New Studio!

In moving to a new studio at the beginning of the year, I (and studio mates) have spent substantial time building it up, organizing our materials/tools, building and creating an ideal environment for ourselves to work.

It’s been a wonderful thing to get carried away with. Such a place screams potential for creating and making things- something I find much enjoyment out of. Setting up such an environment has been, to admit, a bit of an obsession. I could have stopped setting up the studio long ago, but have been driving to keep building and perfecting beyond having the functioning needs met. A working studio opens so many doors, but also requires a certain amount of stability and continuity, and a great amount of resources- which in itself is a sacrifice, but for myself not a hard one to make, in fact, its basic.

And the doors that are opened?: The means and ability to create & build things… and why is this such a great endeavor? To share and express oneself in ways unachievable otherwise- is always one answer. Taking things apart and building them back together in new ways, also a deeply compelling reason. And thats where it links into the Project Room. Where does this excitement burst from- this drive… I do not know but I feel with it and act on it, and this studio is a means to do so…

Now to switch gears back from building the space to using what it has been made for, building in the space…


LAST TOOTH PRINTS: a collaboration between Jon Horn, Rainey Warren, & Charles Spitzack.

Studio Opening: Thursday April 12, 6:30pm / 800 E Denny Way, Seattle WA 98102


Bladfold by David Nixon

April 27, 7pm: Bladfold: An animated musical documentary film-in-the-making by David Nixon with music by David Nixon & Daniel Spils (Maktub, Super Sonic Soul Pimps).

Seattle musician, animator, actor, performance artist, Philosophy professor, and creator of the short film The Shelf (2011), David Nixon shares his new film in development about his father Brad Nixon, an influential and infamous leader of a cult-like sect of Buddhism in Seattle in the 1970′s. The audience will be encouraged to provide feedback and contribute ideas towards this new work’s final form. Nixon’s completed work titled The Shelf will also be shown. As part of theBeginnings program series, this event will look at Nixon’s use of his personal beginnings as creative material while sharing his process at the beginning of a new project.

Watch the trailer for the film

About the Artist: David Mitsuo Nixon is a multi-disciplinary artist (film maker, animator, musician, performance artist, banjo player, composer, choreographer, painter, actor, singer) and a philosophy professor at UW-Bothell where he teaches classes on The Meaning of Life, music, science fiction, and ethics (among other things). He’s a member of the music/theater/art collective “Awesome” and the alt-bluegrass trio The Half Brothers.

Read David’s response to our question, “What’s the First Thing You Ever Made?” in Off Paper- audio included!


Above: Still from The Shelf 

Another Sneak Peak of the Klavihorn

Ben Blankenship‘s been hard at work on the Klavihorn –  here’s a sneak peak of what it looks like!


Want to know more about the Klavihorn? Our restoration team will be at the event on April 1 at 5pm at The Project Room to answer your questions. If you really want to delve into the Klavihorn and meet the members of the Fisher Ensemble, RSVP to the reception after the event by liking the Fisher Ensemble on Facebook.


Want to know more about the Fisher Ensemble? Visit our websiteFacebook page, or Twitter.

Thanks to the Project Room for all their support in our endeavor - go have a look at all the other events happening as part of the Beginnings series here at the Project Room!

Images of The Klavihorn

An update from the Klavihorn restoration panel – we’ll be in the awesome space of the Project Room at the end of the week! I can’t show you the instrument yet, but I can show you these charts which Ben Blankenship has discovered as part of his research. Some of these early images show how scientists of the time thought that the Klavihorn worked – kind of a beautiful visual essay on the effect of sound and the image on Klavihorn audiences, circa the early 1900s. These images may have at one time formed a diptych, you’ll have to ask Ben at the opening.


Just as a reminder, there’s only 10 days before the Klavihorn viewing! Come join us on April 1st at 5pm at the Project Room. We’ll have a Klavihornier there to play the instrument for you and Garrett Fisher will be explaining how this remarkable instrument has influenced his work on the upcoming indie film and opera presented by the Fisher Ensemble, Magda G.

