Art Beat: Book release, ‘Don Quixote,’ documentary screening, chorale show and author event

A new book from Edmonds author Whitney Popa helps readers ride the waves of grief, and fits in most back pockets

5-7 p.m., Wednesday, May 1, and 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, Vie & Vin, 172 Sunset Avenue, Edmonds

1-7 p.m. Thursday, May 9, MindFEST at Skagit Valley College, 2405 East College Way, Mount Vernon

4-6 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, Workhorse Coworking, 123 2nd Avenue South, Suite 230, Edmonds

Before he died in 2012, Whitney Popa’s dad told her never to lose her writing. She promised him she wouldn’t and eventually built a communications consultancy that helps local small businesses tell their stories.

There was always a part of her that wanted to share more of her story to help others. And she wanted to share it in a way that felt true to her.

No stranger to grief, Popa created a small, artful resource, a pocketbook-size story — it’s intended to fit in readers’ back pockets — that follows a faceless woman throughout her day as she battles the waves of grief. The 42-page booklet marries words and illustrations and is titled A Wave Called Grief. It’s appropriate for readers young and old.

“It’s more than a card and less than a how-to guide because a card can only say so much, and a how-to guide would be presumptive and impossible,” Popa said. “It’s what I needed when I was 26 and mourning so many things. I hope it helps people feel less alone in their grief.”

The local response has been gracious and kind. Two shops in Edmonds — The Cottage, Community Bakery, and Vie & Vin — carry the booklet on their shelves.

“All proceeds from the sale of A Wave Called Grief are headed to the non-profit of the author’s choice,” said Conor O’Neill, owner of The Cottage.

“We are so honored to have this beautiful book in the shop,” said Jordan McKerney, owner of Vie & Vin. “Our copies are even signed by Whitney — such a special touch.”

Popa will chat about the booklet in person at Vie & Vin on May 1 ($25 ticket) and June 12 (likely free). She will also be at MindFEST at Skagit Valley College with Mental Health Matters on May 9 (free) and hosting a book launch event at Workhorse Coworking on May 15 (free). If you or someone you know is riding the waves of grief, these will be opportunities to meet the author, get a copy and connect.

You can also find “A Wave Called Grief” on Amazon.

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Olympic Ballet Theatre presents ‘Don Quixote’

Arcadian Broad and Ashley Baszto (Photo by Ariella Noelle Photography)

2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, May 4, and 5 p.m. Sunday, May 5, Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 4th Avenue North

Olympic Ballet Theatre (OBT) presents a three-act production of Don Quixote, with choreography staged after the production by Marius Petipa and Alexander Gorsky. This classical comedic ballet follows the adventures of Don Quixote and his mischievous companion, Sancho Panza, on a heartwarming quest for love, honor and justice.

With an unforgettable score by Ludwig Minkus, colorful costumes, and gorgeous stage art by the late award-winning designer John Iacovelli and Seattle artist Ruth Gilmore, this family-friendly production is perfect for audiences of all ages.

OBT Company Dancers. (Photo by Ariella Noelle Photography)

“We presented the full production of Don Quixote two years ago, and due to popular demand, we are thrilled to bring it back to our audiences this May,” said artistic directors Mara Vinson and Oleg Gorboulev. “Our company has grown so much in the last two years; it’s exciting to showcase the talents of our new and experienced company dancers and bring guest artists from Cleveland Ballet to perform in the lead roles.

“This beloved classical ballet also gives our Olympic Ballet School students a great opportunity to learn iconic choreography, comedic acting, and performing on stage alongside professional dancers.”

Arcadian Broad and Ashley Baszto. (Photo by Ariella Noelle Photography)

Svetlana Svinko and Lorenzo Pontiggia from Cleveland Ballet are this year’s dancers in the roles of Kitri and Basilio, and Frank Borg returns in the comic role of Sancho Panza.

