by Elizabeth Turnbull
After 18 months of closure, the South Hudson Music Project announced the reopening of the live music venue, The Royal Room, this Wednesday, Sept. 15. The reopening signals a reawakening of musical and artistic life in the South Seattle Area.
The Royal Room’s first event “Piano Starts Here” will showcase the work of great pianists, including Duke Ellington, Carla Bley, Cole Porter, Earl Hines, and others, all played by local Seattle-based pianists and improvisers. Local composer and performer Alex Guilbert is the host of the series. Tickets must be purchased prior to the event as they will not be sold in-person.
Events will continue through the weekend. On Thursday, Sept. 16, local jazz vocalist Elnah Jordan will perform. Jordan is an accomplished singer with a singing repertoire including gospel, jazz, blues, and R&B.
On Friday, Sept. 17, people who want to welcome back live music on the dance floor will get not one but two opportunities to attend “The Royal Room Grand Reopening Dance Party.” Tickets will be available for both an early show at 6:30 p.m. or the late show at 9:30 p.m. Local musicians will be covering classic artists such as Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Lake Street Dive, Amy Winehouse, and The Staple Singers.
Continue reading The Royal Room Announces Grand Reopening September 15
by Elizabeth Turnbull
On Sept. 11, families and community members young and old are invited to the Angel of Hope Engagement Center on 75th Avenue South where they can pick up free back-to-school supplies, play games, eat food, get COVID-19 vaccinations and flu shots, and even join in a dance with former Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin.
The event, which will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., promises to be a joyful and loud community moment, and Tony Benton of Rainier Avenue Radio will be there to capture it all on livestream.
Continue reading Love Train Community Block Party Provides a Wealth of Community and Care
by Ronnie Estoque
On Saturday, Aug. 21, “Bite of Pinoy” (BoP) will be occurring at Rainier Playfield (3700 South Alaska Street) from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event will feature food vendors such as Filipino Styled Peanuts, Mekenie Pampangga’s Special, and Hungry for Grace.
The main organizers behind BoP include Tootsie Borromeo and Jon Madamba both of Jack N Poy Productions and VXVIII Events. Other organizers who have helped this event become a reality for the community include Bel Borromeo, Rein Angeles, Aileen Angeles, Francis Halili, and Rowena Halili.
Tootsie and Madamba had sought an opportunity to bring the Filipino community together due to the annual Pista sa Nayon festival being hosted on a virtual platform this year. They initially struggled to find a venue for the event, but when the City of Seattle reached out to find food vendors for their annual Big Day of Play event, the “Bite of Pinoy” was born as a collaborative effort.
“It is so important to have events such as this not only to expose and exchange cultural ideas among different cultures but also to bridge the gap between generations amongst the Filipino community,” Tootsie said.
Continue reading Grab a ‘Bite of Pinoy’ — Filipino Food and Culture in the South End This Saturday
by Sharon Ho Chang
There are still a couple of weeks left to enjoy the fifth annual “Hai! Japantown,” a 20-day summer festival celebrating Seattle’s historic Nihonmachi or Japantown. The festival offers a unique and important opportunity to learn about and support the revival of what was once the West Coast’s second-largest Japanese American community.
“‘Hai! Japantown’ is important because it shows that the spirit of Japantown is still alive,” said Lei Ann Shiramizu, former co-owner of Momo, a cornerstone of Seattle’s Japantown, which just closed last September after 13 years. She has been involved in “Hai! Japantown” from the start (in fact she and her husband named it) and is helping manage social media and the calendar of events for this year’s festival.
“It’s like the Japanese saying, you know, ‘Fall down seven times, get up eight.’ Even during this very, very challenging year, the businesses have managed to stay alive. And not only that, they have continued to thrive because we have some of the small businesses taken over by the next generation … that has infused these businesses or these spaces with young energy and new ideas and it’s wonderful.”
Continue reading ‘Hai! Japantown 2021’: Honoring the Past and Reviving the Present
by Susan Fried
The 2021 Umoja Fest Day of Unity parade and festival drew hundreds of people to Jimi Hendrix Park on Aug. 7 for a day of celebrating Black entrepreneurship, music, and art. For more than 50 years Seattle’s Black community has held a summer festival. Starting in 1952, it was called the East Madison Mardi Gras, later transforming into the Pacific Northwest Black Community Festival, and in 1997 it became the Umoja Fest African Heritage Festival.
This year’s event featured a Black Unity march from 23rd Avenue and East Union Street to Jimi Hendrix Park; a children’s village; and dozens of music and dance performances by artists like Zach Bruce, April Shantae, Johnny Grant, Kutt ’N’ Up, and Skye Dior. Vendors sold food, beverages, art, household items, and clothing. Local nonprofits such as the Harriet Tubman Center for Health and Freedom, the African Americans Reach and Teach Health Ministry (AARTH), Feed the People, and the A. Philip Randolph Institute had booths to spread the word about their organization’s missions in the community.
Wyking Garrett, the president and CEO of Africatown Community Land Trust, grew up in the Central District and remembers the Black community festivals through the years and how important they were. He spoke to the crowd this year about celebrating Black love: “What I need us to really do is change the vibration; we got to change the frequency we have to tune in and unify with Black love in our community,” he said. “Tupac said Thug Life stood for ‘the hate u give little infants f***s everybody.’ The opposite of that is, if we give the love to our children properly, we got to put our families back together because that’s where it starts. Then we put our communities, which is just a family of families, and then we put the love back in it, that’s what I want to focus on.”
Continue reading PHOTO ESSAY: Umoja Fest 2021 Brings the Community Together
by M. Anthony Davis
The West Hill Community Association has an extensive history of advocacy and community service in the communities of Skyway and Unincorporated King County. Their weekly event, Skyway Outdoor Cinema, which hosts outdoor movies on a 20-foot screen every Friday in August, has been a staple in Skyway every summer since 2003.
Devin Chicras, a West Hill Community Association board member since 2014 (and president of the South Seattle Emerald board), has been actively involved in the Skyway Outdoor Cinema since 2013. At that time, the organization was discussing whether to shut the cinema down due to lack of volunteers and declining community attendance. Knowing how valuable the event was to the community, Chicras stepped up to ensure the outdoor cinema continued.
“Myself and my partner, Mary Goebel, decided that it was something too valuable to the community to just let it just discontinue,” Chicras says. “So we jumped in and, having no real event-planning experience, learned everything from the ground up, from getting vendors to buying AV equipment. We bought all of our own equipment after doing an Indiegogo campaign.”
Continue reading Skyway Outdoor Cinema Adjusts to Bring Community Together