2015 APRIL will be ‘largest ever’ edition of small press literature festival

APRIL-logo-full-GreenThe cozy, home-like environment of Richard Hugo House’s original and current space makes it a pretty fitting last stop for APRIL Festival’s annual grassroots romp around Capitol Hill and First Hill. Add the sorta-twisted fact that the 1904 building that houses the internationally acclaimed center for writers was once a mortuary and the space might seem an even more ideal fit as a venue for the week-long literature festival known for its freewheeling spirit and often unorthodox approaches to presenting works.

However, next year APRIL will have to find another site for its capstone small press Book Expo, and other events it has traditionally held at Hugo House. The writing center’s current building will be torn down in 2016 to make way for the construction of a six-story mixed-use structure. Thankfully, the new building does promise to provide a continued home for Hugo House on the east side of Cal Anderson Park, but it will of course take some time to build. And the new space will of course be a change; a welcome change in many respects, Hugo House’s executive director Tree Swenson says, but aspects of the ambiance will certainly shift.

It remains to be seen how APRIL will adapt in 2016 and if it will return to Hugo House once the new incarnation is completed. And while thanks to generous support Capitol Hill gets to hold on to Hugo House, some fear that trends the Hugo House property revamp reflects — including the continuously rising property values and rents helping spur the rolling redevelopment of the neighborhood — may threaten to push most less-commercial artists and arts out of the neighborhood once and for all. Meanwhile, the city’s designation of Capitol Hill as Seattle’s first official Arts District represents one effort meant to help prevent that from happening.

All that said, though at its inception four years ago it may have entered a Capitol Hill already past its prime as a readily accessible place for the arts to thrive without intervention or initiatives, APRIL has nonetheless seen impressive growth since its humble beginnings. Whats more, APRIL continues to find some ways to grow in 2015, as it now looks to adapt to new challenges in the near future.

“It’s definitely getting bigger and bigger than we ever could have imagined when we started it,” said Tara Atkinson, who founded APRIL along with Willie Fitzgerald back in 2012, when the two found themselves unemployed roommates in a Capitol Hill apartment that also served as APRIL’s headquarters. The acronym they chose as the name for the festival that comes every March, and which has morphed in to an organization that also offers some smaller literary events throughout the year, is descriptive — ‘Authors, Publishers and Readers of Independent Literature.’

This year’s festival runs one day shorter than 2014’s, kicking off Tuesday, March 24, with a party at Barboza, and wrapping up Sunday, March 29, with the Book Expo at Hugo House. However, while the number of days and events is indeed slightly lower, some other numbers are up. Continue reading

Seattle Street Food Festival returns to Cal Anderson bigger, longer… and shorter? 2014 chef, food truck and pop-up roster

2013's festival (Image: CHS)

2013’s festival (Image: CHS)

The 2014, second-ever edition of the Seattle Street Food Festival at Cal Anderson is planned as a bigger, longer Capitol Hill event with shorter lines — and an art and shopping fair brought to you by the creative types at Urban Craft Uprising.

The festival takes place Friday and Saturday, August 8th and 9th

“Our aim last year was to test the concept and thankfully, it was a huge success,” event producer Ryan Reiter told CHS earlier this year discussing the expansion of the festival. “Now as we move to two days, it should cut down on the congestion and offer a healthier food festival experience.”

Long lines and serious crowds were a blessing and a curse for the inaugural 2013 edition of the festival.

(Image: Seattle Street Food Festival)

(Image: Seattle Street Food Festival)

On top of the addition of the Urban Craft Uprising “indie craft show” on Bobby Morris field, the two-day 2014 event will also bring back the beer gardens and “pop-up” dinner concept featuring an announced lineup of foodie-favorite chefs: Continue reading

Vibrations Festival forgoes corporate sponsorship, looks to the crowd for return to Capitol Hill

Witch Gardens @ Cairo's Vibrations Festival

Witch Gardens (Image: CHS)

552012_10151170273376351_2115913652_n Speaking of good times at Capitol Hill music festivals, a free celebration of music makers, poets, filmmakers and artists is being planned for a comeback in Volunteer Park. After a one-year hiatus in 2013, organizers of Cairo’s summer Vibrations Festival are looking beyond the corporate sponsorship that has helped make the event happen in the past and are turning to the crowd to make a 2014 return of the event a reality:

After two years of collaborating with corporate sponsors, the Cairo team has decided to go DO IT YOURELF this year!

