West Seattle, Washington
(Timothy Brock’s video invitation to Tuesday’s event, courtesy of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The last time composer/conductor Timothy Brock was onstage in West Seattle, he was a WSHS student, performing with one of the school’s musical groups.
During his years at the school, he was involved with them all – band, orchestra, stage band, chamber orchestra, choir – he recalled during a conversation this week outside the Admiral Theater, where he’s headlining the next fundraiser for restoration of the moviehouse’s historic circa-1942 murals:
At 6:45 pm next Tuesday night (July 25th), he will be onstage just a few blocks from his alma mater, in a multifaceted event explained by the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, which is leading the mural-restoration fundraising campaign:
This exciting evening – to last more than three hours, with an intermission – will start with Timothy Brock being interviewed by his childhood friend, West Seattle’s Dave Beck, a host at KING-FM and longtime former KUOW-FM host.
Brock will reminisce with Beck about their West Seattle upbringing and discuss the fascinating process of scoring silent classics. (Brock earned the label of “Silent-Film Music Guru” from Vogue magazine in May 2016.)
Interspersed will be stills and clips from silent films that Brock has scored. Following an intermission, Brock will introduce the screening of the Charlie Chaplin feature “Modern Times,” for which Brock has restored and re-recorded the original 1936 Chaplin score.
This isn’t Brock’s first trip back home – far from it. His mom and sister live in this area. His oldest son lives in Olympia. That’s where Brock moved at age 18, leaving West Seattle, and eventually spending more than a decade conducting the Olympia Chamber Orchestra. Olympia is where he says most of his “silent-film experiments” were initiated, but he now lives in Europe, where there is more of an appreciation for what he specializes in – composing scores for silent films. And it’s not just an appreciation from the spectator standpoint; Brock explains that silent-film history is taught, and in France, there’s even a program to teach silent-film composition.
His path toward his unique career started with a visit to the now-gone Granada Theater (south of The Junction) at an early age. “I actually came back and said to my mom, ‘this is something I would really like to do – play piano and make music for really old films’. She didn’t know I meant silent films. (I explained), ‘no, these don’t have any words at all, just words (onscreen) and music’. She’s been worried about my career ever since.”
He was age 10 when that interest was kindled. At 23, he was commissioned to write his first silent-film score, for “Pandora’s Box,” a film by G.W. Pabst. Since then, he says, he’s written on average one silent-film score a year. He just completed one for Fritz Lang‘s 1929 “Frau im Mond (Woman in the Moon),” a three-hour science-fiction film that he says was the first of its kind. The premiere was last April. He’s now writing a violin concerto for the BBC Symphony, to premiere next season, in 2018-2019.
So what’s it going to be like, to be onstage at The Admiral next Tuesday? we asked.
“It’s the most bizarre feeling to see your name on the marquee of a theater you grew up with,” Brock acknowledged. But also – “It’s great. It’s a little like coming back home and playing for your friends … talking with family and friends about what it is that you do.”
We asked how he views the importance of what it is that he does – Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals recorded Brock’s answer on video:
As you can hear in the video, he listed several reasons – “It’s part of our heritage, specifically for Americans, too … an art form that has obviously died out,” as have most of the people who performed as silent-film musicians. So many of them, Brock explained, performed in symphony orchestras as well as the theater orchestras that played the silent-film accompaniment. And now – “It’s a matter of keeping that art up, learning the craft, teaching it to future generations. One of the reasons I live in Europe is that orchestras of middle- and high-caliber program silent films as part of their seasons.”
The music itself, he added, is of great historical value, with work by composers such as Shostakovich “who liked the idea of writing for this [then-]new art form. … It needs to be kept alive.” Brock’s work includes the silent-film programs for the New York Philharmonic: “It’s important just like any period performances of baroque or Middle Ages [etc.] music.”
And his early music education at West Seattle High School helped lay the groundwork for his one-of-a-kind career. In our conversation, he listed “some fabulous teachers,” including Donn Weaver, who recently retired as director of the West Seattle Big Band.
So come to The Admiral on Tuesday night to see and hear how one of your former West Seattle neighbors is preserving and enhancing film and music history, while contributing to the preservation and restoration of the theater’s historic murals. Tickets are $20 and you’ll want to buy yours online ASAP – go here and choose “Modern Times” at the bottom of the page. (There’s also a $100 VIP opportunity, to meet and talk with Brock and Beck at 5:30 pm.)
