Friday, January 28, 2011

'The Drowsy Chaperone' at Tacoma Musical Playhouse unfolds with a wink, nod

Mauro Bozzo plays Robert Martin and Cherisse Martinelli is Janet Van De Graaff in “The Drowsy Chaperone” at Tacoma Musical Playhouse. Below: Jon Douglas Rake as "Man in the Chair."

Published in The News Tribune, January 28, 2011
Tacoma Musical Playhouse is producing the regional premiere of the Tony Award-winning musical “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and I found it to be funny, sweet and upbeat.

In a strangely Thurburesque telling of a fantasy tale that combines contemporary humor with Broadway musical traditions, a character listed in the program as simply the “Man in the Chair” invites us into his cramped New York apartment and shares with us his love of old musicals.

He begins by simultaneously praising and debunking musical comedy traditions.

For example, he tells the audience he wants the actors to stay out of the aisle because when they come off stage, the “fourth wall” comes tumbling down.

He apparently is unaware that by talking directly to the audience, he’s tearing down that same metaphorical wall. Such is the tone and cleverness of the play.

The Man in the Chair (who, by the way, gets up out of that chair quite often) plays a record of a favorite musical from 1928 and the old show magically materializes in his apartment.

We watch and listen with him, and he periodically stops the record to critique the play. He makes fun of the overly dramatic acting, the silly Vaudeville-style jokes and the thin story line. He says the stories in musicals are just excuses for getting from one big production number to the next.

But in this show, the bits between the musical numbers are in many ways the most enjoyable moments in the show. Attribute that to clever, tongue-in-cheek writing by Bob Martin and Don McKellar and great comic acting by TMP artistic director Jon Douglas Rake as Man in the Chair. This is the funniest and most natural acting I’ve seen from him. If he seems typecast in this role, there might be a good reason. As artistic director, Rake gets to play a big role in picking the plays, and he surely was attracted to this one because he was able to identify so thoroughly with the storyteller.

The story unfolds with a wink and a nod; it’s modern and sarcastic. The musical within is a delightful and romantic jazz-age romp.

The play-within-a-play is centered around the romance and pending marriage of showgirl Janet Van De Graaff (Cherisse Martinelli) and oil tycoon Robert Martin (Mauro Bozzo).

Other characters are bent on stopping the wedding – particularly Janet’s manager, Mr. Feldzieg (John Miller). He hires two gangsters disguised as bakers (brothers Mickey and Matt Dela Cruz) and an aging lothario, Aldolpho (John B. Cooper), to break them up. Also intent on breaking them up is the over-the-hill alcoholic diva (Nancy Hebert), known as the drowsy (read “tipsy”) chaperone.

Hebert’s singing is outstanding. I love Bozzo’s long-legged tap dancing, especially on the song “Cold Feets” with tap-dancing partner Philip Lacey as best man George. Cooper outlandishly spoofs Latin lovers and is ridiculously funny when he seduces the wrong woman.

The whole show is filled with surprises.

When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Feb. 13. Additional matinees at 2 p.m. Feb. 5 and 12.
Where: Tacoma Musical Playhouse at The Narrows Theatre, 7116 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
Tickets: $20-$27
Information: 253-565-6867,

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Seasonal Affective

New Drawings by Sean Alexander

The Weekly Volcano, January 26, 2011

“Chest Full of Birds” by Sean Alexander / Photo courtesy Fulcrum/Jason Ganwich

Words that come to mind while thinking about Sean Alexander's new drawings at Fulcrum Gallery include funny, sad, inventive and hopeful. Also precise, obsessional, illustrational, folksy and cartoonish. Alexander's drawings are many things. Boring is not one of them.

Alexander is no stranger to Tacoma's art scene. He was co-founder of The Helm, a short-lived gallery that promoted many young artists. He was a Foundation of Art Award nominee and named in my recent "10 to Watch" column on up-and-coming artists.

According to Alexander's wall statement in the gallery, these drawings were made to stave off seasonal affective disorder. The statement says he has been "working against hopelessness, fear, heartache, negativity, and darkness" and "thoughts of suicide."

