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, “Neil and Fox Beauty Parlor is offering permanent and Marcel waving” and, “Mrs. Lawrence Bogle was hostess at a luncheon on Wednesday at the Golf Club.” 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…

“In August time,” the Frederick & Nelson ad reads in the August 16 issue of the Town Crier, “the highways, trails and placid waters of the Puget Sound region provide matchless settings for the Kodak enthusiast.”

Seattle Met recently asked, “Which Washington State Park Should You Visit?” Their thoughts.

Seattle Magazine recently noted “The Seattle Outdoor Activities Everyone Must Do.” Their thoughts.

Into Instagram? Big 7 Travel recently gave readers “The Most Instagrammable Spots in Washington.” Their thoughts.

These days most people are taking to the highways, trails and placid waters with their smart phones rather than with Kodak cameras. Kodak was a giant in the photo industry. Then they went bankrupt. What happened? This.

Talking about giants that are now history: Frederick & Nelson. Founded in 1891 as a furniture store, it expanded to sell all sorts of wares. The 1919 ad continued, “Frederick & Nelson provides the Kodaks, the films and a competent finishing service – to say nothing of the bonbons, cushions, cool wearables and other aids to a thoroughly enjoyable vacation.” The store continued to expand in the area, up to 10 stores in two states. The company went out of business in 1992.

Enjoy the rest of summer, friends. Take some photos. Eat some bonbons. Enjoy our region’s matchless settings.

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, “Maurice Brown gave a delightful talk on ‘Poets and Poetry’ on Tuesday” and, “Miss Ellen Messer was the proud winner of the blue ribbon in the ladies saddle class last Sunday at Camp Lewis.” 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 was high praise in the August 2nd, 1919 edition of the Town Crier for the Theo Karle Club concert that was held at the Armory in honor of the Eastern Star delegates. “The Moszkowksi Dance and ‘The Americans Come’ proved the favorite choral numbers. The unaccompanied numbers demonstrated the high grade of work done by this club.” The story singled some singers out. “The soloists were Miss Evelyn Dale, who sang Cadman’s ‘Thrush’ in a charming manner, and responded to an encore with ‘Old Virginny,’ accompanied by the club.” The Theo Karle Club, it was noted, was going to play at an Alki beach picnic the following weekend, joined by the Seattle Clef Club.

Theo Karle

This begs the question: Who was Theo Karle? Born in Iowa in 1893, Karle came went and lived most of his life in Olympia, Washington. It was there that he gained notoriety for his tenor vocal skills. He performed on various radio stations and made his way to New York City, where he made his first appearance with the Rubenstein Club in 1916. He toured with the New York Philharmonic for a time. He had some recordings made for Victor and Brunswick Records in the 1910s and 1920s. In the 1920s he toured Europe, singing with the Opera-Comique in Paris and the Opera of Monte Carlo. He worked for CBS in the 1930s and retired to Seattle in 1941 and taught voice lessons. He died in 1972.

His music lives on, however. You can listen to him sing here, here, and here.

Talent Show: The Tender Gritty Music of Amanda Winterhalter

On August 10, Town Hall’s stage will be graced by musician Amanda Winterhalter for a single release concert. Tickets are on sale now! Get to know her a bit more:

There was a record player in her house growing up in the rural hills of Stanwood, Washington. There were records, too. A Bread album. Cream. The Rolling Stones. Anne Murray. “My mom really enjoyed Anne Murray.” Amanda Winterhalter suddenly breaks into song as we talk. Tender, with a little grit beneath. There was a record player at her house but the needle broke and no one bothered to fix it. It sat, getting dusty.

The Winterhalter house wasn’t a musical house. There weren’t tunes playing in the living room. The radio was rarely on. In the car they played oldies and gospel (Amanda’s mom sang in the church choir, after all). There was contemporary sacred music that piped through the car’s dinky speakers. “Amy Grant was very influential to me.” Amanda breaks into song again—a short refrain.

The house she found music in was a house of worship, a church the Winterhalter family attended frequently. “I wanted to do musical things,” and so she joined the choir. Her mom was a soloist from time to time. Amanda thought that was pretty cool. Sometimes, they sang mother-daughter duets together. Amanda started soloing at church when she was around 10 years old. She picked up a guitar as a tween and started learning chords and learned how to pluck the strings. As a teenager she joined a church band. “The youth worship team played the cool Christian music—drums, electric guitar, and shit.” She laughs a warm bright brassy laugh. “I lead the youth band and it’s where I learned a lot of my foundational band skills. I was quite ambitious. I loved music.”