We need YOUR help to make Vibrations a reality.

This Indiegogo fundraiser will allow us to create the budget we’ve always wanted for Vibrations: with money to pay for top performers, sound equipment and engineers, visual artists, and staff for the event, Vibrations will be bigger and better than ever before.

2014 Vibrations is YOUR event! Help us make it happen!

We like that typo — we also like Vibrations.

If you want to “do it your elf,” you can give via this Indiegogo site.

The perks include limited edition Vibrations t-shirts, Cairo tunes, access to a special yoga session atop the Biltmore and, for the big givers, a tent at the Vibrations festival “with food and fresh watermelon juice.”

No date is yet listed for the festival which took place in August in 2011 and 2012. The campaign has its work cut out — despite some big(ger) media attention here and there, Cairo is currently at $261 of its $10,000 goal.

Capitol Hill Block Party readies for 18th annual neighborhood invasion — UPDATE: 2014 lineup announced

The explosion of fun that was CHBP 2013 (Image: CHS)

The explosion of fun that was CHBP 2013 (Images: CHS)


The hopefully sun-drenched days of the Capitol Hill Block Party are just three short months away and the festival’s producers have been busily making new plans for the three-day Capitol Hill celebration of Pike/Pine’s nightlife culture.

The 18th annual installment of the festival will once again fall on the last full weekend of July, this year the 25th, 26th, 27th. Block Party producer Jason Lajeunesse told CHS that permits have been issued and most of the bands are booked. The main stage acts and ticket prices are expected to be announced Tuesday morning. The festival annually draws more than 30,000 attendees.

UPDATE: Spoon, The War on Drugs, and Sunday closer A$AP Rocky will be among the Capitol Hill Block Party 2014 headliners, organizers revealed Tuesday during their ritual announcement on KEXP. Three-day passes also went on sale for a limited time discount of $99.

Here’s the list of headliners being announced Tuesday morning:

A$AP Rocky, Spoon, Chromeo, Matt and Kim, The War on Drugs, Odesza, Sol,  A$AP Ferg, Beat Connection, Star Slinger, Budos Band, Tanlines, XXYYXX, Angel Olsen, Poolside, Cymbals, Shy Girls 

The full lineup and schedule is typically released by early June.

Tickets can be purchased here.

“The Block Party is a boisterous and spirited event that takes place right in the heart of Seattle’s artistic community,” Lajeunesse said in a statement released along with the 2014 lineup tease. “This year’s headliners like Chromeo and Matt and Kim will transform the intersection of Pike and Broadway into a giant dance floor. I can’t wait.”

In December Lajeunesse went before the city’s Special Events Committee to assure the city’s party police that there would be no major logistical changes from last year’s festivities. Over recent years, Block Party planners have attempted to do more with less, packing more music and art into the same confines and doing more to mitigate the festival’s impact on the neighborhood by keeping a lid on attendance and last call. Ticket prices have also climbed with single-day access reaching $40 last year. 2014 three-day passes will start at $99 for a limited time, organizers say. Continue reading

‘Mo-Wave Festival ready for second round on Capitol Hill

Team Dresch at 'Mo-Wave 2013 (Image: CHS)

Team Dresch at ‘Mo-Wave 2013 (Image: CHS)

The second queer powered ‘Mo-Wave Festival is coming to Capitol Hill for five days of art, interpretive works and music of the LGBTQ community through over 20 artists and performers, as well as some new surprises to keep things fresh.

