2013 APRIL indie lit fest begins week of bookish fun times on Capitol Hill

901947_600119676684091_576389693_o (1)To once again prove Seattle’s rampant bookishness, APRIL Festival starts today, much of it on the Hill. Authors, Publishers, and Readers of Independent Literature Fest is upon us for its second year with readings, a small press expo, competitive storytelling among other events literary.

APRIL as an organization encourages independent, risk taking work, and the week of shows under their umbrella speak to their range of interests. The goal is to inspire, and show the various shapes and colors that writing and publishing can take, and to introduce readers to writers and writers to publishers. Continue reading

Moisture Festival’s racier side returns to Capitol Hill

(Images: Moisture Festival)

(Images: Moisture Festival)

Opening this week at Hale’s Palladium in Fremont, the tenth year of Moisture Festival is officially underway. Again this year the all ages Comedy/Varietè shows are largely in Fremont at Hale’s. Capitol Hill’s Broadway Performance Hall will host the Libertease Burlesque shows. These shows are for seducing and entertaining grownups, not for kiddos. In addition to the many adventurous deployments of pasties and boas during the festival’s month long run, Broadway Performance Hall hosts also two of the Comedy/Varietè shows for whole families on March 31st and April 7th. Tickets range from $10-25.

This second year of Moisture Festival on the Hill will be mostly about burlesque shows displaying the talents of celebrated divas, many of whom are confirmed Hill people. We’re talking Inga Ingenue, Miss Indigo Blue, and Caela Bailey to name just a few, as well as the stunning design work of Jamie von Stratton. Other Hill-centric performers include Fuchsia Foxxx, Ivan Handfull, Lily Verlaine, Paris Original, Sydni Deveraux,The Luminous Pariah, The Shanghai Pearl, and Seattle’s resident mustachioed embodiment of grace: Waxie Moon. Continue reading

Just in time for spring gardening, group putting together Capitol Hill Tool Library

Hicks (Image: CHS)Screen shot 2013-03-18 at 11.55.32 AMCar sharing, bike sharing, house sharing — with spring’s approach, it’s time for some gardening tool sharing. Like Sustainable West Seattle and NE Seattle before them, Sustainable Capitol Hill is starting a Capitol Hill Tool Library.

“We as a community have a collection of junk that people can access, then people don’t have to go out and buy their own stuff,” said Gina Hicks, a member of the committee driving the tool library effort in the neighborhood. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s 19th Ave E hosts Balkan Night Northwest 2013

Those minor key horn lines can only mean one thing: March 15th and 16th, Balkan Night Northwest will offer two nights of dancing and music at the Russian Community Center on Capitol Hill.

This is the second Seattle celebration of Balkan Night. Last year’s single night event was successful enough that it has been expanded to cover two nights on Capitol Hill and one downtown event as well. Friday and Saturday will be on the Hill, with a special concert on March 17th at the Triple Door featuring the event’s out of town guests, Merita Halili and The Raif Hyseni Orchestra. Continue reading

At Hugo House, a night of music inspired by comics inspired by online personal ads

The Emerald City ComiCon is almost upon us, and in that spirit, the Bushwick Book Club will take to Hugo House Wednesday night to perform original music inspired by the graphic work of Stranger Genius Award winner Ellen Forney, whose art is literally all over her home turf of Capitol Hill and the city. The book in question is Lust: Kinky Online Personal Ads From Seattle’s The Stranger.

This will be the kind of blind date where one party knows a lot more of the other, and things could get weird. When asked about her input on the show Forney spoke of being very hands off. Normally the authors are long dead or otherwise unavailable (e.g. Vonnegut, Zinn, Silverstein), but for this pre-con show Geoff Larson wanted to focus locally.

“We saw that ComiCon was coming up and we wanted to showcase a local graphic artist, and she came up because she had just won a Genius Award this year,” said Larson.


Forney will be on hand for a talk, as well as publisher Fantagraphics with copies of the book for sale. Tickets are $10 presale and $15 at the door, 8PM.

