Jill Lepore

Jill Lepore is an award-winning history professor at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker. In her new book, These Truths: A History of the United States (September 2018), Lepore offers a magisterial account of the origins and rise of a divided nation.

New artwork in Chophouse Row builds on old foundations — the ‘ghost’ of a Capitol Hill farmhouse

The living and dead gathered together in Chophouse Row on Saturday for the unveiling of the “Ghost Cabin,” a new art installation that pays tribute to a house that once stood on Capitol Hill.

Meanwhile, the unveiling also commemorated the opening of the new headquarters for City Arts Magazine in the Cloud Room, a workspace and lounge above the 11th Ave development.

When Chophouse Row was being built, contractors had to excavate the foundations of the old buildings to create a footing for the new development. When they were doing that, according to Liz Dunn, the developer and owner of Chophouse Row, they struck the remains of house deep beneath the surface of the ground.

“They hit the foundations of the old farmhouse 25 feet down that we knew were there,” Dunn said. “The contractors were completely freaked out. They were like ‘oh my god, we hit grandma’s house. The ghost is going to haunt us for the rest of the project’ and, in fact, she did because it was a challenging project.”

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Northwest Film Forum performance art will explore dance, taxidermy, and 12th Ave history

(Image: Bret Doss with permission to CHS)

Earlier this year, CHS told you about the coming departure of Northwest Film Forum executive director Courtney Sheehan from the Capitol Hill nonprofit and the continuation of her work to transition the organization beyond the screen with events, speakers, and gatherings. Later this month, the final NWFF event before Sheehan makes her exit will be a showcase of the organization’s most important qualities.

What is Home will be “a participatory experience” that encompasses “movement installations, interactive exhibits, dance films, and a layered dance theater performance.”

“The work has many points of entry for both film and dance audiences, with a central question about home, belonging and change that will resonate with all walks of Seattle life,” Sheehan tells CHS. “There will be a lot of history of Capitol Hill and specifically the NWFF building woven into the piece.”

CHS talked with the show’s Christin Call of Coriolis Dance to discuss the inspiration behind What is Home, and the place performance art has in communities like Capitol Hill. Call explores the lessons from the “booms” and “crashes” in life, and the importance and meaning of “home.” Call also has plenty to say about the history of Capitol Hill, the current scope of a booming city, and what we can take away from performance art and stories from our communities in how we live day-to-day.

You describe What Is Home as a participatory experience,” “absurdly imaginary,” and “ridiculously ornate.” What does it all mean? It is a multimedia piece, with installation, with film, with live performance, and it is designed to be an event that immerses the audience. Pulling from a lot of resources is why it is ornate. This comes from the idea that we can’t help but to do that, to create, psychologically, these super intricate webs of relations between ourselves and how we fit into this web, and we just do it naturally. We don’t really have to try, sometimes, to dismantle these types of things. Continue reading