About Mark Van Streefkerk

Mark Van Streefkerk is a freelance writer and local journalist. His work has appeared in Mashable, BuzzFeed, the South Seattle Emerald, and more. Find out more about his work at markvanstreefkerk.com.

New Capitol Hill art gallery From Typhoon explores diaspora and belonging, scattering and transformation

Now at From Typhoon art gallery: “POP’d” by Maryrose Cobarrubias Mendoza, a show that examines the artist’s Filipino American identity, the American education system, and globalism. (Image: From Typhoon)

A typhoon is something you don’t want to be near. The chaos and destruction of a tropical hurricane can uproot and scatter homes, buildings, plant, animal and human life, and sometimes bring catastrophic death.

However, the creators of a new gallery in Chophouse Row are taking the idea of the typhoon and flipping it, imagining it instead as a meditation on diaspora, uprootedness, and belonging.

From Typhoon is an art gallery that explores many different experiences of scattering, remixing, and transformation.

Making their debut in mid-April, co-owners, directors, and curators J.A. Dela Cruz-Smith and Robinick Fernandez opened their gallery between Wide Eyed Wines and Marmite in Chophouse Row, in Suite B to be exact, at 1424 11th Avenue. From Typhoon was initially conceived as a digital gallery during the pandemic, but with the encouragement and approval of Capitol Hill developer Liz Dunn, From Typhoon secured a 625-square-foot physical space.

“It really came out of us wanting to connect with each other, Robinick and I, on a deeper level, as lovers and as partners,” Dela Cruz-Smith said. Continue reading

Seattle Gay News archives its past and looks to the future

George Bakan’s sudden death last June left a plethora of SGN back issues, over 47 years of Seattle’s LGBTQ history preserved in the weekly paper (Image courtesy Angela Cragin)

Weekly newspaper Seattle Gay News has been reporting on issues within the LGBTQ community in and around Seattle for nearly five decades. Publisher George Bakan was at the helm for more than 30 years, and when he died on June 7, 2020 — in the middle of working on the next week’s paper — the people who love SGN knew just what to do: Preserve the past and move into the future.

SGN is the nation’s third-oldest LGBTQ newspaper, and after Bakan’s death, SGN organized a campaign to help keep the paper afloat during the pandemic. The Seattle Public Library and other organizations took note, and organized an ambitious archiving project that would take about a year to finish. Now nearing completion, 47 years of SGN archives will be available at the Seattle Public Library, University of Washington, and several other libraries across the United States.

The SGN archives document “the history that mainstream media did not cover,” says Bakan’s daughter Angela Cragin. “The paper captured all of that, [including] all the names of victims of the AIDS epidemic and what was happening in the community, a community that was shunned for so long. It truly is important history.”

Cragin lives in the Tri-Cities, and is self-admittedly out of the loop when it comes to Seattle’s LGBTQ communities as well as journalism. Bakan must have had a reason for designating her as the heir of his publisher role with SGN, even if she didn’t understand why at first. “He said to me a number of times, ‘Hey, when I die the paper is yours.’ I don’t know anything about papers, I didn’t, and now I do,” she said. Continue reading

Black ownership amid a wave of redevelopment, Jackson’s Catfish Corner and Simply Soulful are coming to 23rd and Jackson

Terrell Jackson and Catfish Corner are back in the CD

(Image: Patricia K Apartments)

Catfish and soul food lovers in the Central District have good reason to celebrate. The legendary Catfish Corner is coming back to the neighborhood, and Simply Soulful is moving from their Madison Valley location to the Jackson Apartments. The return of Black-owned businesses to the 23rd and Jackson corridor is a welcome sight to a district that lost many minority-owned businesses due to development, rising rent costs, and gentrification.

Housed in the Community House Mental Health Agency’s Patricia K Apartments development at 2212 S. Jackson St., Catfish Corner—now dubbed Jackson’s Catfish Corner—will keep the same menu that made the family business a favorite, including items like catfish, hush puppies, and their famous tartar sauce.

