seattle-vistas

occasional comments about seattle other blogs and site of mine are:" http://handke--revista-of-reviews.blogspot.com/ .MICHAEL ROLOFF http://www.facebook.com/mike.roloff1?ref=name This LYNX will LEAP you to my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS http://www.handke.scriptmania.com/favorite_links_1.html http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html http://analytic-comments.blogspot.com/ http://summapolitico.blogspot.com/ http://artscritic.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 2, 2015

THEFT IN SEATTLE

I have had just about everything stolen in Seattle, including my identity when someone filched a checkbook out of my computer case at Tully's and got himself, a fake - -evidently - Washington State I.d. with my name & address from the checkbook and used it to clean out my account by going to various electronic stores and supermarkets, and actually getting cash, too, from these stores.
What surprises me in retrospect is that when I got mugged by three young hoody hoodlums in May 2014 at 7 A.M. on the then first fine Spring day at a University Village bus stop that these three creeps took everything I had – cell phone, rucksack with about $ 150 worth of stuff in it, but forgot to divest me off my wallet. Now if I had had the sidearm with me that I carried until I went to Mexico in 1991 there might easily have been three dead hoodlums and a news story. After having another rucksack stolen, at Safeway, while going to the toilet, with another couple of hundred dollars worth of stuff, I had my laptop stolen three weeks ago at the QFC University Village store's Starbuck & the other day I even had my bus transfer ticket stolen.
    I travel with my laptop on a travel-all & a satchel containing some food and toiletries, in this instance I was returning form my 24 Hour Fitness at Northgate and left the travel-all exactly by the bus stop while steping about 15 feet away - the bus tranfer is tucked under one of the bungee cords with which I tie down “me kangaroo”, and what if someone does not slide by and filch the bus pass, which costs $ 2.50! I can see why no end of folks don't leave anything lying about in this city. And the NE part of it in which i have lived ever since I came to Seattle in 1994, but for two weight-gaining years among my Vietnamese friends in the International district, is - but for "The Ave" - not a rough part of a city which I realized, early on, by doing the work that resulted in WRITE SOME NUMB'S BITCH

 has a thick seedy side, doity underbelly.
x m.r

Monday, April 27, 2015

SEATTLE-TIMES HOSANNAHS TO WAVE OF ARRESTS OF DRUGS DEALERS

 http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/spd-back-after-closing-up-shop/

Everyone at the Seattle Times appears to be singing the same hosannahs without realizing that the result is just a displacement of further drug dealing, mugging and related crime to the U-District & Capitol Hiill.  Right next to Jack in the Box on the Ave you can get your crack in a box from dealers who jive the buses up and down the Ave, and they all have phones. 

The heart of the problem is the American criminalizarion of pleasure that coincides with the wages of slavery; an impoverished class with a strong component that revolves in and out of jail for having no recourse to income but what the majority of society regards as criminal activity. It has been that way for a long time as the history of policing & American racism will tell you.

I got to know just a little about this when I published 
DRUGS AND MINORITY OPPRESSION by John Helmer (1975)


In the Southern states the development of American policing followed a different path. The genesis of the modern police organization in the South is the "Slave Patrol" (Platt 1982). The first formal slave patrol was created in the Carolina colonies in 1704 (Reichel 1992). Slave patrols had three primary functions: (1) to chase down, apprehend, and return to their owners, runaway slaves; (2) to provide a form of organized terror to deter slave revolts; and, (3) to maintain a form of discipline for slave-workers who were subject to summary justice, outside of the law, if they violated any plantation rules. Following the Civil War, these vigilante-style organizations evolved in modern Southern police departments primarily as a means of controlling freed slaves who were now laborers working in an agricultural caste system, and enforcing "Jim Crow" segregation laws, designed to deny freed slaves equal rights and access to the political system.
So, if the modern American police force was not a direct response to crime, then what was it a response to? More than crime, modern police forces in the United States emerged as a response to "disorder." What constitutes social and public order depends largely on who is defining those terms, and in the cities of 19thcentury America  they were defined by the mercantile interests, who 
Sincerely,

Sunday, April 26, 2015

PARTS 2 & 3 & 4 OF :SEATTLE UNCONDUCIVE TO ARTISTIC ACTIVITY

WHY SEATTLE IS UNCONDUCIVE
TO ARTISTIC CREATIVITY

PARTS II & III & IV

housing,
general philistinism & parochialism, media &
an enumeration of discrete events

