Capitol Hill Aviary | Cheers! Hill waxwings get drunk

Cedar Waxwing love, originally uploaded by jillbertini.

If you think holiday overindulgence is an exclusively human activity, think again. The birds do it, too, and one of the most common offenders here on the Hill is a little fruit-loving passerine called the cedar waxwing.

Last Aviary, we saw birds that kill their own brain cells. This week we’re seeing birds that get drunk.

The cedar waxwing is a small gray bird with a black mask and a pointed crest. If you look closely, you may notice a few splotches of red on the wings and a bright yellow band on the tail.

Waxwings subsist mainly on fruit. Their bodies are well adapted to this diet—unless the fruit rots and ferments before they eat it. Then the birds get intoxicated, which makes them sick. When they fly drunk, they sometimes have fatal collisions with cars or the ground. (In the spirit of the holiday season, let’s give thanks that the humans on the Hill don’t have wings.)

In late fall, waxwings rely heavily on mountain-ash berries as a food source—but American robins do, too. You may not think of the robin as a particularly fierce bird, but a single robin can defend a fruiting mountain-ash tree from a flock of up to fifteen waxwings. Perhaps partly because of this, waxwings have adapted to travel in large flocks. When their numbers are high enough, they’re better able to take possession of and defend their food resources.

Waxwings are constantly on the move as they look for their next fruit fix, so if you want to find them, you need to look for the foods they prefer. If there are any mountain-ash berries left in your part of the neighborhood, they’re your best bet. Otherwise, look for waxwings on any tree or bush that still has fruit on the branches—especially junipers, dogwoods, apple trees, and fruiting ornamental plants.

Interested in learning more?

More Capitol Hill Aviary

Melissa Koosmann is a freelance writer and resident of Capitol Hill. She writes about education, culture, and nature — and, sometimes, birds for CHS.

CHS Year in Review 2012 | Most important Capitol Hill stories of 2012

Victory for R-74 brought election night celebrations — and big plans (Image: Alex Crick for CHS)

Determining the “most important” Capitol Hill stories of 2012 starts at a base level. What is important? For CHS, it is what events, incidents, crimes, and amazements we’ll remember many, many years from now. Predicting what will be memorable? It’s a fool’s game. Honestly, we’re only guessing. Views, comments and “interestingness” will be our guide. Fortunately, we’ve done this before:

Below, we’ve once again collected the “most important” Hill stories of the year. They are listed in no particular order though some of the year’s biggest stories are included up top. We based our “importance” measurement on stories that were viewed and commented on the most during the year. We also focused on stories our readers spent the most time on over the months of 2012. It’s an arbitrary list. Even more arbitrarily, we selected what we feel were the biggest stories for a poll that you can weigh in on. Poll closes at midnight as we ring in 2013. If you think there is a story we should have included but didn’t, let us know in comments. We’re proud to have been here for another year of writing these stories down and making them part of the things you’ll remember many, many years from now. Thanks for being part of CHS.

ChartExport (7)

The future of Pine at Melrose. It’s big.

Dance floor, originally uploaded by Lookin4TallGuys.


Capitol Hill Tech | Sarah Brooks and Stella Lorenzo of Artsyo

The cafes of Capitol Hill are helping to fuel an art-focused Seattle ecommerce start-up. Sarah Brooks and Stella Lorenzo have created Artsyo, an online marketplace for local art that launched early this year, in the same cafes where many of the works you can find on the site hang.

At less than a year old, Artsyo already features 300 local artists and 1,200 pieces.  Brooks says they primarily recruit for the site by contacting the artists who take part in art walks around Seattle.

 “The art walks are the first filter, but [Artsyo] is open,” says Brooks. “If you are an artist, you can upload work.” Brooks and Lorenzo recruit, vet new artists and artwork, and maintain the site in cafes around Capitol Hill – the 12th Avenue Stumptown was mentioned as a favorite. Both founders said that if they’re able, they’d like to keep Artsyo on the Hill when it’s time to get an office.

Brooks says that the idea for Artsyo came to her when she first moved to Seattle. “[An online local art marketplace] was something that I was looking for when I moved here five years ago,” says Brooks. “I was going to set aside some money and get some art for my apartment. I was working a lot and I didn’t have time to see all the galleries and art things. I wanted to be able to see it all in one place!”  

