“Seattle’s home for dance” is in trouble. The 23-year old Velocity Dance Center says it needs emergency funds to avoid ending its year in the red and in uncertainty of whether it can keep its 12th Avenue space. Velocity says rising rents and increasing costs of operating in Seattle have made its current financial model unsustainable.
“It is an emergency,” said Catherine Nueva España, Velocity’s executive director.
During a “Community Forum” in the main performance studio of the center’s 12th Ave space on Tuesday, Velocity’s leadership answered questions from fifteen or so supporters. They also tried to galvanize them to rally support for its “Save Our Studio” campaign.
“We’re trying to raise $120,000 by the end of the year so that we can afford to stay in our space and to stabilize moving forward,” Colleen Borst, Velocity’s development director, told CHS. Continue reading →
The evening after this summer’s primary election for City Council, at a public forum on the appointment of a new representative on the Seattle School Board for South Seattle, it was back to business for Zachary DeWolf.
The Primary candidate and Seattle School Board representative hadn’t given himself much time to think about the results, which were disappointing. He received 12.54% of the votes on election night, not enough to make it onto the November ballot.
“I probably didn’t get enough time to really kind of sit down with the whole experience of it,” DeWolf says today. “By and large, I can say I’m really grateful to have done it. There’s probably a whole list of 10 or 15 things I could do differently, (…) strategy stuff.”
DeWolf had announced he was running for City Council in April, a little over a year into his four-year term on the school board. Though he chiseled away a substantial chunk of labor support from Sawant’s base and was seen as one of the frontrunners, the Seattle Education Association (the city’s public school teachers union) endorsed Ami Nguyen and Kshama Sawant in District 3. It also didn’t help that local blogger and education advocate Melissa Westbrook wrote a searing editorial dis-endorsing DeWolf on Seattle Schools Community Forum, calling out his “lackluster record and lack of community meetings.”
In a recent phone call, DeWolf didn’t really feel like revisiting the issue.
“I’m not going to respond to a blogger [who] clearly doesn’t understand my work and my record,” DeWolf said. “What this comes down to is who I serve: the students and the families in my district.”
DeWolf brought up the example of the student Luna, a trans student who had asked that Seattle Public Schools fix its databases so that all correctly identified the gender and names of trans and gender-diverse students. DeWolf said the issue is now fixed because of her advocacy and his pushing for it. Continue reading →
“Please do not clap, do not cheer, and certainly do not boo.”
Such was the request from Seattle CityClub, the organizer of last night’s City Council candidate debate for District 3 at a packed Town Hall on First Hill.
It turned out an impossible ask, as supporters applauded and cheered when incumbent Kshama Sawant was welcomed to the stage, and fans of challenger Egan Orion seemingly tried to surpass the decibel levels just moments later.
Applause returned soon when Sawant hit the ground running when she called Orion a “poster child for big business” and took aim at the Amazon and Vulcan-backed Political Action Committees’ expenditures on Orion’s behalf, just moments after he made his first pitch.
Orion had said he would be equipped to serve in public office because he had served his “community” with his work at PrideFest and brought “a collaborative style of leadership” to the table.
“Unity and collaboration and coalitions with whom?” Sawant asked. “We know what corporations like Amazon and chamber of commerce are trying to do. They are trying to flip City Hall to the right.”
The comment set the tone for the rest of the debate — and potentially the rest of the campaign through November 5th — with jabs on both sides, either followed by applause or finger-snapping, one thing the organizers had not explicitly discouraged. Continue reading →
The famed Salon at the Frye Art Museum looks very different since this weekend. The hall is now devoted to portraits of women in a new exhibit titled Unsettling Femininity, which hopes to question the way portraiture, and the viewer looks at women.
Keep the theme of strong women and female complexity going this week with “Blood Water Paint,” a play tracing the life of Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi at 12th Avenue Arts, and “We Go Mad” at 18th & Union, a puppetry play about a woman who uncovers her family’s secrets.
Northwest Film Forum’s 22nd annual Local Sightings Film Festival runs through Sunday, and this weekend’s your chance to see some stellar local documentaries and a showcase of Indigenous films. For more cinematic art, read on to learn what to see at Tasveer, the South Asian film festival, plus find more things to do on the list below and the CHS calendar.
