‘Histories of Capitol Hill’ event reveals divides even as community comes together

Sara Galvin (Images: CHS)

Community thought leaders, activists and performers are organizing events around the city as part of Town Hall’s a year-long artists in residence event series. Designer Erik Molano brought together passionate activists for an ambitious undertaking with his first event, Histories of Capitol Hill and What We’ll Build Next. Before an audience at the Summit on E Pike last week they explored the challenge of maintaining the heritage of a community through growth and development.

“A lot of these buildings are being erased and with them the memories and people who inhabited them or gathered in and expressed themselves in those buildings,” said Molano, co-founder of brand agency Photon Factory. For Molano, who moved to Seattle five years ago to work at Microsoft, the demolition of old buildings “is a loss of history.

Following individual poetry readings and a presentation from Capitol Hill Housing at the Summit on Pike, a group of community advocates responded to prompts from Molano in an effort to determine what preserving heritage in a developing city means. The group spoke on a wide range of intersectional issues related to the affordable housing crisis. Continue reading

Drag drama around Hill with Seattle University censorship, Queer/Bar’s Turner on ‘personal leave’ — UPDATE

The Spectator cover photo. Now everybody has seen it.

There’s a backlash at Seattle University over how its Jesuit leaders reacted to the school’s annual drag show making front page news in the campus paper. Meanwhile, one of Capitol Hill’s highest profile drag queens is also making news.

At the 12th Ave Seattle U campus, The Spectator was forced to report on itself this week after copies of the student newspaper featuring a colorful but definitely safe for school work photo from the drag event started mysteriously disappearing. That mystery was later solved with a letter from an angry English professor, the paper reports:

“I was offended by a recent edition of The Spectator, whose cover contained what I considered an inappropriate risqué photograph. A few days after the publication of that edition, I took the liberty of removing the few remaining copies of the paper from newsstands in Bellarmine lobby, the Library, and Pigott. Students and faculty had already picked up most of the copies, but I was concerned about the arrival of new students and their families for Accepted Students Decision Day. I deeply regret this action and have no further comments.”

University president Father Stephen Sundborg is facing criticism for his response to the photograph — and the censorship. Continue reading

Talk Gender to Me campaign hopes to educate on ‘gender considerate’ language in Capitol Hill’s restaurants and bars

Pronouns matter and Capitol Hill’s communities of bars, restaurants, and clubs are one of its key mixing spaces. It’s an opportunity for people to talk and come together and, sometimes because of words and misunderstanding, move apart.

“Through our experience educating, listening and empowering workers we learned that asking workers to come to us for workshops was a harder lift,” Debbie Carlsen, director, of the LGBTQ Allyship tells CHS. “Instead we want to go to them in their workplace. Many of the workers we were educating were working in the restaurant industry and we know anecdotally that LGBTQ people disproportionately work in hospitality jobs.” Continue reading

Closed for renovation, Town Hall Seattle comes to Capitol Hill with neighborhood’s histories and ‘what we’ll build next’

With Town Hall’s more-than-100-year-old First Hill home closed for a year-long renovation, the community forum is distributing its effort to bring illuminating speakers and timely issues to the city into Seattle’s neighborhoods.

Next Monday night, Town Hall Seattle and its “Neighborhood Resident” representative Erik Molano will come to E Pike for a free gathering of “poets and storytellers celebrating the history of Capitol Hill” and “a panel discussion on how we can help navigate the future of the neighborhood.”

In Residence—Histories of Capitol Hill and What We’ll Build Next
Monday, April 16th — 7 PM
The Summit on Pike, 420 E Pike


Laura Da’ is a poet and teacher. A lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Da’ studied creative writing at the University of Washington and the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is Eastern Shawnee. Her first book, Tributaries, won a 2016 American Book Award. In 2015, Da’ was both a Made at Hugo House Fellow and a Jack Straw Fellow. Her next book, Instruments of the True Measure, is forthcoming in 2018. Continue reading

Capitol Hill beer maker Elysian’s summer plans include new Pride party, overhauled brewery

Elysian Brewing Company

(Image: Elysian Brewery)

Capitol Hill’s Elysian Brewery is stepping up with a bigger party during the neighborhood’s annual Pride festivities this summer before taking a brewing break for a major overhaul of its E Pike beer making facility.

A June 23rd Pride Saturday beer garden will join the gardens around Pike/Pine include outside the Wildrose and The Cuff with a portion of proceeds benefitting Seattle Pride.

“We were so excited, we hugged and there were tears,” Elysian’s Beth Goldfinger said about the moment the sponsorship opportunity came together.

June will be a big month for the pub and brewery. On June 1st, Elysian will host a party celebrating its annual “Glitter is Pride Ale” release. Following the June events, Elysian’s E Pike brewery is getting a complete overhaul so the company can level-up production.

Elysian joined what is called the “craft” wing of Anheuser-Busch InBev when they were purchased by the beer giant in 2015. The move that galvanized their share of market in 13 national markets and expanded it to almost all 50 states but according to Elysian co-founder Joe Bisacca, the new ownership moved forward with select companies it could rely on for their expertise and to be autonomous. Last year saw an investment in upgrading the pub and restaurant experience at Elysian. In the meantime, Redhook, another AB InBev acquisition, has focused its production fully on its Capitol Hill home a few blocks away from the Elysian.