Brooks brought the idea to Lorenzo two years ago during a summer day on Lake Washington. Lorenzo says what hooked her on the idea was the idea of connecting people to artists in their area. “I think local art should be about connecting people, especially people in the local area that aren’t comfortable looking for art in venues on Capitol Hill,” says Lorenzo. ”They’d come down, but they don’t know where to look. If I’m not an art connoisseur, I can find things that catch my eye and meet up with the artist.” 

Artsyo takes commission on pieces that sell through the site that aren’t otherwise represented. “We want to show all the pieces”, says Brooks, “but we won’t take commission on pieces where the commission is owed already to galleries or coffee shops where pieces might be showing.”  Lorenzo likened what they’re doing to the Craigslist financial model. “Primarily [Artsyo is] about getting people connected with artists and venues that are showing, trying to get people out to see stuff”, says Lorenzo. “Craigslist makes all the money on job listings, and the rest of [the site] is run for free. I want to make sure that the big part of [Artsyo] is connecting people to artists.”

Brooks and Lorenzo also have plans to be able to provide “last mile” services for people purchasing artwork through Artsyo. The idea is to partner with frame shops and companies that do art moving and installing so an Artsyo customers can have the option of having their purchases delivered to their door and even installed. “For people who don’t [buy art] often, it can be an unapproachable thing, says Lorenzo, “We want to lower the bar for that – if they see something, they can have it in their house right now.”

Artsyo just posted the ten finalists in their “Saddest Wall in Seattle” contest. Hop on over to the Artsyo blog to vote for the saddest wall of them all – the entry with the most votes by December 20th gets an original piece of art from the Artsyo marketplace, and Artsyo will pick up the tab.

More Capitol Hill Tech

Blotter | Woman dukes it out with Capitol Hill car prowler, bad cab ride ends at East Precinct

  • Boylston car prowler: A woman fought with a thief she caught red-handed, ripped off the man’s shirt and sweatshirt and managed to get the man to drop two stolen bags after she stumbled upon a duo breaking into her car inside a 1700 block of Boylston parking garage early Thursday. According to the SPD report on the 1 AM incident, the woman heard a car alarm sounding in the building’s garage. When she went to investigate, she found that the alarm was sounding from her car which had a shattered passenger-side window. She saw one suspect run from a stairwell and found another man crouching behind the vehicle. The woman chased him down, grabbing him as the suspect began punching the woman. The woman told police she punched the suspect back even as he told her he had a knife. The suspect eventually dropped two bags taken from the car and ran from the garage but not before the woman said she had ripped off the man’s shirt and sweatshirt. The second suspect apparently made of with a black messenger bag in the fracas. Police searched for the duo but were unable to locate them. No suspect description is available but police believe they know who the alleged thieves are based on details provided by the victim.
  • Bad cab ride ends at East Precinct: A cabbie picked up a troublesome fare on Monday just after midnight that ended with the passenger vomiting in the cab, fighting with the driver and then choking and bashing the driver’s head into the steering wheel while parked in front of 12th and Pine’s East Precinct headquarters in plain view of responding SPD officers. 


According to the report on the incident, the driver told police he picked the man up at 29th and E Cherry and headed for his 12th and Jefferson destination. On the way, the passenger changed his mind and asked the driver to take him home to the U District. As he drove, the cabbie asked for better directions and found that his fare had vomited and passed out in the back of the cab. Awoken, the rider asked to be taken back to 12th and Jefferson. The cabbie headed back south and informed the man he would have to cover the cost of the long trip — and pay for cleaning up the vomit. The driver said the man then climbed into the front seat of the cab and began punching him in the head as drove to the East Precinct to seek the safety of SPD:

After a struggle in which one officer was struck in the head, the suspect was taken into custody and booked for assault of the cab driver and the officer. The driver declined medical attention but sustained lacerations and swelling in the assault.

On the List | Homo for the Holidays, 5 apocalypse parties, 3 holiday markets (+ 14 more)

Treat your visiting relatives to a gay yuletide: Homo for the Holidays continues delighting audiences through Monday Dec 24th with 2 shows per night (7p and 10p) of burlesque, cabaret, dance, drag and music performances at Oddfellows West Hall.  The Dina Martina Christmas Show continues through December 31st  at Rebar. 

Hey shoppers! Check out Shop the Hill for fresh new deals from our local retailers. 