This is a free event and you can even continue the party at the reception following the presentation- just like the Fisher Ensemble on Facebook as an automatic RSVP.

Interested in the Fisher Ensemble and want to know more? Visit our websiteFacebook page, or Twitter.

Be sure to check out all of the other projects coming up at the Project Room as part of the Beginning series, and a big thank you to Jess Van Nostrand for letting us use your space!

Artists for the Klavihorn Unveiling Announced!

Klavihorn Countdown: ~ 2 weeks! Join us April 1 at 5pm for the world premiere of our newly restored Klavihorn at the Project Room. Members of the Fisher Ensemble (percussion master Dean Moore and the incomparable Greg Bagley) will be playing along with our guest Klavihornier for the evening, Ben Blankenship.


Come for the Klavihorn, but stay for an operatic experience: local Seattle countertenor José Luis Muñoz will be performing as part of the event as well! We’re thrilled to have him on board for this event, since he’s got an excellent voice! You may have seen him in works around town, such as  the recent performance of Francesca Caccini’s La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’Isola d’Alcina, under the direction of Stephen Stubbs at Cornish. He’s also performed with a variety of organizations, including:  Washburn Symphony (Topeka), San Francisco Baroque Opera, First Congregational Church Music Series (Berkeley), Mission Cultural Center (San Francisco), Theater Artaud (San Francisco), Foro Cultural Coyoacanense Hugo Argüelles (Mexico City), the Ludinghaüsen Summer Art Festival (Germany). If you’ve never experienced the sound of a countertenor before, you should definitely come out and have a listen! He’ll be singing an aria for the Fisher Ensemble’s upcoming independent film with operatic score by Garrett Fisher entitled Magda G.

This is a free event and feel free to join us for a post-Klavihorn reception. Just like the Fisher Ensemble on Facebook as your RSVP.

There’s a ton of other great events going on as part of the Project Room’s  Beginning series, so be sure to check them out as well.

Interested in the Fisher Ensemble and want to know more? Visit our websiteFacebook page, or Twitter.


Solo Bar

This is an incarnation  of We Are Golden at John’s going away party at Solo Bar. He headed to San Francisco for another chapter. We will miss him dearly as we begin rehearsals on our new record.


From L to R top: Aaron Taylor, Steve Newton, John Hollis Bottom L to R: Sarah, Gretta

2012 Season Preview Party at ACT Theatre!

Sarah and Gretta (as WE ARE GOLDEN) were asked to represent the Central Heating Lab Series at ACT Theatre for the 2012 Season Preview party.  They opened the show with the title song to their rock/play These Streets and then sat down for a panel discussion with Artistic Director Kurt Beattie.  Their June 1st Benefit Concert for These Streets at ACT was bandied about but also much praise went out to Carlo Scandiuzzi and his commitment to making the Central Heating Lab programming at ACT abundant and well supported.  Makes sense to fill that lovely building and all it’s beautiful spaces with performance in all its forms all year long!


Klavihorn Artifacts

Garrett Fisher, Ryan K. Adams, and I met yesterday with the wonderful founder of the Project Room, Jess Van Nostrand. I think it’s shaping up to be quite an event and I can’t wait to see the Klavihorn when they finally move it into this amazing space. Ben Blankenship has been helping us with the restoration and provided us with some extra materials he’s dug up about the Klavihorn – it has such an intriguing history!


Don’t forget, you can come see the Klavihorn’s unveiling on April 1st at 5pm at The Project Room for free! We’ll be demonstrating the instrument, as well as giving you a sneak preview of some of the sounds that it will be contributing to the Fisher Ensemble’s upcoming indie film and opera production, Magda G. Another reason not to miss it: like the Fisher Ensemble on Facebook and you’ll also be invited to a reception with Garrett Fisher and core members of the Fisher Ensemble after the performance.

Interested in the Fisher Ensemble and want to know more? Visit our websiteFacebook page, or Twitter.

Be sure to check out all the other events happening as part of the Beginnings series here at the Project Room.