Costumes, props, pointe shoes worn by OBT company dancer Hadley Kaufmann and even the original miniature stage art model set made by John Iacovelli.

In addition to bringing this historical ballet to the stage in Edmonds, OBT is taking a display of production materials to the Edmonds library as part of the community outreach efforts to introduce the art of ballet and the classic novel Don Quixote to the public. Visitors at the Edmonds Library can enjoy viewing sparkling tutus and toreador costumes, fun props, and a miniature stage model complete with a sketch of every backdrop.

“We hope to bring this wonderful story to more families in our community and get kids excited about the performing arts,” said Gorboulev and Vinson.

Tickets range from $29-50 and can be purchased here or at the box office 425-774-7570.

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‘She Marches in Chinatown’: a documentary


11 a.m.-noon Saturday, May 11, Mountlake Terrace Library, 23300 58th Avenue West, Mountlake Terrace

See the local documentary that is winning awards in film festivals worldwide!

In 1952, Asian American girls had no extracurricular activities until Ruby Chow created the Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Team — the only one of its kind in the world – combining traditional Chinese opera costumes with American military-style drills.

Despite gentrification, Title IX and a global pandemic, 70 years later the drill team continues to define, represent and celebrate the evolving Asian American experience of its dedicated multigenerational participants.

A Q&A with Della Chen, the director, will follow the 33-minute film. See here for more information.

Presented in partnership with the City of Mountlake Terrace and the DEI commission.

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The Sno-King Community Chorale to perform ‘The Drop that Contained the Sea’ at Benaroya Hall

2 p.m. Saturday, June 15, Benaroya Hall, 200 University Street, Seattle

As the title of this beautiful contemporary work suggests, Christopher Tin brings to life the realization of a Sufi concept: Just as a single drop of water contains the essence of the entire ocean, inside every human being is the essence of all humanity.

“Each movement is inspired by water in a different form, arranged in the order that water flows through the world: melting snow, mountain streams, rivers, the ocean, and so forth,” Tin said. “Each of the ten movements is sung in a different language, exploring different vocal traditions.”

Experience this musical journey with the Sno-King Community Chorale, led by Dustin Willetts. The Edmonds-based choir usually performs at ECA, but this spring, they’re going big with the program at Benaroya.

The choir features guest soloists alongside the newly formed Salish Sea Orchestra, comprising over 50 members. The performance will be a collaborative effort with the Kulshan Chorus from Bellingham, the Cantabile Chamber Choir from Mount Vernon, and special guests from the Bellevue High School Chorale and Treble Ensemble.

Tickets can be purchased online, by phone at 206-215-4747, and in person at the Benaroya Hall Ticket Office on the corner of 3rd Avenue & Union Street. Ticket office hours are Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday 1-6 p.m.

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Gene Openshaw author event: ‘Michelangelo at Midlife: Chasing the Tomb of Julius 11’

Noon Saturday, June 1, Barnes and Noble, 19401 Alderwood Mall Parkway, Lynnwood

Gene Openshaw is a longtime coauthor and partner of travel guru Rick Steves and has released his first Historical Fiction work, Michelangelo at Midlife: Chasing the Tomb of Julius II. Openshaw, who wrote all of Rick Steves’ travel guides, will also take questions from fellow travelers.

From Florence to Paris to Rome, a man crisscrosses Europe in search of Michelangelo’s most notorious work: a grandiose tomb for an egotistical pope. He teams up with an intriguing Italian woman and together, they discover how Michelangelo’s grand plans slowly got whittled down over the years until he sank into deep depression … an epic midlife crisis.

With its compelling fictional throughline and 180-color images, Michelangelo at Midlife is a fast read for lovers of travel, art, history and romance.

— By Elizabeth Murray

Elizabeth Murray is a freelance writer thankful to call Edmonds home. When she’s not busy wrangling her two kids (and husband), you can find her playing ukulele. She can be reached at

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