WS culture/arts 1992 results

WEST SEATTLE ART: Desmond Hansen’s new Arbor Heights signal-box portrait

Thanks for the tips! After word that artist Desmond Hansen was working on yet another signal box – this time at 35th SW and SW Roxbury on the north edge of Arbor Heights – we went over for a look. We found the artist packing up to take a break for some errands; he says this is a portrait of karate legend Chojun Miyagi (who is quoted on the website for West Seattle Karate, just steps away from the box). He’ll be back to finish it later today. This is his 10th signal box – here’s a montage of the first 9.

West Seattle street scene: Desmond Hansen’s newest signal-box portraits

Thanks to the reader who sent photos of West Seattle artist Desmond Hansen‘s latest signal-box work:

That one, at 35th and Fauntleroy, is Nikola Tesla (here’s a picture on Hansen’s Instagram account, including finishing touches). Nearby, at 35th/Avalon:

That’s since been completed too – as you can see here, it’s Macklemore. It’s been almost 11 months since the artist started his project.

Get a ‘Clue’! West Seattle High School production starts Wednesday

You’ve played the game – now see the show! This year’s student-directed production at West Seattle High School, “Clue,” opens tomorrow (Wednesday) night, the first of three nights you can see it (January 16, 17, 18), 7:30 pm curtain each night. Isabella Hale is directing; tickets are $10 at the door, no reservation required.

(That promo is student-produced too, by Jonah Elbaum.) Find out more at WSHS is at 3000 California Avenue SW.

Boom Studios, LLC: Welcome, new West Seattle Blog sponsor!

Today we welcome Boom Studios, LLC as a new WSB sponsor! Here’s what they’d like you to know about what they offer:

Boom Dance Studios has spent the past 3 years working in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation and the community centers in West Seattle. We have provided a variety of classes locally and have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know you all!

We are excited to announce that starting January 14th, 2019, Boom Studios, LLC (formerly Boom Dance Studios) will have a new home at Mode Music & Performing Arts, 3801 Delridge Way SW, next to The Skylark.

Boom Studios encourages learning in a non-traditional environment through an inclusive, engaging, safe, body-positive and fun atmosphere. Our Boom Team inspires our students to be creative, innovative, explorative and energetic.

We offer classes for all ages: Tots (as young as 6 months old), Kids, Teens, Adults, and Seniors. From Hip Hop to Ballet, Urban Sass to Burlesque, Musical Theatre to Creative Movement … we will have your entire family grooving out of the studio feeling confident, happy, and ready to take on the world!

Registration for Winter classes is open online now. Visit to get involved in out Winter classes starting January 14th, 2019. Use promo code WSBLOG5 to receive 5% off your first class registration; valid for Winter and Spring sessions only.

Make sure to check out our events page for information on our special events – especially our Valentine’s Fever Dance Party & Parents’ Night Out! That’s right, we are opening the studio for you to drop off your children for a night of crafts, dinner, movie, cocoa/popcorn, 30 minute Hip Hop class and dance party!

Want to register for summer camps early? Come visit us at our Boom & Mode Studios Summer Camp Fair on Sunday, January 13th, from 3:00-6:00 pm. Games, entertainment, snacks, and prizes will be provided as well as chances to save big on our half- and full-day camps. More information is available at

We thank Boom Studios, LLC 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.

MUSICIANS WELCOME! New West Seattle Community Orchestras season starts next week – new conductor candidate, too

January 11, 2019 1:15 pm
|    Comments Off on MUSICIANS WELCOME! New West Seattle Community Orchestras season starts next week – new conductor candidate, too
 |   West Seattle news | WS culture/arts

A new season is about to start for the West Seattle Community Orchestras – and musicians are welcome! Here’s the announcement:

West Seattle Community Orchestras (WSCO) announces the start of what promises to be an exciting Winter/Spring session!

Leading the West Seattle Symphony January through March will be Aaron Hirsch, the second of three conductor-candidates who are “auditioning” to become the group’s permanent conductor.

Ever wanted to play Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony? Here’s your chance! Hirsch has programmed the piece for the orchestra’s March 22 concert, along with a selection of vocal favorites, for “An Evening of Drama.”

Hirsch began his conducting career while working on a bachelor’s degree in organ performance at the University of Minnesota. During this time, he founded Young Musicians of Minnesota, an intensive summer program. Other groups he has conducted include the Wenatchee Valley Symphony Orchestra, the Oregon Bach Festival Baroque Orchestra, the University of Oregon Chamber Choir, and the Dresden Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.

Aaron currently serves as Adjunct Professor of Orchestral Studies at Central Washington University where he is much in demand as a collaborative pianist and serves as vocal coach and pianist for the CWU opera and opera scenes programs. He is also the Cover Conductor for the Yakima Symphony Orchestra.

