Tag Archives: seattle washington

Visit Seattle

The previous post was my last Fall Holiday post for Seattle!  I hope you enjoyed reading about my travels until next year.  I’ll keep you posted.

For now check out, http://www.visitseattle.org/Home.aspx for your own Seattle trip planning ideas.

Till next time!


Asian Art Museum: ‘Live On: Mr.’s Japanese Neo-Pop’

Live On: Mr.’s Japanese Neo-Pop

Nov 22 2014 – Apr 5 2015

Asian Art Museum

Tateuchi Galleries

The devastating disaster of the March 11, 2011 tsunami and the nuclear accident afterwards were both a shock and inspiration for Japanese Neo-Pop artist Mr. In response, he composed a massive installation made of hundreds of everyday objects from Japanese life. It’s the central work in this exhibition, presented here with a series of new paintings and other work. A reminder of the debris that blanketed the Tohoku area in the aftermath of 3.11 tsunami and earthquake, the installation embodies the post-disaster fear and frustration of the Japanese people since the catastrophic events.

Live On, which is organized by SAM, presents Mr.’s art of the past 15 years and is his first solo exhibition in a U.S. museum. Born in 1969, Mr. is a protégé of Takashi Murakami, internationally acclaimed icon of Japanese Pop art. He borrowed the name “Mr.” from “Mister Giants” (Shigeo Nagashima), the superstar clean-up hitter of the postwar Yomiuri Giants baseball team.

Having grown up during Japan’s postwar “economic miracle” period, Mr. often exercises his art as a weapon against social expectations. As a member of the otaku subculture, his work ties closely with the lifestyle, which is marked by obsessive interests in anime and manga and being confined in one’s room with limited interactions with other people. He says,

I’ve had one eye on anime since the day I was born.

The exhibition includes a group of Mr.’s new works that take kawaii (cute) Japanese Pop art to a new dimension, known as moe (which literally means budding). Through fictional, adorable characters, moe speaks to a longing for youth, or youthful energy. It grew out of Japanese youth subculture, and its rebellion against authority and political engagement in favor of fantasy and virtual experience.

While Mr.’s art often appears playful at first—even cheerful—its veneer of bright imagery expresses darker themes and addresses anxiety. The works seen here offer his personal and artistic responses to trauma—whether natural disaster, war, psychological angst, or social anxiety—and demonstrate defiance against such adversity.


I had a last minute urge to trek up to the Asian Art Museum on one of my last days in Seattle.  I am so glad I did.  Even though I missed the above ‘Live On: Mr.’s Japanese Neo-Pop’, from what I viewed as part of a press preview looked like a stunning exhibit.  It’s always nice to see a fun exhibit in the midst of floors filled with classical work and dollops of modern art.

Upon my visit to the Asian Art Museum, I fell in love with the ‘Mughal Painting: Power and Piety’ in the Foster Galleries.  The ‘Hamza outside the Fortress of Armanus, 1567-82, Mir Sayyid ‘ali, Persian, active 16th c., opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper, 34 15/16 x 28 3/4in. (88.8 x 73cm), Seattle Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Richard E. Fuller’.  It ached of layers of imagery, ornate handiwork, Mughal rulers and notables.  The other portraits depicted a ruler’s supremacy with his personal accouterments—daggers, rings, necklaces—crafted from luxurious materials and inlaid with jewels.  Bling and more bling!

At the end of your museum visit, make sure you find time to walk around Volunteer Park.  It’s a gorgeous property and I found myself swooning in the autumn sun at trees galore.

Asian Art Museum

Volunteer Park

1400 East Prospect Street Seattle, WA 98112

206.654.3100 & TTY 206.344.5267


Seattle Art Museum: ‘ City Dwellers: Contemporary Art from India’ and ‘Pop Departures’

The Seattle Art Museum is immense.  I decided to narrow my visit down by focusing on exhibits of interest as oppose to overwhelming myself.  It was a good plan.  I settled on the ‘City Dwellers: Contemporary Art from India’ and ‘Pop Departures’.

City Dwellers: Contemporary Art from India

Aug 30 2014 – Feb 16 2015

Seattle Art Museum

Third Floor Galleries

Bollywood movie culture, venerated politicians, religious traditions, and art historical icons all contribute to the myriad of influences in contemporary urban Indian culture. The artists in this exhibition pay tribute to this multitude even as they introduce elements of irony, introspection, and critique.

Through their photography and sculpture, the artists negotiate diverse ideas and influences on contemporary Indian society—Hindu mythology, Bollywood movies, Indian and western art, and icons of everyday life in a global market economy. Many of the works are influenced as much by popular movie culture and the use of digital technology as by the conventions of religious ritual and street processions, traditional theater, and dance.

Come see the colorful, contradictory, and complex India of today through the works of some of the country’s leading artists.


When I was walking through the space to take in the ‘City Dwellers: Contemporary Art from India’ exhibit there was a school class on a learning break.  I was so impressed of  their  interpretation of “India Shining V: Gandhi with iPod”.  Their comments on India as a tech-savvy consumer society was a great assessment.  I saw a bright-red Gandhi, gaudy and grotesque, grinning at his iPod menu. No telling what he’s listening to, but it’s not a tune from the India he led to independence in 1947.

