or Resident Discount of just $12.

To register online, click here.

WHEN: Friday, Sept 19, from 5-8 p.m.

WHERE: Burien Community Center, located at 14700 6th Ave SW.

For more info and to register by phone please call 206-988-3700.

Former B-Town Blog Intern Bryan Shickmeister releases new cartoon

Fri, 08/15/2014 - 19:47

He served as our Intern for four years while attending Burien’s Big Picture High School, and now Bryan Shickmeister (aka Bryan Charles) is all growed up and going to Evergreen College in Olympia, where he is studying animation.

Oh, and he’s also released this brand new cartoon, called “3 Frog Bros – Hot Frog Love – Full Episode!”:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Shickmeister told us that he wrote the cartoon with help from various improvisational actors, got professional voice actor Mike Pollock to help, and that he has four confirmed episodes, including a 6-year anniversary special featuring cameos from old voice actors.

“It’s animated with all new technology, quadrupling the speed,” Shickmeister said. “I’ll be doing new releases at the end of each month after the premiere.”

Shickmeister adds that he hand-painted all the scenery and set design, and if you watch closely you can see that he also cleverly intercut “live” video clips with animation.

Way to go Frogboy!

Watch more of Bryan’s work here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA7UNlroQqD2dGRM7_BcAGQ

To re-live Bryan’s amazing Intern career with The B-Town Blog, click here.

UPDATE: Tonight’s ‘Music in the Park’ moved to Community Center due to rain

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 15:19

UPDATE: Tonight’s FREE ‘Music in the Park’ concert has been moved to the Burien Community Center due to rain. 

The Community Center is located at 14700 6th Ave SW.

The live show from reggae band Longstride will run from 6:30 – 8 p.m.

‘Music in the Park’ finale is Thursday night at Lake Burien Memorial Park

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 21:17

Burien’s 2014 “Music in the Park” series concludes Thursday night (Aug. 14) with reggae music from Longstride at Lake Burien Memorial Park, starting at 6:30 p.m.

Lake Burien Memorial Park is located at SW 148th and 16th Ave SW.

Here are some videos of Longstride in action:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

So grab a blanket, pack a picnic and bring the entire family to enjoy live – and FREE – entertainment outdoors at this great summer concert series.

See you at the park!

For complete details about the bands performing at the Music in the Park concerts and the full concert schedule, visit the “Schedule Information” link below, or go to www.BurienWA.gov/concerts. You can also call the Burien Parks Department at 206-988-3700.

About Longstride:

Paintings by artist Veronica Smith at Community Center through Sept. 30

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 10:44

Paintings by artist Veronica Smith will be on display at the Burien Community Center through Sept. 30.

The artists’ current paintings use personal materials picked for their connection or association with a particular memory. The most recent paintings are memory capsules of important people in her life. Every object down to the tiniest scrap is something that reminds the artist of memories. Veronica’s work has been shown in many galleries – primarily in the Midwest – but also including Florence, Italy and London, England. She graduated from Columbus College of Art and Design in 2007 and currently reside in Seattle, WA. More of her work can be seen at www.zhibit.org/vsmith.

The Burien Community Center is located at 14700 6th Ave SW and is open Monday through Thursday from 8:30am-8:00pm, Fridays from 8:30am-5pm, and Saturdays from 8:00am-Noon.

For more information please call 206-988-3700.

Burien’s Arts-A-Glow Lantern Festival & Procession will be Saturday, Sept. 6

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 12:55

Burien’s unique and oh-so-sweet Arts-A-Glow Lantern Festival and Procession will be held Saturday, Sept. 6, from 5 – 10 p.m. at Dottie Harper Park (421 SW 146th Street; learn more about Dottie Harper Park).

“A magical evening in the forest!” reads an announcement. “Lantern art and performers, face painting, lantern making, food vendors and tea and treats.”

A Lantern Procession will begin at Dusk, and everyone is invited to bring shakers and bells to play as you walk to make beautiful music!

Procession map

Performers / Activities:

  • 5:00-6:15 p.m.:  Harp by Jini O’Flynn
  • 5:00-7:45 p.m.: Lantern Making
  • 5:00-8:00 p.m.: Face Painting by Burien Arts
  • 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Juggling and more by Colin Ernst
  • 6:30-7:45 p.m.: Tijuana Brass with Rat City Brass 
  • 8:00-9:30 p.m.: Procession and Dance Party led by VamoLa

Food Trucks, Tents & Bikes, oh my!
The Ultimate Melt, Falafel Salam, Thai-U-Up,  Sweet Wheels, Bikelava, , and Tea samples by sponsor Phoenix Tea!

