Too Hot to Handel

On April 27 at St. Mark’s Cathedral, the Seattle Baroque Orchestra and the Byrd Ensemble will present Georg Handel’s most enduring work, Messiah. You can learn more about the event here.

Before the concert, learn a thing or ten about arguably the most famous Baroque composer that ever lived.


1) Handel was born on February 23, 1685 in Halle-upon-Saale in Germany. It was the same year another famous composer was born—Johann Sebastian Bach.

2) Handel’s father wasn’t too keen on young Georg’s musical pursuits. He opposed it and forbid any musical instrument to enter the house. In the attic, Georg snuck in a small spinet.

3) In 1710, Handel became a Kapellmeister. What’s a Kapellmeister? The director of music for a nobleman. He was employed by German prince George, the Elector of Hanover, who would, in 1714, become King George I of Great Britain and Ireland.

4) Handel permanently settled in London. 200-some years later another music legend lived in the same house Handel did. That man? Jimi Hendrix.

5) Handel became quite the opera star. In just twelve months, between 1724 and 1725, he wrote three successful operas: Giulo Cesare, Tamerlano, and Rodelinda. In his career, he wrote 42 operas.

6) Handel composed his first oratorio in 1707. Messiah was composed in 1741.

7) Messiah was first performed as part of an Easter celebration in Dublin, Ireland on April 13, 1742. 700 people attended the premiere. To make sure as many could attend as possible, gentlemen were asked to remove their swords and ladies not wear hoops in their dresses.

8) Of course, the most famous section of the piece is the “Hallelujah” chorus.

9) In 1751 Handel’s eyesight began to fail. He became completely blind the following year.

10) Handel died in 1759 and was buried at Westminster Abbey. The last performance he ever attended? Messiah.

Listen to Handel’s masterwork on April 27 at St. Mark’s Cathedral. Buy your tickets today.

 

Lectern Lectures

The Forum is now open! We’re excited about all the possibilities of the space. One item in the new space is a functional piece of art—the lectern. Comprised primarily of 14-gauge cold-rolled steel and finished with acid patina and wax, the lectern’s height is electrically variable from 42” to 48” via linear actuator. Its body rolls on ‘ball races,’ typically used for heavy material handling, but reconfigured and manufactured as furniture casters, complete with brakes!

Karl Swanson, who built the lectern, chatted briefly with Town Hall’s marketing manager, Jonathan Shipley, about his art.

Karl Swanson

JS: What is your full time job?

KS: I don’t work full-time anywhere…I am self-underemployed, focusing on my personal art.

JS: How did you get into metalwork?

KS: I was self-introduced to metal fabrication in my grandfather’s shop in Grand Island, Nebraska. He did his own maintenance on his many rental properties. He had all types of tools and materials, and me and my siblings were free to explore. I once made a chicken out of wire, nuts, and bolts! My earliest love was automobiles, and to be creative with them you needed metalworking skills, so that steered me in the general direction. Also, after dropping out of art school, my step-mother recommended that I attend vocational school and learn to weld, both for work and sculpture. Although I ultimately did not do the schooling, the suggestion nudged me toward the craft.

JS: What are some other metal projects that you’ve done?

KS: I was a metal fabricator professionally for 25 years, all told. Everything from blacksmithing to aerospace metal fabrication. I did my own sculptural furniture in Salt Lake City, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara. The list of projects is long. Recently, I built folding bunk beds for a tiny house construction company that was being filmed for a reality TV show.

JS: Why did you want to work with Town Hall?

KS: My family has a long tradition of being supportive of—and being culturally nurtured by—Town Hall. The building’s renovation project was impressive and ambitious and I wanted to take part somehow. Also, Wier Harman had been instrumental in helping our family find the perfect care facility for our matriarch and I wanted to return the favor.

JS: About the lectern—what aspect of it are you most proud of?

KS: I am most proud of creating a tool that satisfies both myself as a designer/fabricator and Town Hall as an end user.

JS: What was the most challenging aspect of the lectern?

KS: The most challenging part was the time frame: fully six months from first discussions to finished product. There were some relatively minor technical challenges that I lost a bit of sleep over, but those are to be expected with custom fabrication when there are moving components.

JS: What’s your next metal project?