The Start-Up

March 3, 2-3:30pm: The Start-Up: Six Seattle-based makers and entrepreneurs will share their perspectives on what it takes to get something off the ground and how they made it work. Representing technology, art, food, Northwest history and other areas of expertise, these guests will discuss topics related to Beginnings, such as where new ideas come from and how they become something more. Join the conversation!


Sarah Bergmann – Artist & Creator of The Pollinator Pathway

Tim Detweiler – Executive Director of The Museum of Northwest Art

Susie Evans – Co-Founder of Office Nomads

Hsu-Ken Ooi – Co-Founder of Decide

Sarah Novotny - CIO at Meteor Entertainment and Co-Founder of Blue Gecko

Zephyr Paquette – Chef and Owner of Skelly and The Bean (opening soon!)

Northwest Passing by Kevin and Jennifer McCoy

March 23 – 30: Kevin and Jennifer McCoy present Northwest Passing, an exhibition and performance featuring completely improvised tours of Northwest master works.

Northwest Passing in an exhibition that presents work from six classic Northwest Artists as a way to ask what we mean by that very phrase “Northwest Art”. The works in the exhibition, borrowed from local government, corporate and private collections, will be paired with a series of improvised stories performed by actors and other community participants who attempt to interpret the works on display.

In this project, passing has several connotations. The performers stories pass as legitimate accounts, even though they lack any foreknowledge of the work in question. As in the transgendered sense, they are passing for experts that they may not be. Passing also points to the eclipsing of this great, first generation of Northwest Artists. The exhibition asks if their artistic ideas have passed, or if they are still in play. Finally the show is about our relationship to the Northwest. I was born and raised here, went to school here. Jennifer and I were married here and lived here for a time. Do we pass as Northwest artists?

The exhibition includes works by Guy Anderson, Kenneth Callahan, Morris Graves, Helmi Juvonen, Mark Tobey, George Tsutakawa.

Improvised Tours: March 23 and 24 at 6pm

Open Hours: March 27 - 30. Extended through April 6! Tuesdays-Fridays, 10am-3pm. During open hours, the artworks are on display alongside video footage from the tours.

All events are free and open to the public; tours last one hour, so arrive at 6pm sharp!

Special thanks to Douglas and Mary-K McCoy, Perkins Coie, LLP; Woodside/Braseth Gallery; and King County Public Art Collection & 4Culture for the loan of artwork for this exhibition

About the Artists:

Jennifer and Kevin McCoy are Brooklyn-based artists who make projects about how our thoughts, experiences and memories are structured through genre and repetition. In order to focus attention on these structures, they often reexamine classic works of science fiction or television narrative, creating sculptural objects, video projections, or live events from what they find.

Their work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Metropolitan Museum (New York), MUDAM (Luxemburg), the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Nevada Museum of Art, the Speed Museum (Louisville), the Henry Art Museum (Seattle), La Maison Rouge (Paris) and the collections of many private foundations and individuals in the US and Europe. In addition to the above institutions, their work has been exhibited at P.S.1, Postmasters Gallery, The New Museum, the Ronald Feldman Gallery and the James Cohen Gallery (all in New York), The Museum of Contemporary Art (Miami), The Renaissance Society (Chicago), the Palm Beach ICA (Palm Beach, Florida). International exhibitions include “Future Cinema” at ZKM (Karlsruhe, Germany),”Animations” at Kunst Werke (Berlin), “Villette Numerique” (Paris), PKM Gallery (Beijing) and solo exhibitions at FACT (Liverpool), Sala Rekalde (Bilbao), Gallerie Guy Bartschi (Geneva) and the British Film Institute (London).

They are 2011-12 Guggenheim fellows. In 2005 they received a Rave Award and were named Artists of the Year by Wired Magazine. In 2002 they received a Creative Capital Grant for Emerging Fields and in 2001 they received an award for New Media from the Colbert Foundation. Articles about their work have appeared in Art News, Art In America, Artforum, Flash Art, Frieze, The Wire, dArt International, Spin Magazine, Feed, and The Independent, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Liberation (Paris), and el Pais (Madrid).

Their work is represented by Postmasters Gallery in New York and Gallerie Guy Bartschi in Geneva, Switzerland.



