Friday, November 12, 2010

Going Bald for One's Art

Just in time for opening night, Daddy Warbucks went bald.

John Legas, pastor at Cornerstone Community Baptist Church, plays Daddy Warbucks in the Heavier Than Air production of "Annie." He joined the ranks of many famous actors when he decided to sacrifice his hair for the sake of his art. John had a fan club waiting when he arrived at rehearsal on Tuesday. Fellow cast members were there to offer support and bear witness to John's head-shaving with cameras and cell phones. Bravely, John allowed the cast of orphans to start the process.

"Anyway, he can't chicken out because it's already in the program," said one little girl.

The cast of orphans, students from local Kent, Renton, Auburn, and Covington elementary and junior high schools, took turns shaving John's head from start to finish amid giggles and words of advice. The cast of "Annie" includes members ranging in age from 8 to 68.

John joins the ranks of many other actors who have had their heads shaved for a role: Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks in the movie "Annie," Marlon Brando in "Apocalypse Now," Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Batman and Robin," and Demi Moore in "G.I. Jane." Even Oscar, the famous golden statue, is bald.

For more information on performance dates, visit the SoCoCulture calendar.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Honoring Our Veterans

There are many ceremonies being held throughout South King County to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans. Visit our SoCoCulture calendar to locate one near you.

On November 13, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Lieutenant Colonel Joe M. Jackson will be a featured speaker at the Veterans Day Observance in Federal Way. The event is co-sponsored by the Historical Society of Federal Way and the Noon Kiwanis of Federal Way.

Here is the citation Lt. Col. Jackson received in conjunction with his Medal of Honor:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Lt. Col. Jackson distinguished himself as pilot of a C-123 aircraft. Lt. Col. Jackson volunteered to attempt the rescue of a 3-man USAF Combat Control Team from the special forces camp at Kham Duc. Hostile forces had overrun the forward outpost and established gun positions on the airstrip. They were raking the camp with small arms, mortars, light and heavy automatic weapons, and recoilless rifle fire. The camp was engulfed in flames and ammunition dumps were continuously exploding and littering the runway with debris. In addition, 8 aircraft had been destroyed by the intense enemy fire and 1 aircraft remained on the runway, reducing its usable length to only 2,200 feet. To further complicate the landing, the weather was deteriorating rapidly, thereby permitting only 1 air strike prior to his landing. Although fully aware of the extreme danger and likely failure of such an attempt, Lt. Col. Jackson elected to land his aircraft and attempt to rescue. Displaying superb airmanshipa nd extraordinary heroism, he landed his aircraft near the point where the combat control team was reported to be hiding. While on the ground, his aircraft was the target of intense hostile fire. A rocket landed in front of the nose of the aircraft but failed to explode. Once the combat control team was aboard, Lt. Col. Jackson succeeded in getting airborne despite the hostile fire directed across the runway in front of his aircraft. Lt. Col. Jackson's profound concern for his fellow men, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself, and the Armed Forces of his country."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Celebrate Chopin’s 200th

Linda Pratt and Jim Triller

Born in 1810 in Poland, Frederic Chopin was a great master of Romantic music. A renowned child prodigy pianist and composer, he grew up in Warsaw. After the Russian suppression of the Polish November Uprising, he settled in Paris.

Chopin seldom performed in public. Once a year he would give a concert in a venue that seated only 300. More frequently he played at small social gatherings. His favorite place to play was at his Paris apartment for small groups of friends. Income from teaching and composing allowed him to keep his performances so intimate. As a pianist, Chopin was unique in acquiring a fantastic reputation on the basis of a minimum of public appearances; just over thirty in his lifetime.

In honor of Chopin’s 200th birthday, pianist Mark Salman will be performing Chopin’s classics with personal commentary in the intimate setting of Federal Way’s Knutzen Family Theatre. This special performance will be at 2 PM on Sunday, November 7. The Knutzen Family Theatre is located at 3200 SW Dash Point Road in Federal Way. Seating is limited and reservations are recommended. Tickets for the performance are $25 Adult ($20 Senior/Military/College and $10 Youth) and can by reserved by contacting Centerstage Theatre at 253-661-1444 or online. For more information visit

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Boulding to Debut as ASO Soloist

When the Auburn Symphony Orchestra's new concertmaster, Brittany Boulding, makes her first appearance as a soloist with ASO on October 9, she may look familiar. That's because, from the age of 6, Boulding has performed with the rest of her family in the well-known group called the Magical Strings. The Olalla-based family has toured the world and recorded 16 albums. But perhaps here in the Northwest they're best known for their annual Celtic Yuletide Concerts.

