Genre Bender

Poet Meets Filmmaker/Musician: Sarah Galvin and David Nixon

David Nixon; Sarah Galvin, photo by Lauren Max


Calling Sarah Galvin a poet and David Nixon a filmmaker/musician may be accurate on paper, but to think too hard about the proper nomenclature is to miss the forest for the trees—redefinition comes naturally to artists unconcerned with convention.

Whatever the medium—poetry, prose, music, animation—both Galvin and Nixon mine their lives for their art, always with a sidelong glance and a sense of humor, lightness blended with dark. So it makes sense that at their first Genre Bender meeting they “exchanged eerily similar childhood stories, compared eerily similar tattoos and cracked each other up,” Galvin says.

At the Dec. 2014 book launch for Galvin’s The Three Einsteins, which City Arts’ Rich Smith called “the funniest book of poetry in the world,” she turned a poetry reading into an all-out art spectacular, sharing the stage with bands and drag queens and readers and writers of all stripes. She freelances for The Stranger, is a member of the Seattle-based cycling group Dead Baby Biker Club, once directed an award-winning amateur porno for the Stranger’s HUMP! festival and maintained a blog called the Pedestretarian, where she reviewed food found on the street. Shaking out the stuffiness of so much modern poetry, the sense of high-octane personal risk that leads her to explore abandoned houses permeates her poems, like “Victorian Ladies”:

“If a well-dressed Victorian lady burst out of the floor in your basement and said, ‘Excuse me, can I ask you a question?’ would you call poison control about the bottle of Robitussin you just drank? Would poison control call you, and tell you you’re smart and your hair looks good? Because I would. You should take off your shirt.”

Nixon is an artistic renaissance man (and member of our 2013 Future List), whose years creating multi-disciplinary theatre work and playing in bands like cabaret/performance art-flavored “Awesome” and alt-bluegrass trio The Half Brothers gave way in more recent years to a new mode of storytelling: filmmaking. The results are his peculiar, poignant animated musical films; The Shelf about his brother and Bladfold about his father, a straight arrow who became the charismatic leader of a Japanese sect of Buddhism in 1970s Seattle. His 2013 tenure as a Town Hall Scholar in Residence culminated in the cross-pollinating talk, “Thoughts About the Meaning of Life (and Death) from a Philosopher Who Just Became a Dad.”

As for their Genre Bender 2015 performance? We’re expecting the unexpected.

Galvin and Nixon stage their work for two nights only Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7 at Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center. Advance tickets are $20, but they’re $30 at the door. Join us Saturday night and stick around for an after-party with music from DJ Topspin.

Get to know the other Genre Bender duos! 

Photographer Steven Miller and theatrical powerhouse Sarah Rudinoff
Conceptual artist C. Davida Ingram and musician Hanna Benn
Rapper Raz Simone and multimedia artist Justin Roberts
Vocalist okanomodé and aerialist Lara Paxton