Larson played music here in Seattle for many years with groups like Das Vibenbass before moving to Brooklyn three years ago. It was there that he met Susan Wang, who introduced to him to the original Bushwick Book Club. With their blessing he established the Seattle Chapter upon his return. With his connections with Seattle musicians and his position working at Town Hall, he was able to start corralling talent in relatively short order. The first show was on 10/10/10, with a steady schedule of shows from then on.

The Bushwick Book Club actively attempts to create synesthesia with their performances. Their songs are whimsical didactic windows into books. That’s the goal. There is a deep-rooted educational element to Bushwick shows, and going forward that is where Larson sees the path.

Normally the shows are for adults, but eventually Larson would like to have touring groups perform at schools for children. This was first attempted with their Shel Silverstein show, which they split into two different shows for kids and grownups respectively.

“That’s the kind of thing I would like to do, but focusing on kids shows,” said Larson.

His vision entails going into schools, putting on shows for kids that would be dovetailed with teachers’ lesson plans. This April they are doing that with Academy Schools in Tukwila. They won a Charlotte Martin grant, and are doing the Wizard of Oz, working with kindergarten through high school students at the private school. “Music programs are dying now,” said Larson, “We do this cool thing and get your kids to think differently about a book that you were already going to read.”

Currently Shuntpike provides the trappings of a nonprofit for the organization, but by the end of the calendar year Larson intends to have everything filed and squared to go it alone as a nonprofit. To do the educational element that Larson is pushing for means winning more grants, as no schools have things like Bushwick in their budget. It remains to be seen if it can be made to work. Donations are always welcome.

For more Bushwick and more Forney (separated this time) Emerald City ComiCon will be your best bet. Forney will be with Fantagraphics on Saturday March 2 from 3-5PM, and Bushwick will be performing music inspired by Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman that night at the Crocodile.

A gay Capitol Hill Block Party? ‘Mo-Wave to celebrate queer music, culture this spring

Gaytheist will be there (Image via ‘Mo-Wave)

‘Mo-Wave, a new music festival highlighting the rebellious, trendsetting, and wild side of queer culture is coming to Capitol Hill April 12-14th. The brainchild of Jodi Ecklund of Chop Suey, Pony’s Marcus Wilson, musician Seth Garrison, and composer Barret Anspach, the festival aims to shake up safe, mainstream ideas of homosexuality.

“We organizers come from a school of homosexuality that’s a bit rowdy and rock-and-roll, and we think our festival will remind you that this school is alive and well,” organizers tell CHS. They hope to curate and encourage queer-centric music and art that challenges and inspires at venues across the Hill.


The performances will take place at Chop Suey, Pony, and Wildrose. One of the goals is to simply highlight these venues.

“Queer friendly (or just outright GAY), these places invest in our culture daily, by giving us all safe spaces in which to meet and share our talents,” writes Ecklund. Many notable Hill acts are already booked, such as the electro-pop duo Glitterbang, sultry dream pop quartet Night Cadet, and art-punk trio Ononos, to name a few. Look for more announcements — it’s early, yet.

This is a DIY festival and the organizers are raising money to pay the headliners by throwing benefit fundraisers. The next show will be February 7th at Wildrose. Featuring live music from FDB & Agatha with DJ Porq, Amateur Youth, & DJ FistFight, organizers are asking for a suggested donation of $5-10. Expect drink specials.

The goal is for 2013 to be the first of many ‘Mo-Waves. The organizers would like to become an institution akin to the now defunct Homo A Gogo. The intention is for there to be many future events under the ‘Mo-Wave brand.

“We want the spirit of the festival–that rowdy, infectious and rebellious queer spirit that we know and love–to inhabit events throughout the year,” Ecklund tells us. 

The April festival should be part of a good year for Hill-based music extravaganzas including the broadening-if-not-expanding 2013 Capitol Hill Block Party.

For those looking to get involved, ‘Mo-Wave is on the hunt for volunteers.

