West Seattle, Washington
Artist Desmond Hansen was just finishing that portrait on the signal box at the northwest corner of 35th SW and SW Morgan when we saw him and pulled over for a photo. It’s been three days since we first showed you his other creations, painted on signal boxes in Morgan Junction. In a comment on that story, he mentioned he was thinking about painting Bruce Lee, among other Seattle-linked luminaries – and now, he has.
Morgan Junction has joined the ranks of West Seattle neighborhoods with signal-box art. After spotting this work in progress while passing through California/Fauntleroy earlier today, we went back for a photo. The artist is Desmond Hansen; he described the project on Instagram as “donating my time to the community.” In addition to the Jimi Hendrix portrait, he also painted this box one block north:
Friday night at 7 pm, you’re invited to this year’s edition of an annual don’t-miss musical celebration in the auditorium at Chief Sealth International High School – Soul Jambalaya. As announced by longtime music educator, and assistant principal at adjoining Denny International Middle School, Marcus Pimpleton, it’s another stellar lineup:
Soul Jambalaya 2018 will feature some pretty outstanding artists and music ensembles (Clinton Fearon, The Total Experience Gospel Choir, Septimus, and the Native Jazz Trio) in concert with our very own Chief Sealth Jazz Band as we celebrate the contributions of African Americans to the music of the world.
The concert is free of charge, although donations will be graciously accepted to support jazz education and events at Chief Sealth.
It would be really great to have a full audience to support these great artists who are giving so generously of their time to provide our students with an opportunity to enjoy authentic performances of these important music styles. Please consider joining us and inviting friends.
Chief Sealth is at 2600 SW Thistle; the auditorium is on the west side of campus.
If you can’t go to the concert but would like to support the music students, you can do that online too.
(Starr W., Simone S., Zoe P., Tevia & Taytum C., Denise K. singing ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’)
“We’re here to remember, honor, and celebrate Black history and Black culture, which is American culture.”
With that mission, Arbor Heights Elementary students and staff presented songs and stories in an hour-long assembly this past Thursday afternoon. They were each other’s audiences – joined by many parents, too. A big ovation greeted AH staffer Rosslyn Shea, who emceed the assembly (and kindly invited us to cover it).
She explained the backstory of Black History Month – which became a monthlong celebration in 1976, half a century after it began – “a time to remember the struggle, while remembering the accomplishments …” The program, directed and produced by Laura Drake, then began, with the anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (top video). Ms. McAlpin‘s class sang “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around”; then Reyana H. portrayed Sojourner Truth, telling her story of slavery, and marriage with five children.
She was 30 when slavery ended in NY State in 1827. “I began to work with other abolitionists … I was also a strong believer in women’s rights.” Student Artise B., portrayed Frederick Douglass. “It was against the law for slaves to learn to read and write,” but he secretly taught himself.
“Once I learned how to read, I taught other slaves.” He was an adviser to President Lincoln. “A white man’s happiness cannot be purchased by a black man’s misery.”
Ms. Irish‘s class sang “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize.” A poem by Langston Hughes was performed by students Simone D. and Naimo M. Then pilot Bessie Coleman‘s story was told by Mariah R., speaking of achievement despite discrimination.
“I opened the possibility for women of color to become pilots,” though her life was cut short by an airshow-rehearsal accident.
Booker T. Washington, the influential educator, was portrayed by Joaquin L.. “Once I saw white children inside a schoolhouse reading books, that was what I wanted to do.” He ran a school “that is still going strong today.” He closed by reading this quote spiritedly: “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else!” Then Ms. Ciocca‘s class sang “Woke Up This Morning with My Mind Set on Freedom,” and Ms. Amble‘s first-grade class performed to Ella Fitzgerald‘s version of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”
That was followed by Ms. Wilson‘s class with “If You Miss Me at the Back of the Bus.” Then, from even-more-recent history, more historic character portrayals – two trailblazing Black candidates for President, U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm (by Phalestine W.) and Rev. Jesse Jackson (by Zinneddine A.). “What is the American Dream? The American Dream is one big tent.”
