Pikes/Pines | Queer as nature — Capitol Hill roses are gender-fluid

Your Capitol Hill lawn is gender-fluid, too. Bobby Morris? That’s a different essay.

Pride month is here and I have something to tell you: Nature is queer. I don’t mean strange (though it is that too), but that the natural diversity of gender and sexuality in the Hill’s nature is part of its beauty. Culture can blind us, sometimes presenting facts that are actually fiction, particularly about the more than human world. Let’s bust that up a bit.

I write this as a white, straight, cisgendered man inexperienced in getting into the weeds on the subject of the LGBTQ world. Pride is easily co-opted as social capital, something I’d like to avoid. I am writing this not to co-opt but in an attempt to offer a few clumsy words to uplift some stories of natural diversity (and hopefully not inadvertently perpetuate violence or my privilege).

The complexities of gender and sexuality in nature (you may need to be reminded that this includes us), are fathomless. Despite being trained as an environmental educator, I am not a people expert; we will speak here about the more than human world, possibly as lessons for being human. The version of nature we are often given, of male and female organisms on an endless trail of sexual reproduction is a far cry from reality. Continue reading

As it powers Trans Pride Seattle, Gender Justice League grows its mission

A scene from Trans Pride Seattle 2018

The Gender Justice League, a Capitol Hill based nonprofit providing support and advocacy for transgender and gender queer individuals will be putting on this month’s Trans Pride Seattle with a different perspective. Earlier this year, Danni Askini, the organization’s executive director and co-founder, stepped down.

“I think every nonprofit faces different tiers, milestones, and levels in their organization’s growth. You can plateau and create a system sustaining that plateau, or you can look to expand how you engage with and what you offer the community,” said Elayne Wylie, now the organization’s co-executive director with Tobi Hill-Meyer.

2019’s Trans Pride Seattle is slated once again to begin at Capitol HIll’s Cal Anderson Park.

Trans Pride Seattle 2019

As the nonprofit is working to put together its first Trans Pride without Askini, Wylie said the organization is striving to continue to advocate for transgender and gender diverse individuals — a mission that has grown in its new world without its longtime leader. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Partly cloudy with Thunderpussy — but no rain — at the 2019 Volunteer Park Pride Festival

With fairy wings, rainbow swimsuits, hip-hop funk, blues, and rock and roll, the Volunteer Park Pride Festival brought Seattle’s celebration of LGBTQ+ to Capitol Hill Saturday as part of a busy month of events in the neighborhood culminating with a weekend of parties around Pike/Pine and Broadway before the city’s annual parade on June 30th.

“The event being in the backyard of where I grew up is such a huge thing for me. I’m so proud to be on stage singing my heart out for the Seattle queer community,” J GRGRY, one of the musical artists who performed at Saturday’s festival told CHS. Continue reading

Ginsberg poetry festival and art installation to join Volunteer Park’s Pride 2019 festivities

If You Want To See Something Look At Something Else by Geoffrey Farmer

With Saturday’s Volunteer Park Pride Festival again bringing the celebration of queer love and civil rights to the northern Capitol Hill green space, two Seattle arts groups are planning a new Pride event for the historic Capitol Hill park.

Hugo House and Western Bridge announced this week they will host a poetry festival celebrating Beat poet and LGBTQ icon Allen Ginsberg  later this month in Volunteer Park. The festival will include local and visiting poets, writers, and artists, and a photographic installation by Canadian artist Geoffrey Farmer titled If You Want To See Something Look at Something Else, displaying images of Ginsberg.

Tree Swenson, executive director of Hugo House, believes the festival captures how Ginsberg’s advocacy for the LGBTQ community remains prevalent in 2019 through exhibitions of art, photography, spoken word.

“Ginsberg’s politics along with his loving kindness allowed him to advocate for acceptance in many different ways. He led the way to showing how make acceptance a reality, which is still important in 2019, given the threats we’re facing echo some of the threats his book Howl faced in the late 1950s.” Swenson said.

Ginsberg poetry festival and art installation: If You Want To See Something Look At Something Else

Continue reading

The Cookie Counter, a sweet new business partner with vegan ice cream sandwiches and pink walls, comes to Capitol Hill’s Gay City

(Image: Brie DiFelici with permission)

Gay City neighbor Kaladi Brothers Coffee moved back to its former, overhauled space a few doors down late last year. Now the LGBTQ+ community, resource, health, and arts center has a new business partner to add to its mix: The Cookie Counter, a Greenwood-based dessert shop and café for vegan pastries, cookies and ice cream.

The Capitol Hill outpost of The Cookie Counter, which will also keep its Greenwood shop open, is slated to open in the last week of June, with the grand opening coinciding with Seattle’s Pride weekend.

“To be in that space [Kaladi’s] will be nostalgic for us,” said Chelsea Keene, who co-founded The Cookie Counter with her husband Chris Olson. Both longtime vegans, the couple started making and selling vegan ice cream sandwiches out of their ’74 Volkswagen bus in 2014. “When Chris and I lived on the hill, the previous Kaladi Brothers Coffee space at Gay City was our favorite coffee shop.”