LINK TO PART I – SEATTLE THEATRE




by Michael Roloff



 ==================
II

COMING TO SEATTLE

In Spring 1994, suddenly, I had little choice but start to translate again to make a living: A minute stipend that, in addition to royalties, had allowed me the luxury to live as “nothing but a writer” since 1985 was suddenly disparu while I was living a very rural existence in Mulege, in Baja Sur, Mexico. I hadn't even hustled my one good screenplay
GRADUATION BOOGY
http://artscritic.blogspot.com/2013/10/precis-of-graduation-boogie-screenplay.html
and, as friends suggested, dropped everything to get it made - no, I was spending months upon months on the shaggiest of shaggiest screenplays, something about pre-historical bird DNA & a mechanical plane merging...

Moreover, the owner of a firm, Farrar, Straus, I had made millions for as editor, specifically Roger Straus, screwed me out of what I thought then was one half of my participation, hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of years, and I didn't realize until about a year ago that it actually was ¾, the fellow was not only a brute, but tricky
http://artscritic.blogspot.com/2015/04/summa-farrar-straus-roloff.html
Little I could do about it from the West Coast – it cost $ 10 K just to file a Federal claim! I had learned to go per se in another matter in New York, and I could at least have won something there, although most of the moneys fell under the statute of limitations.
Mentioning Federales:
I also failed to collect some federal judgments against a former business partner – matters had become wild in the New York of the 70s & 80s
http://artscritic.blogspot.com/2013/08/wieland-schulz-keil-hunting-socieity.html
and -
- but for the mysterious disappearance of the stipend-
if you delved to the root of the problem: I didn't care enough about money, I lacked the killer instinct, I was too gullible - I lived with my head in a cloud of hopes & wishful dreaming. I was a good dreamer since childhood. I hated to think about money, it seemed a waste of time, a costly way to be!

But as I said, some matters did not go that badly.

In addition to translating
-great work, Adorno, Habermas, Josef Winkler-


- which, however, interfered with the projects for whose sake I had forsaken the pleasures of New York City -
I fell into a line of work that resulted in something entirely unforseen
WRITE SOME NUMB'S, BITCH!
It was that no doubt rare instance where poverty becomes an invaluable experience, an experience that informed me of the seedy, more than underbelly, of Seattle & surround. With a Pulitzer Prize winner at The Seattle Times I tried working my muck-raking (Not a professional muckraker, when I encounter muck I can rake!) to turn my prose into something for a family newspaper. - The briefest of digressions: By the time I left NY City in the
mid-80s I had seen quite enough; as a matter of fact I felt I had seen everything, the heights and the extreme depths of the great city, and how they connected & inter-played, in the subtlest of ways,
but not because I had been in publishing for 25 years, although if you edit certain books, say Robert Kalich's THE HANDICAPPER... Yet to find a gentleman in those quarters became like looking for the Dodo bird: the last of them died out during my years, to be replaced by Tasmanian devils:
I had seen things you couldn't if you asked outright, and I didn't ask or go look, it sort of happened because I got to know folks whose company afforded views.

Write Some Numb's Bitch
steps on too many toes, and so that didn't work out with the Seattle Times, the reporter was forced to pass. At the suggestion of a Seattle Weekly reviewer I sent it to Mossback there, and never heard back, the reviewer, a dubious figure, may even have back-stabbed me, he did so a bit later (*).
The only other time I got involved in public matters of that kind in Seattle was during a Port Commissioner campaign nearly ten years ago. I had befriended a candidate & then had the opportunity to delve deeply into port matters & did a long interview with then Port's C.E.O. Mic Dinsmore: no one wanted to publish it! Shortly after, the state auditor found a lot of hanky-panky at the Port of Seattle, and lots of good Commissioners got voted out of office on a wrong-headed “throw the crooks out” campaign, that brought in two actual crooks! I noticed how reporters, from the Seattle Times and the still extant P.I. merely copied what the Port said, without bothering to ask questions.
I was getting a drift on the local media.
The media picture has not improved during these twenty years. The Seattle-Post-Intelligencer continues to exist as a blog
http://www.seattlepi.com/
The Seattle Times
does not deserve the name
news paper”
It is an aggregator of stories AP stories, stories from McClatchy, the Los Angeles and NY Times & Washington Post Bloomberg
with a handful of local reporters & columnists that delivers an equal weight of inserts with its newsprint pages
At coffee houses many of its habitues at once turn to the
New York Times Crossword Puzzle.
You notice the lack of interest after you have left your NY Times and/or Wall Street Journal
not many folk even want to read the better papers for free.
As the once alternative
SEATTLE WEEKLY
http://www.seattleweekly.com/
was sold to a national chain
it became far less interesting than it had been under Brewste's ownership with Knute Berger (Mossback) as editor
and there appeared
and became a very different alternative; you might say that it is the obverse of the Seattle Times; quality control is not one of its fortes, it is
rather predictable in some of the political positions it takes, but it not so far off in its claim to be
Seattle's only newspaper”:
after all, that unfortunately does not take much!
There are a host of blogs.
Crosscut is the most & often
boringly responsiblle of the lot
lotIt is an outgrowth from the WEEKLY that was, and its best & most interesting columnist is Mossback/ Knute Berger.
SEATTLE is a pretty good movie town & I don't mind some of the film reviewers. There is pretty good coverage of the arts. It's just my luck that theater is not thriving any more & that I am of an age that I can't do much about that state of affairs.