The drawings are full of hope and light. They look like the manic drawings of a somewhat mad artist with a great sense of humor. The drawings are in ink, and combine brightly colored areas with black and white. There are strong contrasts of positive and negative shapes and classical balance with highlights of very bright colors. The figures are generally seen in silhouette and are placed within framing devices that use intricate patterns, many of which relate to quilting or to the types of patterns seen in Native American baskets and blankets. His typical subjects are boys picking flowers and ducks and a cat; they show up in drawing after drawing.

The style is a combination of surrealism, folk art and children's book illustration. And the drawing is obsessively precise. Looking at them I got the feeling that every mark was carefully thought out before pen touched paper and then drawn very slowly with a steady hand.

Each drawing tells an enigmatic story and has humorous - and in some cases disturbing - titles and subtitles. A couple of examples:

"Chest Full of Birds (Personal Power Company)" shows a seated figure in black silhouette wearing a colorful striped sweater. A valentine-style heart is cut out of his chest and from it flow colorful ribbons that become branches with birds perched on them. The branch-ribbons are free-flowing and rhythmical, and the whole thing is very fanciful.

"We Belong Together (In response to family trouble)" has two brothers facing each other with a pitchfork and a shovel crossed like swords. There is a sun in the background and amazingly precise shading in the sky. If I could count the tiny pen strokes I suspect it might be close to a thousand.

There are 25 drawings in all. The ones in the back room are different in mood and style, seemingly done at a different time. They are simpler and in many instances more inventive.

Fulcrum Gallery
Through March 12, noon to 6 p.m. Thursday–Saturday and by appointment, 1308 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, 253.250.0520]

Friday, January 21, 2011

'Frost/Nixon': Engrossing history drama at Tacoma Little Theatre

Steve Tarry plays Richard M. Nixon in “Frost/Nixon” at Tacoma Little Theatre.

The News Tribune, JaNUARY 21, 2011
‘Frost/Nixon” is a riveting drama spiced with a lot more humor than one might expect and made more real and immediate by the technical innovations of set designer Scott Campbell and director Brie Yost.

People who expect it to be just a retelling of political history they already know might be surprised at how entertaining this show is, and people who saw the movie might be surprised to find themselves even more engrossed with this stage performance.

It moves quicker, despite being almost two hours long with no intermission, and you might come away believing, as I did, that Steve Tarry is a better Richard M. Nixon than was Frank Langella, who won an Academy Award for best actor for his role and a Tony Award for the same role on Broadway.

As the play progresses, Tarry nails the character so well that he begins to look increasingly like Nixon, especially in the huge projected close-ups of his face.

In the director’s notes in the program, Yost made two very telling statements that exemplify the uniqueness of this production.

First, she commented that when first asked to direct this play, she said, “All I want is Richard Nixon’s face to be really, really big.”

And second, she said that playwright Peter Morgan’s “brilliant script ... has been sprinkled with my own quirky sense of humor.”

Much of the action takes place in the television studio. Often the main characters are partially blocked from the audience’s view by cameras and sound boards and a bevy of technicians and assistants, but their images are seen larger than life on three projection screens and a half dozen or more televisions.

Some viewers might find that distracting, but it adds immeasurably to the feeling of authenticity, and there was only one brief moment when I was unable to see everyone I needed to see.

All of the supporting actors are good, but Nixon is such a compelling character and Tarry’s portrayal so mesmerizing that he commands total attention whenever he is on stage.

Other actors who stand out are Gabe McClelland as Nixon biographer and critic Jim Reston; James A. Gilletti, a relative newcomer to the stage, as David Frost; Charlie Birdsell as Nixon chief of staff Jack Brennan; and Christian Carvajal in an engrossing performance as ABC News correspondent Bob Zelnick. While rehearsing Frost for his interview with Nixon, Zelnick does a comic impersonation of the president that is hilarious, even though it is hard to understand what he’s saying.

Also doing a commendable job of acting in a role that didn’t give her much of an opportunity to stand out was Alleena Tribble as David Frost’s girlfriend, Caroline Cushing.

As noted earlier, there is no intermission, but the concession stand is open before and after the performance and there is a talk-back with the cast and director following a short break.

I highly recommend this play.

