The Capitol Hill/Elvis Connection


Though it’s doubtful that Elvis ever passed through Capitol Hill on his visits to the Seattle area, his memory still lives on in the minds of many local residents.

This year the image of The King looms large as Elvis Birthday Week culminates in the 16th Annual Seattle Invitationals, the search for Seattle’s Best Amateur Elvis that takes place this Saturday.

Ronnie Earl Porter and “Priscilla”

Ronnie Earl Porter, a long-time Capitol Hill resident and winner of the 2011 Seattle Invitationals, is back again to sing, swing and sway and try once again to take home the Winning Belt of Elvis Honor.

Another Capitol Hill resident, Margaret Darcher, has thrown her hat into the ring in her first attempt to win the moniker of Seattle’s best amateur Elvis.  She’ll be singing “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” and hopes to go home with the crown.

If you want to see these two competitors, you can visit the website Seattle Invitationals for more information and tickets.

Maple Creme Doughnuts with caramelized bacon

And now for the best part of the Capitol Hill/Elvis Connection,  for ONE DAY ONLY, on Friday, January 11th, in honor of the Seattle Invitationals, TOP POT DOUGHNUTS located at 609 Summit E. have created and will be serving the King’s Rings, a maple-crème covered doughnut smothered in caramelized bacon!

Tickets still available, just visit Seattle Invitationals.  It’s $15 today or $20 tomorrow at the door.  See you then!

Shredding and recycling for Veteran’s Day on Capitol Hill


On Sunday, November 11th, the Capitol Hill Windermere office at 1112 19th Avenue East will be hosting a recycling and shredding event from 1-3pm.  It’s free, but in honor of Veteran’s Day, they’ll be collecting donations for Fisher House, a inn that families can stay at for free while their loved ones are receiving care at Madigan Army Medical Center. 

Bring your old tax records and incriminating love letters to the office for shredding and drop off your old useless analog TV’s (those ones that “progress” made useless), computer monitors and electronics for recycling. 

"I Stand with the Sisters" march Sunday

Expect some traffic disruption, but probably not a lot of vandalism or other mayhem in Sunday’s Flower March in support of U.S. Catholic Sisters.

The march starts at 12:30pm from Louisa Boren Park on 15th Ave. E. (across from Lakeview Cemetery) and ending at St. James Cathedral, and they’re asking for folk to bring flowers or perhaps a small sign in support of the Sisters. They’re also looking for drummers to help keep a beat as they walk, so bring a snare, bass drum or empty plastic bucket

The background on this march is that the largest leadership organization for American religious sisters, called the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) were being disciplined by the Holy See, in conjunction with the US Catholic bishops.  LCWR was ordered to “reform its statutes, programs, and affiliations to more closely reflect “the teachings and discipline of the Church” and to accept the oversight of Archbishop Peter Sartain for the next five years to make sure that the LCWR organizations policies and programs adhere to the Vatican requirements. 
In other words, quite using your own judgement, quit ministering to folks unconditionaly, be more strident in urging the use of birth control and in condemning homosexuality, and quit urging for changes in the Catholic Church such as the ordination of women.
The average age of nuns in the US is 74 years old.  It’s safe to say that most of those women have spent near 50 years ministering to the poor, the sick, children, the elderly.  They are teachers, nurses, librarians, cooks, cleaners and they serve God. To have their hands slapped, to be disciplined and put under the watch and oversight of the Archbishop is insulting and uncalled for.
The protest started in Seattle, but is spreading throughout the US as good folks everywhere realize that this is unfair to women who’ve given their lives completely to the Catholic Church.  You can read more about this protest on the website I Stand With The Sisters

Cake Spy to host a bake sale to benefit Cafe Racer victims fund

Bring your baked goods to Cake Spy between noon and 1pm Saturday, July 14th


Cake Spy, the awesome and lovable shop and gallery space at 415 E. Pine Street, is hosting a bake sale Saturday, with proceeds to go to the victims of the Cafe Racer tragedy.

If you have items of baked deliciousness to drop off, you can do so between noon and 1pm on Saturday. Haul out that cherry pie recipe from last week’s High 5 Pies competition or your Oddfellows Whoopie Pie bake-off! The Cake Spy bake sale shall commence at 1:30pm 7/14 until all items are sold. Please include a label with your name & the name of your delightful creation.

