About Jacob Olson

Contributing writer at CHS. On Twitter, @JacobWOlson. Email at jacobwolson@gmail.com.

CHS Crow | Matt and Ali — “I was like, ‘Yeah I’m gonna ride a bull’”

This time around, CHS Crow met a virus scientist with some tricks up his sleeve and an interior designer with a flower-powered business plan as the summer sun was setting in Volunteer Park. Get acquainted!


Years old: 38  Day job: Post-doc researcher at UW’s medical chemistry department, studying the Lambda virus. Curricular: Bachelors in recombinant genetics at Western Kentucky U.; doctorate at UW. Extracurriculars: Hiking, snowboarding, “small electronics projects,” “microcontroller programming.”  Has lived on Hill: 4 years Moved here from: Kentucky, with a few years in Northgate in between. Secret skill: “Amateur magician.”

2014.07 CHS Crow portrait, MattWhat’s a major challenge you’ve overcome?
I was in jail for a while. In my younger, partier, days I was a bit of a substance abuser if you will. I’ve been clean and sober since then obviously, to get my life turned around.

And it was kind of a big deal because, you know, I lost my scholarship. I almost was not allowed to go back to college for a while. It looked like it might have been a real game-changer for a little while.

And then not too long after that I met my wife, and finished school, and went to graduate school, and moved out here. And it’s been great. I love it out here. Continue reading

CHS Crow | Paige, Alex and David — ‘My future dog wants a future dog park’

In this installation, CHS Crow swoops over to the recently re-opened Canterbury and meets a surfing Capitol Hill social worker who’s all about the remodel, mindful growth, and free chips, goes to Redlight and meets a dietary DJ who treasures his friends, family and the great outdoors and stops by Vivace to catch a video game musician with an interactive approach enjoying one of the things he loves most. Read on. Continue reading

Cafe Solstice arrives — again — on Capitol Hill

2014.06 Cafe Soltice Capitol Hill the duo

Back to the Hill — Co-owners Joel Wood and Doug Sowers outside Cafe Solstice’s new location at 10th and Thomas.

Sowers and Wood working the Cafe Solstice cart in front of the current Jai Thai space, circa 1994 -- from: After 12 years, Cafe Solstice returning to Broadway (Image: Picture of picture courtesy Joel Wood)

Sowers and Wood working the Cafe Solstice cart in front of the current Jai Thai space, circa 1994 — from: After 12 years, Cafe Solstice returning to Broadway (Image: Picture of picture courtesy Joel Wood)

The story could be right out of the dreams of a Hill veteran jaded by change. More than a decade after their coffee cart left Broadway for an indoor space and the student-rich soil of the Ave, Joel Wood, Doug Sowers and Cafe Solstice are back on Capitol Hill with a vastly expanded operation just a block off Broadway.

Some 10 months after CHS first broke news of the plans for Solstice’s expansion back to the Hill, and right in time for Summer Solstice (can’t get one by us!), the doors of the new location will open this Saturday for an open house. Wood says there will be coffee for a dollar and some free pastries, and that booze and kitchen items will be available for happy hour prices all day starting at 7 am. CHS originally reported that the new Solstice was hoped to be open before the end of 2013. However, a marathon DPD process and the challenge of building out a brand new space in a brand new building drew out the timeline for getting things off the ground, Wood said.

The cafe will close again following Saturday’s party for a few finishing touches during the week. Owners Wood and Sowers hope to have the cafe open in full capacity for Pride weekend, with a push to be at full throttle by Thursday, June 26th.

As close as it is to Broadway’s bustle, Solstice sits on a surprisingly quiet and green corner at 10th and Thomas, in the only commercial space on the backside of The Lyric building.

The new Solstice will serve a variety of uses throughout the day — and night. “It’s not a straight cafe, it’s not a straight bar, it’s for everybody,” Wood said.

Continue reading

One-Act Play Festival gives playwrights known — and unknown — a place to play on Capitol Hill

One-Act Play Festival, Eclectic Theater, 10th Ave, 2014 -- JO

2013 cast of "The Injury" by Robert Francis Flor.

The cast of “The Injury” by Robert Francis Flor, which was featured at the first One-Act Play Festival at the Eclectic Theater, in 2013.

Robert Francis Flor

Robert Francis Flor

Without gobs of cash to spend, finding a stage for an unknown script can be a dubious task. This weekend, the second — and quite possibly second annual – One-Act Play Festival at Capitol Hill’s Eclectic Theater seeks to break the barrier to getting a break. Members of the local theater community and those with a seat in the audience may be set to reap the benefits of the event’s enthusiastic approach.

Saying “go for it” to pretty much anybody who has a script, the ability, and gumption to bring a play of 15-minutes-or-less to production, the festival brings together playwrights and actors who may not typically rub shoulders for a chance to network while new material is tried out or existing works are recast. It also gives festival goers and participants a chance to see a range of approaches to theater through a lineup of concisely packaged narratives. In total, this Friday and Saturday night, 14 local playwrights and production companies will bring their short plays to the stage of the 49-seat 10th Ave theater.