Being of South Asian origin, I felt exuberant to see such beautiful images of India’s people, places and artistry in play.  Cheeky but thoughtful.  “The Reassurance”, from the series Definitive Reincarnate, 2003/2006, Nandini Valli Muthiah, Indian, b. 1976, color photograph, 40 1/4 x 40 x 1 in., Collection of Sanjay Parthasarathy and Malini Balakrishnan was a favourite.  The bombastic colours, cultural and religious nods were respectful and the dance of bridging old world thought into modern Western re-thinking was an important conversation to have within the context of beautiful photographs and statues.

Pop Departures

Oct 9 2014 – Jan 11 2015

Seattle Art Museum

Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

In the 1960s, art for the first time embraced the brash world of commercial culture, advertising, and mass media—images of shiny newness, youth, and seduction. Pop art electrified artists, audiences, and critics alike. It changed our understanding of art, and the ripple effects of its seismic shift are still felt today. Pop Departures presents the bold visions of American Pop artists, including the works of icons such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana, and Claes Oldenburg.

The exhibition takes us beyond the pioneers of Pop and to the work of subsequent generations of artists for whom Pop art has been an inspiration or a vehicle for critique. See works from the 1980s and ’90s by artists such as Lynn Hershman Leeson, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, and Richard Prince. Continue with work made in the era of digital markets and social media by Margarita Cabrera, Josephine Meckseper, and Ryan Trecartin—contemporary artists who use Pop as a point of departure.

Pop art changed the way we consume media and redefined art as part of our market economy. Pop Departures will blow open your notions of Pop and take you on a journey through the last 50 years of American popular culture.


If you are a fan of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein ‘Pop Departures’ is for you.   I had many rendezvous’ with Warhol’s ‘Mick Jagger’ on the day I visited.  It is very rare to see these works on view and it was a true explosion of colour, pop art and humour.  There was no stiff upper lip apparent in this exhibit that kept giving and giving.

“The Kiss V”, 1964, Roy Lichtenstein, American, 1923-1997, magna on canvas, 36 × 36 in., Collection Simonyi, © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein was important to pay homage to.  One of the more popular Lichtenstein portraits – checking out the dots up close was fun especially if you are a pop art fan.  I was more interested in the traditional pop art on display and for me proved to be a joyful time.

You need a good two to three hours to walk the length of the Seattle Art Museum and make sure to double back for the works of Chihuly (a small space but well worth the one on one time with) and the decadent Porcelain Room which will have you craving a cup of tea and biscuits.

Keep in mind; in 2015 the Seattle Art Museum is bringing an exhibit on the works and clothing of Yves Saint Lauren to their shores.  It maybe worth a flight out to catch up close.  😉

Seattle Art Museum

1300 First Avenue Seattle, WA 98101

206.654.3100 & TTY 206.654.3137


Seattle Symphony: Delta Air Lines Masterworks Presents ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’

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Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor

Augustin Hadelich, violin

Esteban Benzecry: Colores de la Cruz del Sur

Attending the Symphony is a magical and deeply moving experience.  To be able to concentrate and let classical music envelop you in its most pure form was a luxury.  It should be something everyone should experience once in their life.

The three compositions included in the program of ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ are markedly different in sound and style, and their music suggests different sorts of experiences. Colores de la Cruz del Sur (“Colors of the Southern Cross”), by the Argentine composer Esteban Benzecry, is a kind of travelogue through South America, though the places and scenes the composer describes in his music have perhaps more to do with his imagination than with observed reality. Felix Mendelssohn’s famous Violin Concerto makes no attempt to convey anything so specific. But from its impassioned opening through its exquisite slow movement to its buoyant finale, there seems a dreamlike quality to much of this music.

Modest Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ is a visionary composition in two senses of the word. First, as much as music can do such a thing, it translates into sound images from drawings and paintings, a process that relies on what we can only call a keen sense of musical vision. No less impressive, it creates these impressions through quite novel harmonies and aural textures, sounds that Mussorgsky evidently created solely for this purpose. Plagued by alcoholism, Mussorgsky led a chaotic life and did not achieve all that he might have. But at his best, as he is in Pictures, he deserves to be called a visionary composer.


ESTEBAN BENZECRY Colores de la Cruz del Sur

Travelling solo in Seattle offered my mind so many opportunities to check out and inhale in some new energy.  I appreciated that the ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ began with a musical tour to South America, a voyage not only through different regions of the continent but to diverse cultures, both ancient and modern. The sounds of this journey are exceptionally colorful, sensuous and vibrant.  It felt like a musical painting was being brought to life without the traditional classical charm.

There were moments I was soaring high above the plains of South America in a National Geographic film.  It was such a lucid experience to see and feel the music at the hands of the Seattle Symphony’s musicians.

Portraiture of  Peruvian mountains, sightings of the stars in their full splendor,  the wind in the frozen desert, glaciers breaking and sudden interruptions of the wind and birds and imaginary folk dances culminated into what Benzecry describes as “sounds of an imaginary magical forest, with its birds, and the shining stars are seen through the tree leaves.”

