the E A S T S I D E
Arts and Entertainment | October 2015
AFRAID OF THE
DARK? Halloween events on the Eastside
PLUS: Marilyn McKenna on the emotional side of weight loss Q&A with featured artists in the Sammamish Arts Fair
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The Don’t-Miss List
CominG Home Film
In its 10th year, the Seattle South Asian Film Festival (Oct. 15-30) examines the meaning of “home” for Seattle’s fastest growing demographic. By Daniel Nash The Seattle South Asian Film Festival has grown a lot in 10 years. In 2002, Rita Meher and Farah Nousheen left jobs in IT to found the film nonprofit Tasveer as a response to widespread post9/11 prejudice against South Asians. “I would have people shouting at me on the street, ‘Terrorists, go back to your f***ing country,” Meher said at a recent press event. “And I had just become a U.S. citizen. That really shook me up.” Tasveer’s first film festival consisted of a handful of screenings in the Elliott Bay Book Company’s old Pioneer Square storefront. But as the festival approaches its tin anniversary, the programming has grown to include 59 films from nine countries, screened across eight venues in Seattle, Renton and Redmond, with further events in Bellevue and on the University of Washington’s Bothell campus. Really, the festival has grown at a slightly more conservative pace than the region’s South Asian population. While festival programming has grown 60 percent over 10 years, the Seattle metro area — including all of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties — saw its South
SHAMBLE | Downtown Zombie Walk
It’s time to fear the Squak-ing dead: For five years, they’ve overtaken Front Street, stopped up traffic and “Thriller”-ed all over Issaquah City Hall’s steps — and now they’re planning to do it a sixth time! The Downtown Zombie Walk has become an enormously popular flash mob in Issaquah and an opportunity to see how creatively dead your neighbors can be: Costumes last year included Zombie Waldo, Ash Williams, Rick Grimes and Carl. When: Oct. 24; Makeup and practice at 2:30 p.m., walk begins at 4:30 p.m. Where: 232 Front St., Issaquah
SCREAM | Nightmare at Beaver Lake
Twenty-three days out of every 24, Beaver Lake Park is an idyllic outdoor spot for hiking and exploration. But come late October, the trees close in to suffocate, the noise of nocturnal creatures take a turn for the sinister and the mists rolling in from the waters take on the chill of death. Is it dark magic or the Nightmare at Beaver Lake, the Eastside’s most popular haunted house? When: Oct. 16-31 Where: 2656 244th Ave. S.E., Sammamish
JAM | An Evening With Bone Poets Orchestra
Christopher Bingham migrated to Evergreen State College from St. Louis with a love of 1970s progressive rock and a drive to study composition. Nearly 40 years later, he’s remained in Washington state pushing musical boundaries with his band the Bone Poets Orchestra. The Bone Poets deal exclusively in “psychedelic chamber rock,” performing exclusively in concert venues with a sound that draws from inspirations as varied as Norah Jones, Jethro Tull and Peter Gabriel. When: Oct. 17; more information by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org Where: The Theatre at Meydenbauer, 11100 N.E. Sixth St., Bellevue
Asian populations grow 173 percent from 2000 to 2010 and boasted the fifth fastest growing population among American metros, according to a demographic analysis of census data from the Asian American Federation and South Asian Americans Leading Together. The 2015 festival’s theme is “Coming Home,” a phrase meant to play on concepts like tradition, progress and the identity crisis of relocating to a new country, festival director Kiran Dhillon said. “It’s not just something that applies to immigrants,” she said. “It’s a really universal theme and it really was this unifying thread across many of the films we showcased.” A full schedule of films and events can be found at Tasveer.org.
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bout 10 years ago, Marilyn McKenna was the largest woman in the room — and she felt invisible. The wife of former Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna often found herself at her husband’s side in social circles. “I was there to be supportive. I was there to be Rob’s wife,” she recalled recently at a Bellevue coffee shop. “I was doing a lot of things others expected, because I thought it made me a good person.” The mother of four took on that supportive role for most of her adult life — as the wife of a politician who would unsuccessfully run for governor in 2012, she mastered everyone else’s schedule and put their needs before her own. But she wasn’t happy, and her frustrations manifested in her eating habits. Always alone, she said, she would retreat to the kitchen and eat, for example, a slice of bread slathered with butter after slice of bread slathered with butter. After a lifetime of being overweight — “I was a fat kid before there were fat kids,” she said. “Food was my air.” — in 2007, at 265 pounds, she hit rock bottom. “I felt like my weight was a declaration that I couldn’t control myself,” she said. “It’s a really horrible way to go through life.” Fed up with “yo-yo dieting,” she made a decision to disregard fad diet plans and instead focused on what was right for her. “We all rely on the huge diet industry to tell us how to lose weight,” she said. “How could they presume to know what works in your life?” Since 2007, she’s lost 120 pounds and has kept it off. She writes about her journey in her new book, “Eat Like It Matters: How I Lost 120 Pounds and Found My Inner Badass (And How You Can Too!).” It was published in mid-August. Still too embarrassed with asking for help, she began her journey in secret, with only her immediate family for support. “I was so ashamed that I needed help,” she said. “I hurt for the thought now.”