Lantern Making
Lantern making workshops!  Or make a balloon lantern at home!  You can also make a lantern from glass jars or plastic water bottles, pie tins ,paper bags, tin cans…you can recycle and be creative!  Light your lantern with glow sticks or battery operated candles!

For more info: http://www.burienwa.gov/GLOW

Follow Us On Facebook 

Click HERE  and HERE for great pics from past events!


Celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Burien Library on Saturday, Sept. 13

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 10:11

It’s hard to believe it, but the Burien Library will be celebrating its 5th Anniversary soon, with an all-day party on Saturday, Sept. 13.

There will be special performances by Brian Vogan and his Good Buddies, Massive Monkees and the SuperSones, and refreshments will be provided by the Burien Library Guild.

Here are the details:

WHAT: Burien Library’s 5th Anniversary Party

WHEN: Sept. 13, 2014, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

WHERE: Burien Library, 400 SW 152nd Street.

INFO: Celebrate the library! With special performances by Brian Vogan and his Good Buddies, Massive Monkees and the SuperSones! Refreshments provided by the Burien Library Guild.

Free ‘Summer Sing’ coming to Burien Thursday, Aug. 21

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 09:00

A free ‘Summer Sing!’ – hosted By ChoralSounds and SilverSounds Northwest – is coming to Glendale Lutheran Church on Thursday, Aug. 21.

All ages are welcome to join singers from the Northwest Associated Arts choruses for a fun evening of singing with a talented artistic team.

This time the public is invited to hop on stage and join the chorus as artistic directors Ryan Ellis (ChoralSounds) and Paula Hawkins (SilverSounds) lead attendees in an exciting evening of song. In addition, meet the new youth chorus conductors Colleen Thomas-Reitsman and Kirsten Shaffer.

No tickets, no charge, no excuses not to come! Punch and cookies for all.

WHEN: Thursday August 21, 7:00 – 8:30 pm

WHERE: Glendale Lutheran Church – 13455 2nd Ave. SW; Burien

INFO: 206.246. 6040 or nwassociatedarts.org/summer-sing

ChoralSounds Northwest is comprised of adults from 18-80+. SilverSounds Northwest is comprised of 40 retired men and women. KidSounds Northwest, YouthSounds Northwest, and TeenSounds Northwest are also part of the NWAA family. Together, all these Burien-based choruses are part of Northwest Associated Arts (NWAA), which has developed a loyal and growing following with family-friendly shows that offer much more than the usual “choral concert.”

Burien residents step up to replace sculpture stolen from Eagle Landing Park

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 20:16

This eagle sculpture, carved by Artist Galen Willis, was stolen from the parking lot of Eagle Landing Park in Feb., 2014.

Burien residents John White and Guy Harper – along with others – have teamed up to replace a sculpture (pictured above) stolen from Eagle Landing Park in February, and are planning on funding and installing a replacement sometime this Fall.

The original wooden carving, made from Western Red Cedar and carved by Artist Galen Willis, was installed at the park in Oct., 2011 (read our previous coverage here). It stood 44 inches tall, and was mounted on a pedestal and housed in a shelter constructed by Eagle Scout candidate Sean Kent as part of a project to complete his Eagle Scout requirements.

Willis, a longtime Burien resident and former Colonel in the Air Force, served as an intelligence officer fighting the war on illegal narcotics. He has a master’s degree in international marketing and a minor in art from SPU. Willis did the carving of the original eagle using a native Northwest coast art theme.

Willis took carving lessons from Dale Faulstich, an artist and woodcarver located in Sequim. The style is termed “Northwest native coast art” but Willis is quick to point out that his work is his own interpretation rather than a copy of any particular art form.

Galen had a monster piece of western red cedar stored in his back yard and had dreamed of carving it into an eagle for years.  Galan says his wife Nancy came up with the idea to complete his dream by carving an eagle for Eagle Landing Park.

The new, replacement sculpture may look similar to this one.

He spent a year of his life carving the eagle in his home garage workshop using his hand tools. He spent 40 hours painting it with special ultraviolet resistant paint. The mixtures were very complicated to achieve – just the right color or red.

