The Tank Rolls at SSO

Symphony shakeup. Plus Wing Luke Asian Museum news and no love for Intiman.

The Tank Starts Rolling

Last week, we reported in our arts blog on a speech by Maestro Gerard Schwarz to the Seattle Symphony Orchestra board. In that speech, Schwarz reportedly referred to himself as a tank, able and willing to roll over all obstacles to take the symphony "to the next level." He also promised personnel changes aimed at achieving that goal. When contacted for clarification, symphony manager Paul Meecham said that such changes were envisioned within the orchestra, not administration. What a difference six days make. On Mon., June 26, Meecham sent members of the orchestra an e-mail announcing that he will leave the SSO when his current contract expires in December. Speaking of his decision, Meecham said, "It has been a privilege to work with this great orchestra and I have enjoyed immensely my [30-month] tenure at the Symphony. With the support of a dedicated staff and board, a lot has been achieved and I leave the orchestra well positioned to meet its future organizational goals and build on its artistic success." ROGER DOWNEY


A groundbreaking ceremony for the planned new home of the Wing Luke Asian Museum on Wed., June 21, turned out to be quite the politically star-studded event. Not only was Mayor Greg Nickels in attendance, but King County Executive Ron Sims, four state representatives (Sharon Tomiko Santos, Lynn Kessler, Zack Hudgins, and Frank Chopp— all running for re-election in the fall), several Seattle City Council members, and representatives from both the Paul G. Allen and Bill and Melinda Gates foundations made appearances. Maybe they wanted to see where their constituents' money is going. A staggering $17.1 million dollars has been raised for the project ($23.2 million is the goal), from both private and public sources. The four-story East Kong Yick Building on Eighth Avenue and King Street in the International District will house several galleries, a theater, and leasable retail space. Not bad for a museum with an original square footage of 9,000 feet. Sims showed his familiarity with the ID when he said, "It's not just the double parking that makes this area unique." The new WLAM will open in early 2008. For details: TIFFANY WAN

No Love for Intiman

Intiman Theatre gets no respect, reports The Wall Street Journal'sTerry Teachout on But then, neither do any other regional theaters. Teachout says that institutions like Intiman—which recently won the coveted regional Tony Award—should be as revered by the New York critical establishment as the Art Institute of Chicago or the Cleveland Orchestra. The problem? Lazy Gotham theater critics and their editors, who can't be troubled to travel any further than Brooklyn. (Maybe they heard how hard it is to park near Seattle Center during basketball season?) They're missing out, Teachout says: "Take it from a critic who now spends much of his time living out of a suitcase: If you don't know what's hot in 'the stix' [in Variety parlance], you don't know the first thing about theater in 21st-century America." LYNN JACOBSON

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