All images on this blog are protected by copyright. Please inquire before using the images for any purpose. For information about purchasing original or giclee prints please contact me:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Processing through town celebrating the earth ... and the heavens

One of my kids' teachers had the whole class dress in orange. They made green plumed hats. She connected the hats to with a brown sheet, had the kids put on the hats and voila - a carrot patch! That was my first experience with the Procession of the Species, a 20+ year old event celebrating Earth Day and held on the weekend closest to April 22. 

In 1995 a group of local residents came up with the idea as a way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Earth Day and to support Congressional renewal of the endangered species act. The decided on a procession. They established three rules: 

  • No written words 
  • No live pets 
  • No motorized vehicle

  • Also, being a family event and a celebration of life, nudity and sexually suggestive behavior is prohibited - a fact that distinguishes the Procession of the Species from the Fremont Solstice Parade in Seattle. 

    It's a procession, not a parade, to give it some distinction from military parades,and it draws tens of thousands of people into Olympia's downtown for a spectacularly fun experience. 

    A whale, two octupuses a flamingo and, of course, a geoduck!

    Impromptu chalk artists use chalk handed out by the procession organizers to leave their mark on the street. 

    The sun leads the procession - spiting the raindrops

    Participants and viewers adopt signature poses. 

    Composed of dancers and musicians, Samba OlyWA is the heart and soul of the procession. This year, dressed as red-headed woodpeckers they drummed, played and pranced through the streets with unfailing energy. 

    Monday, April 25, 2016

    Jewels in the night - Luminary Procession honors the earth and all its jewels

    While the Procession of the Species celebrates the elements: earth, air, fire and water, the Luminary Procession held the night before the Procession honors the fifth element: spirit. 

    Neither words, nor my drawing do full justice to this spectacular event. Hand-made luminaries in an array of shapes and colors light up the night as the creators process through the streets of downtown Olympia. It's really such a unique event and a mixture of beauty and fun make it magical The event is one of a kind. Jewels in the night.

    Jules the Juggler

    Fire shooting up from the intersection of 5th and Washington is a regular event on the two semi-annual arts walk evenings in downtown Olympia. The flames are lit by Jules the Juggler, a regular at Olympia's semi-annual arts walk. He grew up in Olympia, went to school with my kids, actually, and true to the free-spirited reputation of Olympia (the home of one of the most liberal colleges in the country) he has developed his performance skills and become a true one-man-show. 

    Along with his impressive juggling skills he's become a master of working the crowd.

    First he draws the crowd with flamboyant announcements and promises of a spectacle. Then he ups the ante by adding acts each more skilled than the previous- spinning a pilates ball on his finger while tossing it up in the air, behind is back, under his leg.  

    "Hey kid! Hold this!" He thrusts a pin ad an unruly 10 year old, then starts juggling 2 pins, then 3, then 4, then 5. He takes an exaggerated pose for effect, then pours charcoal fluid on batons and starts juggling with fire. He calls for a volunteer who is "less than 50 pounds and no taller than this" holding his hand about yay high.  Picking a smiling toddler - with grandparent's consent, thankfully - and he juggles the kid and two pins, while making local references and double-entendre jokes that engage the crowd. Going back to fire and he finishes his act by balancing a burning scythe on his chin while juggling burning pins. 

    I may have gotten the order all wrong because I was scribbling away, trying to catch the grandiose animations of this talented performer, as he passed the hat, but next time this impressive performer with local roots, gets double from me.