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Bits & Bytes
LGBT Film Festival, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Music Of Remembrance encores Letter To Warsaw
by Milton W. Hamlin - SGN A&E Writer

It's another great week for Emerald City entertainment fans. The 12th annual Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival shattered attendance records right and left, Pacific Northwest Ballet opened a new collection of Contemporary Classics last night that has dance fans ecstatic with the chance to see so many new works on one program.

Music Of Remembrance revives its highly praised Letter To Warsaw and introduces the world premiere of Gerard Schwarz's Rudolf And Jeanette, a tribute from the artistic director of the Seattle Symphony to his grandparents who perished in the Holocaust. The cabaret series at Crepe de Paris opens a three-week run of a new show with a provocative title: The Boys Do The Girls. Talk about a diverse list of events. Read on:

LGFF 'ROLLS PAST' ATTENDANCE SALES FOR 2007 FESTIVAL

The 12th annual Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival exceeded its financial goals and "rolled past" ticket sales of previous years.

"More than 10,000 people enjoyed 10 days of films, parties and engaging discussions with our guest directors and actors," Rachael Brister, executive director of the Festival and its producer, Three Dollar Bill Cinema, announced earlier this week. The record breaking event brought hundreds of GLBT films to town-many in cleverly packaged programs of short films and some high power titles and many sleepers.

The Festival offers two areas of awards-the Juried Awards and the Audience Awards. Shelter, took the award for Favorite Narrative Feature in the Audience Awards category. The film's director, Jonah Markowitz, was named Best New Director in the Juried Awards category. The Witnesses, directed by Andre Techine, won the Juried Award for Best Narrative Film. The King And The Clown, Jun-ik Lee, director, won Honorable Mention is the same category.

The opening night film, The Walker, a high profile Hollywood film about a Washington, D.C. politically motivated murder, proved to be a major disappointment for many Festival fans. A top notch cast could do little to bring the rambling mystery to life, but it was still fun to see an all-star cast supporting a central, openly Gay character in a major film that won't open in Seattle until the holiday season. Could have been, should have been better.

The Festival's Lesbian-themed closing night gala, Itty Bitty Titty Committee, an "ode to freedom, rebellion, sex and grrl power," drew the biggest closing night crowd in Festival history. The Evening With Jane Lynch was another highlight of the Festival, Brister noted.

A complete list of award winners-along with Festival sponsors and community partners-is posted at www.2007.seattlequeerfilm.org

PNB OFFERS FOUR EXCITING WORKS IN CONTEMPORARY CLASSICS

Pacific Northwest Ballet continues its exciting 2007 season with Contemporary Classics, a four-part program that opened last night and continues through Nov. 11. With prices starting at just $20 (that's only $5 bucks a ballet, folks), the mixed repertory program should be a terrific draw.

Student rates-two tickets for just $25 for select performances-go even lower. Factor in senior and student "rush" tickets and other price-saving offers for budget-minded ballet fans and dance fans will find this program a "must see" event. The Seattle Center's new Teen Tix program offers PNB tickets for just $5.

Two new-to-Seattle (and to PNB) works highlight the program. David Parsons' "signature solo," Caught, is one of the most anticipated new works of the season. Twyla Tharp's In The Upper Room, danced to music by Phillip Glass, makes its PNB premiere as well.

Two revivals are other highlights of the November program. PNB celebrates the 50th anniversary of Balanchine's Agon, a frequent PNB offering and a constant audience favorite. A more recent work, Susan Marshall's aerial duet, Kiss, returns for a second look. The short "flying" work has devoted followers--mainly dance fans who want to see the boundaries of "ballet" extended into the world of "modern dance." It was sensational in its PNB premiere and this scribe can't wait to see it again.

Year after year, national studies note the fastest growing element of new ballet audiences remains the Lesbian community. PNB confirms the studies-"but is just a hunch," staffers note.

PNB tickets are available at 206-441-2424. Ask about discounts, "rush" rates, free programs, etc.

MUSIC OF REMEMBRANCE OFFERS WORLD PREMIERE, REVIVAL THIS SUNDAY

Seattle's internationally acclaimed Music Of Remembrance (MOR) offers its fall concert this Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. at the intimate Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall, the home of the Seattle Symphony.

An encore performance of Thomas Pasatieri's Letter To Warsaw anchors the program, which celebrates the group's 10th anniversary. Seattle-based Jane Eaglen returns to sing the soprano solo in the MOR commissioned work that is based on the poetry of Pola Braun, Polish cabaret artist who perished in 1943.

A new MOR commission will be the highlight of the program for many Emerald City music fans. MOR asked Gerard Schwarz, music director of the Seattle Symphony (and MOR supporter) to write a chamber orchestra work. His Rudolf And Jeanette, in memory of his Viennese grandparents who were killed during the Holocaust, is the result. For many, this world premiere is one of the major events of the Seattle music scene this season.

Music Of Remembrance, honoring "the unforgettable music and voices of those whom the Holocaust attempted to silence," has always included the works of the non-Jewish victims of the Nazi horror-the Gay and Lesbian composers and artists, the Gypsy writers and performers and others who perished. MOR deserves the full support of Seattle's strong GLBT community.

Tickets and complete information are available at 206-365-7770. Check it out.

THE BOYS DO THE GIRLS OPENS AT CREPE DE PARIS, ONE OF THREE NEW SHOWS

The cabaret series at Crepe de Paris continues to fill Seattle's cabaret calendar. Singing Without A Net just finished a delightful three-week stay that brought together four terrific local performers in a 28-song revue of rarities and American Songbook standards.

The tongue-in-cheek titled The Boys Do The Girls opens tonight for a Friday and Saturday weekend run through Nov. 17. The "boys" in this cabaret outing are tenor David Skover and pianist Martin Buff, two talented men who teamed together at Crepe de Paris before in Sophisticated Broadway. (Full disclosure: publicity for this new show quotes this scribe's high praise for the "stylish and entertaining" earlier revue.) The "girtls" are Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald and Barbra Streisand and the songs associated with the three women (which means about every song ever written).

As usual for the Crepe, the cabaret show is offered as part of a dinner/theater package or on a "show only" basis with an ala carte menu available.

Later this month, Diverse Harmony will take the cabaret stage for a fundraising event on Nov. 29 and 30, a Thursday and Friday. The Seattle "Gay/Straight Youth Alliance" features performers ages 13-22 of mixed sexual orientations who join together in the love of singing. Arnaldo!, Seattle's "favorite" gender-illusionist and "drag chanteuse," will appear with the group and also sing some solo works.

Information and ticket details about all Crepe de Paris cabaret events is available at 206-623-4111. Go ahead, tell 'em Bits&Bytes told you to call.
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photos by Joey - SGN photographer

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