12th annual Bat N Rouge promises sassy fun for a good Hill cause — Plus: CHS Weekend events

The Boys of Summer…?
, originally uploaded by sea turtle.

It’s Drag Queens versus Dykes at Bat N Rouge XII, Saturday’s annual fundraiser for the Capitol Hill Alano Club (CHAC). The competition is getting fierce and the Drag Queens coach was quick to remind CHAC that they don’t just practice – they rehearse.

“There has been some sassiness back and forth between the Drag Queen and Dyke coaches,” said Aaron Emde, Web/IT Member-at-Large for CHAC. “In years past, both teams have had wins. The fund-raising aspect of the game includes bribing the umpires and other fun stuff that can really change the direction of the game. Who knows who’ll win this time?”

This year’s Bat N Rouge MC is KUBE 93.3’s Shellie Hart, and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will be working the crowd. The game will be held on Bobby Morris Playfield’s softball diamond Saturday from 5 to 8 PM. Bring cash to donate — or bribe the ump.

All money raised goes to CHAC, a non-profit organization that provides a safe meeting place for members of the LGBT community who are in recovery. More than 60 12-step programs meet at their E. Madison Street location every week, for people of all ages from many communities.

“The 12th Annual Bat N Rouge softball fundraiser not only helps CHAC achieve its vision, but it provides a significant source of revenue that allows us to keep our doors open,” Emde said. “We need all the financial support we can get to keep our doors open and continue to support Seattle’s GLBT community.”

Looking for more to do this weekend on the Hill? Check out the CHS Calendar. You can also stop by to say hi at the East Precinct Picnic on 12th Ave from 1 to 4 PM.

Saturday June 19 2010

10:00 AM

10:00 AM

Emerald City Reptile Expo in Seattle

The Pacific Northwest Herpetological Society — www.pnwhs.org — and The Bean Farm — www.beanfarm.com — are proud to present the first annual Emerald…


01:00 PM

04:00 PM

East Precinct Picnic

An afternoon of free food and fun as 12th Ave is shut down and officers mix and mingle. http://seattlepolicefoundation.org

02:00 PM

03:00 PM

Sounders Slide Show, Panel Discussion, and Q&A

Seattle Soccer Fans Unite!

In between World Cup matches, relive the remarkable first season of our own Seattle Sounders FC with authors Dr. Richard…


02:00 PM

06:00 PM

A Bigger is Better Wine Tasting!

Big Wines for Grilled Foods!
Saturday June 19th
2:00 to 6:00
Bigger is better when it comes to barbecued and char-grilled foods. From Steaks and Salmon…


04:30 PM

08:30 PM

Bat N’ Rouge – The Drag Queens vs. The Dykes!

We’re Back!!!

Bat N’ Rouge – The Drag Queens vs. The Dykes!

Seattle’s Infamous Softball Extravaganza is Saturday, June 19th, 2010.

Don’t miss the Gay…


08:00 PM

11:30 PM

Laughter Against The Machine Comedy Show @ Balagan

Hari Kondabolu returns and Guerilla Comedy comes to Seattle

Hari Kondabolu, W. Kamau Bell and Nato Green

Friday, June…


Group shapes plan for Capitol Hill emergency radio system

While it’s hard to imagine a wired city like Seattle having a communications blackout during a crisis, it is a realistic possibility. A group dedicated to preparedness has a plan — and some geek friendly hardware needs — for helping Capitol Hill stay in touch in a serious emergency.

“The telephone and cellular networks are vulnerable to failure in certain extreme circumstances, such as a high magnitude earthquake. For example, a 7.1 quake in 1949 centered between Olympia and Tacoma disrupted the telephone and electric power systems in Seattle,” said Jeff Coleman, a member of CHiPP. “If that were to happen again and phone networks were unusable, how would residents of Capitol Hill summon police or fire in the event of an emergency?”

