What Are People Doing?

On the cover of the December 14, 1918 edition of the Town Crier is a gentleman sitting at the keyboard of a Mason & Hamlin piano. The caption reads, “Claude Madden, leader of the Amphion Society, at one of the many new Mason & Hamlin pianos recently received by Montelius Music House, going over a new score just written and probably to be presented at this season’s concerts.”

Our Inside/Out Season in Brief Review

Our Inside/Out season has come to a close, folks. We’re thrilled to be able to enter our newly renovated building come March. We’ve had a wonderful time out in the community these past months offering up civic, arts, and educational programs that have reflected and inspired our region’s best impulses: creativity, empathy, and the belief that we all deserve a voice. We’re eager to showcase all of that and more soon.

Age of Animals

The October 9th, 1920 edition of the Town Crier has a small piece on the age of animals.

It reads:

Sparrows have lived to be forty years old. A horse does not live much more than twenty-seven years. Cats get to about thirteen years old. The tortoise is supposed to live to be between 300 and 400 years old.

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,

Life-Sentenced Prisoners and the Future of Mass Incarceration

Most Western democracies have few or no people serving life sentences, yet in the United States more than 200,000 people are sentenced to such prison terms. Steve Herbert, University of Washington Professor of Law, Societies, and Justice, will be on Town Hall’s stage on 12/11 with Ashley Nellis of The Sentencing Project, to discuss the flaws in a life-sentence based criminal justice system.

Herbert’s new book, Too Easy to Keep: Life-Sentenced Prisoners and the Future of Mass Incarceration, shares moving personal profiles of individuals affected by life sentences. He sat down recently with Town Hall’s Jonathan Shipley to discuss regret, redemption, and reform.

What the Heck is a Sackbut?

Our friends at Early Music Seattle are partnering with Early Music Vancouver to present two performances of Monteverdi’s Christmas Vespers on December 21 and 22. The concerts will include violins, cornetti, sackbuts, theorbos, and voices under the direction of David Fallis.

You might be asking yourself, what the heck is a sackbut? Theorbo-huh? Who was Monteverdi? What’s a vesper? Town Hall is here to help.

What Are People Doing?

With the holiday season comes children with eyes of wonder and glee, looking towards the skies for Santa and his reindeer, or looking under the hearth for festooned holiday packages. In the November 30, 1918 edition of the Town Crier, there was an ad put out by the Grote-Rankin Company. They suggested parents get wheel toys for their children. “To those who are going to buy practical toys for the children, this announcement is but an introduction to the comprehensive stocks of wheel toys that we have assembled for your inspection.” Among the wheel toys, “moderately priced,” they assembled included automobiles, hand cars, coaster wagons, velocipedes, choo-choo cars, Sam-E-Cars, doll cabs, and more. “The assortments afford countless opportunities to make the little folks happy.”

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.

Poets in the Pews

Welcome to the first installment of Poets in the Pews – where a poet attends a Town Hall event and writes a poem about the experience afterwards.

Maia Ruth Pody, an 11th grader at the Center School, is a Youth Poet Laureate as part of Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools (WITS). She attended Town Hall’s recent Blair Imani event where Imani discussed her new book, Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History. You can watch the event here.

Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology

The first robot to walk the earth was a bronze giant called Talos. This wondrous machine was created not by MIT Robotics Lab, but by Hephaestus, the Greek god of invention.

On 12/3, Town Hall will present Adrienne Mayor, Research Scholar at Stanford University, to discuss her new book, Gods and Robots. We’re delighted to bring her to the stage for a first look at the ancient origins of humanity’s timeless impulse to create artificial life. To offer us a preview of her upcoming event, Mayor recently sat down with Town Hall’s Jonathan Shipley to discuss automatons, Medea, and Siri.

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, “It is Captain Edmund R. Bowden now, the word of his promotion having been received by his parents recently,” and, “Mms. Schirmer, assisted by her daughter, Mrs. Hankins, gave the first of her season’s musicales at her home on Capitol Hill.” In this new series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings,

Disco Hippos and Laughing Your Head Off with Caspar Babypants

Late nights and ear damage helped convince Chris Ballew that perhaps there was something new in store for him during his run as lead singer of Presidents of the United States of America. The band was a big deal in the 1990s. The Seattle-based Presidents released a self-titled debut album in 1995 and it peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and their song “Peaches” garnered the band their first and only Billboard Hot 100 Hit. “Kitty,” “Lump,” and “Dune Buggy,” were other popular tunes on that influential album.

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.

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, “Mr. and Mrs. E.F. Blaine entertained a party of fourteen at the Sunset Club…flags were the effective decoration,” and, “Now is the accepted time to take all your silverware that is not necessary to your happiness and have it exchanged into War Savings Stamps.”  In this new series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings,

Celebrating Harold Weeks with Some Ragtime Ditties

Harold Weeks’ name has nearly been lost to history—but Town Hall is here to reclaim it. Weeks (1893-1967) was a Seattle songwriter and a church leader. He was a trustee for Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist. That church building just so happens to be the one Town Hall owns and that we’ve been doing a massive renovation on. We’re set to re-open the historic structure in March 2019.

Octavio Solis: An Accidental Playwright of Unconstrained Imagination

This interview was conducted by Margaret O’Donnell, Artistic Director and Founder of the Seattle Playwrights Salon. Powered by Shunpike, the Seattle Playwrights Salon is a staged play-reading series founded in 2016. The Salon meets at Palace Theatre & Bar in Seattle from 7PM-9PM the second Friday of the month. It is one of the few regularly scheduled evenings in Seattle where playwrights and actors can bring new plays in development before an audience.

The interview below has been edited. You can read the full-length version here.

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.

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, “Mr. Herbert Webb, whose avocation has been the making of artistic etchings, has gone East to join the tank service,” and, “Down at the Library at Fourth Avenue and Madison street the closing ban has given the employees an opportunity to work unremittingly at setting the books in order.”  In this new series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings,

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