“Our goal here is essentially to let the theater community get to know one another better — and with that in mind the festival’s a little different,” said Leonard Goodisman, Eclectic Theater’s development director. “We let any group or any individual who can put a play on and put it together do so, and we try hard to not have any restrictions.”

“We don’t want to tell people how to do their plays — we want them to show us what they think theater is, what it should be, and how they perceive it,” he said.

The only limit is time. Continue reading

CHS Crow | Kesan, Adrienne and AJ — ‘Soak up everything you possibly can’

This week, the CHS Crow met an improv pro who says one things leads to another, a physical therapist who cultivates connections, but who is probably calling it quits on the Hill, and a history buff committed to helping tell the story of Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood. Say hello to these friendly friends and neighbors.


Curricular: Studied theater Day job: Performer, solo and with Seattle Comedy Group, and theater teacher Has lived in Seattle: Three years Moved to the Hill from: Milwaukee — via Belltown and Queen Anne  Moved to Seattle for: The improvisational theater and comedy scene.

I don’t believe in ____ , I just believe in ____ .
I don’t believe in ‘everything happens for a reason,’ I just believe in cause and effect.

… what does that mean for you?
If I go out saying I’m going to have a good night, I’ll come back with a good night. If I go out and sort of just do things that infringe on that, if I’m not at my full capacity, I’m going to have to expect the outcome of that.

It kind of conflicts with what I do, just because so much of it as far as success depends on the person being in the right place at the right time — just to get that big break or whatever — but I’d rather just go after it.

Is there a particular niche in theater you’re focusing on right now?
What I do mostly right now is improv, but every once in a while I stop by a couple of open mics — like Jai Tai, Comedy Underground, even down towards the Market at Can Can, and over at the Annex they have a lot of sketch performances , so I get to flex those muscles as well.

Continue reading

The Feed Bag marks 20 years as hub for Capitol Hill pets (and their people)

Feed Bag, Angela outside - JOAll-natural pet supply shop The Feed Bag is marking 20 years on E Pike with a tone of campy defiance and has no doubt endured many changes and challenges on the Hill.

At its milestone, the shop might even be seen as part of a new old guard in a rapidly changing neighborhood, along with the likes of Bauhaus, R Place, Linda’s and Neighbours. And while “The Bag” survived the recession, the latest challenge for the shop is withstanding the disruptions to business caused by several active or soon-to-be active construction sites within stick-throwing distance, Feed Bag’s owner Anglea Pfiel said.

Feed Bag 20 Years sign 2 - JO“With what I know we have four projects just within a few blocks of me,” Pfiel said. “Many people say how good this is going to be for me but I don’t think they understand what it is to try and survive two and three year projects.”

CHS wrote about the current “hard hat special” swarm of construction underway in the area here earlier this year. Continue reading

Cannabis Freedom fighters march for homegrown ‘medical’ on annual trek across Capitol Hill

IMG_8646IMG_8660There are still things to march for when it comes to marijuana in Washington State. Activists who came out to Saturday’s annual Cannabis Freedom March and Volunteer Park rally want to make sure you won’t be inadvertently sucking the life out of the state’s existing medical marijuana system after making your first legal purchase of cannabis this July.

 “The one thing that we all have in common, no matter what group you are with, we want medical marijuana safe,” a representative of Cannabis Workers Rising said from the stage during a presentation which at times turned into a raucous union rally, Saturday.

Initiative 648, an effort to put protections of medical marijuana rights in place in the state and support homegrown pot as a medical alternative for citizens, made a strong presence at Saturday’s rally. Backers of the initiative tabled with petitions near the stage as speakers voiced their support for the wide ranging legislation that would allow homegrown medical pot and change rules around the legal limit for impairment for patients.

"Small farmers are a vast and diverse group.  Patients have to be growers and farmers.  It's a symbiotic relationship and a healing lifestyle,"  Farmer Tom said Saturday.

“Small farmers are a vast and diverse group. Patients have to be growers and farmers. It’s a symbiotic relationship and a healing lifestyle,” Farmer Tom said Saturday.

“What this event does is bring everyone together on different sides so that everyone has a voice on what they believe is the right thing to do so the majority pick what is the right thing to do, and so everyone’s informed,” the Cannabis Freedom March’s organizer Melissa Hysom said. “We’re passionate, we believe in what we believe in, and a lot of different activists believe in a different way of doing it,” she said. “What I love about doing this is informing people, and creating a big party in the street all day long.” Continue reading

Follicle keeps Broadway barber shop tradition alive

2014.04.29 Patricia and Charles at Follicle - JO 2014.04.29 Follicle exterior - JOFrom their perch at Follicle Hair Design, clients have a plant-lined view of Broadway between Pike and Pine that surveys some of the major changes in Capitol Hill’s retail core. But the little barber shop itself, which carries on a tradition at 1523 Broadway dating back to at least the 1960s, won’t be going anywhere soon if owner Patricia Standlee has anything to say about it.