Capitol Hill Preparedness People’s Radio Communications Committee is a handful of amateur radio volunteers who will use their own equipment in case of emergency. DeShiell said they are looking to add about six more licensed radio operators to their roster, in addition to volunteers willing to convey messages to the community using walkie-talkies.

These radio hubs will be at sites across the hill – most likely in Volunteer and Cal Anderson Parks. CHiPP hopes to purchase additional radio equipment by the end of the year for each hub.

“The committee will explore the possibility of grants to purchase additional resources in the future,” said CHiPP member Coleman. “In our early discussions about the logistics, we considered that the radio equipment would be in the possession of the responsible committee members, who would bring it to the communications hubs in the event of catastrophic phone network failure.”

In a major disaster, the plan is for these volunteers to act as liaison between the city and neighborhood emergency services, and all Hill residents. The Radio Communications Committee will contact the Seattle Emergency Operations Center and the downtown Office of Emergency Management, who will then dispatch appropriate fire or police services.

“If Seattle is hit with a major earthquake or other major disaster, it is highly likely that city emergency services will be completely overwhelmed by the amount of people needing help,” said CHiPP member Kate DeShiell. “I think many citizens imagine that when something catastrophic happens, the city will just take care of them, but did you know that at any one time there are only 208 firefighters on duty in the City of Seattle?”

Mark Sheppard, EOS Communications Coordinator and Seattle Auxiliary Communications Services (ACS) director, will be at the July CHiPP meeting to discuss the function of ACS in an emergency. He’ll also discuss the equipment in-depth, talk about radio systems theory and hub setup.

“Currently we are working on mapping out a plan of action for Capitol Hill’s emergency radio communications and bringing everyone interested up to speed on equipment use, radio systems theory and some basic training with the system,” said DeShiell. “It would be wonderful to get as many people interested in radio communications on Capitol Hill as possible to this meeting, as he will lay out some pretty fundamental information to the group.”

CHiPP and the Radio Communications Committee meet next on July 14th at 7 PM in the East Precinct police station community room. For more information on CHiPP and how you can get involved, visit their blog.

First (and likely only) online pie company enters Hill pastry wars

Originally uploaded by pnwbot

Street food is over-hyped. Let’s get back to a trend that got skipped over too quickly: Internet food. Get your sweet tooth ready – if you live or work in Seattle or Bellevue, you can now order pie online and have it delivered the next day, thanks to A la Mode Pies, an online custom pie shop headquartered on Capitol Hill.

“We all love homemade desserts, but don’t know where to find them,” said owner Chris Porter. “I love the idea that you can go online while sitting at your desk at work and order fresh, homemade baked pies, and have them delivered to your doorstep the next day.”

Porter is the “pie guy,” a Capitol Hill resident and former television reporter turned PR rep, who decided to turn his passion for homemade dessert into a career. You can only order the pies online – something that reflects Porter’s desire for innovation and modernity in his business model.


“There’s nothing like this anywhere around here,” said Porter. “It seemed only natural to try an online pie store on Capitol Hill.”


With the ice cream battle well entrenched and cupcake conflagration still in motion, Capitol Hill’s pie wars are just beginning. CHS reported this past fall on the High 5 Pie start-up shaped by Dani Cone of Fuel Coffee fame — by the way, if you are interested in being an investor, Cone has nearly completed her roster — and micro-bakery Mini Empire is a guerrilla force not to be taken lightly.

A la Mode Pies launched this week — insert pie throwing joke here! — and started accepting orders on Tuesday. They celebrated the launch with a private tasting party at the Knee High Stocking Co., the Olive Way bar modeled in the tradition of a Prohibition-era speakeasy. Porter will use the Knee High Stocking Co. kitchen to make the pies every day, since they don’t open until the evening. The bar will also feature pie by the slice.

An A la Mode pie glamour shot

Porter’s pies have names like the Blue Hawaiian, a combination of pineapple, coconut and fresh blueberries; the White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie and the Lemon Macaroon Tart. Then there’s the lollipie – a silver-dollar-sized, lollipop-inspired pie that comes in three different flavors.

