Blog Down to Washington UW Alumni Association Blog Down to Washington UW Woof!

Category Archives: Meet


Arts Dawg Preview: “Once Upon a Time 6x in the West”

Once Upon a Time 6x in the West

“Indian” (Ben Phillips) offers Lil (Sylvia Kowalski) medicine in UW Drama’s Once Upon A Time 6X In The West at the Jones Playhouse Theatre. (UW Daily—Photo by Andrew Tat)

Have you ever wondered what Star Wars would have been like if Martin Scorsese had directed it?  How about Nora Ephron? Once Upon a Time 6x in the West will take you on a similar journey, following a single story through the styles of six iconic visionaries of avant-garde theater.

Once Upon a Time 6x follows the story of Lil, an orphan girl coming of age in the Wild West. Coming at the story from wildly different perspectives, from the stripped down austerity of Peter Brook to the madcap mashups of the Gob Squad, will provide unique insights into the art of storytelling.

Read a review from the UW Daily.

Director Jeffrey Fracé shares insights into his production, and describes the various theatrical styles you’ll see in Once Upon a Time 6x in the West, in an interview with Professor Odai Johnson:

If You Go

What: Once Upon a Time 6x in the West, the latest production from UW Drama. UWAA members can sign up through the Arts Dawg program, which includes a pre-show reception with free wine and appetizers, as well as an exclusive talk with director Jeffrey Fracé.

Where: Jones Playhouse Theatre, 4045 University Way NE. Arts Dawg reception on April 25 in Parrington Hall, UW Campus

When: April 19-28. Arts Dawg performance April 25, 2013. Performance begins at 7:30; reception begins at 6:30

Cost: Regular $18; UWAA members $13 when purchasing online in advance. Prices go up $2 at the door.

FacebookTwitterShare
Comments Off

Throwback Thursday: The Quad

We here in the UW Alumni Association are hopping aboard the “Throwback Thursday” bandwagon by sharing photos from the University of Washington’s storied history. We could think of no better way to launch this series on our blog than with photos of the Quad and those beautiful cherry blossoms.

The Yoshino cherry trees, which blossom for a week or two every March, symbolize the end of winter, the onset of spring, and countless photo opportunities in the Quad. But it wasn’t always that way.

Here, for example, was the Quad in 1942. Notice anything missing?

The Quad (circa 1942)

The Quad (circa 1942)

Until the early 1960s, the Quad was an open, treeless yard that bore little resemblance to the iconic gathering space of today. The brick paths were almost replaced with asphalt in 1963, but the plan was abandoned in the wake of pressure from student groups.

The Quad as we know it today first took shape in 1964, when UW President Charles Odegaard arranged for the 31 cherry trees to be transplanted from the arboretum to keep them from being bulldozed as part of the State Route 520 construction project. They found a home in the Quad because there was nowhere else to put them, but the trees quickly became a cherished part of campus lore.

Yoshino cherry trees live for 60-100 years; as they grow old and die, the trees are replaced with younger trees grown at a nursery near Mount Vernon.

Walk through the Quad this week or next — when the blossoms are near full bloom — and you’ll see a stunning display of pink clouds delicate petals. But don’t take our word for it; see for yourself in this photo, which was taken in 2013 near the location of the photo above:

The Quad in 2013 (Photo by Greg Flanders)

The Quad in 2013 (Photo by Greg Flanders)

FacebookTwitterShare
Comments Off

In the Spotlight: John Castle and Creating a Company

John Castle

John Castle

Every year, Creating a Company, as the course is dubbed, becomes less a class than a crash course in entrepreneurship. Groups of eager students team up, form a company, apply for a $1,000-$2,000 loan from the Foster School of Business, and spend the next few months hawking their product or service to the wider world.

Past companies have sold goods ranging from Husky apparel to glass jars of cake mix; other companies have launched art galleries and driven students to the mountain passes for a day on the slopes. (Read below for photos and memories of some of the course’s most memorable products.)

At the heart of it all is lecturer John Castle, who has taught the class for the past 12 years – and who will retire at year’s end.