Have an event people should know about? Add it to our free community calendar

Thursday, Dec 20th

  • One night only screening of Sans Soleil (1980), a mind-bending free-form travelogue guided by associative editing and an unnamed narrator, by filmmaker Chris Marker. NW Film Forum, 7p.
  • Opening night for the art show Famous Faces, featuring new portraits by artist and musician Shana Cleveland. Cairo (507 E Mercer), 7 – 9p.
  • Doomsday End of the World Party with music performances by The Physics and Head Like a Kite. Free at Neumos, 8p.
  • The Party at the End of the World features a full roster of DJs and plus performances. The Social, 9p 

Friday, Dec 21st

  • Northwest Film Forum needs help with theater seating demolition on Friday and Saturday, daytime. If you know righty-tighty lefty-loosy, you are qualified. BYO tools if you have them; you can still help if you don’t.   Contact Lyall Bush  ( for details. 
  • Fifth Annual BottleNeck Holiday Happy Hour with house-made hot buttered rum. The BottleNeck Lounge (2328 E Madison), 4 – 8p.
  • The Annual Holiday Party at Northwest Film Forum offer a Nog-Off competition of best homemade egg nog, games, and dancing. Bring a dish for the potluck table and say hi to “your favorite film luminary as Santa.” Mr. Daniel Craig, is that you under the white beard?  free at NW Film Forum, 7p.
  • It’s the last night to visit Skelly & the Bean.
  • It’s the first night to visit new Essence Wine.
  • Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus discuss their journey toward a simpler life, as reflected in their book Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life. Town Hall, 6 – 7:30p. 
  • Seattle Radio Theatre performs “I’ll Be Seeing You” a radio teleplay, as originally broadcast on Christmas Eve in 1945. Town Hall, 7:30 – 9p.
  • End of the World Party with Lisa Dank, LANformatique and more. Electric Tea Garden (1402 E Pike), 8p – midnight.
  • It’s the End of the World at Highline too! Ocelot Omelet (that sounds nasty) headlines. Highline Bar (210 Broadway E), 8p.
  • Each holiday season the music blog Three Imaginary Girls put together a fun holiday show. The 2012 Imaginary Holiday Spectacular: Open Mic Edition features stripped down sets from indie musicians. Plus, get your picture taken with musician and witty tweeter Santa John Roderick. Wheee!
  • Linda’s does the END OF THE WORLD party thing, too.
  • The world is also ending outside!??! at Seattle Central. Puget Sound Anarchists celebrate.

Saturday, Dec 22nd

  • Give and Receive: a holiday market in the spirit of free giving. Bring things to give away (good condition please) and don’t be bashful about receiving. Black Coffee Coop (501 E Pine), 10a – 3p.
  • Get your New Year’s resolutions started early. New E Pine gym Rival Fitness starts a week of free classes.
  • Holiday Storytime with React Theatre at Elliott Bay Book Company, 11a.
  • Bizarre Bazaar offers unique and funky wares, plus a well-sticked mimosa bar. Erikson Theatre (1524 Harvard Ave), 11a – 4p.
  • Get your photo taken with the Babeland Holiday Vulva. Seriously, it’s a thing. Babeland, 1:30 –  2p. 
  • Christmasamba, a Brazilian/Caribbean celebration with salsa, calypso, samba, gospel, jazz, and choir. Broadway Performance Hall at SCCC, 6:30 – 11p.
  • Beyond Saving, a Post-Apocalyptic fundraiser party  for Lambert House hosted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The Cuff Complex (1533 13th Ave), 8p – Midnight.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Playground Party with classic club and post-modern disco. Q Nightclub (1426 Broadway), 8p – 4a.
  • Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music features Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, NW Chamber Chorus, guest vocalists and a tap dancer(!). Town Hall, 7 – 9p.
  • Make your own egg nog with this recipe from Sun Liquor. Psst: drink the real deal Sun Liquor Egg Nog (pictured) on Dec 24 and 25th– the only two days of the year Sun Liquor serves it.

    Sun Dec 23rd

  • Final Broadway Sunday Farmer’s Market of 2012. Did you know the market offers gift certificates? Broadway and Pine, 11a – 3p.
  • The Tommy Gun Christmas Cocktail Party features house-made egg nog, plus hot sandwiches, champagne cocktails, and holiday treats. Tommy Gun (1703 E Olive Way), 5p to close.  

CHS Year in Review 2012 | Capitol Hill food+drink doubles down

Inside the Bait Shop (Image: CHS)

Our write-up reviewing 2011 — the year Capitol Hill food and drink broke — positioned the period as a seminal moment when the Hill’s explosive growth in the entertainment economy reached a new, super-star level. Unlike punk in ’92, what follows is apparently not a sellout but a doubling down. Investment in the Capitol Hill food+drink economy continued nearly unabated in 2012. Familiar names put even more chips in play. New hands joined a few tables. And some crapped out nearly as quickly as they were dealt in. Here is a look at the year that was. You can let us know anything we left out — but should have included — in comments.

