West Seattle, Washington
Caspar Babypants is a musician for all seasons. This year his West Seattle shows included Summer Concerts at Hiawatha, SPF30 at Alki, and a holiday-season performance Saturday night at Easy Street Records. It wasn’t an all-holiday program, though – we recorded the timeless “My Flea Has Dogs“:
The not-so-silent night was sponsored by a neighbor from down the block, Verity Credit Union (WSB sponsor), as part of the West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays. CB did at one point add a seasonal touch to his year-round uniform:
Five months after artist Stacey Sterling worked with about 200 people of all ages – toddlers on up – to create that mural, it’s on display in The Junction. A short ceremony was held in the breezeway on the west side of the 4700 block of California SW during last night’s West Seattle Art Walk.
As Junction Association executive director Lora Radford explained, this is the first new mural funded as part of the project to restore the “old” ones.
The other murals on the breezeway walls were recently cleaned and reinstalled.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
An empty-for-a-while South Delridge space is filling up fast with dreams and plans.
Artist Jake Prendez and partner Judy Avitia-Gonzalez are transforming the storefront at 9414 Delridge Way SW into Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery. It will be a place to share, show, learn, explore, and sell art – a place they hope will connect an art-making and art-loving community that is otherwise “fragmented,” scattered around the region.
Nepantla, in the Aztec language Nahuatl, “describes being in the middle or the space in the middle,” explains their flyer about the project, continuing:
The term was popularized by Chicana writer/scholar Gloria Anzaldua. Most often the term references endangered communities, cultures, or genders who, due to colonialism/marginalization or historical trauma, engage in resistance strategies of survival. Nepantla becomes the alternative space in which to live, heal, function, and create.
Jake lives in West Seattle; Judy, in White Center, where she went to high school at Evergreen. She is especially excited about the prospect of workshops for youth: “We didn’t have anything like this,” particularly a place where the area’s growing Latino population can feel welcome.
Creating this space in this area is important to them both. Jake says he was getting offers to take over spaces elsewhere – Columbia City and Beacon Hill, for example – but wanted to hold out for “the perfect space.” This one, he is certain – found by Judy – is it.
And others share his vision. He says a youth arts program he’s been running at the Rainier Cultural Arts Center in Columbia City for Northwest Folklife will move to Nepantla once it’s open, with its 13-to-18-year-old participants in the program, Próxima Generación, meeting every other Wednesday afternoon/evening.
Workshops for adults will be offered too, and collaborative events where people can “work together (and) learn from each other,” Jake says. He also expects new gallery shows each month – focused on marginalized communities – and retail space where locals can sell their work. “Not just my stuff!” he smiles – though his work will bring a national reputation – here’s some of what he showed us during our conversation:
From retail to workshop space, it will all be housed in Nepantla’s ~1,100 square feet (between Fresh Flours and Hoang Kim), as well as some furniture visitors can use to “engage with the space” – armchairs, for example.
Both Jake and Judy have lived in Los Angeles and say their inspiration is from many community spaces they’ve encountered there. And they know Nepantla will evolve “once the community starts engaging.” Already, while it’s still taking its initial shape, “a lot of folks are asking, ‘what can I do?'” Jake says.
One answer: They’re crowdfunding to help cover the cost of the buildout, which is already well under way. A grant from 4Culture is helping too – though the second half isn’t available until they’re open. When we visited earlier this week, they were working on the walls and the floors, and a point of pride for a community space, an all-new restroom.
They hope Nepantla will be open sometime in December. You can help support it by going here.
Most months, you’ll find WordsWest Literary Series bringing writers to C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) on the third Wednesday. This month, however, because of the holiday, the free event is happening on the fourth Wednesday – three days away, 7 pm November 28th! Here’s what’s planned:
Join WordsWest on this special date as three Bellingham writers bring you a feast of words to satiate your post-Thanksgiving hunger for top-notch writing. Bruce Beasley will read poetry, Suzanne Paola non-fiction, and Carol Guess will surprise us with her genre-acrobatics! For the fifth year in a row, our November event will feature a bake sale with 100% of the proceeds given to the West Seattle Food Bank, and a food bank volunteer will share their favorite poem.
Bruce Beasley is a professor of English at Western Washington University and the author of eight collections of poems, most recently All Soul Parts Returned (BOA Editions, 2017).
Carol Guess is the author of nineteen books of poetry and prose, including Darling Endangered, Doll Studies: Forensics, and Tinderbox Lawn. In 2014 she was awarded the Philolexian Award for Distinguished Literary Achievement by Columbia University. She teaches in the MFA program at Western Washington University.