KS: I plan to do some personal small-scale sculpture with copper, brass and cloth. I will also continue to do itinerant metalwork for a shop in Santa Barbara. I might possibly help with the exterior electric bicycle corral at Town Hall, too!

What Are People Doing?

Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “The Art Institute wore festive attire on Wednesday, with nearly 3,000 narcissus and daffodil blossoms,” and, “Next Monday, Mrs. J.H. Hill will entertain a number of her friends at bridge at The Camlin.” In this series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

There’s an ad in the April 13, 1929 edition of the Town Crier. It’s for the Exeter. The building is “a delightful place to live.” From bachelor rooms to family apartments, they’re “all tastefully furnished.” The Exeter is across the street from Town Hall. More? Our administrative offices are in that selfsame building!

It’s a Seattle historical site, the Exeter. It was one of several high rise apartment buildings constructed on First Hill in the 1920s. It was originally constructed as an apartment hotel, with 139 two- to three-bedroom apartments, so they could be combined into larger units, and 19 large apartments with fireplaces. There was a dining room on the first floor for those who did not want to cook in their apartments. With its Tudor Gothic terracotta ornamentation, it was one of the sterling buildings in the neighborhood. It was designed by B. Dudley Stuart and Arthur Wheatley.

In the 1880s-90s, First Hill, where Town Hall and the Exeter stands, was one of the most desirable residential neighborhoods in the city. With stunning views and with its close proximity to downtown, some of Seattle’s finest mansions began appearing. Apartment building living came soon after to the neighborhood.

Interested in living at the Exeter yourself? You can! All the better that your neighbors are your friends, us here at Town Hall.

What Are People Doing?

Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “Miss Nellie C. Cornish, who has been spending the week at her farm on Hood’s Canal, is expected home today,” and, “The Seattle Flyer’s Club, a newly formed organization, will be hosting a formal ball on Friday evening.” In this series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

Town Hall likes animals. We’ve recently had talks about orca whales, bees, and plenty about birds. We had Richard Prum discuss the mating rituals of birds. We also had a BirdNote Live! Podcast.

In the April 5, 1919 edition of the Town Crier there was a story about the estimated speed of birds. It was entitled, “The Estimated Speed of Birds.” It begins, “There is no doubt that the speed of birds if very deceptive, more especially that of the larger birds, which appear to be moving at a much slower rate than they really are, owing to their size.” Luckily, for Crier readers, there was an Oregonian who liked birds. “The following table of relative speeds has been prepared by a statistics crank in Portland.”

A few of the crank’s findings:

A quail can go 65 to 85 feet per second.
A ruffed grouse can go 60 to 90 feet per second.
A mallard can go 55 to 90 feet per second.
A teal can go 120 to 140 feet per second.
A canvasback can go 130 to 160 feet per second.

If you’re curious, here are the fastest birds in the world. I’m not sure which cranks came up with those numbers.

Sikh Captain America and Superhero Serendipity

It was on my birthday, October 1 of last year, that I first met Sikh Captain America—Vishavjit Singh. He made an appearance at Town Hall discussing battling stereotypes, fighting racism, and overcoming intolerance. We talked plenty before the event, prepping for it, becoming email chums. I profiled him before his appearance here.

Before Sikh Captain America came to town, we decided to put him on the cover of our October print calendar to help publicize the month’s events. I asked the photographer who shot it, Nate Gowdy, if we could use it for the calendar. He said, ‘No problem.’ Further, he said he was going to be there that night to shoot pictures on his own.

My former sister-in-law, Christie Skoorsmith, joined me for the night. Inspired by Singh’s talk, she asked during the Q&A, “You mentioned that anyone can be Captain America. Everyone IS Captain America. Have you ever thought about having a photo shoot where people from all walks of life are dressed up like Captain America like you? I have two transgender kids. They would love to be a part of something like that.”

Singh responded, “That’s a good idea.” Gowdy, in attendance, talked to Skoorsmith after the show. “That’s a good idea.” They all agreed—they should actually do it.

A week and some ago, they actually did it.

Now collaboratively called the “American Superhero Project,” they brought in superheroes of all races, ages, genders, and walks of life for photographic portraits and to share their stories with Singh about what it means to be American. There were over 40 participants. They did all this with a team of ten volunteers to help make the shoot run smoothly.

