Artfully Edmonds: Cafe Louvre’s commitment to community and artists; plus music, theatre coming up

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Haifa Alhussieni outside Cafe Louvre.

I’m excited to see that Haifa and Nabil Alhussieni are celebrating five years at the helm of Café Louvre. It’s been a process of refining, adapting and learning that’s resulted in a thriving business that Edmonds can be proud of.

After years in the tax preparation field, they started to look for other opportunities. They began a conversation with Tully’s Coffee about their 5th Ave space, but when Tully’s left Edmonds, the space became available. Rather than go the franchise route, they were presented with the opportunity to create a coffee house and café that corresponded to their personal vision. They jumped. Haifa explains, “I asked myself, What do I expect as a customer?” Originally from Lebanon, she grew up appreciating the fusion of European and middle eastern culture. There, people don’t just run in to coffee places and do take out.” They linger over Turkish coffee sometimes for hours. It’s a place to connect with friends, a center of activity. Simple warm sandwiches, falafel, soup and pastries are available not just at lunchtime, but all day — a practice they’ve brought to Café Louvre.

“You hear people refer to our place as ‘their office,’ but I want people to think of it as their living room. We’ve intentionally left open space and limited our seating capacity so that people can have private conversations. We also have a large table that can be reserved for groups that like to get together here.”

Haifa likes to respond to customer’s ideas and suggestions. But not all ideas turn out to be good ones. Once, a customer suggested that they put a table in the open space near the counter. Haifa made a deal with him – she’d put it out for 24 hours, and if anyone sat there, she’d keep it. No one did, so back it went.

This time of year, the couch and chairs around the fireplace are especially desirable.

Since Haifa’s background was in art and interior design, Café Louvre — as the name implies — has a strong artistic aesthetic.

The Alhessienis recognized that Café Louvre could be a place where budding artists could be given the opportunity to display their work. It’s not a gallery — they don’t accept a commission when a piece sells, which is a huge relief to most newly exhibiting artists. This allows them to offer their work at more accessible prices.

It’s a generous thing to do, but Haifa feels that Café Louvre benefits too. “They make my place beautiful. Can you imagine what it would look like here without art? It would just be a cold and empty space, Haifa said. “New artists will sometimes come in discouraged because a gallery rejected their art. But think about it, every artist needs a place to start.” Her warmth and enthusiasm are infectious — that may be the reason Café Louvre already has artists booked through December.

For the month of January, the work of artists Nora Luz Kriegel and Beth Lyndon will grace the walls of Café Louvre. You don’t have to wait for the artist’s reception during third Thursday’s Art Walk Edmonds to view it.

Kriegel seeks to create paintings where each work is a vibrant dance of texture and color. She has fond memories of growing up painting with her grandmother, artist Maria Hernandez Lopez who advised her “no tengus miedo!” — Don’t be afraid! Wisdom we should all heed in our creative endeavors.

Beth Lyndon at work. (Photo courtesy of her website)

The work that Beth Lyndon has on display is a series of very large portraits of female faces that interest her. They often have a pensive or sad aspect.

I was fortunate to get to sit down with Lyndon at Café Louvre and discuss her work.

As an undergraduate, Linden loved working in ceramics and sculpture. She also did a good deal of life drawing. Add to the mix her many years of work as a physical therapist and it should come as no surprise that when she paints and collages she often chooses human subjects with a desire to emphasize three dimensionality. As she puts it, “I do that because I miss sculpture.”

She begins with a rough sketch, outlining her subject. She then blocks in tones with hundreds of strips of cut paper — using everything from The Seattle Times and the National Geographic to tissue and fine art paper. Matisse, whom Lyndon points to as the artist who has had the greatest impact on her work, called collage “drawing with scissors.” It looks like a painstaking process, but the result is remarkable.

I’m reminded a little of Chuck Close, in that as the viewer steps closer to the painting, they’re in for a surprise. Lyndon enjoys watching people advance on her work and discover “oh my gosh, it’s made out of newspaper!”

