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 | Trashy Diva Trunk Show, Derek Erdman, Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day

(Image: Derek Erdman

As Labor Day is behind us, some insist that summer is already over. Take the name of Volunteer Park Conservatory’s largest fundraiser of the year, which happens this Saturday: Fall Plant Sale. And the Miller Community Center asks to join their Back to School BBQ to “help us say farewell to summer with food, games, and community.”

Let the record show that CHS bristles at the notion of saying our summer farewells way, way too soon, and that there are 19 more days of official summer left. Ideally, you’d spend them doing the things here on the list below. Find more events and things to do on our calendar.

THURSDAY, Sep 5: The Black Tones must be one of the most exciting bands Seattle has spawned in recent years. After performances at the Capitol Hill Block Party and the new Port Townsend-based festival Thing, the blues-rock duo comes back to the neighborhood to celebrate the vinyl release of their first record, Cobain and Cornbread (which debuted this spring). Twins Eva and Cedric Walker, the musicians behind the band, will take over the DJ booth to celebrate and play some of their favorite tunes during The Black Tones Vinyl Release & DJ set by Eva & Cedric at Life on Mars. Life on Mars, 8 – 10 PM  Continue reading

‘Superilles’ for Seattle? Council member Mosqueda has her eye on 6-block pedestrian-and cyclist-first ‘superblock’ for Capitol Hill

Seattle knows a thing or two about dramatically changing neighborhoods. But Sant Antoni, a paper-plane shaped neighborhood in Barcelona, Spain, has seen a different kind of radical transformation.

After an extensive renovation, the art nouveau market anchoring the neighborhood returned to its original 19th-century splendor last year. In the area around it, parking was moved underground, newly planted trees and shrubs dot the streets and public plazas, children romp in new play areas, and bicyclists and pedestrians now have ample space to move around freely. In short, public space has increased by thousands of square meters — all because car traffic was deprioritized.

The urban design concept, in this case designed in tandem with local residents, businesses and others, is called a “superblock” or “superille” — and if you ask citywide City Council member Teresa Mosqueda, Seattle should get one.

Mosqueda has her eye on a 6-block area on Capitol Hill, between Pine and Union between 12th and Broadway.

“This could be a really great place to test what this model may need to be successful,” Mosqueda said. “This is an opportunity to look at what other cities like Barcelona have done to change street design elements to reduce traffic and improve pedestrian access to public spaces.”  Continue reading

National ‘art machine for social change’ finds a home in the Central District

You’ve seen the posters. They feature a woman with a stars-and-stripes dotted hijab, a dreadlocked kid, or Helen Red Feather of the Lakota tribe protesting at Standing Rock. Perhaps you know that they were part of the “We The People” poster campaign that swept the nation after the election of Donald Trump and his inauguration in January 2017. Or that Shepard Fairey, Jessica Sabogal and Ernesto Yerena designed them.

But did you know that a Seattle-based nonprofit called Amplifier was responsible?

“That was a historic moment in our American history, and creating imagery that represented the demographics the Trump administration was most violently attacking (…) really shook people. You could tell it awakened them. It resonated and went viral around the world,” says Isabella Sisneros, Amplifier’s operations manager.

A Kickstarter campaign to print and distribute the posters raised more than 1$ million in a week thanks to over 23,000 donors.

“We broke a Kickstarter record for the most small donors,” says Amplifier’s deputy director Cleo Barnett, sitting in one of the brand-new looking couches of Amplifier’s recently opened Central District art lab and offices.

Describing what, exactly, Amplifier does is tricky, because it can easily sound vaguely artsy. Take their website language: “A design lab that builds arts experiments to amplify the voices of grassroots movements”  and “art machine for social change.”  Continue reading

Longtime Three Dollar Bill Outdoor Cinema had to scale back in Cal Anderson this year — Here’s why

(Image: CHS)

At least a couple dozen. That’s how many emails and messages longtime Capitol Hill film nonprofit Three Dollar Bill Cinema received in the last couple of months, according to executive director Ben McCarthy.