8:35 PM: They happen more often late at night or early in the morning, but several readers have reported hearing a big boom in the Charlestown/Genesee area within the past half-hour. All we know is that there are no fire or medical calls anywhere in the area – no power outages, either (one person thought it might have been a transformer) – if you know exactly where it happened and/or what it was, hopefully you already have called 911.
11:11 PM: In a comment below, Stephanie says the blast was from fireworks.
One more preview before the West Seattle Grand Parade arrives tomorrow (Saturday, July 22nd)!
WHERE TO WATCH: Really, anywhere along the route. If you watch in The Junction, you’ll see the Kiddie Parade (11 am, southbound from California/Genesee) and you might hear the announcements (California/Alaska) too. If you watch near the start of the route, there’s a shady slope area along the west side of Hiawatha, and if you arrive early, you can walk around and see “behind the scenes” as parade participants line up and practice, and parade coordinators do their work to be sure everyone’s where they should be. With motorcycles taking off around 10:30, here’s what to expect, where, at 11 am, if all is going according to plan, says parade co-coordinator Jim Edwards:
Genesee St: Kids Parade
Andover St: Seattle Police Motorcycle Drill Team
Hinds St: Vancouver Police Motorcycle Drill Team
Lander St: Honor Guard
There are still some construction sites between the Admiral and Alaska Junctions, and some sites where construction has wrapped up since last year. So scout your spot early.
DANCING DOWN THE ROUTE: Joyas Mestizas (file photo above) will be back.
BE TRUE TO YOUR SCHOOLS: They’ll be represented abundantly, including:
Pathfinder K-8 Unicycles (file photo above)
West Seattle High School Cheer Squad
Seattle Lutheran High School Cheer Squad
Kennedy High School Marching Band
AND … Scouts, skaters, Spud (2007 photo above – what will s/he wear THIS year?) … Pirates (remember they’re LOUD), politicians (we may have more county reps than city reps this year), and Potter Construction (parade and WSB sponsor – added, here are Karl and Gary, decorating the truck Friday night:)
… and many others we’re out of time for mentioning – you’ll just have to see for yourself! And remember that the Float Dodger 5K precedes the parade – not too late to be part of it (9:30 pm start from Hiawatha track, 2700 California SW).
PREVIOUS PARADE PREVIEWS (and coverage from the past decade) … scroll through this archive section.
P.S. Even if you’re not going to watch, or be in, the parade and/or 5K … heed the no-parking signs you’re seeing along and near the route … road closures and bus reroutes start early Saturday and should be over by 2.
Artists/designers Jason and Briana are touring cross-country with the Airstream Basecamp trailer they’re standing in front of in our photo, parked right now in front of Click! Design That Fits (4540 California SW; WSB sponsor) in The Junction. Their company is Brainstorm, based in New Hampshire, with prints “inspired by science, nature, and the outdoors”; they won a cross-country trip in the trailer as the prize in a contest to design a wrap for it. They’re chronicling the journey here. Meet them at Click! and check out their pop-up shop until 7 tonight.
(Map from agenda for January 18th City Council committee meeting)
When last the City Council was briefed on the status of the city’s two potential annexation areas, back in January, there was talk that the smaller one – the Duwamish Annexation Area in the South Park vicinity – might go to the area’s 87 voters this summer.
That didn’t happen. And now we’re learning that the proposed Duwamish Annexation is on hold because of a costly issue the city wants the county to address first. That’s according to new information procured by, and provided to WSB by, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s staff.
According to a memo to City Councilmembers from city staff, here’s what the mayor’s office wants to see happen before going any further:
With potential sewer-related costs in the range of $14–$50 million, the Executive has taken a position that the County must address and fund the installation of a sewer system prior to the City pursuing annexation.
According to another memo, this time from the longtime mayoral point person on annexation issues, Kenny Pittman, those issues are primarily in the “Sliver” section of the potential annexation area, where some have septic systems instead of sewer access. Pittman also wrote that King County was told of this two months ago and has not responded. (We’re following up with King County to ask about that.) But Pittman told the council that, independent of the sewer issue, the city was prepared to address public-safety needs in the “Sliver” with SFD responses and SPD patrols, as part of the departments’ work “in the overall South Park neighborhood.”
