Sorting out the drama — and the comedy, cult and action — at On 15th Video

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

In the week since we learned about the closure of On 15th Videothe last video store on Capitol Hill — CHS still hasn’t learned what led to closing down the more than 25-year-old business but we have learned more about the man who owned the store, his family’s video business history, and, maybe most importantly, the people in the community who loved stopping by to visit a good, old-fashioned video store.

“It’s really been a valued community asset,” Capitol Hill Housing property manager Billie Abers tells CHS. “I’ve reached out to Lyle.”

“It was shorter notice than we normally like.”

Lyle is On 15th’s owner Lyle Holmes. CHS has attempted to contact Holmes about the closure but have not heard back from him so far.

Customers of the shop have also been left in the lurch with rented movies still in their possession and, for some, questions about just-paid membership fees. But, for most, the writing was on the wall.

“Video stores that you walk into really aren’t the best business any more,” Capitol Hill Housing’s Abers tactfully put it. Others might wonder why Holmes didn’t close the store sooner.

Others, meanwhile, are getting together to mourn the loss and visit with the store’s mostly blindsided staff. Here’s an invite passed along to CHS:

Fans of “On 15th Video” have reserved the back room at the Liberty Tavern this Saturday, September 20, from 4:30 to 7:30 to celebrate the community the store created and thank the staff.  If you’re one of the many people who will miss “On 15th Video”, stop in to say hello, say thank you, say goodbye, or just talk about movies.

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Capitol Hill Park(ing) Day 2014

Images of Capitol Hill Park(ing) Days past (Images: CHS)

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 8.15.31 PMPark(ing) Day was born in San Francisco. But the Seattle tradition of celebrating creative use of public streets with tiny “pop-up parks” got its start on Capitol Hill. This year in Seattle, Friday’s event will feature 50 or more of these pocket parks on the streets of neighborhoods across the city — including six on Capitol Hill and another on First Hill. Details on the parks and more, below. We’ll also be out and about on Friday to get a few pictures and notes from the day. Smile.

Harris in 2009 (Image: CHS)

Harris in 2009 (Image: CHS)

The first Seattle Park(ing) Day took place in 2009 along E Pine — off the street, it turns out.  Urban planner Keith Harris helped turn the People’s Parking Lot — a gravel-covered dirt parcel left empty as a developer waited to build the six-story building that stands there today — into the first home for the Seattle version of the event. There were some lean years in between with low participation but the event has grown into a much bigger deal in 2014. Continue reading

Monday’s reported Cal Anderson gunpoint robbery wasn’t a robbery

CHS can report that there was one less armed robbery on Capitol Hill this week than previously reported.

Kind of.

Monday, CHS reported on an incident at Cal Anderson around 5:30 PM involving an extremely upset man who told police he had been held up at gunpoint in the park:

According to East Precinct radio dispatches, the victim fled to Seattle Central where he reported the hold-up to 911. Police were called out around 5:20 PM. According to the victim, the hold-up occurred near the basketball court off Nagle Place. The distraught victim told police his assailant threatened him with a 9 MM pistol during the robbery.

Police searched the area, looking for a black male, bald, with a chin-strap style beard and wearing a light blue plaid shirt, blue jeans, and Jordans.

But, according to details from the just-released report on the incident, the hold-up wasn’t as much a robbery as a disagreement between pot smokers — one who happened to be armed with a pistol, apparently:Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 3.19.32 PM

According to the report, police were able to identify the suspect and attempted to contact the West Seattle man via phone with “negative results.”

Mayor’s tour talks crime, yes, but also trash, blocked sidewalks, dark streets — Where are your Capitol Hill Find It, Fix It spots?

Citizens -- and the mayor -- on patrol (Images: CHS)

Citizens — and the mayor — on patrol (Images: CHS)

This woman had an idea to fix something at Broadway and Pine -- so the tour and Capt. John Hayes stopped to listen

This woman had an idea to fix something at Broadway and Pine — so the tour stopped to listen

The TV cameras were there for the Pike/Pine “crime spike.” But Wednesday night’s Capitol Hill Find It, Fix It walk with the mayor and several top city officials was mostly about things like streetlights, dumpsters, and blocked sidewalks.

“This is not about one night of safety this is about building relationships with the departments,” Mayor Ed Murray said at the conclusion of the walk, the eighth and final his office organized over the summer.

Pike/Pine business owner -- and dad -- Dave Meinert talks with Chief O'Toole

Pike/Pine business owner — and dad — Dave Meinert talks with Chief O’Toole

While the TV crews pressed in tightly for SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole to reiterate her strategy for Pike/Pine emphasis patrols and data-driven policing, City Hall representatives including the head of Murray’s Department of Transportation, his Seattle Fire Chief, and City Council member Sally Clark waited patiently for the walk to leave the park and make a handful of stops between 12th Ave, E Pike, and Broadway to hear from community representatives about some of the issues — and opportunities — the neighborhood is facing.