The reason? This year, the organization behind Seattle’s annual gay film festival and summer cinema in Cal Anderson Park will only screen one movie — the British feel-good comedy Kinky Boots — during their yearly outdoor cinema in the park this Friday. Since the annual campy summer event’s start in 2008, the mini-film festival has always included three or more movie screenings spread out over a couple of days.

People are disappointed “it is only happening once this year and that it is something they look forward to,” McCarthy said.

He said the reason for scaling back the program was simple. This year, they didn’t get the Seattle Parks and Recreation grant that has “essentially funded the program” for years.  Continue reading

On the List | Pistil Books Outdoor Book Sale, Kinky Boots in Cal Anderson, Lizzo dance party, free burgers

A long weekend! Good vibes with marimbas and vibraphones! Free Punk Rock Aerobics in Volunteer Park! Slushies and queer summer parties! Riot Grrrl music at Pony! Labor Day Weekend sales! Jeff Goldblum in fifties outfits! Summer fun is not over, and if you need any more proof, check out the list below. Head over to our calendar for more events. 

WEDNESDAY, Aug 28: If there’s one thing that sometimes feels missing from the arts scene in Seattle, it’s “real talk.” Expect a lot of it during “The Mixer: Advancing Equity in the Arts – Real Talk,” the fourth and final panel discussion in a series of community discussions at Northwest African American Museum. Theatre maven Sara Porkalob, dancer and recent Mayor’s Arts Award winner Dani Tirrell, as well as Reese Tanimura, Managing Director of Northwest Folklife, will discuss what the city can do to mitigate racial disparities in the creative economy. Northwest African American Museum, 5 – 7 PM 

THURSDAY, Aug 29 – THURSDAY, Sep 5: It looks like we’re getting at least some hot summer days in the end. For the Seattleites who can’t wait for the darker days to begin, Northwest Film Forum is screening some excellent films this week. The Proposal sounds like a random rom-com though it’s anything but: the film by artist Jill Magid chronicles her artistic obsession with the archives of famed architect Luis Barragán, whose ashes she’s also had made into a diamond ring. Fans of Jeff Goldblum and the fifties will get their money’s worth at the fifties-set The Mountain, wherein Goldblum is  a“lobotomist for hire.” Northwest Film Forum, various times  Continue reading

Voter turnout is up — particularly in D3’s wealthier neighborhoods — What will that mean for Sawant and Orion in November?

In the “election surprises” category, this curious nugget of information wins first prize: in Broadmoor, the gated golf club community near Madison Park, five people voted for District 3 incumbent and Socialist Alternative member Kshama Sawant. Over 400 people in Broadmoor turned in ballots (mostly supporting third-place finisher Pat Murakami) this year. An unusually high number for the precinct.

Broadmoor is not alone. The uptick in voter turnout reflects a city- and D3-wide trend. Particularly higher-income homeowners turned out in larger numbers compared to 2015.

“The most conservative voters were more motivated for this election than they’ve been in quite some time in Seattle,” said local political consultant Crystal Fincher.

But, she added, “we’re seeing an overall energized electorate, particularly in Seattle. That’s a really, really big deal.” Fincher partly credits the city’s Democracy Voucher program.

According to local consultant Ben Anderstone, Trump and KOMO’s controversial ‘Seattle Is Dying’ documentary have something to do with it as well.

Continue reading

This Capitol Hill entrepreneur is making waves… with inflatable pools

Myllebeck (Image: Margo Vansynghel)

(Image: Mylle)

Kristin Myllebeck’s office has all the trappings of a fashion stylist’s workplace. Four small, graphic purses hang on spread-out hooks on the wall, like an art installation. A faux-cowhide rug partly covers the polished concrete floor, and on the floating wall shelves stands a framed Warhol reproduction, on which a bold, black typeface spells out “I like boring things.”