Suzanne Paola’s latest works of nonfiction are Make Me a Mother(W.W. Norton) and Curious Atoms (Essay Press). She is also author of Body Toxic, A Mind Apart, and the novella Stolen Moments. Awards include a New York Times Notable Book, an American Book Award, and an Oprah Bookshelf pick.
Every third Wednesday at C & P Coffee Company, WordsWest hosts literary events that range from readings by published local and national authors, to guided writing explorations. Each month we also host a community member to share his or her favorite poem as part of the Favorite Poem Project. WordsWest is curated by West Seattle writers Katy E. Ellis, Susan Rich, and Harold Taw.
C & P is at 5612 California SW.
Thanks to the reader who messaged us to note that there’s a brief – though altered – West Seattle scene in the video of the newly released song “When Bad Does Good,” by the late Chris Cornell, a former WS resident. The song is part of a new career-retrospective collection including his solo and group work. The video stars his 12-year-old son Christopher as a bicycle-riding newspaper-delivery boy; the Admiral Theater, with an altered marquee, appears 2:18 into the video. Christopher Cornell Jr. is quoted by Consequence of Sound as explaining:
For me, this video represents my dad and all the art he created throughout his life and what his music meant then and what it means now, not just to me and my family but the city of Seattle and all of his fans.
It’s been a year and a half since Chris Cornell died at age 52.
P.S. Our tipster says the words shown on the altered Admiral marquee are from the Soundgarden song “Fell on Black Days.”
Thanks to Lora Radford, executive director of the West Seattle Junction Association, for the photos! Renovation work is done at the Mosquito Fleet mural on the east side of the city-landmark Campbell Building in The Junction. Here’s what it looked like before muralist Bob Henry started work:
As previewed this morning, it’s West Seattle Art Walk night!
Our first stop, Verity Credit Union (4505 California SW; WSB sponsor), where Chris Kelleher is live-painting. He’s scheduled to be there until 8. (You can also catch him Saturday afternoon during the Canna Culture grand opening at 5435 California SW.)
Big show at CAPERS (4525 California SW) – above, Marie Tornow is one of a roomful of artists showing tonight. It’s the second annual Abstract and Ceramics Invitational – also including Christine Olson:
It’s also an invitational – but in this case, for jewelry – at Click! Design That Fits (4540 California SW; WSB sponsor) – with participating artists including Grace Matsumoto:
Every West Seattle Art Walk is cool – but you will want to make sure you don’t miss the next one, the Holiday Art Walk, December 13th!
The photo collage provided by librarian Jane Gibson shows just some of the two-dozen-plus artists participating in this year’s Southwest Artist Showcase at Southwest Library. If you haven’t been by to see their work yet – today is the last full day of the show; the library (9010 35th SW) is open until 8 pm. If you’re a participating artist, SW Library reminds you to please stop by tomorrow, Thursday, or Friday to pick up your work!
Don’t have party plans set yet for this Saturday night? It’s your next chance to have a good time for a good cause. The West Seattle Community Orchestras rely on community generosity to help make it possible for student musicians to play for free. Here are the newest party details:
Rummage through your costume collection and then plan to join West Seattle Community Orchestras (WSCO) for its annual gala fundraiser in support of free participation in our orchestras for student musicians!
The West Seattle Big Band will once again provide music for dancing—and just plain good listening!
Very special items for our silent and live auctions have been donated by our generous supporters. Here’s a small sample:
Canlis | Seattle Shakespeare Theatre | Boehm’s Candy Kitchen | Beer Junction | Chihuly Garden | MoPOP | Kenyon Hall | Seattle Storm | Lake Union Civic Orchestra | PlantAmnesty | Seafair | Countryside Café | Elliott Bay Brewery | Ivar’s| Caffe Ladro | Pagliacci Pizza | Bakery Nouveau
Here’s the agenda:
6:00-7:15: Doors open, cocktail reception, silent auctions, entertainment by WSCO musicians
7:15: Buffet dinner served
7:55-8:40: Live auction, raise the paddle, dessert dash
8:40++: Dancing to the West Seattle Big Band!
Your support will help WSCO continue to provide FREE participation and instruction in orchestral music for our student musicians.
Here’s the important info:
— Saturday, October 27, 6:00 to 11:00 p.m.
— Alki Masonic Lodge, 4736 40th Ave. SW.