Two third-grade classes sang along with Sly and the Family Stone‘s “Everyday People” – “Sometimes I’m right, I can be wrong …” they raise their index fingers on the chorus.
“Love’s in Need of Love Today” by Stevie Wonder was the afterschool program’s presentation, and then “We Shall Overcome” as a closing song, with everyone in the auditorium invited to join in. And on the way out, we stopped to notice student work on the walls:
AH and other Seattle Public Schools are now out for a week of mid-winter break, with classes resuming Monday, February 26th.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Language-arts classes filled the WSHS Theater this morning to hear him talk about the writing life.
Teacher Sean Riley, who invited us too, said introducing Whitehead was “like a dream come true,” recalling speaking at a conference last year and getting stuck in a “real rant” of cynicism until he transitioned into a line from Whitehead’s award-winning novel “The Underground Railroad“: “Freedom was a community laboring for something lovely and real.” Riley explained that he feels that “critical thinking paired with hopeful action is a type of freedom.”
Then Whitehead took the podium, telling his own story, wryly.
He was born and raised in Manhattan, describing himself as kind of a shut-in yet not a “sickly child” as the stereotype goes – he “just didn’t like going outside.” He adored Stephen King. He said he hoped to write “the black ‘Shining‘” or “the black ‘Salem’s Lot‘.” But he grew into “more high-brow stuff,” speaking of discovering, for example, Samuel Beckett. In college he “considered myself a writer but I didn’t actually write anything” – he “wore black and smoked cigarettes” – then he tried writing, two 5-page stories, and encountered rejection.
Again this year, we were at Chief Sealth International High School for ninth-graders’ Page-to-Stage poetry performances – group performances of 19 poems, in the four clips below:
As explained in the program for Thursday night’s performances:
The project is a collaboration with classroom teachers Heather Griffin, Gentle McGaughey, Luke Azinger, and Andy Tuller. This semester half of the 9th-grade classes wrote original poetry focusing on a variety of poetic devices. After the writing process, the poems were given to the remainig 9th graders in Ms. Griffin’s, Mr. Azinger’s, and Mr. Tuller’s classes. There, Book-It teaching artists worked with (the) students to analyze and adapt the student poems into scripts for the stage. The adaptations followed the Book-It style of creating dynamic tableaux, and adapting the poems using skills such as vocal expression, repetition, and choral lines. The result is what you will see here … these groups collaborated to create live plays out of the poems – taking them from page to stage.
This is the program’s 18th year at CSIHS; this year’s Book-It teaching artists were Jillian Johnson and Kelly Kitchens.
A West Seattle Junction business is on the move … but not going far. Virago Gallery is moving from 4306 SW Alaska, the space just west of Easy Street Records, to 4537 California SW, where Merryweather (Leisure) Books recently closed.
But don’t look for Virago in its new space just yet – proprietor Tracy Cilona told us today that the remodeling work is just about to get under way and she’ll be moving in this April or May. Meantime, Virago’s current location remains open – and in fact you’re invited to stop in during West Seattle Art Walk tomorrow night, 6-9 pm, for a trunk show and pop-up by Kate S. Mensah.
Thanks to Heather Griffin from the Chief Sealth International High School faculty for sharing the rehearsal photo and invitation:
Ninth-grade students at Chief Sealth International High School are participating in the 17th annual Page to Stage drama-based instruction conducted by Book-It Repertory Theatre. Students have been studying poetry in their Language Arts classes, and have used that work to create a final performance for you to see on Thursday, February 8th, at 7 p.m. We welcome the community to join us in this dynamic interpretation of student-written poems at the Chief Sealth International auditorium.
The auditorium is on the west side of the campus at 2600 SW Thistle. Last year we recorded and published video of 11 of the 23 performed poems – but nothing compares to being there and seeing and hearing for yourself (performers always appreciate an audience, too).
Would you post this on the blog for us?
Today we’re welcoming a new WSB sponsor, Trendy Crafts. New local sponsors get the chance to tell you about their business, and here’s what Trendy Crafts would like you to know:
It all started in 2004, when two friends discovered a shared passion for crafting. As new mothers, the hours for creating were limited. Eventually, with children in school, Julie Rasmussen and Elizabeth Chapman decided to share their love of crafting as an afterschool class at their children’s school. It wasn’t long before requests came in from other schools to teach Trendy Crafts, and a business was born. Over the last five years, Trendy Crafts has continued to expand to many of the elementary schools in West Seattle.
