The 20th edition of the modern format of the Capitol Hill Block Party again filled Pike/Pine with Block Partiers this weekend (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)
Potty-mouth named STRFKR delivered the crowd to planet dance (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)
Another Capitol Hill Block Party has come and gone, the smashed beer bottles have been swept away, and the crowds that clamored to see ODESZA and CHVRCHES have dissipated. For some, CHBP was just another weekend of Capitol Hill bar hopping; for others, it was a sad reminder of the way neighborhoods and cities are changing here and across the country.
“This was a neighborhood for freaks, and that was dope,” said Alana Belle, a black woman who grew up in the area and now works on Capitol Hill. Over the years, the people she has seen on neighborhood have changed, and not for the better. “I would argue that it’s not as safe for the LGBTQ community as it used to be.”
Belle is a CHBP veteran, and said that she comes to the festival to support her friends, particularly other artists of color. Belle and her friend Ola Rae came out to support Porter Ray on the second day of the festival. “It was so dope to see black people on stage,” said Belle. Continue reading
Literary-focused nonprofit Seattle Arts and Lectures has made Capitol Hill its home base. The organization migrated from its previous office in Georgetown to a new spot on 15th Ave E where architecture firm Board and Vellum was housed until its move earlier this summer.
“We’re so grateful to be here and be part of such a vibrant art community and such a vibrant neighborhood.” director Ruth Dickey said. Dickey said that though the move came because SAL’s landlord in Georgetown wanted the space, the organization is ecstatic about its new neighborhood. “We hope to stay forever.” Continue reading
Musician Joe Gregory was born and raised on Capitol Hill and can remember attending the Capitol Hill Block Party when it was a tiny, alternative, upstart music festival.
On Sunday he and his band J GRGRY are joining the ranks of CHBP performers. “It’s really exciting to actually finally 20 years later be a part of it,” said Gregory.
It has been a quick rise for the group. J GRGRY has been around for about a year. The group was asked to play CHBP earlier this summer after several successful shows at Neumos.J GRGRY consists of Gregory, guitar player and Gregory’s longtime friend Robert Cheek, drummer Andrew King, and bass/key player Ryan Leyva. The group’s first performance together was at The Crocodile in December 2015. After that first show, J GRGRY submitted for the opening slot for Geographer at Neumos.
“So many people came out for us and we sold a ton of presale tickets – it was just an overwhelming response and the club was like, ‘Holy shit, who are you guys?’” said Gregory. “It ended up being such a cool show, and then I think because of my onstage aesthetic they thought about asking me for the Prince show.” Continue reading
The amphitheater green was filled for the Fifth Annual Volunteer Park Picnic Thursday evening under the silvery sky of a pretty perfect, warm Capitol Hill summer evening. Attendees visited the face painting station, played games like croquet and cornhole, and danced to live music put on by LoveCityLove.
Young‘uns from the Georgetown Seattle School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts were also in attendance for the second year running, er, tumbling, and said they were happy to be part of the picnic. There was also plenty of food. Cupcake Royale had a stand with free ice cream, and food trucks Rancho Bravo, Cheese Wizards, and Spicy Papaya were all serving up dinner.
The annual picnic is put on by the Volunteer Park Trust.
“People like the ice cream, they love the food trucks — I think there’s a lot of anticipation every year,” said trust member Erika Grayson. “We want to bring more people into the park, and the picnic is a fun way to do that.”
Wallingford-born Vietnamese eatery Tigerly Ox has opened up a restaurant on the border between Capitol Hill and the Central District, at 22nd and E Madison. Owners John Tran and his wife Jodie chose a location on the edge of Capitol Hill because they believe there is already an overabundance of restaurants in the center of the neighborhood. The E Madison location may be just the first wave of expansion for the eatery.
Tran said his aim with the E Madison Tigerly Ox is to serve people for whom getting to the Pike/Pine corridor of restaurants might be a hassle. “We feel as though we can better serve those on the outskirts,” said Tran. Tran said he was attracted to a location in between Capitol Hill and the Central District because he felt the area could use more restaurants and he feels there is an “oversaturation of restaurants” in the central Pike/Pine business district of Capitol Hill. Continue reading
Progressive Seattle City Council members unveiled a pair of bills Thursday they say will help protect average residents looking for housing in Seattle’s cutthroat rental market. District 3 representative Kshama Sawant is proposing new legislation to limit move-in costs and “ease moving barriers” for Seattle renters. A measure from District 1 rep Lisa Herbold seeks to prevent landlords from turning down prospective tenants due to their source of income.
