by Kathya Alexander
The Odunde Festival is an annual harvest festival that celebrates the fruits of labor of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. The word itself means “New Year,” and Adefua Cultural Education Workshop has been celebrating the event here in Seattle for the past 36 years. The theme this year is Reunion, an opportunity to come together and give thanks for life as the city comes out of COVID-19 restrictions.
The two-day event begins Friday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. with a community dance party at the Rainier Arts Center and continues Saturday, Nov. 20, with an African marketplace that opens at 3 p.m. and culminates with a symposium and performance from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Continue reading Adefua’s Legacy of African Dance and Culture
by Chamidae Ford
This Sunday, Sept. 5, Anthony Session, known for his comic career as The Mad Bus Driver, will return to the stage for his show, “The Mad Bus Driver and Friends Are Back!” The performance will take place at the Rainier Arts Center, with J Will hosting and comic J Rock Owens joining the bill. The event will also feature music by DJ Diph.
Session, a St. Louis native, is a King County Metro driver by day, and his experiences driving the people of Seattle sparked the creation of his Mad Bus Driver character. Although he began his career in the late ’90s, The Mad Bus Driver was born later.
Continue reading Local Comedian ‘The Mad Bus Driver’ Returns to the Stage This Sunday
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.”
Continue reading Reel Youth Film Camp Introduces BIPOC Kids to the World of Filmmaking
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.
Continue reading Rainier Arts Center Hosts Weekly Porch Festival Showcasing BIPOC Artists
by Jasmine J. Mahmoud
There was no campfire at “The Campfire Festival.” Rather, warmth came from other sources: Rheanna Atendido’s energizing voice in duet with an amplified acoustic guitar, Dedra Woods’s staging of her and her mother’s memories, storytelling about ghosts and pandemic boredom and political change, and the enthusiastic incredulity of safely and finally engaging in live theatre again alongside other strangers.
Last Friday evening, I nervously walked north through the very green Columbia Park, hugged by Alaska Street and Rainier Avenue South. What would this post(ish) pandemic theater look, sound, and feel like? Upon nearing the outdoor box office table, I viewed the outdoor theater setup on an upwards sloping lawn, where empty hula hoops lay on the grass designating socially distant seating clusters. Once seated, I stared at the facade of Rainier Arts Center, the stage for this theatrical event. There, affixed on white columns were blue banners with the words “Create,” “Celebrate,” “Perform,” or “Connect,” messages that further amplified this theatrical event.
Continue reading Staging Black Memories, Singing With Ghosts: The Williams Project ‘Campfire Festival’
by M. Anthony Davis
About two years ago, Julius Caesar founded “Laugh Rehab,” a monthly live comedy series in Seattle that featured both local and national comedians. After a long one year hiatus due to COVID, Caesar is proud to announce that Laugh Rehab is back and better than ever.
Laugh Rehab is all in the name, Caesar says explaining the show — “It’s rehab. It gives you an opportunity for an hour and a half to unplug from everything in your life and just chill, have a great laugh, meet some of your neighbors, and catch with friends you haven’t seen in a long time.”
Caesar envisions this monthly comedy series as more than just a show. Located at the Rainier Arts Center in Columbia City, it is a community event geared to revitalizing the neighborhood and safely bringing people back together after a year of isolation.
Continue reading Laugh Rehab Returns Live Comedy to Seattle’s South End