The musical installment was visceral and gave me room to ponder walking in the woods in Portland just a few days before.  Alone, reflecting on how lucky I am to be in such natural splendour and to have the time, opportunity and resources to enjoy myself.   I found Benzecry ‘Colores de la Cruz del Sur’ highlighted my blessings and illustrated my travel journey.

FELIX MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64

The 19th century produced five great concertos for the violin, those of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bruch, Tchaikovsky and Brahms. Each of these works has its virtues. But Mendelssohn’s is probably the most popular, this for its winning melodiousness and sheer sonic beauty.

Mendelssohn’s musical installment was far more emotional.  I found myself walking around museums and galleries on this trip and immersing myself in beautiful art which I only seem to indulge upon when I am on vacation.  It’s the only time I have time.  It made me think…what else don’t I have time for?

This experience encouraged me to consider what comes next.  The gentle nod although blanketed in serene woodwinds was also dramatic enough to soothe my fearful heart of what has been holding me back. I have beautiful talents that are locked away that need to see the light of day again.

Upon observation of the full orchestral team, I got a sense that the woodwinds are the most underrated of the team.  They were powerful in evoking such an emotional attachment when listening to their epic sound.  What underrated qualities of mine are worth showcasing?

MODEST MUSSORGSKY / orch. Ravel, Pictures at an Exhibition

Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto belongs to the mainstream of 19th-century Romanticism in music. By contrast, Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition stands at that movement’s edge. Stirring, haunting, frightening, amusing and at times astonishing, it is above all inspired and utterly original.

This segment I found far more haunting and full of deep romantic intent.  I wondered about the portraiture of my year.  I felt the energy flowing through me.  It felt therapeutic but also startling.  This year has had its ups and downs but also moments where I was struck with my own growth.  The vigour of the music had enough force that it knocked out the stones that have been weighing me down for some time.  The power of letting go in that moment was tangible.

The biggest draw for me to attend the Seattle Symphony was to see the acclaimed violinist Augustin Hadelich perform Mendelssohn’s gem of the repertoire in ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ along with the stellar Seattle Symphony.  The talent in such a small space was awe inspiring.  It’s hard to believe that such beauty can come out of wood and brass instruments at the hands of someone like you or I.  There were members of the audience who felt the full intent of the performance and were not afraid to scream out passionately ‘Bravo’ and ‘Yes!’ upon the conclusion of each piece.

The space at Benaroya Hall where the Seattle Symphony calls home is even more decadent.  It was truly the dulce de leche of my evening.  Before the performance had commenced I felt like I was being prepared for an evening of swooning.  From the Dale Chihuly chandelier piece in the front entrance of Benaroya Hall, to the rich woods and open space.  I felt like I was in nature.  As the music washed over our senses I could observe people transfixed in the glow of the space.  It was a riveting experience.

The lovely warm wood, high ceilings, chairs that were easy to sink into and have your mind, body and senses give into the experience.  From the ambiance,  the formidable musicians and their musicianship – the Seattle Symphony is indeed offering you more than just a musical experience on a night out.

The Seattle Symphony’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ was a treat and highlighted moments in my trip to both Portland and Seattle this Fall.  The symphony was on a journey and so was I.  A perfect piece for my travel reflection.

I am finding as I am aging I am seeking out new forms of art and music that speaks to my life experiences, successes and hurdles.   It’s about setting the bar high so you can reflect back on your journey and come to some tough conclusions around what is working and not working in your life.  I encourage you to submit to the music at the Seattle Symphony and observe what your mind and body chooses to ‘breathe in’ in return.


Poppy Restaurant

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Walking into Jerry Traunfeld’s ‘Poppy’ Restaurant on a chilly November night, whilst in Seattle I was greeted warmly just like an old mate.  This is a great feeling when travelling alone and having not spoken to a soul all day because of solo independent pursuits.  After a little chat with the hostess she sat me close to the window so I could take in the restaurant layout and feel the delicate ambiance.   But most importantly warm up.

I had read about ‘Poppy’ a few months back when starting my research for my time in Seattle.   I was staying in Capitol Hill and saw that ‘Poppy’ was just up the street from my accommodation.

Jerry Traunfeld opened ‘Poppy’ at 622 Broadway East (at Roy) in 2008 appropriately after his mother, Poppy. “Food will still be inspired by herbs, and will delve deep into spices. Rather than the rarefied Herbfarm style, it’ll be food we can eat on an everyday basis — and with Traunfeld’s track record of deliciousness, we just might.”   This sounded incredibly intriguing to me.

The restaurant serves Traunfeld’s local and seasonal-emphasized cuisine in a pattered small dish tasting format, inspired by Indian Thali.  “Thali,” is a platter served to each guest holding a variety of small dishes.  Poppy’s menu borrows the idea of the Thali to present Jerry’s own style of northwest cooking, highlighting seasonal ingredients, fresh herbs, and spices. It’s a modern northwest tasting menu served all at once.

I noticed that the space was full at ‘Poppy’ the night I chose to dine with them.  I glanced at my menu but felt distracted by the northwest meets NYC upper west side stylings.  It was a stunning space.  The staff was bustling around and I observed them to be attentive with guests but not overly.  I instantly felt comfortable and was eager to eat as I saw steaming dishes with meals being delivered to just as eager patrons on the floor.