Nancy recruited Kent, an Eagle Scout candidate and member of Troop 392, to construct a shelter to house and display the carving. His project was done complete his Eagle Scout requirements. Sean solicited and received numerous donations from local business owners, including eight massive peeler poles which supported the structure. Other donors included Manke Lumber, Miles Sand and Gravel, Puget Sound Steel, Sound Building Supply, Stella Jones, Tacoma Screw, and Valley Equipment and Truck. A general contractor, Mark Leggett, also generously gave his time and expertise on the project.

The sculpture was installed at the park on Oct. 24, 2011. Standing 44 inches tall and mounted on a concrete pedestal housed in a shelter, it served as a welcoming beacon for Eagle Landing Park. The eagle was stolen a couple of weeks after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, leaving many to speculate it was stolen by an unethical football fan seeking a trophy piece for their man cave.

No one reported seeing anyone steal the art work. However, White shares the driveway leading to the parking lot of the park and he did report seeing a car illegally parked just outside the locked gate at approximately 8 p.m.  A photo of the stolen art along with the police report is displayed on the pedestal where the sculpture once sat.

White lives just to the north of Eagle Landing Park, and his property includes the parking lot which was granted as an easement to the City of Burien. The driveway to the parking lot also serves as the entrance to John’s home.

“I drive up and down the driveway ten times a day, each time passing the parking lot,” White told The B-Town Blog. “There have been many car break-ins so I drive slow and scan the area looking for anyone that might be breaking into a car. More often than not I also see people standing in front of the mounting pedestal where a photo and police report are posted. They read it and gaze up at the perch where the Eagle once stood as if somehow it is still there.”

White adds:

“Seeing this depressing scene everyday started to wear on me. In addition, as I travel through Burien I would run into the posted signs displaying the photo of the  sculpture. It is like a wound that just will not heal. Each time I drove past the parking lot I felt a void. It started to wear on me and that is what drove me to an idea to put another eagle on the pedestal.”

White then tells a story of how he ran into Guy Harper (http://www.guyharper.com) while dining at the 909 Restaurant in Olde Burien.

“I knew he was a wood carver so I approached him with the idea of having a new eagle made to mount on the pedestal,” White said. “Guy’s eyes lit up immediately. We discussed a design. I did not wish to try to duplicate the northwest coast art since it would be impossible to copy Galan’s work and perhaps would be insulting. I just wanted a standard looking eagle.  I wanted an eagle with his wings spread out.  Guy discouraged me from this design because he felt someone would hang on the wings and break them off.  I agreed and he came up with a layout that was not easy to vandalize.  He found an expert wood carver so I placed the order. Guy did everything right with regards to the city procedures. The Burien Arts Commission reviewed and approved the art and presented it to the city council for approval. The city council unanimously approved it. I spoke in front of the council and explained that if the original sculpture is recovered it should be returned to its home at Eagle Landing but until then this new eagle will stand watch.”

White will donate around $1,500 of his own money to create and install the replacement eagle, which he hopes to have installed this November.

Eagle Landing Park – located at 14641 25th Ave SW – was established in 2005. It is a six acre park containing many native plants, mammals and birds including a metal staircase which winds its way down a steep slope to Puget Sound. Eagles have nested and rested in the old-growth conifer forest of the park since 1991, and if all goes as planned, a new wooden sculpture of one will return to the parking lot!

(read our previous coverage here)

Two local filmmakers wrap production on new Sasquatch horror film

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 11:10

Two local filmmakers – John Portanova (Writer/Director) and Jeremy Berg (Director of Photography) – have just finished shooting a new feature horror film called “Valley of the Sasquatch.”

These two have collaborated before, and are partners with Matt Medisch in a production company called The October People. This is their third film; previous productions include “The Invoking” and “The Device.”

Here’s a synopsis of the film:

After losing their home following a devastating loss, a father and son are forced to move to an old family cabin. Neither reacts well to being thrown into this new world. The son’s attempts to relate to his father are complicated when two old friends arrive for a weekend of hunting. This trip into the forest will unearth not only buried feelings of guilt and betrayal, but also a tribe of Sasquatch that are determined to protect their land.

“’Valley of the Sasquatch’ was our biggest production yet, which allowed us to attract talent from all over the country including stars David Saucedo (Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones) and Bill Oberst Jr. (Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies),” Portanova told The B-Town Blog.

