Sunday, September 23, 2012

The 2012 Stranger Genius Awards

Publisher Tim Keck and editor Christopher Frizzelle
I'm not sure,
but I think I've
received an
invitation to
every Stran-
ger Genius Award ceremony since its inception 10 years ago (I believe I got on the list courtesy of former film editor Andy Spletzer).

For the past few years, I've even been getting a VIP invitation, possibly because I've been blogging for The Stranger. Sadly, the 2012 edition marks only the second time I've been able to attend, and I'm glad I did.

Filmmaker Lynn Shelton looking sharp
I went with former SIFFBlog contributor Steven Fried, and we ran into a few notables from the local arts community, like Northwest Film Forum executive director Lyall Bush, SIFF programmer Maryna Ajaja, Stranger staffer and screenwriter Charles Mudede, Stranger photographer Timothy Rysdyke (who was videotaping the event), and music writer Gillian Gaar (also a former SIFFBlog contributor). 

Director and producer Megan Griffiths
Steven and I
weren't able to
stay until the
end, because
we were plan-
ning to catch the Raveon-
ody's Echo Chamber show afterward (I wrote about it here), but we arrived early for the cocktail party, so it was still a pretty expansive evening. I hadn't eaten dinner beforehand, so I was grateful for the Tamarind Tree hors d'ouevres and Trophy cupcakes. The mixed drinks were good, too, despite cutesy names like The Betty White.

So, we got to enjoy the pre-ceremony festivities: a performance from Retro Verso, a dance piece from Kate Wallich, and a collaboration between cellist Lori Goldston and the Seattle Rock Orchestra.  

Your Sister's Sister director Lynn Shelton, a previous award recipient, then presented this year's statuette to her friend and associate Megan Griffiths (The Off Hours, Eden), while actress Sarah Rudinoff accepted Grady West's theater award on his behalf (I reviewed Eden here).

2004 Genius Award winner Sarah Rudinoff
Best known by
his stage name
Dina Martina,
West was per-
forming in New
York, and Rud-
inoff was ex-
pectedly enter-
taining, but the malaproptastic diva was definitely missed.

I can't claim to know West personally, but I remember when he used to wait tables at The Two Bells. The one time I mentioned his alter ego, he seemed more embarrassed than flattered, possibly because he prefers to keep the two personas separate. 

Because we left at the intermission, Steven and I missed the art, music, and literature awards, which went to ecological designer Sarah Bergmann, Lori Goldston, who played on Nirvana's MTV Unplugged in New York, and Fantagraphics graphic novelist Ellen Forney (Marbles), who has provided a few illustrations for The Stranger over the years.

The League of Geniuses, a panel of past recipients, made their choices from three nominees in each category (The Stranger arts writers selected the finalists). The winners received grants of $5,000 each. To quote Rudinoff, "When you need a new computer, the $5,000 ain't too shabby."  

Click here for Kelly O's Genius Awards photo stream.