— Adults 18+ $40, children 6-17 and seniors $25
Plan to have fun while supporting this vital West Seattle resource! REGISTER & PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE HERE. Tickets also available at the door. Costumed or not, don’t forget your dancing shoes!
This morning, before King County Councilmembers get briefed on budgetary matters related to housing, they’ll watch that trailer for West Seattleite Tomasz Biernacki‘s new documentary “Trickle Down Town.“ The film premiered to a full house Sunday night at West Seattle’s historic Admiral Theater; your editor was among those there to see it. For most of the film, you meet people with different relationships to the homelessness crisis, telling their stories in their own words. Among the people in “Trickle Down Town,” which runs about two hours:
-A mail carrier living in an RV on Harbor Avenue
-A retired machinist living at city-sanctioned Myers Way encampment Camp Second Chance
-A recovering addict who hits the streets to deliver sandwiches, water bottles, and to listen
-An architect who found himself launching a nonprofit
-A couple whose backyard houses a formerly homeless person’s tiny home
-An artist living in a tiny house with his expectant partner
Others seen and heard from include a historian and local politicians. Much, but not all, of the film was shot in West Seattle. Its next scheduled public screening is Saturday, November 3rd, at West Seattle Meaningful Movies (6:30 pm doors, admission free, no RSVP required, Neighborhood House High Point). What else? The filmmaker tells us a few more screenings are planned – no confirmed dates yet nearby (though his website mentions one November 15th on Bainbridge Island). Eventually it likely will be available online. Making the film already has changed Biernacki’s life in one way: “Since making this film, I have joined the volunteers at Camp Second Chance and we are building tiny homes. I feel that is a viable and safe alternative to what is happening now around us. If we cant afford to provide affordable housing to people, then a place like Camp Second Chance is a safe alternative. Its not the prefect or permanent solution, but much better then people dying in our streets.”
While in The Junction covering the installation of parking-donation boxes on Saturday afternoon, we noticed Bob Henry back at work restoring the “Mosquito Fleet” mural on the east side of the landmark Campbell Building.
He told us he is hoping to finish this project – his second in West Seattle after the Morgan Street Market mural restoration – next week. (Here’s the backstory on the mural-restoration campaign and how to be part of it.)
It didn’t have to be nighttime for the lanterns, and smiles, to shine brightly during the Children’s Moonlight Festival today at the Vietnamese Cultural Center in West Seattle. We arrived just in time for the lantern parade:
That was the culmination of today’s three-hour event at the center, the traditional autumn celebration known as Tết Nhi Đồng, featuring activities, games, and treats including moon cake.
Group photos are a tradition at center events.
The center’s longtime director is Lee Bui:
If you’ve never visited, the center is often open to visitors on Saturday afternoons (2236 SW Orchard).
Too often, music and theater are seen as “extra” for kids – but the benefits prove they should be considered essential. That’s why Mode Music Studios (WSB sponsor) proprietor Erin Rubin launched a nonprofit offshoot, Mode Music and Performing Arts, to provide it to more youth. A party last night at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center not only raised money for MMPA, it also showcased some of Mode’s students, like Ellie and Sophia:
The party’s emcee was Troy Nelson, who you probably know best from KEXP. Erin joined him onstage to express gratitude for the support they’re receiving in MMPA’s mission:
If you couldn’t be there but want to support MMPA’s quest to bring performing-arts education to more schools, you can donate online any time.
ADDED 3:42 PM: Update from Erin: “We had such a great night! We raised over $2500 for music and performing arts education in the schools and will continue to do so thanks to the support of our community.”
Early reminder about one of tomorrow’s highlights: The annual Children’s Moonlight Festival at the Vietnamese Cultural Center, 3-6 pm Sunday at 2236 SW Orchard (just north of Home Depot). Games, activities, entertainment, refreshments including the traditional moon cake, all free, all ages welcome. Here’s the flyer with details.
It’s a beautiful night to get out and see art … and artists! … from the fall West Seattle Art Walk list:
FRANCES SMERSH AT CLICK! DESIGN THAT FITS: “With a Little Help from My Friends” is the painting exhibition featured tonight at Click!, created by the shop’s co-proprietor Frances Smersh, photographed with friend and fellow artist Michelle Ting. As noted this week on the shop’s blog, this is Frances’s fourth year living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s, and while she has to rely more on family and friends for everyday assistance, she continues to shine with creative expression, including this work. Stop by before 8 tonight at 4540 California SW.
