‘Existential transgender wild western’ Sidewinders one of many ‘lasts’ before Hugo House redevelopment

There will be many last bows for Hugo House as we know it before a planned, literary nonprofit-friendly redevelopment of the property.

Sidewinders, the production from Fantastic.Z Theatre Company now playing Hugo, is lined up to be the last of its kind in the old space — and possibly the new:

In the Northwest premiere of this existential transgender wild western by award winning playwright Basil Kreimendahl, Dakota and Bailey find themselves stranded in a strange barren land.

Part of a planned six-story development, The new Hugo House facility will be “approximately 10,000 square feet” and will share the ground floor with a 1,500 square-foot “commercial space” being planned for a cafe at the corner of 11th and E Olive.

While the design of the new facility is still being worked out, the players involved in Sidewinders say a theater stage likely won’t be part of the new Hugo as the center focuses its mission and other performance spaces at 12th Ave Arts establish themselves in the area.

Literary events are scheduled through the fall at Hugo House and there has been no announcement yet for a planned community gathering to say goodbye to the old building and celebrate the new.

In the meantime, you can begin the drama of nostalgia now through August. Information on Sidewinders showtimes and more here on the CHS Calendar.

In the wake of the Woo! Girl, #LOVETHEHILL, #IAMCAPITOLHILL campaign for Capitol Hill

In some ways, they are the obvious reactions to an artistic slap in the face that was so sadly well placed, you could only shake your head in agreement. The Legendary and Woo! Girl posters were so cynical and sly that they can’t possibly be matched. But two social media-fueled campaigns are doing their part to also define the neighborhood and spread love for Capitol Hill with a multimedia mix that spills onto the streets of the like-it/unlike-it neighborhood.

CHS told you about the planning behind the #LOVETHEHILL campaign this winter as graphic designer and Hillebrity Gregory Smith and fellow Seattle Central Creative Arts Academy student Jess Ornelas teamed up for a project to liven up the old Atlas Clothing building on Broadway and create a documentary about the people who live and work on the Hill and their complicated relationship with the neighborhood’s changes:

Watch for a cameo by CHS publisher Justin Carder. Very exciting.

With backing from the likes of Caffé Vita, Ben Haggerty and Tricia Davis, and Linda Derschang, the campaign also includes a #LOVETHEHILL soundtrack:

You can learn more at lovethehill.org.

Meanwhile, the #IAMCAPITOLHILL campaign has created a series of interviews with leaders and creators in the LGBTQ community. Here is the episode featuring performer Aleksa Manila:

“Capitol Hill is still queer. These are our stories,” the Seattle Pridefest-backed campaign’s tagline goes.

You can learn more at iamcapitolhill.org.

CHS Pics | 12th Ave hosts the Epic Durational Performance Festival

Adam Sekuler's work got the 2015 festival started (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Adam Sekuler’s work got the 2015 festival started (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

IMG_2283IMG_2292The Yellow Fish Epic Durational Performance Festival is currently taking place at Seattle University’s Hedreen Gallery. Organized since 2013 by Seattle-based artist Alice Gosti, it is one of the only festivals dedicated to durational performance in the world.

Durational performance can be defined as “a [art] form through which TIME is manifested in its original (natural) purity and brought to the forefront as pivotal to the experience.” Basically, it is an artistic performance that takes much longer than the standard two hours.

Yellow Fish performances can be a little out of the ordinary. Last year, one performance consisted of two women “submerged in an inflatable kiddie pool” for more than five hours, with a wolf hide suspended above them dripping pig blood into the water. This year’s festival kicked off last week with a performance spanning three days. Artist Adam Sekuler, a Seattleite living in Colorado, spent this time leading a communal mourning for the “buildings, organizations, and stores that we have lost in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, according to Gosti.

In spite of its unusual genre, or because of it, the Yellow Fish festival has been pretty successful. Last year the festival attracted artists from across the United States and as far away as London. This year, due to budget constraints, the festival has featured mostly local artists, but Gosti says attendance has been “really good.” The festival has also raised more than six thousand dollars through the crowdfunding campaign CHS reported on last week.

Yellow Fish is scheduled to take place daily through August 6th. The majority of the performances will take place at the Hedreen Gallery and a few will be held at the local venues such as the Velocity Dance Center and 10 degrees.

The planned 2015 lineup is below:

it is just the beginning and it may last forever
July 8th to August 5th, 2015 at The Hedreen Gallery
Runn Shayo (New York)
Pol Rosenthal
Pol Budraitis
LIMITS (Corrie Befort and Jason E Anderson)
Megumi Shauna Arai
Juan Franco
Brace Evans
MKNZ Porritt
Laura Curry and Lori Dillon
Jody Kuehner
Ryan Vinson
Adam Sekuler
Keith White
Mother Tongue (kt Shores and Angelina Baldoz_
A K Mimi Allin
and special guests…

Official schedule and specific locations will be posted soon on Yellow Fish // Epic Durational Performance Festival.