Hirsch holds degrees in conducting (M.M., Central Washington University) and organ performance (B.M., University of Minnesota).

Don’t forget that we have three other performing groups you can join—the Debut Orchestra, the Intermediate Orchestra, and the Wind Symphony. In addition, WSCO offers classes for adults who wish to learn (or relearn!) an instrument: flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, percussion, violin, viola, or cello.

WSCO especially encourages student musicians to sign up. PARTICIPATION IS FREE for students through grade twelve.

Rehearsals for all groups and classes begin January 15. All are held Tuesdays at Chief Sealth International High School.

It’s not too late to join us! Sign up at Specific start times for the rehearsals and more details are listed on our website,, or you can contact

Opening night for ‘psychedelic hair art’ show at VAIN in the West Seattle Junction

Yes, you can shop on this Saturday night before Christmas! At VAIN (4513 California SW; WSB sponsor) in The Junction right now, the salon/boutique is hosting the opening for a show of hair-art prints by stylist Sam Brown. Stop in before 9 pm to celebrate “the psychedelic art of hair”!

Sam’s been at VAIN for 11 years and says she was encouraged to start making these prints after posting Instagram images of the “fantasy hair” in which she specializes.

VIDEO: Big night out for little Caspar Babypants fans @ Easy Street Records

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:

If little ones are on your gift list, you can check out the newest Caspar Babypants records – and new board books he co-authored with artist Kate Endle, who’s also his wife – by going here.

VIDEO: New mural dedicated in the West Seattle Junction

December 14, 2018 10:05 am
|    Comments Off on VIDEO: New mural dedicated in the West Seattle Junction
 |   West Seattle news | WS culture/arts

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.

Nepantla Cultural Arts Gallery taking shape in South Delridge

(WSB photos)

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:

(7 Generations of Genetic Memory, by Jake Prendez)

(Santa Selena and Artista, by Jake Prendez)

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.

WEDNESDAY: Special date for this month’s WordsWest Literary Series

November 25, 2018 2:02 pm
|    Comments Off on WEDNESDAY: Special date for this month’s WordsWest Literary Series
 |   West Seattle books | West Seattle news | WS culture/arts

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.

West Seattle cameo in video of newly released Chris Cornell song

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.”

BEFORE/AFTER: Mosquito Fleet mural renovation complete!

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:

This was Henry’s second mural-restoration project in West Seattle, after the Morgan Street Market mural. (Here’s the backstory on the mural-restoration campaign and how to be part of it.)

West Seattle Art Walk scenes, November edition

November 8, 2018 6:55 pm
|    Comments Off on West Seattle Art Walk scenes, November edition
 |   West Seattle Art Walk | West Seattle news | WS culture/arts

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!

Southwest Artist Showcase’s final day, and a reminder for artists

October 30, 2018 11:50 am
|    Comments Off on Southwest Artist Showcase’s final day, and a reminder for artists
 |   West Seattle news | WS culture/arts

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!

SATURDAY: Dance, drink, dine to support West Seattle Community Orchestras’ student musicians

October 23, 2018 1:40 pm
|    Comments Off on SATURDAY: Dance, drink, dine to support West Seattle Community Orchestras’ student musicians
 |   Fun stuff to do | How to help | West Seattle news | WS culture/arts

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!

(WSB photo, WS Big Band at last Sunday’s Fauntleroy Fall Festival)

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!

FOLLOWUP: What’s next for West Seattle filmmaker’s ‘Trickle Down Town’

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.”

FOLLOWUP: West Seattle Junction ‘Mosquito Fleet’ mural restoration progress

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.)

VIDEO: Children’s Moonlight Festival @ Vietnamese Cultural Center in West Seattle

(WSB photos/video)

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).

VIDEO: Music and theater education for all! A night to celebrate and support Mode Music and Performing Arts

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.”

SUNDAY: Children’s Moonlight Festival @ Vietnamese Cultural Center in West Seattle

(2017 photo by Lynda Bui)

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.

Scenes from October’s West Seattle Art Walk

It’s a beautiful night to get out and see art … and artists! … from the fall West Seattle Art Walk list:

(Photo courtesy Click!)

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:

(WSB photos from here)

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.

Days until first-ever Monster Bash for Mode Music and Performing Arts

October 8, 2018 9:45 am
|    Comments Off on Days until first-ever Monster Bash for Mode Music and Performing Arts
 |   Fun stuff to do | How to help | West Seattle news | WS culture/arts

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!

2 chances to see West Seattle filmmaker’s ‘Trickle Down Town’

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.