South Seattle Goes to Bumbershoot

by Mary Hubert

Photo courtesy Wikiphotos
Photo courtesy Wikiphotos

I had only been to Bumbershoot a smattering of times over the past few years, and each time had felt vaguely indifferent to the festival as a whole. Mediocre music, moderately priced tickets, and the same old street vendors as were prominent at every Seattle street fair, from University District to Ballard and back again. I walked in this past Saturday, therefore, with mixed expectations.

I was greeted by a very friendly press room, complete with bagels, and after a brief stop, I was on my way into the festival. The eclectic mix of street fair and festival I actually found myself enjoying – if ever there was a gap in the schedule of artists I wanted to see, it was comforting to know that I could at least peruse the wide array of jewelry, merchandise, and fair food available.

The first artist I saw was Dude York, playing inside the Seattle Center. With a subtle flash of my press pass, I was in. However, the queue of would-be attendees wasn’t so lucky. I immediately noticed the space left in the venue – with a little squeezing, all 25 people might have fit. Though the space felt open and uncrowded, for the people who had paid to get into a festival that they were unable to see music at, it was unfortunate. The same held true for many other events – Bill Nye was a wonderful show, but for the line out the door, and other comedy shows were sold out from the start of the day. For those who had come to see specific shows, they may have felt that their tickets had been wasted.

On the whole, the artists we saw were enjoyable. Dude York was some very mediocre punk rock – they channeled the Pixies, but with worse songwriting. However, Big Freedia was perfect in all her sassy glory – her shouted encouragement at twerking women were perfect, and her music spot-on. Mac DeMarco was fun country rock in all of its trucker hat, twangy glory, with some decent songwriting along with charming band members to boot.

Panic! At the Disco was, as usual, awful (why do people like these guys?), but the lead singer partially redeemed himself with one hell of a back flip. Bill Nye took me back to the 90s, again making me overly interested in science – in this instance, sun dials (did you know there’s one on Mars?). Elvis Costello was worth it for sheer celebrity viewing, though his guitar seemed to be about as big as he was, and Polica was hauntingly beautiful in its synth-pop meets soulful singer manner. The award for kick-ass show, however, went to Walk the Moon, whose extremely enthusiastic young lead singer and catchy songs like “Shut Up and Dance With Me” led everyone in the crowd to a dancing, singing, shaking high.

I left feeling like I had gotten my share of good music at a venue that, for downtown Seattle, did a pretty good job of hosting these people. Even the visual art was unique, and provided a welcome break from the madness. Photographs from the 1960s were compelling, and especially enjoyable were the playable video games, which visualized sound in a beautiful way.

All in all, Bumbershoot lived up to its reputation, and even surpassed it. Its idiosyncratic mixture of festival and Seattle street fair made it appealing, and the prevalence of decent artists made the music worthwhile. Most of all, I appreciated the effort that was made to appeal to a wide range of audiences. From Elvis Costello to Big Freedia to Panic! At the Disco to Wu Tang Clan, Bumbershoot on Saturday alone appealed to at least four demographics. Despite the overcrowding and the terrible quality of the maps, I found myself having a lovely time, and experiencing a wide array of artists that I typically wouldn’t have seen at a music festival.

The bottom line: Ultimately, Bumbershoot is what you make it. Next year, buy a ticket for one day, or two, depending on who’s playing, but rest assured that you’ll most definitely find something you like – provided you can get in.

Mary Hubert is a performing artist, director, and arts administrator in the Seattle area. When not producing strange performance concoctions with her company, the Horse in Motion, she is wild about watching weird theater, whiskey, writing and weightlifting.


Sunday Stew: The Ecstasy of Now

by Sampson Moore

Rebirth by Piero Manrique
Rebirth by Piero Manrique

there’s a glint from a grim corpse you can see as it slithers from the dark grave

in dire search to reprise a role played so long ago that yesterday forgets

its head ascends in silence to glimpse a life it longed to live

if only it owned the courage it had to borrow

if only it possessed the passion it desired to lend

to view a vantage of life it housed in wishes and journeyed to in dreams

its bitter poison willfully swallowed now exchanged for the savory saccharine

and what was long exhaled is breathed in

the dead, the gone, mine ancient carrion so bewildered, can only peer at future yesterdays

to see me smile wide enough to stretch the boundaries of a lifetime, from what was, to what will be, all with the gleam from the exquisite today

The Emerald’s Guide to Art Walk Rainier Beach

Today delivers Art Walk Rainier Beach to the south end of Seattle. Fast becoming the Rainier Beach area’s seminal event, this year’s festival proved too immense to pack into just one day and as a result has been extended over the entire weekend for the first time in its brief history. This means you might need to start practicing your “sick” voice now – so you can hoodwink your boss come Monday- as all the food, music, art, and dance the festival has to offer promises to necessitate a day for recuperation!


