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Friday, February 24, 2017


Vandalized art gets new lease on life

{ { Artist Tom Jay shows the area that the vandal cut along the bronze statue, Finley the Salmon, which he and his wife constructed in 1996.

Artists repair beloved bronze Finley the Salmon sculpture

Photo by

Nicole Jennings

by Nicole Jennings

Until recently, Finley the Salmon looked as though he would forever carry a long, deep cut across its back. The bronze sculpture, which adorns the entrance to the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, was attacked with a saw last October. But as of last week, the fish is looking as good as new again. The sculpture was repaired last week by its original artist, Tom Jay, and his wife and business partner, Sara Johani. Jay sculpted the male salmon in 1996 along with its female counterpart, Gilda, which swims next to Finley. An unknown vandal entered the hatchery on the night of Oct. 18 and made a cut several inches deep on the back of the fish. Police have not caught the person responsible and do not know the motive for the crime. The repairs were a combined effort for Jay and Johani, who own bronze studio ‘SALMON’ CONTINUED ON PG 11

The Don’t Miss List By Samantha Pak

INDULGE | CABERNET CLASSIC Experience cabernet, sometimes referred to as the “king of wines” and the range of this grape varietal with an array of more 50 of the best cabs from 25 of Washington’s premier wineries. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/jlkgco7. WHEN: 6 p.m., March 4 WHERE: Porsche Bellevue, 11910 N.E. 8th St., Bellevue


City Opera Ballet will open spring with Ballet Bellevue in the company’s first reprise of Jennifer L. Porter’s “Firebird” with Orchestra Bellevue performing Stravinsky’s score under the baton of music director and conductor Philip Tschopp. Tickets range from $27-45. For more information, visit bit.ly/COBFirebird. WHEN: 8 p.m., March 24-25 and 2 p.m., March 26 WHERE: The Theatre at Meydenbauer Center, 11100 N.E. 6th St., Bellevue


This two-day workshop will give students the opportunity to learn new ways of creating with acrylic paint and mixed media including collaging, stamping, stenciling, using mixed media, and other ways to apply and remove paint. The class will include demonstrations, exercises, individual support and plenty of time to paint. A supply list will be emailed upon registration. Class fee is $202 for artEAST Art Center members and $212 for non-members. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/h5ayozc. WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., March 18-19 WHERE: artEast Art Center, 95 Front St. N., Issaquah

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Friday, February 24, 2017



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Friday, February 24, 2017

Original musical comes to fruition 23 years after first being written By Nicole Jennings

Photo courtesy of Village Theatre

Above, Village Theatre’s original new musical “A Proper Place” will premiere on Thursday, March 16. Photo courtesy of Sam Freeman

Right, actors perform a scene from the musical at Village’s Festival of New Musicals.

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Lord Grantham, Lady Mary Crawley, Carson the Butler, Gilligan, the Skipper, the professor and Mary Ann may not seem like a likely combination, but in Village Theatre’s original new musical “A Proper Place,” audience members may feel like they are watching a spinoff of “Downtown Abbey” mixed with “Gilligan’s Island.” In fact, it was the popularity of Britain’s “Downton Abbey,” which aired on PBS from 2011-2016, that made it possible for the “A Proper Place” script to go from a dream to a reality. For scriptwriters Leslie Becker (book and lyrics) and Curtis Rhodes (music and lyrics), the premiere of the musical on Village Theatre’s stage on Thursday, March 16 means the culmination of work that began over 23 years ago. The duo originally came up with the idea of a musical about an aristocratic English family marooned on an island — based on the play “The Admirable Crichton” by “Peter Pan” author J.M. Barrie — back in the 1990s, but set it aside because they did not know how well a plot with such very British themes would go over in America. However, in 2013, at what Rhodes called “the height of the ‘Downton’ popularity,” the two came together again to dust off the old script and collaborate. “We decided it was the right time about where the country was to accept a British story,” said Becker, who has appeared on Broadway as an actress. Set in 1902, the musical follows the antics of the Earl of Loam and his three daughters, Lady Mary, Lady Catherine and Lady Agatha Lasenby. When a trip on the Lasenby family yacht ends in shipwreck on a deserted island, the helpless nobles must turn to their servants, Crichton the Butler and Tweeny the housemaid, to survive. “Through the course of nature, the people who in England are servants are top dog [on the island],” Rhodes said. “They have the survival