To Start

The Friend Mussels with Lovage Aioli is a must try on ‘Poppy’s’ menu.  The Fried Mussels were simply prepared and ached of its original essence.  They were boisterous, tender and required a slice in half to eat them with as much grace as they suggested.  I had texted my sister at the time as I ate this gorgeous dish to tell her that the mussels were the size of Silver Dollars.  Immense!  This dish should not be shared but needs to be eaten slowly, deliberately to truly appreciate its delight.

The Grilled Smoked Trout with Fennel Salad and Salsa Verde was the recommendation of my server Benedict.  I was a tad nervous that perhaps the Grilled Smoked Trout would be too big a portion but it was perfect in every way.  Portion, preparation, taste and texture.  The Trout was not overly smoked but had a slight accent so you could enjoy the fish for which it was.  A perfect marriage between the Fennel Salad and Salsa Verde.  Their notes brought out the flavouring of the Trout without letting you forget that the Trout was the headliner.  I enjoyed the sweet and savouriness of the Fennel Salad and Salsa Verde.  The overall dish made a perfect introduction to the entrée that followed.


The cocktails I ordered to sip throughout my meal were again great recommendations by the hands of my hostess.  They were allies but did not take away from the purity of the food.


Gin, Chartreuse, St. Germaine, Lime, Orange Bitters.

The Loveless cocktail was certainly not Loveless.  This lady was all romance.  It took me awhile to finalize my menu choices because of the love this drink was extolling onto my heart.

Wild About Saffron

Vodka, Brandy, Rose Geranium, Saffron, Lemon, Angostura.

The Wild About Saffron was a tad strong but a nice way to transition my meal from Starters to Entrée.


Thali is a perfect choice if you are looking to heighten your senses while trying a little bit of everything.  What you may not realize at the time is that each segment on the Thali stage is speaking to one another as soon as it is placed in front of you.  I was taken by the colours, textures and gentle voices I heard coming off my Thali platter.

My server, a young fellow who at first wanted to quickly tell me everything on my Thali and get out of there warmed up to me when I asked, ‘Hmmmm…where should I start?’.  He cracked a smile and simply replied ‘Anywhere you like, Miss’.  Thank you for the permission I thought.

Indeed I started with the Red Pepper, Apricot and Walnut Soup.  The soup was resplendent.  It washed down my throat easily and its warmth opened up my belly.  I felt instantly recharged and reawakened for what was to come.  I was present.  The Soup was fresh, thick and it could stand alone as a mate on a Saturday afternoon at home with a simple spoon and large soup dish in bed with a book.

The Satsuma, Pea sprout and Fennel Salad was next.  Even though I had some Fennel salad before with my Trout – I was not ready to let it go.  Again, fresh, beautifully curated and a perfect bonjour as I began to deconstruct my Anderson Ranch Lamb Osso Bucco with Malay Flavors.

So began the dance.

The Anderson Ranch Lamb Osso Bucco with Malay Flavors was the genius.  I was ready for protein and this was my star in the sky for the night.  The Anderson Ranch Lamb was humble as it was dynamic.  Fall off the bone moist, tasty, and delightful.  I could feel my legs twitching under the table.  This is kind of lamb you want for your Sunday dinner, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.  It is posh and it has all the makings of, ‘Now that you’ve had it prepared this way.  You can’t go back to any other way.’  Transcendent.

There was a few back in forth between the Winter Squash with Rosemary, Chili and Lime, Pomegranate Red Cabbage and Carrot, Lemon, Ginger Pickle.  These characters were the jewels on my plate.  Think about rubies, emeralds and canary diamonds on a “The Royal Maharaja”.  It was all decadence.  I think if I was sat with my Indian Mom at the table that night she would have been cajoling me to ensure I was having a relationship with my Nigella-Poppy Naan.

The Nigella-Poppy Naan was bountiful, poofy and the smile on my plate.  Indeed I tore into her gentle consistency as I added the lamb and variations of the Winter Squash with Rosemary, Chili and Lime, Pomegranate Red Cabbage and Carrot, Lemon, Ginger Pickle onto her.  They were each vying for my attention and not at all upset as I took my time with each.

There is the odd time you eat a meal at a restaurant and feel transformed.  In a sense taken away to another place and time.  I don’t mean this in an overly verbose sense.  But what I do suggest is that this meal at ‘Poppy’ educated me.  This meal was perhaps one of my best meals that I had captured whilst travelling in a long time.  I felt satiated, enlightened and also deeply appreciative of the finely curated plates.


Have you ever been to the Opera and needed a little sweet to get you into bed so you could reflect with ease?  Well I found the Lemon Verbena Cream Tart with Huckberries and Candied Ginger Ice Cream was my girl.  This dessert was sweet and yet stood on its own as it took a bow.  I enjoyed the lovely Lemon Verbena Cream Tart.  It had a homemade texture but with a wink of royalty.  The Huckberries and the Candied Ginger Ice Cream will be ceremoniously spoken about to friends and family as the dessert that kept on giving without any pomp or circumstance.