“The best compliment we have gotten is that our pies taste homemade,” said Porter. “All of our pies are handmade – we don’t use gizmos to pump them out quickly. They are made from scratch with locally grown organic ingredients for that taste that everyone loves.”

Porter says he finds inspiration for his creations from everyday foods he enjoys.

“I was eating chocolate covered pretzels one day and I was thinking… it’d be really fun to make a pie like that,” said Porter. That idea became the basis for the Chocolate Cream Pie with Pretzel Crust.

Porter is also testing gluten-free recipes and will feature different seasonal flavors in months to come. 

“I firmly believe that pie hey day is right around the corner — there’s something beautiful about pie. These are trying times, and trying times call for comforting measures,” he said. “Nothing is more comforting than a delicious piece of pie.”

Blitz Capitol Hill Arts Walk 1st birthday includes group walks, light rail art sneak peek

Murder of Crows show at Retrofit

The Blitz Capitol Hill Arts Walk is celebrating its first birthday in style with 55 parties over three hours Thursday night.

“I always feel like it’s a party, but this’ll be a big party,” said Audrey McManus, Blitz coordinator. “This is the most [venues] we’ve ever had.”

The revamped arts walk kicked things off last June with its first official Blitz night under the lead of Ellen Forney. The monthly walk is supported in part by the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and is organized by a group of mostly unpaid volunteers. CHS is a proud sponsor of the event.

To celebrate their anniversary, Blitz is kicking off festivities with volunteer-guided “fake mustache” tours at different points on the Hill, beginning at 6 PM Forney’s Fake Mustache Walking Tour begins at Catalyst, the North Broadway Stiletto Tour (for the fancier types) starts at Roy Street Coffee & Tea, and McManus’ Mustache Walking Tour leaves from Fetherston Gallery. It’s BYOM (bring your own moustache), but they’ve got you covered if you can’t grow one in time.

For those who aren’t looking for an uphill battle, the Radio Point Downhill Mustache Walking Tour meets at InArtsNW on 17th and Olive, (across from Trader Joes) and goes downhill from there. There’s also a Kids Moustache Walking Tour, which meets at Bootyland at 5 p.m. (That party is BYOA – bring your own adult). 

“Every month we get people who want to participate, and email us asking if we all meet somewhere, but we don’t actually have a ‘group,’” said McManus. “There definitely seems to be an interest in a group art walk, so for the 1-year anniversary we are doing that.”

Blitz patrons will also get an exclusive sneak peek at the Sound Transit construction wall art. Lead artist DK Pan and Sound Transit will lead the unveiling with the help of local performers and artists. On display will be a large work-in-progress mural by BASO, a photo installation by Phong Le with musical performances by The Toy Boats. The official wall project unveiling happens during Pride Week.

City Arts Magazine will host a “Best of the Art Walk Award” at the soon-to-be dearly-departed-from-11th Ave Grey Gallery starting at 8:30 p.m. Attendees can vote for a favorite artist of the night, and a small group of judges will determine the final winner. The winning artist gets a cash prize and a headlining profile story in City Arts Magazine.

Where there’s art, there’s food, so make sure to use your nose while going from place to place.

“Lots of the venues have refreshments. I’ve seen people outside grilling… Throwbacks Northwest tends to have a grill out,” said McManus. “There might be a barbecue in the courtyard at Ghost Gallery, too.”

CHS double dog dares you to try and go to every venue on the Blitz art walk map, which you can find here. Many venues are featuring Pride artists in celebration (and anticipation) of Pride 2010. The Blitz after-party is at Grey Gallery starting at 8:30, and, as usual, the Unicorn is hosting the after-after party at 9.

In the years to come, Blitz volunteers hope to keep expanding. They want to have sidewalk sandwich and message boards for participating businesses, art walk flags to fly in the summer and official Blitz umbrellas. McManus, who also manages marketing and education for Babeland, said the group hopes to add more art on 15th Ave. and north Broadway, and are exploring how to make the experience even better for patrons by revamping their art walk map.