All I can say is, it takes a real Klavihorn devotee to organize all these plans & documents. Go Ben Blankenship!  Ryan has been meeting with Ben and they’ve begun the daunting task of reconstructing the instrument.  Hopefully in the next few days we’ll have an update from the Klavihorn front.

Check out more information about our Klavihorn project, as well as other cool projects happening concurrently.

Some sketches:


TPR Takes the Conversation to St. James Cathedral

March 26, 2pm at St. James Cathedral: The Project Room hosts a conversation in the St. James Cathedral Chapel with ceramicists and collaborators Nicholas Kripal and Jeffrey Mongrain, whose site-specific work is temporarily installed as a response to the imagery and architecture of the Cathedral. Addressing the current TPR theme, Beginnings, the conversation will explore the relationship between the cathedral and contemporary art, and how these artists turn their new ideas into successful collaborations with sacred spaces. Joining the conversation is St. James Cathedral Director of Music Dr. Savage and St James Director of Liturgy Corinna Laughlin. Visitors will also hear from Seattle ceramicists Jessi Li and George Rodriguez, whose new piece “Stations of the Cross” was created for the chapel at St. James.

This program is in conjunction with The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts’ annual conference.

Location: 804 Ninth Avenue, Seattle. The Chapel is located adjacent to the main cathedral on the South side

About the Artists:


Nicholas Kripal is Professor of Art and Chair of the Crafts Department, Tyler School of Art, of Temple University. He received his M.F.A. degree from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, and his B.F.A. degree from the University of Nebraska, Kearney. His awards and grants include a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, 1999, Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Fellowships 1987,1992,1997

Jeffrey Mongrain grew up in the small northern Minnesota town of International Falls, traditionally the coldest place in the continental United States. As a ceramic artist he circumvents the traditional use of clay in his work by using the medium to explore content. Many of his objects have a relationship with the Victorian buildings of Glasgow, Scotland where Jeffrey lived and taught for seven years. Jeffrey Mongrain holds an MFA in ceramics from Southern Illinois University and has had solo exhibitions in Europe and the U.S. He is currently the head of the ceramics department at Hunter College, CUNY.


A Conversation with Spilled Milk

March 22, 6pm: Spilled Milk: A conversation with food writers and podcasters Matthew Amster-Burton and Molly Wizenberg, moderated by Langdon Cook.


Listen to this event!

As part of Beginnings, Matthew Amster-Burton and Molly Wizenberg share how the Spilled Milkpodcast program began, what role humor plays in their ideas, and what to make of the current popularity of food writing. Langdon Cook guides the conversation about this and other interpretations of the theme “beginnings.” As always, The Project Room audience is encouraged to join in the discussion!

About the Participants:

Molly Wizenberg is a writer and photographer. She is the voice behind Orangette, named the best food blog in the world by the London Times, and her first book, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, was a New York Times bestseller. Her work has been published in the Best Food Writing series,The Washington PostThe Art of Eating, and Creative Nonfiction, and she wrote a monthly column in Bon Appetit from 2008 to 2011. With her husband Brandon Pettit, she owns the restaurant Delancey, in Seattle.  She is currently working on her second book.

Matthew Amster-Burton is the author of Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father’s Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater. He has written for Gourmet, the Wall Street Journal, and the Seattle Times, and has been featured in the Best Food Writing anthology repeatedly.

Author of Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager, Langdon Cook is a writer, instructor, and lecturer on wild foods and the outdoors. Cook has been profiled in Bon AppetitWSJ magazine, Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, and, and his writing has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, including SunsetGray’s Sporting Journal, and Seattle Magazine. His on-screen credits include webisodes of The Perennial Plate and a forthcoming Food Network episode. Langdon’s next book is titled The Mushroom Hunters (Ballantine 2013).

The Klavihorn Among Friends

In researching the history of the Klavihorn, we came across a couple other, similar instruments:

The Telharmonium was developed by Thaddeus Cahill in 1897.