Trendy Crafts inspires children to think creatively, to believe in their artistic vision and to support and encourage each other. We also love to share the joy of crafting in our community and are always looking for opportunities to bring people together to create! We are very excited to bring 5 sessions of summer camp to West Seattle families this summer.
If you have a child that loves to create and craft, a Trendy Crafts afterschool class or summer camp is the place to be. We focus on crafting in a social environment, and the results are projects both kids and parents want to keep! We often have parents tell us that their child loves to craft and they just don’t have time to do it at home (or don’t want the mess). We are passionate about keeping the American Arts and Crafts movement alive and thriving in the next generation.
We see so many transformations through crafting – children boost their self-confidence, and we work hard to foster an environment that is socially supportive for all kids. Adults who craft with us are looking for a social and creative outlet, and we often hear about how they were looking for a way to add more creativity into their lives. A night out with friends that ends with a creation you love is a positive experience.
In the five years that Trendy Crafts has been part of the West Seattle community, we have built relationships with so many families through craft projects. Adults and children alike are looking for creative outlets and we love to provide options. We host birthday parties, adult evening crafting events, and of course our afterschool enrichment classes and summer camps. In the past we have partnered with other West Seattle businesses to host adult craft parties.
Trendy Crafts‘ founders are active in the community, with organizations including CARE.org – to support and empower children around the world – and Girl Scouts of Western Washington, to encourage and inspire girls in our community (you might remember this WSB story). In addition to the very crafty Girl Scout troop that Elizabeth leads, they also volunteer as Cabin Leaders at Camp Chinook every summer.
We thank Trendy Crafts for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.
EC Hughes Elementary is reopening this fall, as the new home for the students and staff currently at Roxhill Elementary, and while the district is doing some renovation work on the city-landmark building, that doesn’t cover everything. We’ve told you before about the project to upgrade its playground; Friends of Roxhill Elementary also have grant money for a mural. Here’s their announcement:
Call for Artists
Request for Proposals for Mural Design at the corner of 32nd Ave SW and SW Holden St in West Seattle
Friends of Roxhill Elementary has received a Neighborhood Matching Fund grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods that includes funding for a mural. We are seeking an artist to create an original small mural at the corner of Holden and 32nd Ave SW, with potential to extend southward along the wall that runs the length of the property on 32nd. This opportunity is open to established artists living in the Seattle/Northwest area. The application deadline is March 1, 2018, with interviews to follow and the final artist selected by April 1, 2018. The selected artist is to complete the mural in summer of 2018. This will be a community-partnered project working with students and community members for inspiration, with installation to take place (also with community assistance) when the weather is suitable.
Roxhill Elementary is moving in fall 2018 to a renovated E.C. Hughes building at 32nd and Kenyon in Southwestern West Seattle. We are using the bulk of the grant to add a playground.
A maximum of $10,000 Commission for the artist selected to realize his/her work, which must include materials and permits, if required.
The neighborhood near E.C. Hughes — specifically along 35th Ave SW between Webster and Kenyon – is changing. It’s becoming more of a connected, human-scale neighborhood, with multimodal transportation that goes beyond people riding along in cars. Activating the space along Holden as it nears the intersection with 35th, as this project would do, can help create an open, inviting sense of identity. Roxhill is a multi-cultural school and community and the artist must reflect that aspect in his/her work.
Through this project, we also want to build a long-range vision for all our kids’ successes. Working together to create a mural that reflects our hopes, dreams and visions for the future can help connect each of us to each other. We will build relationships both within our school and outside our school through connections with our new E.C. Hughes neighbors and other PTAs and collaborative organizations, as well as through coalition building with West Seattle neighborhood groups and media. It is imperative the selected artist view the project as a collaborative one, and focus on building connections in the way the mural is planned and painted. It will be a very public showpiece that reflects and celebrates our multicultural school and community at large.