All this led Councilmember Herbold also to ask about the status of the much-larger proposed annexation of White Center and vicinity (the North Highline area on the map at the top of this story). Her staff was told that whether it moves forward at all will depend on “the position of the new administration” – whoever is elected mayor to succeed Ed Murray. We asked the 14 candidates who were at last Saturday’s Sustainable West Seattle forum at Summer Fest whether they supported annexation; the prevailing answer was, if the residents want to be annexed. That still would require sending a proposal to the area’s 8,600+ voters; the city memo lays out a possible timeline in which City Councilmembers could decide in August 2018 whether to take annexation to North Highline voters in November 2018.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The next major project in the pipeline for the intensively densifying east edge of The Junction has moved on to the second phase of Design Review – two buildings with a total of nearly 300 apartments, plus retail and live-work spaces, at 4722 Fauntleroy Way SW [map] and across the alley at 4721 38th SW.
The sites are being developed together by Legacy Partners, and so were presented together last night to the Southwest Design Review Board. Three of the four current board members – chair Matt Zinski, Don Caffrey, and Crystal Lora – were there, as was fill-in (and former) board member Robin Murphy, and assigned city planner Carly Guillory.
This was the Early Design Guidance phase, which meant the focus was on “massing” – size, shape, placement on site – rather than specific aspects of the design itself. The site has history – it went through two SWDRB meetings when CVS planned a standalone drugstore, under different (potential) ownership and architects; then that plan was scrapped last year. We first reported on the emergence of the new plan last December.
The meeting unfolded with one format change – double the time (40 minutes instead of 20) for the architects’ presentation, since they were covering two sites:
Seagoing sights this morning:
SS PACIFIC TRACKER HEADS OUT: Thanks to Huck for that photo – after almost a week docked in West Seattle, the missile-defense-radar ship SS Pacific Tracker headed out this morning. Here’s our report on its arrival last weekend. The info on MarineTraffic.com doesn’t list a destination.
USNS BENAVIDEZ TO BREMERTON: Thanks to Greg for that photo – visible from West Seattle on its way to Bremerton this morning was the USNS Benavidez, a Military Sealift Command ship that serves as a “dry cargo surge sealift carrier.”
(Belted kingfisher, photographed by Mark Wangerin)
Now through late night, highlights from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
LOW TIDE, WITH BEACH NATURALISTS: Until noon, Seattle Aquarium volunteer beach naturalists are out on Constellation and Lincoln Park shores, to answer your questions as you explore at low-low tide, which is out to -2.4 at 9:47 am.
WADING POOLS AND SPRAYPARK: Open today are Lincoln Park wading pool, 11 am-8 pm; Highland Park spraypark, 11 am-8 pm; Hiawatha wading pool, noon-6:30 pm; EC Hughes wading pool, noon-7 pm. (Find addresses here)
TALK WITH YOUR CITY COUNCILMEMBER: Lisa Herbold has in-district “office hours” 2-7 pm today at the Southwest Neighborhood Service Center (same building as SW Pool and Teen Life Center) – “walk-in friendly” but if you want to schedule in advance, e-mail email@example.com ASAP. (2801 SW Thistle)
THRIFTWAY TENT SALE: First of three days of tent sales at West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) – 2-7 pm. Photo added above (11:54 am) as preparations were under way this morning! (4201 SW Morgan)
JUBILEE DAYS CARNIVAL: The carnival for White Center Jubilee Days is open 3 pm-11 pm at Steve Cox Memorial Park. (1321 SW 102nd)
MEET THE MAKERS AT CLICK! 3-7 pm, Jason and Briana of New Hampshire-based Brainstorm are bringing an Airstream Basecamp trailer (they entered a design contest to create a wrap for it and won a cross-country trip in it!) and their prints, “inspired by science, nature, and the outdoors”, to Click! Design That Fits (WSB sponsor) for a one-day pop-up. (4540 California SW)
FRIDAY NIGHT SKATE: 5:45-7:45 pm at Alki Community Center – details in our calendar listing. (5817 SW Stevens)
MAURICE AND HIS THING: Blues, pop, rock, and “spoken weird,” 9 pm-midnight at Parliament Tavern. $5 cover. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
If you’ve been wondering why the little brick restroom building in the heart of Alki’s sandy beach area has been closed for more than two weeks – here’s an update. It’s from David Takami at Seattle Parks and was forwarded by Alex Clardy from the office of Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who had asked about it because of constituent questions:
The restrooms at Alki Beach Park at Alki Ave. SW and 57th Ave. SW are closed due to the collapse of a sewer line beneath the surface that occurred just before July 4. The restroom building is circled in red on map below. There are signs up at the restroom explaining the closure.