Note* The intersection of Rainier Ave and Henderson will be closed for the event


Here is our guide to this weekend’s festivities


Art Walk Day 1, Saturday September 6th On South Henderson Street Between Rainier Ave And Seward

(Day 1 Events Will Take Place on Two Stages)

10:00 AM: Event Kickoff

Stage 1: Mariachi Guadalajara de Seattle

10:30 AM

Stage 2: Zumba With Toni

11:30 AM

Stage 1: Pico Blvd

Stage 2: Lion Dance Group

12:00 PM

Stage 2: Mapes Creek Walkway Opening with Yegizaw Michael

12:30 PM

Stage 2: Martial Arts Demonstration

1:00 PM

Stage 1: Salem Band

1:30 PM

Stage 2: Fly Moon Royalty

2:30 PM

Stage 1: Vote for Pedro

Stage 2: Cuban Dance Party With Reinier Valdes

4:00 PM

Stage 1: Yirim Seck

4:30 PM

Stage 2: Soyaya

5:00 PM

Stage 1: Shady Bottom

6:00 PM (End Time)

Activities Throughout Day 1: All Ages Basketball Skills Competition,Interactive Art Activities for All Ages, Art Cars

Food Trucks For Day 1: Maya’s Mexican, Neema’s Comfort, Athena’s, Quack Dogs

Rainier Beach Community Club Bake Sale


Art Walk Day 2, Sunday September 7th

(Events Will Take Place at Various Locations)

12:00 PM

@Rainier Beach Playfield (4707 S Cloverdale St): Ethiopian New Year Celebration (Food, Music and Children’s Activities)

@Rainier Beach Community Center (8825 Rainier Ave S): Rainier Dance Center Performance

@Rainier Beach Community Center: Chalk Art Contest

1:00 PM

@Buddha Jewel Monastery (7950 Rainier Avenue South): Buddha Jewel Monastery Tour

@Rainier Beach Community Center: Touchstones Beach Square Tour

2:00 PM

@Kubota Gardens (9817 55th Avenue South): Kubota Gardens Guided Tour with Artist in Residence Mary Magenta

2:30 PM

@Rainier Beach Community Center: SEED Arts Curated Tour

@ Rainier Beach Community Center: Touchstones Waterfront Tour

8:00 PM (Festival Concludes)

Civic Salvos: Pre-School for All, Maybe…

by Sandra Vanderven

There’s a plan afoot to make sure 3 and 4 year olds in Seattle have access to affordable preschool.  What great news!  Families struggle to get care for their kids, and science tells us it is crucial to offer rich learning opportunities during these years.  Unfortunately, things aren’t as straightforward as they seem.

The Good  

Access to preschool on a sliding scale is needed and important.

The Bad  

This plan was created by the city’s staff and paid consultants, while intentionally excluding the true stakeholders.  We know from experience that when collaboration does not occur, there is less of a clear shot at success.  That doesn’t mean it will fail, but it is more likely to.  The teachers, organizations who serve young children, and others who stand to be most affected by this plan are understandably upset that they have not and will not have a place at the table.  Someone needs to take the reins, but excluding people and entities whose work will either make this fly–or not–is the opposite of leadership.

The Ugly

The American Federation of Teachers and Service Employees Union International 925 have been working for a dozen years with early childhood educators to help them build an organizational voice in order to secure a living wage and job stability.  They have a plan for early childhood education. It covers birth on up, not just ages 3 and 4.  Probably politically driven, our city’s leadership has made some pretty slimy moves to ace them out of the picture.  From the look of it, it is all about who is in control.

This is disturbing, coming from what one would think is the most progressive city leadership, in a country which now has a pervasive climate of union busting.

The work of AFT and SEIU 925 laid the groundwork for Yes for Early Success, which collected 30,000 signatures to place an early childhood learning initiative on the ballot.  This initiative would provide preschool teachers with a training hub so that they can stay up to date on their profession’s best practices.  It would also phase these workers in to the $15 minimum wage more quickly, and give them a voice in determining how the program runs.

In contrast, get this:  The City would require all of the early childhood educators to get a 4 year college degree, with the exception of assistants, who would only have to have a two year degree. Where are these minimum wage workers going to get the time and money for this?  And why put such an onerous burden on them?  This is even more of a head scratcher when you realize that 38% of preschool assistants leave the profession in the space of a year.  Also, strangely, under the City’s plan, every family that enrolls is eligible for some amount of subsidy.  This would give scarce city money to some of the richest families on Earth, should they decide to enroll their kids.

