Seattle Rep’s NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN: Beyond the Theatre

Seattle Repertory Theatre presents NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN by Christina Ham from April 26 to June 2, 2019. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books, music and films to enhance your experience of the show.

Nina Simone’s “Four Women” is a haunting, critical exploration of racial stereotypes and the legacy of slavery through the lives of four black women: Aunt Sarah, Saffronia, Sweet Thing and Peaches. In NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN, playwright Christina Ham brings these characters and Simone herself to life as they gather in the ruins of the 16th Street Baptist Church the day after 4 young black girls died in a terrorist bombing. This tragedy profoundly impacted Simone, prompting her evolution from artist to artist-activist and inspiring her to write and perform powerful songs such as “Mississippi Goddamn,” “Young, Gifted and Black” and of course, “Four Women.” Continue reading “Seattle Rep’s NINA SIMONE: FOUR WOMEN: Beyond the Theatre”

Party Like It’s 1918!

I’ve never been one to enjoy the large crowds underneath the Space Needle on New Year’s Eve night; rather, I like to ring in the New Year with friends at smaller events in the city. One year was spent wandering around Tacoma during First Night and when I lived in West Seattle I would ring in the New Year at a local masquerade. This year, though, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do.

That got me thinking … how did Seattleites spend past New Years? What events were taking place a hundred years ago in 1918? So I looked through the Seattle Times archives and discovered, not much has changed in the way we celebrate the coming of the New Year!

In 1918 you could enjoy a home cooked New Year’s Dinner at the Woman’s Exchange and in 2018 you can enjoy dinner and music at many venues throughout Seattle! Continue reading “Party Like It’s 1918!”

Rocktober!

Ah, October . . . one of my favorite months of the year. Leaves are turning glorious shades of red, orange and gold, delicious wild mushrooms are abundant in the woods, and it’s finally cold enough to break out all my hand-knit scarves and hats. Plus October has the best holidays . . . Indigenous Peoples’ Day, National Grouch Day, Halloween and a month-long celebration of all things rock n’ roll . . . ROCKTOBER.

There are many ways one can pay homage to the gods and goddesses of rock during the month of Rocktober. You can blast Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” at full volume while cruising around town in your beat-up old van, a la Jack Black in School of Rock. You can watch This Is Spinal Tap for the eleventy-millionth time. You can belt out your most impassioned version of “Crazy on You” at karaoke night.

Or you could read one of these excellent recently published books in rock biography, history and criticism.

Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars by David Hepworth
British rock critic Hepworth’s book is an informative, entertaining and witty biography of the concept of the rock star, from its genesis in the 1950s to its decline in the 1990s. Each chapter highlights a different individual or group who contributed to rock star mythology, focusing on a pivotal moment in their career and its reverberations throughout the decades.   Continue reading “Rocktober!”

Libraryoke!

Karaoke is one of those things that I will either be super stoked about and will want to sing Colors of the Wind to the rooftops or I’ll just want to sit back and take it all in.   Regardless, karaoke has a way of bringing everyone together and here are a few books that illustrate that very point:

Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love & Karaoke by Rob Sheffield

“In this follow-up to Love is a Mix Tape, a writer for Rolling Stone, after his wife’s death, finds solace in music, which leads him to the strangest places and gives him the courage to start over, move on and rock the mike.” Continue reading “Libraryoke!”

‘Lauren Weedman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’ at ACT

When For Better, or Worse turns out worse than you imagined, just say “Lauren Weedman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” Put on your favorite dress, fix up your Country Music Hair, strut out of the house and onto the stage of This Sweet Old World .  Give yourself a break; have a Ladies’ Night out!  In fact, take as many nights out as you please to squeeze out all your sorrows. Continue reading “‘Lauren Weedman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’ at ACT”