The Electric Tea Garden wasn’t really dead and it’s still not but it does need a new Hill home

(Image: ETG)

(Image: ETG)

Though CHS reported its closure at 14th and Madison in October of 2013, the Electric Tea Garden wasn’t really gone. But it wasn’t really there, either. We’ll let founder and flipper of the ETG switch Bruce Mason explain.

“We were working on something different,” Mason tells CHS.

295943_291193720906938_687513709_nSome of that different emerged at one point when we noticed a new liquor license application for the eclectic dance club that made its home above the Artificial Limb Co. But, in the end, Mason says, reopening a dance club wasn’t really the direction of things, either, despite a few underground shows in the club here and there over the years since its “closure.”

In January, the venue got slapped with a land use violation and Mason with the building’s ownership started the process of looking into officially changing the use of the building and putting it in compliance for operating a club. But Mason said what followed was a growing realization that ETG wasn’t going to be able to stay in its longtime home.

“Despite some excitement from the new owner, the fire department came through and decided we needed a fire suppression system and that was really it,” Mason said.

Now Mason and his wife Suzanne are moving out of the old space — contact them for some deals on furniture, etc. — and beginning the search for something new, hopefully on Capitol Hill. “We’re trying to get away from the nightclub and get back to our gallery and internet radio roots,” Mason said. If you know of a space, drop ETG a line.

After 18 years on the Hill, Electric Tea Garden is in search of a new home. Our hope is to stay on our beloved Capitol Hill. But other up-and-coming areas of this great city are on our short list — SoDo, Pioneer Square, International District?!

To get all the lastest on ETG Events, plans, and launch date, make sure you update your email on our list at Contact Us.

In the meantime, come to the corner of East Pike Street and 14th Avenue from today until Tuesday, June 30th, to rummage through our well-loved furniture and curiosities. While our doors will not be open, feel free to drop off love letters and farewells in our mail box at the front entry at 1402 E. Pike Street.

WE LOVE YOU, MISS YOU and are SO PROUD OF YOU! HOPE TO SEE YOU VERY SOON!!!

 

Upbeat on Jackson

Upbeat on Jackson continues its captivating concert series this month with the sounds of African drumming. Join us on Sunday, June 21st at 7pm for Thione Diop & Yeke Yeke. They will perform at the Low Income Housing Institute’s Ernestine Anderson Place at 2010 S. Jackson Street in Seattle.

Thione Diop is a percussionist from Senegal, West Africa, is widely recognized for his powerfully expressive Djembe performances. He is descended from an ancestral line of Griot drummers in Senegal, West Africa, and is a master of the djembe, sabar, tama, and djun djun.

In 1998, Thione moved to Seattle to teach and perform; a year later he formed Yeke Yeke, a percussion ensemble that has performed the traditional rhythms of West Africa to delighted audiences for the last ten years.

This concert is a celebration of, and recognition of, the importance of African Music to US culture. African rhythms form the foundation of nearly all popular music in the world. African traditions of integrating rhythm, song, dance and improvisation are key to many forms of American music and world music today. As a proud part of the Central District community, and rich history of great African-American music that has come from the Central District, Ernestine Anderson Place honors African music roots with this special performance by great West African rhythm masters, Thione Diop and Yeke Yeke.
Please join us for this upbeat and energetic performance on June 21st at 7pm (doors at 6:30). The show is free and open to the public.

Three Capitol Hill-area venues among first to sign Seattle Fair Trade Music pledge

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Projections on A Wall plays Chop Suey’s re-opening in March (Image: CHS)

This decal coming to a venue near you soon.

This decal coming to a venue near you soon.

Talk to any working musician, and they’re bound to have at least one story about a nightmare gig caused by an unscrupulously run venue.

Paul Bigman has heard plenty of them as an organizer with the American Federation of Musicians Local 76-493. There was the bouncer who walked away with band’s share of the door and the metal venue that insisted local openers had to let touring acts use their instruments.

To help bring some uniformity and transparency to the way venues treat performers, musicians and organizers have brought the Portland-originated Fair Trade Music campaign to Seattle. Two Capitol Hill venues and one First Hill venue have signed the Fair Trade Music pledge since the effort launched in April: Chop Suey, Capitol Cider, and Vios Vito’s .