ARTvocacy Refugee Art Exhibit

On Friday, June 19th, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Seattle will host the 10th Annual ARTvocacy Event, in recognition of World Refugee Day.
ARTvocacy will provide the public with an opportunity to learn more about refugee issues and experiences, while also celebrating the artistic talents and accomplishments of local refugee communities. This year’s artists come from diverse countries around the globe, including Bhutan, Bosnia, Burma, Iraq, and Vietnam.
For the fourth year in a row, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will join the celebration and naturalize 10 new citizens who arrived in the United States as refugees. IRC Voice and “The Walking Dead” actress Sarah Wayne Callies will attend as our special guest.
Light appetizers and beverages will be provided; suggested $15 donation at the door.

Three Capitol Hill-area venues among first to sign Seattle Fair Trade Music pledge


Projections on A Wall plays Chop Suey’s re-opening in March (Image: CHS)

This decal coming to a venue near you soon.

This decal coming to a venue near you soon.

Talk to any working musician, and they’re bound to have at least one story about a nightmare gig caused by an unscrupulously run venue.

Paul Bigman has heard plenty of them as an organizer with the American Federation of Musicians Local 76-493. There was the bouncer who walked away with band’s share of the door and the metal venue that insisted local openers had to let touring acts use their instruments.

To help bring some uniformity and transparency to the way venues treat performers, musicians and organizers have brought the Portland-originated Fair Trade Music campaign to Seattle. Two Capitol Hill venues and one First Hill venue have signed the Fair Trade Music pledge since the effort launched in April: Chop Suey, Capitol Cider, and Vios Vito’s .

“Having everything on the table to see where everything is going is really important,” said Chop Suey owner and musician Brianna Rettig. “It’s good to know that if you’re supporting a music venue, it’s a place that’s being fair to the musicians.”

Bigman said the 21 venues that have signed on represent businesses musicians identified as the most exemplary. Neumos and most other Capitol Hill venues have yet to be approached about the pledge, Bigman said, but organizers are preparing to sign up more venues in the coming months along with a public awareness campaign.

As its name would suggest, the FTM pledge is akin to fair trade labeling in foods. Participating venues will get decals to put in their windows to show they’ve signed the pledge, which includes four major tenants:

  • Provide musicians with a written agreement that lays out the terms of payment
  • Provide musicians with a record of how many tickets were sold and how much money was made
  • Have a decent sound system and capable sound tech
  • If there are disagreements, venue owners agree to work with Fair Trade Music Seattle to resolve disputes

The pledge makes no stipulations about minimum pay as musicians and venues often agree on a wide range of “fair pay” agreements, Bigman said. However, its something that could be added down the road.

“A lot of clubs are owned by musicians, and they don’t want to mistreat musicians, they’re just not business people,” Bigman said. Continue reading

Creative Blueprint artist work studios coming to Pike/Pine

11060845_725808247539881_4842954540878777262_n 2147012275_20110629_230345By way of Toronto, Capitol Hill is about to get a new space for artists and entrepreneurs to create.

Creative Blueprint, a gallery and artist work space concept with Canadian roots, is making plans to open its doors to the Capitol Hill creative class in a 5,000 square-foot subterranean space on Boylston Ave just around the corner from Pine.

“It’s an expansion of the vision and the project,” Creative Blueprint’s Ashley Proctor tells CHS.

The affordable and flexible studio spaces will be operated in conjunction with Capitol Hill coworking concern Office Nomads which in 2012 doubled its size by taking over both the ground and second level of the old Heath Printers building above Creative Blueprint’s new basement space.

CHS is a longtime Office Nomads member.

Proctor says she started Creative Blueprint in Toronto nearly a decade ago to solve a problem familiar to many Capitol Hill artists finding it increasingly difficult to find affordable work space. Proctor says that in Toronto she started the original Creative Blueprint in an affordable area of the city only to see that area develop and rents push higher. Creative Blueprint moved, then, gain, development came. It’s a cycle Proctor said happened quickly enough in Toronto that she was able to learn how to deal with it. Eventually, she said, she was able to purchase the building where Creative Blueprint now lives. Her Toronto operation in The Foundery building also includes a coworking business that she also operates.

In Seattle, Proctor is working with Office Nomads founders Jacob Sayles and Susan Dorsch.

“It seems so easy to run one company instead of two,” she said.

Proctor tells CHS that the success of Office Nomads helped convince the building’s owners that a shared art space was a viable tenant for their investment. Proctor said that having the support of the new Capitol Hill Arts District was also key as Cultural Space Liaison Matthew Richter wrote a letter to the building owners on Creative Blueprint’s behalf.

As she works this summer to open the new space, Proctor is also meeting with artists and coworkers to find out more about the needs of the Capitol Hill community.