But she knew, if she kept on the same path, it would kill her. She decided to undergo lap-band surgery. The lap band device reduces the stomach’s capacity and restricts the amount of food one can eat in a sitting, according to the LAP-BAND System website. In order to pay for the $18,000 procedure, though, the McKenna’s refinanced their Bellevue home. “It was a huge financial sacrifice for our family,” she said. “That also drove my desire for it to be successful.” The total weight loss happened in various stages. In the first year she lost about 85 pounds. She hadn’t really changed her eating habits or seriously exercised — but she felt great. So great, she decided to keep going just to see how much better and stronger she could feel. She began exercising, slowly at first. She’d walk. Then she started jogging down hills. Finally, she was able to run the entire route. “I found that inner badass out running,” she said. “I do my best thinking when I’m exercising.” In 2010 she ran her first half marathon; the next year, she completed her first full marathon. McKenna, now 52 and adamant about sharing her journey publicly, happily answers personal questions fielded by social media followers. Her frequent posts are a stark difference from the silent, background character she used to play. In the final stage of her weight loss journey, she cleaned up her diet, which included completely banning sugar and unhealthy food from the house. She said she lives a “veggie-centric” lifestyle now — every meal is planned around the vegetables. She says she still has some of the same tendencies, but with her new approach to health, she’s able to overcome old habits. Instead of eating an entire row of Oreos, now it’s an entire bowl of fruit. “Nobody ever got fat eating a huge bowl of strawberries,” she said.
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Sammamish Arts Fair
By Megan Campbell
Thirty-one Eastside artists will pack into Sammamish City Hall next month for the ninth annual Sammamish Arts Fair. Half of them are new to the fair this year and working in a broad array of media. It’s free to attend and all proceeds go directly toward the local artists on display Oct. 10-11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The artists organize and promote the event. Recently, two participants opened up about their work:
the element with others it would be found with in nature. This is the third year Weaks will participate in the Sammamish Arts Fair. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my art,” she said. “Art has kept me alive.”
Click. Click. Click.
The stone whisperer
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Jewelry-maker Carol Weaks, 73, has lived in Sammamish for the last five years — and she’s spent all of them handcrafting necklaces and earrings. Before she came to Washington, though, she lived on the East Coast and in the South, out of touch with her creative nature. Born in West Virginia with four brothers who all grew up to be accountants, Weaks was told she would become a secretary, like her mother. “Dad always said no kid of his would be an artist,” she recalled in her Sammamish home while she sorted hundreds of shells and various shiny, colorful pebbles into plastic containers. In college, she met her would-be husband. After he graduated, they moved to Monroe, Louisiana, where she dabbled in various activities, like sewing or running the largest antique import business in northern Louisiana in the 1960s and ‘70s. At the time, Weaks didn’t recognize these avenues as a manifestation of her artistic nature, as she had been struggling to repress her true eccentric self. When she expressed the sensations she felt in the world around her, she said people called her crazy. “I think I knew I was different when I got married,” she said. “Finally, I learned I couldn’t talk about it. When you close off parts of your body that are that important, it can kill you.” In her mid-40s, she left her husband of 25 years after their last child graduated high school and she journeyed to California to live among the hippies. She had been to California before, in the ‘60s, but forgot about the free spirited people teaching passers-by how to bead on the sidewalk after she and her husband returned to Louisiana. “I learned you don’t have to have money to be happy,” she said. Her journey, though, was all the more liberating when she decided to learn how to live without alcohol and prescription drugs, which she said she had been using for most of her adult life to numb her anxieties and the aches of fibromyalgia. “Now I get to revel in my weirdness,” she said. Weaks describes herself as a “sensitive,” in tune with the elements around her. She says the stones she uses for her jewelry tell her what they want to be. “People call me the stone whisperer,” she said. “I’ve always loved rocks.” She researches each item — stone, shell or fossil — and pairs
Redmond photographer Shankar Pal’s interest in cameras began with the mechanical sounds of his sister’s Nikon DSLR. “I like the sound of its click,” he said. “There’s something working and you have a photo.” Pal, 55, was first introduced to art when he was a child in India. He would go and watch his cousin, who was part of a group who painted with water colors. But as he aged, he knew he needed a job that would pay the bills. “Making a lot of money in art is always very difficult in any country,” he said. He studied physics in India before moving to Pennsylvania at age 28, where he earned his doctorate in computer science from Pennsylvania State University. “At that point, I was so smart I didn’t have to pay attention to art,” he said. Pal moved to Washington to work for Microsoft, which he did for 17 years. Now he works for hardware and software company F5 Networks Inc. in Factoria. It was in 2000 that he was reintroduced to art through photography. He had bought his sister a digital camera, then told her to hang on while he tested it out. After one click, he was hooked, he said. He said the sound signals that the mechanism is working, and the photo is the proof. It’s this blur between art and technology that fascinates Pal. From there he took a few courses and participated in workshops with the goal of bettering his photography skills. “The way I like to think about it, as if I’m exploring a different side of myself,” he said. Pal aspires to capture sights in their simplicity, breaking them down to its basic shapes and forms. For Pal, photography is more about the adventure than the end result. “I like the experience more than the artwork,” he said. One of his favorite moments, was when he hiked Wallace Falls State Park east side of the Cascade Mountains. It was last November when he made the 2.25 mile trek to the top of the mountain. As the sun began to set, half of the hillside turned golden. The shadowed areas, along the falls and the rocks, were icy cold and a nice contrast, he said. He captured a few shots, but in a moment, the sun was gone. The trees were once again a dark forested green, and Pal was left to make his way down the trial in the dark. This is the second year he will participate in the Sammamish Arts Fair. The Sammamish Arts Fair is sponsored by the city of Sammamish, the Sammamish Arts Commission and 4Culture.
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