Earnhardt and cake (Image: Alex Crick for CHS)

Familiar names
Many of the biggest investments in Capitol Hill’s food and drink economy in 2012 were made by investors already holding a steak, er, stake in the neighborhood. 

  • Want to do it classy style? First you tell everybody exactly what you are going to do. Then you do exactly that. And it’s still exciting when everybody gets to be part of it. Linda Derschang made a big splash when news broke that she was planning her first return to Broadway since her days in retail. Bait Shop debuted to end 2012 and, believe it or not, lived down to every hyped expectation for the latest Derschang dive bar. That’s how you do it classy style.
  • Volunteer Park Cafe vet Heather Earnhardt teamed up with a community of supporters to bring her Southern-style bakery The Wandering Goose  to life on 15th Ave E.
  • The big player that is Ethan Stowell Restaurants bet even more money on Capitol Hill as it stacked its chips on 15th Ave. First,  Rione XIII debuted and slowly developed a dedicated following in the core of the 15th Ave E business district. Then came word of an expansion of Stowell’s efforts at 15th and Pine as a new charcuterie component is added to The Pearl building’s retail strip.
  • The much-loved Cafe Pettirosso was reincarnated on 11th Ave. You can add new names Miki and Yuki Sodos to the Capitol Hill milieu.
  • The owners behind Quinn’s moved their little Zoe up the Hill from Belltown for a February 2012 debut and a successful reinvention of the longtime Seattle favorite.
  • Meanwhile, others doubled down — way down. Neumos debuted a subterranean evil twin, Barboza. As did the Unicorn which spawned The Narwhal  to kick off the Capitol Hill summer.
  • The Add-a-Ball boys brought pinball to John John’s Gameroom  on E Olive Way. You can notch another in the dearly departed column for the outgoing Faire.
  • Kaladi debuted a lovely overhaul on E Pike.
  • Jeremy Hardy gaves his Coastal Kitchen a 20-year makeover.
  • Marcus Lalario brought the third incarnation under his watch to Harvard and E Pike in sports bar 95 Slide.

    The sisters Sodos (Image: Suzi Pratt for CHS)

    A new Zoe was born (Image: CHS)

Used to be Rosebud (Image: Doug McLaughlin for CHS)

Crumble & Flake’s Robertson (Image: Dave Lichterman for CHS)

New players
The year also saw plenty of newbies and Capitol Hill rookies enter the field. Will we see any of these owners play another hand in 2013?

Know when to fold em
This is a limited “dearly departed” list. There were a few other casualties among both fresh efforts and long-time loves. While we’ll use language from around war and games and Wall Street to sometimes describe the efforts, know this — CHS is well aware that none of this happens without passion and a lot of work. Pardon us if it ever seems we take a closure too lightly.

More sadness

Bets on the future 

CHS Year in Review 2012 | The re-development of Capitol Hill

News of a new development on the Bauhaus block shook up the Hill in 2012 (Image: CHS)

The re-development of Seattle’s Capitol Hill continues. 2012 saw the completion of a handful of huge apartment buildings and the start of construction on a handful more. The demand for a place to live in the city — especially within its walkable core — is growing. At one point in the year, CHS counted more than 30 projects underway around the Hill. But Capitol Hill’s year in development stretched far beyond 300-unit apartment buildings. 2012 brought projects that redefined the way the neighborhood is shaping preservation of the final vestiges of its auto row past as well as how the wave of re-development is spreading into the neighborhood’s edges. In between, there is a renewed activism — some hoping to slow the relentless development, some seeking measured growth, some confident the market should guide it all — to shape the future of Capitol Hill.

Preserving Pike/Pine
It is difficult to find a more signature moment in the Capitol Hill year in development than CHS’s initial report on the plans for the stretch of E Pine at Melrose home to the beloved Bauhaus cafe. Simultaneously a freak-out over the loss of yet another Hill icon and disbelief at the scope of the project, the moment slowly transitioned to a calmer acceptance as the developer responded to the controversy by releasing more information about its plans and its effort to incorporate Bauhaus into them. The design and its preservation elements at the corner of Pine and Melrose became nearly an afterthought.