Continue reading

Seattle LGBTQ Commission holds ‘Community Healing’ event in wake of Murray sex abuse scandal

This is probably not how former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray thought it would end up. Wednesday night, the Seattle LGBTQ Commission will hold a “Call for Community Healing” in the wake of the sex abuse scandal that forced Murray, the city’s first openly gay mayor, to resign last year:

Over the past year, sexual assault and trauma has been in the spotlight following multiple accusations of such abuse by our former Mayor Ed Murray. For survivors of abuse and assault, this trauma often manifests itself in mental health consequences, increased substance use, and addiction. These can flare up again when old traumas are brought up, as they were for many during this time. Unfortunately, the city was often split on how to appropriately support and manage the difficulties that surfaced for community members around such a significant event.

The Wednesday night event at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center will include “group discussion and mindfulness activities, as well as a number of mental health and other community support organizations tabling at the event.”

“Food will be provided,” organizers promise, “and time will be available for socializing at the beginning/end of the event as well.”

This event is being sponsored by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and Seattle Office for Civil Rights.

The Cuff — and Enjoy Your Life, Inc. — celebrates 25 years on Capitol Hill


Saturday night, Capitol Hill leather and kink bar The Cuff will celebrate 25 years on 13th Ave. There will be “limited edition” anniversary pins. “Get there early to avoid the line,” the marketing suggests.

We don’t know if much more nostalgia will be on display inside the now 25-year-old “complex” but keep your old-timey memories expectations low. Cuff management didn’t respond to our messages about the anniversary — pretty much the same thing we encountered before the 20th birthday bash, too. Continue reading

Killer who says he gunned down two he met on Capitol Hill because they were gay pleads guilty to New Jersey slaying

Family and loved ones of Dwone Anderson-Young mourned the 23-year-old’s murder at a vigil following the June 2014 murders (Image: CHS)

The man accused of killing two gay men he met on Capitol Hill as part of a nationwide murder spree investigators say was driven by extremist beliefs has pleaded guilty to another murder and admitted in court to the Seattle crimes.

Prosecutors say Ali Muhammad Brown was “jihad-inspired” when he murdered 23-year-old Dwone Anderson-Young and and 27-year-old Ahmed Said in the June 1st, 2014 slayings. The two were shot to death early on a Sunday morning after a night on Capitol Hill. Their bodies were found in the area of 29th and King near the home Anderson-Young shared with his mother. Continue reading

Finding ‘Seattle’s Shifting Queer Geographies’ in the more recent history of Capitol Hill

The heart of the heart of gay Seattle (Images courtesy David Albright)

It is easier to find 80-year-old photos of auto row-era dealerships on Capitol Hill than images from the 1980s of queer-owned businesses on Broadway. Undaunted, Seattle documentary and video producer David Albright and writer, photographer, and video maker Matt Baume set out to tell the LGBTQ+ story of the neighborhood and to sort out its place as Seattle’s gay center in a new documentary for KCTS.

Seattle’s Shifting Queer Geographies is a short documentary tracing Capitol Hill’s queer-story from the ’70s when bars first started moving here, through the ’80s-90s heyday, and then through the changes in the neighborhood that started around the early 2000s and continue today.

“We initially wanted to answer a couple of questions; Is Capitol Hill still the heart of gay Seattle? And is a gayborhood still necessary in 2017?,” Albright writes. “And I think we found that the answer to both of those questions is yes.”

CHS asked Albright and Baume what they learned and about the challenges of trying to dredge up near history.

The history of Capitol Hill in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s is more of a mystery than the auto row days. Why is that? Where did you find sources that documented it the best?

Albright: Yes absolutely – I almost think we need to steal a phrase from housing policy and say that we have a “missing middle” problem when it comes to Capitol Hill’s history. It’s not even particularly difficult to find photos of Capitol Hill in the auto row days but there’s a big gap from around the 60s-90s where it’s really hard to find anything. Continue reading

‘This is the time’ — Group raising funds to form LGBTQ+ credit union

Banks can fly Pride flags but a group trying to create a new credit union traditional banks are not meeting the special financial needs of LGBTQ+ customers (Image: CHS)

LGBTQ+ activists Andrew Tasakos and Philip Endicott are heading into pioneering territory just days away from their first major fundraiser to create a credit union they will call Equality Financial. Tasakos and Endicott started their effort to build a financial center serving LGBTQ+ communities four years ago.

Their next move begins Friday, February 16th with a “Party for Equality” fundraiser. The rallying cry of the movement is “Equality for All.” “You don’t have to be a gay, you just need to believe in equality to be a member,” Tasakos says.

“I’ve been very fortunate to live in a region that does not discriminate, but 37% of our community live in the South,” he said. “If we can teach our community to tithe back to ourselves, and teach each other, then we can have a safety net in this country.”

Community organizer and financial advisor Noemi Chaparro agrees. “It’s time that we show-up and stand-up, and create a physical manifestation of this portion of society,” she said. Continue reading