“There’s been a lot of growing pains,” said organizer and performer Seth Garrison. “We’ve upped our game.” Looking to build on the success of the first Mo-Wave Festival in 2013, this year’s event will showcase three national headliners to kick out the queer jams: ChristeeneJustin Vivian Bond and Zebra Katz. However, it’s Capitol Hill musicians who will boast the largest presence at the festival. Continue reading

Capitol Hill hosts Seattle Deaf Film Festival

A scene from Lake Windfall, "a portrait of interactions between deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people" --  in a post-apocalyptic setting.

A scene from Lake Windfall, “a portrait of interactions between deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing people” — in a post-apocalyptic setting.

Capitol Hill’s Northwest Film Forum continues to make a home for festivals involving filmmakers and subject matters of all types. Next week, Seattle Deaf Film Festival brings its three-day roster of 36 productions showcasing the works of the deaf filmmaking community to Capitol Hill for the first time following its 2013 debut. Reels run April 4-6.

“SDFF started from a core group full of signing people who were passionate about cinema and wanted to set up a film festival celebrating its own culture and language,” said Patty Liang, the festival’s director. The festival is powered by community group Deaf Spotlight who plan to launch the weekend with an opening night reception April 4 at Velocity — $10 or free for weekend ticket holders; 8 to 11 PM. The productions being shown at the festival will offer many genres and styles for viewers to pick from and explore.

“The films were made by, and for the Deaf community. We have a wonderful committee who screened all 70 films and narrowed down to 36 films in different genres: animation, comedy/musical, documentary, drama, and suspense/thriller,” she said. The selection of Capitol Hill for the second SDFF was influenced by the community, and Liang hopes to keep it here. Continue reading

Late March means APRIL poets, writers, readers on Capitol Hill

The APRIL crew (Image: APRIL Festival)

The APRIL crew (Image: APRIL Festival)

In recent years in early spring, Capitol Hill has been the nurturing ground for a growing literature festival. The unconventional and sometimes raucous grassroots APRIL Festival focuses on “Authors, Publishers and Readers of Independent Literature” — a piece of the diverse make-up of contemporary literary culture and literary economies which rarely receives this level of focus.

“It’s like a farmer’s market for books,” said APRIL coordinator — and CHS veteran — Frances E. Dinger. Continue reading

Born on Capitol Hill, Decibel Fest turns 10, gets ready to grow up… a little

In 2003, Sean Horton wanted to throw a late-night electronic music party in Seattle, so he organized a handful of shows at Chop Suey and the now shuttered Capitol Hill Arts Center. Ten years later the Decibel Festival has grown into one of the largest electronic music events in the country. The 10th annual, 4-day festival kicks off Wednesday as organizers get ready to welcome an expected 30,000 attendees — the largest Decibel to date.

DB in the Park in its Volunteer Park iteration from a festival past (Image: Decibel Festival)

DB in the Park in its Volunteer Park iteration from a festival past (Image: Decibel Festival)

“We started as a Capitol Hill festival and we’re still focused there,” Horton said. You can celebrate the 10th anniversary along with attendees at Saturday’s free DB in the Park — a free party running from 11AM-7PM on Saturday in front of the Broadway Performance Hall.

UPDATE: Moved due to expected windy, rainy weather!

Today’s dB in the Park event has moved to Re-Bar

Due to poor weather conditions, the 10th Annual Decibel Festival’s dB in the Park event, will be moving to one of Seattle longest running and most respected nightclubs, Re-Bar (1114 Howell St).

This FREE 21+ event will be running 12PM to 7PM and will feature deejay performances from two of the West Coast’s most respected house, deep house and nu disco artists (Poolside and Jeno) with support from Phidelity, Michael Manahan and Natural Magic.

This year’s dB in the Park event will feature deejay performances from two of the West Coast’s most respected house, deep house and nu disco artists (Poolside and Jenö) with support from Phidelity, Michael Manahan and Natural Magic. Continue reading