But that push for preservation in Pike/Pine was a major theme through the year as the people responsible for implementing the city’s design process grappled with how best to deploy the incentives that grant developers extra building height in exchange for preserving or re-building historical facades and maintaining at least a spirit of the incorporated old buildings. Some of the grappling occasionally came to a head as community groups made a stand and demanded more from project plans that sought to take advantage of these incentives. Call it facadism if you will but the preservation will define the next generation of what is built along E Pike and E Pine. The projects — o Sunset Electric, o the old BMW campuso the Mercedes dealership and more — are cued up and either already under construction or nearly ready to begin.

“Saved” — the Davis Hoffman building (Image: CHS)

Not all are giant (though most are!) — the Bill’s building will preserve the restaurant’s street level and be downright modest at only 90 or so units in its planned seven stories.

Not a landmark
As an embodiment of this new form of preservation by development, look at the city’s landmark process as it played out on Capitol Hill in 2012. This 122-year-old 18th Ave house? Not a landmark. Landmark rejection also paved the way for this four-story apartment project planned for 14th and John. There were plenty more. Of course, not everything can or should be “saved.” As funky as it was, the Undrearms moved forward into a more useful future and the charred, graffiti covered Marion Apartments finally came down.

Onlookers gather to watch the demolition at Bellevue and Pine (Image: CHS)

The crowd listens as the mayor said “wait and see” on the Bauhaus block project (Image: CHS)

New activism
Shaping this activity was a renewed energy for community activism. While it occasionally manifested itself more as frustration than productive change, anger for some over the loopholes allowing aPodment-style buildings in the midst of residential streets became a rallying point. With city officials sticking to “wait and see” approaches, community groups like the Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council sought to shed old contrivances of the NIMBY approach to neighborhood development activism and actually get a few things done. Some of this new-era NIMBYism was surprisingly effective and could be a component as the city moves toward a mayoral election in 2013.

Some of the most important stories in development for Capitol Hill’s 2012 also provided inspiration for the future. Plans are being pounded out for a massive investment in Broadway with the rise of Capitol Hill Station and the surrounding — and possibly 85-feet high — “transit oriented development” that will overhaul the neighborhood’s Broadway core. There are fantastic hopes for the changes — and some (slightly) more realistic ones, too. It’s enough energy to bring even the most dedicated long-term property owners into the neighborhood’s next wave of development.

On 12th Ave, a plan to transform a barbed-wire ringed SPD parking lot mired in more than a decade of inaction finally took shape. 2012 brought a concrete plan, a design and funding for Capitol Hill Housing’s 12th Ave Arts theater and housing project.

Meanwhile, on E Madison at 15th, a peculiar glass building with a crown of photovoltaic panels rises and nears completion. The opening of the Bullitt Center will be a story for the coming year but the building rose in structure and global stature in 2012 providing a great big giant zero-energy building of dreams to help us prepare for what comes next.

Rainbow Crosswalk Project — Where on Capitol Hill should the rainbow crosswalks go?

With victory on marriage equality, new LGBTQ group Social Outreach Seattle is moving forward on its plans to bring symbols of the gay community’s presence — and power — into the day-to-day around the city and, especially, in the Capitol Hill “gayborhood.”

Here’s what the Seattle Gay News had to say about the Rainbow Crosswalk Project earlier this year:

What does Capitol Hill already have, if anything, that gives the community pride? Perhaps Cal Anderson Park, practically every Hill resident’s home away from home during the summer months, named after the city’s first openly Gay legislator? Absolutely. Shit, it makes me proud. But is it really visible enough? Do the young people who frequent the park grounds even know who Cal Anderson was? There’s no statue of him there, only a small plaque that most people have probably never noticed before. 

The proposal: Mark crosswalks at a core Capitol Hill intersection in rainbow colors at a cost of somewhere around $8,000. The project would echo a similar effort in West Hollywood and organizers say custom crosswalks elsewhere in Wallingford and West Seattle provide a local precedent that the project can be done safely and efficiently.

Organizers from Social Outreach Seattle are moving forward with the plan and are now turning to the community to ask which intersection should get the treatment. Here are suggestions organizers have already heard, according to SGN:

Broadway & John, Broadway & Denny, Broadway & Pike, Broadway & Pine, by the Broadway Market, by The Grill on Broadway, and by the new Capitol Hill light-rail station. One respondent said, ‘Just do the whole street of Broadway.’ Another suggested doing the ends of Broadway as a sort of territory marker. 

You can weigh in on the project Facebook page