Listening Guide: In The Moment Bonus Episode (Global Rhythms)

In this bonus episode of In The Moment, get an inside look at the past and present of our Global Rhythms series! Host Jini Palmer talks with Spider Kedelsky, the founder of the Global Rhythms series. He recalls how the music series came to be and shares his experience working with different groups and musicians over the years. In the 1990’s Spider explored different cultural groups and communities throughout Seattle to bring a diversity of music and traditions to Town Hall’s stages, before broadening the reach of the series to include sounds and traditional arts from around the globe. Then Jini sits down with Jon Kertzer, current curator of our Global Rhythms series, to find out how he got involved with Global Rhythms and learn about his experience in radio and his interest in world music.

He explores this season’s Breaking Borders theme, highlighting the ways which the music of numerous immigrant cultures form the foundation of American music—making it all the more crucial that we celebrate them. Kertzer discusses Mamak Khadem (22:34), who performed the season’s inaugural concert in December, and highlights her established roots in the Iranian community. Kertzer discusses the Pedrito Martinez Group (23:27), a fun high-energy Cuban percussion band featuring members from several parts of Latin America. Next he discusses Lorraine Klaasen (25:03), a South-African jazz singer based in Montreal whose Town Hall show will be her first performance in Seattle. The back-to-back performances of Mokoomba and Chimurenga Renaissance (27:18) break the mold a bit according to Kertzer, since Mokoomba is coming from South Africa and Chimurenga are first generation Americans. These two groups have always wanted to play together, and this will be the first time they’re sharing the stage. To wrap up the series Kertzer discusses Kinan Azmeh (30:30), an amazing Syrian musician classically trained at Juilliard whose techniques merge Western classical music with Middle Eastern Folk traditions.

Learn about the history of our Global Rhythms series—and about the unforgettable lineup that’s approaching this season!

Listening Guide: In The Moment Bonus Episode (Town Music)


In this music-oriented bonus episode of In The Moment, host Jini Palmer sits down with with Joshua Roman, curator of our Town Music series, for a conversation on all things chamber music. They explore the theatrical aspects of live performance, and Joshua gives us a window into the mind of a curator, offering us snapshots of his process for choosing musicians and arranging lineups each season.

After that, Jini and Joshua discuss stand-out elements of each of the concerts in our 2018-19 Town Music season. For the first performance, Sideshow by Talea Ensemble (15:50), Roman highlights the theatrical spin that the piece brings to chamber music—utilizing props, facial expressions and tightly controlled body movements to evoke the dark surreal nature of 20th-century Coney Island freak shows. Then he takes a look at Third Coast Percussion (18:20), the Grammy-winning Chicago quartet who will be presenting an avant garde percussion quartet commissioned by Philip Glass—his first-ever for percussion! Jini and Joshua also touch on Piano Ki Avaaz (22:00), the piano trio commissioned by rising star composer Reena Esmail. The piece is her first-ever piano trio composition, and it utilizes her signature techniques of incorporating Indian classical music into western classical style. And finally, Jini and Joshua explore Bach to Bates (25:12)—a concert juxtaposing classical works by Bach alongside cutting-edge commissions from Grammy-nominated composer Mason Bates, who employs a unique integration of electronic sounds and styles into his symphonic compositions.

Get inside the mind of a curator in this special episode, and learn about all the ways you can experience the cutting edge of chamber music and enjoy classical repertoire in new ways.

Listening Guide: In the Moment Episode 28

In this 2018 recap episode, host Jini Palmer speaks with Megan Castillo, Town Hall’s Community Engagement Manager, about our community’s responses on social media about favorite Town Hall moments (2:15) and then Jini and Steve highlight a selection of interviews which didn’t make it into previous episodes. Speakers include: Blair Imani with Monica Guzman (31:25); Arnie Duncan with Steve Scher (33:28); Denise Hearn with Alex Gallo-Brown (37:58); Rob Reich with Steve Scher (40:10); Randy Shaw with Tammy Morales (44:44); David Reich with Steve Scher (47:19); David Hu with Grace Hamilton (51:41); and Michael Hebb with Lesley Hazleton (53:27). Get an insider’s look and stay in the know about what’s going on in this moment at Town Hall.