What’s next? They’re planning on connecting with national publications, such as the New York Times and Time magazine, to see if they are interested in giving the project a home. They’re also hoping on taking the photo shoot to other cities to get a broader swath of Americans in all their wondrous diversity.

Further, there were two videographers on site at what was once the United States Immigrant Station and Assay Office. The videographers recorded personal interviews done by the participants and Singh. They also captured behind-the-scenes footage of the shoot as a whole. The team thinks there’s enough inspiring footage for the makings of a Netflix documentary. All of this is still in its infancy, but there is much to be excited about as the project moves forward.

After the weekend photo shoot completed, Singh remarked that it was one of the most memorable days of his life, especially in uniform as Sikh Captain America. Gowdy, a professional photographer with years of experience under his belt, said he had never been prouder in making photos.

We at Town Hall are honored to play the small part in bringing these people together. It’s just another way in which we strive to fulfill our mission of giving everyone a voice.

Signomi, then milow ellenica. But Mary Norris does.

The island of Milos is beautiful. “What’s good enough for Aphrodite is good enough for me,” notes philhellene Mary Norris, the famed “Comma Queen” who has worked at the New Yorker’s copy desk for years. Corfu is a beautiful and civilized place, as well. Don’t get Norris started on the Dodecanese—the island group in the southeastern Aegean. “The sea there.” That’s all the words she needs to describe one of the most beautiful places she’s seen on earth.

Norris has had a lifelong fascination with Greece and the Greek language. Her new book is Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen. Norris will discuss the book, Greece, language (‘Signomi, then milow ellenica’ means ‘Sorry, I don’t speak Greek’), and the adventures she’s had there—amongst crumbling temples, olive trees, and ouzo—on May 1 at the Summit on Pike. Tickets are on sale now.

She first gravitated towards ancient Greece through movies. Time Bandits struck her. Jason and Argonauts did, as well. Ulysses. “I loved those movies. The minotaurs and gods and heroes.” She watched movies and read all the mythology. She grew to love the stories of the cyclops. The story of the Roman goddess Ceres, who turned men into pigs. Athena is her favorite Greek god. “She’s the goddess of wisdom. She never married. She was Zeus’s favorite, and she gave such good guidance.” Athena was also the goddess of war. She was known for her strategic skill in warfare. So fearsome she was born fully formed from Zeus’s forehead in full armor.

Athena

After Norris watched Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits, seeing a hunky Sean Connery as Agamemnon, she went the very next day to her boss at the New Yorker and told him she wanted to go to Greece. Her boss loved Greece and immediately took off the shelf a slim volume entitled A Modern Greek Reader for Beginners by J.T. Pring. The fact that her boss could read Greek at all astonished her.

Sean Connery in “Time Bandits”

In Greek to Me, she writes, “Seeing Ed unlock a Greek sentence gave me a Helen Keller moment: Greek could be lucid! It did not have to be unintelligible, as in the famous words of Casca in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar: ‘It was Greek to me.’ Those letters could be penetrated, and here was the proof.” Having a lifelong interest in reading and writing—matching letters to sounds; building words; studying syntax and phonics—Norris discovered she could begin it all again with a whole new alphabet.

So she studied modern Greek. And then she studied ancient Greek. “The most beautiful letter in Greek? I like Xi. It sounds like KS, sort of like our X. Ooh, and also Omega.” The more she learned Greek the more she discovered how Greek, though exotic, is similar to English in many ways and has deeply influenced our own language. Greek, in fact, helped form English.

“It teaches you a lot about your own language,” she says of studying Greek in all its forms. “It’s also a link to the glories of the past.” A past where Homer wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey; where Constantine Cavafy wrote the beloved poem “Ithaca”; where Euripides wrote Medea. Norris delights that she can read them all in the original text. By reading Sappho’s words, or Herodotus’, or Socrates’, she brings them back to life—for language doesn’t die if it’s passed on to others. She’s thrilled to be that receptacle. The time of Odysseus and the mythic Trojan Wars are still present.

Something Norris says to Greeks living and long dead is one of her favorite words in their language, efcharisto (ευχαριστώ) (“thank you”). From it, we get the English word eucharist. “It has a beautiful deep meaning of gratitude and grace,” she says. To that, she raises a glass of ouzo to the lands of gods and poets.

