Tag Archives: Aleksa Manila

PHOTO ESSAY: Community Gathers for Two-Day ‘Welcome Back’ Celebration at Hing Hay Park

by Ronnie Estoque

The Chinatown-International District Business Improvement Area (CIDBIA) and the City of Seattle collaborated to host a celebration of local culture and food at Hing Park on Saturday, July 17, and Sunday, July 18. The weekend was also the inaugural event of “Welcome Back Weeks,” which was organized by the City of Seattle with the goal of bringing small businesses, workers, and visitors back to the downtown area after nearly a year and a half of restrictions. As part of “Welcome Back Weeks,” over $300,000 has been invested into small businesses, artists, and nonprofits , which all have experienced significant hardship during the pandemic. 

The two-day event featured live music and performances from local artists from the community, which attracted sizable crowds. The event also offered attendees the opportunity to receive either a Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, which was administered by representatives from the Seattle Fire Department (SFD). The CIDBIA will be hosting another Summer CID Food Walk from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 31. Events such as this have been planned to spur more community support for locally owned restaurants and businesses that are rebounding from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

This Saturday, July 24, “Welcome Back Weeks” will continue with an event starting at 10:30 a.m. at Pioneer Square, which will be followed up the next day at Westlake starting at 11 a.m. For more information about “Welcome Back Weeks,” visit the Office of the Mayor’s “Seattle’s Equitable Recovery” webpage.

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Legendary Children Takes the Virtual Stage, Celebrating Ballroom and QTBIPOC Culture

by Mark Van Streefkerk 

The fifth anniversary of Legendary Children, a celebration of QTBIPOC art, performance, and ballroom culture, takes the virtual stage this Saturday, November 21. Featuring the work of 25 creatives, including six houses, the star-studded event spotlights the creativity and fierceness of queer and trans Black and Brown communities in the Pacific Northwest. Hosted by CarLarans and Aleksa Manila, Legendary Children will include live house music from DJ Riz Rollins and video content from Seattle Public Library (SPL) artist-in-residence Momma Nikki. Last year the event was held at the Seattle Art Museum in partnership with SPL and other community partners. Due to the pandemic, this year the glitz, glamor, and talent will be live streamed via Facebook and YouTube with production help from Michael B. Maine. The free event begins at 8 p.m. this Saturday, and those wanting to participate in the virtual runway are encouraged to RSVP for a Zoom link here.  

Multi-disciplinary artist Dakota Camacho and performer and artist Adé are co-curators of the event, with guidance from curator-at-large and icon Dr. Stephaun Wallace (Blahnik). Through the unique opportunities of an online platform, Wallace encouraged Legendary Children to reach beyond the spectacle of ballroom culture to its foundation of QTBIPOC community care. The artistry and resilience of ballroom has sustained queer and trans Black and Brown communities for decades, including during the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, adverse political administrations, and now COVID-19.

SPL’s Public Engagement Programs Manager, Davida Ingram, said, “Stephaun Wallace asked us to consider, ‘What’s the substance of house and ball culture?’ Yes it’s fashion, yes it’s fierceness, yes it’s bold, and at its essence is about radical care and love and nurturing.” 

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