When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 6; actor benefit matinee Feb. 5
Where: Tacoma Little Theatre, 210 N. I St., Tacoma
Tickets: $15-$24
Information: 253-272-2281,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Classically modern

Top: "UPTOWN BROADWAY ANGEL": A work by Betty Sapp Ragan currently on display at Tacoma Public Library. Bottom: collage by Mauricio Robalino (not in the show)

 Mauricio Robalino and Betty Sapp Ragan at the Handforth Gallery

Published in the Weekly Volcano, January 19, 2011

When I saw the announcement for the Mauricio Robalino and Betty Sapp Ragan exhibition at the Handforth Gallery I was initially blown away by the image of a Robalino collage included with the announcement, but I was slightly let down by the actual work. Although hotly colorful, playful and well designed, the collages in the gallery are not as good as the image on the announcement. But don't let that deter you from seeing this show. It is enjoyable.

Less playful than Robalino's collages and more subtle in their classic austerity and harmonies are Ragan's hand-colored digital images.

Back to Robalino. He was born and spent his childhood near the equator. He moved to England with his parents when he was 10 years old, and he studied art in the United States, but his art shouts Latin American culture and tradition. His collages are crowded with images of birds and animals and people and dense vegetation, and they fairly scream hot tropical climate with their bright contrasts of complementary colors - most in the blue-green to red-orange range. The compositions use classical balance throughout.

"My art is a celebration of life which expresses a deep love for vibrant color, dynamic composition and inspired whimsy which is stimulated and nurtured by my interest in the arts of all times and cultures, especially those of Native America, the Mediterranean, Tibetan mandalas, Indonesian puppets, and the germinal art movements of the early twentieth century," Robalino wrote in a statement.

My favorite piece was an untitled collage on the wall to the left as one enters the gallery. There is a sunburst in the center at top with a man's face below that and throughout are wave forms, birds, animals and flowers. The background is mostly blue, and the figures are in various tones of orange and gold.

Ragan's more formal images combine hand-colored portraits with digital prints of architectural forms. They are subtle and classical with just a hint of whimsy. One of my favorites is called "Get Your Ducks in a Row." It is a section of architectural trim with two masculine figures that remind me of Michelangelo's slave sculptures. Balanced on either side are a gear and a wheel with a crest in the middle. And there are ducks. Tiny little cut-out duck figures that you have to look at very closely to see that there are women's faces inside the cut-out shapes.

Another favorite is "Uptown Broadway Angel". Above a portal sits a carved figure of a crest and a woman's face with fruit bowls on either side. The figures look simultaneously ancient and modern, which is the effect of all Ragan's pictures. The color is delicate and sweet, and the modern-style hand-coloring blends beautifully and seamlessly with the classical architecture.

Through Feb. 19, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Hanforth Gallery, Tacoma Public Library, 1102 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Now I understand the thrill a playwright must feel the first time he or she sees actors performing his work. I adapted two small scenes from my latest novel, Reunion at the Wetside, for a staged reading at Orcas Books in Olympia. I forgot to make a head count, but I think there were about 30 people in the audience, and their response was electric. They laughed at all the right places and were stunned at the one shocking bit (which I can’t divulge to people who haven’t read it yet – suffice it to say it involved a chimpanzee). 

The actors were also thrilled, and we talked briefly about wanting to do it again – so stay tuned; if you missed it we’re going to do our best to line up another one, and if anybody reading this can help us line up other venues please let me know.

The actors were Dennis Rolly – whose narration brought all the boring exposition to life; Chris Cantrell – believable as a hard-hitting police reporter; Jennie Jenks – who grew half a foot to play the statuesque Alex Martin; and Jim Patrick – who made us believe that Jim Bright really was “Mr. Everything.”

Thank you each. You set my words on fire.

I also want to thank Jon and the crew at Orcas and Stephanie from Capital Playhouse for lending us the music stands. 

There will be other staged readings of this and other works. I just don’t yet know what or when or where.

Words of love, entwined hearts

Review: Two-person Olympia Little Theatre play 'Sea Marks' drips sweet yearning

Published in The Olympian and The News Tribune, Jan. 14, 2011
Hannah Andrews and Thomas Neely in “Sea Marks” at Olympia Little Theatre, photo by Toni Holm

I couldn’t attend opening night of “Sea Marks” at Olympia Little Theatre, but I did go to a dress rehearsal and was impressed with the realism and poetry of the story and the naturalism of the acting. Thomas Neely and Hannah Andrews are absolutely believable as the mismatched couple Colin Primrose and Timothea Stiles in the two-person play.