The announcement continues with information about the site, eligibility, and how to apply – see it on the Friends of Roxhill site. The deadline for applications is March 1st.
(WSCO photo: Wind Symphony in concert, December 2014)
The West Seattle Community Orchestras have this invitation for you:
West Seattle Community Orchestras (WSCO) officially started the spring session (last week), leading up to performances planned for March and May. All musicians are welcome!
There are still openings in the following groups:
· Student Strings: Open to students through grade 12. Taught by a professional coach. FREE!
· Adult Beginning Strings: Also taught by a professional coach. Nominal fee. Haven’t you always wanted to play the viola? How about string bass??
· Wind Symphony: Think advanced concert band. There are spots for all instruments, but especially welcome are trumpets, trumpets trumpets! Student musicians FREE of charge; adults nominal fee.
· Debut, Intermediate, and Symphony Orchestras: Openings for strings and various other instruments especially including percussion.
For more info, please check out our website, or contact WSCOrchestras@gmail.com.
5:55 PM: Just a reminder – as first noted here on Wednesday, a commercial-production film crew is working in The Junction tonight, and traffic is being stopped intermittently on California SW between SW Oregon and SW Alaska as a result. We just arrived for a firsthand look and also noted that the traffic stops also involve SW Alaska at California (photo above). As the production scout had told us, the crew (from locally based StraightEIGHT) is “filming a car” being driven on that block – repeatedly. That’s what we’ve seen so far; we’re also checking to see how long they plan to work (the permit runs until 11 pm).
6 PM: Just talked to the scout who had first contacted us, Dave Drummond, who’s on site with the crew, answering bystanders’ questions, etc. – he says they’ll likely be done between 9 and 10 pm. (And while they’re filming a car, it’s not a new car – (added) see photo above – and not a car commercial.)
Again, this is not a continuous traffic stop – and the road has reopened for long stretches between shooting sequences – but if you’re Junction-bound in the next few hours, just be aware you might encounter one of the stops.
10:08 PM: Just went back to The Junction to check; the crew is indeed packing up.
(WSB file photo)
As mentioned in our coverage of the Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s recent meeting, organizers of the ANA-presented Summer Concerts at Hiawatha are gearing up to plan this year’s series. This announcement is just in from Stephanie Jordan:
The Admiral Neighborhood Association (ANA) is now accepting performer submissions for our 2018 Summer Concert Series at Hiawatha Park!
The ANA Summer Concert Series at Hiawatha is a free, family-friendly outdoor concert event held outside the Hiawatha Community Center on Thursday evenings in the summer. The series is produced by the Admiral Neighborhood Association in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation, the Associated Recreation Council, and through the generous sponsorship of community businesses. Last year’s lineup can be viewed on the ANA website.
We are seeking performers for the following dates: July 19th, July 26th, August 2nd, August 9th, and August 16th.
Interested artists should provide:
1. a brief description of your musical style
2. links to website/music/video or other resources that will help us know your music better
3. contact information, including email
4. your fee for a 90-minute set
5. preferred dates (and any dates you are unavailable)
Please send all information to HiawathaConcerts@gmail.com . The committee will accept submissions through February 28th, 2018.
If you or your business is interested in sponsoring the 2018 ANA Summer Concert Series at Hiawatha Park, please contact Dave Weitzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would also love to hear from community members! Tell us what you’d like to see more of, recommend your favorite performer or style of music, or just say hello!
You are welcome to comment below with recommendations, and/or e-mail the same address mentioned above – HiawathaConcerts@gmail.com – to reach Stephanie and the committee. This will be the 10th year for the series, launched in 2009!
