About Margo Vansynghel

Margo Vansynghel is a journalist and photographer based in Seattle. She covers news, human interest, business, art and lifestyle for newspapers and magazines and makes documentary photography series.

On the List | Final Capitol Hill Art Walk of 2018, Neighbours Alley, Ben’s Bread, Sugar Plum Gary

This Thursday is the last Capitol Hill Art Walk of the year. To get your art fix, pass by the FoodArt Collection and The Factory, or check out the art walk calendar here. In the midst of the art walk, you’ll find the Neighbours Alley Celebration with dumpster painting, ornament making, and, yes, alley bowling. It’s also a big night for seasonal celebration in Volunteer Park at the annual Holiday in the Park event. Find more events around the neighborhood on the CHS Calendar.

THURSDAY, Dec. 13: Contemporary pop artist Genevieve St. Charles might be as consumed by, well, American consumerism as the venerable Andy Warhol was, her work packs a lot more banter. Though she shares a fondness for bananas with Warhol, St. Charles expands her scope to the whole fruit basket (plus deliciously dripping cheese burgers and hot dogs) with a new art show FROOT, featuring shiny peaches and bananas, neon, home furnishings and her famous LaCroix cans with bittersweet flavors such as “Homeless Bitcoin Millionaire” or “Deleted Tinder”. FoodArt Collection, 420 13th Ave E (buzz BUBEN at front door callbox) Apt 101. 5-9 PM Continue reading

Capitol Hill arts group launches ‘phone book’ with over 500 local artists

Carolyn Hitt’s high school years are far behind her. And yet she cannot wait to get her yearbook signed this Tuesday. This time around, though, it is actually her yearbook. As in: she’s created it. In it are not her classmates, but over 500 black-and-white headshots and social media handles of Seattle artists, chefs, curators and creatives from all mediums. The book, a creative “phone book” for the city will be officially released this Tuesday during The Relevant Unknowns: 2018 Yearbook Release Party at Fred Wildlife Refuge (Free, 21+).

“My goal is to connect artists in the city,” Hitt said. “There are so many pockets of communities. Those pockets make us insular. How do we connect beyond that?” Continue reading

‘Merce 100’ celebrates past and future at Velocity Dance as director says goodbye

Merce Cunningham (Image: Merce Cunningham Trust)

Ella Mahler is lying on her back on the marley floor, stock-still, like a bear has been chasing her and playing dead is her last resort. But then, suddenly, she gets up and scurries across the vinyl floors of the back studio of Capitol Hill’s Velocity Dance Center. In hurried movements, she lifts her knees up, combat-style, only to later duck and then balance gracefully on one leg, outsmarting an invisible assailer purely with poise.

Mahler, a Seattle-based dancer, choreographer and Velocity’s 2019 Made in Seattle Artist, is running through the movements of her solo choreography Absolute. Less than two weeks to go before showtime, December 14th. Mahler is one of the nine dancers performing newly created choreographies for MERCE 100: Seattle Artists Respond to Merce, a four-day long, Capitol Hill-centered celebration of and response to the centennial of world-famous dancer and Washington native Merce Cunningham (1919 – 2009), running December 13th through 16th.

Cunningham, who was born in Centralia and studied at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, became one of the most influential artists of the 20th century thanks to his radical, innovative approach to dance, for example by using dice and other chance-based processes to decide how his dancers would move. Continue reading

On the List | Spin the Bottle milestone, Roanoke Tavern tacos, Jekeva Phillips

(Image: Spin the Bottle)

It’s the end of an era. Starting next year, Spin the Bottle, Seattle’s longest-running, most eclectic late night cabaret show, moves to an 8 PM slot. Nighthawks can see the last late-night show this Friday. Check out what else to do on the Hill this week here below, or find more events around the neighborhood on the CHS Calendar.

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5: In light of Scratch Deli’s imminent adieu, perhaps today is a good day to pay a visit to some of the other slightly-worn, unpretentious neighborhood hangouts we think will just magically be around forever. At northern Capitol Hill’s Roanoke Park Place Tavern, Wednesdays are for $1 homemade tacos and cans of beer. You read that right. One dollar. Roanoke Park Place Tavern Continue reading

Meet the Hill’s new literary impresario: Kate Berwanger

Surreal Storytelling With Strange Women’s Kate Berwanger (Image: Margo Vansynghel)

Kate Berwanger is a strange woman. Those are her own words. She just can’t really explain what it means, exactly. She just knows that like many other women writers in Seattle, she identifies with the epithet.

“One of my favorite writers is Aimee Bender, and I feel like her writing is kind of strange,” Berwanger offers up as an example of a strange female writer she admires, while she swirls around the whiskey in her small shot glass. It’s only four o’clock, but in the darkened back of bar-cum-art gallery Vermillion, it feels like the clock jumped to midnight.

Here, in the back bar, she hosted the two first iterations of Surreal Storytelling With Strange Women, a new literary event she’s created. For a pay-what-you-can-price, Berwanger —who uses the online alias ‘The Coy Hyena’, is dressed in all black, wears a hat and at least five rings— curates a mix of known and lesser known writers from “different pockets of the literary community,” ranging from established poets like Anastacia-Renée to multidisciplinary writers such as Amanya Maloba, aka Kenya Ku$h.

Surreal Storytelling With Strange Women returns to the Hill for a third iteration Saturday, December 8th at Ghost Gallery. Readers will include G.G. Silverman, whose short fiction was most recently nominated for the Best Small Fictions anthology and writer and singer-songwriter Symone La Luz, among others.

“If I weren’t curating it, this would be an event I’d go to,” says Berwanger, who also organizes a new pop-up art show during Capitol Hill Art Walk, Scream for Queer Art. Continue reading

On the List | Isvald Klingels trunk show, ‘Alternate Endings, Activist risings’ at the Frye, Mimosas Cabaret

(Image: Isvald Klingels)

Quick, before the holiday parties arrive, here are a few ideas for things to explore around Capitol Hill this weekend. For more events around the neighborhood, check out the CHS Calendar.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 28: Struggling with a short attention span? At this year’s Short Circuit, the only Pacific Rim film festival in the world, opportunities for dozing or distraction are kept to a minimum thanks to a showcase of intriguing short films; none top  20 minutes. From the fictional account of a young, deaf Maori boy longing to perform the Haka to a documentary about conservation in Papua New Guinea or a hyper-short South Korean animation dealing with the “struggles of the heart,” the line-up promises to be as diverse as the films’ over 30 countries of origin. Northwest Film Forum, 7 PM
Continue reading

On the List | Vermillion FRIENDSgiving potluck, Black Business Black Friday, Trove bake sale

Full disclosure: This is not a picture of Vermillion’s annual Friendsgiving

If you are on Capitol Hill, Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to explore the neighborhood — and maybe play tourist. Below is a selection of events and get-out-and-dos from around Capitol Hill. You can find more and add your own to the CHS Calendar. It’s also time to find a few gifts for friends and loved ones. Don’t forget to Shop the Hill — we’re collecting holiday highlights, deals, and promotions from local merchants and food and drink venues through the holidays.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 21: “I’m going to make a gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin pie. Could be great, could be a travesty,” an aspiring baker wrote on the Facebook event page for Vermillion’s annual FRIENDSgiving Potluck. Chances are low the event itself, a Capitol Hill tradition, turns out a travesty. Diana Adams, owner of the bar-cum-gallery, will provide the turkey and some side dishes. Attendees can bring pretty much anything, including pre-made or store-bought food, as long as guests come with an appetite to acknowledge settler privilege on the eve of the colonial holiday. Vermillion, 6-9 PM Continue reading