“When the festival comes, we’re gonna need lots of homos and allies to help us keep things running,” the organizers write. They are also still in the market for sponsors and partners, as well as videographers and photographers to document the event. Lots of opportunities for interested parties. Here’s your chance to be part of it.

You can learn more at mowaveseattle.com.

Magic Mouth (Image vis ‘Mo-Wave)

More local radio on Capitol Hill in 2013?


The Radio., originally uploaded by Lori Paulson.

In the year 2013, the 80-old medium of FM radio has new significance for America, and Capitol Hill stands to hear a few new voices on the FM band. With President Obama’s January signing of the Local Community Radio Act into law, suddenly we live in a country where up to nine “Low Power FM” radio stations are allowed within any given zip code. Capitol Hill strides across four zip codes. The long and the short of it is there is lots of room for more small, local radio.


Highlights of the new law are delineated by the Prometheus Radio Project here.  

This Thursday at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, at 104 17th Ave S Seattle, WA 98144, Brown Paper Tickets and city and county arts organizations are holding the first in a series of free workshops will be held to inform educational institutions and nonprofits of the steps, the restrictions of, and opportunities held within the prospect of becoming a radio station. You can register for the free session here.

The new rules allow for more stations within the dial by changing allowing for low power stations to exist three clicks away from existing higher bandwidth stations, with several provisos. It’s important to not interfere with the broadcasting ability of other stations, there are specific limitations on signal strength and the content must be local. (e.g. call-in shows, radio dramas, non-random music content.) Much of this will be covered in the workshops.

Capitol Hill of course already has a head start on low power radio with Spunk FM 101.9… well, previously at 101.9 and pending FCC approval, back on the literal airwaves. “it has always been the mission of Spunk FM to eventually become legally licensed,” wrote DJ Alan in November to CHS. Programming EDM and Dance as well as Rock music, with a healthy dose of information about local nonprofits and service organization for the Gay community and the Hill at large, Spunk stands a good chance of falling within the New FCC regulations.

Having previously operated outside of the rules, Spunk went online-only in October of last year to avoid any issues with their expressed desire to operate within law. No news on the status of that transition, but barring any insurmountable obstacles the community should be able to find Spunk FM back at 101.9, if within the allowed three mile radius. In the meantime the web stream is at www.SpunkFM.com, and available on mobiles at www.SpunkFM.com/mobile.html

Here’s the announcement on the LPFM sessions from Brown Paper Tickets:

Brown Paper Tickets kicks off a series of free information sessions to educate nonprofits about the opportunity to apply for a low power FM (LPFM) radio license on Thursday, Jan. 24, at 1 p.m. at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S. The event is free with registration at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/302076.

The series of information sessions is prompted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announcement that it will open an LPFM license application window to nonprofits, educational institutions, tribal nations, emergency services and more, on Oct.15. The majority of groups eligible to apply are not yet aware that this opportunity exists. This application window will be the first time that groups in urban areas can apply for an LPFM radio license, and there is no guarantee that another application window will open after this.

“Eight different radio frequencies may be available for LPFM radio stations around Seattle,” said Todd Urick, technical director for Common Frequency, 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to innovative new community and college radio. Urick provided hundreds of pages of channel analysis to the FCC for a study regarding LPFM availability on the FM band nationwide.

LPFM stations are non-commercial and operate at 100 watts, reaching a radius of 3.5 miles consistently, and often reaching listeners up to 10 miles away.They can function as broadcast studios and multimedia training facilities; when integrated with new technologies, they can allow local content, such as hyper-local news and music, to be amplified nationally and globally.

“Brown Paper Tickets donates 5% of all profits to building healthy communities, and we believe that LPFM is an important and powerful tool in that mission,” said Sabrina Roach, a Doer specializing in public interest media from Brown Paper Tickets, who is producing the series of LPFM information sessions. The goal of the series is to illuminate a path for local nonprofits to evaluate the LPFM opportunity, and to create awareness for resources available for helping them apply for, build and operate a radio station. “An average of 70% of Seattle events on Brown Paper Tickets benefit a nonprofit organization. Because of that 12-year relationship, our company feels a responsibility to communicating the LPFM opportunity to local nonprofits and to those who support them.”

