PENINSULA PROFILE: Artist brings vitality to variety of endeavors
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Sarah Tucker, wearing a holiday gown she designed and constructed, is poised for the opening of The Loom, one of her latest projects. -- Photo by Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

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THE LOOM, A new nightclub adjacent to Studio Bob, up the stairs at 118˝ E. Front St., will make its debut New Year's Eve.

Loom partners Sarah Tucker, Bill and Sam Calhoun, Dano and Diane Charron, Cindy Elstrom and Bob Stokes are hosts of the party Monday at 8 p.m.

Admission is $7, and the live music will range from reggae to R&B to Latin jazz by the Steve Grandinetti Band.

Food and drink will be available from Cafe New Day of Port Angeles; champagne and party favors will pop round midnight.

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Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — Art Rock. Kids Create. “The 12 Days of New Year's,” twice. The sing-along “Wizard of Oz.” Cafe New Day, after day.

So went Sarah Tucker's activities in Port Angeles between Thanksgiving and Christmas — all while she made plans to open a new downtown entertainment venue.

Tucker is known to families around town for teaching children's art classes, including the Kids Create workshop in holiday card-making at the Port Angeles Library on Dec. 15.

She's also known as an orchestrator of the Art Rock party at Bar N9ne, something she does every second Friday of the month.

Earlier in December, Tucker staged “The 12 Days of New Year's,” a play she wrote and directed for children. She premiered it on the Allé Stage, a venue she opened last summer.

Last month, on the Saturday night after Thanksgiving, she dressed up — in a costume she created of course — as Splenda the Good-ish Witch for the “Oz” sing-along at Peninsula College Little Theater.

Oh, and Tucker works at Cafe New Day, the eatery that opened earlier this year at Laurel and Front streets in Port Angeles.

On the eve of 2013, she'll embark on yet another project, weaving together art and cafe society, Port Angeles-style.

The Loom, a lounge with live music, food and drink, debuts this Monday night with a New Year's Eve party put on by Tucker and her business partners: Bill Calhoun and his wife, Sam, Dano and Diane Charron, Cindy Elstrom and Bob Stokes.

The Loom is the fruit of intense planning in the last half of 2012, Tucker said. Adjacent to Studio Bob, the upstairs art space at 118˝ E. Front St., it will have the Steve Grandinetti Band from Port Townsend ringing in 2013.

The party from 8 p.m. till 2 a.m. will include champagne and party favors for a $7 cover charge, while wine, beer and food will be available for purchase.

Bill Calhoun, who has worked on improvements to The Loom building, says he first spoke with Stokes about such a venue a year ago. But nothing much materialized, Calhoun said, until Tucker transfused a dose of her signature enthusiasm.

Tucker and company also are cooking up January's events at The Loom: music, live and DJ'd; beer and wine; supper fare from Cafe New Day.

“We want to get things going on Thursday nights,” Tucker said. “We're thinking 'easy Thursdays,' when people can come in, have a delicious cup of soup and a glass of wine, and be amused in some way, shape or form.”

Stokes, owner of Studio Bob, has been mightily impressed with Tucker's stagecraft.

This is a woman with the fortitude to further her artistic vision, he said. In Port Angeles, “we just need all kinds of energy like that.”

Tucker laid the path to The Loom with the Allé Stage, the performance space she opened for dancers, spoken-word artists, thespians and singers at Studio Bob.

She produced a reimagined “Macbeth” there just prior to Halloween, did a “Torch Songs” revue in September, and this month brought a cast of youngsters on stage in “The 12 Days of New Year's,” her play about how the new year is celebrated around the globe.

For The Loom, Tucker envisions a similarly multifaceted menu.

In her nearly 13 years in Port Angeles, she has connected with all kinds of fellow artists. There's spoken-word performer Angie Huckstep and DJ Shmeejay, the well-known spinner of musical mixtures, for example. Both are poised to be part of The Loom's offerings.

But how does Tucker balance all of this?