Music was sacred to her, and still is. But secular tunes began to catch her attention. She listened ardently to the first ladies of jazz, the honeyed voice of Ella Fitzgerald, the blackberry vines of Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington. Also, Lauryn Hill. “It was the Video Music Awards, or something, and Lauryn Hill began singing ‘To Zion’ and it blew my freaking mind.”

Shy by nature, Amanda didn’t join many music groups in high school and when she went to college (Northwest University in Kirkland) she majored in English, though her desire to pursue her art grew and then grew more.

“My senior year was an inflection point. It was my time to rediscover music.” She took voice classes, ear training. She was a member of the chamber choir (“It melted me away”). She took music theory classes. She was becoming versed in verses.

She decided, shyness be damned, to enter the school talent show. She sang and played the guitar. She wore all black and was decked out in leather boots. She played Mindy Smith’s ‘Come to Jesus.’ And what happened? “I fucking won that show head over heels.”

She discovered that she could call herself an artist. She started writing her own songs in earnest. She was working in Olympia as a teacher when she joined a band in Shelton, Lower Lights Burning. She sang backup vocals, played piano, banjo, accordion, mandolin, pump organ.

From there she started making connections with local and regional musicians. She wanted to become enmeshed in the music scene and she felt Shelton couldn’t hold her. She moved to Seattle and soon ran into Geoff Larson, a jazz bassist who ran, and continues to run, The Bushwick Book Club Seattle, a nonprofit where local artists write and perform original songs inspired by books. She started singing songs at Bushwick events. She opened for Elizabeth Gilbert and Geraldine Brooks before their readings that were put on by Seattle Arts and Lectures.

Winterhalter and Larson became friends and developed an artistic partnership. Through working with him she began finding her form, the shape of her style, and her voice. “He helped me find the sound that felt true to me.”

He also helped her record her first album, Olea (2016). She’s got a full band now with Larson on upright bass, Rick Weber on drums, Nick Drozdowicz on electric guitar, and Ed Brooks on pedal steel. Winterhalter says, “With our diverse backgrounds and our diverse influences, we’re really starting to swing.”

On August 10 at Town Hall Seattle they release in concert the title track of her forthcoming album, What’s This Death (2019). They’ll be joined by The Drifter Luke and Old Coast. The album has all the parts that have helped make Winterhalter feel whole—cathartic lyrics, warm tones, deep wails, and wrenching growls. “It’s my way to have a voice in this world.” She suddenly starts singing again and a record player, gathering dust in someone’s house, is aching to be played. Winterhalter’s album comes out  early October 2019.

Below is a recent song she wrote about the Mount Saint Helens explosion:

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, “Mrs. Francis Guy Frink was the hostess of a delightful picnic luncheon” and, “Miss Evelyn Colvin launched the ship Chalise on Tuesday.” 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 Crier writer Adele M. Ballard wrote in the July 26, 1919 edition, “And now the residents are seriously considering the exquisite propriety of changing the name of the one-time fashionable First Hill to Hospital Hill. Others are strongly in favor of ironically dubbing it Last Hill. Why? Oh, well, you know, it’s bound to be increasingly that for many of its temporary dwellers.”

Such doom and gloom, Adele! She lightens up…some. “While it may not be the most cheerful proposition in the world, in a way, for the owners of homes, yet even in this most healthful city extant it seems that such hostelries are a growing necessity. Unfortunately they are bound to give the First Hillers a rather gloomy outlook on life with

“Hospitals to the right of them,
Hospitals to the left of them,
Groaning like thunder:
Theirs not to question why,
Theirs but to do or die,
Pack household gods and fly –
Get out from under!”


Adele, a poetess, to boot.

Town Hall Seattle is a proud resident of First Hill. Our building has stood on it since 1916. Do you know about the First Hill Improvement Association? The organization champions a dynamic and safe First Hill through advocacy on key issues affecting the neighborhood; providing a forum for discussion; programming community events; tracking changes that impact the community; and connecting people to create the best neighborhood possible.

The First Hill event calendar can be found here. Town Hall’s event calendar can be found here.

Come join us in our neighborhood!

