CHS Pics | From Capitol Hill drag queens to the Clinton-Trump campaign trail

Gowdy in front of the Comet earlier this week (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Gowdy in front of the Comet earlier this week (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

The 2016 presidential election has us all questioning what we see and hear. Through the sometimes bizarre race, Seattle photographer Nate Gowdy’s starkly contrasted images of the candidates have found a wide audience. What truths can we find in the lines of Donald Trump’s face that we can’t find in his words? How deep of a sympathetic response can we form from the turn in Hillary Clinton’s lips? Thursday night, a new exhibition of Gowdy’s works will go on display inside E Pike’s Retail Therapy as part of the storm-defying October Capitol Hill Art Walk. CHS talked with Gowdy about his start chasing drag queens and documenting gay events and culture in the neighborhood while trying to pay the bills as a working photographer. Stop though to see the images in person and buy a Gowdy photo mug or two to help keep the close-ups coming.

Any experiences shooting around Capitol Hill prepare you for your experiences with the campaigns? Yeah, definitely. I learned photography in this neighborhood. I got in with Seattle Gay News as staff photographer at the start of 2011. As a straight cisgender man from Indiana, Seattle’s LGBTQ scene was so new and different for me. I didn’t see anyone else documenting it passionately, and so it was under-represented at an important time, when marriage equality was just beginning to make the rounds across the country. I regret not having the means to cover the movement beyond Seattle, so I focused on developing my style and aesthetic here and, in doing so, was able to create a niche and community for myself. Continue reading

91-year-old Capitol Hill house of worship lives on as At the Church performance space

As one old area church appears destined for demolition at 14th and Spring, a large brick church built in 1925 still sits at the corner of E Olive St. and 13th. But while the building may still look like a church, its function has changed.

The building now hosts congregations of a different sort in its new life as performance venue At The Church. The mysterious venue has been hosting events since at least 2013.

While its ownership declined to be interviewed for this story, according to its website, At the Church is “one of the most unique” venue spaces in Seattle available for live performances and other events.  Continue reading

How to help black artists who got ‘Erased’ at Capitol Hill Art Hack Day

Art Hack Day was intended to foster collaboration. Its visit to Capitol Hill earlier this month has instead been an illustration in frustration for two artists who wanted to be part of the event and has led to the cancellation of a connected arts festival intended to build on the night’s work.

With the September 17th event’s theme of “Erasure” hosted at 11th Ave’s V2, creators Jaleesa Trapp and Christopher Paul Jordan were sad and frustrated to find their contribution as black artists all but erased by the night’s organizers:

last night we came to setup our creation for #ArtHack Seattle, and we stayed at the space until a little after 3AM. we slept 2 hours. woke up early to finish writing code & drawing where all the circuits needed to be connected. only to come finish our setup 2 hours before the show & EVERYTHING was moved. there’s no way we could’ve reset this and then finished what we brought. ironically, the theme of Art Hack Seattle is Erasure. our piece was dedicated to Black people whose histories have been erased. our piece was meant to be interactive, with sight, sound, touch, and even smell. Chris and I both work all day, and spent Thursday & Friday night working. we’ve driven back & forth from Tacoma several times because this was an important show to us. Continue reading

Central District’s 18th & Union theater aims to be a home for solo performers

Gassner (Image: CHS)

Gassner (Image: CHS)

David Gassner, an actor, director and producer, has wanted to help solo performers present their work. His vision is becoming a reality. Gassner got the keys to the former New City Theater at 1406 18th Ave on September 1st and with a few small changes, is reopening it as 18th & Union.

Seattle has a lack of venues for solo performers to present their work, Gassner said. He wants to fill that void and provide solo and small-scale artists who create theater, poetry, music, comedy and other art with an audience.

“It’s a big deal for people who are working in this style,” he said. Continue reading

Volunteer Park’s Seattle Asian Art Museum shows designs for ‘park lobby’ expansion and overhaul

(Image: SAAM/LMN)

(Image: SAAM/LMN)

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-7-01-43-amThe Seattle Art Museum presented its design for the upgrades and expansion of Volunteer Park’s Asian Art Museum in a community meeting held in the International District on Saturday morning. The design makes major changes to the east-facing “back” of the landmark 1933 building in Volunteer Park, featuring some floor-to-ceiling windows in levels one and two and a striking glass “park lobby” on level three of the extension.

The park lobby would allow people inside the museum a park view that includes an impressive beech tree, and allow people outside to look up at art displays inside the museum. Architect Sam Miller of LMN architects, the firm designing the upgrade and extension, explained the design goal of integrating the park on both sides with the museum space itself.

The rather sophisticated design is a complete change from the grey, utilitarian back of the museum as it is now, which looks unfinished and harsh in contrast to the pink stone and Beaux Arts Art Deco style of the front of the building. The upgrade could, as Miller suggested, achieve an added bonus of making the space behind the museum safer in that would be overlooked and less cutoff from the rest of the park.

As he talked through a slide show of the design (the full presentation is below), Miller stressed that it had been modified in keeping with feedback from the public — there were community meetings in July and August and future meetings are scheduled for October, November and December. The external stairway in an earlier draft is now inside of the building, and an extruding elevator is now tucked in and hiding behind a tree. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s Annex Theatre recognized for legacy as company prepares to enter 30th season

In 1986 a group of friends started the Annex Theatre to help emerging Seattle artists produce work. Their endeavor and the effort of those who have lead Annex after was honored this month when Capitol Hill’s Annex Theatre received a legacy honor at the Mayor’s Arts Awards. The theatre is celebrating its 30th season in 2017.

