A preview of “Ampersand Live,” a 90-minute, unrehearsed presentation that’s an offshoot of Forterra’s print magazine and features artists, photographers, poets, John Richards of KEXP and even a dog. It’s Thursday night at Town Hall Seattle.
No matter how many towers they cram into the view from Kerry Park, none will ever overshadow Mount Rainier. Likewise, the view along Interstate 5 may be littered with cranes at the moment, but it will always be anchored by the Olympic mountains to the west, and the Cascades to the east.
Business is booming, but the beauty of this place is what will make it alluring long after the cranes are gone.
It’s why Forterra, the Seattle-based environmental nonprofit, opts for an advocacy approach that showcases the environments of this region, both built and unbuilt, and the people who inhabit them.
IF YOU GO
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave., Seattle; $10 (206-905-6891 or ampersandnw.org).
For the second year, Forterra is putting on a live edition of its biannual magazine, Ampersand, with “Ampersand Live,” a fast-moving and unrehearsed show of 16 different performances in which locals from all disciplines explore and connect the audience to their relationship with the Pacific Northwest.
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“It’s proof that you can talk about serious things with a different cast of characters,” said Florangela Davila, local arts journalist and executive producer of the event.
Radio host and podcaster Luke Burbank (“Live Wire Radio,” “Too Beautiful to Live”) will emcee the cast of local performers that includes:
• David Moskowitz, photographer and wildlife tracker who gets up close with animals of the Northwest.
• Johnpaul Jones, a Seattle architect whose work includes the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and the Confluence project, interpretive artwork by artist Maya Lin at six sites along the Columbia River basin.
• Tenor and King County environmental scientist Gino Lucchetti, who can bring together opera at venues around Seattle and a watershed plan.
• KEXP morning host John Richards, who has helped build the nonprofit station into a global source of go-to music and video.
Also on the list: photographers Chris Jordan and Glenn Nelson; chocolatier Autumn Martin; poet Janie Miller; dancer Alia Swersky; eco-entrepreneur Ruth True; and Sampson the dog, scat detective.
The individual contributors will come prepared, but the show itself is unrehearsed. For the most part, each performer will be experiencing the show just as the rest of the audience will. That is to say, from a new point of view.
And that’s something Claudia Castro Luna, Seattle’s civic poet, who will be preforming a new piece about place, says she is most excited about.
“All these perspectives looking at the same place and the different interpretations and engagements with place that will come out and be expressed,” she said, forecasting the night with a fitting adjective. “It’s going to be very organic.”
As far as issues go, the environment can be a tough sell; ominous climate forecasts and alarming statistics can make even the most optimistic Northwesterner despair.
In these personal narratives, “Ampersand Live,” and its namesake magazine produced by Forterra, seeks to get the audience thinking about our environment through a more multidimensional lens. Whether you’re fishing on the Columbia River or downtown stuck in traffic, it’s all interconnected.
“Anytime there’s a personal [element] it can make people realize how they’re a part of it, and connected to it, and that it matters,” said cut-paper artist Nikki McClure, who will be doing a piece on winter in the Northwest and how it pulls people together into certain spaces, like coffee shops or bookstores.
She says that cultivating that personal aspect of the environment is a way to bring people one step closer to addressing the issues we have today — one of which is simply noticing the changes all around us.
“We might not all abandon our work, or leave our cars when the (United Nations) climate change talks happen (this month), but at least we’re one step closer to caring, and to just seeing. I think that people don’t see things anymore.”