Owner Terrell Jackson — grandson of original Catfish Corner founders Woodrow and Rosemary Jackson — can’t wait for the customers to see the new digs. “It’s a dream come true for me,” he said. “[the new location] will go with the family name. The Jacksons on Jackson.” Continue reading

After a year of sweatpants and facemasks, Standard Goods making new Capitol Hill home only a block and a half away

Standard Goods is moving to 501 East Pike, the former location of Bassline Fitness in the Dunn Motor Building. Sign designed by Scott Moffatt. (Image: Standard Goods)

Don’t be surprised if you see the Standard Goods team shuffling inventory from their 701 E Pike location to their new digs in the Dunn Motors Building, especially this week — it’s crunch time. Standard Goods’ lease is up at the end of April, and the retailer is busy moving into a new home at 501 E Pike, the former home of Baseline Fitness. The plan is to close the last two days of the month and officially open the new location on May 1st. Luckily, they’re only moving a block and a half down the street.

“[The old shop is] such a small space and we have been filling it with so much product that it’s a really tight space to walk in,” said Maxx Kautz, Standard Goods’ Capitol Hill Manager. “When we found this space that was kind of twice the size, and we knew our lease was coming up, it was like, ‘We might as well.’”

Standard Goods features apparel, candles, pins, stickers, patches, rain gear, health and beauty products, and much more, many from local Pacific Northwest makers. Owner Jeffrey Gardner launched the shop in 2015 at the location that previously housed occult bookstore Edge of the Circle for over 20 years. When Gardner heard about the availability of the Baseline Fitness space through Jill Cronauer, a frequent customer—as well as Chief Operating Officer and designated broker for Hunters Capital—the idea of moving into a location about twice the size was too good to pass up. Continue reading

Part of a neighborhood DDS family expanding on its home turf, Seattle’s Capitol Hill Dentist joining H-Mart and the farmers market above Capitol Hill Station

From the signage permit for the Capitol Hill Station development

Broadway’s H-Mart and a host of new businesses really are opening this year above Capitol Hill Station after around a year of pandemic delay. Among the new shopping, food and drink, and service options coming to Broadway will be a new dental office joining the “Transit Oriented Development.” It just so happens to be the practice of a third-generation Capitol Hill family that’s kind of a big deal, at least in Seattle’s medical and dentistry scene. And it’s part of an intriguing strategy — the office will be joined by a twin location opening only blocks away.

Dr. Paul R. Sauvage, DDS, co-owns two downtown dental offices with his son and daughter, Dr. Paul Sauvage Jr. and Dr. Laura Sauvage: The search engine-friendly Downtown Seattle Dentists in the Medical Dental Building on Olive Way, and Dentist Downtown Seattle on Westlake.

Buildout has begun on the family’s newest location— Seattle’s Capitol Hill Dentist —on the corner of Broadway and Denny at 1830 Broadway. The coming office will be housed in the corner unit of Capitol Hill’s TOD Suite C to be exact, a spot they hoped to be up and running in March of this year, but the pandemic pushed the buildout back about “six or eight months,” according to Sauvage Jr. Continue reading

Catch award-winning Ben’s Bread pop-ups at 12th Ave’s Southpaw

(Image: Ben’s Bread)

These days, pop-ups, takeout dinner kits, and ordering online are just some options restaurants, and consumers alike have had to navigate in the new pandemic-normal. For Ben’s Bread however, husband-and-wife duo Ben and Megan Campbell have been operating bread pop-ups for almost six years. Last year when brick-and-mortar establishments shuttered temporarily, to later transition to takeout, Ben’s Bread maintained their monthly pop-ups at Southpaw on 12th Ave. throughout the pandemic without missing a beat.

“When we first started . . . I remember having to explain to people, ‘Okay, you just order and you pay for it online, and you show up at this place and time where it’s ready for you. You don’t have to pay once you show up.’” Campbell said. “That was so much of our effort was convincing people that we were real people who weren’t trying to take their money, and they’d show up and there would be bread. Now . . . . People are used to looking online for where to get their food, planning it in advance, going out of their way and making a little extra effort to find something they think is going to be special. We were already set up to do that.” Continue reading

Cherry Street Mosque and Wa Na Wari raising funds to preserve neighborhood centers in the Central District

The Cherry Street Mosque has a history of housing Jewish and Muslim communities over the years. With a new fundraising effort, the emerging Cherry Street Village hopes to repair the roof and water damage to the upper floor of the building. (Image courtesy: Samia El-Moslimany)

In its current state, the Cherry Street Mosque at 720 25th Ave between Cherry and Columbia streets is in need of significant repairs, mainly to fix the roof and water damage to some of the upper level classrooms. With a fundraiser, collective members of Cherry Street Village are raising funds to raise the roof, ushering in a new era for the building as a center for the faith-based and secular arts groups that form the collective. The future home of CSV will include Al-taqwa Mosque, Cherry Street Mosque, Dunya Productions, Kadima Jewish Reconstructionist Community, the Salaam Cultural Museum and the Middle East Peace Camp. So far CSV has raised over 42k of their 150k goal needed to repair and restore the building.

