One hundred years ago, when the Ballets Russes debuted The Rite of Spring, Nijinsky’s dance of pagan ritual and sacrifice set to the unearthly noise of Igor Stravinsky’s score, the audience practically started throwing chairs at the first alien note of the bassoon. 

Hard to imagine a similar riot breaking out today. But all spring, a centennial celebration of that revolutionary work at the University of Washington promises to challenge audiences and thrill us anew. In January, in sold out houses at Meany Theater, Compagnie Marie Chouinard danced a raw, primal reimagining of Rite of Spring accompanied by a stirring performance of the student musicians of the UW Symphony Orchestra. It’s that kind of excitement—and controversy—that arts editor Laura Dannen sought out for our survey of the spring season, with events that include UW’s young jazz trumpeter Cuong Vu, an art exhibit reflecting the experiences of East African girls wearing the hijab in Seattle schools, a Taming of the Shrew set in a trailer park. 

You’ll find lots more coming up in Seattle’s cultural landscape to stir the passions and challenge cultural assumptions and in a guide to the season’s most festive parties and galas here.

If you’re hungering for a more far-flung cultural adventure, you’ll meet some notable locals who travel for work. The idea for our cover story was sparked by the launch (and sadly, for the moment, unlaunch) of Boeing’s Dreamliner and international airline companies adding Seattle to their flight plans in the past year. We started to wonder: Who’s on that flight to Dubai, anyway? And what does she do when she gets there? (Answer: food and beverage consultant Kathy Casey, who you might find in a luxury shopping mall bar sipping a “super weird” blended drink of avocado and date with rose on top.) The result is a tantalizing journey into the lives of jet-setting Seattleites—all of them shared their favorite sights and secret haunts in destinations that are just one direct flight away.

For another whiff of the way we are lighting up the cultural map, the recently passed I-502, legalizing possession of marijuana, places Washington state on the cutting edge of a whole new industry. Public forums sponsored by the state liquor control board have been packed with growers, sellers, and users who want to help shape policy. And there are some mighty interesting opportunities: The liquor board has posted RFPs for expertise on “how marijuana is grown, cultivated, harvested, cured and processed. How marijuana is infused into food and beverages. How marijuana should be packaged, labeled, transported and sold at a retail level.” And the stuff needs to be tested for quality, ingredients, and safety, as senior editor Matthew Halverson learned in a harrowing firsthand experience. Yes, he inhaled.

 

 

Published: March 2013

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