For many years, Boulding also has been a soloist in her own right, performing with the New Haven Symphony the National Repertory Orchestra, the Spoleto Festival, and other groups throughout North America. Since moving back to our area, she has played in the Seattle Symphony, Bellevue Philharmonic, Seattle Opera, and Bellingham Festival of Music.

On October 9 and 10, Boulding will perform Chausson's "Poeme" for Violin and Orchestra. The concerts will take place at the Auburn Performing Arts Center. For more information, visit

Bell Chimes Again in Federal Way

When the Federal Shopping Way opened in 1955, one of the major sections to be planned was Old World Square, which was designed as a European village square with small shops and a clock tower. Heinz Ulbricht, the German designer who assisted in the development, later went on to help Leavenworth reconceive itself as a Bavarian-style village. But Federal Way came first, and he designed the yellow building with the clock tower as a replica of the city hall in his hometown of Freiburg, Germany.

The clock tower contained not only a clock, but also a 290-pound bell, cast in Holland, that chimed the musical note E at the top of every hour.

After 1970, Old World Square fell into disrepair along with the rest of Federal Shopping Way. In 1994, two thieves stripped the copper from the clock tower in broad daylight. A year later the clock tower was dismantled to make way for new construction.

Now the bell has been reinstalled in front of the Historical Society of Federal Way's office, and its familiar tone can be heard again. For more information about the bell, see the special report that was researched and written up by Historical Society member Dick Caster. Contact the Historical Society of Federal Way at 253-945-7842 or

Friday, September 10, 2010

Flow With the Glow

When it comes to annual hometown festivals, Burien hosts one of the loveliest events anywhere. Burien Arts-A-Glow is a lantern festival that encourages hands-on participation. Over the last month, the studios over at Moshier Art Center have been filled with local folks using various techniques to craft their own lanterns.

On Saturday, September 18, you’ll get to see them all as people come together for “the Glow.” For Johnny-come-latelys, there will be a Lantern Creation Station where you can fashion your own last-minute lantern. There’ll also be face-painting, live music, an art walk, and a tent hosting a Russian tea room with treats from local eateries. Then at dusk, with lanterns alight and aloft, everyone will come together in a luminous procession through the streets of Burien. For more information, visit the SoCoCulture calendar.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Museum in the Classroom

by Dorota Rahn

Knowledge about the pre-history of South King County is often limited and based on misconceptions. Changes in the way schools interact with the Renton History Museum provided us the stimulus to find new ways to reach out to students to teach them about the Native American ancestors of our region.

Until 2006 the Museum had the opportunity to educate kids about Coast Salish culture, which includes the local Duwamish people, during annual third grade field trips organized by the Renton School District. Unfortunately, the economic downturn made it impossible for the School District to continue these trips. Hoping to develop a substitute for this experience, the Museum’s Education Department applied to 4Culture and Sam’s Club for grants to design a Coast Salish/Duwamish Curriculum we could bring to classrooms. We recruited a team of specialists with backgrounds in education and Native American studies, and spent nine months working on a multi-phase program. By spring 2009 we were ready to test the curriculum with fourth grade students.

The curriculum consists of a lesson plan to guide teachers and a Cultural Education Kit including replicas of Coast Salish objects and sets of primary and secondary sources.

The curriculum’s main objective is to have students answer the essential question “How did the environment shape the economic, social, and spiritual lives of the Coast Salish/Duwamish Peoples before the arrival of Europeans?” by working through five classroom units. The curriculum fulfills requirements for Classroom-Based Assessments (CBAs), Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs), and Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) in Visual Arts, standards set by of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

In the first three units, groups of students analyze objects—cedar canoes, baskets, hat, rope, and a cattail mat—present their findings, and participate in a slide presentation exploring Coast Salish culture. Units Four and Five give them an opportunity to exercise their creativity as they make paper replicas of the objects they have analyzed.

Students also listen to Coast Salish stories on CD. Together the units immerse kids in Coast Salish culture and stress the ways in which the natural environment shaped the lives of Native Peoples. Museum docents work very hard to ensure students leave with a basic knowledge of the Coast Salish’s most important resources: cedar trees, rivers, and salmon, which were found in abundance in Puget Sound region more than 100 years ago.

To date the curriculum has been implemented at five elementary schools with positive feedback from teachers. The Coast Salish Curriculum is offered free of charge to Renton public elementary schools. Private schools and schools in other districts can rent the Cultural Education Kit for a fee. The curriculum will be available in the fall at Teachers can also contact the museum directly at 425-255-2330 or email

Dorota Rahn is the Volunteer and Education Coordinator for the Renton History Museum.