The first information session will feature a panel of speakers from the Seattle Department of Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Seattle Department of Information Technology, 4Culture, the University of Washington Bothell, and OneAmerica. Each will share their knowledge of resources available to nonprofits to evaluate their ability to build and operate a LPFM station. The University of Washington Bothell and OneAmerica will explain why they are applying for LPFM licenses and what they are doing to prepare.

Beginning in February, those who want to apply for an LPFM radio station can download a video of the information session (courtesy of the Seattle Channel), and materials distributed at the event, at http://community.brownpapertickets.com/Doers/radio.html, where they can also sign up for the next free LPFM information session.

This event is made possible with support from Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, the Seattle Channel, the Seattle Department of Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Seattle Department of Information Technology, 4Culture, and Brown Paper Tickets.

Melrose Promenade, Gay City auditorium among grant-powered projects coming to Capitol Hill

A Bellevue Place Park could be part of the future Melrose Promenade

Let us begin with inspiration. The group seeking to create Capitol Hill’s “front porch” along the underutilized streetscape above I-5 have been piecing together funding sources large and small to create the Melrose Promenade. In that mix has been small but much-needed injections of funding from the city’s Small and Simple grants — a program designed as a grassroots solution to creating community assets. For anybody thinking about putting such an effort in motion, we have information on a workshop to get you started, below, as well as a few more examples of how the program is helping out around Capitol Hill. There’s also a big opportunity coming up for you to get involved with transforming Melrose Ave.


Melrose Promenade
“Want to help create the vision for transforming Melrose Avenue into the Melrose Promenade? NOW is the time to get involved!” — here’s the invite for next Thursday’s (January 24th) meeting at nearby Broadcast Coffee:

Melrose Promenade Community Visioning Meeting
January 24th — 6 to 8 PM 

Want to help create the vision for transforming Melrose Avenue into the Melrose Promenade? NOW is the time to get involved! Our first community visioning meeting will be Thurs., Jan 24, at 6pm at Broadcast Coffee (1623 Bellevue Ave., just south of E. Pine St.)

Any and all community members are encouraged to participate in this meeting! The team of the Berger Partnership, Weinstein | AU, and Schemata Workshop, along with the Melrose Promenade Advisory Committee, will lead a series of activities to help us determine just how we want the Promenade to look.

This will be the first of three community visioning meetings that will eventually lead to a report outlining a detailed proposal for the Melrose Promenade.

So could p-patches along the bike trail just north of Roy Street

Powered by a $20,000 grant from the city to come up with a plan for the street, the Promenade project has grown into an effort to overhaul the streetscape and create gathering spaces, parks and, possibly, even a space for vendors along Melrose as it runs along I-5’s stream of cars and provides a front-row-seat view of the city. It will take more than $1.5 million to make it happen so larger grants will have to come through. You can also find out how to donate time and money to the cause at melrosepromenade.com.

Small and Simple
The City of Seattle’s Neighborhood Matching Fund is split up into Small Sparks, Small and Simple Projects, and Large Projects. The Small Sparks fund up to $1,000, The Small and Simple grants can be up to $20,000, and the Large Project Funds up to $100,000. The next deadline for the Small and Simple Fund in March 4th. Getting the funds is a competitive process with many steps and no shortage of paperwork. The city is aware of this, and with that in mind there are workshops on offer.

The first of these workshops is coming up on Thursday January 17th. The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and the Department of Information Technology are teamed to provide information regarding criteria and timetables for applying for either the Small and Simple Projects Fund or the Technology Matching Fund. This is from 6PM-7:30 at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. Another workshop focusing only on the Small and Simple Projects Fund will be January 29th at the Greenwood Library.

Three Capitol Hill groups have recently been awarded Small and Simple grants.