The Telharmonium with palm fronds as accompaniment

The electrical signal from the Telharmonium was transmitted over wires; it was heard on the receiving end by means of “horn” speakers. The Telharmonium used “tone wheels” to generate musical sounds as electrical signals by additive synthesis. Cahill built three versions: The Mark I version weighed 7 tons. The Mark II version weighed almost 200 tons! (In other words, it wasn’t exactly an instrument suited for marching band.) Some of the first performances were heard at “Telharmonic Hall” at 39th and Broadway in New York.  Here is an original Telharmonium blueprint:



No recordings exist of the Telharmonium, and because of its immense weight, size and power consumption, it fell into obscurity. Another interesting tidbit:

“problems began to arise when telephone broadcasts of the Telharmonium were subject to ‘crosstalk’ and unsuspecting telephone users would be interrupted by strange electronic music.” (Wikipedia)

Sounds like John Cage to me.

Another early electronic instrument was the Clavilux, built by Thomas Wilfred in 1919. The Clavilux was a device used to perform “Lumia,” which was Wildred’s term for “Light Art.”

“Lumia as conceived, was a self contained and silent art, not to be combined with music or dance. Wilfred, being a pragmatist, would occasionally experiment or collaborate with other artists and disciplines (most notably for a performance with Maestro Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Symphony at Carnegie Hall) (Wikipedia).

You can buy “5 Thomas Wilfred Lumia Compositions” as well as view visual samples here…

Seattle’s AJ Epstein is currently in the process of restoring a Clavilux, and I’m hoping to create an interdisciplinary duet for the ‘lux and the ‘horn (as I, too, am a pragmatist).

Check out more information about our Klavihorn project, as well as other cool projects happening concurrently.

Turning on the Lights: A Post from the These Streets Intern

Just looking at the ripped posters of the era you can tell Seattle was on the cusp of something. Bold designs and haphazard band names that sound like crossword puzzle clues strewn across neon yellow paper. It was a time of making art simply for art’s sake. There were no alterior motives.

I felt drawn to These Streets because of my past. I can identify with those posters. The venues I see in videos remind me of the bars in my hometown the patched cables and indistinct vocals bring the nostalgia rushing through my head so fast I can smell the cigarettes, the floor is sticky from 100 beer spills and so much dancing! I’m sixteen and as I ease my 1978 Thunderbird into the parking lot of the F.O.E. I can already hear drums pounding through the walls of the ramshackle building. The crowd is a mix bag. There are  kids my age, 20 somethings and dirty old men that will buy you Jack and Cokes if you nod your head while they tell you their stories of ungrateful wives and forced retirement.

I remember one band, The Front, while all the other bands were full of rowdy drunk boys, this band was a girl band. And man I thought they were so cool. While most of the bands toward the end of the night were too drunk to play, this band was on top of it. They never missed a beat. It felt like they were on a mission like they needed to prove something. And although I don’t frequent the F.OE., or anything of the like, anymore. That band sticks out to me. They knew what they wanted in that moment. It meant a lot to a sixteen year old girl who had no thoughts to the idea of desires past finding someone to  buy me beer after the show. The memory of those girls playing stands clear in my mind while the rest of my bar show experiences are a bit foggy.

Last night we set up a lovely dinner at the Project Room with some of the women that were part of the music movement in Seattle during the late 80s early 90s. It was great hearing their stories and beginning to understand the world they lived in and even drawing connections into my own world. They really aren’t that different after all.

Gretta brought some of her old band t shirts. Some of them she had made herself. I also have band t-shirts sitting in the back of my closet in Billings. They have been spray painted with care in the alley behind my house (my dad didn’t want me to get paint on the grass in the backyard). We all have stories of our favorite bands that no one else has heard of and in that moment when you talk to someone that was there, that remembers that obscure band name, you can relate to that person on a whole new level. You may disagree about one hundred other things in life but the fact remains that you were there together and no one else can understand exactly what it was like. It’s empowering to have a group behind you, dancing in the middle of the room like you never left the backstage where you weren’t necessarily supposed to be in the first place, remembering (barely) the words to that one great song.


That is why this project is important to me. It’s a look into the past, a glance at the things that have shaped us. It is important to know your history, so we can see exactly what we have become and to understand that all of that still can change. We have a lot of life to live.