When it comes to pricing her work, Lyndon struggles. I’ve heard many artists wrestling with this issue. She summarized the problem nicely. “I have no interest in giving my paintings away. At the same time, I’m not doing this to make a lot of money. If someone values them as much as I do, I’m willing to sell them.”

She enjoys doing commissions. For one thing, it solves a problem artists often encounter — “what should I do next?”

This is Lyndon’s first time exhibiting her work. She has high praise for Haifa and Café Louvre “Haifa is so easy to connect with. She’s been so encouraging and empowering for me in the pursuit of my art. I feel blessed to have come into her life.”

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Thursday, Jan. 11
7 p.m.

Lil Buck & Jon Boogz “Love Heals All Wounds”

Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave. N. – Edmonds

The world premiere of “Love Heals All Wounds“ is a collaboration between internationally renowned choreographers and dancers Lil Buck and John Boogz. “Love Heals All Wounds” addresses the social issues we are facing as a nation, as well as seeking to promote diversity, inclusion and empathy as a uniting force.

Sellout Alert – goods seats are going fast on this one!

Visit www.edmondscenterforthearts.org for tickets

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UPDATE: Jan. 19-21 performances canceled

Thursday – Sunday, Jan. 11-14 @ Wade James Theatre

Thursday–Saturday 8 p.m.
Sunday 2 p.m.

Edmonds Driftwood Players Presents
Theatre of Intriguing Possibilities

Fruits of the Harvest

By Eric Bischoff
Directed by Sean McKay

Maggie, a widow who has been running her small Idaho farm for years, gathers her three grown children around her as she struggles desperately for that one last, great harvest. The battle — against time, weather, a changing culture, and the powerful corporate farms that surround her — may not be winnable. Yet Maggie is willing to sacrifice everything to give her children the future she hopes for them.

Tickets here.

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Friday, Jan. 12
8 p.m.

ECA Cabaret Series
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

This Coen Brothers classic brings Homer’s Odyssey to a 1930s chain-gang. Hillbilly, Gospel and Bluegrass music provide the soundtrack to this hilarious and surreal piece of film-making. Come early to enjoy the Seattle-based, high-energy string band The Warren G Hardings. Think Bill Monroe or Flatt and Scruggs – (unfortunately, this portion of the program has sold out- but tickets are still available for the film-only option)

Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave. N. – Edmonds

More info and tickets here.

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Friday, Jan. 12 & 19, 7  p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 13,  2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 20,  7 p.m.
Sunday,    Jan. 21, 2 p.m.

Edmonds Heights Advanced Musical Theatre presents:

Working:  A Musical

Edmonds Heights
23200 100th Ave. W
Edmonds

I’ve heard terrific reports of this program, located at the old Woodway High School in Southwest Edmonds. Having read Working, I’ve admired Terkel for many years. I’m intrigued by this:

Based on Studs Terkel‘s best-selling book of interviews with American workers, Working – A Musical paints a vivid portrait of the men and women that the world so often takes for granted: the teacher, the parking lot attendant, the waitress, the millworker, the mason, the trucker, the fireman and the housewife, just to name a few — it’s a highly original look at the American landscape that is simply impossible to forget.

More information and tickets here.

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Saturday, Jan. 13
10 a.m.

ECA Saturday Matinee: Mary Poppins (1964)

Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave. N.

Starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, this magical children’s musical classic is worth revisiting. Enjoy all the great favorites like “Spoonful of Sugar,” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” and “Feed The Birds.”

All are welcome – as part of the ECA’s Dementia-Inclusive Series, accessibility for individuals with memory loss will be given priority. Great prices available for Teen Tix kids and those eligible for free or reduced lunch. Babes in arms (18 months or less) free.

Buy tickets here.

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Ludwig van Beethoven (Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820)

Saturday, Jan. 13
7 p.m.