  • Homelessness: At 11th Ave’s Central Lutheran where Community Lunch On Capitol Hill serves meals to hundreds of homeless people every week, Pastor Cindy Salo told the assembled city officials, police, and community members that this had been “one of the most difficult summers” in terms of the numbers of homeless she is seeing. Continue reading

On the List | PARK(ing) Day 2014, Hugo House lit series, Fringe Fest, Volunteer Park work party

parking day map

(Image: CHS)

The international event  PARK(ing) Day is Friday 9am – 3pm  and Capitol Hill will feature a cluster of pop-up parks. On the Hill you can tour a greenhouse, take a photo with string art, lounge, learn about having a neighborhood tool library, watch short films, and more. Head downhill to South Lake Union or to Downtown to visit even more one-day-only micro parks. Here’s a list of city-registered PARK(ing) Day sites.

The Capitol Hill Community Council meets on Thursday at the Cal Anderson Park Shelter House, 6:30 – 8pm. This month’s meeting focus is on crime and safety of Capitol Hill, with representatives from elected posts and SPD.

Hugo House launches the 2014-15 Literary Series on Friday with Backseats and Bedrooms. It’s about sex. Duh. ” Hear blush-inducing (or not!) new work from novelist Mona Simpson, author of Casebook and other novels; poet Dorothea Lasky, author of four books of poetry; and Carter Sickels, winner of the Lambda Literary’s Emerging Writer Award.” Info about future authors and dates for the new Lit Series is here.

10540815_651986838232882_1018989245850765633_nSeattle Fringe Festival runs through Sunday at multiple venues on Capitol Hill. Each performance is just $10. From our earlier post: “A total of 22 works produced by companies that won a spot in the festival through its non-juried lottery will provide 88 chances to see a performance of an hour or less for $10 at five venues within walking distance of each other on the Hill. The Annex Theatre, Eclectic Theatre, two separate adapted stages at the The Northwest Film Forum and the fairly new Calamus Auditorium at Gay City are all sites for this year’s fringe fest.” More details here. For an in-depth look at the festival, check out Seattle Fringe: ‘a toehold in the neighborhood for risky, unusual, challenging, non-commercial arts’

Saturday: Happy 61st Birthday, Vito’s!

Thursday: 21 Capitol Hill restaurants, bars & food trucks ready to serve you at the annual Omnivorous fundraiser for Capitol Hill Housing.

Fall Restoration Day 2014 Draft 2

Meet neighbors and help Volunteer Park stay beautiful at the Fall Restoration Day on Sunday, 10:00am – 2:00pm. Gloves and tools are provided and the event is for all ages and abilities, so just show up at the beds behind the dahlia garden near the Conservatory to lend a hand.

Something to add? Let us know on the CHS Calendar — more listings below:

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The Mayor of Miller Park walks against brain cancer

Taylor and Club Meg, below

Taylor and Team Meg, below

nonameServing as both a fundraiser and a public show of support, the 7th annual Brain Cancer Walk and fundraiser will take place this Saturday September 20th at 9 AM starting outside of the Fisher Pavilion in Seattle Center.

Joining the event again in 2014 is Andrew Taylor, a community organizer in the Miller Park neighborhood, former Chair of the East District Council, and researcher of human cell damage at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center whose wife recently passed away due to  brain cancer. He will be walking alongside patients, families, friends, and volunteers for the sake of those afflicted with and affected by this deadly disease.

“It’s a rare cancer … but it’s one of the most lethal type of cancers,” said Taylor in an interview with Capitol Hill Seattle.

Meg Holmes, who also worked in the medical research field studying the structure of protein molecules, was originally diagnosed with glioblastomas — the most aggressive type of brain tumor – back in December of 2009. She underwent initial surgery at Swedish on Cherry Hill in addition to a one year clinical trial, a period during which she lived symptom free and participated in the Brain Cancer Walk with Taylor in 2009 and 2010.  Continue reading

There is still time to ‘save’ Chop Suey as a Capitol Hill music venue

From the building owner’s perspective, there’s plenty of time to work out a deal to save Chop Suey as a music venue said Scott Shapiro, owner since 2005 of the building that houses the Capitol Hill music venue and nightclub.

In February, the asking price for the business — not Shapiro’s building — had been $375,000, according to a listing on a real estate agent’s site found by CHS. The listing – for an “undisclosed bar and club on Capital Hill” – claimed Chop Suey grosses more than $903,000 annually. Capital, indeed.

In recent weeks, the asking price dropped to $99,950.