The direction and the simple but effective set by Terance Artz invite the audience into the lives and private thoughts of this couple.

Colin is a proud but lonely fisherman who lives in a little house on a cliff overlooking the sea on the island of Cliffhorn Heads, Ireland – a fictitious town invented by playwright Gardener McKay. Colin has never been married, has never even been with a woman.

Timothea lives in Liverpool and works for a publishing company.

They meet at the wedding of one of her Irish relatives. He makes no impression on her, but he is so struck with her that he writes a letter. She is deeply impressed by the poetry of his words.

For two years, they write back and forth. She doesn’t remember what he looks like, and they never exchange photographs, yet love blossoms through their letters.

In the opening scene, time is condensed as Colin speaks to the audience and the two of them read their letters to each other, giving the audience a privileged glimpse into their two-year courtship.

These early scenes are lovely and touching, poignant yet spiced with humor. We see Colin’s quirkiness and loneliness; we see Timothea gradually fall in love with him.

I loved the way they alternated reading the letters, switching back and forth from writer to reader. I also loved the way the fireplaces in their respective homes simultaneously separated and brought them together.

Artz’ set accentuates their differences. Her home is modest but nice. His house is painfully bare, consisting of little more than a hard chair and a chest on the floor where he stores his rain slicker and other gear. Their respective homes are delineated by a color change on the floor and an open frame placed between their houses that marks the fireplace.

They kneel down face-to-face to warm their hands while reading the letters, each in front of his or her fireplace.

Symbolically, this separates them by the open sea and by their oh-so-different histories and ways of life, and yet they are practically touching. We in the audience can see how they yearn for each other.

When they finally get together in person, there is the expected clumsiness at first. She is romantic and more aggressive in pursuing his love while he is shy and unsure. He obviously does not fit comfortably in her life and she just as obviously might never be happy living in his lonely seaside dwelling.

This is a small play with only two characters. It is not bombastic or exciting; it is poetic, sweet and realistic.

After all the glitz of the holidays, it is nice to see a simple love story set in 1971 when lovers communicated with long, hand-written letters that crossed the Irish sea rather than through truncated text messages or e-mails that instantly travel through cyberspace.

The Celtic group Thomas Miller Ceilidh Band plays in the lobby during the wedding scene and during intermission.

When: 7:55 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 1:55 p.m. Sundays through Jan. 30Where: Olympia Little Theatre, 1925 Miller Ave. N.E., OlympiaTickets: $10-$12, available at Yenney Music Company on Harrison Avenue (360-943-7500) or 360-786-9484,

Note: For those who may be interested in this sort of thing, the title, "Words of love..." was the headline in The Olympian and the subtitle, "Review: Two person..." was the headline in The News Tribune. I mention this because readers may not know that newspaper writers seldom if  ever write their own headlines.

Many contexts

A great group show at SPSCC

The Weekly Volcano, Jan. 12, 2011
top: oil painting by Lisa Sweet

middle: "Bangalore" by Amy Oates
bottom: "Shirly Sherrod and Mohamed Alessa"  by Shaw Osha

I hardly know where to start reviewing the new show at South Puget Sound Community College, and I know I can't do each of the artists justice in the limited space of this column. The show is called "Contexts: Contemporary Image Makers," and it features works by Amy Oates, Jennifer Combe, Matt Hamon, Lisa Sweet and Shaw Osha - five artists who have little in common except that each has a unique vision and each is technically accomplished.

Oates' drawings in oil and charcoal of dense city crowds have the most immediate impact. The expressive drawing and harsh dark and light contrasts in her monochromatic works are highly dramatic. If they were abstract drawings and not people in crowds with all the emotional baggage that entails, they would still be powerful, which may be one of the most telling tests of artistic power - are the abstract visual elements as strong as the emotional appeal of the narrative content? In these works the answer is yes. With one exception. There is a print that is more detailed and more illustrational, and it is the weakest of Oates' works. She is also showing one very different piece in which the figures are cut out of paper and hung in front of the wall in a subtle play of white-on-white with shadows. It's very decorative and intricate but lacking the impact of the drawings.

