Artfully Edmonds: Cascadia Art Museum showcases photography of Soichi Sunami

Ruth St. Denis in Tagore Poem (1929), by Soichi Sunami.

On Wednesday evening, the Cascade Art Museum welcomed about 200 guests to the opening of another remarkable exhibit:  Invocation of Beauty – the Life and Photography of Soichi Sunami will run through early January.

This marks the 16th high-quality exhibit shown at Cascadia since they opened their doors a mere 37 months ago. No small achievement.

Founder and board president Lindsey Echelbarger acknowledged that strong community and volunteer support have been crucial to their progress. In fact, their highly successful fundraiser/gala event held in August, netted an increased attendance of 25 percent and increased giving of 43 percent, and this has enabled them to (among other things) offer free youth admission. Cascadia has also steadily increased the annual membership rolls to over 1,300 patrons.

While he was at it, Echelbarger recognized the museum’s very active board, a small staff that includes Director of Operations Nate Hegerberg and Registrar and Museum Services Manager Kelley McConaughy, and phenomenal curator David F. Martin for their contributions.

Steven and Leanne Shelton were also on hand to take a bow. The couple’s long-time local dance studio, Barclay Shelton Dance Centre, is the exhibition’s sponsor.

Cascadia’s latest book
Cascadia’s latest book, Invocation of Beauty – the Life and Photography of Soichi Sunami.

The publication of Cascadia’s second book on our region’s art coincides with the opening of the exhibit. Penned and compiled by Martin, it is a fount of information about Sunami, who quietly built his reputation over decades to become acknowledged as one of the finest photographers of his era.

“There’s only occasional publication in the Northwest art field; in the last 30 or 40 years not much new ground has been plowed,” says Echelbarger. “It’s always been part of our mission to publish. Ten years from now, there will be a body of work that will allow us to see Northwest regional art in a holistic way.”

This volume is a work of art in itself. It’s a magnificent tableau of Sunami’s stunning work. By soliciting sponsors for the book, Cascadia has been able to offer it for the very reasonable price of $29.95. It joins Territorial Hues, Martin’s excellent book on color print making in our region, in what I’m hopeful will prove to be the best and most complete record of our region’s art history. I plan on collecting them all. Holiday giving is just around the corner — this might be just the ticket for the art lovers in your family.

Both in Seattle and later in New York, Sunami photographed a large array of notables, many of which can be found in the exhibit. Images of dancers captured in motion seemed to draw the greatest crowds on Wednesday. But the east exhibition hall, which was devoted to the fine art of associated artists like Kamekichi Tokia, Kenjiro Nomura and mentor Fokko Tadama, was also very popular.

Some of the subjects are well known to this day — Martha Graham and Agnes de Mille, for example. But extraordinary images of Ted Shawn, Helen Tamiris, Fé Alf, Doris Humphrey and Jacques Cartier also grace the gallery’s walls.

Verona at Night by Yvonne Twining Humber, can be found in the south gallery’s Travelogue: Views Beyond the Northwest exhibit)

While you’re there, don’t forget to take in Travelogue: Views Beyond the Northwest now appearing in the south gallery.

Remember, the Sunami exhibit disappears in early January, so don’t wait too long. Also in the offing is the Vintage Christmas Card Show opening Nov. 14. The card show has become a perennial crowd pleaser. Now in its third year, it will include over 300 entries from 1900 to 1960.

In January, look for Painters of the Northwest Impressionism to Modernism – 1900 to 1930, which promises to be outstanding as well.

Invocation of Beauty – The Life and Photography of Soichi Sunami

Oct. 11, 2018 to Jan. 6, 2019
Cascadia Art Museum
190 Sunset, Suite E

Learn more at

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reinventing power movie photoSaturday, Oct. 13

Doors open at 6, show starts 6:30 p.m.

Sno-King Meaningful Movies and The Sierra Club Present:
Reinventing Power: America’s Renewable Energy Boom

Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Congregation
8109 224th St. S.W.