Listening Guide: In the Moment Episode 27

In episode #27 of In The Moment, our correspondent Tammy Morales interviews Randy Shaw (2:17) about the rising price of housing. Shaw cites a 50-year-old federal law which states that the government would be responsible for providing citizens with houses. But that law has been ignored, and widespread access to homes has been left to the whim of the free market. They explore the factors which have led to the commodification of housing. Shaw and Morales discuss potential strategies for rescuing the housing market from rising prices and the grip of scarcity—strategies like up-zoning, rent control, investment in low-income communities, public housing, and mobilizing communities to vote for changes to local land-use policies.

Chief Correspondent Steve Scher talks with Octavio Solis (13:12) about the dreams of Solis’ past. Solis relates his impetus to record his own history in the manner of retablos—a form of Mexican folk art—and how if he doesn’t write them down they will remain dreams. He explores the ways which he becomes a character in his own stories, a fresh-faced figure who is naive and learns a lot by falling on his face. Solis also talks about how the Chicanos changed the culture of lowrider cars—a metaphor for how two cultures can change and merge to form an entirely new one.

And host Jini Palmer conducted a backstage interview with Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie (22:25)—the creators of the hit podcast Limetown—along with Cote Smith, the author of the series’ prequel novel. They discuss Akers’ and Bronkie’s journey in making Limetown, outlining their favorite parts of the process. They explore the reasons they chose the avenue of audio instead of film or book, and reveal the auditory science behind their approach. They also discuss Smith’s new novel and all the ways that the Limetown world is expanding into different mediums. Akers and Bronkie reflect on the life they’ve made out of the initial idea they had nearly 5 years ago.

Still Curious?
-Read about the latest real estate trends and the future of Seattle housing with these articles from The Seattle Times.
-PBS offers us a video interview with Octavio Solis, highlighting his experiences growing up as a “skinny brown kid” in El Paso.
-Learn more about the history and culture of retablo paintings.
-Season 2 of Limetown is now available—check out their website to listen!

Listening Guide: In the Moment Episode 26


In episode #26, correspondent Alex Gallo-Brown speaks with Denise Hearn (1:55) about her book The Myth of Capitalism. They explore the notion that our apparently open capitalist society is being undermined by a few goliath corporations who are stifling the competitive market. They discuss workers’ rights, de-unionization, racial inequity, non-compete clauses, mandatory arbitration (which prevents workers from filing class action lawsuits), consumer activism (how we vote with our dollars), and much more.

Chief Correspondent Steve Scher interviews Alex Rosenblat (14:23) about her research on Uber—and the ways consumers and workers are at risk of manipulation by the company’s algorithms. Rosenblat contests Uber’s claim to be a middleman, revealing how the company has quietly separated what passengers pay and what drivers pay in order to charge passengers more without giving drivers their fair share. She outlines the difficulties employees face when unionizing or pursuing legal action, and the precarious situation of having an algorithm for a boss.

Steve also shares a short interview with political scientist Rob Reich (26:57). They discuss the problematic effects of philanthropy on democratic society, and Reich advocates for a shift in the public perception from one of gratitude to criticism. Reich asserts that the very-wealthy are leveraging private resources to influence public policy, which in turn is undermining the idea of democracy.

The feature this episode highlights our program on November 7 with L.A. Kauffman (29:25). She makes the case that grassroots organizing—not the democratic party—was the hero of our last midterm election. Kauffman shares the startling revelation that more people have protested since Trump took office than ever in history, and encourages us all to continue to stand strongly for the values that we hold dear.

Still Curious?

-Writer and former labor organizer Alex Gallo-Brown interviewed Annelise Orleck about the worldwide laborers’ movement of the 21st century. You can explore Alex’s work here, and listen to their conversation here.

-Denise Hearn curates her own blog—take a read!