Sawant’s check boxes from 2017 could add another check in 2020 — though “TAX THE RICH” needs more work
Monday night, the Seattle City Council’s Renter’s Rights Committee, chaired by District 3 representative Kshama Sawant, will discuss draft legislation for rent control at City Hall during a public hearing. It’s a cornerstone moment in the final months of her term and in her race to retain her seat in November.
Sawant’s draft legislation follows her six-year-old call for rent control, a 2015 City Council resolution supporting the repeal of a State-wide rent control ban, plus an April letter from the Seattle’s Renters’ Commission urging the council and Mayor Jenny Durkan to pass a rent control ordinance in Seattle.
In the letter, the commission’s co-chairs noted that “the unpredictability and rate of rent increases in the past decade has caused a massive burden on renters which has led to both homelessness and displacement of Seattleites.”
So, what does rent control mean to Sawant?
It’s an umbrella term that can mean different things depending on specific rules and regulations. Overall, rent control, in some cases also called rent stabilization, means limiting rent increases. This can happen in various ways: it can be tied to inflation, the cap can apply only per tenancy or beyond the duration of a tenancy, and come with or without restrictions on evictions. Some include only buildings of a certain age and exempt new buildings.
Here are a few more questions about the whole thing — and as many answers as we have heading into Monday night’s session.
What does Sawant propose? Sawant’s office remained tight-lipped about the details of the draft legislation ahead of the committee meeting on Monday. What is clear: rent increases would be tied to inflation (around 2% or 3% per year), and the legislation will be “free of corporate loopholes.” Continue reading →
On Friday, Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park will be the heart and the start of the Seattle Climate Strike this Friday, organized in conjunction with “2,500 strikes planned globally and over 650 in the US alone.” The Seattle strike will begin at 9 AM in Cal Anderson with a climate activism festival in the park. For more climate action, head over to Town Hall next Tuesday, where author Naomi Klein will make a “(Burning) Case for a Green New Deal.” Find more things to do on the list below and the CHS calendar.
WEDNESDAY, Sep 18: Need help with a landlord issue? Want to help organize for better protections for renters in Seattle? The Tenant Organizing Collective of the Seattle Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America meets monthly at Broadway’s All Pilgrims “to teach each other concrete, effective organizing skills to build power at home.” All Pilgrims, 7 PM
THURSDAY, Sep 19 – THURSDAY, Oct 3: In art history, “woman” is often a category of its own. Take Artemisia Gentileschi, described as “one of the best-known women artists of the 17th century.” Ever heard Peter Paul Rubens described as one of the best-known male artists of that time? Yeah. Anyway, the Italian Baroque artist’s life and career is now fodder for a play, “Blood Water Paint.” The play is based on the book of the same name and traces Gentileschi’s life and legacy as a painter of acclaim and “feminist hero” who successfully pressed charges against her rapist. 12th Avenue Arts Continue reading →
On the surface, there is nothing particularly remarkable about the YouTube video. The clip from November 29, 2011, hasn’t been viewed much more than 2,900 times. Like many other ‘flash mob’ videos from the era, the camera slightly shakes as five dancers, surrounded by Black Friday shoppers at Westlake Center and Mall, swells to nine and then to over 20 in a rehearsed group choreography to John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World To Change,” and Jessie J’s “Price Tag.”
If anything about the video stands out, it’s the chant “Occupy Seattle!” heard from the performers. What’s most remarkable however is what the video does not show: it captures one of the few times the worlds of Kshama Sawant and Egan Orion’s overlapped before this years’ election. Now both are vying for the same seat on the city council.
Though she was not involved with the video, at the time, Sawant, teaching economics at Seattle Central College, had emerged as one of the most prominent voices and organizers to emerge from Occupy Seattle, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street protests against economic inequality.
Eight years on, the worlds of Orion and Sawant collide again. Both are running to represent District 3, which spans a wide area including Lake Washington-adjacent neighborhoods such as Madison Park, renter-heavy Capitol Hill, and the Central District, and part of the ID, on a City Council that will likely see historic turnover with seven of nine seats up for election. Sawant, who has served on the council for six years, is one of three council members up for reelection.
The city has changed immensely in the past eight years. Four — really, five — mayors, a new democracy voucher program, a declaration of a homelessness state of emergency, accelerated gentrification and displacement, a repealed employee hours or “head” tax and the appearance of “Seattle Is Dying” later, the fault lines — between visions of what Seattle has (or should) become — have hardened.