To put a finer point on the need for their proposals, the council members were joined by members of Washington Community Action Network, an advocacy organization working on housing justice, who released a ‘Renting Crisis’ report on the challenges faced by renters in Seattle.
Of the 303 renters surveyed, 95% rated housing as unaffordable, more than 70% said poor housing conditions were negatively impacting their health, and the report indicated that minority and LGBTQ tenants were more likely to experience problems with the conditions of their rental units and resulting health problems. Continue reading
On most nice days, you can find Jorge Vilchiz Pilar painting on a bench in Cal Anderson Park. Pilar has made five paintings from that bench over the past several years, and said he paints in Cal Anderson because he is staying in a shelter right now and it is the only place available.
Pilar used to work as a paver in Seattle until he lost his job in 2009. He was always interested in color and art, and started painting because he could not stand doing nothing all day. On sunny days he sits in Cal Anderson painting scenes of futuristic Seattle from noon to about 7 PM. Pilar was working on the painting pictured here — The King of the Clouds — Wednesday in the park. He says it is about 70% finished and has traveled around with him since he started painting it in 2014.
People on the Street is a semi-regular feature on the interesting citizens we find out and about on Capitol Hill. Somebody you think we should learn more about? Let us know.
The ad agency Mekanism has joined the ranks of tech and creative agencies opening offices on Capitol Hill. This time, the music was part of the draw.
“We were just drawn to it,” said Mekanism partner Pete Caban. “The Capitol Hill area has a ton of history, a counter-culture pioneering vibe. A lot of it had to do with raw creative energy of the area.”
Mekanism officially launched its Capitol Hill office above E Pike and Broadway last month. The company is known for ad campaigns like Messin’ with Sasquatch. Caban says that while landing the Alaska Airlines account in January tipped the scales, the idea of opening up a brick-and-mortar office in the Northwest had been floated for some time. Continue reading
Donald Trump’s shadow, as seen during Monday’s convention, looms over even the strongest Democratic strongholds.
As the Republican National Convention rolls on in Cleveland, Democrats are gearing up for battle, even in the liberal stronghold of Seattle. The Washington State Democratic Party opened up six new offices in July, including a campaign office in Madrona at 34th and E Union.
Democrats will be using the offices to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump in November. Spokesperson Marc Siegel said that the Madrona office is now operational and will supplement the organization’s headquarters in downtown Seattle.
Siegel was vague when asked why Democrats chose Madrona specifically, saying “this location allows us to be a part of the community and accessible.” While Seattle will be a lock for Clinton, Madrona does fall within the less socialist sphere of the “Capitol Hill divide.” Siegel said the campaign office will be the home base for dozens of staff and volunteers to phone bank and go door knocking. Continue reading
VOCAL Washington’s Greg Scott at a Cal Anderson “pop-up” safe consumption site last summer demonstrating how a facility in Seattle would work — and providing an opportunity for visitors to leave their thoughts on the project
By the end of July, Capitol Hill police officers will be able to refer drug users to treatment programs — not jail. Along with a visit from a touring example of a safe drug consumption site, the month is bringing a few steps of progress in breaking drug addiction cycles that have challenged the neighborhood for decades.
In recent weeks, East Precinct officers have been trained to participate in the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program. LEAD now joins the already functioning Multi-Disciplinary Team program on Capitol Hill in giving law enforcement new options and resources for dealing with addiction. Officials are looking at ways the two programs can work together.
According to Public Defender Association director Lisa Daugaard, all East Precinct police officers will be trained to participate in LEAD by the end of the month. Until now only West Precinct officers have been able to recommend people for LEAD participation. There was initial talk of only expanding the program to Capitol Hill, but “Capitol Hill community leaders actually pushed for inclusion of the rest of the precinct on racial justice grounds,” because, according to Daugaard, community leaders felt that parts of the East Precinct with a higher percentage of minorities than Capitol Hill should also benefit from the program. Daugaard said she anticipates that once East Precinct officers have been trained, “there will probably be significantly more referrals” for the LEAD program. Continue reading