Issaquah memorable moments from 2012 entertain, educate
December 25, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
Entertainment came to Issaquah in some surprising forms throughout 2012.
Besides the usual retinue on the page, stage and screen, a documentary peeled back the layers at Costco and big-name authors signed books for local readers.
The city hosted celebrities, spotlighted residents on the national stage and celebrated big debuts in recent months. The boldface names earned cred through stints on reality TV, titles on bestseller lists and hardware aplenty — a Tony Award, a National Book Award.
Reality TV plugs in local contestants
Lindzi Cox pursued “The Bachelor” and Lizzie Parker competed for the title “Fashion Star” as local women added grace to reality TV contests.
Cox, a 2003 Liberty High School grad, competed against 24 other bachelorettes to win a rose from the titular bachelor, Ben Flajnik, and reached the final round on the ABC dating game.
In the end, however, Flajnik proposed to bachelorette Courtney Robertson rather than Cox. (Flajnik and Robertson broke up after filming concluded and as the series aired, and then reunited, but split again in October.)
Parker, a Gilman Village shopkeeper and Sammamish resident, earned attention from fashionistas on the NBC reality TV competition.
In the debut episode, Parker scored a clothing deal with Macy’s after her asymmetrical, jersey tunics, featuring a single capelike sleeve, earned praise from Macy’s buyer Caprice Willard.
Documentary demystifies Costco’s appeal
Issaquah-based Costco sells $4 billion in produce, almost $2 billion in televisions, 55 million rotisserie chickens, 2.6 billion gallons of gasoline and 3 million pairs of eyeglasses each year.
The eye-popping numbers led CNBC to peek behind the scenes at the largest warehouse club chain on the planet for the documentary “The Costco Craze: Inside the Warehouse Giant.”
Carl Quintanilla examined how Costco expanded to 600 stores and $93 billion in annual sales by attracting affluent customers and shoppers on a budget. The documentary also explores the “Costco Effect” — the tendency of members to succumb to discounts and buy more than expected.
Bestselling authors greet local readers
Meanwhile, in another Costco effect, bestselling authors headed to the flagship warehouse throughout the year.
Timothy Egan, a correspondent for The New York Times and a National Book Award winner, came to Issaquah to promote “Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher” — a biography of 19th century Seattle photographer Edward Curtis.
The list of authors signing books at Costco amid the oversized containers of cashews and rotisserie chickens included, appropriately enough, Food Network star and celebrity chef Giada de Laurentiis and seminal Seattle chef Tom Douglas.
Lee Child, the author behind the Jack Reacher series, stopped at Costco to promote the latest entry into the Reacher canon — “The Affair” — months before Tom Cruise starred as the character on screen. “Jack Reacher” the film opened Dec. 21.
Library marks page-to-screen changes
Other blockbuster novels transitioned from the page to the screen, and the Issaquah Library hosted bashes to celebrate “The Hunger Games” and “The Hobbit” franchises.
Imagine “The Hunger Games” as a mishmash of “Survivor” and “The X Factor” set in a “Lord of the Flies”-style arena.
Participants joined activities inspired by the book — although nothing as dangerous as the titular games — and nabbed prizes inspired by the book and the film.
The library chose a tamer activity to celebrate the release of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” and invited Middle-earth dwellers over for second breakfast.
Titanic continues to captivate
“Titanic” returned to movie theaters in April, and the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah invited Titanic historian Don Lynch — a consultant on the 1997 film — to discuss the ill-fated ocean liner.
Even a century after the Titanic departed the surface, the disaster — 1,514 passengers and crewmembers perished in the sinking — continues to capture imaginations. Only about 700 people survived the catastrophe.
April 15 marked 100 years since the Titanic tragedy unfolded about 400 miles from Newfoundland.
In the mid-1990s, as Cameron prepared for a film about the Titanic’s last hours, the “Aliens” and “The Terminator” director turned to Lynch’s “Titanic: An Illustrated History” as a reference. Lynch later descended to the Titanic shipwreck in August and September 2001.