Proctor said that it doesn’t necessarily require artists owning a building to preserve and protect art space in a neighborhood.

“Making sure that property owners and landlords understand the value can also work,” she said.

Still, Proctor said that, eventually, purchasing a building to secure homes for Creative Blueprint and Office Nomads could be part of the plans.

Creative Blueprint will be located at 1617 Boylston Ave’s lower level. Proctor said pricing and membership plan structures will be similar to how she has set up her Foundry coworking space. You can learn more at facebook.com/CreativeBlueprintSeattle/.

20 years of independence at Capitol Hill’s Northwest Film Forum comes as director plans exit

Lyall Bush at the forum's 20th anniversary gala (Image: Elisa Huerta-Enochian with permission to CHS)

Lyall Bush at the NWFF’s 20th anniversary gala. He’s stepping down as director of the nonprofit in September.  (Image: Elisa Huerta-Enochian with permission to CHS)

For 20 years, the Northwest Film Forum has gathered people on Capitol Hill around a common love of making, watching, and learning about independent film and executive director Lyall Bush has been there from the beginning. After watching the NWFF grow from a small film equipment collective into an invaluable arts asset for the city and seven years of steering the ship, Bush is now planning an exit for a new director to make their mark.

Bush announced on Thursday he would be stepping down from his post this September.

“You take stock, at that point, and ask what you want to be doing, and in a sense our 20th anniversary is a good chance for the organization to hit the refresh button (so to speak) as well,” Bush told CHS in an email. “It’s a chance for the whole operation to write a new strategic plan, craft new vision, and keep independent filmmaking going for another couple of decades.”

Bush’s announcement came on the same day that writer, director, and NWFF board member Megan Griffiths was announced as the recipient of the 10th annual Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film. Griffiths’ latest film, Lucky Them, featured scenes filmed in the heart of Capitol Hill in 2013.

Even as the city’s biggest force in film seems rejuvenated and as vital as ever on Capitol Hill with its 41st annual festival kicking off here and around Seattle this week, there are no guarantees of sustainability for smaller champions of film arts.

Continue reading

OK… one* more nostalgic CHS post… Art Invasion marks doomed 12/John house, Hill’s still-kicking arts scene

IMG_6385(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Thursday night — and for that night only — artists from around Capitol Hill and Seattle “invaded” a doomed house on the corner of John and 12th with art to showcase the vitality of the neighborhood’s longstanding independent arts scene and highlight the departure of yet another niche of the Hill’s creativity due to displacement.

The renegade art show, dubbed the Capitol Hill Art Invasion was organized by a longtime tenant of the 1920’s-era three-story labyrinth of a home; local artist Damien Puggelli in collaboration with members of a recently created local arts community building collective; Space 4 Art, many of whom are also Capitol Hill residents.

Puggelli, who has been living in a shed turned garage adjacent to the house since 2003, learned back in november of last year that the property is being sold by its joint owners to a developer who plans to demolish the pre-existing home to build high density apartments. Two adjacent and dilapidated properties on 12th Ave are also being leveled by the same company for similar purposes, according to Puggelli.

“I’m slightly heartbroken about this space,” said Puggelli. “What can you do?”

Puggelli says he has yet to receive an eviction notice, but was pre-empting his eventual and the relocation of other similarly displaced artists around the Hill with last night’s show.

Though Puggelli has been the only long-term resident, the house has provided studios and workspaces for numerous artists over the years such as K.D. Schill, a Seattle costume designer.

The idea for the invasion was hatched several months prior by Puggelli and collaborators, who wished to convey not only a “farewell” to the neighborhood but also the vibrancy and necessity of Capitol Hill’s independent arts scene, which they feel is being bulldozed — both literally and figuratively — by gentrifying forces. Continue reading

CHS Crow | APRIL Festival edition — Wendy and Søren

Wednesday, APRIL did its best to summon the spirit of Alice B. Toklas from the walls of the Sorrento along with Rebecca Brown, Joshua Beckman, Jan Wallace and “musical accompaniment.” (Images: Alex Garland)

APRIL Festival 2015 has been keeping the literature calendar packed with unconventional events for most of the last week and it all wraps up today with the grand finale — APRIL’s annual small press book expo:

Sunday, March 29
Hugo House, 11 am – 5 pm
Our annual book fair, featuring more than 40 small presses from around the country.

Thursday night, the CHS Crow stopped by the independent literature festival’s annual collaboration with art gallery Vignettes — hosted at an offsite location this year — and chatted with poet Wendy Xu and artist Søren Nilsson. What read as a playfully deconstructive video by Nilsson was one of the eight works responding to Xu’s book You Are Not Dead that made up the exhibition. Works by Ripple Fang, Susanna Bluhm, Max Cleary, Francesca Lohmann, Klara Glosova, Aidan Fitzgerald and Paul Komada were also featured. Check it out. Continue reading