performance artist, activist, curator

Sara Porkalob

From the moment you set foot in Seattle, you can feel it: art is everywhere.

The thriving arts scene is a priority in this city—in fact, Seattle has been recognized for having more arts-related businesses and organizations per capita than any other metropolitan area in the U.S., according to Americans for the Arts. Performance artist, activist and curator Sara Porkalob is one of the contributors to this creative city. Read on for a look at the city through her artistic lens.

Q&A with Sara Porkalob

Your work with Intiman Theatre means you spend a lot of time at Seattle Center. What do you recommend there?

Sometimes I forget how much Seattle Center has to offer because I’m inside the theater all the time. But there’s great stuff for kids: the Children’s Theatre, and the Children’s Museum. MoPOP always has fun exhibits. The Festal cultural festivals happen year-round. And I always take out of town guests to the KEXP gathering space, because it gives a good glimpse of what Seattle feels like, with music and coffee.

When you emerge from the theater space, where do you go?

My partner loves being outside, so we go to a lot of parks—Magnuson, Discovery, Seward, Volunteer. I also love walking through Olympic Sculpture Park—you’re by the water, you can see the mountains and the ferries… and from there you can walk or bike all the way to Ballard if you go through Myrtle Edwards Park. It’s also really fun to pack a picnic, rent canoes from UW and paddle around. We have so many hills—that can be a deterrent for people exploring the city. But you’ll see so many more things if you walk up the hills!

Dragon Lady, your autobiographical play, is a cabaret-style musical with a live band. Where do you like to see musicals and other theater?

For big musicals I’d recommend The 5th Avenue Theatre. For smaller cabaret shows, definitely check out the Can Can Cabaret at Pike Place Market. And the Rendezvous [Jewelbox Theater] in Belltown has a lot of cool stuff. The Triple Door has great burlesque—which always makes for a fun night on the town. And Pioneer Square’s Café Nordo—they serve dinner and drinks, there’s live music, people dress up, and it’s always a really fun show.

Any cultural institutions you recommend?

The Wing Luke Museum—as an Asian person, to walk among the actual rooms of people who lived in the boarding house there… wow. But the best way to experience culture is to get out and support small businesses in the neighborhoods. Take Light Rail to Columbia City, in the zip code where more than 50 languages are spoken! Try Banh Mi in Little Saigon, Filipino sweet breads, Indian food, Ethiopian food, Caribbean, Mongolian hotpot. When I think about food I think about community.


Interview by Brangien Davis.
Photo taken at the Rendezvous Jewelbox Theatre.


Sara Porkalob performs a scene from her groundbreaking biographical & original work “Dragon Lady.” A dynamic telling of a Filipina experience escaping mob royalty, surviving, and immigrating to the United States for a new life.



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