As I licked the last bits of my Candied Ginger Ice Cream off my spoon, I reflected on the space again at ‘Poppy’.  It was modern but also had some formidable northwest tones.  Sexy origami chandeliers, met with reclaimed wood ceilings and furniture, a statement brick wall by the bar that makes for a wonderful meeting place for friends, family, co-workers or just a solo meal and drink.  It was uptown meets northwest chic but all the makings of an authentic small town vibe.

I found the staff warm, inviting and eager to give suggestions which were proven to be trusted bang on choices.

I highly encourage you to check out ‘Poppy’ Restaurant on Capitol Hill.  Be it if you are travelling to Seattle or a local, you will guaranteed to leave this impeccable tucked away resto with not only  a full Buddha belly but some enlightened thoughts on your experiences.   Most importantly you will be wondering when you will be booking your next seating.

Poppy Seattle

622 Broadway East

Seattle WA 98102




Frye Art Museum

I had a long day and had limited energy.  But I was determined to trek up a monster hill (ok not really a monster hill) to get to the Frye Art Museum.

Entering the space I was immediately greeted with the Frye Art Museum’s #SocialMedium exhibit which recently opened on October 4, 2014 and will run until January 4, 2015.  I was being tasked to be a ‘curator’ of the space and I wanted to learn more.

“It’s that thing where you ♥ an image and that painting goes in an exhibition,” is the tag line under which the Frye Art Museum in Seattle crowd-sourced the curation of its exhibition, #SocialMedium, over a two-week period in August, 2014.

People all over the world were invited to vote online for their favorites among 232 paintings via social media networks Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. The voting process was extensively tweeted about and received wide national news coverage.

The challenge, “You are the curator,” went out and was met: 17,601 votes were cast through “Likes” by a diverse community of 4,468 curators. The global network spans Seattle, the US, and beyond, to Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, UK, and Vietnam.

Every painting in the collection received at least one vote, but the clear favorite was Peacock (1907) by Julius Scheuerer (German, 1859-1913), which received 3,525 Likes when it went viral on Tumblr.

International news media picked up the #SocialMedium story and commented on the transformation of the role of curator the project embodies. The Istanbul newspaper Zaman noted that the Frye exhibition is “a critical look at the curator’s function and draws attention to the role of social media in the arts world.”

Paintings loved by the Seattle public since the founding of the Museum in 1952 were in a tight race for the top five favorites:

Die Sünde (Sin) (ca. 1908), Franz von Stuck – 210 votes

View of Königssee (1878), Dániel Somogyi – 208 votes

Moulting Ducks (1900), Alexander Max Koester – 206 votes

Gardeuse de moutons (The Shepherdess) (1881), William-Adolphe Bouguereau – 176 votes

Curators around the world not only voted for their favorite paintings, but also provided commentary and interpretations of many works. #SocialMedium showcases select comments and includes a unique short URL for each of the 41 paintings in the exhibition, enabling visitors to access a Facebook page with all comments on a painting.

Visitors can add new comments to any of the Facebook pages while in the galleries. Posts on Twitter and Instagram using #SocialMedium will appear in a real-time feed on a screen in the galleries.

The names of all 4,468 curators appear on the title wall of #SocialMedium, a collaboration with a team comprising the Frye’s Collections, Curatorial, and Communications departments and external partners Civilization, a Seattle firm devoted to design as a means of social change, and Dylan Neuwirth, an artist and social media consultant.

#SocialMedium is organized by the Frye Art Museum and curated by 4,468 guest curators. The exhibition is funded by the Frye Foundation with the generous support of Frye Art Museum members and donors. It is sponsored by Civilization. Seasonal support is provided by 4Culture, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and ArtsFund. Media sponsorship provided by The Stranger.


The Frye Art Museum is indeed doing some game changing work by stitching in the popularity of social media together with classic and modern art and by asking for audience participation in curating the space.  A truly dynamic interactive way for people to research, study and immerse themselves in art at its core.  Hey, if Beyonce and Jay Z can take a selfie with the Mona Lisa and blow up Twitter,  it’s time we bring our game by ‘hearting’ otherwise not as well know art to the forefront with friends, family and the internet.

The space at the Frye Art Museum is ‘oh so casual’ but cohesive.  Even museum security staff was outfitted in comfy and relaxed jeans and tees.  I instantly felt like I was in a new kind of museum space.  The matching of the relaxed vibe and stunning pieces of art allowed me to shake off the stiff upper life I had been sporting earlier in the day at another well know museum down the hill.

The art will indeed move you at the Frye Art Museum.  Perhaps because I let my defences down I was just able to let go and really look at the art for what it was.  I felt very present.  I had a love affair with Julius Scheuerer ‘Peacock, 1907’.  The splendour of seeing such majesty even without his full plume exposed.  The contemplation in his stance got me thinking of how I stand, what am I putting it out there?  What do people see?  How do people approach and interact with me?

I had never heard of Otto Hierl-Deronco before coming to the Frye Art Museum.  But was entranced by his ‘Spanische Tänzerin’ (Spanish Dancer) piece. I had tweeted that this picture was reminiscent of J. Lo.  I loved the Spanish Dancer’s dress and the cockiness in her portrayal.  She reminded me of a can can dancer but there was a certain posh classiness to her.