Lynch’s visit prompted Jill Carrizales and daughter Jennifer Ramsey — relatives of Titanic survivor Ruth Becker — to travel from Gastonia, N.C., to Issaquah for the discussion.
‘Million Dollar Quartet’ returns to roots
“Million Dollar Quartet” — a multimillion-dollar phenomenon — experienced a homecoming of sorts as the rock ‘n’ roll musical shaped a half-dozen years ago at Village Theatre toured to Seattle.
The show about the “million dollar quartet” — Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis — collaborating for one night at the storefront Sun Records studio, led to successful runs at Village Theatre in Issaquah and Everett, and then in Chicago, New York City and London.
In 2010, “Million Dollar Quartet” garnered a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Musical and a statuette for the piano-pounding Lewis in the Issaquah and New York productions, actor and musician Levi Kreis.
Century 21 goes back to the future
The year marked a half-century since the Century 21 Exposition added the Space Needle to the Seattle skyline and put the Pacific Northwest on the map.
The future envisioned in 1962 resembled something lifted from “The Jetsons” — space-age cool, conveniences galore and optimism as boundless as the cosmos.
Paula Becker and Alan Stein — staff historians for HistoryLink.org, collected memories from the fair in the book “The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and Its Legacy” — appeared at the Issaquah Library to discuss the expo’s impact.
The book unearthed stories from local fairgoers, including the 9 millionth visitor to the fairgrounds, a then-6-year-old girl. The girl nowadays is Paula Jones, a fifth-grade teacher at Sunset Elementary School.
Factitious families lock horns on stage
Village Theatre examined parent-child relationships in the original musicals “It Shoulda Been You” and, more darkly, in “Lizzie Borden.”
The tension at the Steinberg-Howard wedding is as tight as a bridesmaid’s dress in the rom-com “It Shoulda Been You.”
Rebecca Steinberg is about to marry Brian Howard — even if the union between a Jew and a gentile causes heartburn for the Steinberg and Howard clans. But, just before the couple is due to step down the aisle in showy ceremony, Rebecca’s old boyfriend crashes the wedding and asks for another chance.
“Lizzie Borden” delves into a more fractured familial relationship.
Long before Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony turned legal proceedings into media circuses, a comely ax murderess morphed into a cause célèbre.
The musical lifts facts from the court transcripts and adds a rock ‘n’ roll score to Borden’s tale.
Residents sip, shamble downtown
Downtown Issaquah hosted film buffs, oenophiles and, of course, zombies to attract residents to shops and restaurants.
In February, Downtown Issaquah Association leaders launched the First Friday Wine Walk to encourage folks to sip and shop.
Then, in September, organizers rolled out the debut Issaquah Film Festival at Village Theatre’s First Stage Theatre.
Just before Halloween, undead dancers shuffled down Front Street North during the Downtown Zombie Walk.
Unlike the mindless mobs in “The Walking Dead” and George A. Romero flicks, zombies in Issaquah caused more grins than grimaces. The horde shambled to the Issaquah Library to dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Community mourns artist, entertainers
Richard Beyer, creator of downtown Issaquah’s most recognizable sculpture, died April 9 — almost 11 years after a unveiling a life-size piece depicting late City Clerk Linda Ruehle across from City Hall.
The piece depicts Ruehle, ledger in hand, seated atop a bench fashioned from city code books. The late Ruehle served as city clerk for 27 years before she retired in 2001.
Before the Salmon Days Festival turned into a Pacific Northwest icon, organizers turned to a bona fide Pacific Northwest icon — J.P. Patches — in 1970 to lead a parade at the celebration.
Chris Wedes, a.k.a. Julius Pierpont Patches, died July 22 after a long battle against multiple myeloma, a blood cancer.
Disney legend Ginny Tyler — a former head Mouseketeer on “The Mickey Mouse Club” and a noted voice artist — died July 13 in Issaquah.
Tyler maintained a lifelong pride in TV and film roles for Disney after succeeding Annette Funicello on “The Mickey Mouse Club.”