Be Amaze-ZINE and Submit Your Artwork

Our friends at The Hydrant are asking artists, aged 12 to 25, to submit a self portrait. Winners will be included in a zine that will be published soon. The Hydrant is a platform conceived by the Youth Rising Cultural Focus Committee that serves as a creative think tank and platform that amplifies the voices, stories, and impact of emerging leaders in the arts community. ALSO? The Hydrant will have an arts showcase at Town Hall on September 14 as part of Town Hall’s Homecoming Festival.

The contest:

Theme: “Self Portrait.” Who are you in the eyes of yourself?
Art: Photography, street art, digital art, poetry, painting, creative writing, whatever medium you think is best.
Submit: Use hashtag #HydrantZine2019 and post your work (make sure it’s public) on Instagram.
Deadline: August 25.

Follow The Hydrant’s Instagram page for updates.

If your work is selected for the zine, you’ll receive a DM from @TheHydrant letting you know. If selected, they’ll request a high quality version of your piece.

Make art. Be happy!

 

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 first week of the month had many of us making frequent trips to the ice box and mixing cooling drinks” and, “The Tuesday evening dances at the Red Cross Jumble Shop have become pleasant weekly habits.” 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 was a time, a hundred years ago, that people hunted by phonograph.

“A phonograph has been put to a very novel use by seal hunters of the Pacific,” a story read in the July 19, 1919 edition of the Town Crier. “A large instrument, but one which is of a convenient shape for transportation, is made use of, and it is set up near the rendezvous of the animals, and soon its music attracts their attention and they lift their heads well above the water.” You might imagine what happens next. “A hunter reports that he has been able to shoot large numbers of them while they are under the spell of sounds so strange to their ears.”

A hundred years later, we no longer hunt by phonograph but we certainly go hunting for vinyl. A list of ten record stores in Seattle (by all means, not a comprehensive list):

Bop Street Records in Ballard.

Daybreak Records in Fremont.

Easy Street Records in West Seattle.

Everyday Music on Capitol Hill.

Fantagraphics in Georgetown.

Golden Oldies in Wallingford.

Jive Time Records in Fremont.

Neptune Music Company in the University District.

Sonic Boom in Ballard.

Spin Cycle on Capitol Hill. 


Happy hunting.

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 Catherine Poe has invitations out for a dinner dance for the younger set,” and, “Chopin’s ‘Military Polonaise’ was played on the piano by Gladys Bezeau on Sunday afternoon.” 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 was a small mention by Town Crier writers in the July 12, 1929 edition of the Seattle Garden Club.

“The Seattle Garden Club visited the gardens in The Highlands on Tuesday afternoon,” it noted. Among those in attendance was Mrs. C.D. Stimson, Mrs. Archibald Stewart Downey, Mrs. Scott Bullitt, Mrs. William E. Boeing, Mrs. John H. Ballinger, Mrs. D.E. Frederick, Mrs. M.A. Arnold, and Mrs. Thomas Stimson. The afternoon was brought to a close with a “delightful tea” at the home of Mrs. Ballinger.

What’s also delightful besides tea? The Seattle Garden Club continues to bloom to this day. The Seattle Garden Club was founded in 1917 by a group of women who shared a love of gardening. SGC became affiliated with The Garden Club of America in 1923, and continues to be so. SGC encourages interest in horticulture, conservation, floral design, and photography.

Duh: The Importance of Early Childhood Education

On July 17, in the Forum at Town Hall, there will be a screening of the documentary, No Small Matter, and a post-movie discussion about childcare access. Get your tickets now.

The film’s directors are Danny Alpert, Jon Siskel, and Greg Jacobs. Town Hall’s own Jonathan Shipley talked to Jacobs about early childhood education, brain works, and Cookie Monster.

Greg Jacobs

JS: What got you interested in the subject matter? Do you have children of your own?

GJ: So my co-directors—Danny Alpert, and Jon Siskel, and I—all have slightly different “origin stories” for how we got interested in this issue. For me, it started when we were asked to do a video for The Ounce of Prevention Fund, a big early childhood advocacy organization here in Chicago. The video was about their flagship Educare, an incredible early learning center for low-income kids and families on the city’s South Side. After a week of filming, I was like, ‘Why hasn’t anyone told me about this!?’  