The couple opened their pastel-tinted shop in Greenwood in 2016. The Capitol Hill location will seat around 30 people, approximately 10 more than the Greenwood shop, though the millennial pink color palette will stay the same. Continue reading

CHS Pics | Rainbows restored in Pike/Pine

Fears that redevelopment construction also ripped away a recent but highly visible symbol of the gayborhood were painted over this week as crews restored the Capitol Hill rainbow crosswalks along 11th Ave just in time for Pride.

When the construction crews dig in on any Capitol Hill project, Seattle Department of Transportation requirements mandate the right of way and its resources be restored. It’s no different for the city’s “Community Crosswalks” program. Continue reading

CHS Pics | The (newly expanded) Pride flag once again flies over Seattle — Plus, Capitol Hill Pride events

Seattle is marking Pride’s radical roots this year as it remembers the 50th anniversary of Stonewall when “a member of the #LGBTQ community threw the first brick to fight against police brutality.”

Celebrants attending Seattle City Hall’s annual raising of the Pride flag were encouraged to bring a brick to the ceremony. Mayor Jenny Durkan led the ceremony with support from Marsha Botser of Ingersoll Gender Center and representatives from the Indian Health Board. Thursday, Durkan also celebrated Pride with the Amazon LGBTQ affinity group, Glamazon. Continue reading

Capitol Hill LGBTQ landmark the Gaslight Inn hits market for $3.5M

(Image: NWMLS)

A Capitol Hill landmark and a temporary home away from home for hundreds of travelers every year who visit the neighborhood, The Gaslight Inn is on the market.

A listing for the 15th Ave property went up this week. The price? $3.5 million — a small price for a 108-year-old piece of Capitol Hill history, no?

Here’s the marketing pitch:

The GASLIGHT INN(Circa 1910), a beautifully maintained Historic Landmark 8 suite (plus lower level owner’s floor w/3 bedrooms + office) in-city Boutique is ready for its next proprietor. Interior public spaces are graced by magnificent Oak millwork, stained & beveled glass windows, built-in cabinetry, & 3 gas fireplaces. The exterior is centered around the pool; a wisteria draped arbor and Koi pond. Strong book of clientele provides a stable base with the opportunity to grow.

In 2015, the house was approved for landmarks protections. Gaslight owner Stephen Bennett, who nominated the building, told CHS at the time he was elated at the board’s decision and recognition of the building’s important place in Capitol Hill’s LGBTQ history. Back then, Bennett said he’s looking forward to living out his retirement with the house and his bed and breakfast business. “I don’t have any family or children, so I would like to leave it to a civic organization,” he said. “I want it kept in the community.” We’ll follow up to learn more about the decision to list the property. Continue reading

With selection of artist Chris Jordan and preview works going up for Pride, AIDS Memorial Pathway moves forward connecting Capitol Hill Station to Cal Anderson

Artist Chris Jordan at the site where the pathway will begin (Image: Margo Vansynghel for CHS)

“I am trembling,” wrote Tacoma-based artist Christopher Paul Jordan on social media after the announcement that he had been selected from a pool of artists from all over the country to produce the centerpiece artwork for the AIDS Memorial Pathway. The pathway and plaza, expected to open in June 2020 along with the mixed-use, transit-oriented developments surrounding it, will connect Capitol Hill Station to Cal Anderson Park. When finished, the plaza will also host the weekly Capitol Hill Farmers Market.

Portland-based artist Horatio Hung-Yan Law shaped the art plan for the public-private project. “It’s not an AIDS memorial, but a memorial pathway,” Law told CHS. “We have the luxury of not trying to express everything in one memorial. There are so many aspects to [HIV/AIDS]; that’s hard to sum up or put in one piece.” Continue reading

Volunteer Park Pride Festival, now one of the Seattle’s best days of free music, announces 2019 lineup

Volunteer Park Pride Festival’s 2018 headliner, Tacocat

Born in 2019, the annual festival has grown into one of the city’s largest free music parties

The shifting personality of the annual Volunteer Park Pride Festival into one of the largest free music parties in Seattle was celebrated Tuesday with an announcement of the fest’s 2019 lineup live on KEXP.

Marco Collins, a longtime Seattle DJ credited for helping fuel the city’s grunge explosion on the national music scene and now part of the lineup of voices at the city’s nonprofit music giant KEXP, took to the airwaves Tuesday morning to announce “Seattle-based band and phenomenon” Thunderpussy as the 2019 headliner. Collins is curator for this year’s Volunteer Park Pride Festival and will help host the June 8th event along with drag queen Betty Wetter.

Volunteer Park Pride Festival

The KEXP announcement was a contrast with the lineup announcement for this summer’s Capitol Hill Block Party which typically is done live on the station but took a quieter route in 2019. Continue reading