What Are People Doing?

Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “The little white house on the corner of 4th Avenue and Pine Street has been transformed from a War Metal Exchange into the Children’s Orthopedic Bureau,” and, “Mrs. Theodore Haller…has been playing a leading role in a movie filmed recently in Los Angeles.” In this new series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

The proud visage of Clark Nettleton graced the cover of the March 29, 1919 edition of the Town Crier. “Once upon a time our morning daily was the leading newspaper of the State of Washington,” the caption read. “That was in the days when real newspaper men, trained and skilled in the profession and business of journalism, were at the head of it.” The Crier was pleased that Nettleton was to be at the head of it. “Once again the P,-I. is a real newspaper because once again a real newspaper man is in charge of its destinies.”

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer ceased print publication in 2009 but continues online. The globe that sits atop the old P-I building is something of an icon. The newspaper has a storied history. The Post-Intelligencer was formed in 1881 through a merger of the Seattle Post and the Weekly Intelligencer. The Weekly Intelligencer was a successor of the Seattle Gazette, the city’s first newspaper, established in 1863. There were many iterations and owners in the early days of Seattle’s burgeoning journalism scene. The Seattle Post was backed by John Leary, a prominent Seattle lawyer, but was deeply in debt. With the Post and Weekly Intelligencer merging, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer came to be. Their first issue was on October 1, 1881.

It went through many iterations and owners through the years, including William Randolph Hearst, and was a rival to the Seattle Times throughout.  In 1983, financially struggling, the P-I entered a joint operating agreement with the Times. The publication continued to falter and ceased publication on March 17, 2009.

As for the man of destiny? Nettleton was the publisher of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer until April 1921. His mansion still stands in Kirkland.

Rejoicing with Musician Eli Rosenblatt

Like all great musician origin stories, it starts with Sir Mix-a-Lot. “The first cassette I ever got was Sir Mix-a-Lot’s Seminar album,’ notes Seattle-area musician Eli Rosenblatt. “Remember that song ‘Gortex’? ‘Posse in effect, scramble up, new rhyme/Big Gortex, crushed down, two time.’ I loved that album.”

It’s not the only album Rosenblatt loved growing up in the Seattle area. There was Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, grunge music and bebop greats like Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins. But before he discovered all of that, he was kid. Kids can hear Rosenblatt play tunes FOR FREE (adults are $5) at Phinney Center on April 13 as part of Town Hall’s Saturday Family Concert series.

The first musical memories Rosenblatt has are of the Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong duets that his parents played. It struck young Eli dumb. “There are no wrong notes. There is not one beat that does not swing,” he says enthusiastically. He grew up listening to his parents’ albums. They’d listen to jazz, and Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” Bob Marley, and Paul Simon’s Graceland album, graced with the sounds of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The family’s tastes, and Eli’s own forming musical tastes, were eclectic. Then he heard Afro-Cuban music and a lifelong love affair was born. “I heard the piano at the beginning of a mambo song and thought, ‘well, this is the best thing that exists.’”

He picked up a guitar at young age and soon after a notebook to write his own songs in. He started playing in clubs as a teenager and he doesn’t want to brag, but “I was one of the best local freestyle rappers coming up.” His first paid gig was at a Greek restaurant in Eastlake. “I can’t believe that I could get paid for this.”

He got enough gigs to play professionally full time, leaving his job at UW Hospitals as a medical interpreter. Currently, he fronts the band Bakbuk. They play a mix of original music and reinvented classics in global music styles like Salsa, Cha Cha, Waltz, Klezmer, Swing, Hip-Hop and Samba. Bakbuk performs at Cafe Nordo on 4/11.

All the while, now with a kid of his own, he’s opened wide the door to playing music for children. “It’s brought me a lot. It took me on a journey into my authentic self. It made me feel comfortable with love and unity and acceptance. It opened my heart and I can truly say I love the children I play for.” He plays songs like “Elephant Car,” “Watermelon,” and “Mr. Fox.”

“To make a connection with these kids is really special,” he says. When kids come to his show he wants to them to have the freedom to be themselves. For Rosenblatt, it’s a freedom to express himself in melody and rhythm, rhyme and meter. For the audience: “I want them to be inspired. I want much rejoicing.”