She just might be the most famous librarian ever – she even inspired an action figure. Tomorrow night, Nancy Pearl (above right) will be in West Seattle, appearing in the next edition of WordsWest Literary Series, 7 pm (Wednesday, January 17th) at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor). Pearl and poet Susan Landgraf are this month’s headliners. The theme, as described in WordsWest’s announcement, is “‘Broken Promises — Resolutions, Riots, and Repair,’ an unearthing of the stories that lie under promises made to loved ones and to the land, promises abandoned, and the incremental mending.” Pearl has recently added “novelist” to her resumé, with the publication of “George and Lizzie.” Landgraf’s most-recent poetry collection is “What We Bury Changes the Ground.” You can read the full announcement in our calendar listing. Susan Rich, one of WordsWest’s curators, says they’ll also be collecting donations at the event (for which admission is always free) for C & P’s down-payment crowdfund.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Consider last Monday: She read two poems at the inauguration ceremony for four citywide elected officials, including West Seattle-residing City Councilmember Lorena González (click the image to see and hear via YouTube):
That same day, she started her fourth year working at Denny International Middle School, teaching poetry to Spanish-immersion students, a four-week series in conjunction with the Jack Straw Cultural Center, where the students will record their poems at the end of the series. Some will be set to music this year, with the help of a guitarist.
The next day – this past Tuesday – she was at Seattle University, teaching a composition class.
Next Wednesday (January 20th), she’ll be at Elliott Bay Book Company, for a reading from her new book “Killing Marias: A Poem for Multiple Voices,” with a classical guitarist who has set eight of her poems to music: “I was floored by what she did – it’s incredible.”
But of all the events on her busy schedule, the biggest will be at 7 pm January 31st, when she officially becomes our state’s new Poet Laureate, succeeding Tod Marshall (who himself followed West Seattleite Elizabeth Austen), in a “passing of the laurels” ceremony during a reading event at the Central Library downtown.
This comes close behind the conclusion of her term as Seattle’s first Civic Poet.
One BIG beach party is in the works for Alki this summer … seven months away, but that’s not too far off for you to save the date. Legendary Sub Pop Records just shared the news with us so we could share it with you:
To celebrate 30 years of releasing somewhat well-regarded records, CDs, and tapes, Sub Pop Records is hosting an entirely FREE event we’ve taken to calling SPF30. Sub Pop’s 30th Anniversary Party (with entertainment) will be held Saturday, August 11th, 2018, along incredibly scenic Alki Ave. in the Alki Beach neighborhood of West Seattle. …
SPF30 is altogether FREE and will have… Bands! A record fair-type event! A host of local nonprofit organizations! Food! Booze! (The food and beer and wine and soda or whatever, you will have to pay for! These parts are not free!) Good times and opportunities to embarrass yourself and those who’d always hoped for better for you! Plus, bands!
Sub Pop’s 30th Anniversary Party (with entertainment) at Alki Beach
Saturday, August 11th, 2018
Noon – 10 pm
For FREE / For YOU
Which bands? Of course you’d ask that. Too soon to say, Sub Pop tells us. But they want you to save the date and be ready to celebrate with them on (have you memorized the date yet?) August 11th. We’ll have updates in the months ahead.
Tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday nights (January 10, 11, 12), you have an extra entertainment option: This year’s West Seattle High School Drama Club student-directed production, the romantic-comedy thriller “Killjoy” by Jerry Mayer, directed by Kimberly Le. Just show up at the WSHS Theater (3000 California SW) in time for the 7:30 pm curtain – $10 at the door.
The Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition usually meets on first Tuesdays – but not tonight, given the proximity to the holidays. However, WWRHAH is helping coordinate these two special upcoming community discussions that you’re encouraged to be part of. First – imagine more events in Roxhill Park!
On Tuesday, January 9, from 6:30 to 7:30 at Southwest Library, we’ll join Parks Commons and Arts in Parks Coordinator Randy Wigner to discuss ways Roxhill Park could be a good location for this program. The goal of the Parks Commons Program is to develop community capacity and civic engagement in event production, and the program is assigned to parks that experience long-term public safety issues and where those issues would be improved by increased community use of these parks. We’ll discuss park needs and if the program is a good fit.
Next – looking ahead to the RapidRide H Line, but not about the buses or routing:
On Thursday, January 18, community members and kids are invited to join artists from Oakland’s WowHaus studio for a discovery walk to help inform art projects coming to our neighborhood as part of the redevelopment of the 120 into the Metro Rapid Ride H line. Around 2:30 pm, we’ll meet at Roxhill Elementary under the main entry awning, then walk over to the 26th and Roxbury stop and hop on the 120 bus to the stop at Trenton and Delridge (so bring your bus fare). Members of the public can also meet at between 3:30 and 4 at the corner of Delridge and Henderson (where the largest concrete triangle is located in the right-of-way), and join the walk from there. What ideas do you have? Join us and share! Learn more about our selected artists here.