My favourite piece had to be from Gustav Majer (also known as Schwabenmajer).  The piece was entitled ‘Stella’, 1989 and was Austrian, 1847–1900. Oil on canvas.    I was drawn to her for the beautifully ornate frame.  But as I stared closer she oozed Venus qualities in all her beauty and porcelain skin.  Stunning and romantic.  I’d love to have her in my home.  I don’t think I’d ever leave the house.

Another added neat element at the Frye Art Museum was the presence of artisans who approved by the museum were painting the works hung on the wall.  It was so neat to see ‘the process’ honoured at the Frye Art Museum.

Indeed the social medium presence is timely to get the word out, but I appreciated as a visitor to the space that the Frye Art Museum is involving our upcoming generations in appreciating art.  The homage to the artist and their talented painstaking work that brings us such joy and inspiration to our lives and work was a beautiful touch.

The Frye Art Museum – indeed was worth the hike up the hill.  A thrilling and interesting space with works that will leave you breathless and looking forward to your next visit.  Don’t forget to take a selfie for posterity and post it to your social media accounts.

Free admission and free parking

704 Terry Avenue

Seattle, Washington 98104

206 622 9250


Celebrate Bruce Lee’s Birthday with The Wing

‘Do You Know Bruce?’

Another trailblazer for Chinese Americans was the remarkable Bruce Lee.  The Wing has curated a tremendous exhibit, entitled simply ‘Do You Know Bruce?’ which chronicles Lee’s career and personal growth from newcomer to International superstar.  It opened on Oct 4, 2014 and will run into 2017.

In 1999, Time Magazine named Bruce Lee one of the most influential people of the century.  He inspired – and continues to inspire – millions of people, 40 years after his death, through his trailblazing work in martial arts, film and fitness. He was an international superstar but for Asian Pacific Americans, he was much more. While his one-inch punch raised the bar for martial artists, his skill, hard work, and determination to break media stereotypes of Asian Pacific Americans was game-changing in advancing racial equality.

In his film roles, Bruce Lee fought to be portrayed as a person, not a subservient or menacing Chinese male stereotype. Off the screen, he openly embraced his mixed race background, defied martial arts tradition with his willingness to instruct people of any race, and broke barriers with his interracial marriage. Rooted in his philosophy of personal development, Bruce Lee also spent as much time cultivating his inner character with ideas of intellect, socio-cultural awareness and education as he did on his physical conditioning.

A significant part of who Bruce Lee became was due to his life in Seattle.

In Seattle, Bruce Lee worked at the legendary Ruby Chow’s Restaurant, launched his first martial arts studio, formed his philosophical roots, and met and fell in love with Linda Lee, a Garfield High School graduate. For him, Seattle was a time of obstacles and sacrifices as well as growth and development… and would become his final home.

This special exhibition will feature interactive multi-media displays, never-before-seen personal belongings and collector memorabilia related to Bruce Lee’s time in Seattle and the Chinatown-International District, his relationship with Linda and family, his global influence and legacy, and his martial arts.

Items featured in exhibition include:

– Handwritten poems reflecting Bruce’s experience in Seattle

– Birth announcement for Brandon and snapshots of him as a baby

– Boxing glove and head-gear used by Bruce for training

– Original press kit materials from Fists of Fury, The Chinese Connection, Return of the Dragon, Enter the Dragon, and Game of Death.


The exhibit was deeply personal and had echoes of so much promise at the hands of Lee.  Even though I have not seen a Lee film to date I do remember catching flashes of his work on television in years past.  Even then having limited knowledge of him I was able to piece together that he was a man of determination, strength and immense bravado that to watch him was to marvel at his presence.

The exhibit, ‘Do You Know Bruce?’ is perfect for a fan or a newbie like me.  Being from a family of immigrants myself – I know about the struggle.  The struggle makes up my own personal fabric.  My core beliefs is to work hard, keep focused, keep aiming higher and don’t let anyone say ‘no’ or stand in my way.  Truths that have been passed down by own traditional parents.

Bruce’s journey from his early days in Seattle were dynamic but ached of the same duty to succeed.  I wondered if he was ever lonely.  What it must have felt like starting out in a different country as a minority?  What hurdles did he face on a daily basis and what was he able to overcome?  Was there racism?  What kept him going?  What kept him focused?

The exhibit may not reveal those questions for you but it will certainly wet you’re appetite to do some more exploring.  Which it did for me!  I joined the Bruce Lee’s Chinatown Tour to learn more through The Wing.

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Bruce Lee’s Chinatown Tour

Get to know Bruce better. Retrace his footsteps through the Chinatown-International District, his old stomping ground. His first practice space, his first martial arts studio, and his hangouts – see how he became a part of the local community.

Tour includes guided access of the Bruce Lee exhibit, a meal of Bruce Lee’s favorite dishes at a neighborhood restaurant*, and entry into all galleries at The Wing.


Talk about giving you another dimension in your discovery about Bruce Lee and his process.  The Bruce Lee’s Chinatown Tour will immerse you in all things Bruce Lee in real-time while also letting you touch, feel and smell the historical streets and locales he once frequented.

