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TeenTix Arts News Roundup: November Edition

The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) is partnering with TeenTix to publish a bi-monthly round-up of arts and cultural events. The partnership supports and provides additional outlets for teen expressions in media. TeenTix programs create a place for teens to process, interpret, reflect, and think critically about the content they engage with through professional journalism and podcasting practice, and in-school arts criticism training. TeenTix and ARTS support and uplift youth voices in media to empower students while fostering future writers and content creators. Read more work by youth at

Take a peek at some of their recent features below:

Cambodian Rock Band Captures the Soul of Cambodia

A review of Cambodian Rock Band at ACT Theatre
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Indigo Mays and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Daphne Bunker

Four people stand on
Brooke Ishibashi, Jane Lui, Abraham Kim and Tim Liu in Cambodian Rock Band at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Margot Schulman.

“The production takes many other steps to ground the play in historical truth despite the fabricated plotline, such as, and most importantly, the music. Cambodian classics like ‘Jeas Cyclo‘ originally by Yol Aularong, at times make the play feel like a rock concert with dramatic interludes. The actors, who sing and play instruments live during the music breaks, bring the music to life. Brooke Ishibashi, who plays both Sothea and Neary, has a mystifyingly beautiful voice. As she sings, she gazes into the audience with a demanding stature. Casting such a talented artist in the role honors the legacy of Ros Serey Sothea, a popular Cambodian singer who disappeared during the Khmer Rouge regime. It also shows the writer’s dedication to creating a distinctly Cambodian experience, rooted in the country’s heritage. Picking music with Khmer lyrics made the production distinctly Cambodian and added a level of authenticity. During many of the songs, the Khmer elders in the crowd danced in their seats.”

She Marches in Chinatown: A Rundown and Review of the Remarkable Documentary

Review of She Marches in Chinatown at SIFF
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Rowan Santos and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Daphne Bunker

A beautiful Chinese headdress in red and gold colors on a bright yellow poster background.
She Marches in Chinatown promotional poster courtesy of SIFF.

“As the film progresses, it breaks into interviews with drill team members, both past and present, and archived interviews with Ruby Chow and Cheryl Chow, her daughter. Ruby was a leader in the Seattle community and the first Asian-American woman to be elected to the King County Council. Cheryl Chow took over her mother’s legacy, not only inheriting the drill team but also following her mother in politics and serving as a Seattle city council member. Both of these strong women were instrumental in representing the community, as they have worked to ensure equity and break boundaries for women in Seattle. That’s how Chows’ mission statement, and core value, was forged, ’empowered women, empowering women.'”

Stories of Queer Joy: Past, Present, and Future

Review of Seattle Queer Film Festival at Three Dollar Bill Cinema
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Abby Bernstein and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Aamina Mughal

Two cartoon figures in an animated still; the figure on the left wears a purple tank top and green baseball hat worn backwards. The figure on the right wears a purple wizard hat and is pouring a mysterious purple liquid from a glass beaker.
Zeke’s Magic Plant Shop Directed by Lucas Marchi and Keaton Hanna (2023)

“We see in all these character’s various stories that Queer Joy is not the mere absence of suffering, but rather the triumph over it. For Queer people, suffering and joy are not binary emotions or experiences. The two must often work together to help us achieve a sense of fulfillment, identity, and victory. Struggle empowers us to be truer to ourselves, and challenges others to do the same. As Markowitz put it in their interview, ‘Queer Joy is who we are, and we have managed to remain abundantly joyful, no matter what the world throws at us…That doesn’t mean that we also can’t experience pain together – we sure can – but we will always have joy.’ It is in this sense that resistance is Queer Joy, and Queer Joy is resistance.”

The Immortalization of the Impermanent

Review of Kelly Akashi: Encounters at Henry Art Gallery
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Sylvia Jarman and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Audrey Gray

An array of small abstract clay sculptures sit on a wooden art gallery floor. Two spirals of blue light resembling swirling galaxies are projected on the back wall.
Kelly Akashi: Encounters [Installation view, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle.2023]. Photo: Jueqian Fang.

“Akashi utilizes this objectivity to create form for the nebulous ideas behind Encounters, aiming to preserve interactions and concepts that have no tangible form. Nature never holds still–it is constantly changing. Physical touch is such an impermanent thing, always fluctuating and changing, and it thus has no uniform depiction. Yet Akashi’s work evokes this constant state of fluctuation with still imagery, managing to pin down something that is always shifting. The clay mounds perfectly capture a moving wave or tectonic shift while remaining entirely stationary, much like a photograph would. The cast hands are posed in ways that are uncannily familiar, so the viewer feels as though they are living a memory of previous interactions when seeing them. Even the imperceptible and momentary are portrayed with intentionality. Nothing is obfuscated or left out of Akashi’s depiction of connection.”

Two Big Black Bags: A Journey to Self-Forgiveness

Review of Two Big Black Bags at West of Lenin
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Juliana Agudelo Ariza and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Anna Melomed

A person with black hair wearing black glasses and a white lab coat holds up a ruler with their right hand. The person is standing in front of a chalkboard. Three people stand in front of her appearing to listen intently.
Courtesy of West of Lenin, photo by Elodi Li

“The audience got a chance to look at what veterans must experience, the feeling of being thrown blindly into the unknown. But what the play outlined most importantly was letting go of the baggage that weighs down on us. When we learn to forgive ourselves, we realize all the other valuable things that make life worth living. James’ adventure to reintegrate with his disenfranchised self can be ours for a night, and we get a taste of the unique cultural and personal aspects that Vitullo strived to convey in this play.

And so, as the actors took a final bow, the audience stopped to reflect upon the stories they witnessed. Pondering the same question Julia Vitullo asked herself, ‘How do we bear witness to the trauma of others? Is that even possible?’”

A Totally True Tale of Friendship and the Complex Climb to Fame

Review of Matt & Ben at ArtsWest
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Raika Roy Choudhury and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Kyle Gerstel

Two people stand behind a blue couch with white dots. Their mouths are open in comedic expressions. The person on the left has black hair and is wearing a blue flannel with a red shirt underneath; the person on the right is wearing a checkered green shirt with a white shirt underneath and also wears a tan baseball hat worn backwards.
Matt & Ben at ArtsWest / Photo by Jennifer Crooks

“The story starts off with Matt and Ben trying to adapt ‘Catcher’ (The Catcher in the Rye) verbatim, their simplistic view of adaptation immediately characterizing the two as a goofy pair. Matt is shown to be the pinnacle of theater kids, waiting for his breakout acting moment, while Ben, his best friend, is just playing along. The play’s main conflict is the consequence of that dynamic: Matt underestimates Ben’s intellectual capability, leading him to doubt Ben’s contribution and commitment to the Good Will Hunting script since both of them are credited for the script. Similarly, Ben has always been the cooler friend, unknowingly taking attention away from Matt in the activities he accompanied him in and therefore inadvertently leading people to underestimate Matt too.”

Read more arts and culture reviews on the TeenTix blog and stay tuned for more roundups coming soon.