skills.” The flip of societal roles serves not only to provide comedy in the show, but also poses some serious questions about the way we look at our neighbors. “Is a person what they are born into?” questioned Becker. Or, can a person become someone entirely new “if they are taken to a new place?” Rhodes added that the show asks, “Are you living to your potential?” He explained that this is especially applicable to Crichton the Butler, who comes into his own on the island and assumes a position of power that he normally would never be allowed to hold in British society. In pre-World War I Britain, Rhodes said, a rigid social hierarchy determined a person’s status from birth until death. It was only after the war that the old class system crumbled, as the lower classes found new opportunities. “Prior to World War I, there were these massive household staffs of 30 for a family of just five,” like the Lasenbys, Rhodes said. “After World War I, it was easier for people to find jobs someplace else. The war was a game-changer.” Over a decade before the war, the island acts as such a game-changer for the Lasenby family. At a time when women in England “weren’t allowed to even have thoughts,” Becker said that the eldest daughter, Lady Mary Lasenby, “becomes very different on the island — she finds a freedom on the island that she never had.” Rhodes believes that the current obsession with British period dramas is not the only reason why the time is right for “A Proper Place.” He said that a plot about the upper-crust verses the lower classes is especially apropos in 2017 America. “There is a growing income inequality — a smaller and smaller group of people who have,” he said. Luckily for Rhodes and Becker, it was hard work rather than social class that provided success. After performing in “The

Admirable Crichton” in acting school, Rhodes had the idea of setting the story to music, and asked Becker to sing one of the roles for him. “I thought it would make a really fun musical,” he said. “I was really taken with it,” Becker said. “It was sort of the beginning.” However, after running into roadblocks, the two set the script aside and “our lives went separate ways,” Becker said. Both had given up on writing to pursue more stable positions. Becker, who lives in New York, has mainly done acting on and off Broadway; she also ran a theatre company for new musicals between 1998 and 2002. After another play that she wrote “fell apart just a month before opening,” she said that she put being a writer on the shelf. Rhodes, who lives in Los Angeles, went even further away from his writing dreams, completely leaving show business. “I got tired of the struggle,” he said. “I had given up the notion of pursuing that dream for myself … I was tired of always wanting. My world went into magazine layouts, creating ads.” However, after the two had a chance to gain years of experience, “Downton Abbey” opened up the window that Becker and Rhodes had been waiting for, and the two found a new hope for their script. While in Seattle on a tour of “Wicked” two years ago, Becker submitted the script to Village Theatre, and it was featured in the theatre’s Festival of New Musicals. Last year, the musical was chosen from among hundreds of submissions for the coveted original piece slot in the theatre’s 2016/2017 season. “It’s a real acknowledgement that creativity doesn’t have a timeline,” Becker said. “A Proper Place” plays Wednesdays through Sundays and select Tuesdays from March 16 through April 22 at the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre, 303 Front St. N. in Issaquah. For tickets, call 425-392-2202.

Friday, February 24, 2017


DOWNTOWN ISSAQUAH WINE WALK BEGINS MARCH 3 The Downtown Issaquah Wine Walk is a first Friday evening event that is fun and supports the community. Enjoyed by over 2,500 visitors each season, this highly attended event is bigger and better than ever. Experience live music, art happenings, some snacks and local boutique wines poured in various tasting locations up and down Front Street. Front Street shops and restaurants are open to the general public during Wine Walk and all ages are welcome. This is a rain or shine event. Bring your own glass. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the event if not sold out, and can be purchased online at www.downtownissaquah.com. Price of admission includes 10 one-ounce drink tokens, maps of the tasting locations, a plastic wine glass, tokens and wristband and will be provided at check in. Tickets are limited and the event may sell out. Other details include: • Check in starts at 6 p.m. at the historic Shell Station — 232 Front Street N., Issaquah. • You must be 21 to purchase wine tasting tickets. • Will call for pre-paid tickets require identification for the name tickets were purchased under. • Take a bottle of wine home from the tastings or enjoy at several restaurants with no corkage fee. Wines are available for purchase during the event at the historic Shell Station Wine Store. • Alcohol is not allowed on the street. All alcohol must be consumed in the tasting locations. This is a Washington state law. Front Street Wine Walk venues include Art by Fire Glass Blowing Studio, artEAST Art Center, Experience Tea, Pelage Spa, Issaquah Library, Train Depot, Village Theatre and Yum-E Yogurt.

