Tag Archives: Columbia City

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the Seattle Latino Film Festival

by Kathya Alexander

The Seattle Latino Film Festival (SLFF) opened for in-person viewing on Friday, Oct. 8, and continues through Sunday, Oct. 17. 

The festivities began last Friday at the Seattle Asian Art Museum with an opening night gala and after party reception. Dennis Mencia, a Honduran American actor known for playing Mateo Villanueva on CW’s Jane the Virgin, was MC for the event. The gala showcased the Uruguayan comedy, The Broken Glass Theory, one of the festival’s 106 in-person and online films supporting the magic of filmmaking as part of Hispanic culture globally. 

The in-person showcase continued at The Beacon Cinema in Columbia City on Saturday with an American film called Coast, directed by Jessica Hester and Derek Schweickart. Also shown was the Venezuelan film, Opposite Direction, and an LGBTQ film called Liz In September. The director, Fina Torres, known for Fox Searchlight’s Woman on Top with Penélope Cruz, was present for the Q&A after the screening. 

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Local Sightings Filmmakers Crack the Alabaster Jesus Façade

by Beverly Aarons

“This film is dedicated to the future memory of white supremacy, the new world’s original gangster,” a deep voice declares. That’s how Manifest Destiny Jesus begins. Orchestral music blares, white text fades onto a black background, the words of English writer William Gilpin come into view: “The untransacted destiny of the American people is to subdue the continent — to rush over this vast field to the Pacific Ocean.”

Seattle’s crane-filled skyline comes into view. Logos of the richest and most powerful corporations in the nation glide down towering skyscrapers. Weathered tent cities cling to a dusty underpass. Seattle: a paragon of westward expansion and capitalist conquest. Fast forward: Displaced Seattleites lament the relentless hammer of gentrification. “I can’t even afford to live here,” a man says. 

A woman sits in Columbia City Church of Hope, a stained glass Jesus hovers above, his ivory hand points westward. 

Manifest Destiny Jesus, which screens at this month’s “Local Sightings” film festival, is a documentary that explores how the widespread portrayal of Jesus as white influences everything from gentrification to police brutality. And how one small church in a gentrifying South Seattle found the courage to ask, “What does it mean to worship a white Jesus?” 

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The Beacon Cinema Reopens Tonight With a Kshama Solidarity Fundraiser

by Mark Van Streefkerk

Columbia City’s newest indie movie theater is back! Since halting almost all public screenings last March, The Beacon Cinema reopens tonight with a screening of The New Corporation at 7 p.m. 100% of ticket proceeds will go to the Kshama Solidarity campaign to fight the right-wing recall of socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant. The Beacon will also debut a remodeled and freshly repainted lobby and an even more focused lineup of film offerings.

Co-founders and co-owners Tommy Swenson and Casey Moore officially opened The Beacon in July of 2019 at 4405 Rainier Ave South, at what was once an office space with an adjoining yoga studio. Swenson and Moore are both cinephiles with roots in the University District of the 1990s, a time and place rife with cinema culture, including a handful of indie theaters, Scarecrow Video, and the now-closed Cinema Books. Before opening The Beacon, Swenson had been the film programmer for a local theater chain in Austin, Texas, and Moore had established his own film marketing firm, High Council. Swenson and Moore launched The Beacon as an opportunity to screen arthouse, rare, and cult films and as a complimentary theater to Columbia City’s historic Ark Lodge Cinemas

After The Beacon’s official debut in 2019, it was only about eight months before the theater was forced to temporarily close due to the pandemic. “Looking back now, those first eight months were a great testing ground to begin to get a sense of what works for us, who our audience is, and what our programming can look like,” Swenson said. 

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Rainier Arts Center Hosts Weekly Porch Festival Showcasing BIPOC Artists

by Chamidae Ford

This Wednesday, Aug. 11, the Rainier Arts Center will be hosting its second installation of the August Porch Festival. From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. you can find local BIPOC artists taking the stage to perform music for their community. Each week offers a wide range of styles and genres of music and performances. 

The Center was opened in 1997 and has served as a gathering space to support the arts for the Rainier community since. Throughout the summer, the Center hosts a wide array of events and activities located in Columbia Park. As a part of that, the Porch Festival aims to provide local artists the space to demonstrate their talents while keeping everyone safe and socially distanced. 

“We primarily wanted to showcase South End artists that were BIPOC,” said Ben Leiataua, manager of the Rainier Arts Center.

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What Happens to Seattle’s Streetside Cafés After the Pandemic?

by Ben Adlin

Last summer, when the first COVID-19 vaccine was still months away and indoor dining was limited, a group of businesses in Columbia City transformed a half block’s worth of South Ferdinand Street into The Patio, a shared outdoor seating area open to everyone. Residents could order takeout from nearby Geraldine’s Counter or Lottie’s Lounge, sure — or they could just drop in and say hello to friends they might not have seen since the pandemic began.