There were moments where I felt the group and I were walking along with Bruce’s ghost as we walked around Seattle’s Chinatown neighbourhood in the November chill.  Our Tour Facilitator was eager to show us  where he socialized with friends in the Chinese community, his career changing points and most importantly where he became a worldwide phenomenon.

I felt the grit when we walked into the Northwest Wushu studio.  The incredible Sifu Tianyuan Li taught some Kung Fu few skills which clearly demonstrated to my tour mates and I that Lee’s craft was not an easy task to master.  Our time under Li’s tutelage brought our  tour group together where we were able to share some laughs and feel Lee’s legacy under some beautifully hung Chinese Dragons.

The food we shared at his fav resto was also delightful.  Images of his liking stared back at us with kind eyes as we dug into noodles, chicken wings and stir fried treats.

For a different flavour of learning about who Bruce Lee really was behind the posturing and tough exterior – the Bruce Lee’s Chinatown Tour at The Wing will satiate your sight, limbs and taste buds.  Be sure to walk around The Wing at the end of your tour to see the fruits and success of Lee’s labour.  Lee was truly a talented man with stories and life lessons that will inspire you to strive even harder in your gifted talents.

The Wing

719 South King Street (between 7th and 8th Avenue South)

Seattle, WA  98104


The Wing: The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience

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When I travel I like to check out the city’s great museums and galleries.  But I also like to check out those off the beaten path ones that inspire some educated growth.

I found the The Wing in downtown Seattle that would make a great fit for my travel adventures.

The Wing is a 60,000 square foot facility which offers three floors of stories, with contemporary galleries showcasing both temporary and permanent exhibitions.

The Wing tells the story of Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. While economically challenged, it is a historically and culturally vibrant area. The Wing sees themselves as a neighborhood concierge and an economic anchor for the nearby small businesses. From restaurants to statues that you might not otherwise notice, there are layers of history and significance that are waiting to be uncovered.  The Wing offers guided neighborhood tours and events that will encourage you to discover stories and tastes both on- and off-the-beaten path.

Why The Wing?

The story behind the namesake of the The Wing is one we can all relate to regardless of our ethnicity.

The Wing is named after Wing Luke.   He was a Chinese American boy who dreaded going to school. He was tired of being bullied for being different, for being Asian. One day, he decided he couldn’t put up with it anymore. He had to stand up to them, to fight back somehow. So he decided to try his pen – and he drew funny comic strips. Before long, his classmates wanted to read them, and he became popular, eventually elected class president at Roosevelt High School in Seattle.

Son of a laundryman and grocer and an immigrant from China, Wing Luke went on to become one of nine high school students to consult for a White House conference on youth issues, earn a Bronze Star Medal for his Army service during WWII, receive a law degree from the University of Washington, and be appointed Assistant Attorney General for Washington State.

In 1962, Wing Luke made history, elected as the first person of color on the Seattle City Council and the first Asian American elected to public office in the Pacific Northwest. His unique combination of politics, compassion and advocacy of diverse communities made him a powerful force for equal housing, urban revival and historic preservation of Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square and the Seattle Waterfront. Wing was a trailblazer of his time.

In 1965, his promising career was tragically cut short when a small plane he was riding crashed in the Cascade Mountains. He died at the age of forty. Despite the short tenure of his career, Wing inspired many. In his memory, the community created the Wing Luke Memorial Foundation and eventually built a pan-Asian museum based on his vision. The first version of the Museum opened its doors on May 17, 1967 in a humble storefront at 414 8th Ave South in the Chinatown-International District. Several decades later, the Museum continues to be an important place where the Asian Pacific American community looks to for engagement, inspiration and leadership – a legacy that Wing Luke left to Seattle.


My visit to The Wing was an emotional one.  The space was beautifully curated and solemn.  I appreciated that the exhibits had a nice balance between exhibits of historical relevance for Asian Americans and also exhibits that speak to a younger generation to wet their appetites towards future relationships with the museum.

I felt inspired by the ‘In Struggle Asian American Acts of Resistance’ exhibition.  It tells the story of how Asian Americans who have defied the “quiet” stereotypes and courageously stood up to injustice – as individual resisters or as part of organized movements for social change. From 19th century railroad strikes and laundrymen’s lawsuits to Japanese American resistance to their incarceration during WWII, from student sit-ins in the ’70s to ongoing anti-deportation protests, the tradition of Asian American resistance inspires each of us to recognize and confront injustice every day.

Indeed politically charged but an exhibit that will draw tears of pride.  We need to recognize that our blessings of today required sacrifice from those who came before us.  This exhibit does an excellent job of tipping its hat to those special folk while also giving a point of reference to inspire us to continue in promoting their message.

The ‘Art in Motion – The Evolution of Board Culture’ speaks to those Asian Pacific Islander Americans who have a long history in the boarding community, from 20th century pioneer surfer Duke Kahanamoku to skateboarder Wally Inouye. This multimedia exhibition examines the development and modern-day evolution of boarding culture.