In 2001, Castle had stepped down as CEO from Cantametrix, a music software company he helped found, when a neighbor and former UW professor approached him about inheriting the Creating a Company course. With more than 40 years of business acumen, Castle didn’t lack experience: Before joining the UW, he had served as CEO of Hamilton-Thorn, a medical electronics and diagnostics company; cofounded Seragen, a biotechnology company; and was a partner in Washington Biotechnology Funding, a seed venture capital fund specializing in medical technologies.

Since then, he’s drawn on that extensive experience as would-be CEOS have created and developed dozens of companies. Castle’s only rule in approving companies and dispersing loans is “Do no harm,” meaning that students can’t, say, promote underage drinking by selling shot glasses to fraternities and sororities on campus. (This actually happened.)

When the class ends, students return any profits to the Foster School and can buy their company for $1 to keep it going. Few companies have outlived their academic years, but Castle knows the experience will remain long after grades are posted. “Whether or not they learn how to do it well, they will learn whether or not they want to start their own business.” Castle said. “This is as realistic of an experience of entrepreneurship as we can make it.”

Read on for a look back at some of the most memorable products and services offered by students during Castle’s tenure.

Read more…

FacebookTwitterShare
Comments Off

Capturing Grays Harbor history

This man, thought to be radio DJ Stan Spiegle, appears in the the newsreel footage that sheds a light on Grays Harbor County history.

This man, thought to be radio DJ Stan Spiegle, appears in the the newsreel footage that sheds a light on Grays Harbor County history.

We ran an article in the latest issue of Columns about a UW-produced documentary centering around newsreel footage that peeled back the curtain on life in 1920s Grays Harbor County.

“Grays Harbor Happenings” looks at life before the Great Depression in this bustling coastal town. The 45-minutes of film that inspired the documentary keeps the past alive on the Libraries Special Collections website, offering short clips of events big and small. Browse the collection for a few minutes, and you’ll see footage of a shipwreck, log-rolling contests, baseball games, an ice cream social, picnics and more.

The newsreel footage, originally shown before full-length feature films, depicts a sense of time and place that resonates nearly a century later, said Hannah Palin, film archives specialist with Libraries Special Collections. “You capture people, behavior, customs, and the environment, and it’s actually moving,” she said. “It helps our current experience if we can see how we were in the past.”

Each of the roughly 50 clips contains its own back story, and some of those stories are still being uncovered today.

Here are a few of the clips with unusual histories or notable stars, along with some background information, courtesy of Palin.

This unidentified man is thought to be local radio DJ Stan Spiegle

Palin believes that the stoic man on-screen from :24-:35 is Stan Spiegle, a  DJ with KXRO Radio in Grays Harbor County.

The radio station was owned at the time by Roy Olmstead, a famous Seattle-based bootlegger during Prohibition. Olmstead would play certain songs with the station’s radio broadcasts to signal boats that it was safe to smuggle bootlegged booze into Grays Harbor. “I don’t know how much Stan knew about this,” Palin admits. “There’s this funny tie with this little 20-second clip to a whole history of Prohibition.”

James M. Phillips, mayor of Aberdeen, address a crowd at what appears to be Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds

American Indian James M. Phillips moved from Pennsylvania to Aberdeen after college, where he launched an improbably successful political career. He began practicing law in 1907, was later elected mayor of Aberdeen, and went onto serve as a Superior Court Judge from 1929 to 1950. Phillips is thought to be the first American Indian to serve as a judge in the Washington state court system. “It obviously didn’t hinder his politics at all,” Palin said.

Mel Ingram and the Aberdeen Black Cats win the Timber League Pennant

Mel Ingram was a baseball player in the late 1920s with the Aberdeen Black Cats, part of the semi-professional Timber League. The team took its logo from a good luck charm posted at logging camps throughout the region, a nod to the town’s labor-friendly policies under Mayor James M. Phillips. Palin said that Ingram might have once shared the field with Babe Ruth when the legendary slugger played an exhibition game in Tacoma.