Combe's "First Grade" is the most decorative and eye-appealing work in the show. It consists of six white boxes like sculpture stands with multi-colored abstract patterns on clear slide sheets attached in grid patterns on the tops. The forms are mostly derived from letters and numbers. The colors are clear and bright, and the mood is playful.

Lisa Sweet‘s paintings blend contemporary surrealistic imagery with religious symbols and a painting style influenced by early Renaissance art. One of the more striking is a portrait of a woman with short-cropped red hair and hands crossed below her breasts with words carved into her skin as if with a knife. The title is "Madonna of austerities," and some of the words and phrases on her arms and chest are (in all-caps): UNWORTHY SERVANT, LET ME HATE, WE ARE BEASTS and HAVE PITY ON MY SOUL.

I have long admired Shaw Osha's semi-abstract figurative paintings. I'm not so sure about some of the directions she's been going in lately. In this show she has a selection of 14 drawings in pencil, acrylic and pen on acetate. They are mostly portrait heads (and a car and a house) painted in delicate washes. The best of these is the house with its subtle shades of white and gray over a blue-gray background scene. There is also an intriguing group of digital prints from Osha, all aerial photographs of streets in Olympia taken over time to provide a record of changes in landscape and architecture.

Harmon has six untitled drawings in ballpoint on Mylar that are amazingly intricate, delicate and precise. Some of his drawings look like floating tumbleweeds of meshed wire. They are all surrounded by vast areas of white. The press release said he combines photographic and drawing elements. I can't tell that from looking, but the precision of his drawing is phenomenal.

This gallery continues to provide some of the best art exhibits in Olympia.

Contexts: Contemporary Image Makers
Tuesday-Thursday, noon-4 p.m. and by appointment, through Feb. 24, 2011, Minnaert Center Gallery South Puget Sound Community College, Mottman Rd. SW. Olympia, 360.596.5527,
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Friday, January 7, 2011

2010's memorable moments


Top: MICHELLE SMITH LEWIS/COURTESY OF CENTERSTAGE THEATRE - Bill Bland, left, and Jesse Smith belt out tunes in “Ain’t Misbehavin’” at Centerstage Theatre last year. The most noteworthy song in a South Sound musical in 2010 was Bland’s “Your Feets Too Big.”

Bottom: JOHN PFAFFE/COURTESY OF LAKEWOOD PLAYHOUSE - Bryan Bender, left, and Christian Doyle were involved in a huge fight scene in Lakewood Playhouse’s production of “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead.”

Last year brought a lot of excellent theater to South Sound, but only a few truly indelible moments.

The most memorable of all is the huge fight scene in “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead” at Lakewood Playhouse.

There was amazing synchronized movement of 13 actors on stage at once running, leaping and fighting with dexterity and timing to rival Buster Keaton or the Marx Brothers. The most astonishing part of all was when two characters rushed across the stage carrying a large carriage wheel between them, and Christian Doyle leaped over the wheel.

A fight scene provides the perfect overture to a death scene: One of the most stunning death scenes of the year was the death of Christina Collins as Emilia and Erica Penn as Desdemona in Theatre Artist Olympia’s “Othello” at Olympia Little Theatre. In death they became statues of classical goddesses and I was mesmerized by their exquisiteness.

The most noteworthy song in a musical in 2010 was Bill Bland’s “Your Feets Too Big” in “Ain’t Misbehavin’ ” at Centerstage Theatre. I’ve loved that song since first hearing it in 1978, but this version especially resonated with me for a particular reason: In each show, Bland picked out someone in the audience and sang it directly to him or her while practically touching their “big” feet. This time I was in the front row and he picked me out of the audience, even though my feet are tiny, which made it funny. Ah, but he sang it with such passion and rhythm and humor. And David Duvall’s piano accompaniment was great. It was only after the show that Bland found out that he had picked a theater critic to sing to.

From great singing, we transition to memorable dancing, and “White Christmas” at Tacoma Musical Playhouse was full of great dancing – most notably a ballroom dance number by husband-and-wife team Vince and Jennifer Wingerter to the tune of “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing.”

