By Sally Gracie
Whether you’re fond of the murder mystery genre or you’re not, you’ll enjoy Murder by the Book, continuing this weekend at The Merc Playhouse in Twisp, Thursday (Oct. 23) through Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Don’t expect Miss Marple here. Murder by the Book shakes the polite mystery by its heels, giving a bookish cast of characters free reign over the investigation. When a murder is committed, no one calls the police. Each character has the credentials — or thinks he or she does — to solve any crime or discover any motive without a detective. The players are Danbert Nobacon, Laurelle Walsh, Don Fitzpatrick, Michael Carmichael and Emily Doran.
Be prepared to pay attention to the witty dialogue and plot twists along the way to a surprising outcome.
A metal boat filled with debris from the river and a collection of rusty old truck and car parts — bumpers, hoods, and doors — formed a curious outdoor gallery at Sunday’s Phoenix Festival at TwispWorks.
This gallery introduced “RIP RAP 2015,” a joint project of Methow Arts and Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation (MSRF). Several local artists will win commissions to create public art from the automotive junk removed from the Methow River.
Chris Johnson, MSRF project director, told me that the trucks and autos had been used as rip rap — rocks or other material used to armor the shorelines — after the Methow River floods of 1948 and 1972.
The unusual rip rap has been removed because it has done its job, Chris told me. Chris also said he had to play detective before the project could go forward. Titles of these vehicles had to be searched before the sheriff OK’d their removal — not an easy task as most were manufactured in the 1950s or earlier.
Expect complete information about the competition at methowarts.org next week.
Family Vibe — Josh, Tara, Fletcher and Forest Rickabaugh — was all reggae music on the Side Stage when I arrived after
4 p.m. Their sounds added to the celebratory mood of a crowd ready to shout, “We’re Done Burning, Man.”
Besides the two music stages, the Share Room was probably the most-visited attraction. In this gallery, artists shared paintings, photographs, sculpture, prose and poetry inspired by the fires and floods. Most of the artists will donate either half or all of the sale prices of their work to Methow Valley Long Term Recovery.
Susan Speir, who lost her Finley Canyon home to fire, created two mixed-media pieces with metal and glass she recovered from the burn site. She also shared relics from the fire, including her grandmother’s toaster and treadle sewing machine. Nicole Ringgold shared her personal prose reflections on the loss of her home in the Rising Eagle Road Fire. Tamra Jennings created a creature worthy of its title, “Beast of Fire,” from charred shrub, clay and glaze.
The Share Room was created as a one-day thing, but I hope the work that wasn’t sold will find its way into other exhibits.
Ginger and Don Reddington’s Benson Creek home escaped the fires but their property felt the full effects of the floods. Ginger captures the rocky desolation of her flooded property, the heat of the fires, and the bravery of firefighters in a dozen or so canvases with titles like “Start Over” and “So Hot, So Fast.” If you missed her tent at the festival, Ginger’s fire and flood paintings are now on display at Twisp River Pub.