The event is the mastermind of Capitol Hill resident Josh Black. Josh has been the instigator of a number of fundraisers for Cafe Racer, and is also having another fundraising event Thursday evening at Rebar, called 3-2-1 Battle. If you like wrestling, mayhem and chaos, stop by the Rebar 7/12 at 9pm.

Josh, who lives near Broadway between E. John and Bellevue Ave. E., is an event promoter, wrestler, clown, performance artist and rapper. He became a fan of Circus Contraption in the early 90’s and toyed with the idea of clowning. He met two of the Circus Contraption performers, Drew Keriakedes and Joe Albanese, and was immediately a fan of their music and stage performance. Like everyone in the community, he was devastated by their deaths and has rose to occasion by having a number of fundraisers at the Rebar, the Neptune and now at Cake Spy.

The Cafe Racer tragedy affected many in the community, myself no exception. My husband and I live on Capitol Hill and we own the Official Bad Art Museum of Art (OBAMA) at Cafe Racer. We were stunned by what transpired, here and on First Hill, the revelations that the gunman, who was known by his friends and family to be mentally ill, was still able to buy guns legally. By attending the Town Hall meeting with Mayor McGinn last month, we learned that Washington State law does not restrict gun ownership for the mentally ill if they have not been in a mental hospital for at least 14 days. Washington has weak gun laws that help feed the illegal gun market, allow the sale of guns without background checks and allows the sale of military-style assault weapons.

I consider what has happened lately in our beautiful neighborhoods, a call to arms for the unarmed. If you’d like to learn more about preventing and stopping further gun violence, a good organization that is already working locally is Washington CeaseFire. I urge you to visit the website to see what we can all do to try to curb and stop this stupid and senseless gun-fueled violence.

In happier times, the Official Bad Art Museum of Art and Cafe Racer was named one of Seattle’s most odd and unusual places by Atlas Obscura. OBAMA and Cafe Racer celebrated the day by having a Atlas Obscura Celebration at the Cafe on National Atlas Obscura Day on April 28th, 2012. It was a 6-hour celebration, with all of the victims and their friends. Here’s a video of the day, condensed to a short 3-minutes:

To donate to the victims of Cafe Racer, to help the survivors and to help rebuild the beautiful home that was Cafe Racer, please visit Cafe Racer Love or donate at Chip In to Cafe Racer. 

BDX Drum Competition makes a big bang on Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill will be reverberating with the sound of 100’s of drums at the upcoming BDX Drum Competition taking place Saturday 5/19 at Garfield starting at 5pm.
The local elementary schools of Stevens and Lowell both feed into Washington Middle School which in turn sends kids to Garfield.  Both upper schools are fortunate to have music as a focal point to their curriculum.
Washington Middle School, the official public middle school of Capitol Hill, has a great music department that has won numerous awards under director Robert Knatt and Ms. Kelly Barr-Clingan.
The Garfield High School Orchestra, under the direction of Marcus Tsutakawa, is one of the preeminent training grounds for young musicians in the Northwest.

But not everyone knows that both these schools also have excellent drumlines, and they’ll both be performing this Saturday May 19th in a BDX Drum Line competition, featuring drumlines from a number of schools from all around the state.  The event also features a crowd favorite The Seattle Seahawks Blue Thunder.  Also performing will be a local group, the PNW drumline and a group from the Seattle Drum School.
The Garfield drumline performed last month for the ceremony marking the 50th Anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair and shared a stage with local dignitaries including Mayor Mike McGinn.  The Garfield drumline also played for Mayor McGinn’s inauguration ceremony.
Here’s a video of the Garfield drumline performing in their dress uniforms.  They’ll be more casually dressed at the BDX!


Capitol Hill residents vie for title of Seattle’s Best Elvis Tribute Artist

People who could live anywhere in Seattle they want, choose Capitol Hill for its eclectic mix of interesting people, from computer programmers to artists to…. Elvis impersonators?

Yes, indeed!  Capitol Hill boasts at least two Elvi, also known as ETA’s (Elvis Tribute Artists), and they’ll be shaking and swiveling and competing in this weeks Seattle Elvis Invitationals, a contest to find Seattle’s best Elvis impersonator.