If you’re interested in getting involved with Blitz, either as a participating business or as a volunteer, e-mail capitolhillartswalk@gmail.com for more information. The Tuesday after Blitz, volunteers get together, so that’s a good time to check in, too. This month’s meeting will be at Vermillion on Tuesday at 7 PM.

City planners want to pilot Seattle street food plan on Broadway

As famed Seattle street food vendor Skillet nears an official announcement on a permanent Capitol Hill home (we have rumor on where, here), CHS has learned that there might be a street food plan for Broadway that will both make the Hill an even hotter foodie destination and give brick and mortar restaurants some added competition.

The City of Seattle Department of Planning & Development is putting together a plan to create a pilot street food program headquartered on Broadway between John and Denny across from the light rail construction area. The area, home to Seattle’s founding father of cheap eats, Dick’s Drive-in, is thought to be the perfect laboratory for a program to test the impact of a designated area for low-overhead, high flavor street vendors. It’s a challenged area as construction has created a multi-year empty void in the middle of the city’s most vibrant neighborhood.

“Why isn’t there much of a street food scene in Seattle? It’s conspicuous in its absence,” said Gary Johnson, coordinator for the DPD and leading the effort on the plan. “It’s all part of a smart growth strategy to create urban neighborhoods where companies want to be and people want to live.”

Skillet in Capitol Hill
Originally uploaded by joeytrimmer

That DPD is drafting legislation now that could create a culture of restaurants on wheels in Seattle. They are looking to start a pilot launch program on Broadway. Using the successful Portland model as guide, the City believes that allowing street vendors to act as restaurants on wheels will attract increased foot traffic and add more vibrancy to the area. They also argue that it is a good entry point for entrepreneurs and first time business owners, with the potential to positively affect a diverse number of people and increase the economic vitality of the neighborhood.

But an established low-cost restaurant in the area like Dick’s might not see the promise in what is essentially a pilot program in fostering competition for $1.20 hamburgers. Dick’s declined to go on the record with CHS at this time. We’ll follow up with other restaurants in the area soon.

DPD’s Johnson lays out three scenarios for a mobile vending plan in Seattle. One is the taco truck model, where a vendor moves around the city and sets up shop in different parking lots. Another model is the carts set up on sidewalks, like the beloved hot dog stand outside of the Comet. The third is a “vendor in a box” concept – neither bus nor wheeled cart, but a stand set up on private or public property. A good example of this is the Victoria, BC restaurant Red Fish Blue Fish that set up shop in a steel shipping container parked on a sidewalk by a busy pier.

While all of that seems to fit well within the Broadway culture, it could also deeply affect the surrounding brick and mortar restaurants that will have to compete.

“The Chamber is concerned about the bottom line for our members,” said Michael Wells, interim executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. “There are some restaurants that feel like it would rub against their profits.”

Wells said that the Chamber is not yet ready to take an official stand on the proposal. But he said the idea of increased foot traffic, especially around the light rail construction area, is highly appealing.

“We are interested in exploring activation and having that not be a dead space during construction,” said Wells. “It’s important to our mission and the neighborhood.”

Johnson is scheduled to attend the next Chamber meeting to present the idea to the board members, Wells said. The City will be campaigning to many other community organizations and businesses. Then, the plan will be taken to the City Council for approval. Johnson said their goal is to have the pilot program up and running by this summer.  

City Councilmember Sally Clark supports the initiative and thinks it could increase everyone’s profits in the long run.

“Generally, I don’t think street vendors take business from brick-and-mortar restaurants, rather I think they draw more people to an area,” said Clark. “All business can benefit by that interest.”

Jerry Traunfeld, chef and owner of Poppy on north Broadway and with a menu on the other end of the price spectrum from street food, is excited about the prospect.