Gay City’s Calamus Auditorium
For the fall allocation of 2012 Gay City was awarded $19,000 for the construction of the Calamus Auditorium, a 99-seat community auditorium and performance space focusing on the LGBT community. The tech booth is scheduled to be completed in April, followed by the lighting and sound system. Gay City’s seasons will revolve around Pride with programming input from the Queer Arts Advisory Roundtable. Rentals at the E Pike facility will also be available, as well as a certain amount of community accessibility as mandated by the Small and Simple grant.

Jubilee Women’s Center
The Jubilee Women’s Center received $10,000 from the 2012 fall allocation to develop and implement a plan for emergency and disaster preparedness for staff, residents, volunteers, and neighbors. Additionally the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce was granted $15,265 to upgrade the Blitz website and for the development of a mobile app.

Broadway Hill Park

(Images: CHS)

Meanwhile The Friends of Broadway Hill Park are using two previously allocated Small and Simple Grants to push the future park at Federal and Republican towards completion. That’s a $17,500 Small and Simple grant funding a schematic design, and a $20,000 Small and Simple grant funding design development. “Right now we’re pursuing an Opportunity Fund grant that would finance the construction of the park,” wrote Norah Kates, a spokesperson for the community group in an email to CHS. (The Opportunity Fund is separate from the Neighborhood Matching fund, with its own guidelines and requirements.)

Friends of Broadway Hill Park will be making a presentation to the Parks Levy Oversight Committee on January 23rd to try to convince them that their proposal is worth funding through the Opportunity Fund. On Monday, January 14th, the group will have a planning meeting and party at Umpqua Bank to prep for the presentation to the Levy Oversight Committee. People are encouraged to attend. “All that’s left is actually breaking ground and making all of the plans into reality,” wrote Kates.

Here’s the preferred schematic to whet your appetite. 

With kids hospital as new partner, Capitol Hill children’s film festival returns for 2013

Kid critics of the Children’s Fest jury (Image: NWFF)

Mark your calendars for January 24th through February 3rd. There are films to be seen, pancakes to eat, and a pajama party.

The Northwest Film Forum’s 2013 Children’s Film Festival continues its tradition of programming excellence in children’s short and feature-length animated and live action cinema. This year there are expanded workshops and opportunities for children and families to interact with the festival’s filmmakers.


The pajama party on January 25th, with Caspar Babypants and the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast the following Saturday morning often sell out. There is no reason to expect anything different this year.

This year the festival boasts films from parts of the world that Director of Children’s Programming Elizabeth Shepard previously considered her Holy Grail: Latin America. Additionally, there will be films from locales new to the festival like Mozambique and Uganda. International isn’t in the title of the festival, but it is certainly at its core.  

Each day there are enticing titles for short film collections like “Animate Your World”, or “Caleidoscopio! Films from Latin America”, or “Made in Seattle” (Naturally) These play throughout the festival along with feature length films that are shown once or twice. One notable feature length is the 1924 film Captain January. (January 27th, and February 3rd) This silent film will be accompanied by Leslie McMichael on multiple harps, which Shepard assures us is a spectacle and wonder on its own. Tickets here

A big change for 2013 is the partnership with Seattle Children’s Hospital. There are three aspects to the partnership. 1) There will be five films made by cancer patients at Children’s interspersed throughout the festival inspired by the viral YouTube hit Stronger, which has seen over three million hits. 2) The festival has expanded its children’s jury to include patients as well as the usual 15 kids. 3) Workshop at hospital with two animators: Seattle’s Brita Johnson and British animator Charlotte Blacker. This film will be shown at the end of the festival.

“It’s going to be patient-led, said Elizabeth Shepard. “They’re going to decide what to do, and we’ll show that film at our closing ceremony. 

Shepard is very excited about Zarafa, which opens the festival on January 24th. “It’s a really glorious animated film. The art is beautiful, the story is thrilling — kind of a Lawrence of Arabia feeling to it, there’s so much adventure.” The French film won two prizes at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. It’s Jean-Christophe Lie, the same animator behind the Triplets of Belleville, which if you haven’t seen, see it. 

You can learn more at childrensfilmfestivalseattle.nwfilmforum.org.