I’d been interested in education issues for a while (I’d written a book about school desegregation in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio), but I’d pretty much given up on K-12—the battle lines were so entrenched that it seemed like nothing we tried would make things better. But seeing Educare made me think, ‘What if the best way to improve the K-12 system is actually to improve the raw material coming into it? What if instead of 5 out of 25 kids arriving at a kindergarten class ready to learn, 20 of 25 did? What impact would that have on, well, pretty much everything that follows?’ And that’s when I became a zealous convert to the cause!

And by the way, I do have two kids, but sadly, they’re now teenagers, so they’ve both aged out of No Small Matter.

JS: The director statement on your website says, “Duh!” of course early childhood education. What made you want to take this on as a project?

GJ: After that first video, we did a few more, and each one made us more convinced of the issue’s scope and importance.  Finally, we said, ‘We want to do ‘the big one’—the comprehensive, issue-defining, Inconvenient Truth-type feature documentary about the power and potential impact of early childhood education.’ But, to be honest, there was probably no way we could’ve done such an ambitious film and engagement campaign on our own. Fortunately, we discovered that our friend and fellow Chicago filmmaker Danny Alpert also happened to be interested in the issue, so we decided to join forces and tackle the project together. Best decision ever. 

JS: What are some of the most important facts you learned while making the film?

GJ: No Small Matter makes a brick-by-brick argument for why investing in the first five years is so crucial. Each step of the way, there are jaw-dropping facts or statistics—a baby’s brain is making a million neural connections every second; in over half the states in the U.S. putting an infant in childcare costs more than sending a kid to public college; just three percent of all educational expenditures in the U.S. go to 0-5, etc. But because early childhood is inescapably about big people taking care of little people, probably the most important facts involve the destructively inadequate pay and respect we give the early childhood workforce. On average, ECE teachers make less than dog-walkers and parking attendants; around 46% of them are on some form of public assistance; turnover is roughly 30% a year; and in a study of the expected lifetime earnings of undergraduate majors, early childhood education ranked 83rd —out of 83. That’s unsustainable. 

JS: What are some of the most surprising things you learned while making the film?

GJ: Suffice to say, we are not scientists. So it was fascinating to begin to wrap our heads around the surprising science of early childhood development, including the groundbreaking work being done at I-LABS in Seattle, which we feature in the film. Researchers know so much more now about how the developing brain works than they did even ten or twenty years ago that the science has outstripped the public’s understanding of what really matters during the 0-5 years. And it turns out that what truly helps build a healthy brain is not flashcards or fancy technology, but the environment of relationships within which a child is raised—the more back-and-forth interactions a baby has with loving, supportive adults, the better that child’s odds in life will be. Which is why the issue of early childhood education is never just about children—it’s always about families and communities, as well.

JS: What were some of the most emotionally affecting moments for you while making the film?

GJ: There were a lot. But probably the most powerful thing was seeing, over and over, the struggles of parents and caregivers who are doing their absolute best in the face of constant, unyielding economic stress. Since Americans tend to treat 0-5 as a purely private matter—one that is neither shaped by politics nor political in its consequences—these parents and these caregivers often think that the problem must be them. Which is why so many of them have such emotional responses to No Small Matter—it’s often the first time they’ve seen their own struggles set in a larger context: the abdication (or privatization) of our social responsibility to support families with babies and young children. Or, as Geoffrey Canada puts it in the film, ‘Here’s an enemy that most folks don’t even know we need to fight.’

JS: For someone without kids/family, why watch the movie?

GJ: As I always say, our target audience is anyone who has, knows, or was a child. Because No Small Matter isn’t just a movie about parenting (though parents will certainly learn stuff). And it’s not just a movie about kids (though there’s a lot of fascinating stuff about early childhood development). It’s a movie about how we as a nation support—or don’t support—families with babies and young children. And that, as it turns out, affects everyone, because so many things that so many people care about are impacted by that issue: health care, crime, economic opportunity, inequality, workforce development, even military readiness—the list goes on and on. So whether you have little kids or not, we can pretty much guarantee that if you go see No Small Matter, you’ll laugh, you’ll probably cry, and you’ll leave the theater viewing the world differently than you did when you came in. Plus cute babies and Cookie Monster!

JS: What can people do to ensure early childhood education is available in their neighborhood/city/state?