Rejoice. You can see Rosenblatt on April 13 at the Phinney Center.

In Session with Psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb

Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist. Lori Gottlieb is also a human. She, herself, went to psychotherapy. Soon, on April 10 at the Summit on Pike, she’ll talk to Luke Burbank about her career as a psychotherapist, what it means to give advice, and ponders the question of what we all want in life. Get tickets to the event here. To give us a preview of her story she spoke recently with Town Hall’s marketing manager Jonathan Shipley.

JS: What got you interested in psychology and therapy to begin with? Was it your major in college or did you have interest even before that?

LG: I did a lot of other things that seemed unrelated to therapy. I worked as a film and television executive in Los Angeles. I went to medical school. I was a journalist for many years and then I became a therapist. And so all of the things that I was doing were related to therapy in a way that I didn’t realize at the time. When I was working in film and television I was dealing with fictional stories, but they all had a lot to do with human struggles. And then I went to medical school and I saw real human struggles. I later became a therapist and I got to help change people’s lives.

JS: As a kid were you already analyzing yourself, your friends, your parents?

LG: I think I was always curious about psychology when I was growing up. I was very curious about friend dynamics; about my family dynamics. I never envisioned doing it for a living, but I was always curious about why people do what they do.

JS: So how did you finally make the leap into being a psychotherapist?

LG:  I’d been working as a journalist for many years. I was really happy as a journalist, but then I had a baby and I realized that there were no verbal humans to talk to during the day. And I thought I need colleagues. I need to get out of the house. So I called the dean at Stanford Medical School, which is where I had been in medical school, and I asked her if I should come back and do psychiatry and she just laughed at me. ‘Wait, you want to come back to medical school?’ She knew about me from medical school and so she knew that I was really interested in the relationships with the patients and being involved in people’s lives as a guide, as someone that they could rely on over time. And so she suggested that I get a graduate degree in clinical psychology and go that route, which is what I did.

JS: What are the skill sets involved in being a psychotherapist? What do you bring to the table?

LG: Well, all of the training and credentials and everything that needed to happen in order to get licensed and then to learn the craft being a therapist. I think that my most significant asset is that I’m a card-carrying member of the human race. That I know what it’s like to be a person in the world. And I think that it’s really important for therapists to be human and to not position themselves as the expert up on high, but as another human being who understands what it’s like to struggle with the daily problems of living.

JS: Is there some amount of hubris involved? That you can change their lives?

LG: We can help them change their lives, but we can’t change their lives for them. They have to do the work and we can be there to help smooth the path so that they can see why they’re getting in their own way. So many times people who come to therapy are shooting themselves in the foot in ways that they don’t realize. I think that I can hold up a mirror to them and say, ‘look at this reflection,’ and do it in a very compassionate way. Say, ‘This is something that you should pay attention to because you keep ending up in the same place and not understanding why. Here are the clues as to why.’

JS: This is probably difficult to identify, but are there any commonalities among all your patients? What is it that we want? Love and acceptance. Is there anything more than that?

LG: We are all very different people in almost every respect. And yet, I think at our core, all of us, we are dealing with the same questions about how to love and be loved. What is it like to be vulnerable? What do we do with our pain? What do we do with the things that we can’t change, and how do we change the present and the future? Why is it so hard to change, even when we really want to? Why do we keep resisting change? How do we deal with the fact that we have a limited time on the planet and we’re all going to die? How do we live the life that we want to live in the limited time that we have to do so? I think all of those questions are the questions that every single person is dealing with in very different ways.

JS: When did you decide that you, yourself, needed therapy?

LG: I was going through something and I didn’t think about calling a therapist. The first person that I thought about calling was my best friend. You can’t go to your friends for therapy, but she said, ‘maybe you should go somewhere where you’re not being a therapist. Maybe you should talk to someone.’ And that’s when I decided to go talk to someone. And as it happens with many of my own patients, the turn of events in my life that took me to therapy was just a symptom to a larger problem.

JS: I am curious as to what you think of the bootstrap mentality—that we can just solve our own problems and that going to therapy is just a sign of weakness.

