Councilmember Bagshaw left office on December 31, 2019. This website is for archival purposes only and is no longer updated.

A gem on First Hill

I was a guest at last night’s First Hill Improvement Association (FHIA) meeting, and it is opportunities like these for which I am most grateful as a Councilmember. Local community groups like the FHIA are made up of committed businesses and residents, and their monthly meetings are meant to address and improve community issues. The FHIA has been doing good work since its founding in 1958, and they advocate for better parks, more green streets, and the other amenities that define a great neighborhood.

Communication is critical to the work they do, and they do it well. Whether they are concerned about picking up litter or keeping the Park Rangers in Freeway Park, they are articulate and clear. One of the recommendations from last night was to emulate a plan from Cannon Beach, Oregon, known as “3/50,” where residents shop, eat, and relax in their own neighborhood three days a week and spend $50 in the process. It will make a tremendous difference to the businesses, and activating the neighborhood will in turn draw others in.

One of the great draws of the First Hill neighborhood is the Frye Art Museum. It is a gem, and it welcomes a new contemporary exhibition on January 22, and I’d like to take a moment to pass that information along further.

Ming Wong: LIFE OF IMITATION, an award-winning exhibition by the Berlin-based Singaporean artist Ming Wong, will have its American premiere at the Frye Art Museum on January 22. First presented at the 2009 Venice Biennale, where it won a Special Jury Mention award, the exhibition features multiscreen video installations; billboards by Neo Chon Teck, Singapore’s last surviving billboard painter; rare screen memorabilia; and photographs of cinema palaces. This exhibition, Ming Wong’s first in the United States, has been co-organized by the Singapore Art Museum and the Frye Art Museum.

In his installations Wong adapts landmark films of world cinema, such as Douglas Sirk’s Hollywood melodrama Imitation of Life (1959), addressing issues of racial identity, gender, language, and that which the artist refers to as “in-between, bittersweet, where you don’t know whether to laugh or cry.” In Love for the Mood, a “rehearsal of a rehearsal,” is Ming Wong’s tribute to Wong Kar-wai’s Hong Kong film In the Mood for Love (2000), set in the 1960s. Finally, Four Malay Stories reinterprets Malay showbiz icon P. Ramlee’s most famous films, with Wong himself playing sixteen stock characters in a comedy, a melodrama, a social drama, and a period drama.

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