I thought this was such a fun, lively and interactive exhibit.  Probably my favourites of everything I had seen in Seattle to date.  The photography displayed in the exhibit reminded me of something out of Thrasher magazine.  Stunning, raw and dynamic!  Kids, teens and hey adults too will appreciate the gorgeous artistry in the skateboards on display and ramp in the main exhibition space.  Fantastic!

I appreciate Wing Luke’s name on such an amazing space that is The Wing.  It is important to recognize that there are those who overcame to bring us such joy in art, politics, acceptance and inclusivity in countries like the U.S., Canada and abroad.

The Wing

719 South King Street (between 7th and 8th Avenue South)

Seattle, WA  98104


Ode to Sub Pop

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Do you remember the time when you were a teen when your musical landscape changed?  For me and most teens in the early 90’s – Nirvana was the catalyst for that change.  I was 18.  It was 1991.  The scene at the time for me was reminiscent of hanging out with teen boys who were into skateboarding whilst trying my best to keep up with the Benjamin’s with my girlfriends.  A weird time riddled with all things confusing and upsetting but music was also my grounding force.

In the midst of studying Nirvana lyrics, liner notes and photography (as you do as a teen) – an ominous label by the name of Sub Pop would say hello to me every day at the back of my CD case.

Sub Pop.  From Seattle?  Where was that?  For a girl from North Toronto – it was a world away.

Well if this Sub Pop label were putting out Nirvana; the other bands on that label must be just as cool (so I thought).  So started the love affair.  Many Friday nights were spent downtown Toronto at either A&A Records, Sam the Record Man or HMV (depending who was selling it cheaper) to see the latest releases from Sub Pop and spend hard earned part time job dollars with my friend Jakub.

We would scoop Sub Pop albums up after watching Much Music on Cable TV as research.   Once making our purchases we would convene at the local Taco Bell across the street from Record Store row on Yonge Street in Toronto.  We would rip the wrappers off those cd’s and immediately pop them into our cd Walkman for the long trip back to the suburbs all the while studying liner notes.  Those CD’s had the makings of Willy Wonka chocolate bars.  If they included stickers – even better!  Those were the brand labels of the day.

Bands like the Screaming Trees, The Melvins, Tad, Mudhoney and Nirvana gave us permission to do so much.  From busting out from our Catholic school uniforms, making informed decisions about our lives, being creative in our journey and defining our youth.

The EMP Museum exhibit ‘Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses’ does a tremendous job capturing the essence of that time and is worth checking out especially if you were and are still a fan of those bands at that time in music history.

I had the pleasure to take a tour of Sub Pop’s offices in Seattle whilst I was in town.  Small, quiet and full of memorabilia of the labels early days.  There were gold records, posters, art work and the whisperings of a true homage to a time that built the label that could.

The demure cubicled office is indeed just like any old office space.  But I took a moment to think about how a teenager like me was affected by the sound that out of the efforts of that early staff that put out those early CD’s from far away Seattle.

There is a sticker and poster wall at the Sub Pop offices.  Stickers that have been layered upon layered over time.  That in itself was worth taking some time with.  They could have made those skater boys I would hang out with in high school swoon.  Skate board worthy art on a sticker.

The poster wall had the likes of Chris Cornell in the midst of a ‘Loud Love’ throw down.  Constantine’s, Wolf Parade and Fleet Foxes all have their face time.

There is a Polaroid Wall lacquered in photos from bands that have come and gone during the years along with staff photos.  There is indeed a very familial vibe in those Polaroid’s.  Sub Pop takes care of their own.

As we continued the walk through the space, we made our way through the warehouse where there was a furor of activity.  There was vinyl and cd’s all nicely stacked up and being packaged to who knows which small town in the U.S. or abroad.

Even though the Church of Grunge has now ended their services, a new ministry is up and running.  The Shins and Fleet Foxes have secured their place in Sub Pop’s next generation congregation.   Cool, fresh, lazy beats yet full of promise.  Sub Pop is indeed here to stay.  As I continue to age and see generations come paying reverence to those early bands – Sub Pop will take on the vintage majesty of the likes of Motown and Apple Records with each passing year.


CityPASS Seattle: Space Needle

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I’m from Toronto and we have the CN Tower so really the Space Needle did nothing for me.  But if you are keen and have a CityPASS Seattle then the Space Needle is a must.

The Space Needle has great views that you can see twice within 24 hours – once during the day, once at night.  From 520’ the Observation Deck provides a 360° view of Seattle and beyond that commands your attention. See the snow-capped Cascade Mountains to the east and the majestic Olympic mountain range to the west with breathtaking indoor and outdoor viewing. For Pacific Northwest cuisine that is matched only by the views served with it, visit SkyCity, the Space Needle’s revolving restaurant.

Upgrades for CityPASS Holders

Chihuly Garden and Glass: Use the coupon in your CityPASS booklet to receive up to $5 off general admission.

Advice for Visitors

  • Visit before 11am or after 7pm when it’s less crowded.
  • Show your CityPASS booklet at the Needlicious Fudge Center and get 1/2 pound of fudge free when you buy 1 pound.

Seattle Center

400 Broad Street

Seattle, WA 98109

(206) 905-2100

(800) 937-9582


Open 365 days a year. Hours vary by season, and special hours apply for holidays and special events; see details.