FacebookTwitterShare
Comments Off

Q&A: Ludovic Morlot, Music Director, Seattle Symphony

Ludovic Morlot will guest conduct the UW Symphony on Feb. 28 at Meany Hall.

Ludovic Morlot will guest conduct the UW Symphony on Feb. 28 at Meany Hall.

Ludovic Morlot has made a big splash in his first few years as music director of the Seattle Symphony, drawing praise for triumphantly leading his ensembles through notoriously difficult works. Later this month, Morlot will lead another orchestra in a challenging piece when he guest-conducts the University Symphony through Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé. Blog Down to Washington caught up with Morlot after rehearsal, and he agreed to answer a few questions about the concert, his thoughts on conducting a student orchestra, and the importance of music in our lives.

Blog Down to Washington: Some of the audience members will be Arts Dawgs pass holders. As part of this series, they’ll be seeing a dance recital, live theater, a museum exhibition—that is, these are people who are interested in the arts, but not necessarily coming from an orchestral music background. Do you have any advice for people who are maybe not as experienced with classical music when they come to this concert?

Ludovic Morlot: I think that if this is the first time they experience live symphony music, they should feel very lucky. One of the things I’m trying to do with the Seattle Symphony is to really create that first opportunity to experience live sound as early as possible in our lives. Once we’ve created that memory, it doesn’t really matter if you like Ravel or Mozart or Pink Floyd, or whatever.

Beyond that, there is the element of experiencing a live performance. Music is a performing art—Classical music is not something you hang on a wall. Each time you start a concert you have to start from scratch. You don’t know if the oboe reed is going to be splitting well that night or if something’s going to go wrong—it has that element of adrenaline that one would identify with any other performing art: dance, theater, even sports, to some extent. So this is what I think would be easy for people coming from different backgrounds to identify with: that experience of live performance. The excitement and the energy that we can create on stage is what I hope people can get out of it. And the sheer beauty of the music, of course.

I know that this concert also features many different soloists from the University, so it’s an exciting night just for that, and there will be great variety, with [a concerto by] Prokofiev and Ravel’s Left Hand Concerto, so my collaboration with the orchestra is only a small part of this big deal.

BDTW: You’ve been in Seattle almost two years now. How do you like it?

LM: Oh, I love it here. It’s just been quite a journey, quite a busy one. I love being able to finally start a collaboration with the UW, and I know that there’s more to come, so I’m really excited. The work we do with the orchestras in the University is a combination of really trying to tell a story, put on a good concert—that’s very important—but it’s also a work in progress. This is what I want to emphasize: the concert is one thing, but beyond that, is establishing as a working relationship over the years. [Ravel’s  Daphnis et Chloé] is complex stuff—the students are not going to go out after three rehearsals and perform Daphnis at the best level you can possibly imagine, but what seems very important is how we can evolve from one week to the next together and how the students can take some information home so that their individual level of playing is transformed—overnight, really.

BDTW: Is that the difference between working with students and professionals?

LM: Well with professionals it’s actually a little bit of the same tune. As a music director, not only do you want to do a great concert, you always envision where you want the orchestra to be five years now. So it’s not different; the only difference is that my relationship with this orchestra here is very new. It may start at a different level, but the focus is the same. I feel privileged and excited about this collaboration.

BDTW: It’s clear you see these collaborations as an important part of your job here in Seattle

LM: Exactly. It’s about creating a memory and an understanding and making sure all these young people sitting in the orchestra know the power of music—the mission for all of us is that it becomes infectious. You know, it doesn’t really matter what level you play, just the fact that it’s part of your life makes a big difference.

 

FacebookTwitterShare
Comments Off

The Funkiest Linguist in the Descriptivist School is Coming to Kane Hall

pullum

Looks harmless, doesn’t he? But he’s coming after your grammatical crotchets and linguistic hobgoblins–your lexical bugaboos too! (Photo from www.lel.ed.ac.uk/~gpullum/)

Before embarking on a career in linguistics, Geoffrey K. Pullum could be found gadding about 1960s Germany playing piano for Sonny Stewart and the Dynamos (listed as “Jeff Pullem”) and later for Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band (that’s him rocking the organ in this YouTube video). The stresses of life on the road led him to eventually abandon his musical career and instead pursue “the glamour and excitement of becoming a linguist.”