Sno-King Meaningful Movies presents:

Following The Ninth

8109 224th St. S.W.
(Home of Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation)

In his final symphony, Beethoven created an anthem of joy that embraces the transcendence of beauty over suffering. Following The Ninth traces the global impact of this magnificent masterpiece.

Trailer here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fXs4u-jfKw8

More information: Www.meaningfulmovies.org

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Ben Lulich

Monday, Jan. 15
7:30 p.m.

Cascade Symphony Orchestra
Under the direction of Michael Miropolsky

Soloist Ben Lulich – Scheherazade

Edmonds Center for the Arts
410 4th Ave N.

Clarinetist Ben Lulich is the featured soloist performing Carl Maria Weber’s Clarinet Concerto Number 2, in a program that will include Beethoven’s Egmont Overture and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade. Lulich is principal clarinet at both the Seattle Symphony and the Seattle Opera.

KING-FM’s Dave Beck will host a pre_concert lecture at 6:30 p.m.

Sellout alert – tickets can sometimes be obtained by arriving early. Add your name to their waitlist for unused tickets that may become available.

www.cascadesymphony.org

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Thursday, Jan. 18

6:30-7:30 p.m.

Music at the Library Series
Live Music in the Community –
Promotion, Production, Performance

Edmonds Plaza Room
650 Main St. (above the Edmonds library)

Get a glimpse of what goes into promoting and producing local musicians as Pilgrim Media Services and Puget Sound Productions perform and enlighten the audience about all aspects of the recording process.

Admission is free.

Sponsored by The Edmonds Art Commission, the Edmonds Library, and Friends of the Edmonds Library

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Call To Artists

Closes Wednesday, Feb. 7 – 5 p.m.

Gallery North
401 Main St.
Edmonds

It’s time once again for Gallery North’s call to artists for their popular small works show. Last year, 75 artists submitted 200 pieces. Online registration for this exhibit closes on Feb. 7. Juried by Seattle artist Barbara Noonan, this show will run throughout the month of March.

For detail, visit

www.gallerynorthedmonds.com

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Saturday, January 20
Noon
Edmonds Diversity Film Series presents:

A Stray

The Edmonds Theatre
415 Main St.

Trying to outrun his bad luck, a young Somali refugee in Minneapolis believes he just might make it, until he crosses paths with a stray dog.

This film is part of the Edmonds Diversity Commission’s third Saturday series which brings poignant, insightful and topical films on themes related to diversity, inclusion and equity.
Sponsored by Rick Steves’ Europe, Edmonds Center for the Arts, and The Edmonds Theater.

Admission is free

Official trailer here.

More information here.

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Robert Burns

Saturday, Jan. 20
6 p.m.- doors open

2018 Annual Burns Night Dinner

Presented by Kenmore and District Pipe Band

The Nile Country Club
6601 244th St. S.W.,
Mountlake Terrace

It’s dinner and a show, Scottish style. The great Scottish poet Robert Burns is remembered each year on the anniversary of his birth — well, in this case, on the 20th instead of the 25th. If you’ve never been to a Bobby Burns night and experienced the parade of the haggis, bagpiping and highland dancing – you should give it a whirl. Tickets must be purchased in advance at www.kdpipeband.com.

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— By James Spangler

When not actively scheming about ways to promote the arts in Edmonds, James Spangler can be found (highly caffeinated) behind the counter of his bookstore on 4th Avenue.

6 Replies to “Artfully Edmonds: Cafe Louvre’s commitment to community and artists; plus music, theatre coming up”

  1. Cafe Louvre is a great addition to Edmonds. It’s my go-to place to meet friends. We all feel like we’re meeting in our own home. And Haifa is the perfect hostess. Thank you for making Edmonds a place we want to live.

    Ignored

  2. I adore Haifa and Cafe Louvre! I’m also looking forward to tonight’s Lil Buck & Jon Boogz “Love Heals All Wounds” at ECA.

    Ignored

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