GJ: One of the things we love about early childhood as an issue is that it’s not just powerful, it’s possible—it’s one of the very few issues that both Republicans and Democrats can agree on. That said, building a high quality system of support for families with young children is going to take time, it’s going to take movement on multiple fronts (prenatal care, home visiting, family leave, childcare, pre-K) and it’s going to take public will. So the first step for people is understanding just how powerful an issue this truly can be—telling that story is the goal of No Small Matter. Once you get it you can’t go back, so the next step is acting on that understanding, making it a part of your everyday political filter, a litmus test for your candidates, a measure of your community’s health. Basically, treating it like the grown-up issue it really is. If enough people get to the point where they, too, view this as ‘duh’, then we might actually see what advocate Dana Suskind calls ‘population-level change.’

Watch the movie at Town Hall. Listen in on a panel discussion after. Ask questions. Take steps. Tickets are on sale 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, “July first ushered in a new month and what a month!,” and, “The more advanced members of the feminine contingent are expanding their skirts from the late string-bean mode into something more nearly approaching the lima-bean style of architecture.” 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 Crier writers, in July of 1919, did not like jazz. A story on jazz begins, “Le Matin of Paris is claiming the honor of having invented that syncopated horror, the jazz, and with all haste compatible with dignity we are placing the ragged and wilted laurel wreath of honor on the brown of our dear ally. With our hand on our heart we say with deep feeling – ‘After you, our dear Alphonse!’ Far be it from us to dispute your claim. Personally we had reason to believe that it was ‘something the cat brought in,’ but if you want it – take it with our blessing.”

They did not like jazz one bit. The story takes an even darker turn. “It has added its quota to the horrors of war and our lives would not be hopelessly saddened if we never hear its ear-splitting shrieks again nor have to watch fat people gyrating solemnly to its wails.” Town Crier writers suggest Le Matin take OTHER things that they want no part of, including “Fat men in jitneys,” “Dresses buttoned down the back with large violet buttons,” “Douglas Fairbanks,” “Men’s illustrated underwear advertisements,” “German helmets,” “Jokes about serious matters like Prohibition,” “Capes,” “Knitted ties,” “White shoes on large feet,” and “Hair ear-muffs.” There’s no telling what a Town Crier writer would do, heart attack maybe, had they seen someone with white shoes on large feet dancing to jazz with a cape on. Goodness.

Good that jazz has stuck around in Seattle 100 years hence. Seattle has a rich jazz history. Ray Charles played here. Ernestine Anderson, too. Quincy Jones played. Earshot Jazz, Seattle’s venerable institution, has a mission statement that reads, ‘Earshot Jazz cultivates a vibrant jazz community to ensure the legacy and progression of the art form by engaging audiences, celebrating artists, and supporting arts education.” Just recently Earshot Jazz teamed up with Town Hall to produce “Courtois, Erdmann, Fincker: Love of Life,” a jazz trio whose music was inspired by the writer Jack London. They’re teaming up again on September 27, with Grammy Award-winning drummer and composer Brian Blade, performing Town Hall’s Forum.

Some other jazz organizations in Seattle include Seattle JazzED (a music education program for any child in grades 4-12 at all levels), Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, and the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra.

More syncopated horrors, please and thank you.

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 gayest of gay parties was the sixth anniversary of the Sunset Club,” and, “A golf match was played last Saturday between the devotees of the game residing at Wing Point, Eagle Harbor and the Country Club on Bainbridge Island.” 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…

“Horseback riding has fallen into the list of bygone pastimes owing to the extensive use of motors,” the June 28,1919 Town Crier writers cried. “But now it is once more coming into its own and the formation of a riding club in Seattle is quite in line with activities in other cities where riding is being revived.”

A small news article in the Crier mentioned that a new organization was forming “that promises to add much to the pleasure of society.” It was a riding club carefully being worked out by Mrs. Charles R. Castlen and Mrs. J.E. Galbraith. “There are many trails within easy distance of the city which should be cleared and doubtless many more will be opened up through the forests and bordering the Sound and Lake. One could scarcely imagine a more attractive place for riding than in the environs of Seattle.”

Seattle’s environs are still enchanting horse enthusiasts to this day. It is, indeed, a Life Between the Ears (based on Vashon Island). The Seattle Polo and Equestrian Club offers tournaments, club chukkers, boarding, and training. It also has its own polo school. Cascade Horse Shows is a partnership of three entrepreneurial women with a passion for horses and a mission to produce exceptional hunter jumper equestrian events. There’s also, of course, Emerald Downs, a horse racing track in Auburn.

Mrs. Castlen and Mrs. Galbraith would be pleased.

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