And sometimes just walking across the stage can be a dance, as proven by Patrick Wigren as the sleazy con man Rooster in “Annie” at Capital Playhouse in Olympia. Tall and skinny, he used his lanky frame to great advantage, taking a huge step onto the stage, plopping his foot on Mrs. Hannigan’s desk and crowing in the funniest stage entrance I’ve seen in a long time.

The most difficult-to-watch moment in theater this year was the seduction of L’il Bit, played by Heather Christopher, by Uncle Peck, played by Tim Hoban, in Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “How I Learned to Drive” at The Midnight Sun Performance Space in Olympia. It was an emotional moment fraught with controlled intensity, and I think everyone in the audience was squirming as much as I was. It was not something I enjoyed, but I admired the cast’s courage to tackle this difficult subject with unflinching finesse.

One of the sweetest moments in theater was when Samantha Camp as Artie tried to fly in “Eleemosynary” at Tacoma Little Theatre. Her acting was perfectly underplayed, nuanced and natural, and I felt as if I were feeling every emotion she felt.

Also underplayed and nuanced was the emotional meltdown of Jason Haws as Howie Corbett in Harlequin Production’s “Rabbit Hole.” Seldom have I seen such controlled intensity.

Finally, I have to mention another moment, even though it was not this year, but rather one of the last shows of the previous year: Alison Monda as Poona in “Poona the **** Dog” at Theater Artists Olympia. Crawling on the floor in a big pink box, she threw herself into this strange comical role with a wild abandon similar to that displayed by Christian Doyle in his wild leap in “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.” Equally outlandish and funny in this show was Lauren O’Neill as the television who rules the world. (Doyle also was in this show in the outlandish role of Poona’s “Fairy God Phallus.”)

The year 2010 brought incredible moments on stage, and I can’t wait to see whether area theaters can top them in 2011.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2010 in review

The best South Sound art shows of 2010

The Weekly Volcano, January 5, 2011

Self-taught artist Barlow Palminteri, seen here in a self-portrait with his friend Ron Hinson, is among Alec Clayton’s picks for the best artists of the year.

My choices for the best South Sound art exhibits of 2010 in chronological order are:

Troy Gua's memorial to loss at Fulcrum Art Gallery in March. There were actually two Troy Gua shows in one. The title show, Monument: A Memorial to Loss filled the small room to the left upon entering the gallery. Created especially for the exhibition, it was Gua's sober commentary on the loss of life and limb in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The other two rooms were filled with Gua's slick and polished tributes to iconic figures dead and alive, including Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, David Bowie and Boy George - each portrait ingeniously and humorously combining portraits of two different celebrities.

Next up, Lisa Sweet at Kittredge Gallery in April. Sweet re-envisioned and reinterpreted Medieval and early modern Christian iconography. Her settings were timeless, with figures in nature or set in interior scenes that looked equally like modern settings and the interiors of Van Eyck paintings. These paintings were thoroughly modern yet timeless and with a quirky sense of humor.

Tacoma Art Supply featured Outsider artist Tyrone Patkoski in May. Patkoski's two- and three-dimensional art was not only powerful and gritty, it was well designed with a good sense of balance, rhythm and color composition.

Fulcrum Gallery featured 2009 Foundation of Art Award winner Jeremy Mangan in June. Mangan's photo-surrealist paintings were inventive, thought provoking, humorous, technically marvelous and beautifully composed.

Tacoma Art Museum's 15th anniversary Neddy fellowship show this past summer was the best show of its type I've seen in a long time. Outstanding paintings in this show included Europa and the Bull from the very first Neddy winner, Michael Spafford. Also impressive were Lauri Chambers, a former Spafford student, and Randy Hayes' The Ferry to Eagle Lake, a monstrous montage of photographs pinned up with push pins and painted over with oil.

If I had to pick a single best show it would be Paintings by Barlow Palminteri and Ron Hinson at the Minnaert Center Gallery at South Puget Sound Community College in September. This show was big, bold and colorful.

It's too late to see any of the shows mentioned above, but mark the artists' names. They'll be back in other shows. What you can still see if you hurry is the great Picasso show at Seattle Art Museum. This is not only the biggest and best show in Washington state this year, it may well be the biggest and best in the United States, if not the world. It runs through Jan. 17. Don't miss it.