“Caffeine,” is her instant reply. Then comes her backstory.

“Scott makes me a pot of coffee every morning, and he doesn't even drink it,” Tucker said, referring to her husband, who also makes lunches each day for their daughters Zoe, 13, and Celeste, 8.

Like his wife, Scott holds down a day job: at the Clallam County Public Utilities District. He's also deep into the Olympic Dirt Society, the all-weather mountain-biking club he cofounded, and the Northwest Cup races. And he runs his own catering business, cooking up dinners at Harbinger Winery and other venues.

Tucker met him at Cafe Flora in Seattle, where she was a manager and he a cook.

“One day, he asked me what I wanted for lunch,” Tucker recalls, “and I took a good look at him and thought, hmm.”

That was 15 years ago.

Scott brought his sweetheart out to Sequim, where he'd grown up.

The couple knew they wanted to have a family, and as soon as Sarah saw Sequim, she said, “We're moving here.”

She'd grown up in Minnesota and Texas, moving around every few years, first among the suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul, and then in Dallas.

Through high school, she lived with a series of relatives, and then moved to Seattle with her first husband in 1989.

It was a full decade later that Sarah and Scott Tucker came to the Peninsula to start their new life.

“We rented a house in Sequim. I was eight months pregnant,” Sarah remembers of fall 1999.

One October day, Scott got a call from their landlord, whose mother wanted to move in to the house. They had one month to find a new place.

Coincidentally, right after the landlord's call came another. Scott's grandparents phoned to say they had a rental house in Port Angeles; the tenants were leaving.

The Tuckers still live in that little house. They started the Current Cafe, the catering company Scott now runs, while Sarah has taught art classes at the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center and other venues.

She's made films such as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” sewn costumes for the Girdle Scouts burlesque troupe, helped coordinate the Young@Art shows in downtown Port Angeles and co-hosted a community art fair at Hamilton Elementary School.

Today, at a Sunday service in Agnew, Sarah will present “The 12 Days of New Year's” again. This time the show will be part of the 10:30 a.m. service at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 73 Howe Road, a few miles east of Port Angeles. Tucker has served there as children's director of religious exploration, and was asked to do a holiday program, so she put “The 12 Days” together.

“I have always done this,” Tucker says when asked what drives her to take on so much.

Turns out it was a second-grade teacher back in Minnesota who gave the first green light to a girl's creative spirit.

“I was really lucky,” Tucker recalls. “I wrote 'Romeo and Juliet II' — didn't realize there couldn't be a sequel — and my teacher let me practice two hours a day, as long as I put the play on for the second-grade class.”

She did stage her addition of Shakespeare's love story for the school — but then she moved away.

Her 13 years in Port Angeles are the longest Tucker's lived anywhere. And she cannot imagine a life without art: the visual, performing, risk-taking kinds.

The Allé Stage and The Loom are spaces for free expression, for people to come after work to see art made by their fellow community members. Tucker wants Port Angeles to be a town where it's safe to get up on stage and express oneself — whoever you are. She says there are still those, schoolteachers for example, who worry about how they will be viewed if they appear in an experimental theater production.

“I would like to see that fear go away,” says Tucker.

After the opening of The Loom, she has another big Allé Stage project in the works. A modern version of Shakespeare's “A Midsummer Night's Dream,” an utterly messy love story, will materialize in time for Valentine's Day.

For a pair of performances Feb. 14 and 15, Tucker is working with Lauren Johnson of the Shula Azhar bellydance troupe to create the costumes; Johnson will also portray Titania, Queen of the Fairies. Port Angeles actress Manda Lavin will be Hermia and Tim Tucker, no relation to Sarah Tucker, is on board to play Puck.

This is to be a “Dream” propelled by contemporary rock 'n' roll, with actors bursting into song now and again. It's shaping up to be a Sarah Tucker classic, a mix of masterwork and experiment.

“The art world,” she declared, “should be a place to take chances.”

Last modified: December 30. 2012 11:24AM
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