“Although not all of Broadway’s restaurant owners agree with me, I love the idea. I don’t want carts on every corner, but I like the idea of allowing food trucks to park near the sound transit construction area,” he said. “I think anything to bring people and activity to the area can only benefit local restaurants. The proliferation of quality, innovative street food is a major trend in American cuisine right now, and it’s shortsighted not to encourage it on Capitol Hill.”

The laws surrounding street food vendor restrictions date back to the 1980s, when Seattle first started limiting food licenses.

“Oddly, right now, according to city rules, you can sell only hot dogs, popcorn or espresso on a city sidewalk,” said Clark. “That seems a little limited, so I’d like to see us open the range up a bit. That involves a change to our street use rules.  At the same time we should make sure we have in place standards for maintaining a clear path way.”

DPD is working with Seattle Public Health to reevaluate those codes and establish a new set of boundaries for a variety of food types. They are also exploring ways for entrepreneurs to submit business proposals to the Health Department, to make their food concept work within state regulations.

To address the issue of business competition, vendors would not be able to set up shop within 50 feet of a brick and mortar restaurant. In its final stages, that legislation could change to 100 feet, according to Johnson. Also, food carts will only be permitted where there is sufficient sidewalk space and easy access for the disabled.

The Department of Planning and Development will also work with SDOT to create a street use permit for mobile carts, allowing them to operate from the right-of-way in designated spaces. SDOT will also determine a process for litter pickup, dimensions, design and hours of operation. Johnson said they are also trying to indentify parking zones where food vendors could sell during certain days or hours.

The result, city planners hope, is a environment that spurs an increasingly creative and entrepreneurial food culture in Seattle. And, if the plan works out, Capitol Hill and Broadway will be at the heart belly of it.

HG Lodge on hunt to become first state-approved nightclub on Capitol Hill

E. Pike’s Hunter Gatherer Lodge will soon be the first official nightclub on Capitol Hill if its application process for a new type of state license goes smoothly. Washington State entertainment venues have a new option for their business plans thanks to a nightclub license issued by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB). Now, Capitol Hill bars can choose to focus on the booze and music and forget about the food as long as they have state approval — and are in good graces with the City of Seattle.

“[A nightclub] license gives us more flexibility,” said Marcus Lalario, owner of Hunter Gatherer Lodge. “We don’t have to serve food or be open on certain days or times during the week.”

The bar has sent in the paperwork, and is waiting for approval, Lalario said, which can take 30 days after submission, according to the state.

“I think [the nightclub license] is generally a good thing,” said David Meinert, owner of the 5 Point Cafe, Capitol Hill Block Party planner and overall nightlife heavy hitter. “The potentially negative part is that it lets local governments make rules around nightclub licenses that weren’t allowed prior. That’s an OK thing as long as the City Attorney is working with nightclub life and venues to make good rules that are healthy for the community and businesses.”

Typically, a bar holds a spirits, beer and wine license, and must serve food as part of the requirements for approval. With a nightclub license, the establishment identifies itself as solely a provider of “live entertainment” and alcohol, with primary business hours between 9 PM and 2 AM. Both licenses must be renewed annually. Retailers in Washington have been able to apply for this WSLCB license since July of 2009, but currently, only two venues in Seattle have it – the See Sound Lounge and Juju — owned by a Meinert business partner — in Belltown. In fact, only 10 venues in Washington State are currently considered “nightclubs” by the WSLCB.

“The name of the license is unfortunate. It’s not for nightclubs in particular. It’s for places that serve liquor that don’t necessarily serve food,” said Meinert. “Lots of bars that serve liquor use fake kitchens. The [license was] made for those types of places so they don’t have to serve food anymore.”

While a licensed nightclub can be cheaper to operate than a spirits/beer/wine license, it could mean tighter reins on the businesses from the city.

“The provision for allowing local governments to request added restrictions is a new concept and is intended to address specific public safety concerns that may be unique to certain jurisdictions,” said WSLCB spokesperson Brian Smith.