After receiving the award, outgoing Annex artistic director Pamala Mijatov carried it off the stage and handed it to the new AD Catherine Smith.

“I said, ‘This is yours. … I carried this for a long time, but it’s yours now,’” Mijatov told CHS. Continue reading

Art Hack Day coming to Capitol Hill, fostering collaboration between artists and hackers

Artists and hackers will take over 11th Ave’s V2 space later this month to spend 48 hours creating pieces that marry art and technology.

The collaborative project, Art Hack Day, which has been held in cities around the world, provides the participants with a space and equipment. “It’s a great environment for artists and engineers to collaborate closely on projects,” Julia Fryett, an organizer for the Seattle event, told CHS. The time constraint and theme can lead to exciting and unexpected creations, she said.

In Seattle, organizers settled on the theme “Erasure,” which the 30 to 40 artists and hackers mostly from Seattle and Portland will create pieces around. Continue reading

Sound Transit begins pilot allowing buskers at Capitol Hill Station

A busker at Capitol Hill Station's grand opening earlier this year

A busker at Capitol Hill Station’s grand opening earlier this year

Just like a real big city neighborhood, Capitol Hill now has a subway station. And like a big city of the future, you can use your phone in the subway tunnels. Starting today, our subway will get another important feature — station buskers.

Sound Transit began a six-month trial Thursday allowing busking on Capitol Hill Station and University of Washington Station property:

Sound Transit believes that allowing buskers to perform at the University of Washington and Capitol Hill light rail stations will help retain existing users, as well as attract new users, and is consistent with promoting transit-related activities. Accordingly, Sound Transit is adopting this pilot program for a 6 month period to assess the feasibility of adopting a permanent policy regarding performances by buskers.

Continue reading

Velocity Dance marks 20 years in motion on Capitol Hill

Velocity Dance Center has fueled the careers of dancers and artists and provided a space and classes on Capitol Hill for anyone with an inspiration to move their bodies.

“It would be very detrimental to the entire city if it wasn’t here,” Kate Wallich, a dancer, choreographer, director, and teacher in Velocity’s community told CHS.

The dance center’s entire 2016 season has been celebrating Velocity. The Fall Kick-Off offers audiences a way to relive the season and experience a taste of the upcoming 2017 season. Performances are at 7:30 PM Sept. 23-25 at wthe Velocity Founders Theater, 1621 12th Ave.

About ten years ago, Velocity’s longevity was tested, but the community’s support gave the center a breath of new life. The center hit some rocky ground financially in 2007 when the Odd Fellows Hall at 10th and Pine, its home since 1996, was sold and the nonprofit’s rent was hiked. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Tempest staged without a stage in Volunteer Park

In a neighborhood crunched for arts spaces that arts groups can actually afford, the REBATEnsemble might present a few useful lessons.

Bringing “engaging theatre to unconventional spaces,” the “Recession-Era Broke-Ass Theatre Ensemble” has learned how to stage even the greatest works of performance without a stage. Or a theater, for that matter. Continue reading

Town Hall hopes to become First Hill gateway as two 32-story towers set to join block

(Image: Michael Hanscom via Town Hall Seattle)

(Image: Michael Hanscom via Town Hall Seattle)

(Image: Town Hall Seattle)

(Image: Town Hall Seattle)

This August, the amazing old church that grew up to be First Hill’s Town Hall Seattle isn’t doing much but getting older as it reaches the 100th anniversary of its construction. Next August, the landmark building — and its block at 8th and Seneca — will begin a massive process of overhaul and change that will rebuild the old Town Hall and functionally rotate the structure’s presence to create what the nonprofit hopes is a new presence for the structure as a connector between downtown and a rapidly growing First Hill neighborhood. Along with the new orientation, more than 500 new neighbors are also coming to the block in a set of apartment towers planned to join the 100-year-old building.

Capital campaign director for Kevin Malgesini said that the corner of Town Hall closest to the I-5 lid Freeway Park is a focal point of the renovation project. “We’re looking at the way this corner links the two neighborhoods,” he said. “What it is is really visually connecting Freeway Park and First Hill, rather than First Hill turning its back on the city.”

Malgesini said the nondescript and closed-off nature of the building’s current west facade makes it unapproachable from downtown Seattle. “I think there are many people who see the building and don’t know what it is.” Continue reading

‘Girl’ aims to flip heroic journey on its head

The cast of Girl (Image: Mary Hubert)

Cast members of Girl (Image: Mary Hubert)

Creators of a new play at Capitol Hill’s Annex Theater aim to unravel the classic hero’s journey story framework famously outlined by Joseph Campbell.

“Back in college I was really interested in the hero’s journey structure, but I never really felt like it related that much to women,” said director and cowriter of Girl, Mary Hubert. She came up with the idea for the play in 2015 and said she wanted the work to lay bare the heroic story formula’s “lack of applicability to modern-day women.”

For example, a traditional hero’s journey can be considered a success when the protagonist completes their quest by winning a prize. “In most people’s lives, not just women’s, they don’t get a prize,” said Hubert. Continue reading