Artfully Edmonds: Valuable lessons in local author’s new book, plus Write on Sound events

Most parents and grandparents know about the teachable moment — that time when an event occurs outside of the child’s experience that presents the perfect opportunity for a discussion that leads to a greater understanding for the child.

Along with teachable moments, I’ve always relied on books to help educate my children with respect to values, and to provide insights into how the world works, that my kids may not have had any exposure to yet.

There’s nothing new in that. Books, and before that oral traditions, have long provided a vehicle that can share valuable messages for youth. Those messages can enable them to better maneuver through the increasingly complex world they live in.

Edmonds residents Kathy Passage and Nick Baker, along with illustrator Tia Ray, have just published such a book. I’ve Got The Bad Behavior Blues (Mascot Books, 2018) was released on Tuesday.

I wish something like it had been around when my kids were little.

If you’ve had the good fortune to hear Baker play the piano and sing, you probably know that he’s a gifted musician and composer. In 2008, Baker graduated with honors, achieving an AA degree in musical performance from Shoreline Community College.

In Baker’s case, dealing with autism and blindness makes navigating society’s expectations even more complicated. But the lessons that he learned, chronicled in Bad Behavior Blues, just might have the capacity to enlighten us all.

Aside from what it can teach the reader about being “differently-abled,” Bad Behavior offers insights on conduct, consequences, cooperation and consideration for others.

The story is told in three bus rides, each with its own teachable moment and lessons learned.

Here’s one:

“Angry words screamed or shouted at someone can be harmful and cause damage to a person just as much as if they’d been punched in the face. But words can be soothing, especially when sung aloud with music.”

You might be able to guess roughly at the bad behavior that brought Baker to this conclusion. Better yet, buy his book and remove any doubt!

Very young children could benefit from having this story read to them by an adult. By third or fourth grade, most kids would be able to read the story for themselves.

The overall tone of the book is hopeful and helpful, and Tia Ray’s illustrations are attractive, charming and lifelike.

I think Bad Behavior could be helpful for kids from about 4 to 14, and certainly would do no harm to a good number of adults I know as well!

Baker and Passage — a local writer who happens to be Baker’s mom — will be holding an author’s reception and book signing on Wednesday, Oct. 10 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Harbor Square Athletic Club, 160 W. Dayton St.

Baker’s books (he and Passage also authored “Turtle,” a children’s book about bullying) and music CDs will be available at the event.

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From left to right: Curt Simmons, Asa Sholdez, Renee Gilbert and James Lynch in The Underpants.

Friday, Sept. 21 – Sunday, Oct. 14

Fridays and 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 here.

For tickets:

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Bodyvox, courtesy Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Thursday, Oct. 4

7:30 p.m.

ECA Presents:

Portland Dance Company BodyVox

An Evening of BodyVox Films

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

In advance of their ECA Presented performance of BloodyVox, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 27, you can view films and hear the back story on their creation from BodyVox’s Artistic Director. The program will conclude with a Q&A.

This is a FREE event.

Led by Emmy Award-winning choreographers Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, BodyVox is known for its visual virtuosity, distinctive wit and unique ability to combine dance, theatre and film into breathtaking productions rich in imagery, athleticism and humor. Since its founding in 1997, BodyVox has toured to critical acclaim on stages around the world, developed nine award winning films, 30 original shows and three operas, featuring more than 200 original dances.

BodyVox’s films, created with director Mitchell Rose, include “Modern Daydreams” – composed of “Treadmill Softly,” “Islands in the Sky,” Unleashed” and “Deere John” – which won the prestigious American Choreography Award for Outstanding Achievement in Short Film in 2002.

Learn more at

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Washington state poet laureate Claudia Castro Luna (Photo by RadfordCreative)

Friday and Saturday, Oct. 5 and 6

“Write on the Sound” Literary Events:

As usual, the enormously popular Write on the Sound writers’ conference is sold out. But did you know that there are three events scheduled by WOTS that are FREE and open to the public?

The first is an evening of poetry with Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna and local poets Gerald Bigelow and John Wright, Friday, Oct. 5, 5-5:45 p.m., at the Edmonds Library, 650 Main St. Claudia Castro Luna served as Seattle’s Civic Poet, from 2015-2017 and is the author of the Pushcart nominated Killing Marías and This City and is the creator of the acclaimed Seattle Poetic Grid. Born in El Salvador, she came to the United States in 1981. She has an MA in Urban Planning, a teaching certificate and an MFA in poetry. Claudia is joined by local poets Gerald Bigelow, who leads the local EPIC Group Writers poetry group, and John Wright. Light refreshments provided.

Read my feature on Castro Luna.

For more information call 425-771-1933, or visit

WOTS pop-up bookshop

The WOTS Book Signing Reception on Saturday Oct. 6, 5:15–6:30 p.m. in the Plaza Room, 650 Main St (above the library), is also a free-admission public event. It’s a great opportunity to mingle and chat books and writing with conference speakers and attendees, as well as explore the onsite Edmonds Bookshop. Enjoy light refreshments and the stunning view of the Puget Sound from the Plaza Room patio. The conference reception is presented by the City of Edmonds Arts Commission with generous support from Windermere Real Estate Edmonds.

Here’s a list of speakers and presenters and links to their websites.

After the Booking Signing Reception, head downtown to Café Louvre for Open Mic Night. Enjoy hearing WOTS conference attendees and presenters read five minutes each from their fiction, nonfiction and poetry. The event is open to the public, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Café Louvre is located at 210 5th Ave. S.

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Jesse Cook

Sunday, Oct. 7
7:30 p.m.

ECA Presents:

Nuevo Flamenco Guitarist Jesse Cook

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

Widely considered one of the most influential figures in “nuevo flamenco” music, Jesse Cook incorporates elements of flamenco, rumba, jazz, and many forms of world music into his work. His seductive rhythms and undeniable stage presence are not to be missed!

Although this event is sold out, it may be possible to purchase tickets on the evening of the event at the box office.

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Wednesday, Oct. 10
7:30 p.m.

ECA Presents:

Skerryvore & We Banjo 3

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

Twice winners of Scotland’s Traditional Music “Live Act of the Year” Award, Skerryvore have been on a meteoric journey that has taken them from the remote Isle of Tiree to international tours with performances in Central Park, NYC; The Ryder Cup, Louisville; and the Shanghai Expo, China. 2017 saw the release of the single “Live Forever” that provided the soundtrack for the Scottish tourism promotional campaign “Wild About Argyll”; the single hit No.1 in the iTunes World Music chart. This was followed by the launch of the Live Forever Tour that has the band performing over 70 shows in the UK, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands and the United States. Skerryvore performed as part of ECA’s summer programming in August 2017.

Award-winning quartet We Banjo 3 from Galway, Ireland combine Irish music with old-time American and bluegrass influences to reveal the banjo’s rich legacy and roots. When this band of brothers take flight in a wave of virtuosity, verve and joie-de-vivre, feet tap and pulses race. Their debut album Roots of the Banjo Tree was named “Traditional Music Album of the Year” by The Irish Times. We Banjo 3 opened for The Irish Rovers at ECA in February 2017.

Learn more at

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

Rick Steve’s 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 Steves 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 Steves.

It’s free to attend but please register below:

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

Saturday, Oct. 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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