III
Meanwhile I was/ am accumulating the sights & sounds of the city,
that eventually made for
Steeped in Seattle,
an odd collection of bird and weather & prose poems
here an excerpt
http://crosscut.com/2011/07/21/crosscut-blog/20410/A-private-bower-wildness-in-Seattle/?page=2


The first three months in Seattle I stayed with what no doubt is one of the toughest ex-marine hippies the world has ever, a friend from Mexico, in a spectacular loft on Elliott, opposite the P.I. Building - as a New York loft dweller I had never encountered timber that size. Jerry was using the space to rebuild his truck, an elephant, with which he hoped to drive all the way to Patagonia, and to repair rusty French automobiles - not very conducive sounds or smells to my line of work, but the daily walk along Elliot Bay through Myrtle Edwards Park is still with me and the Geese noshing on grain at the rails by the grain terminals...
This city walker also discovered Seattle in this fashion, a city that is pretty conducive for good long walks but for a few of its left-over hills (many were hosed into the bay in the 19the century)... one of my most famous walks was all the way to West Seattle
during which I couldn't shake some crows to whom I must have said the wrong thing: the inception of my famous

BEHAVIOR OF CROWS”
poem as well as a very different idionsyncratic take on Seattle
Since I wanted to be near a library, the U. District is where I, impoverished, had a seemingly unending series of amazing housing experiences
(until I moved, for a few years to the International District until all the great food, 25 different kinds of rice made me overweight for the first time in my lean life)
http://www.visitseattle.org/Visitors/Discover/Neighborhoods/Chinatown-International-District.aspx
Since - but for being at the mercy, especially in Manhattan, of the large-scale tectonic machinations of its real estate moguls - I hadn't had bad experiences along that line, renting, privately & in business, in the notorious New York City housing market I certainly did not anticipate the crooks & exploiters and renters of wrecks that are the vultures that live off the students of the University of Washington. Meanwhile - due to the late 90s housing boom and increase in house prices - a lot of the wrecks have been demolished & replaced & students that do not live on-campus must commute longer distances. Of, say, the dozen different venues where I resided, maybe two were not run by exploiters of the worst kind. The best, however, where I resided five years (until the house was sold), was owned by a dear man who abided the legalities of rental laws & to the extent that he kept renting, say, to folks who showed up at his place covered in shit, thus ruining the abode for the other half dozen folks, inhabitants, which is why I have a chapbook's worth of stories just about those landlords and ladies & some of the amazing critters I encountered there: The real McCoy, and her naked full-grown son, who barricaded her basement exits - until I called the fire department - so as to be able to observe her tenants passing in & out; Red Eric the Nietzchean beatnik of one apoplexy & one fit of vengeance per minute; ultra-gay Max in his Vespa with his cleaning tools tooling around who comically tried to tell his tenants what to do by standing in their way; the hotspur Berber, a mathematician, who if he didn't get his way at once proved that every culture has its Mama's boy; the Marine brig guard who sought to enforce complete quiet... I could go on for days...
but, I made two good friends along the way:
A survivor of the Chinese cultural revolution, from the University of Peking, who knew how to cook & play that melancholy Chinese violin; Santosh, an Indian mathematician.