LG: Sometimes what happens is people who actually find themselves struggling don’t think that their problems are significant enough to get help for them. With our emotional health, if we’re feeling something we often think, ‘well, what do I have to complain about. I’m really functional and all these people in my life love me.’ But struggles are struggles. Therapy isn’t a place to go complain. It’s a place to help you with your struggles. A lot of people feel there is a hierarchy of pain. I don’t think there is. Pain is pain. Your pain isn’t less because you don’t have cancer. Your pain isn’t less because you happen to have a loving partner. Your pain is your pain.

JS: What are some tools for someone battling depression?

LG: Minimizing our feelings or trying to pretend them away doesn’t work. In fact, if we keep up with that stiff upper lip mentality, they get bigger. Suppressing your feelings does not make them go away. People are afraid of those unpleasant feelings. They don’t realize that our feelings are like a compass—they guide us to say something’s not right, something’s not working, and something needs to be paid attention to. I think it’s really important for someone who experiences depression to get help as early on as they can.

JS: Why did you start your advice column in the Atlantic?

LG: I love advice columns. I think there are so many talented columnists out there and I think they’re really useful. I think that a lot of times people need an outside person to look at their situation. I wanted to do an advice column with a twist—I wanted to do what a therapist does, which is to help people see their situation from a different perspective and through a different lens. By doing that maybe they can see their problem differently and make a better choice. I’m not telling them what to do, I’m guiding them in terms of looking at their situation from a different angle. 

JS: You must be popular at dinner parties.

LG: There are so many reactions when someone knows you’re a therapist. Some people feel like, somehow, we have x-ray vision into their souls. They don’t want to sit next to you because they don’t want you to analyze them. It’s not like if you sat next to a gynecologist you’d ask if they were about to give you a pelvic exam. I think I understand where it’s coming from, though. I think there’s this this fear: how will you see me? Will you see my shame? My vulnerability? All the things that I try to hide in polite company, will you be able to see it?

JS: What do you wish you knew in your youth that you know now?

LG: I wish I knew that we’re all more the same than different. I think the ways we imagine our lives compared to other people’s lives are often grossly inaccurate. And that we are really all okay the way we are, and even if we need work and even if we are working on changing that, we’re still together in this.

I know this sounds cheesy, but I think that so many times people feel isolated in their situation, their feelings, what they’re going through, and they don’t realize that they’re not alone. Quite the opposite. Everyone is struggling, some in big ways and some in small ways. They’re human. We all are.

We need to have a lot of compassion for ourselves. The more compassion we have for ourselves, the more we have compassion for others.

JS: What don’t you know yet that you wish you did?

LG: I start to look at these existential questions that we all have about love and mortality and I’m made aware that we all have a limited time on the planet. You should live your life in a way that you want to live it and not wait for some unknown date in the future to really do the things that you want to do. And I think we can all live every day that way.


Join Lori Gottlieb and Luke Burbank on April 10 at the Summit on Pike. Tickets are available now.

What Are People Doing?

Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “The fortnight series of supper-dances in the tea room are among the most charming events of the season,” and, “the Women’s University Club will give a birthday party in honor of it’s grand baby Steinway, or Steinway Baby Grand.” In this new series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”

Today’s entry…

For three days in late March, 1919, the Camp Lewis Players performed at Seattle’s Metropolitan Theater. The entertainment, the March 22, 1919 edition of the Town Crier reported, included “a new line-up consisting of eight in a number of vaudeville acts and a couple of one-act sketches.” The organization was composed entirely of professional talent from Camp Lewis, “and every member of the company has at one time or another delighted the audience from the vaudeville stage.” The members of the troupe brought their own stage, too. The stage was “a great factor for them in supplying amusement to the convalescent soldiers at the Camp.” Under the supervision of a former Orpheum Circuit actor, Lieutenant Robert Armstrong and Everett Hovfe, a well-known vaudeville star from the East, the Camp Lewis Players toured coast-to-coast.

Camp Lewis would later become Fort Lewis that would later become Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Pierce County. Camp Lewis began in 1917 when the citizens of Pierce County voted  to buy acres of land and then donate the land to the federal government for military use. The first recruits moved into the barracks on September 5, 1917. By the time WWI came about, some 60,000 men were stationed there. In 1938 McChord Air Force Base came in. They merged in 2010 into a Joint Base.

You can learn more about the early days of Camp Lewis, here. Or, better yet, visit the Lewis Army Museum.

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