Category Archives: Arts & Culture

Louis Chinn’s Communal Perspective: Multimedia Artist Brings Creations to West Coast

by Samira George

(This article was originally published by Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)

Since the beginning of Louis Chinn’s art career, he has felt called to make art accessible and free for people from all social standings. It’s one of the philosophies that helps guide him to any new project.

So when an opportunity to install a stainless steel sculpture in front of the entrance of a Plymouth Housing building for folks experiencing long-term homelessness in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District arose, it was an easy decision for Chinn.

“I don’t think art should be something that is only for an elite social group,” Chinn said. “I was very much inspired by the fact that this was going to be a piece that was in a building for homeless people.”

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POETRY: A Promise of Love

by Alex Leviton

wrapped softly in an off-white threadbare blanket
with stained yellow satin trim
is a legal document
spun of the finest papyrus
rolled into a delicate shell
burnt edges gilded with flesh
‘you will love hotter than the sun’
it promises
… and it
you will crest a thousand waves
and descend ten thousand feet
look for the starfish hidden in the crevices
they will be your guide
when the waters run dark

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Reel Youth Film Camp Introduces BIPOC Kids to the World of Filmmaking

by Chamidae Ford

Last week, the Rainier Arts Center premiered its first BIPOC Youth Film Camp. Reel Youth Film Camp is a week-long program that allows Black and Brown kids, ages 7–11, to learn the ins and outs of filmmaking and explore their creative side. 

The idea for a BIPOC film camp stemmed from program instructors, Tiffany Bennett and Obadiah Freeman, who were feeling disappointed by the lack of diversity at other youth film camps. 

“Originally we started doing camps with the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) and doing those camps was amazing,” Freeman said. “We both love teaching students of all ages of all types, but we recognize that SIFF was really only providing service to a certain demographic because of the network that they help. So we found that there are opportunities to make that opportunity for others as well … I’ve always been inspired by filmmaking and being Black. And that’s kind of what brings all of what I do together and, I think, what we do.” 

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FICTION: Fishbowls

by Megan Christy

Mrs. C sprinkled the fish flakes into the bowl. They floated down, down to the rocky bottom. Minos drifted toward the flakes, his elegant fins fluttering in the water. The schoolteacher looked up from the bowl and scanned her home. What would she need for the new school year? What was she allowed to bring? Nothing that can’t be disinfected. That’s what the principal had said. No more carpet in the classroom, no more story time books ’n’ beanbags, no more Holly the Horse for the kids to hug when they were scared. All those things were gone now, replaced with cold tile floors and plexiglass barricades. All to keep the virus at bay.

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All-BIPOC Music Festival, BAZZOOKAFEST, Cranks Up the Volume in Jefferson Park

by Mark Van Streefkerk

This Saturday, Aug. 28, BAZZOOKAFEST will transform Beacon Hill’s Jefferson Park into a free music and film festival featuring a packed all-BIPOC lineup. Musicians include indie folk headliner Kimya Dawson, pop punk artist Haley Graves, alternative rockers King Youngblood, pop singer-songwriter CarLarans, five-piece femme band Razor Clam, dance pop trio Mirrorgloss, and soulful rock band Stereo Sauna. POC members of drag collective BeautyBoiz will perform, and once the music’s over, a screening of short films submitted by BIPOC filmmakers will take place. As if you needed another reason to attend, the event will also feature a pop-up market featuring all Black and POC vendors. 

BAZZOOKAFEST is all-ages and open to all. The festival starts at 3 p.m. and goes till about 10 p.m. Masks are required. 

The first-ever BAZZOOKAFEST takes place this Saturday, Aug. 28, at Beacon Hill’s Jefferson Park. (BAZZOOKA promo designed by Vivian Hua)
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Dokhontou: A Seattle Dancer’s Journey

by Rayna Mathis

Amid the unpredictable and ongoing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the performing arts scene is still struggling to survive the impacts of this virus. For many artists, being able to perform to live audiences was critical to their craft. Not just for the financial aspect, but for being able to connect to their community as well. There has been loss and grief, isolation and fear. I’d even venture to say many of us, if not everyone, has at one point reflected on themselves and the world around them during this pandemic. If you were paying attention, how could you not?