One of the pleasures of the city is a profusion of coffee houses of all kinds, that now afford internet access. And a number of significant experiences can be located there.
One of the most significant was reading Handke's
MY YEAR IN THE NO-MAN'S-BAY
http://handke--revista-of-reviews.blogspot.com/2010/05/my-year-in-no-mans-bay-niemandsbuch-t.html
five times, thrice in German, twice in English, at a Hmong donut shop then called Lola's, that itself was a true “no-man's hole”, that had the dregs, Smerdyakov was a Persian computer programer who had never recovered from a breakdown and brought a cherished goldfish with him;
without Handke's great book I doubt I would have felt so warm amongst that crowd, you notice I am a person of simple routines!

At that time, mid to late 1990s, the LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN was still extant, at about 52nd and the Ave (University Avenue 14th to be specific), and had fine jazz & coffee and a pretty hippiesh clientele, and I felt entirely comfortable there.
There is the Cafe Allegro
Seattle's original coffee shop
http://seattleallegro.com/
the closest to the feel of the Last Exit,
Zokas
http://www.zokacoffee.com/about-zoka/zoka-locations-3/
north of the Village
is on the fancy side

Starbuck's flagship in University Village;
for a long time Tullies until folks started to snoop on what I was writing & calling in; and
many another on the “Ave” (University Avenue, 14th)
and I haven't even been even once into a lot of them... though I have a pretty good idea of the various madmen & women in the area.

My Handke studies - in 1994 not quite ten years old, I'd given a few lectures at U C. Riverside
participated in seminars -
once the internet started to mature
(search engines at first proliferated)
I put some of the work on-line @
the handke.scriptmania project
and also gave a few lectures at the U.W.
Becoming a “visiting scholar” for asking for a library card allowed me to discern what I might have become had I not gone dead, in 1960 at Stanford, at the prospect of becoming a member of a German department: indeed there was a fair amount of dead wood, as I had already noticed at the Austrian shin-dings at U.C. Riverside. More interesting were those who had not gone dead under such circumstances. Goethe scholars were good at it, and at least one formidable scholar looked as though he would hold up.

I had become a member of the Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute & Society on a memorable day when David Spain who sponsored me and I attended a horrendous Freud lecture by one Mikkel Borch-Jacobson whose utter pettiness I memorialize
@
http://seattle-vistas.blogspot.com/2010/09/open-letter-to-president-of-univerisity.html
&
I read all their syllabi & course material, thus refreshing & in many cases enhancing what I had learned in Los Angeles & spent many an hour at Health Science Library & for a time attended quite a few events but then only became close to the head of the Jungian crew, the
only one I encountered with whom I might have continued that kind of analytic work, money permitting; and I wrote quite a few things that you can find
@
https://draft.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=1028192471601452787#allposts
and participated in the International's online discussion forum.














IV-ENUMERATION

"uncomfortable,"
snooping, snitching,
a city of small complaints
men as the proverbial old women, busy bodies, other-directed,  anal, dirt-obsessed
middle-class beings,
breeders, crossword puzzlers.
UPTIGHT”
not interested.”

It was while living at 16th & about 52nd,, that is near the Ave & with easy access to the Libraries & frequenting LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN, that I had the first of a series of incidents – that now spans a 20 year period - and that constitute the raison d'etre, that triggered the impulse for the entirety of this resume, this approach to the past 20 years in Seattle & it is my guess that these individually minor incidents, as they accumulate, must have an adverse effect that interferes, that cumulatively would oppress the young over the years
&
which thought made me then try to write up why I came to regard Seattle as
FUNDAMENTALlY UNCONDUCIVE
to artistic endeavor – more so than the rest of the country?
Sufficiently unconducive.

(1)
Opposite the rather fine rooming house – where I befriended that visiting Chinese People's Republic scholar who at dinner time played the melancholy Chinese violin
and who had survived a stint picking tomatoes during the Cultural Revolution – stood a fairly splendid building with some Ionic columns where, periodically, I noticed someone, a woman, peek out from behind the doily-type curtains; an eternal watchdog I realized and filed it away.

(2)
When I lived on top of the rise overlooking the five by five block cemetery at 35th Str. & NE & 55th Ave. I used to walk home through some alleys, especially during fruit picking time. One morning as I set out to walk to the library, about two miles off, via the University prairie, I heard a news account of a robber in Everett or Bellingham on the loose & dressed all in black, as was I, black Davis jeans, the original Alaskan gold rush kind, and a black NATO jacket.
As I walked back through one of the alleys late in the afternoon, - it must have been fall for me to be wearing the NATO - I noticed one of these doily curtains falling back into place. About 50 yards further up what if a car doesn't come inching out of the doily's driveway and starts to crawl behind me at my walker's pace. It follows me through a variety of alleys all the way to the alley behind the house that I live in. I thought of approaching the pursuit car, but then thought the better of it: what if whoever woman has a gun?