“Having everything on the table to see where everything is going is really important,” said Chop Suey owner and musician Brianna Rettig. “It’s good to know that if you’re supporting a music venue, it’s a place that’s being fair to the musicians.”

Bigman said the 21 venues that have signed on represent businesses musicians identified as the most exemplary. Neumos and most other Capitol Hill venues have yet to be approached about the pledge, Bigman said, but organizers are preparing to sign up more venues in the coming months along with a public awareness campaign.

As its name would suggest, the FTM pledge is akin to fair trade labeling in foods. Participating venues will get decals to put in their windows to show they’ve signed the pledge, which includes four major tenants:

  • Provide musicians with a written agreement that lays out the terms of payment
  • Provide musicians with a record of how many tickets were sold and how much money was made
  • Have a decent sound system and capable sound tech
  • If there are disagreements, venue owners agree to work with Fair Trade Music Seattle to resolve disputes

The pledge makes no stipulations about minimum pay as musicians and venues often agree on a wide range of “fair pay” agreements, Bigman said. However, its something that could be added down the road.

“A lot of clubs are owned by musicians, and they don’t want to mistreat musicians, they’re just not business people,” Bigman said. Continue reading

Upbeat on Jackson

Dromeno (Balkan folk artists) and House of Tarab (Arabic music ensemble) will join us for a free show on May 29th at 7pm. Double the headliners = double the fun! Drink specials will be available at a neighborhood bar after the show- must attend show for more info!

Music tech maker Sonos opens Bullitt Center office

(Image: The Bullitt Center)

(Image: The Bullitt Center)

Another tech company is making a home on Capitol Hill. California-based wireless speaker and audio technology company Sonos has announced it is opening an engineering office for 70 employees inside super green office building the Bullitt Center at 15th and E Madison.

Bullitt Center representatives said the new office makes the “greenest office building in the world” now 100% leased. Earlier this year, the center’s developers at the Bullitt Foundation celebrated the two-year-old project’s Living Building Certification. The Bullitt Center is the first office building to receive the certification awarded to buildings that essentially operate as living organisms — self-sufficient for water and energy and actively promoting the health of its occupants and surrounding environment.

UPDATE: A company spokesperson tells CHS that joining the Bullitt Center comes with added responsibilities. Tenants are expected to meet standards for energy consumption and be part of the building’s non-toxic material requirements. “We’re excited to be part of an environment that will encourage us to be thoughtful,” the Sonos representative said.

Sonos will begin with an engineering team of 10 in its new Seattle office with hopes to grow the teams working here to around 70. The engineering work done at the Bullitt will primarily focus on the company’s software, the spokesperson said.

Sonos hardware

Sonos hardware

The Sonos announcement comes amid a small wave of new tech firms finding new spaces in the neighborhood including the newly opened Chophouse Row development that Mazlo, Tectonic, and Glympse now call home.

“Our new and growing team in Seattle will take up residence at the iconic Bullitt Center, known as the greenest commercial building in the world, located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood,” the Sonos announcement on the new office reads. “We look forward to taking in the iconic ‘Seattle Sound,’ incredible music venues, the local Capitol Hill Block Party music festival, as well as the sounds of whatever the team has lined up in the Sonos queue.”

While the building has been a major success on the green construction front, it’s taken more than two years to fully lease the five-story center beyond the initial tenant roster. Like Sonos, not all tenants are environment-focused businesses or organizations but all tend to be forward looking and design focused. In 2013, for example, construction firm Hammer & Hand joined the building.

Here are the current Bullitt tenants Sonos is joining:

  • Bullitt Foundation
  • Hammer & Hand
  • Intentional Futures
  • International Living Future Institute
  • PAE Consulting Engineers
  • Point32
  • University of Washington Integrated Design Lab

Space in the building was going for $30 per square foot. Sonos is claiming about 14,000 square feet, the company representative said.

With around 300 employees, Sonos also has offices in Santa Barbara, and Boston in the United States, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Denmark, The United Kingdom, and China. The company’s vice president of software development told the PSBJ Sonos will have room for about 70 employees in the Bullitt Center office. We’ll have to follow up to find out if the Bullitt Center will be able to deploy a full Sonos music system on every floor — and still meet its green benchmarks. UPDATE: Yup — Sonos will be deploying Sonos gear on their floor and a half of office space, we’re told.

