Category Archives: Downtown

His Immortal Army

 

This warrior, at the Pacific Science Center exhibit, previously stood in a chariot holding reins, buried at the emperor’s tomb complex. The photo behind him shows terracotta soldiers standing in formation, in dug pits.   All photos:  Alethea Myers

Over 2,200 years ago, a 13-year old boy became the very first emperor of China. For all these years, his immense tomb site and complex remained hidden from the world, only to be discovered in 1973 by farmers near Xi’an, China when they unearthed shards of pottery while digging a well. Emperor Qin Shihuangdi (Qin Shi Huang) had created an unparalleled underground realm to continue his imperial rule and achieve immortality after death. A massive army of 8,000 life-sized soldiers and many other figures was created from terracotta clay to stand guard in the pits dug around his tomb. Only two museums in the United States have been approved by the Republic of China to host an exhibition featuring 10 of these ancient warriors and many other artifacts. The Pacific Science Center in Seattle is fortunate to be one of these, and the popular exhibit runs until September 4th.

A calvaryman stands by his horse. The depiction of the horse was so accurate, that the breed could be determined and traced to a certain region of China.

Why should I see this exhibit? A few reasons:

Sheer size and age: Nothing on this scale or size has been done for a royal burial in China before or after the Qin Dynasty. At 22 square miles, it’s the largest burial site in the world. Only 2,000 warriors have been uncovered so far and painstakingly reassembled out of an estimated 8,000 total. Each statue weighs an average of 300 pounds. It’s estimated that 700,000 workers labored over the span of the emperor’s reign to complete this massive project. Many of them were criminals or called up by draft. Although there were also skilled craftsmen and volunteers, some were there to serve out a punishment or to pay off taxes. Some workers were entombed.

There were also carved clay acrobats, musicians, armor, animals, and chariots. And real weapons, real musical instruments, and coffins with animal skeletons. The emperor wanted to be entertained in the afterlife.

Short reign, much accomplished: Although Qin Shihuangdi’s empire only lasted 36 years, he managed to leave a mark in various aspects. His burial site is unprecedented in size and scope. The republic had previously consisted of Warring States, which he unified in less than a decade.  As China’s First Emperor, he standardized the money (coins) of his realm; previously they had been every shape and size. He is sometimes credited with building the Great Wall of China, formerly a series of sporadic little walls.

A musical instrument, a bell, found at the burial site.

The best is yet to come: The most amazing section of the burial site has yet to be unearthed: the emperor’s burial chamber and tomb mound. According to historical records dating 200 years after his reign, an elaborate sub-chamber with two manmade, underground rivers filled with toxic, liquid mercury exist near his tomb. High mercury levels have been detected around the site, so it’s necessary to proceed with caution. Also, sadly, the bright paint on the warrior figures, after being buried for over 2,200 years, flaked off within 10 minutes of exposure to the open air. So technology might need to catch up to avoid this when Qin Shihuangdi’s tomb is finally opened. His manmade tomb mound, at 250 feet high, is larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.

Qin Shihuangdi longed for immortality. And in the uniqueness of his burial, he has done just that.

Click here for Pacific Science Center ticket information.

Teatro Zinzanni Returns

For those who love Teatro Zinzanni, and were sorry to see it leave lower Queen Anne: Take heart. The 18-year old dinner theatre extravaganza still exists and has moved to a temporary location at Marymoor Park in Redmond while searching for a permanent home. They are opening a new run of their original, beloved show, “Love, Chaos, and Dinner” this autumn and winter.

If you haven’t seen one of their shows, it’s an evening of circus acrobatics, cabaret, a full-course meal, comedy, lively costumes, and beauty under a big top tent. This performance runs from October 19th, 2017 through April 29th, 2018, and some previous, seasoned cast members, some of which have worked overseas in similar venues, are returning. 

Tickets for the general public officially go on sale on August 15th, but if you sign up for their email list, you will start receiving access to tickets as early as August 1st. If orchestrating a number of people attending, then group tickets are available for booking now.

Viva, Teatro Zinzanni!

 

FREE Summer Fitness

Photo: Seattle Art Museum

Want to catch some rays while getting budget-wise exercise? There are many group classes, led by professional instructors, offered for FREE this summer. Below are many nearby locations to strengthen your muscles and expand your skills. Enjoy!