Also, two stops toward the south end:
BONNIE KATZ SAILORS @ MITSUI GROUP: Did you know that Fitness Together-West Seattle proprietor Bonnie Katz Sailors is also a visual artist? She’s featured tonight at Mitsui Real Estate Group until 8 pm (6021 California SW). Bonnie’s show “Postcards from Washington” is centered on her oil-painting landscapes.
MEGAN SIMMONS @ VISCON CELLARS: Stop in for wine – tasting fees are waived for those out on the Art Walk – at Viscon Cellars (5910 California SW) before 9 pm and meet Megan while admiring her paintings.
3 businesses mentioned above – Viscon Cellars, Click! Design That Fits, Fitness Together-West Seattle – are WSB sponsors.
Get your Halloween season going this Saturday by being part of a first-ever West Seattle event – the first Monster Bash fundraiser for nonprofit Mode Music and Performing Arts!
It’s MMPA’s first year of providing music and performing-arts education at Title I schools including Highland Park and Roxhill Elementaries, along with partial and full scholarships for families in need, all intended “to create equity in arts programming within our educational system.” And they’re raising money by offering you a night of food, drinks, music, theater, and fun! KEXP DJ Troy Nelson is hosting. Tickets are only $20 in advance ($25 at the door); the party’s happening at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW), 7:30-10 pm Saturday (October 13th). Get your ticket(s) online now!
West Seattleite Tomasz Biernacki has been working on a documentary about homelessness here and elsewhere in the city. Above is the trailer for his film “Trickle Down Town”; two local screenings are planned in the next few weeks. If you want a free ticket to the Admiral Theater premiere at 7 pm October 21st, go here. “Trickle Down Town” also will be featured at West Seattle Meaningful Movies next month (no tickets required), 6:30 pm November 3rd at Neighborhood House High Point.
You might know Jim Sander best for his quirky Pigeon Point neighborhood signs. At the 27th annual Southwest Library community art showcase, you can see his salute to a notorious chapter in West Seattle (and beyond) history – if the name Rolf Neslund isn’t instantly recognizable, catch up here. Other art at the show – which you can see at the library during its regular hours for the next month – doesn’t have quite that level of backstory:
Above, the balloons are by Jeff Ferry, the orca by Adrienne Salzwedel. The next work is by John deMars:
Here’s one of the artists on hand for this afternoon’s opening reception, Gordon Miller:
His work is titled “Three Tree Point.” Volunteers served refreshments at today’s reception:
Another component of the showcase: Free all-ages art classes at Southwest Library (9010 35th SW) on the next five Saturdays – see the list here!
The announcement and photos are from West Seattle Community Orchestras:
West Seattle Community Orchestras (WSCO) is beginning its fall season under the direction of its new Executive Director, Virginia Wright. Virginia has a Bachelor’s degree in music, with professional experience in online and print design, IT/systems administration, and arts/nonprofit management and administration. She has worked in managerial roles in several music organizations in the greater Seattle area, and remains committed to supporting the continuation of the musical arts in many different ways.
Also new this fall is Nse Ekpo, conductor candidate for WSCO’s Symphony Orchestra. Nse is the first of three conductor candidates who are “auditioning” to become WSCO’s permanent Symphony conductor.
Virginia explains: “At the end of last season, WSCO’s Symphony conductor James Pham left to pursue a conducting opportunity in Germany. During the summer the WSCO Hiring Committee met with a great group of potential candidates to fill the vacant role. Going into the Fall season, we are now ready to enter into the final stages of assessment, which will include each of our three finalists executing a full cycle of planning, rehearsals, and a final concert. This process will provide us with a good look at the working style and ability of each of the three conductors. All three are highly qualified, and it will be a wonderful opportunity to see them work with the orchestra.” (We’ll have more to report about the other two candidates later in the season.)
Nse is not truly new to us, having co-conducted WSCO’s predecessor, the Westside Symphonette, during 2007 and 2008. He says he’s delighted to be back.
Nse (pronounced EN-say) Ekpo enjoys a varied career as a performer, educator, and content creator throughout the United States and abroad. Recent engagements have taken him to Pazardjik, Bulgaria where he guest conducted the Pazardjik Symphony Orchestra. In 2018, Ekpo was named a finalist in two categories of the American Prize: Professional Orchestral Conducting, and the Ernst Bacon Award for the Programming of American Music (Professional Division).
Dr. Ekpo is currently the Concert Band Director at Lakeside School in Seattle, Washington. He holds a doctorate in orchestral conducting from the University of South Carolina, where he studied with Donald Portnoy.