-The Seattle Times posted an article earlier this month which puts a local spin on the ongoing conversation about Uber’s practices surrounding transparency of information and fair treatment of workers.

-Columnist Anand Giridharadas spoke on Town Hall’s stage in September earlier this year about the problematic aspects of philanthropy in America. The discussion resonates with Rob Reich’s own ideas—check out our recording of Anand’s event.

Jamming at SeaJAM

Somehow, in all the years I’ve lived in Seattle, I haven’t found my way to Mercer Island. I know it’s not that far, so it’s not like I couldn’t find the time. After all, the first week I was here I hit all the guidebook hotspots—the bridge troll, the gum wall, the Space Needle. Over the years I’ve caught up on some of the must-do spots and best kept secrets as well. I’ve hung out at KEXP’s Gathering Room and taken in a live broadcast while enjoying some coffee from La Marzocco. I’ve chased away the winter with some mead from the White Horse Tavern in Post Alley. And now, thanks to the energetic lineup of SeaJAM, I’m finally going to make it to Mercer Island in style!

SeaJAM is a weekend-long festival (December 8-9) hosted at the Stroum Jewish Community Center. They’re jamming all weekend long in celebration of Hanukkah, and they’ve put together an amazing festival of Jewish and/or Israeli dance, comedy, music, theater, and more. Saturday features performances by klezmer champion David Krakauer, legendary funk trombonist Fred Wesley, and hip-hop renegade Socalled. That’s a collision of musical styles I’m excited to see!

On Sunday morning I’ll wake up early and take in some Mercer Island scenery. I’ve heard good things about the hikes in Pioneer Park (always open to trail suggestions!), and I’ll need something to energize before the festivities start back up at noon. For all the parents out there, make sure you stop by and see indie-pop band The LeeVees at their 1:00PM performance for the “Hanukkah Rocks” Family Dance Party. There are also plenty of Hanukkah games and art (although you’ll find me by the food trucks.)

To pass the time until the shows that evening, I’ll probably check out Island Books. I’m a frequent visitor to Seattle’s wide array of bookstores, including Elliott Bay Books, Third Place Books, and of course Twice Sold Tales.

Then on Sunday night I’ll find a seat for a new dance performance from emerging choreographer/dancer Rebecca Margolick and composer/graphic artist Maxx Berkowitz, as well as an appearance by comedian Cathy Ladman. She’s been on The Tonight Show nine times, written for TV sitcoms, and appeared in Charlie Wilson’s War, Mad Men, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and most recently Modern Family.

SeaJAM has something for everyone, whether it’s comedy, food, art, a family dance party—or if you’re like me, a chance to finally explore a part of Seattle that you’ve been missing out on. See you there!

Grab your tickets in advance from SJCC.

Photo Story: Jill Soloway with Hannah Gadsby

On October 23rd, Jill Soloway, creator of Transparent, made their explosive appearance on Town Hall’s stage to celebrate the release of their new book She Wants It: Desire Power and Toppling the Patriarchy. For an evening of raucous conversation and feminist debating, they were joined by special guests Hannah Gadsby, Morgan Parker, Nicole J. Georges, and Faith Soloway.

If you’d like to revisit the evening’s discussion, or if you weren’t able to make it to the event, take a look at the photos below, taken by Libby Lewis.

The evening begins with a bustling crowd as friends exchange excited greetings and fill the hall in preparation for Jill and company. (Town Hall’s own Edward Wolcher is excited too!)

 

Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby brings the house down with an opening comedy routine.

 

 

An interlude from musical guest Faith Soloway, who plays a tune to welcome Jill to the stage.

 

 

Jill talks with Morgan Parker in preparation for her conversation with Nicole J. Georges and their session of feminist debating—a social sport of Jill’s own design.

 

 

Nicole takes the stage with Morgan, and the crowd listens with rapt attention.

 

 

After the show, the crowd arrives for book signings and a chance to meet these powerhouse speakers in person. Audience members show off their Soloway swag, and the speakers pose together.

 

 

Soloway fans gather for drinks and conversation at a post-event reception. So many were ecstatic to meet Jill and get their books signed!