“Jeff Ament is known for being the bassist for Pearl Jam, but his story goes much deeper than that. He doesn’t do many interviews, and none go this deep.” That’s how podcaster Mike Powell introduces his brand-new audio interview with fellow West Seattleite Ament. As noted when we featured Powell’s podcast with another well-known West Seattleite last Labor Day, he usually focuses on action sports, but on occasion there’s synergy with people best known as leaders in other industries, and so it went in this case – though their conversation turned to skiing and snowboarding among other things. You can listen via the embedded player above, or by going to this page on Powell’s website.
You’ll soon see that poster around West Seattle – it’s the official poster for the West Seattle Art Walk first-quarter dates (first Thursdays as usual – January 11, February 8, March 8), featuring art by George Perrou. Every quarter, there’s also a venue map/list, of retailers, galleries, restaurants, etc. that agree to be open late that night while hosting an artist and/or offering food/drink specials to make it a more-memorable night for folks out exploring West Seattle. Wherever you are on the peninsula, there’s still time to get on that list for the first-quarter Art Walk nights if you do it here no later than New Year’s Eve (Sunday)!
We weren’t surprised to find a store-and-café-filling crowd at Easy Street Records tonight for kinder-rock star Caspar Babypants – but there was something – someone – unexpected during our visit – when CB played “Pop Goes the Weasel.”
He introduced a saxophone soloist as only “Max the Weasel” – see and hear in our video:
Quite coincidentally, and unrelated to tonight’s show, we realized later, we had heard about Max just a day earlier.
He’s Max Czerwinski, a West Seattle High School senior and participant in the school music program, whose director Ethan Thomas e-mailed us Friday to point out that Max had spent an hour last week as a guest jazz DJ on KNKX radio. Here’s the link, including the show, and Max’s musings – even his playlist. As for how Max wound up playing with Caspar Babypants tonight – he told us they met outside Safeco Field when Max was busking, and talked about the collaboration over time. (Our archives also show he was one of the student buskers who played in spots including outside Easy Street to raise money for a new tuba.)
P.S. Tonight’s show at Easy Street was part of West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays.
HH happenings continue tomorrow at the Farmers’ Market with free Santa Trolley rides and the cocoa and coat drive, 10 am-2 pm.
Though winter hasn’t officially begun (solstice is next Thursday morning), we already have a reason to think summer: We’re halfway between this year’s West Seattle Garden Tour and next year’s WSGT. And tour organizers have launched the annual art competition:
West Seattle Garden Tour’s annual search for talented local artists is under way! Your creative interpretation of the theme “The Art of Gardening” could win you prominence on the 2018 garden tour poster and ticket book, a spot in the West Seattle Art Walk, and $500 in prize money! Artwork must be submitted online by January 26, 2018. Get all the details at westseattlegardentour.org/artwork-competition.
Since its inception in 1995, West Seattle Garden Tour (WSGT) has been one of the premier garden tours in the Northwest, as well as a fundraiser for local non-profits. WSGT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organized by a group of dedicated volunteers who meet every month to produce the tour. Annually the WSGT donates approximately $25,000 to local beneficiaries promoting horticulture, education and the arts. The next tour is on Sunday, June 24, 2018.
2017’s winner was Sarah Mottaghinejad.
‘Tis the season for holiday/winter concerts, especially this week, with many local school groups performing in the nights before winter break. Last night at Hope Lutheran School, it was a full house for the “Sounds of Winter” concert by groups from Hope and nearby Seattle Lutheran High School.
We stopped in toward the start of the concert. Above, the Hope Concert Band opened the night; our top photo and our video below feature the Hope Chapel Band/Choir:
Also performing, the SLHS Band and Hope’s Handbell Choir and Glee Club. We’re told some of the Hope musicians will also be performing at the Senior Center of West Seattle this afternoon.
P.S. See the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide for more music (and other events/info)!