The two-story stone and brick building with a terracotta tiled roof was built in 1930, originally as the Seattle Talmud Torah School by Benjamin Marcus Priteca, a noted architect who designed some of Seattle’s earliest sites of grandeur, including the Coliseum Theater (now downtown’s Banana Republic), the Paramount Theater, Temple De Hirsch Sinai on E Pike, and many other movie theaters on the west coast.

Working on a pay-as-you-go basis with Olive Construction, CSV was able to start roof repairs in mid-February, installing a composite roof, but is awaiting additional funding to restore the terracotta tiles and repair water-damaged classrooms. Continue reading

URL Coffee introduces a design-savvy café on First Hill

Over a year in the making, URL Coffee features a specialty coffee menu, plans for a future in-house food program, and an eye for design. URL’s shelves and table are by Italian designer Enzo Mari (Image: URL Coffee)

The playful, design-forward URL Coffee at 524 Broadway just opened in mid-March, and despite being sandwiched between a couple other cafe options at Sharetea and QED Coffee, URL is already carving out a unique space on First Hill.

URL aims to provide a “healthy pleasure,” that begins with coffee, and expands beyond just caffeination alone.

Now open for business, the café boasts a stylish interior of eclectic tastes.

“We wanted to create a unique mood at URL by gathering the beauty that we have imagined, all in one place,” a representative for the cafe said. “We mixed mid century modern designer furniture with contemporary furniture . . . URL presents new beauty by bringing together old, established things, Eastern and Western things, and things from different times and spaces.” Continue reading

Vain rehomes its freak-flagship salon on Capitol Hill

Some recent Vain color (Image: Vain)

A Seattle institution for adventurous and colorful hairstyles, and some truly legendary parties, boutique salon Vain has moved its downtown flagship location to new Capitol Hill digs on 1121 Pike Street. Cozied down between Black Sparrow Tattoo and Club Z, Vain opened for business earlier this month. The move signals the company’s rebirth of sorts from the pandemic, and a new chapter in Seattle’s coiffed counterculture.

Growing in the Belltown building left behind by the move of legendary Seattle club The Vogue to Capitol Hill, Vain was born into the city’s changing punk ethos. Vain owner Victoria Gentry remembered that neighboring businesses didn’t exactly appreciate The Vogue’s noisy shows, but with a salon, “You still get all the freaks without the noise.”

The move to Capitol Hill has been in the works for a while, Gentry said. The former location — in downtown, or Belltown, depending on who you ask — is part of 1st Ave Seattle history, an area now unrecognizable from when Vain first set up shop in the late 1990s, Gentry said.

They already had many clients from Capitol Hill, and the fact that downtown business had significantly slowed during the pandemic all factored into the decision to move. The new location is just on the other side of Boren, still within a mile of the old space for dedicated downtown and Belltown clients.

“I had already been planning on [moving] for quite a while. I had been waiting for the lease to run out to make a move. It got delayed a little bit because of COVID,” Gentry said. “Our connection to the Capitol Hill community has always been really strong. In a way it does feel like [coming home]. I’m excited to reconnect with arts groups and artists.” Continue reading

Cafe Avole brings Ethiopian coffee tradition to the Liberty Bank Building

(Image: Cafe Avole)

Cafe Avole is hard at work building out their second location in the Liberty Bank Building, joining other Black-owned businesses like Earl’s Cuts and Communion in development around 23rd and Union.

Ethiopian-owned, Cafe Avole sources, roasts, and sells high-grade coffees from Yirga Ch’Efe and Guji. Cafe Avole launched their flagship store in 2016 at the corner of Rainier Ave S and S Holly in Seattle’s Brighton neighborhood. The cafe offers Ethiopian food, community pop-ups, and, in pre-pandemic times, jebena, a central part of the coffee ceremony for Ethiopian and Eritrean households. The second location in the Liberty Bank Building is slated to open in May or June, depending on the progress of the buildout.

“We started our initial conversation [with the Liberty Bank Building] in 2018, right before the building was complete,” said Solomon Dubie, co-owner of Cafe Avole along with Gavin Amos and Getachew Enbiale. “We were supposed to try to get in there shortly thereafter, but things got held up, and then COVID hit. It was postponed for a little while.” Continue reading