It gets weirder. The city budget office created a memo fallaciously predicting the AFT/SEIU plan would incur costs calamitous to the city budget. Someone (likely a council member) leaked the memo to the press. The Seattle Times credulously used it in an editorial slamming the AFT/SEIU initiative.  But when the unions asked to see this memo to rebut the bogus claims, they were told that it is still covered by attorney client privilege.  These same predictions of budget destruction are being made to pit local trade unions against the plan.  These guys are being led to believe their livelihoods are threatened by day care workers.

But wait, there’s more. Tim Burgess and Mayor Murray are attempting to muscle the AFT/SEIU early childhood education initiative out of the way by making sure a competing initiative is presented on the ballot as either/or rather than complementary, muddying the waters as voters must choose between the two.

I am a voter, and here’s what I would choose if I could:  I would choose to be represented by elected officials who are motivated by service, not power.  I would vote for collaboration and effective leadership.  Not this nonsense.  Let’s hope kids can get a little preschool despite this mess.

Sandra Vanderven is a Community Organizer and Board President of the Backbone Campaign.

South Seattle Photographer’s Work to be Showcased at City Hall

SEATTLE – Today from 4- 6 p.m a reception for “The Gathering” Exhibit will be held at the Seattle City Hall’s lobby gallery. The reception marks the conclusion of “The Gathering” exhibit’s run at City Hall and recognizes and celebrates the community members, leaders, and artists who created the exhibit and generated a voice to address youth violence in the Rainier Beach community. The reception features brief remarks, refreshments, and a performance that was featured at the original “Gathering” event on May 31.

“The Gathering” Exhibit is composed of two featured works. The first featured work is a photo-documentary from Rainier Beach resident and artist Zac Davis titled, “The Rainier Beach Project: Overcoming Displacement.” This photo-documentary explores urban renewal and gentrification occurring in the Rainier Beach/Rainier Valley community and leverages the importance of all voices contributing to the building of community. Davis’ photo-documentary was featured as a part of the interactive event, Breaking the Pane. The second featured work is a glass mosaic, which is the result of the interactive event, Breaking the Pane. It was also designed to creatively explore the stories of the Rainier Beach community and identify collective and individual steps to address the negative perceptions of the community and reduce youth violence.

For one week in April, Breaking the Pane engaged the Rainier Beach community in storytelling to explore themes of community identity and perceptions. At five workshops, community members were asked to illustrate the words, feelings, or images that came to mind when they thought of the exact Rainier Beach location that they were standing in. The resulting clear window-like “panes” on one side illustrate how community members experience the five different Rainier Beach intersections while the other side depicts statistics of violence. The installation of assembled panes gives voice to the variety of perspectives regarding Rainier Beach and is the centerpiece that helped to turn the stories into action.

At the culminating event, “The Gathering,” on May 31, more than 150 local residents experienced the project through art, video, a photography exhibit and live storytelling, and challenged themselves (and the wider community) to let the stories inspire action. From this event, the community designed and implemented the action project, “Corner-Greeter Stands” which are weekly portable “greeting places” for the community to interact in creative and safe modes of engagement.

“The Gathering” event and Breaking the Pane are the result of a unique partnership between United Story, an organization that uses a story-telling platform to foster community-owned action, and Rainier Beach: A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth, an innovative, community-led initiative to address youth violence through non-arrest approaches.

This Weekend In South Seattle: Art Walk Rainier Beach, Skyway Honors Its Own, and Walk to Treat Sickle Cell

WeekendEvents this weekend in the South Seattle area


Friday, September 5th

Community: VFW Meat Raffle from 4 to 7pm @ Skyway VFW Hall 7421 S. 126th St Seattle, WA 98178. More Info: email

Community: Rainier Beach 4- Corner Clean-Up & BBQ from 4:oo pm to 6:00pm @ Rainier Beach Plaza (Rainier and Henderson). Info: Get ready for Artwalk Rainier Beach  and give some TLC  to RB before it’s shown off to the 1,000++ people that are expected to come check out the event.  Should be a sunny day, perfect for a BBQ to celebrate everyone’s hard work!

Art: The Gathering Exhibit Reception featuring the photography of Rainier Beach Resident Zac Davis from 4:00pm – 6:00pm @ Seattle City Hall (6ooth 4th Avenue  Seattle, WA 98104). Info: The reception marks the conclusion of “The Gathering” exhibit’s run at City Hall and recognizes and celebrates the community members, leaders, and artists who created the exhibit and generated a voice to address youth violence in the Rainier Beach community. The reception features brief remarks, refreshments, and an amazing performance that was featured at the original “Gathering” event on May 31.