Sawant, of course, is a socialist. Orion is billed as the more business-friendly candidate. Sawant’s somewhat uncomfortable talking about her personal life. Orion, when we meet him in Volunteer Park, offers up intimate details political candidates usually don’t disclose to a reporter. (Failures and heartbreak. A tequila-fueled spat in the streets of Mazatlán, Mexico. The name of the person he lost his virginity to.)
Born to two teachers in Auburn, Orion grew up a few blocks from Green River Community College, where he was one of the few kids who took part in its theater productions. As a closeted “theater gay” in “very white, very middle class” Auburn during the AIDS crisis, theater was a reprieve from bullying and a way to express himself outside of the confines of school. In high school, Orion ran Students Against Driving Drunk and led his school’s chapter of Students Opposed to Apartheid. For the MLK Day assembly, he invited then-mayor Norm Rice to his school and set up a U2 “Sunday Bloody Sunday” slideshow with music. Continue reading →
Even with a very rainy Sunday closing out the weekend, The Seattle Department of Transportation was able to put the finishing touches on the new bike lanes on Pike from downtown to Capitol Hill this weekend.
The new lanes, between Broadway and downtown, were mostly painted last weekend, and SDOT had been working to dot the I’s and cross the T’s last week, with the work “98%” done on Friday, said SDOT spokesperson Dan Anderson. Today, the bike lanes also have new stop bars, a new bike rack at Belmont and Pike, more reflectors and new parking signs designating loading zones.
The updated signage might be necessary. The new bike lane got off to a sputtering start last week, with Twitter users posting photos of cars and trucks parked in the bike lanes, including an SDOT vehicle and a delivery truck in front of sandwich shop Honey Hole. Continue reading →
As falls leaks into the last days of summer, some summer events say goodbye to the Hill. Some last hurrahs this week: during this month’s Art Walk, Vibrant Palette Arts Center showcases the work of its artists for the last time this year at Café Pettirosso, and the last open-air DJ night ThiRST of the summer happens this Friday in Cal Anderson park.
Meanwhile, Velocity’s monthly open mic night SH*T Gold kicks off the new season this Monday with the theme of returning home and an earlier start time (8 PM). Spin The Bottle, Seattle’s longest-running variety show, celebrates September with a “very special back-to-school edition.”
Find more shows to see during Art Walk and things to do on the list below, or head over to our calendar.
WEDNESDAY, Sep 11: Washington is among the most linguistically diverse states in the US. This multilingualism is celebrated during the Poetry in Translation reading series, which highlights the traditions of Seattle’s immigrant and Native communities by sharing their poetry and song in their original languages plus English translation. This reading, titled Fiestas Patrias and curated in partnership with Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna, will feature multilingual readings by poets Ana Evelin Garcia, Dra. Eugenia Toledo-Keyser and Raúl Sanchez alongside video poem screenings. Northwest Film Forum, 6.30 – 7.45 PM Continue reading →
“What have you done to support or engage with the LGBTQ community?”
If there was anything the Greater Seattle Business Association — aka “Washington State’s LGBTQ and allied business chamber” — wanted to know from all City Council candidates during last night’s GSBA-hosted “Face To Face” candidate forum at the Broadway Performance Hall on Capitol Hill, this was it.
Every time a duo of competing candidates stepped onto the stage for their 25-minute “tête-à-tête,” they’d face that same question.
So by the time the District 3 candidates Kshama Sawant and Egan Orion settled into the padded blue chairs on stage, about an hour into the forum, both probably knew what they were going to say.
“What we’ve done with Pridefest is built it to a point where it’s this bright shining light that casts its light out into small communities around Western Washington and the state,” said Orion about his work as executive director of Pridefest, the yearly celebrations at Seattle Center and on Capitol Hill and its work with and fundraising for nonprofits.
“There are kids out there who don’t know what it’s like to truly be themselves. And so when they see that light, they know that there’s one place that they can go all year round in order to truly feel themselves. I believe that the work that we’ve done at PrideFest saves lives.”
Seattle City Council member Sawant focused on some of her budget wins, including securing funds for LGBTQ seniors and the LGBTQ health center at Nova High School in the Central District in the budget. She quickly connected the latter back to her core campaign issues. Continue reading →