Wineries include Damsel Cellars, Barrel Springs, Sigillo Cellars, Don Carlo, Solsticio and Florentino. Live music performances include Wilde Thyme — Historic Train Depot, Home Rulers – Village Theatre and Alan Clarke and Fred Hopkins, plus experience tea/ art by the Fire lobby. Other events and vendors not to be missed are Small Cakes offering hand rolled truffles by owner and Le Cordon Bleu Chef Alex Spears. ArtEAST will display pieces from over 80 local artists in its retail gallery. Meet ArtEAST’s juried artists while visiting their pop-up tasting room where Carol Ross will be painting a special landscape. They offer traditional and functional art, jewelry and art workshops (including art camps for kids). At Art by Fire, you can watch elegant, hand crafted art glass being created before your eyes with a live glass blowing demonstration. Bluestreak Chocolates will share their delightful handmade artisan chocolates. Erika Laureano will showcase her hand crafted industrial jewelry. Jill Labberton Photography will be making Wine Walk memories with complementary photos. New to the Wine Walk, childcare is available at Gibson Hall located on Newport Way just one block from Front Street. Casa Spanish is offering a fun place for your kids to enjoy games, crafts and a movie while you enjoy Wine Walk. Childcare hours are 5:15-8:45 p.m. for $20 per child. Ages 3-10 are welcome; just bring a snack and water. Register at: casaspanish.com/wine-walk The mission of the Downtown Issaquah Association is to promote and enhance the vitality of historic Downtown Issaquah through programs and events that celebrate the city’s unique culture.

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Nicole Jennings/staff photo

Tom Jay, left, who sculpted the bronze statue in 1996, watches as his wife and business partner, Sara Johani, right, paints over the spot a vandal cut with a saw. ‘SALMON’ CONTINUED FROM PG 8

the Lateral Line in Chimacum, Washington. “We collaborate,” Johani said. “Whoever is good at that does that,” Jay explained. First, Jay inserted beads of bronze in the cut, before welding and melting them to fill out the cut. He then distressed the surface with lines so that the new area would match the rest of the fish, which has been exposed to the elements for the past 21 years. Next, Johani stepped in, staining the bronze with liver of sulfur to form a patina. She used a heat gun to help the stain dry faster. The final step was spreading wax over the entire area, which Johani explained “protects the paint and brings it to the same shininess” as the rest of the statue. Robin Kelley, executive director of Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, said that FISH was very grateful to have the salmon’s artist repair the statue, as this has kept the statue in line with its original look.

“We were fortunate to have them be available, to have them be the original people working on their piece,” Kelley said. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Johani and Jay have had to repair their creations. “Lately, the vandalism has gone up,” Jay explained, noting that several of his works throughout the state have been damaged or even gone missing. He said that the “Watershed Bell” he designed for the city of Bellingham had to be removed because it had been harmed too many times. About 30 of Jay and Johani’s pieces can be found all around the region, from Vancouver, B.C. to Vancouver, Washington. In Issaquah, Johani designed the statue of nature conservationist Harvey Manning on Cougar Mountain. The couple shares a love of sculpting as well as a love for one another. Jay and Johani first met 37 years ago in a bronze foundry. “We’ve grown to be a team,” Johani said. “It’s a working love.”

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Profile for Sound Publishing

theEastside Scene - March 2017  


theEastside Scene - March 2017