Music:  Eugenie Jones and Friends (Jazz) begins at 8:00pm@ The Royal Room 5000 Rainier Avenue South Seattle 98118.  Cost: Free. More Info: Cost: Free


Saturday, September 6th

Health & Community: 9th Annual Walk for Sickle Cell  starts at 8:00am @ 5898 Lake Washington Blvd Seattle, WA 98118 (Seward Park). To Register: Cost: $30 Adults, $15 (12-17) under 12 – free

Culture: Art Walk Rainier Beach Festival Day 1 from 10:00am – 6:00pm @ The Rainier Beach Plaza (Rainier and Henderson)  More Info:

Community: San Gennaro Festival from 10:00am – 10:00pm @1225 S Angelo St. Seattle, WA 98108. More Info:

Community:  Skyway Honors Cynthia Green (Celebrating 20 Years of Service to the Area and the Cynthia Green Scholarship Fund) from 3:00pm to 5:00pm @ RAY’s West Hill Family Center 12704 76th Avenue South, Seattle WA 98178 More Info: (Morgan Wells), ph: 206-772-2050

Community: Detective Cookie’s Urban Chess Club with Pro Chess Instructor H.R.Pitre. From 12:00pm – 2:00pm @ Rainier Beach Community Center: 8825 Rainier Ave South Seattle. Ages 7 and Older. More Info: 206-650-3621 (Detective Cookie)


Sunday, September 7th

Culture: Art Walk Rainier Beach Festival Day 2 from 10:00am – 6:00pm @ The Rainier Beach Plaza (Rainier and Henderson)  More Info:

Music: Benefit Concert with Tom Price Desert Classic/ The Swords of Fatima/ The Gallow Swings begins at 6:00pm @ The Royal Room 5000 Rainier Avenue South Seattle 98118.  Suggested Donation: $10 More Info:


If you have an event to post, please email



Local “Royalty” to Headline Art Walk Rainier Beach

Their music has been hailed as everything from spellbinding to effervescent – and that’s usually just after the first 2 minutes of pressing the play button to one of their eargasmic inducing anthems.

Fresh off their performance at Bumbershoot that transformed the notoriously diffident Seattle crowd into zealous dance mavens, the duo of Fly Moon Royalty brings their lively act to Art Walk Rainier Beach this weekend.

Made up of vocalist, and Rainier Beach native, Adra Boo and DJ/Producer/Emcee Action Jackson the duo seamlessly steers between Jazz, Electronica, Funk, R&B, Soul, and Hip-Hop to produce a sound that defies the constraints of any genre.

The Emerald was fortunate enough to catch up with Boo before her group’s appearance at Art Walk Rainier Beach on Saturday:

Emerald: You guys are well known and have played  some fairly large festivals, including Bumbershoot most recently. What made you decide to accept the invitation to perform at the Rainier Beach Art Walk?

Boo: Aside of it working out, time wise, I actually live in Rainier Beach, so it made sense to bring a performance to the neighborhood.


Emerald:  They say that music and art are tools that are catalyst for transformation, be it socially or communally. As an area, Rainier Beach has seen its fair share of adversity in the recent weeks. How do you hope having a musical group of your caliber performing at its signature event changes the perception of the community?

Boo: I think that really, it’s not so much that our band performing there will change perceptions of the area, but rather people coming out to support us and the Artwalk that will do that. I mean, yes, Rainier Beach has seen it’s share of adversity, and having these events, having bands that are excited about the music they make, having a community that will come out and really stand with us and with neighbors… that’s what will change the perception of Rainier Beach, and I hope that people who know that I  live there, will be that much more amped to have us!


Emerald: Your music is almost impossible to pigeon hole into one genre. How would you describe your sound and who are some of your influences?

Boo: Our music tastes are vast, haha! We each listen to classic hip hop, old soul and R&B, 90’s jams, and alternative sounds, music with fresh sounds and textures, like Bjork, Little Dragon, and so forth. We grew up on good music… Stevie, Dilla, Parliament, Prince and MJ… A Tribe Called Quest, Roots, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott… to name a few.


Emerald: What can someone who has never seen one of your acclaimed live performances anticipate this weekend?

Boo: You might make some stank face, you might feel some good feelings, and you might be hungry afterward!


Emerald: You guys have been described as having a “rocket strapped to your back” in terms of a meteoric rise. What’s next for you guys?(Album, touring, etc)

Boo: Towards the end of the month, we’re kicking off our Fall Tour with a show in Everett, a Battle of the Bands show- pre game for the Seahawks vs Broncos game, and then we’re going through the Midwest, down the east coast, and performing in The Recording Academy’s first ever Grammy Festival At Sea!! We’l even have some unreleased music and visuals drop online! There’s a lot going on, but people can follow it all at our website,!


Reportage, Culture & Commentary From The Most Eclectic Place on Earth