What stands out: Myllebeck’s office is filled with pools.

Deflated ones.

Since Myllebeck debuted her inflatable pool company Mylle (pronounced mile) last year, she’s been fulfilling orders from all over the country, sending them out one by one by mail.

“They’ve been popular in Brooklyn and in LA where people’s backyards are like the size of the pool,” Myllebeck, who worked as a fashion stylist for Nordstrom for over a decade, said. Continue reading

On the List | 10th annual Linda’s Fest, La Quinta Carnival, First Hill Pop-up Petting Zoo

(Image: Linda’s Tavern)

This summer’s (astronomical) dog days are over, but there are still plenty of options to squeeze everything out of these late-August summer days.

Case(s) in point:

For more fun and things to do, check out the list below, or head over to the CHS Calendar. 

WEDNESDAY, Aug 21: It’s not the best way to choose a City Council person to represent District 3. But it’s usually a fun and sometimes bizarre night. This year’s event is on Capitol Hill. And, yay, it’s free. Get a first-person look at D3 candidates Kshama Sawant and Egan Orion through the warped prism of Hill-headquartered alt-biweekly The Stranger at Candidate Survivor 2019. Fortunately, Washington Bus will also be there. Neumos, 6 PM

Looking for something a little less frat house and a little more service club? The Urbanist and the Capitol Hill Renter Initiative are holding their monthly volunteer night with a letter writing session on studying green spaces and transit-oriented design near future Link light-rail stations and advancing the principles of Seattle’s Green New Deal and the MASS Coalition’s Transportation Package. You can help. Cafe Solstice, 5:30 PM

Continue reading

Where do Sawant and Orion voters live? D3 neighborhood Election Night voting mapped

With the dust of the primary election settling and ballot counts slowing to a trickle, Seattle City Council candidates who made it to the General Election in November are now gearing up for the second round of campaigning. Expect for things to swing back into action with a wave of forums starting next month including the GSBA’s event at the Broadway Performance Hall on September 10th.

Meanwhile, in mapping out their strategy, precinct-level voting data from King County Elections might help candidates figure out in which areas they could garner some more support — or which ones might be lost territory.

For the full picture, candidates including D3 City Council incumbent Kshama Sawant and General Election-bound challenger Egan Orion will have to wait a couple more days. Primary results will be certified August 20th. Precinct-level voting data will be released in the days following.

The precinct-level results CHS has mapped date from the night of the election represents 60% of ballots counted. Continue reading

On the List | Outdoor yoga, Sonics appreciation, kid-designed parklets, Brewlab birthday party, and a Trove comeback

If you’re going to have Big Beer in your neighborhood you might as well enjoy the parties (Image: Redhook)

(Image: The Hopvine)

Watching paint dry might not be everyone’s idea of a fun night out, but comedian Mihkel Teemant puts a spin on it at Club Comedy Seattle this Thursday. During the comedy show, the audience can paint along to a Bob Ross video. With QTPOC Is Not A Rapper on Friday, no-cover comedy at The Hopvine and Unladylike at Jai Thai this Saturday, comedy fans will be able to their fix this weekend.

Speaking of fixing: this Saturday, the Capitol Hill Tool Library is hosting another Repair Café.  A team of volunteer fixers will help repair broken household items, including clothing, electronics, jewelry and small home appliances.

Find out where else to go and what to eat and see this weekend on the list below, and head over to the CHS Calendar for more events.

WEDNESDAY, Aug 14: No, the Seattle SuperSonics are not coming back to Seattle (yet). But the owners of Life On Mars, self-declared “huge Sonics fans” want “their” team back. So, naturally, they covered one of their bathrooms in Sonics-themed wallpaper. The wall collage will be unveiled this evening during the Sonics Appreciation Party. Showing up in Sonics gear will get you 15% off drinks all night. Life on Mars, 7 – 10 PM  Continue reading