(3)
One fine morning as I took a short cut through the mowed autumnal prairie, that runs from the Horticultural Center
http://depts.washington.edu/uwbg/visit/cuh.php
along Lake Washington
(Wahkiakum Lane, the main path that runs through the Union Bay Natural Area -- please note that Wahkiakum is a gravel trail best suited for mountain and touring bikes. This route connects to the University of Washington's E-4 parking lot. You may reach the Burke-Gilman trail by following the pedestrian overpass that crosses Montlake Boulevard next to Hec Ed Pavilion.)
to a canal that is the estuary of Ravenna Creek, I noticed a middle aged woman who was taking the regular path
(there are signs saying to keep to the paths!)
and the way she looked I made a bet with myself that she would call the cops. And that is one bet I won. Walking home after nightfall if a University cop wouldn't pop out from behind a bush! Apparently the woman had claimed that I was living in the prairie. After clearing up the matter & my explaining why I took the short-cut the cop and I had a nice chat about the animal in the creek, beavers, etc. I did spend the occasional night in a bower in the prairie however.
http://crosscut.com/2011/07/21/crosscut-blog/20410/A-private-bower-wildness-in-Seattle/?page=2

(4)
After exploring all aspectS of the “Adventures in Telemarketing” aspect of WRITE SOME NUMB'S BITCH
I found 20 hours per week sensible employ at the Puget Sound Blood Center
http://www.psbc.org/programs/centers.htm
to supplement my income. It was automated telephone work, and fairly well paid, and did not take too much out of me. The major event there was the overwhelming response to 9/11 when the entire area wanted to donate blood, that unfortunately was not needed – but I was impressed that in the event of a disaster the “people” could be counted on. The Blood Center lived for many years from that addition to their rolls. I was pretty stellar at telephone work by that time, but a few year later I was fired... just in good time... guess for what? Someone I had been pitching to come back in and donate another pint had heard that I was still chewing on some food, and SO had called in to complain.
(5)
Before switching to 24 Hourfitness
https://www.24hourfitness.com/member_home.html
I used to go to an outfit that used to be called Pro-Robics but now is
http://www.theseattlegym.com/
of the forever leaking roof
that is within walking distance but lacks a steam room, a jacuzzi & swimming pool, not to mention far better and more varied equipment. Pro-Robics, in Laurelhurst, a pricey part of Seattle, is, as I noticed over the years, rife with men who are really the proverbial old woman, they take phone photos of the least detritus in Pro-Robics teensy sauna, complain if you entere it wet as a dog from whatever rainstorm to dry out a bit prior to you actual work-out – unsanitary! Very Seattle uptight in other words!
Which leads me to the ultra=anality I have noticed in these quarters, and if there is anything to avert the mess of creativity it is anality, dirt obsession as I encountered it e.g.
@:
(6)
The old Elliot Bay Bookshop
http://www.elliottbaybook.com/
when I was living in the International District and finally had no further use for 25 years worth of dictionaries since they were all on-line or I could download them.
Of course some of these fairly priceless items had acquired some smudges during their 25 years of Manhattan use & I will never forget the “Nase ruempfen”
- the wonderful German for what a nose does in disgust - with which the clerk greeted my offering.
I didn't feel like hauling a hundred pounds back up King Street to my digs and dumped the load in a trash bin & then complained in detail in exchange for profuse apologies. Book-buyers, even if for second hand valuables, are the most anal.

The QFC
https://www.qfc.com/
@
University Village
http://www.uvillage.com/
has the absolute mascot for Seattle's dirt-obsession:
I call him General Giap for his fanatical day-long cleaning,
a typically gruff Vietnamese working class emigrant.
I guess if you are Kroeger
(the company that owns QFC)
https://www.kroger.com/
you couldn't be happier than having a fanatic of the General's kind working for you.
Like a crow for the slightest crumb, armed with vacuum cleaner, hoses... his eye beaks seizes. I've been watching him for nigh on 15 years, ageless, dour, fanatical.
I migh mention the profusion of “leaf blowers” with their noise machines. Even after a rainstorm that has swept every leaf the into drains, there they are blowing noise.