WSCO is also pleased to welcome back our long-time outstanding conductors — Rachel Nesvig, Debut Orchestra; Mike Jauregui, Intermediate Orchestra; and Anton Coleman, Wind Symphony — as well as our excellent professional string coaches, Clare Bresnahan and Daniel Mullikin.
Rehearsals for the Debut, Intermediate, and Wind Symphony will begin October 2, with the Symphony starting up October 9. All rehearsals are held Tuesdays at Chief Sealth International High School. Specific start times for the rehearsals and more details are listed on our website, www.wscorchestras.org, or you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
WSCO especially encourages student musicians (through grade 12) to sign up. No charge!
Finally, WSCO also offers classes for adults who wish to learn (or relearn!) a string (violin, viola, cello) or band instrument (flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone).
It’s not too late to join WSCO for the new season! Sign up here.
Enjoy creating art? Share it with your West Seattle neighbors! Everyone’s an artist when it’s time for the Southwest Library‘s annual Artist Showcase – and the 27th annual showcase is just days away! Your first step – create up to three pieces of visual art to show off, or choose up to 3 works you’ve already created. Second step: Take your entries to SW Library (9010 35th SW) this Thursday through Saturday (September 27th through 29th). Then be there for the artists’ reception at 2 pm Sunday (September 30th)! The artists’ creations are shown at the branch through October, and the month is highlighted by opportunities to “See Art/Make Art.” (See the event list here.)
Now that fall is here (as of 6:54 pm) – it’s time to think about ways to stay warm. The West Seattle Quilters‘ first-ever showcase, this afternoon at the Senior Center/Sisson Building, was inspiration for that contemplation – as well as an occasion for admiration of the quilters’ skills.
The 40+ quilts on display spanned a variety of quilting styles and techniques, as well as quilters from kids to seniors.
The West Seattle Quilters welcome you to join them at their meetings, 7 pm on first and third Mondays at the Senior Center (4217 SW Oregon).
Group members not only work on their own projects but also collaborate on community-service quilts, made from donated fabric, given to people in need. Every year they also make a quilt that’s raffled off to benefit the Senior Center (they sold more tickets at today’s show, and the raffle will be at the Senior Center during Rainbow Bingo next Friday).
(Click here for full-size PDF flyer)
In case you haven’t already seen it in our calendar – we’re spotlighting Sunday’s Lantern Festival and Competition because lantern-makers interested in competing need to make theirs in advance and bring them to the festival. It’s set for 4:30-8 pm Sunday (September 23rd) at Southwest Teen Life Center (2801 SW Thistle). The competition is optional; prizes will be awarded, as you can see on the flyer. The festival also will feature performances, a Lion Dance, and kids’ arts and crafts. It’s presented by Van Lang Vietnamese Cultural Language School and Seattle Parks, and everyone is invited.
It was a community-wide, continent-spanning celebration in South Park this morning as 2018 Fiestas Patrias parade participants danced, walked, rolled, and rode. The Latino Riders were on two wheels – sometimes one:
The Easy Duz It car club was a parade on its own, on four wheels and sometimes two:
The parade also featured the original kind of horsepower:
Lots of music, including Mariachi Huenachi from Wenatchee:
Joyas Mestizas, who you might have seen in the West Seattle Grand Parade, was another participating folklorico group:
Other groups represented individual Latin American nations, including El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Here’s the Grand Marshal, United States District Court Chief Judge Ricardo Martinez of the Western District:
Another dignitary – newly confirmed Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best:
In the SPD entourage accompanying the chief was Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis, whose jurisdiction includes South Park:
Local schools were in the parade too, including West Seattle’s own Denny International Middle School, whose principal Jeff Clark sent photos and a report:
Congratulations to all of the Denny scholars and staff who proudly represented their culture and school marching in the annual Fiestas Patrias parade in South Park today!
Thanks to Mr. Albanes, Mr. Garcia, and Ms. Olsen, the Dolphins had the chance to show great leadership and pride as they waved to family and friends lining the streets of South Park. This parade is always a highlight of the year — this year, the tradition was as strong as ever! Go Dolphins!
Our photographer spotted the principal photographing the group:
South Park’s own Concord International (Elementary) also walked the parade route. The Fiestas Patrias parade is presented by Sea Mar Community Health Centers, whose headquarters in South Park were the start of the route, which ended at South Park Community Center, site of an afternoon-long festival and health fair.