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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

February is For Love

Tomorrow, I believe one more piece of Matter will take care of one more piece of Anti-Matter, in Washington’s evolution toward a state of understanding and love.  I believe the House will pass legislation, making legal same-sex marriages in Washington State, and our family will celebrate this victory over fear and manipulation with great joy.  As I said in a post a few years back, it will be my honour and pleasure to facilitate same-sex marriages…and the first one is on me, to celebrate our maturation.

I’m sorry there are those who could be led into believing any creator could loathe their creation, yet continue to create the same pattern over, and over, through human existence.  How many times do children educate their parents, as they’re brave enough to come out?  A beloved son or daughter is, hopefully, different than a monster made under your bed, inside your head.

In other states laws have been passed, granting the right for same sex couples to wed, and those states have not been sucked down to Hell, struck by lightning, or become awash in degradation.  Life clicks on.  Families grow, marry, grow more family, and pass on, surrounded by, guess what, loving family.  

Love one another as I have loved you. 

Treat others as you would have them treat you.

The love you take, is equal to the love you make.

Let’s pass this law and celebrate a state of love and legal commitment.  Let’s each vow to work on love, in our beautifully varied families and communities. 

‘Cos a love like that, you know it can’t be bad. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

An Actor, A Script, A Space - Dreams Don't Always Need Bells and Whistles

Above: Dukesbay's Randy Clark (far right in black vest) chats with guests during intermission.

Above: Dukesbay host Aya Clark warmly greets audiences at the door before a recent reading of local playwright Roger Iverson's well-written "Merry Noel" and "A Window of Opportunity" at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, Wa.

Above: The theatrical equivalent of a simple, good and satisfying dinner - a jug, a loaf of bread and thou.

Celebrities! So many of us enjoy reading about them. Whether you are young or old or inbetween there's always a short list of celebrities over which we can easily bond. I used to read about celebrities such as Bing Crosby, Dyan Cannon and Elinor Donahue and their links to Tacoma, WA when I was coming up many years ago.

How many more have filled these shoes in decades since? How many more celebrities in the wings are still waiting? Why wait until the media discovers the next stars from Grit City? Why not get out - not only to the restuarants, clubs and dance halls, but to the ballet, opera, regional, community and musical theatre?

Discover your list of emerging performers, plays and playwrights and lend your support to the ideas that tomorrows hits will be made of when it is most critical and most enduring - at the very beginning.

This is the same recipe Dukesbay Productions a local Tacoma based theatre production company has been employing with success during a series of live performances the past two years under the banner of "Java Tacoma" and most recently at a series of readings just begun featuring home-grown playwrights and performers.

A brainchild of the husband and wife team of Randy and Aya Clark - Dukesbay is committed to present theatrical works that reflect and celebrate our diverse society in the Pacific Northwest; to develop the work of local playwrights that portray the stories of Pierce county communities and to provide artistic opportunities for local actors who represent a diversity of ethnicity, age, religious background, training/experience and acting type.

While headlines tout the return of the economy on a national level - movie makers, theatres and other arts organizations and companies can still be observed having to cut back, prune or purge time honored programming, pictures, productions and events, Dukesbay is moving ahead with increasing its support and schedule with more not less programming and events.

The beauty of the performing arts is that prior to bells and whistles, digital imaging and special effects, multi-sound systems, video production, moving pictures, silent films, typewritten scripts - before the circus, opera houses, outdoor rounds and soapboxes - all good drama and great storytelling needed to rivet crowds in front of the campfire was a performer and an receptive audience.

Most recently Dukesbay put the spotlight on two plays by local playwright Roger Iverson - the quirky and throughly captivating "Merry Noel" about a woman who has learned to overcome the devasting double loss of her spouse and child within a short period of time and find a new mission, and the most honest and heartfelt "A Window of Opportunity" about a contemporary couple learning to navigate the ins, outs and depths of dealing with the painful issue of marital infertility.

It's writing like Iverson's and previous show author "Java Tacoma" playwright Curtis B. Swanson whose talents combined with the skill of local actors and actresses and the acumen of producers/directors like the Clarks whom audiences will discover, pour through and eagerly relish once their names and careers jump to the big lights, on big screens and on pages of multi-million deals and multi-billion dollar contracts.

But wouldn't it be more fun to say you've been familiar with the playwright since his work first hit the streets? Wouldn't it be more fun to say you've already got the framed picture of you and the actors? That you even have uh ahem - small anecdote to share about them before they were famous that you would be happy to share with friends or a willing listener?

Admittedly not everyone crosses over the bridge of fame and fortune. What if you should end up rooting for a runner-up? After all America loves winners! This is what I would say to you: no matter what genre you enjoy, someone is working on their debut. Be one of the ones that discover them, keep them going, keep them believing until they could find out if Fate does too. In easy times and hard this is the one area where the 1 percent can't make that final difference and it's where the rest of us really shine. Whether you're the dreamer or in crowd in the dream, your spot is guaranteed. Stand up and be counted!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Lyrical View of Snow and Ice

When Mother Nature does her artistic thing during severe weather such as we've been having this week, through the eyes of a hand-held camera, it's also possible to discover a momentary bit of beauty and repose!

Above: Snow and ice more precisely deliniate the graceful arms of a nearby tree. Copyright 2012 by Mizu M. Sugimura.

Above: The rhymic rounded repeat of these meticulously trimmed bushes is beautifully accentuated when frosted in snow and ice!
Copyright 2012 by Mizu M. Sugimura.

Above: The curling limbs of a taller, more vertical dancing tree. Copyright 2012 by Mizu M. Sugimura.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Northwest Sunset A Symphony of Light

Above: The radiant January sky over Federal Way. Photo copyright 2012 by Mizu M. Sugimura.

While the foreground in the snapshot above might be improved the late afternoon sky tonday couldn't be more painterly - colored as it was with firm and deliberately placed brushstrokes of light which rival Monet's costliest panels. Such purely natural masterpieces are one of the many beautiful reasons why we all enjoy living in the Pacific Northwest.

Local Thrift Attracts Group of Walkers!

Above: Some artwork, curios and games which populate the shelves of Fife's 2nd Hand Treasures Consignment Mall at the intersection of 54th and Pacific Highway South. All photos copyright 2012 by Mizu M. Sugimura

Center: Store partner Reggie Starkey and his fellow colleagues are more than happy help you with all your USPS shipping needs.

Right: A group of five walkers briefly pause recently after a brisk stroll around the store.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Great American Hero and former Washingtonian Has Left Us

It is with great sadness and respect that I salute the death of one of a childhood hero from my formative years. No. He wasn't an actor, or singer, or popular author, athlete or news personality. His degree was in sociology. Although he was born and raised locally, most of his professional life was spent in Canada and he recently died at age 93, so for example - many news organizations and tabloids where so many of us get our important news these days will most likely have nothing to print about his passing.

So I want to post his name and a link to a short piece about his death here "In Your Neighborhood" because if there is nothing else you do today in my personal opinion (which you are welcome to take or leave) you ought to take a moment to read it today.

If I could be so bold at the day's end the piece may be more meaningful to you and your family than reading all the fine print on the levels of sodium and sugars on the canned goods in the grocery store this afternoon. So without further ado I'd like to introduce you to Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi.

Even for those fellow South Sound citizens and fellow Americans in general who may not be lucky enough to have been born a member of the post-war Japanese-American community (I say this in jest, but there are some out there who still consider this to be a news item of interest only to folks like myself) it is worth reading. Even if it is only to acknowlege the passing of a former neighbor whose son holds them up for teaching them the values of "honesty, integrity, and justice".