Found pianos of Capitol Hill

I was walking through Capitol Hill, Seattle one weekend, and encountered an abandoned piano at the side of the road. I decided it needed a final piece of loving, so I recorded it in my phone. The next week I found the piano had been joined by a second, and both pianos had had their keyboards smashed. So I played the strings directly. Both pieces reflect the decay and misuse of the pianos, and the environment they spent a short time in before going to their final resting place.

We don’t know anything more about it than what we found here where you can download both tracks — One piano with working keys and One piano with destroyed keys — of this very Capitol Hill music project.

Rocker John Roderick enters at-large council race with Capitol Hill roots

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(Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Calling John Roderick the “arts candidate” for City Council would be somewhat limiting unless the definition includes a candidate who sees affordability and transit as part and parcel to supporting the arts. As the front man for Seattle indie rock band The Long Winters, Roderick says he knows first hand that it takes a village to raise an artist.

Roderick officially announced his candidacy Monday for Council Position 8, one of two at-large seats up for grabs this November. Also seeking the seat are current council president Tim Burgess, former Tenants Union director Jon Grant, activist David Trotter, longshoreman John Persak, and City Council agitator Alex Tsimerman.

Roderick, 46, lives in Rainier Beach, is a founding member of the Seattle Music Commission, co-host of a weekly podcast, and a former Seattle Weekly music columnist.

Having spent 17 years living on Capitol Hill as a working musician before moving out of the neighborhood eight years ago, Roderick sees himself as belonging to a belated awakening of 90s rockers who squandered an opportunity to get political when the iron was hot.

Imbued with the sense of “we’re in charge now,” Roderick said this year’s switch to district elections opened a window for non-traditional candidates to run for office.

“To keep arts out of public life and reserve City Council for a professional class of lawyers and activists is to miss an opportunity to build a civilization here rather than just a municipality,” he said. “We’ve lost sight of what makes American democracy fantastic, which is that citizens can participate in the political process.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Second annual Jackson Street Jazz Walk

Alex Dugdale at Casa Latina (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Alex Dugdale at Casa Latina (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

For such an out-of-the-way place, Seattle has had a remarkable jazz history. The action began as early as 1918, when Lillian Smith’s jazz band played at Washington Hall. It kept going strong all through Prohibition, as an authentic black jazz scene developed around the hub of Jackson Street and Twelfth Avenue. Even Jelly Roll Morton stopped off to play in the district, in 1920; he later wrote a rag, “Seattle Hunch,” to commemorate his visit. — Jackson Street After Hours: The Roots of Jazz in Seattle by Paul de Barros

Outside Pratt Fine Arts Center

Outside Pratt Fine Arts Center

Saturday, the second annual Jackson Street Jazz Walk honored the street’s legacy and filled spaces up and down this edge of the Central District with music and performance.

Organized by the Jackson Commons community group, the free event is still fighting for attention at the citywide (CHS told you about it here) level but neighbors got excellent seats for acts like Industrial Revelation, Tubaluba, Congress, Syrinx Effect, Cornish Jazz, and Gail Pettis performing in a mix of community venues including Casa Latina, Wonder Cafe, Cheeky Cafe, and the Pratt Fine Arts Center.

You can learn more about this year’s performers and how to get involved in the event at jazzwalk.org.

Capitol Hill Block Party lineup released under new brand celebrating Pike/Pine’s blocks

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 4.52.32 PMWith a renewed focus on their festival’s namesake neighborhood, Capitol Hill Block Party organizers announced on Tuesday the first batch of performers playing this year’s three-day music festival. Headliners for the July 24th-26th event will be TV on the Radio, RATATAT, and The Kills. Three-day passes ($118.67) go on sale starting at 9 AM 10th/Pike Standard Time.

“We made a concerted effort to book bands we felt best exemplified the spirit and history of the festival, putting an emphasis on indie rock and punk bands alongside genres like hip-hop and EDM,” said festival organizer Jason LaJeunesse in a statement. A list of all the performers announced Tuesday is below.

Discounted three-day passes also went on sale for $99 and will be available through Thursday. Later, three-day passes go for $125.

In years past, LaJeunesse made the lineup announcement on KEXP. We’re getting an early morning jump on the performers this year as the announcement was tied to an East Coast collaboration with Billboard. Continue reading