SEATTLE CENTER, 301 Mercer St., Seattle 98109
June 20th-August 23rd
Zumba Class:
Tuesdays, 6-7 pm (except July 4th), Next50 Plaza
Meditation and Relaxation Class:
Tuesdays, 7-8 pm (except July 4th), Armory Rm. 301
Gentle Yoga:
Wednesdays, 11:30 am-12:30 pm, Exhibition Hall Lawn
http://www.seattlecenter.com/fitness

OLYMPIC SCULPTURE PARK, 2901 Western Ave., Seattle  98121
On Saturdays from
July 15th through August 26th, enjoy public tours of the park, art making, musical performances, and family activities.  In addition, partake of these free fitness classes on the green:
Vinyasa Flow Yoga (all levels): 9-10 am
Hatha Yoga (all levels): 10:30-11:30 am (July 29th is “Family Field Day” from 11 am-3 pm, which includes family yoga)
Zumba: 2-3 pm
http://summer.site.seattleartmuseum.org/category/saturdays

ST. MARK’S CATHEDRAL, 10th Ave. E., Seattle 98102
Cathedral Yoga
Ongoing on Sundays, 6-7 pm (this one possibly indoors–ask)
http://www.saintmarks.org/grow/adult-groups/yoga

PARKS
CASCADE PLAYGROUND, 333 Pontius Ave. N., Seattle 98109
Yoga on the Lawn: June 10th- Sept. 30th, Saturdays at 12 noon
http://www.cascadeplayground.org

FREEWAY PARK, 700 Seneca St., Seattle 98101
Dancing ‘til Dusk: Variety of musical styles (see this pdf). 6 pm lesson, 7-9:30 dancing. Thursdays July 20th, 27, August 3rd, 10th, and 17th.
https://www.seattle.gov/parks/find/downtown-parks
Zumba: Mondays July 17, 24, 31, and August 7, 5:30-6:30 pm, West Plaza
Yoga: Wednesdays 12-1 pm July 19th and 26th, 5:30-6:30 pm August 2nd and 9th, Upper Plaza
http://freewayparkassociation.org/blog/our-events

WESTLAKE PARK, 401 Pine St., Seattle 98101
Dancing ‘til Dusk: Variety of musical styles (see this pdf). 6 pm lesson, 7-9:30 dancing. Tuesdays July 25th, August 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th.
https://www.seattle.gov/parks/find/downtown-parks
Tai Chi: June 24 – August 19, 8-9 am
Spin Cycle: last Wednesdays June 28, July 26,and August 30th, 3 sessions daily: 7 am, 12 noon, and 5:30 pm, with open cycling in-between
https://www.facebook.com/WestlakePark

OCCIDENTAL SQUARE, 117 S. Washington St., Seattle, 98104
CrossFit: every Friday morning in July at 6:30-7:30 am, and every Wednesday evening in August at 5:30-6:30 pm
Dancing ‘til Dusk: Variety of musical styles (see this pdf). 6 pm lesson, 7-9:30 dancing. Tuesdays July 11th and July 18th.
https://www.seattle.gov/parks/find/downtown-parks

Folklife Festival 2017

Once a year, the NW Folklife Festival enlivens the Seattle Center grounds for a 4-day, homespun, music-and-dance extravaganza, as you might know. Loosely defining the term “folk”, musicians from the Pacific Northwest and far beyond cover a wide spectrum of styles, from the individual singer trying out his/her newly-written song, to a seasoned blues band, a local Norwegian or Asian acoustic group, or an African a cappella choir from across the globe. Common threads connect all these: a celebration and immersion in different music/cultures and warm connection through music and other people.

Kiunka band.  Photo: C. Nelson

Twirl around a big dance floor with 80 other people, try a variety of eats at the food trucks (or bring your own lunch if you’re “line-averse”), look at or buy art, inspect a new guitar crafted by a local vendor, raise your voice in a sea chantey sing-along, or just hang out on the grass. There’s street musicians (buskers) in addition to the over 5,000 performers on stages situated throughout the Seattle Center grounds. And a fun option, for those guests who are musicians themselves (especially traditional songs like “You are my Sunshine”), is to bring your own acoustic instrument or harmonize along with one of the little, impromptu song circles that spring up here and there.

Photo: NW Folklife

This Pacific Northwest gem has been around for 46 years. They are non-profit with many volunteer coordinators that strongly believe everyone, no matter their financial status, should be able to attend this event. But the continuation of this festival in the future will depend upon whether enough attendees are able to make a donation at the gate this year or as a “Friend of Folklife”. $10 for a full day’s entertainment is the suggested donation.

Left: Owuor Arung.  Photo: Piper Hanson.         Right: Mexicans of WA.  Photo: Piper Hanson

Folklife dancing in the pavilion
Photo: Alan Berner/The Seattle Times

Come enjoy the festival on Memorial Day weekend, Friday May 26th through Monday, May 29th.  Check out their website here to find a schedule of daily events to choose from.