The Rake: Risking it All
There has been an awful lot of tongue-holding going on at the City Arts offices in the past few months. But it was all worth it, just to see the surprised reaction from across the Internet to last month’s announcement of the Heineken City Arts Fest (October 20–23), the inaugural edition of Seattle’s premier indoor urban music and arts festival. We knew we didn’t want it to be just another festival to swell a calendar already full of fests. We wanted to feed the community that feeds us, so we developed a few parameters to set this festival apart and give Seattle something that it needed.
(from left) Belle & Sebastian, Big Boi, Gogol Bordello, Cat Power
1. Celebrate the Indoor Arts There has never been a celebration to welcome the arts that bloom indoors and are performed for an audience taking shelter from the city’s months-long drizzle. We are doing it by inviting some of the city’s great institutions for the indoor arts to take part in the festivities, including Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Seattle Art Museum and many more.
2. Uncover the City We didn’t just want to bring arts lovers out to see the arts, we wanted to invite them into the unique and beautiful buildings that give Seattle its culture and character. We have done this by creating some unique pairings of artist and venue, bringing pop duo She & Him to the 5th Avenue Theatre, hosting Northwest hip-hop at the Paramount Theatre and filling Benaroya Hall with the sounds of indie (soft) rockers Belle & Sebastian.
3. Bring City Arts Magazine to Life This was actually the originating idea of the festival. City Arts is a publication that reflects the vibrant culture of arts and music in this city, bringing all disciplines of the arts in Seattle together and celebrating the common threads that bind them while also recognizing their individuality. So our organizers created some unusual programming for the festival, including Soliloquy, which will feature non-actors reciting the greatest soliloquies from the history of theatre with the assistance of the city’s top directors; an unlikely casting of Guys and Dolls; walking tours of the city led by artists and curators; and conversations with artists that will be taking place all weekend long at the Sorrento Hotel.
It’s difficult to predict exactly how we’ll all feel on the morning of October 24, when the banners have come down. Most likely it will be an emotional cocktail of sweet relief, residual unease and a bit of a hangover. But one thing is for sure; our tongues will be wagging as we prep for 2011. •