The agent did not return calls for comment.

Shapiro said the current tenant has “at least a few more years” left on its lease. The building, he said, already has a Class 1 hood, so a conversion to a restaurant would be eased, but that’s not necessarily what his investment company wants. While Shapiro said he’s not ruling out any prospective tenants, he’d like to see it remain a nightlife destination. Continue reading

City Hall | Minimum wage watchdogs, development fees, Yesler Terrace tech, car share boost

"Councilmember Licata presents Jim Page Proclamation recognizing 40th anniversary of street musician ordinance and 2014’s Busker week" (Image: City of Seattle via Flickr)

“Councilmember Licata presents Jim Page Proclamation recognizing 40th anniversary of street musician ordinance and 2014’s Busker week” (Image: City of Seattle via Flickr)

When they were done pounding out Seattle microhousing regulations after years of negotiations, here is what the public servants of City Hall have also been working on.

  • Minimum wage enforcers: Mayor Ed Murray and City Council member Nick Licata announced a plan for a new Office of Labor Standards with seven full-time employees to help enforce the implementation of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage plan and workplace regulations.
  • Budget season: The money to pay for the new minimum wage watchdogs and other early announcements like the promise to beef up SPD hiring and technology spending will be part of Murray’s 2015 budget plan to be announced next Monday, September 22nd.
  • "All those construction cranes mean more than jobs/housing - it also means revenue to pay for parks/police/libraries! " (Image: @SeattleCouncil via Twitter)

    “All those construction cranes mean more than jobs/housing – it also means revenue to pay for parks/police/libraries! ” (Image: @SeattleCouncil via Twitter)

    Boom fees: Reportedly, City Hall is considering more ways to try to move some of the cash from the Seattle development boom into providing city infrastructure and services. First, the City Council has started to look at “growth impact fees when developers build new projects that put additional demand on public roads, schools, parks and fire departments.” Continue reading

Seattle Fringe: ‘a toehold in the neighborhood for risky, unusual, challenging, non-commercial arts’

The Famous Haydell Sisters Comeback Tour is part of 2014 Seattle Fringe Festival

The Famous Haydell Sisters Comeback Tour is part of 2014 Seattle Fringe Festival

NWFFmarquee

The marquee at the Northwest Film Forum advertising the Seattle Fringe Festival in 2013. The Film Forum is a Fringe Festival site again this year. (Image: Seattle Fringe Festival)

Ever-increasing pressure from commercial growth and development unfriendly to cash-strapped artistic ventures, venue allocation shifts and the logistics of having committed producers and planners who can keep things running year after year may keep it in a relatively constant flux. Despite these challenges Capitol Hill’s theater scene is showing some signs of renewed vitality in 2014 including the return of the reincarnated Seattle Fringe Festival that kicks off its third consecutive year with performances Wednesday.

The festival is bringing another five-day September wave of unpredictable performances to Capitol Hill venues just a few months before 12th Ave Arts is scheduled to open and provide dedicated homes to three small companies which will join the likes of Annex Theatre and the Eclectic Theater in producing smaller-scale theater in neighborhood’s core year round.

“The more Capitol Hill edges toward the mainstream, the more important it is to keep a toehold in the neighborhood for risky, unusual, challenging, non-commercial arts and entertainment,” Pamala Mijatov, a member of the Fringe Festival’s steering committee and artistic director at Annex told CHS in an email. “Seattle is growing and changing rapidly. As rents escalate, artists are getting squeezed out of the central neighborhoods, and there are fewer small production venues, which means fewer opportunities for artists to take risks on unproven work,” she wrote. “The Seattle Fringe Festival is maintaining a platform for those self-producing artists.” Continue reading

CHS Crow | Fringe edition — Leroy, Kelly, Mara & Benjamin

With the Seattle Fringe festival again playing out on Capitol Hill, the crow talked with some of the artists on the bill in 2014.

Leroy Chin, writer and director – Children of This Universe


What inspired this new work? It sounds like pretty intense material.
On Christmas Day of last year my ex committed suicide. I was completely distraught about it. And one of the ways I deal with things is I create stuff. And I ended up writing a play based on the experience. I think it was different for me this time, it just seemed to be so natural — it flowed well. I was inspired. And think it had to do — there must have been some sort of spiritual element about it that made it so easy to write.

… can you say more about that?
You could say he probably helped me from the other side, if you will.

Is this pretty raw for you to put out in front of an audience so soon? Or is that just part of your process?
I’m used to it by now. I think when I first started writing years ago, ’96 or so, that rawness was intimidating. I now I realize it has to feel that way to be effective. I think that’s where the real sharing of experience is. If it’s not that raw, it’s probably not worth sharing. Continue reading