This timely movie takes us across the country to hear directly from the people making our clean energy future achievable. We hear from individuals working to rebuild what’s broken, rethink what’s possible, and revitalize communities. Their stories prove that America doesn’t need to choose between keeping our lights on and protecting our communities.

“Making this film we met incredible people who showed us the depth of this industry. Clean energy is helping people find new opportunities as our economy shifts. It’s bringing in steady revenue for our farmers, and it is driving breakthroughs in clean technology. We saw how clean energy is made and got to experience how it is changing people’s lives for the better in a deeply personal way,” said director Tony Valentino

Stay for the discussion after the film with our special guest, Sierra Club member Rebecca Wolfe.

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Saturday, Oct. 13
9 p.m.

The Edmonds Theater Presents:

Night of the Living Dead

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the iconic horror film Night of the Living Dead. It’s a free show at the Edmonds Theater this Saturday. In keeping with the Halloween theme, they’re also looking at bringing Poltergeist, Lost Boys and the original Halloween to fill out your Saturday free film calendar.

Don’t forget to visit the concession stand – your support there keeps these special showings free.

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Friday, Sept. 21 – Sunday, Oct. 14
Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m.

The Phoenix Theatre Presents:

The Underpants – by Carl Sternheim – adaptation by Steve Martin
Directed by Eric Lewis

9673 Firdale Ave.
(Firdale Village)

Imagine getting caught in public when your bloomers suddenly fall down around your ankles for all to see. That’s the premise of Steve Martin’s brilliant adaptation of The Underpants, the Carl Sternheim’s classic German play set in 1910. Martin’s sheer comic genius takes the story and delivers a fall-on-the-floor satirical send-up of Bourgeois conservatism that’ll keep the audience giggling for days. The Underpants is the kick-off production of the Phoenix Theatre’s 11th season.

Steve Martin’s adaptation is a play in which the upper middle-class snobbery and conformity of the early 20th century are turned upside down.

“Martin’s skill at creating witty dialogue updates the play, giving the audience plenty of laugh-out-loud moments,” says director Eric Lewis. “Martin even manages to bring contemporary relevancy to the play as it comments on modern gender politics and fame. It’s a fantastic comedic kick off to the season.”

Read my review of The Underpants.

For tickets:

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Wednesday, Oct. 17
7:00 p.m. (doors open @ 6:30)

Rick Steves Europe Presents:

A FREE screening of

The Story of Fascism in Europe

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

For decades in his travels, Rick gathered impressions about Europe’s experience with fascism. The powerful sights and physical remains of that period inspired him to weave their important lessons into this one-hour special. Travel back a century to learn how fascism rose and then fell in Europe — taking millions of people with it. Learn from the hard lessons of 20th-century Europe, and how to recognize that ideology in the 21st century.

The evening will include the one-hour screening of the special followed by a Q&A with Rick Steves.

It’s free to attend but please register at

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Kaki King

Thursday, Oct. 18
5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

The ECA Presents:
Kaki King: The Neck is the Bridge to the Body

Edmonds Center For The Arts
410 4th Ave. N.

Hailed by Rolling Stone as “a genre unto herself,” composer and guitarist Kaki King is a true iconoclast. The Brooklyn-based artist has performed with such icons as Foo Fighters, Timbaland, and The Mountain Goats, and contributed to film and TV soundtracks including Into the Wild. The Neck is a Bridge to the Body is Kaki at her visionary best – using projection mapping to cast stunning imagery onto a customized Ovation Adamas 1581-KK Kaki King Signature 6-String Acoustic guitar.

Prior to the performance, teens (ages 13-19) are invited to ECA’s Teen Night. This celebration will include pre-show bites, cupcake happy hour, raffle prizes, and the performance — all for $5! The first 25 teens to RSVP to TEEN NIGHT will also have access to a pre-show soundcheck experience hosted by Kaki King.

ECA’s TEEN NIGHT Schedule:

5:30 – 6 p.m.: Pre-show soundcheck experience
6: -7:15 p.m.: Teen Reception in Upper Lobby
7:30 p.m: ECA Presents Kaki King’s The Neck is a Bridge to the Body

ECA will honor its $5 TeenTix price for ALL teens at this event, regardless of RSVPing or TeenTix membership. Students must bring valid ID. Learn more.