Their first film, the psychological thriller “The Invoking,” has been out on DVD and VOD since February, and came out in Redbox earlier this month. Their second film, the alien abduction story “The Device,” was shot around South Seattle (including locations in Burien) and will be released on home video this winter.

On this shoot, they worked with a crew made up primarily of Washington filmmakers, and one of their leads – D’Angelo Midili, also from The Invoking – is also a Washington resident.

“We shot the film for four weeks near Easton, WA at Meany Lodge,” Portanova said. “Since it was off season for the ski lodge, we had full run of the place to house cast and crew and used forest locations all around the lodge to shoot 90% of the film. Other scenes were shot in Roslyn, WA.”

They wrapped shooting just a few weeks ago, and the film is currently in the early stages of editing.

“We aim to have our film festival premiere in early 2015!” Portanova added.

If you recognize Berg, it’s because he sometimes bartends at the Scotch & Vine in Des Moines, while his wife Monica works at 913 in Burien.

Here’s a story done about the Sasquatch project by KING5′s Evening Magazine:

Here’s a trailer for “The Invoking”:

Click here to view the embedded video.

You can keep up with updates on the film via Facebook: facebook.com/valleyofthesasquatch, or Twitter: @sasquatchhorror, and also follow The October People at facebook.com/theoctoberpeople or @October_People.

Frank Ferrante returns from Australia with more of Groucho Marx

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 11:33

by T.M. Sell

Frank Ferrante was afraid.

Every actor with a pulse is a little afraid before going on stage, but it’s a kind of fear and excitement and adrenaline that most use to drive their performances. Because once the lights come up, the game is on the line.

But this was more than usual for an actor who has been doing this particular show for 30 years, a recreation of Groucho Marx so spot on that surviving family members and friends of the late comedic genius had long since given it their blessing. The show and the actor had both won awards. It should have been a done deal.

And yet, Ferrante recalled some months later, “I was literally starting to tremble.”

Fear was part of what originally attracted Ferrante to Marx’s work, and led him to create what is now called An Evening with Groucho, a one-man (plus piano accompaniment) show encompassing Marx’s life and career.

“He’s been armor for many of us,” Ferrante said in Seattle this week, getting ready for his Aug. 7-24 run at ACT Theatre in Seattle. “He was the spokesman for a lot of us.”

Laughter can be a defense for the small, the unpopular, the challenged – for anybody. In Ferrante’s case, it was the uncertain environment of parochial school that made the Marx Brothers such a welcome escape.

His interest in Marxism eventually led to a college senior project, a performance witnessed by the late Arthur Marx, Groucho’s son and an accomplished writer in his own right. The younger Marx tabbed Ferrante to star in his play about his father, which went on to long, successful runs in New York and London.

“I knew more about Groucho at age 23 than I knew about myself,” Ferrante recalled.

But Australia was virgin territory. Groucho had never been to Australia; Ferrante said he had no idea what people might know of the great man and his work.

“It seems such an American piece and it evolved in the states,” he said.

“The reality of doing it in another country hit me as we approached the venue,” Ferrante said. “What if this audience doesn’t get what I am doing?”

And if it didn’t work, it was going to be a very long four weeks in Australia, and far too late to back out of the outback.

Nonetheless, Ferrante stepped on the stage in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia, and did what any actor worth a good cigar would do: He soldiered ahead, because the show must go on.

“I thought, ‘Just breathe, and do what you do.’”

And then he was reminded about what makes a show like this work: People the world over like to laugh.

“The laughs were happening and they were effusive and in the same places as in the states,” he said.

In the end, “I got a standing ovation,” Ferrante said. “That was affirming. I thought, ‘I can do this now.’”

Over time, Ferrante learned that some things had to be explained. Groucho’s television quiz show, You Bet Your Life, never aired down under, and a joke that involves the “secret word” from that show got a much bigger laugh when Ferrante explained it to the audience beforehand.

Ferrante ended up doing 12 cities in four weeks, and the producers are working on a return to the West End in London.

Despite 30 years of being Groucho multiple evenings a year, Ferrante said he doesn’t tire of the experience.

Part of that is because unlike any number of vintage comedians, Groucho remains funny.

