Learn about Northwest noir at the library
September 21, 2010
By Laura Geggel
The wild Pacific Northwest can pull at any artist’s imagination, whether that artist is a painter, writer, photographer or unsuspecting hiker.
The region’s gloomy winters, dense forests, rugged mountains and deep Puget Sound act as an ideal backdrop for mysteries, thrillers, UFO sightings and legends. Ask any “Twin Peaks” fan who has visited the Snoqualmie Valley, or any “Twilight” reader who has journeyed to Forks to see the setting of the novels detailing the lives of vampires and werewolves.
North Bend art historian Susan Olds will present “Northwest Noir: Mysteries, Legends and Landscapes” at 7 p.m. Sept. 28 at Issaquah Library, 10 W. Sunset Way.
Her talk will delve into American Indian legends and art, Sasquatch sightings and stories, and unexplained mysteries, as well as contemporary art and novels set in the Northwest.
Sasquatch, in particular, intrigued Olds.
“What I found interesting is how many sightings have been recorded,” she said. “Loggers and Caucasians have their myths, but it actually goes back to the Native Americans.”
Skamania County, in Southwest Washington, has an ordinance banning Bigfoot hunting.
After doing research for her presentation, does Olds believe in Sasquatch?
“I suspend my disbelief. It’s such a wonderful myth,” she said, but “without any identifiable remains, there is no evidence to prove he really exists.”
Even with a skeptical mind, she had fun researching UFO sightings on Mount Rainier and learning about Princess Angeline, the eldest daughter of Chief Seattle, whose ghost is rumored to frequent Pike Place Market.
With a graduate school degree in art theory and contemporary art, Olds gives art lectures regularly at King County libraries. During her presentations, she invites her audience to ask questions or offer their own interpretations of material.
King County Library System Public Programming Coordinator Deborah Schneider said curiosity for Northwest noir was apparent among Issaquah’s populace.
“Look outside the window,” she said, gesturing toward the gray rain falling outside. “The Northwest is a spooky kind of place.”
Those with library cards can check out books and movies librarians will set out on tables during the free presentation.
“There is a whole interest in paranormal, mysterious things,” Schneider said.
Olds said people might learn something about themselves by coming to the lecture.
“I think you do become a product of your environment, no matter where you are,” she said.
Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 241, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.