Photo Story: March For Our Lives

Since the tragedies at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the March For Our Lives movement has taken a stand against senseless gun violence. Town Hall was proud to offer these students a platform to speak to our community, share their experiences, and and discuss Glimmer of Hope, the book exploring the stories and struggles of the March For Our Lives movement and its founders.

If you’d like to revisit the evening’s discussion, or if you weren’t able to make it to the event, take a look at the photos below, taken by Libby Lewis, or check out this recording of the livestream.

So many of our audience members were excited to pick up copies of Glimmer of Hope. Community action groups, youth activists, and engaged citizens alike came to sit in for the evening’s conversation.

The seats at Temple De Hirsch Sinai were packed—but the audience listened intently as the Parkland survivors spoke.

David Hogg, Jammal Levy, and Alex Wind stepped up to tell us about the founding and mission of March For Our Lives.

Actress and activist Sophia Bush joined David, Jammal, and Alex as a moderator, guiding the discussion and asking provocative questions.

After the event, the Parkland students met with community members for photos, book signings, and more intent conversation about ways we can take action and combat gun violence in America.


For more photos of the event, visit the Facebook gallery.

Listening Guide: In The Moment Episode 25

In episode #25 of In The Moment, correspondent Mónica Guzmán talks with author and nonprofit founder Blair Imani (1:46) about Blair’s experience during a rally-turned-protest. Blair describes how the event led to her getting sent to prison, which in turn helped propel her visibility as a queer, black, Muslim activist.

Chief Correspondent Steve Scher sat down with Peter Sagal (13:50), host of NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!”. They delve into a personal biography about how running has shaped Peter’s thinking and his life—and how it continues to help him get through tough times. Peter shares the story of crossing the finish line at the 2013 Boston marathon moments before the fateful bombing. Steve and Peter also discuss the factors that motivated Peter to write his book—from a hard year of divorce and not speaking with his children to the 14 marathons he’s run and the feelings that those experiences have made him want to share.

Jini Palmer meets with Ijeoma Oluo (24:17) to talk about her takeaway from Jill Soloway’s appearance on Town Hall’s stage on October 23. Ijeoma tells Jini about how she finds feminist arguing to be more of an exhausting practice than a sport, and how important it is to get facts right if you have the stage. Ijeoma also addresses a misquote from Nicole Georges about Lindy West (who Ijeoma was sitting next to during the event) reminding us that it’s important to stay fired up and encouraging us to give these issues their due of knowledge and consideration.


Still Curious?

-Find out more about Blair Imani and her work by visiting her website.

Mónica Guzmán spoke with author China Miéville at Town Hall Seattle on May 25, 2017.

-Earlier this year, NPR compiled a few facts about Peter Sagal’s strange, interesting life.

Who Does Progress Look Like?

Social change isn’t just an idea. It’s people on the street forming demonstrations, rallies, and movements that prove the power of collective action. Town Hall is proud to feature two speakers whose work is tapped into that action, and who join us to introduce the people who are embodying change today.

L.A. Kauffman (11/7) has spent more than thirty years immersed in radical movements as a participant, strategist, journalist, and observer. She shares her front-line perspective, delving into the history of America’s major demonstrations to teach us how to read a protest. With insight on protestors ranging from their overall organization and makeup to the signs they carry, Kauffman explores the nuanced relationship between the way movements are made and the impact they have.

Blair Imani: Modern HERstory (November 9, 2018).

At the heart of these movements there are often individuals—and activist Blair Imani (11/9) intends to make sure they are not forgotten. She shines a light on under-celebrated individuals who have made huge contributions to critical social movements over the last century, but who are often overlooked due to their backgrounds or communities of origin. Imani offers us a radical and inclusive approach to history, celebrating women and nonbinary champions of progressive social change.

People drive progress. These speakers remind us that it’s critical to remember the individuals who’ve made social change possible. Listen in and learn about what it means to be the first one to the streets—and the kind of difference we can make when we demonstrate together.


Don’t miss Imani’s event on 11/9 at The Riveter.

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