(7)
One of quite a few overseers at Zoka's
which I frequented for its open teas objected to my spreading out too much, computer, readouts, books, no matter that I spent a pretty penny.

(8)
@
Tullies
@ their Five Corner's shop
there are folks who try to snoop at what you are writing on your computer screen & busybodies who complain if you are eating food other than available in that store.

(9)
The above are typical examples,
I could go on enumerating for many more pages, but
I must add the following: Since I gave away my automobile more than ten years ago but am even more of a walker, at all times of the year & also during that six month stretch of inclement weather, I dress accordingly. In U.S Army rain-pants (the best!) and a rain-resistant jacket with a rain-resisten hood & thus bulk out & have the appearance of many a homeless G.I., of which there are many in Seattle, but who inspire nearly as much fear as the hoodlums in hoods do.
Folks in Seattle, except perhaps in the Capitol Hill neighborhood,
are easily made uncomfortable by anything slightly different.
It's a parochial city. Some of its provincialism sits well, a lot of it doesn't with this somewhat different bird.

SOME GENERAL COMMENTS
In the course of these 20 years there has been an extraordinary increase in obesity of a kind I never saw before, anywhere, which must have added at least 10 t0 20 pounds to the girth of the average Seattlelite. How many more “fatheads” among the sport fans?
Some slight improvement in unlocking gridlock at the most congested rush-hour bottlenecks.
Whereas the owner of the Seahawks was being chased out of town 20 year ago, for having an affair, and the wrong kind of business, meanwhile Seattle has become a sports town, and the sprained pinky of a Seahawk plawer will produced headlines in the Seattle Times. The city's identity is being merged with that of a commercial enterprise.
The region continues to feature the grisliest of crimes, mass murders galore. The Green River murder was finally caught around the time I arrived in these parts. People still do not ask you to visit their homes – a once left dweller from Tribeca – where, “let's go to my loft” was a natural – has been asked to visit two homes in 20 years. Meanwhile, the once so gregarious, however, is all work.







(*) Roger Downey





Thursday, April 23, 2015

Seattle-Unconducive to Artists in Four Parts.



PART I (THEATER)

to come:
PARTS II & III & IV
media, housing, philistinism

complainers, followers, "uncomfortable,"
snooping, snitching
a city of small complaints
men like old women, busy bodies, other-directed,  anal, dirt-obsessed middle class beings, breeders,  not interested crossword puzzlers.
 ===================
WHY SEATTLE IS UNCONDUCIVE
TO ARTISTIC CREATIVITY

​ 
by Michael Roloff

PART I
=A=
I recall that the only theater piece to leave Seattle during the twenty years I have been in these parts is the musical First Date