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Thursday, Oct. 17  – Art Walk Edmonds
5 – 8 p.m.

2018 National Book Award Nominee to read at Edmonds Bookshop

The Edmonds Bookshop
111 5th Ave. S.

For fans of All the Light We Cannot See, Beneath a Scarlet Sky, and The Nightingale, comes an emotionally gripping, beautifully written historical novel about extraordinary hope, redemption, and one man’s search for light during the darkest times of World War II.

This formerly local author attended Edmonds-Woodway High School and now lives in the San Juan Islands.

The Ragged Edge of Night has been nominated for the 2018 National Book Award and is in consideration for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize!

For more information about the author:

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Saturday, Oct. 20

Edmonds Diversity Film Series Presents:

Japanese Internment-Era Sagas with Local Connection

The Edmonds Theater
415 Main St.

After a successful inaugural season, the Edmonds Diversity Film Series begins its second season this month. Screenings will be offered free to the public and are scheduled for third Saturdays of the month October through April.

The season kicks off session with a special screening of two particularly poignant and relatable short films featuring the incredible, moving experiences of two Japanese-American men who, in their own separate ways, rose above xenophobia, prejudice and discrimination to serve our country loyally in its fight against foreign aggression.

Honor & Sacrifice tells the complex story of a Japanese immigrant family ripped apart by WWII. Of the Matsumoto family’s five sons, two fought for the Americans, and three fought for the Japanese. The eldest son, Hiroshi (Roy), became a hero, fighting against the Japanese in Burma, while his parents and sisters were living in the ancestral home, Hiroshima. The story is told by Roy’s daughter Karen as she discovers her father’s work in military intelligence, kept secret for 50 years.

Proof of Loyalty: Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawaii, tells the compelling story of a Japanese American who played a strategic role in World War II. He and his fellow Nisei from Hawaii combatted prejudice and discrimination to loyally serve their country. Their extraordinary service, mostly untold, ultimately changed the course of US history.

In attendance will be the films’ Seattle-area husband-and-wife filmmaking partners Don Sellers and Lucy Ostrander, and the daughters of both films’ protagonists: Karen Matsumoto of Bainbridge Island, and Joyce Yamane of Edmonds.

When Proof of Loyalty: Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawaii premiered in New York at the 2017 Asian American International Film Festival where it won the Audience Choice Award, Documentary, the Festival organizers said ‘This film may be about men from decades past, but it couldn’t be more relevant.’  These two films are particularly timely as the two main themes are the importance of diversity and the importance of the language of immigrants,” said Ostrander.

“We are thrilled to kick off our 2018-2019 season showcasing these two important films, with the added bonus of having both the filmmakers and the two protagonists’ daughters present at the screening,” remarked Edmonds Diversity Commission Chair Diana White. “It’s particularly significant that Kazuo Yamane’s daughter, Joyce, is an Edmonds resident, which brings home to our community the complex scenario that played out for Japanese Americans during WWII.”

The Edmonds Diversity Film Series is sponsored by the Edmonds Diversity Commission, Rick Steves’ Europe, the Edmonds Centers for the Arts, and the Edmonds Theater.

Learn more at

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The Beaux Arts Dinner Auction will benefit the Olympic Ballet Theatre.

Saturday, October 20
5:30 p.m.

Olympic Ballet Theatre

Beaux Arts Dinner and Auction

Lynnwood Convention Center
3711 196th St. S.W.

Join Olympic Ballet Theatre for a roaring ’20s extravaganza. This elegant evening will include wine, exquisite cuisine, both silent and live auctions, and a sneak peek of excerpts from the new Season.

Olympic Ballet is dedicated to presenting exceptional classical, dramatic, and contemporary ballet performances to the Snohomish County community! Through funds raised at Beaux Arts, Olympic Ballet Theatre is able to maintain family-friendly ticket prices while presenting the highest quality performances.

Black Tie Optional or 1920s-themed dress.

For more information:

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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.

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