After months of social isolation, “a few people said it just kind of saved their life,” said Lottie’s owner Beau Hebert. “They were just going bonkers.”

The project unfolded under a special pilot program by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT), part of an aggressive push by the agency to quickly convert public streets and sidewalks into outdoor seating. Restaurants at the time were facing mass closures, and open-air dining offered customers a less-risky alternative to venturing inside. Changes to SDOT’s permitting process, including waiving fees that sometimes cost several thousand dollars per year, led to a proliferation of patio seating across the city.

But with restrictions on indoor dining now gone and nearly three in four eligible King County residents fully vaccinated, the city faces a choice: What to do with its outdoor dining and new communal spaces?

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The 27th Year of Beatwalk Brings Free Live Music Back to Columbia City

by Mark Van Streefkerk

After over a year of empty stages, live music has officially returned, and Columbia City Beatwalk is one grassroots organizing team that’s making it happen. Now in it’s 27th year, Beatwalk is bringing folks together from all walks of life for free outdoor music and entertainment right in the heart of Columbia City. 

Their next Block Party event on Saturday, July 31, is something you don’t want to miss. Partnering for the first time with B.U.I.L.D. 206 — an organization with the vision that Black men are empowered leaders and mentors making positive changes in the lives of Black men and youth — the Block Party will feature games, contests, prizes, and a star-studded lineup of DJs, ending with neo soul and hip hop conscious group Black Stax. The family-friendly event will also include mostly Black and POC vendors with a focus on locally-made wares like oils, jewelry, candles, clothing, and more. The party takes place at “The Patio” on Rainier Avenue South and South Ferdinand Street between Geraldine’s Counter and Lottie’s Lounge. 

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Couple Killed in Light-Rail Accident Remembered as Kind Community Members

by Elizabeth Turnbull

Emoke Rock, 76, and Steven “Skip” Wayne, 66, both involved community members, died July 2 after being struck by a Sound Transit light-rail train near the Columbia City Station.

The couple were crossing the street at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr Way South and South Alaska Street in the Columbia City neighborhood in South Seattle at roughly 6 p.m. They were hit by the train while walking during a “Don’t Walk” signal, according to a Seattle Police Department (SPD) statement. Detectives from the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad are investigating the incident. 

Both Rock and Wayne were recently retired real estate agents — Rock at the Edmonds Windermere office and Wayne at the Seattle-Mount Baker Windermere location. They were known for being community-minded, cheerful, and for their love for each other by many who knew them.

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The Pandemic Turned a Neighborhood Cafe Into Columbia City’s Only Record Store

by Mark Van Streefkerk

Like many other cafes, Columbia City’s Empire Roasters and Records had to make some changes in order to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. While some coffee shops expanded their offerings to include grocery items or wines during lockdown, Empire went a different direction. Owner Ian Peters repurposed the cafe’s upstairs seating area into a record shop, which opened last November. Adding a record store to a cafe might have been an unconventional choice, but based on the positive community response, Columbia City’s only record store is here to stay. 

“We would have never come up with this idea had it not been for the pandemic,” Peters said. 

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Live Music Returns to South End Venues

by Mark Van Streefkerk

Last spring, restaurants and bars braced themselves against a flurry of rapidly escalating news about the COVID-19 virus that led to a statewide lockdown mid-March. In the midst of so many unknowns, one unfortunate fact was certain: Live music venues were among the first to close. In the months since, it became clear that if they survived, the same venues would be the last to reopen. Now that the state has lifted pandemic restrictions, live music, performance, comedy shows, and even dance parties are returning to South End venues. Here’s what the return of live entertainment will look like for Rumba Notes Lounge, Clock-Out Lounge, and The Royal Room. 

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NEWS GLEAMS: South King County Vaccine Pop-Ups, Composting Classes, & More!

curated by Emerald Staff

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle! 

South King County COVID-19 Vaccine Pop-Up Schedule

If you haven’t yet been vaccinated for COVID-19, you can receive it free by contacting your doctor, or by visiting one of several south King County pop-up clinics run by Public Health – Seattle & King County:

Friday, July 9, 1:00–5:30 p.m.
Lutheran Community Services NW – Refugee, 12608 SE 240th St., Kent, (in partnership with Lutheran Community Services and Masjid Al-Quba)
Vaccine Offered: Pfizer

Monday, July 12, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Multi-Service Center, 1200 S 336th St., Federal Way, (in partnership with Multi-Service Center / Medical Teams International)
Vaccine Offered: Moderna

Wednesday, July 14, 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Multi-Service Center, UW Valley Medical Center, 515 W Harrison St. Kent.
Vaccine offered: Pfizer

For more information on getting a COVID-19 vaccine in King County visit, https://kingcounty.gov/depts/health/covid-19/vaccine/schedule.aspx or call 206-477-3977.

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