“Groucho has a point of view,” Ferrante said. “He’s still surprising, the way he can twist something around, the way he can take down your defenses. You never knew what he was going to say.”

Ferrante has become a master of spontaneity, one of Groucho’s hallmarks.

“Part of Groucho’s genius was you never knew how much was improv and how much was script,” Ferrante said, a touch that requires, ironically, a lot of preparation.

“It’s a bit of an illusion,” he said, making a well-practiced joke sound as though it has been crafted on the spot.

Ferrante’s Groucho consequently frequently breaks the fourth wall, as actors say, wading verbally and physically into the audience to drag and coax the unsuspecting into the act. As with Groucho in both film and TV, anyone can be a foil at any time, and usually in a way that is neither mean-spirited nor obvious.

Ferrante said he is also delighted with the show’s appeal to multiple age groups, from older folks familiar with Groucho, to younger ones who might have never even seen a Marx brothers film.
“I don’t know how many shows can appeal to multiple generations and still have an edge,” Ferrante said. “And Groucho has an edge.”

Unlike his characters – Groucho, the Caesar, the Gangster of Love – Ferrante himself is decidedly not edgy. His eyes sparkle with the passion he displays for his work, but he’s otherwise disarmingly warm when he personally thanks anyone and everyone who shows up to see his work.

Ferrante’s three-decade run as Groucho got a plasma injection a couple of years ago from his longtime friend and collaborator Dreya Weber, who, like Ferrante, is a regular fixture at Seattle’s Teatro Zinzanni.

“Dreya has helped me a lot,” Ferrante said.

As director, Weber has pushed Ferrante to move beyond mere impression to a broader exploration of Marx the man, making the show slightly more touching without sacrificing much in the way of laughs.

“When I first saw the show I felt like there were opportunities for Frank to show more of his range as an actor,” Weber said. “And I felt like it needed more shadow.”

And so we learn that Marx was brilliant and intellectual despite a lack of formal education, and a man who cared deeply for his brothers and fellow performers. And one who didn’t suffer fools.

“He’s a man of great dimension and complexity,” Ferrante said of Marx.

“We lift the curtain a little bit,” Weber said.

“She may have been the only person who could have improved the show,” Ferrante said of Weber. “She’s the only person I know who’s smart enough. I trust her.”

Consequently, Groucho, via Ferrante, still gets laughs.

“I get to extend his presence a bit,” Ferrante said. “I get to interpret it. He was an original.”

Ferrante recently got to meet Hal Holbrook, still doing his one-man Mark Twain show after 60 years.

“I’d like to do this for another 30 years,” Ferrante said. “It’s been a constant in my life. It’s familiar territory.

“I keep doing it because I like to hear people laugh.”

To buy tickets to see Ferrante, click here:


Burien couple part of Seattle 48 Hours Film Screening Wednesday evening

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 14:48

Christine Kennedy and Christopher Stephan, both Burien residents, worked as part of team who entered the 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP), a competition where teams have only 48 hours to complete a film from start to finish.

This year, the 48HFP is happening in more than 120 cities and each time the filmmakers are given specific directives they must meet.

“We had to include a character named Darin or Dana Stumme, a Massage Therapist, a fly swatter as a prop, the lines, ‘No way. Never again’, Kennedy said. “Our team was also given the genre Sci-Fi, which was pretty challenging but really fun to work with.”

The short time frame means most team members are not getting much sleep and have dedicated the weekend to pitch in however they can. Kennedy served as the film’s Script Supervisor and Stephan helped with audio but both did anything else that needed doing.

“I believe our script was finished after midnight on Friday and then the first call on Saturday was 7:00 a.m.,” Stephan added. “When I saw the script, I was really amazed at what they came up with in a short amount of time. Then Eric McCarthy, of Pyramide Productions, did an outstanding job behind the camera. The actors were all great. It really was due to every single person’s hard work that we were able to keep on our tight schedule. It was a great team effort!”

Team Speetzfire, lead by Producer Jennifer O’Brien and Director Kevin Owyang, completed their short film, “Planned Obsolenscence,” right on time Sunday. The plots centers around the main character, Joe, who struggles with his feelings for Dana and his job of euthanizing robots like her.

The film debuts tonight (Wed., Aug. 6) at the SIFF Uptown Theater, 511 Queen Ave. N., Seattle. Buy tickets here: http://www.siff.net/cinema/visiting-programs/48-hour-film-project

You can vote for your favorite short film after the screening program. Who knows, it might even be one that was made in part by your neighbors!