There are two restroom facilities nearby in the park further to the west, one at the Alki Bathhouse and one at 63rd Ave. SW. There is also a restroom in Alki Playground, across Alki Ave. along 59th Ave. SW. Farther away to the east, there are two restrooms, one at the Don Armeni boat ramp and one at Seacrest Park.
In addition, we’ve set up two portable toilets at the site of the closed restroom and one portable outside the Alki Bathhouse. These were set up right after the restroom was closed. Because it’s a busy time of year at a popular park, we’ve increased the frequency of cleaning the portable toilets to once a day, seven days a week. Staff also monitor the portable and other restrooms daily to see if they need more toilet paper and paper towels. (A group that runs beach volleyball tournaments on weekends has set up its own portable toilet – paid by the group – which is open only on tournament days on Saturdays and Sundays.)
We plan to begin the project to repair the broken sewer line as soon as possible. Work will include excavating and repairing the sewer line in the street right of way, replacement of an ADA ramp, and renovation of the restroom.
7:09 AM: Good morning! Again today, it’s been an incident-free morning in/from West Seattle.
REMINDERS FOR SATURDAY: As early as 7 am tomorrow, road closures and parking restrictions start for preparations for the West Seattle Grand Parade and the Float Dodger 5K preceding it. The main closure and parking restrictions are on California between Admiral and Edmunds, but also some side streets to the west and east for staging. Bus reroutes are listed on the Metro alerts page. … In White Center, the Jubilee Days festival will close 16th SW as well as 17th SW between SW 100th and Roxbury, from early Saturday until late Sunday – map and details here.
7:54 AM: A medical response is headed to NB I-5 at 90.
9:50 AM: Jackknifed truck is blocking the road to the SB 509 onramp (and beyond) from Olson/1st hill, per reader text.
11:12 AM: Went through the area a little while ago:
Tow truck on scene of Olson/1st truck jackknife. Downhill traffic slow going. Uphill toward WS/WC not affected. pic.twitter.com/1sKyRmLZFG
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 21, 2017
When the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s mayoral-candidates forum got going on Thursday night, only two of the original six RSVP’d candidates were on the stage at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center – Cary Moon and Mike McGinn. Three had canceled earlier – Jenny Durkan and Jessyn Farrell had doublebooked and were at campaign events, Nikkita Oliver told the Chamber a personal situation had come up. But a third joined in: Bob Hasegawa, a state senator who had been kept late with legislative duty, bounded onto the stage about 17 minutes into the forum.
Pete Spalding, who chairs the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, moderated. You can see the entire hour-and-a-half forum in our unedited video above; what we have written below are key points of the questions and answers, but by no means complete transcriptions.
The forum began with opening statements:
CARY MOON – She started by saying she would snark about the candidates who didn’t show up except that she had bailed on the Sustainable West Seattle forum @ Summer Fest last Saturday (as had Durkan). She said that she is running to do something about the city becoming a place of haves and have-nots. It’s time to make a plan, “discuss it, own it,” she said, to solve problems “with bold solutions,” such as housing affordability.
MIKE McGINN – He started by complimenting the organizers on making the countdown timer more visible than in any forum he’d been to previously. He said that when he took office as mayor in 2009, the economy was in bad shape, but now, while it’s in good shape, he wants to “hold the line on regressive taxes” that he says the current city government seems to see as the solution to everything.
1st question: With all the taxes, and an increasing city budget, how do people know the money is going for what they intended it to go? Moon promised transparency and metrics. “Without that, how can we have public trust?” McGinn talked about “line-item’ing (levies) out to the greatest extent possible” – what are the timelines, what’s been spent, “what’s been produced to date.”
2nd question: What will you do to help small businesses grow and prosper?