“I’m one of the last dinosaurs,” Standlee said. “I’m the only one on this block that survived — and Neighbours,” she said. Standlee says she hopes to be able to say as much for Follicle for as long as she is fit to cut hair.

Standlee started cutting hair at Follicle 23 years ago, and has owned the shop for the last 15 years. She says Follicle’s revenue recently took a 70% hit and is just beginning to recover after streetcar construction ended early this year.

“My dad always said any business was a good business if you give great service, and that’s what I go by — and I have faith it’ll work.”

If there is still a place on Broadway for a hole-in-the-wall barber shop, Follicle may stand a fighting chance of sticking around given Standlee’s proven perseverance and expressed commitment.

Seattle civil engineer Charles Manning has been a client at Follicle for some seven years. The one thing that keeps him coming back? “Oh, Patricia,” he said. “And her plants.” Continue reading

CHS Crow | Alyssa, Brian and Rachel — ‘Well life is whatever you make of it, right?’

This week, the CHS Crow made the rounds at three Pike/Pine roasters and met a neighbor wholly devoted to the written word, a techie-turned-coffee-pro in town for an industry expo and a proudly-non-trad biochem major who puts an existentialist spin on things. Say hi.


Curricular: BA, English; Master’s, Library and Information Science Extracurricular: reading, writing Has lived on the Hill: 9 years Moved here: from Richland, Wash., via the Bay Area, for school.

I _______?, therefore I am.
I read. Reading saves me. It’s just something that I love to do, and it takes my mind off of my own problems, I think. And also, reading helps me solve my own problems — it gives me a lot of perspective, and lets me learn about other people and other places. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Capitol Hill’s Easter Sunday best

2014.04 12 - JOIf you were around Capitol Hill on Easter Sunday afternoon and it seemed like church let out for dozens of fashionable Pike/Pine worshippers, it did. Pastor Kaleb’s annual Easter Sunday service draws a well-dressed crowd. Here’s what the Stranger tells you about the Capitol Hill preacher:

Pastor Kaleb gave his first official service in the streets during Seattle’s WTO protests in 1999. A carpenter by trade (naturally), he and a friend built two coffins (two adult-sized, one child-sized) using spare plywood from a job site and led a procession through the tear-gassy, chaotic, screaming melee that would eventually force journalists and the general public to ask, for the first time in a long time, why anyone would oppose an organization like the WTO.

This Sunday at the Century Ballroom was Kaleb’s 15th year addressing the flock.

2014.04 5 - JO

CHS Crow | Beatrice and Fred — ‘I wore a white uniform and had free booze’

This week, the CHS Crow met a future physician with a penchant for paradox, and retired seafarer who has presumably been in the same room as Alex Trebek at least twice. Say hello.


Curriculars: First-year medical student .Lives in: North Seattle Moved from: Virginia Is considering a move to: Capitol Hill

Life would be meaningless without _______ ?
Passion. I was going to say love but I wanted to pick something that was more all-encompassing than that. And I feel like having passions in life, ideally for people or things, I feel like as a complete picture, that’s what makes life meaningful. Continue reading

‘Nueva ola’ cinema on Capitol Hill, Northwest Film Forum hosts Pulsos Latinos film festival

Por Las Plumas2
From Por las Plumas,by Neto Villalobos, Ecuador, 2013

After the marquee finally changed last Tuesday, an alcohol-induced paper trail has had CHS wondering out loud whether SIFF has already secured its bid for a 10-year lease on The Egyptian. The deal would have the city’s most prominent film curator sticking around Capitol Hill long after the festival proper lights up the theater’s lonely screen once again for three weeks starting May 15. While we may have to bear with the great unknown for a bit, in the meantime a bit farther up the road, 12th Ave’s Northwest Film Forum continues to defend the neighborhood against total cinematic meltdown with programming that consistently qualifies the Hill as an all-seasons site for the independent film circuit. Friday, the first, and possibly the first-annual, Pulsos Latinos series kicks off tonight exemplifies the Forum’s contribution.


From Purgatoria by Rodrigo Reyes, Mexico/USA, 2012

Scheduled amidst a number of thematic film series’ the Forum has added to its calendar in recent years, the eight-day Pulsos Latinos will showcase work said to represent a “nueva ola” — or new wave — of Latino cinema swelling up as it were from a milieu the guest curator and programmer for the series, veteran film critic and Cinema Scope writer Jay Kuehner, says has moved from the “margins” to being “almost a forefront” of global cinema in recent years.

“Latino cinema is setting a precedent for the industry in terms of creativity, in terms of production and also in terms of getting films off the ground in difficult financial times,” Kuehner said. “We want to acknowledge this moment of ascendance,” he said, explaining the drive of Pulsos Latinos. “That’s the impetus behind this.” Continue reading