Vern Fonk, Priscilla (Marlow Harris), Elvis impersonator Jeffrey Cook and International Rock-a-Billy Socialite Sweet Pea enjoy a King’s Ring – maple cream doughnut with bacon, from Top Pot

Competing for the very first time is Capitol Hill resident and Scenery and Set Designer Jeffrey Cook.  Jeffrey does set design for Seattle Children’s theater and the Seattle opera, and he’s also designed the holiday décor at “Winterfest”, an annual month-long festival at the Seattle Center.  He also plays ukulele in the fabulous “Ukadelics“, a 9-piece ukulele band, and he’ll be playing ukulele and singing the Elvis favorite, “Viva Las Vegas”, at the Seattle Invitationals.

Capitol Hill resident Ronnie Porter named best Amateur Elvis at the Seattle Invitationals 2011

Also returning to the Seattle Invitationals is last year’s winner and reigning KING of Seattle Elvi is none other that Capitol Hill resident Ronnie Porter.  Ronnie’s competed a number of years and always put’s on a great show.  He won last year and is returning in 2012 to defend his crown against 20+ other Elvi and ETA’s.
Here’s a great video of Ronnie’s winning performance from last year.

2012 Seattle Elvis Invitationals at EMP on 1/14

The Seattle Invitationals are Saturday, January 14th at EMP this year.  Doors at 7:30pm and the show starts at 8pm.  Jim Dever is Master of Ceremonies and judges include Nancy Guppy of Almost Live and Artzone, Mark Christopher of KVI radio, Vern Fonk and rock-a-billy socialite Sweet Pea.  Also in attendance will be Priscilla, the Colonel and the (fake) Jordonaires.  Live music by the Kentucky Rain and punk-rock Elvis music by the Graceland Five.

Artist Trust Executive Director announces a move to the Seattle Foundation


Artist Trust, the Washington State artist support organization based on Capitol Hill, has just announced the resignation of their Executive Director, Fidelma McGinn. Fidelma will be assuming the post of Vice-President of Philanthropic Services at Seattle Foundation and the search for a new Executive Director will begin soon.

Artist Trust is located at 1835 12th, just a block up from Cal Anderson Park, in a condo that they were wise enough to purchase several years ago. Their mission is to support and encourage individual artists in order to enrich community life throughout Washington State. To accomplish its mission, Artist Trust raises funds from an array of sources in order to give financial grants to individual artists working in the visual, performing, media, literary, and interdisciplinary arts and serve as a professional information resource for artists and encourage artists to support each other. 

Fidelma will miss everyone in the organziation, but is looking forward to her new position with Seattle Foundation. “The six years I have spent at the helm of Artist Trust provided me with some of the most fulfilling experiences of my career,” she said. “The mission of the organization is near and dear to me, and I will remain engaged as a supporter and member. I have the utmost confidence in the capabilities of the board and staff to continue Artist Trust’s legacy as a creative catalyst for artists throughout Washington State.”

I’ve served on the Board of Directors at Artist Trust and was fortunate enough to work with Fidelma the past four years.  She brought a distinct energy and vision to the organization and she accomplished much in her six years as Executive Director, by sheer force of personality.  

During McGinn’s tenure at Artist Trust, with support from community members and foundations such as the Washington Women’s Foundation, the amount of grant monies awarded to artists through the Grants for Artist Projects (GAP) and Fellowship programs increased, and two new awards were added. In 2009, through a bequest from artist Su Job and in partnership with 4Culture, the Conductive Garboil Grant was created. In 2010, Artist Trust introduced the Arts Innovator Award, supported by the Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation.

McGinn also led an expansion of professional development services for artists of all disciplines, offered through the Artist Trust Creative Career Center with funding provided by Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. In 2009, Artist Trust was honored with the Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award.

McGinn championed the case for artists to be recognized for their vital role in the community through collaborative initiatives such as the Washington Artist Health Insurance Program (WAHIP). She introduced programs for underserved artists, including the Native Creative Development Program in collaboration with the Longhouse Cultural Center and forged new partnerships to develop artist residency programs in Port Townsend, on Camano Island, in the Methow Valley, and in Ireland.

In addition to her role at Artist Trust, McGinn has been a strong advocate for artists as a board member of the Washington State Arts Alliance and as a commissioner on the Seattle Arts Commission.

Go maire sibh bhur saol nua, my friend!