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PONGO POETRY: Pain Is Full Circle

Pongo Poetry Project’s mission is to engage youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. For over 20 years, Pongo has mentored poetry with youth at the Children & Family Justice Center (CFJC), King County’s juvenile detention facility. Many CFJC residents are Youth of Color who have endured traumatic experiences in the form of abuse, neglect, and exposure to violence. These incidents have been caused and exacerbated by community disinvestment, systemic racism, and other forms of institutional oppression. In collaboration with CFJC staff, Pongo poetry writing offers CFJC youth a vehicle for self-discovery and creative expression that inspires recovery and healing. Through this special bi-monthly column in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald, Pongo invites readers to bear witness to the pain, resilience, and creative capacity of youth whose voices and perspectives are too often relegated to the periphery. To learn more about Pongo’s work and hear directly from its youth writers, register for “Speaking Volumes,” Pongo’s second annual fall celebration.


by a young person, age 17

I want you to know what it’s like
when a person is in jail
A lot of people not around anymore
Nowhere to be found
Not answering their phones
Seeing people’s true colors
Bad, negative

I want you to understand my pain
when I see the hurt I’ve caused
I feel worse about that than what I actually did
It’s deep inside
It feels bad
Consequences come all the way back around
from what I did
then getting locked up
which hurt my mom
Pain is full circle

I want you to know how I express myself
My actions are like my worst enemy
He’s thoughtless
He doesn’t reflect my true values
He comes around when I’m bored
He’s the opposite of what I like to think of myself as
And who I want to be
If I could tell him something
I’d say Stay away
and don’t come back

I want you to know what I am capable of
My strength is like my best friend
He’s caring and kind
He puts others before himself
I want you to know my heart

Dedicated to my mom

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Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program Teaches Tradition, Celebrates Culture

by Chamidae Ford

The Center for Washington Cultural Traditions (CWCT), a Humanities Washington program, has partnered with the Washington State Arts Commission for their annual Heritage Arts Apprenticeship Program (HAAP). The year-long program allows an apprentice to spend 100 hours with a master artist over the next year, learning a traditional craft of their culture. 

“The central goal is to preserve and celebrate traditional practices that are either rare, endangered, or unique in Washington State,” Langston Collin Wilkins, director of the CWCT, said. “We really want to provide funding for artists to take time out of their lives and out of their busy schedules to secure the vitality of their cultural traditions.”

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‘What the Funk?!’ Festival Brings Three Star-Studded Days of Burlesque to Seattle

by Mark Van Streefkerk

Seattle is about to be teased, titillated, and thrilled at “What the Funk?!,” an all-BIPOC burlesque festival that kicks off this Thursday, Aug. 19, at The Triple Door. The festival includes three nights of shows and two days of workshops from a star-studded lineup of talent from the Pacific Northwest and across the U.S. Performers will be showcasing their scintillating skills all to the tune of the Funk, the whole Funk, and nothing but the Funk!

“What the Funk?!” will culminate in a closing night competition where a winner will be crowned the new Grand Master Funk. While the festival is sold out, there will be an after-festival CookOUT at Judkins Park on Sunday, starting at 1:00 p.m. and open to all. Find out more about the CookOUT and RSVP here. “We’re going to fire up the grill and cook until we run out of propane,” said Mx. Pucks A’Plenty (they/them and YAS QUEEN), the founder and co-producer of “What the Funk?!.”

Pucks is a Black, queer, nonbinary burlesque performer and producer (their production company Puckduction is co-producing “What the Funk?!” with Rebecca Mm Davis of the Stay Up Late show), who has compiled an impressive list of achievements since graduating from the local Miss Indigo Blue’s Academy of Burlesque only four years ago. They are also one of the co-founders of the Seattle Burlesque and Cabaret Co-op based out of Ballard. 

YAS QUEEN says they watched a Netflix documentary A Wink and a Smile, which featured Miss Indigo Blue’s Academy of Burlesque in Seattle, and fell in love. “This is what I wanted to do,” Pucks said, remembering the moment. Not long after, they attended and graduated from the school and have since become a full-time performer and producer, all while surviving the pandemic and carving out spaces for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ burlesque to thrive in the Pacific Northwest. 

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