A creation of Seattle's Kurt Beattie-run ACT theater
&
FIFTH AVENUE THEATER
FIST DATE provides NY Times reviewer Isherwood a chance for wicked fun, as would the Seattle that I could apprise him of if ever he comes to these parts.
Does any of the following sound familiar? An instant lack of rapport; a growing aversion as the minutes pass; a mysterious sense that time has suddenly stopped; a desperate hope that the apocalypse will arrive, preferably right this minute. Magnify those feelings, set them to bland pop-rock music, and you’ll have some idea of the oodles of fun I didn’t have during my evening at “First Date,” the singing sitcom that opened on Thursday night at the Longacre Theater.”
Thus, it occurred to me to dwell on, fathom, why so little of note worth exporting is created in Seattle in the arts (welcoming imports is a different matter), what might militate in the usual and more than usual American ways?
Let me focus on matters theatrical first as I did already some time ago @
&
But let me first revert (avert, revert, what's the vert next?) to the fine summer of 1994 when it did not rain from mid-June until November and everything East of the Cascades burned to a cinder
&
I arrived in Seattle to see some Green after about ten years of desert & semi-desert, to contact relatives, descendants of immigrants of around the year 1900, and friends.
=B=
Matter did not start of all that
badly
I contacted ex-colleague & agent Robert Lantz in New York, “Ah Michael, let me put you in touch with the wonderful Dan Sullivan at the Rep. Sullivan at once turned me over to his assistant Kurt Beattie, and we got along just fine, especially because he had played Peter Handke's
KASPAR
@ THE EMPTY SPACE
in my translation.
I had published and translated a lot of Austrian authors and the Austrians were ready to repay in the form of helping fund a Handke festival. Kurt did yeoman's work in crunching numbers. The idea went over well until I - by then visiting scholar at the U.W. in Germanics - who had only wanted a library card - heard from the chair of my department that the head of the Drama Department, Sarah Nash Gates, said that they were not interested: well, she wasn't for sure, Steve Pearson who then did a first rate production of Handke's
THE HOUR WE KNEW NOTHING OF EACH OTHER
certainly was, as was Burke Walker the first rate directing teacher & director whose
EMPTY SPACE
had gone belly-up.
However, it was my fault in not apprising myself that I needed that Gates chair person's o.k. - matters of that kind had never been a problem on the East Coast where I had arranged several festivals of that kind at colleges, Smith & Bennington. A belated attempt to convince Professor Gates - the damn thing could have been called "Gat es of Hell Festival" for all I cared who made his money from his translator's cut at such events) of Handke's importance did not succeed.
Now that Handke is acknowledged a the most innovative unique playwright since Brecht,
a playwright of Shakespearean dimension
wouldn't it be a feather in the U.W.'s shaved head
to have done a full-fledged well-funded festival cum symposium at that time!
To get a feel for the scene I did some reviewing (for two tickets, ah and the chick who wanted my spare at the Fifth Avenue) for the organ of the disabled & thus made the acquaintance of Seattle audiences that applaud the sets & giggle easily - appalling compared to the children in Mulege in the Baja when the Circus comes to the pueblo & you see genuine wonder, and not just on the children's faces.
I had been going to the theater since the 50s, and had read plays voluminously, beginning with Shakespeare (courtesy of a Shakespeare-nut stepfather – no, not just proverbially, conceive of hurtling in a Crosby automobile - Frigidaire-size, post WW II vintage - through a suburban housing development with your delightful stepfather elocuting the great monologues at the top of his voice!)
I had had had amazing theater experiences - at the Berliner Ensemble, with Peter Brook, Herbert Berghof, E.G. Marshal, and all the Handke in New York. The Seattle audiences were something else – and they then seemed to claim sophistication, perhaps because they drank cafè au lait.
In the process of trying to get the festival off the ground, I came to know the crème de la crème of Seattle off-off Broadway sprinkle. There seemed to be, or at least have been, a lot of fresh shoots in Seattle, starting in the 60s.
There was still an Autumn all around festival at the time where you could catch three shows at tiny venues on Capitol Hill – that disappeared a few years after.
Meanwhile, other shoots were dying out, too; I think it is a total of ten small and large venues that have gone down, and I suppose it is a wonder that Kurt Beattie, with a lot of compromises, has at least kept A.C.T. afloat.
My translation of Dorst's
FERNANDO KRAPP WROTE ME THIS LETTER
proved the final nail in
AHA Theater's coffin.
Reviewers, I quickly realized, but for the redoubtable Roger Downey but of questionable character, were a problem: not even what I regard as a fairly straight forward play about machismo'sunhappy consequences for women & ultimately, for Mr. Macho, seemed capable of being described halfway accurately except by a freelancer whom Joe Adcock of the yet extant Seattle Post Intelligencer allowed to sub, Misha Berson's sub at the Seattle Times, was a flub (the sub a flub, sub-flubs) as was Longenbaugh at the WEEKLY – no Stranger yet – at the English language premiere of a play that was done all over Europe and was based on Unamuno's famous novella
Nothing Less than a Man.
And the sweet folk at AHA - wonderful work over the years - had not built up a following to keep a marvelous play of that kind from and early closing of its short run.
Ah if the audiences were only as intellectually curious and adventurous as they are as foodies!
