People are interesting. Capitol Hill people? Very interesting.
I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that you’re a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence?
Actually, I’m still a novice with the Sisters of the Mother House of Washington. But I’m not allowed to speak publicly as a representative of the Order until I’m fully professed. The rules are pretty strict.
Okay, we can just talk about your “civilian” life. When you’re out of habit, what do you do for a living?
I’m a stylist at Macy’s downtown. I work with private shopping clients, helping them to find the right clothes—the best look and style for their bodies and lifestyles. I help clients pick out “investment pieces” that will be the cornerstone of their wardrobes.
If you had to recommend three “investment pieces” for me, what would they be?
Hmmm. Little black dress, high-heeled Mary Janes, and fishnet stockings.
I would totally wear that! So you’re, like, a clothes psychic?
There’s an intuitive component to it, but styling is also about angles and forms and draping. For instance, some people will look better in an A-line, others in a dress that’s cut on the bias. Squares, triangles…it’s all very geometrical.
I love your name, Puck. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is my all-time favorite Shakespeare play.
Thank you for getting the reference! People always say, “Puck? Like, that guy from The Real World?”
You mean, people seriously think it’s a reference to a reality show, rather than The Bard?
You would be surprised how many…
That idea causing me actual pain right now. (Sigh) Are you a Seattle native?
Oh, no. I moved here a few years ago from Atlanta, Georgia.
People don’t realize it, but Atlanta is a very stylish city. How would you compare the styles of downtown Atlanta — a neighborhood analogous to Capitol Hill — to the styles you see around here?
It’s very different. The weather, for one thing, inspires different fashions. And the color palates are typically very different. But, otherwise, there’s not a lot of comparison between the two — it’s apples and oranges. But I like Capitol Hill SO much better.
Could you elaborate on that?
Here, I feel so much more freedom to express myself — creatively, sexually, and otherwise. Atlanta can be very judgmental and clique-ish. Even in the gay community, I feel like people are always trying to put you in a box, labeling you in a sub-category such as “effeminate, queer, bear,” whatever — instead of just thinking of you as human.
Do you live on Capitol Hill?
I used to. I lived on the Hill, with my best girlfriend Martha, when I first moved to Seattle. Now I live with my husband of three years in Pioneer Square.
Did you guys get married in Canada, or in one of the states where same-sex marriage is legal?
Oh, we’re not legally married—just married in our hearts. After all, marriage is an institution, and who wants to live in an institution?
Do you have any favorite hangouts on The Hill?
The Pony. Marcus at The Pony throws a great party. I also love the Cockpit, which is not far from here — it’s an underground club for the alternative and artsy queers. I hear they’re opening up a real club soon. I’m not sure if that’s a secret or not — if so, I guess it’s not anymore!
I can’t help but notice that you’re folding a bunch of papers. May I ask what that’s all about?
Sure — it’s my friend’s ‘zine called “Skill Shot,” all about the pinball community in Seattle. It’s the 25th issue.
There’s a “pinball community” in Seattle? I had no idea.
It’s not just in Seattle; there are national and even international leagues. Last year, the international championship was held here in Seattle—a guy from Italy won the grand prize. The ‘zine talks about the various local competitions, and places in town where you can find pinball machines.
How long have you been a pinball player?
I’ve been into it for about four or five years. Then, in January, I joined the league.
Do you have a favorite pinball game?
I’d have to say Monster Bash. It features the Universal monsters, but they’re all in a band together. It’s creative and kitchy, with exciting multi-balls and cute quotes when you make a shot.
What do you do when you’re not playing pinball?
During the day, I work in a warehouse. But I also knit, and I book all-ages music shows, and make my own ‘zines about music. Oh, and I used to be a glass blower. I might sell some glass stuff this weekend at the Summit Block Party.
Wow. Sounds like you stay busy! Are you a Seattle native?
No, I’m originally from Tacoma. I moved here a few years ago.