In Seattle, these “unique” “public safety concerns” are covered by contracts called Good Neighbor Agreements. The agreements tend to be based on a template that shifts from administration to administration and sometimes include unique elements specific to a particular business’s siutation. GNA contracts for spirits/wine/beer licenses under past City Attorneys have included rules on everything from what the bouncers could wear to prohibiting dancing or DJs. Pete Holmes, Seattle’s newly elected City Attorney, has promised to work closer with businesses to find solutions to problems and review GNA contracts.

“The law allows the city to request public safety conditions in situations where there are issues but we haven’t heard of any problems yet,” said Bob Scales, spokesperson for the City Attorney’s Office.

One issue for HG Lodge might be somewhat out of its control. CHS has reported on two assaults — one violent beating in April and last week’s fight involving a pistol — occurring on the street outside the club since it opened its doors in April. UPDATE: Lalario tells SeattleCrime that last week’s incident “had nothing to do with [his] club.”

When asked what kind of problems might call for further review of the details of a nightclub license, Smith from the liquor control board said the responsibility fell on the city to bring issues to the liquor control board’s attention.

“This provision is really about local input,” said Smith. “The Board does not have authority to include restrictions unless requested by the local authority.”

Meinert raised concerns about the idea of more local government control over nightlife, and pointed to former City Attorneys and anti-nightlife legislation that has kept Seattle under wraps for the last few decades.

“I think it needs to be watched carefully, especially by the press,” said Meiner. “It has potential for abuse and points to a bigger issue – the liquor laws are antiquated. They were written in 1933 around the end of prohibition. Instead of an overall revamp, we keep adding and changing little parts of it. The system needs a complete revamp. It would be great if someone could take that on.”

Back at HG Lodge, Lalario is looking forward to getting the process over with and getting his nightclub license. HG currently sells some food, and Lalario is open to more food service in the future — maybe. But for now, HG Lodge is ready to simply host a great party.

Belka (a.k.a Hot Dogs in Seattle) chosen as 2010 Cal Anderson food vendor

Summer season is just around the bend, and Seattle Parks and Recreation made their annual open-call announcement for street food vendor applications. While Cal Anderson seems like a coveted spot for any street vendor, only one person applied for it this year.

That person was Vladislav Broyzer. He’ll have a New York style hot dog cart in the center of the southern walkway near the ball field as Belka and/or Hot Dogs in Seattle, according to Dewey Potter, spokesperson for Seattle Parks and Recreation.

Broyzer will sell the typical fare: Sabrett, tofu and boca dogs, with knishes, chips and condiments. Also, he’ll sell canned soda, V8 and Arizona beverages and Rockstar ice cream bars.

He’ll be able to start selling as soon as he gets all of his permits from Public Health.

Broyzer faces some mean competition from other street vendors in the area including the much-loved stand at the Comet and brick and mortar purveyor of hot wieners, Po Dog (CHS sponsor).

CHS will catch up with Broyzer once he sets up shop, but let’s hope that the drama affecting last year’s vendor Wandering Wieners will not keep us from sampling snacks in the park this summer.

One more traffic camera coming to Capitol Hill by end of summer

See all Capitol Hill Cams

When we first reported that SDOT rolled out new traffic cameras around Capitol Hill earlier this month, CHS wondered why the Broadway and Roy camera wasn’t included in the online upgrade. The camera image on this post shows the view from the cam at E. Pike and Broadway looking west. Use it to watch for your friends stopping by the Harvard Square QFC or to keep track of who’s on Real Change duty today.

We asked SDOT about the camera, and it turns out that there is a technical issue with it, but it should be turned on by the end of August.

The cameras are part of a federal initiative for a citywide intelligent traffic system, and you can watch them online. Visit the new CHS Traffic Cams page, located under “Maps and Tools.” For a list of all city traffic cams, visit http://web5.seattle.gov/travelers/.

“Currently, we don’t plan to add any more cameras,” said Marybeth Turner at SDOT. “However, as future Intelligent Transportation System opportunities come up, we will try to add more.”