To learn more about 48HFP, visit: http://www.48hourfilm.com/en/seattle/

To learn more about Christine Kennedy’s film work, visit: http://cargocollective.com/kennedycreativeworks/Film-and-Video-Credits-1

‘Music in the Park’ continues with symphonic & folk rock this Wed. & Thurs.

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 17:12

REMINDER: Burien Parks’ ‘Music in the Parks’ concert series continues this week with two great  bands:

  • WEDNESDAY, Aug. 6 at 6:30 p.m.: North SeaTac Park with the Highline Community Symphonic Band
  • THURSDAY, Aug. 7 at 6:30 p.m.: Folk rock from The Paperboys at Lake Burien Memorial Park

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

So grab a blanket, pack a picnic and bring the entire family to enjoy live – and FREE – entertainment outdoors at this great summer concert series.

There are two concert venues this year with concerts on both Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

In addition to concerts at Lake Burien School Park, there will also be three concerts at North Seatac Park. Starting on Wednesday, July 16, it is the soulful country sound of The Joy Mills Band, led by Seattle songwriter, Joy Mills. We think you’ll also agree that it wouldn’t be a summer concert series without some Latin music. The band Grupo Son performs the acoustic music of the Cuban countryside, considered to be one of the primary roots of modern salsa.

Summer concerts are held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, from July 10 through Aug. 14, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Wednesday concerts are at North SeaTac Park, while Thursday concerts are at Lake Burien School Park. North SeaTac Park is located at S. 128th Street & Des Moines Memorial Drive. Lake Burien School Park is located at SW 148th Street and 16th Ave SW.

See you at the park!

For complete details about the bands performing at the Music in the Park concerts and the full concert schedule, visit the “Schedule Information” link below, or go to www.BurienWA.gov/concerts. You can also call the Burien Parks Department at 206-988-3700.

4 talented artists, 4 different media at Burien Arts Gallery’s August Exhibit

Fri, 08/01/2014 - 13:29

The Burien Arts Gallery’s August exhibition features painter Jim Matthew, photographer Jane Day Lanning, ceramic artist Vicki Hamilton and mixed media creator Diane Baxter.

Meet the artists at the opening reception on Thursday, Aug. 7, from 4-9 p.m., as part of the August B-Town Beat Art & Music Walk.

The gallery is lcated at 826 SW 152nd Street in Olde Burien.

The gallery is open Wednesday-Saturday, Noon-6 p.m. and Sunday, Noon-4 p.m. It is closed Monday and Tuesday.

Matthew notes his early artistic influences included his grandmother who taught him painting at the age of four. Artists at Highline College and Washington State University were also early inspirations. In the 1990’s, Matthew worked as a studio assistant for Alden Mason.

Matthew has exhibited in several Seattle galleries, including a two-person show with Kenneth Callahan at the Woodside/Braseth Gallery. The Fountainhead Gallery in Seattle currently represents Matthew.

Several companies and organizations have purchased Matthew’s work including the cities of Burien, Kent, Tukwila and Seattle. For a Tacoma church, Matthew painted a 7-panel mural. Each panel measured 6 feet by 8 feet. He also painted an outdoor mural for Des Moines Florist.

Matthew is a member of the Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters and a founding member of the Poverty Bay Artist Group.

Matthew earned a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from Washington State University and is currently enrolled in Highline College’s Visual Communications program.

He lives in Des Moines with his wife. He has two daughters and two granddaughters.

Lanning recalls her love of photography began in 1968 when her father gave her a SLR camera in 9th grade and Mr. Conley, the physics teacher, installed a darkroom. Years later, she completed the Art Institute of Seattle’s Commercial Photography program.

As a life-long learner, Lanning traveled to Nepal for her first documentary assignment and has explored numerous national parks.

“Walking allows me to slow down and attend to nature’s multitude of details and beauty,” Lanning declares.

While not outdoors, Lanning teaches special needs students at Highline High School in Burien.

Wanting to get unstuck from the familiar and confortable context of doing the same thing over and over, Hamilton enrolled last September for a third time at the La Meridiana International School of Ceramic Arts in Italy.

“Here there are openings for creativity—inspiration is wherever you look!” Hamilton said. “The architecture, the landscape, the produce markets, galleries, museums, people.

