There’s lots going on at Vashon Center for the Arts — everything from cabaret to classical music to informative talks from experts. It’s all still online, for now, but stay tuned, as the arts center is now carefully formulating plans to host some limited-attendance, in-person events in the near future.
“Wildlife DNA Discoveries” with Laura Prugh
VCA’s Talks on the Rock series, in partnership with Vashon Nature Center, will present a talk by University of Washington wildlife ecologist Laura Prugh at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 10. The talk and presentation will take place on Zoom, and registration is required at vashoncenterforthearts.org.
Prugh’s presentation is part of a new series at VCA, called “Wild Wonder.” In her talk, Prugh will share stories from the field and the lab to explain how messages hidden inside DNA, in combination with other technologies, reveal new information about wildlife and how different species interact. Her current work explores how wolves affect smaller carnivores such as coyotes, foxes, and lynx in Alaska’s Denali National Park. She is also studying kangaroo rats in California, fishers in the South Cascades and moose in Alaska.
There is a $10 suggested donation for the event. VCA shares a portion of donations with Vashon Nature Center to support the opening of the “Wild Wonder” natural history exhibit at Vashon Heritage Museum in 2021 and a year of talks, activities and workshops about nature and our place in it.
Two Evenings with Arnaldo! Drag Chanteuse & Friends
If islanders who love cabaret, a real treat is in store as VCA presents two completely different performances by Seattle drag icon Arnaldo with special guests at 7:30 p.m. on both Saturday, March 13 and March 27. The shows will be performed live at the arts center and live-streamed out to local audiences on vashoncenterforthearts.org and VCA’s Facebook page.
There is a $10 suggestion for the shows, which are fundraisers for Pacific NW Cabaret Association’s “March is Cabaret Month” fundraiser.
On March 13, Arnaldo will be joined by Mo Mershon, Noah Martinez, and Jayn Muirhead and John Engerman. On March 27, Arnaldo’s guests will be Gabrielle Nicole, Mathew Stull, and Joanne Klein.
Arnaldo has performed his cabaret act as a classic cabaret chanteuse nationally and internationally. He’s been honored with a New York Bistro award, a Gawad Musika award for Most Innovative Concert Artist in Manila, and a Bayanihan Award from the Filipino Community of Seattle. He’s also the founder of Pacific Northwest Cabaret Association and Executive Producer of “March is Cabaret Month.”
Mo Mershon has worked on stage since the age of 8 and is a proud member of the professional actor’s union, Actor’s Equity Association. She has performed all over the United States in many cabaret performances, musicals and plays. Mershon has taught acting, cabaret performance and musical theatre classes and currently writes, directs and produces musicals and plays. She will be accompanied by DJ Wilson on the piano — the pair have worked together for many years.
Francis Noah Martinez is currently a sophomore at Seattle Preparatory School and started playing the piano at the age of 7. Under the guidance of Dr. Ross Salvosa, Martinez has won multiple awards in piano festivals including the Gold Medal-Seattle International Piano Festival 2020, Gold Medal-Northwest Chopin 2020, and Pacific International Piano Festival 2020. This will be his cabaret debut and Martinez will dedicate his performance to his #1 fan — his great grandmother Nena Inocentes for believing in him and tirelessly sharing her golden words of wisdom.
Jayne Muirhead and John Engerman have been working together longer than they have been married, and they’ve been married for 30 years. Their collaboration includes four one-woman shows at the legendary Cabaret de Paris, a full-length musical at ACT’s Songworks program, and numerous house concerts in Paris, France. When they’re not working together, Engerman is busily working on original musicals, and Muirhead is trying to get another job onstage, where she has performed in over 70 shows in Seattle and beyond.
Gabrielle Nicole is Seattle’s Sweet-n-Sour Sensation. Her thought-provoking productions have graced stages coast-to-coast, from NYC to Seattle’s own Jewelbox Theatre, Julia’s on Broadway, and Egan’s Jam House. Nicole has been dazzling the cabaret scene for over three years now, in addition to performing burlesque as Miss Pixie Rose.
Matthew Stull is a trained actor, voice talent, singer, and founding member of The Bobs, a Grammy-nominated a cappella vocal group with an international following. As a member of The Bobs, Stull performed with acts including Frank Zappa, the Grateful Dead, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, and Ray Charles. He has performed at the Emmy Awards, the Oscars, the Tonight Show, and PBS specials, and contributed to the soundtracks for both television and major motion pictures. The Bobs were also the voice talent on one of the first interactive video game platforms for Microsoft.
Joanne Klein has performed as an actor and singer all over the Northwest as well as California, Costa Rica, Paris, Canada and Scotland. Her singing includes musical theatre, cabarets, concerts, jazz, saloons, and any place that will hire her. She is witty, dramatic, silly, and experienced. “Surely the live spaces will happen again, Art Saves Lives…til then, just keep singing,” she said.
Beethoven — with Michael Tracy, Mark Salman and Jonathan Salman
This concert and music history talk will cover “Beethoven Part II – 1805-1827,” during which the composer gave the world some of his most influential and loved classical music works: Nine symphonies including the most played opening bars of the 5th Symphony leading to the transcendent final 9th Symphony ending with full chorus; 16 string quartets culminating with the Grosse Fugue, the Missa Solemnis choral masterpiece, cello sonatas, violin sonatas, and still into his late years, 32 piano sonatas.
While such an output in some 20 years is by itself phenomenal, it becomes even more impressive when listeners consider that Beethoven composed during these years while almost totally deaf.
Michael Tracy will present an illustrated lecture on the life and culture of early 19th century Vienna — its repressive political environment, the economic plight of composers without copyright and the dire consequences of Beethoven’s poor health and dysfunctional family relationships. Yet when Beethoven died in 1827, at age 57, his funeral cortege was the largest public gathering Vienna had ever witnessed.
The lecture will also feature live performances of some of Beethoven’s piano and cello sonatas by Mark Salman, pianist, and his son Jonathan, cellist. Mark and Jonathan are already well known to Vashon audiences through these lectures and their own family concerts, the last of which, in August 2020, celebrated Beethoven’s 250th anniversary.
The lecture and accompanying performances will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 14, at vashoncenterforthearts.org. There is a suggested donation of $10.