You mentioned glass blowing—Tacoma is a big place for that, right?
Yeah, I used to work at the Museum of Glass. I started glass blowing when I was a kid, and did it from ages 12-22, and then I got out into the real world and realized how much it cost when you didn’t have access to a studio and you had to pay for everything yourself. That’s why I don’t do much glass blowing any more, unfortunately.
Do you live in the neighborhood?
No, but I used to work at Travelers, on Pine.
Did you stop working at Travelers when they recently closed?
Yeah. They also have another location, but they were cutting my hours, and it wasn’t worth it anymore.
When you worked in the neighborhood, did you have any favorite after-work hangouts?
Usually I would hang out with my friends who lived nearby, at their place, or at the Comet or the Unicorn.
You mentioned that you book music shows—anything on the Hill?
Not really, there aren’t a lot of all-ages music venues around here. I book a lot at a place called The Morgue, in Georgetown.
Okay, you seem very outgoing. Plus, just offered a perfect stranger (me) some of your delicious sushi roll. I’m going to guess that you’re not a Seattle native?
I’m not. I’m originally from Memphis, Tennessee. Moved here about 12 years ago.
What made you decide to move to Seattle?
My cousin lived the area, in Federal Way, and I came up to visit him. He showed me around the city, and I loved it. Then he took me up to Mount Rainier, and then to the Orcas Islands. I remember thinking that this area was paradise—just paradise. I moved here a few months later.
I take it this happened in the summer—the season when unsuspecting visitors always decid
e to drop everything and move to Seattle?
I don’t remember exactly what month it was, but I remember that the Nordstrom Semi-Annual Sale was going on. And it was really beautiful out.
It must’ve been in June, then. There’s also a sale in November, but by then the city has turned into Mordor from The Lord of the Rings…
Yes, it was probably summer. Summer here is SO much better than in Memphis—there, in summer, it’s hot and humid and about a thousand degrees.
Other than the weather, do you find life is very different in Seattle, compared to Memphis?
When I left Memphis, I felt like I was escaping rather than moving. Memphis has its good points, but the religious extremism in that part of the world can be incredibly oppressive—for some people, it seems like the church rules every aspect of their lives. To me, that feels very backwards. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for Southern hospitality. And, of course, there’s a great music scene in Memphis. And good Southern food, and a lot of history. But at this point, Memphis isn’t “home.” Seattle is home for me now.
Do you live on Capitol Hill?
No, I live Downtown, but I work in the Central District, so the Hill is on my way home, so I’ll sometimes stop to get a bite around here after work.
Based on our brief conversation at the sushi bar, you strike me as a foodie. What are some dining spots on the Hill that you would recommend?
I love the happy hour menu here (Momiji). Great sushi, not too expensive. I’m also a fan of the 8oz Burger Bar, Lark, Skillet, Marjorie—that one’s a bit expensive, but impressive. They make their own butter. How can you not love a place that makes its own butter?
Homemade butter is the very best kind.
I think we can all agree on that.
So, you had a transformational experience when you first visited Seattle and your cousin showed you around. If you had a cousin from Tennessee come to visit, where on the Hill would you take him or her?
Hmmm. Maybe the First Baptist Church? They’re from the South, so they’ll want to see a church. Oh, no, wait—before that, I’d take them to the water tower in Volunteer Park. It’s a great view from up there, you can practically see the whole city. That’s one of my favorite spots in town.
More CHS Crow:
- Justin, Jen & Alex — ‘I want to be that guy someday!’ (CHBP edition)
- Anna, Dina & Russell — ‘My therapy practice is very body-centered’
- Chris, Bud, Jen & Clea — ‘If you want a calzone delivered…’
Marguerite Kennedy is a freelance writer, semi-professional thumb wrestler, and recovering New Yorker who currently resides on Capitol Hill. She blogs at www.marguerite-aville.com, and does that other thing @tweetmarguerite.