A place to be seen

When the League of Fringe Theaters gasped its last two years ago, there weren't many mourners at the funeral. In its preceding three or four years LOFT ran workshops, compiled contact sheets, ran an audition hotline, and published a regular newsletter, all valuable services. But in 1996 LOFT was being supplanted by Theater Puget Sound, a group that planned to include not only fringe groups but everybody else, from individual artists to the large Equity houses like the Rep and Intiman.

While all of these theaters (and many more) did end up members of TPS, the sheer size of the new organization has made building consensus on what it should be doing difficult. TPS publishes a regular newsletter, has sponsored a few workshops and forums, put up a Web site, and hosted two annual conferences, but for a service organization, it's proven to be slower off the blocks than its much smaller (and less ambitious) predecessor.

Now, however, under the direction of theater activist Cyndi Pock, TPS has stepped up to revive a useful service that's been out of commission for a couple of years. The first annual TPS Citywide General Auditions will be held January 11-14, and, unlike the LOFT auditions of years past, the big guys have agreed to send representatives to come along and check out the talent; attending theaters include the Rep, Intiman, ACT, the Bathhouse, Seattle Shakespeare, and Portland Center Stage.

Two days of auditions are reserved for Equity actors, two for non-Equity. It's a huge benefit for actors new to the area, ones that have been out of circulation for a while, or even established folks who'd like to be seen in a new light. Interested parties should send a photo, r鳵m鬠and a SASE postmarked by December 19 to Auditions, Theater Puget Sound, PO Box 19643, Seattle, WA 98109.

Nice work!

Art Town doesn't like to boast, but it looks like a fair number of folks read the November 26 Weekly article about Seattle's hot Internet new-music site A.I.R. ("A Breath of Fresh A.I.R."). The first couple of days after it came out, so many people were logging on that nobody without a high-bandwidth line could listen to the hip tracks the site serves up without annoying dropouts.

Thanks to Seattle's streaming-audio/ video pioneer Real Networks, A.I.R. inventor Phil Parodayco now has the use of a powerful server from which to distribute his weekly real-time audio "programs." Trouble is, now he also needs a "pipe" to the Internet wide enough to accommodate all those new fans—like, say, a T3 line, which could handle 30 times the traffic his present line can for only four times the cost. And trouble with that is, that's four times $500 a month. Any new music fans with deeeeeep pockets out there willing to underwrite a worthy start-up while it tries to figure out how to make its nut?

Beyond Tinytown

Folks who couldn't get enough of Jane Eaglen and Ben Heppner when they sang Tristan und Isolde last summer in Seattle get another shot when Wagner's doomed duo meet cute on shipboard once again at Chicago's Lyric Opera next spring. The downside: They'll have to sit through the goofy buffed-aluminum-and-buffed-bodybuilder production by Francesca Zambello and Alison Chitty again, too. . . . Time for Mark Morris fans to start figgerin' up their frequent-flyer miles: The man just won't stop making dances. To keep track of him, you'd have to go to Tampa on February 5 to catch his new company piece Greek to Me, then head up to Boston for the world premiere of The Argument (with guest artists Mikhail Baryshnikov and Yo-Yo Ma, then out to Berkeley for Handel's rip-snorting psalm setting of Dixit dominus (March 18-21). Did we leave anything out? Oh, right, the San Francisco Ballet's set to premiere its third Morris commission [TK HERE: like Fiddle Faddle and The Syncopated Clock] that LeRoy Anderson wrote for the Boston Pops back in the 1950s.

Couldn't have put it better ourselves

If this was "the Seattle Asian Art Museum cultural event of the year" as the press release promised, we're glad we missed the competition. The big kickoff for SAAM's "Year of Japan" (two successive one-room shows in the museum's south gallery) last Thursday featured KING TV's Lori Matsukawa apologizing for not speaking Japanese, the Oyoyo Sisters doing the same "pop culture" bit they've been doing for five years, and some slow-motion walking and fan-work by Fujima Fujimine. All we had to cherish as we were getting set to slip away (the excellent sushi by Nishino was gone) was the memory of SAM's very own Illsey Ball Nordstrom director Mimi Gardner Gates predicting that the show would "usher the Seattle Asian Art Museum into the 20th century."

And not a minute too soon, we say.

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