Upon Heinar Mueller's death I arranged for a memorial reading and performances at the U.W. Drama School. I had collaborated with Mueller's American translator the Berliner Ensemble graduate Carl Weber on most of the translations.
Great attendance at the Memorial which led to nearly nothing: a sweet kid, not even member of the Drama School, then did Hamlet Machine way off in one of the abandoned buildings in Magnuson Park's NOAA facility.
Neither Carl Weber showed, his wife had this habit of falling ill whenever he wanted to go somewhere, especially with me,
nor did Roger Downey, whose translation of Mueller's Quartet appears to have been the only other Mueller piece ever done in Seattle, at Kazanian's then still extant Theater of the New City which is now the Hugo House – Downey had claimed, to Verlag der Autoren, (A Socialist Author's house, one of the few left-overs of 1968) friends whom I had represented in New York,
that he had exclusive English language rights – the prospect of finding himself on the same stage as Carl Weber, Mueller's American translator, had induced a diabetes attack (if only it had been agenbite!) in someone who had vied to be a food rather than a drama & opera critic of … actually … national talent, if only he had not been a petty and vengeful crook besides! Domage!
- I was becoming privy to Seattle parochialism & would encounter a lot more of it. David Brewster, objecting to Downey reviewing shows at ACT because his wife was a member of the board – David then apologized for his overly protective impulse. Certainly one reason for lack of creativity & a low horizon.
In the course of trying to salvage something of the attempt at a Handke festival,
Kurt then introduced me to a few people each of whom proved to be a breaker of his word.
Arne Zaslove during the course of a decade never read
WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES
of which now modest mouse me
had merely wanted to do a reading. I was still in four-hour voice at that time & had done it at venues such as Beyond Baroque
in Venice, Ca.
By then Arne had lost his Bathhouse Theater because the prospect of hosting Theater Zan Zinni at that location had alarmed the Greenlake Green Police! Arne was quite right that Kurt couldn't direct himself out of a brown paper bag, which didn't keep him from sucking up to him with projects. Parochialism! And Kurt then didn't do any Handke as he had hoped he would when he inherited the artistic directorship at ACT.
And it appears he has not realized his deepest wish, to finally premiere Brecht's Mother Courage
in a major venue in Seattle before he retires.
He asked me whether I wanted to do a new adaptation of the Thirty War Year-old Mutter Kuraschfor years I had been thinking of doing an American Mother Courage, and was quite ready, and not to do a Kushner or Steve Pearson, Mother Courage as Cabaret version
(Imagine doing Death of a Salesmen as a comedy, perhaps as Death of an American Hustler!)
but, as an aboriginal Brechtian, as of 1957, I was going to do it with full-fledged urmarxist tragic pathos. What a mother that would have been!
John Kazanian (whose work as a director of performance artists I admire) had sold the building that housed his NewCity Theater and now only did shows at his and his wife's kitchen, promised to read
WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES
and get back to me, which he has not to date.
The best chance to still do something spectacular along that line was provided to
Richard White @ Cornish
A half way decent production in the early years of this century, of my proposition for CORNISH to do Handke's highly controversial VOYAGE BY DUGOUT (THE PLAY ABOUT THE FILM ABOUT THE WAR) would have put Cornish on the map as it has not been for a hundred years
...
Instead White, never got back to me as he promised, and seems to have spent his time giving away money for whatever never left an impression.
Parochialism to the Nth power – the U.S. of A. the biggest parochial self-involved
country in the world!
Not that I didn't see some fine theater while Sullivan & Sher & a few other notables were directing who all departed Seattle for its provinciality.
Meanwhile I think a total of ten theaters have gone down, including the Intiman that tried to revive itself by reviving its once biggest hit
Kushner's ANGELS IN AMERICA
&
currently is running a competition for the next Kushner!
Pretty pathetic!
The Seattle Rep
had a play “in progress” for some years
far worse than the movie's
in “turn-around”
(the sure sign of death
a notice to the effect of “in progress no matter with what artistic director you encounter it - a good playwright gets the work done)
and Misha Bernson mercifully put the stake into this attempt at a femme GLENGARY GLENROSS
I imagine you could throw millions upon millions into arts funding hereabouts and it wouldn't change the fundamental provinciality that I have seen so many artistic directors flee during my 20 years in these parts - theatre is an area in which I am a bit of an old hand. But then it is an area without a building audience, thus no great surprise that so many small ventures have disappeared, also for reasons of mismanagement or grandiosity. Had I Paul Allen's resources I'd know what it would take to be the right kind of Medici in that area, say like the HB Studio in New York - Herbert Berghof Uta Hagen Studio to put names with the initials  - actor development, an uncompromising dose of truly contemporary and classical theatre, do that for about 25 years and you have something, as well as a loyal educated audience that realized that it had a gem in its midst. A better newspaper would help but is not essential. Give it another 100 years and Seattle will be just like told old-time Vienna!

also see: http://artscritic.blogspot.com/2010/03/open-letter-about-seattle-theater-2005.html

--




-- 

About Me

My photo
MICHAEL ROLOFF http://www.facebook.com/mike.roloff1?ref=name Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html