In the years since, in his classes and as a contributor to the popular linguistics blog Language Log, Pullum has engaged in battle with what he terms “prescriptivist poppycock.”

Read more…

FacebookTwitterShare
Comments Off

Coffee Break! 10 Places to Get Coffee around Campus

Mmmmmm. Coffee

Mmmmmm. Coffee

For many college students, coffee is an integral part of school life. As we students cram in last minute papers and stay up late studying for exams, coffee often becomes a necessity. Fortunately for the thousands of students at UW, Seattle is the coffee-drinking capitol of the country.

Over the nearly four years that I have been studying at UW, I have probably drunk hundreds of cups of coffee. Here is a review of 10 coffee shops that I frequent regularly around UW.

1.Orin’s Place, PACCAR Hall

Location: 1st floor of PACCAR Hall, North Campus

Coffee: 6/10
Studying Ability: 5/10
Crowd: Undergraduate and graduate students
Why I come here: Studying in between classes

Review: One of the newer cafes on campus, Orin’s Place was added when PACCAR Hall was refurbished. Orin’s serves Starbucks coffee, unlike many of the other campus coffee shops, which serve Tully’s. The cafe is comprised of a section of PACCAR Hall’s first floor and contains several tables and chairs where many students choose to eat their lunches brought from home. Since the cafe is located right next to a main staircase, it can get extremely noisy during the 10-minute passing periods when students are getting out of their classes.

2. Parnassus Café, Art Building

Location: basement of the Art Building, North Campus

Coffee: 9/10
Studying Ability: 9/10
Crowd: Art students
Why I come here: For studying in between classes, reading, and to drink espresso.

Review: Parnassus is easily my favorite coffee shop on campus. The espresso drinks are always great and the cafe makes the dank basement of the Art building seem quite a bit cozier. Since there aren’t too many outlets, many students like myself choose to bring printed-out readings and study materials.

Read more…

FacebookTwitterShare
3 Comments

Q&A: Patrick Lennon, ’09, local star of “Santaland Diaries”

Patrick Lennon

UW alum Patrick Lennon, ’09 (Photo courtesy Susan Doupe)

For many, David Sedaris’ madcap “Santaland Diaries” is a holiday tradition for the new millennium. The essay-turned-stage production follows Sedaris’ season as an elf in Santaland at Macy’s department store. Seattle Public Theater, on the banks of Green Lake, has offered the hour-long, one-man monologue six times in the past eight years.

UW alum Patrick Lennon, ’09, donned the elf hat this year and is currently starring in the production, slated to wrap up on Dec. 24. The Seattle native has acted since middle school but didn’t major in theater, pursuing instead a B.A. from the Jackson School of International Studies. Offstage, Lennon serves as a program assistant for Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at the UW. Lennon recently talked to the UWAA about his time on campus and “Santaland Diaries.”

Note: This Q&A has been edited for content and clarity.

Why did you pursue a degree in International Studies?

I think it was winter quarter of my freshman year when I took SIS 201 (“The Making of the 21st Century”) with Mary Callahan, and I was completely hooked. As soon as I took it, I was like, ‘I’m done! I have found my major! We are set here.’

I was really happy with that decision. Dr. Callahan was so obviously passionate about the subject, so knowledgeable and engaging. It was like, ‘This is the subject I want to pursue and spend a lot of time digging deeper into.’

Why not theater?

I was very practical and wanted to have a degree that was in something different, not in case acting failed, but more so to be well-rounded. I wanted to have more of a balance in my life.

Read more…

FacebookTwitterShare
Comments Off
Blog Down to Washington is full of stories & conversations about the University of Washington community, curated by your friends at the UW Alumni Association.

Featured Posts:

  • No featured posts

What We're Talking About:

Weds on UWTV:

Follow UWAA:
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS Feed