“I began to see objects relative to the spaces they inhabited. I also began to wonder about the spaces between objects in a group and how might those spaces be part of the grouping.”

Now, Hamilton is back in her “normal” environment at the Moshier Art Center in Burien.

“Questions? We’re human and always looking for the answer, yes? I’m trying to stay in the question—to keep looking. The departure from strictly functional in my work, however temporary it might be, has got me wondering who I am,” Hamilton adds.

Baxter’s dramatic mixed media pieces–nearly six feet tall and measuring 15 inches at the base—are held over from the July show.

They are composed of organic materials gathered locally, including dirt, sand and sticks. Brocade cloth, wax, ribbon, nails, paint, charcoal and even a little bear fur can be discovered in her work.

Baxter was born and raised in the Seattle area but has lived periodically in Alaska. She first worked in clay but has branched out into mixed media and collage.

“I feel our modern society is disconnected from the natural world and its elements. We are surrounded by plastic and concrete with the proliferation of more and more mass produced items being forced upon us,” Baxter declares. “The use of organic material provides me with a real and intimate relationship with nature. I believe others need these organic elements brought to their homes and workspaces.”

As always, works from Artists United will also be featured.

Local UFO film ‘The Maury Island Incident’ to be IndieFlix’ ‘original series’

Fri, 08/01/2014 - 09:57

The Maury Island Incident” – a short film that was shot locally in the Burien area last summer – has been turned into a 6-part original series and will premiere on Seattle-based IndieFlix, an independent film streaming service on Aug. 19, 2014.

Based on declassified FBI documents, the film tells the incredible, tragic, and forgotten story of Harold Dahl, who on June 21, 1947, alleged a UFO sighting over Puget Sound, Washington. This sparked ‘the summer of the saucers,’ the modern era of UFO obsession, the first appearance of a ‘Man in Black’ as well as a governmental battle over UFO sighting jurisdiction reaching directly to FBI Executive Director J. Edgar Hoover.

The Aug. 19 date coincides with an FBI document sent to Executive Director J. Edgar Hoover, explaining how Dahl’s original claim that the sighting was a hoax was only said to avoid any further damage to his family. This historic document will also be released on Aug. 19 by filmmakers as a downloadable PDF on the official website www.mauryislandincident.com.

“IndieFlix viewers will not only learn new information about a lost, historic UFO case, they’ll also find out just how interested J. Edgar Hoover was with these ‘flying disc’ occurrences,” Producer/Director Scott Schaefer said. “And we will also be releasing some fascinating declassified FBI documents that show his personal interest in UFOs, specifically The Maury Island Incident.”

Initially shot as a short in the south Puget Sound area, with local talent and crew, The Maury Island Incident has been a labor of love for Producer/Writer Edmiston and Producer/Director Schaefer, and Washington FilmWorks, which gave out an Innovation Lab Award to this production. The Lab is a groundbreaking new program offering funding assistance to Washington filmmakers and filmmakers using emerging technologies. In its comments, the jury said this of the film:

“Equal parts mystery and documentary, The Maury Island Incident exposes a fascinating hidden history: the first recorded UFO incidents in the US didn’t occur in Roswell, but in Washington. This captivating project brings a spooky Seattle area legend to light and sets the stage for ongoing storytelling on the subject.”

Thanks to the help and support of Washington Filmworks’ Innovation Lab, Edmiston and Schaefer got the opportunity to turn their content into a series.

“We simply did not foresee the heightened tension that could be created with re-shaping our content into a serialized structure, and the Innovation Lab pushed us to that discovery,” Edmiston said. “From that moment, we began seeking an ideal partnership for development and distribution of the serial content and of course, IndieFlix was at the top of our wish list.”

Founded by filmmakers in 2005, IndieFlix is a membership-based streaming service that has become one of the most meaningful global online platforms in the industry. IndieFlix gives film lovers access to thousands of high quality independent shorts, features, documentaries and series from around the world via Roku, Xbox and all Internet connected devices including smartphones and tablets. IndieFlix’s mission is to champion filmmakers, launch careers, rethink traditional approaches to distribution, and celebrate the artistry and impact of independent film. IndieFlix’s unique royalty payment system pays filmmakers for every minute watched.

Edmiston adds: “We are excited to collaborate with IndieFlix, a company with an incredible track record of innovation. Of course, we love the fact that IndieFlix puts filmmakers first in almost every way imaginable. But even more, we have been impressed by the level of creativity and enthusiasm shown by the IndieFlix team as part of planning The Maury Island Incident series launch.”

Launching The Maury Island Incident as their first Original Series adds IndieFlix to the mix of online channels offering original content.

“We are so thrilled to have The Maury Island Incident as our first Original Series.” says CEO and co-founder, Scilla Andreen. “The show is so reminiscent of The X-Files and will be such a great new offering for our customers.”

Here’s the trailer:

Click here to view the embedded video.


Scilla Andreen CEO / Co-Founder Indieflix:
Scilla Andreen is an award-winning filmmaker, Emmy-nominated costume designer, disruptor and pioneer in the independent film space. Leading the charge to empower content creators, IndieFlix has become one of the most meaningful global online streaming platforms in the industry thanks to their latest innovation: the RPM model (Royalty Pool Minutes) which jettisons antiquated and complicated payment systems in favor of refreshing and transparent simplicity: for every minute watched, a filmmaker gets paid.

Steve Edmiston Producer / Writer The Maury Island Incident:
Steve Edmiston works as an independent feature film screenwriter and producer. He is also an attorney with 25 years of experience practicing business, litigation, intellectual property, and entertainment law. Edmiston is a frequent teacher, advisor, and speaker on film and film industry issues. His most recent feature premiered on Lifetime. His films have screened at a variety of film festivals including: Palm Springs, Fort Lauderdale, Seattle International Film Festival, Big Island Film Festival, Ashland and Port Townsend. Edmiston wrote and directed the award-winning short The Day My Parents Became Cool, which was shot entirely in the south Puget Sound area.

Scott Schaefer Director / Producer The Maury Island Incident:
Scott Schaefer is a three-time National Emmy Award winning Writer (Bill Nye The Science Guy, PBS/Disney) with over 27 years’ experience in media, including over 20 as a Director and Producer, six of which were spent in the trenches of Hollywood.

His directing credits includes for the TV shows Penn & Teller:Bullsh*t! (Showtime) where he was nominated for a Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Directing in a Reality Show (2005), Sightings (a UFO show for Paramount Pictures), The Arsenio Hall Show (Paramount), Totally Hidden Video (Fox), The Late Show (Fox), Fox On-Air Promotions, Almost Live! (KING-TV, where he won 6 Local Emmy Awards) and many others in-between.

Schaefer currently runs a network of six local blogs for an area south of Seattle called South King Media, which includes the award-winning B-Town Blog.

John White Executive Producer The Maury Island Incident:
The Maury Island Incident is John’s first motion picture project, and followed his extraordinarily successful career as an entrepreneur. In 1990, John invented his own pile driving machine in his garage, then founded American Piledriving Equipment (APE), the largest pile driving equipment company in the world. John’s machines operated exclusively on vegetable oil to prevent damage to water and soil. His other ventures include Crazy Horse Motorcycles LLC, which manufactures the 45 degree V-Twin engine featured on the TV show American Choppers. His unique engine is the powerplant featured in Microsoft’s Gears of War Trike built by Paul Jr. and featured in the video game.

Enjoy amazing 6-string violin music from Geoffrey Castle Thursday night

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 07:30

REMINDER: Burien Parks’ ‘Music in the Parks’ concert series continues this Thursday night starting at 6:30 p.m. featuring amazing Electric Six String Violin music from Geoffrey Castle at Lake Burien Memorial Park.

Here’s a video about Castle:

Click here to view the embedded video.

So grab a blanket, pack a picnic and bring the entire family to enjoy live – and FREE – entertainment outdoors at this great summer concert series.

There are two concert venues this year with concerts on both Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

In addition to concerts at Lake Burien School Park, there will also be three concerts at North Seatac Park.

Summer concerts are held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, from July 10 through Aug. 14, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Wednesday concerts are at North SeaTac Park, while Thursday concerts are at Lake Burien School Park. North SeaTac Park is located at S. 128th Street & Des Moines Memorial Drive. Lake Burien School Park is located at SW 148th Street and 16th Ave SW.

See you at the park!

For complete details about the bands performing at the Music in the Park concerts and the full concert schedule, visit the “Schedule Information” link below, or go to www.BurienWA.gov/concerts. You can also call the Burien Parks Department at 206-988-3700.


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