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. Frederic Struve gave a few friends on Friday the pleasure of meeting the Countess D’Ursel” and, “Mrs. Henry S. Tremper entertained sixteen small guests at luncheon on Saturday.” 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…

The cover of the December 6, 1919 Town Crier features the children’s book department at the old Frederick & Nelson department store. The place, it was noted, was “a center of lively interest for children of all ages who are claiming this Book Land as their own especial property and enjoying it to the full.”

The Town Crier was full of good words about good books. A story about Book Land inside the issue stated, “It is a place that gleams with color…There are children everywhere: chairs are full, and there are rows of youngsters sitting contentedly on the floor lost to the world in books.”

Book Land is a good place to be. There have been a variety of studies on the benefits of children reading: brain health and empathy for a start. Behavior and attention for another. Simply growing up in a house with books has benefits.

Some people who know and love places like Book Land—Pamela Paul and Maria Russo. They’ll be chatting with Maria Semple on January 13, 2020 about their new book, How to Raise a Reader. Paul is the editor of The New York Times Book Review. Russo is the children’s book editor of the same publication. Semple is the author of the acclaimed novel, Where’d You Go, Bernadette. The talk will explore new and lively approaches to cultivating a love of reading in younger generations.

Tickets for the event ($5 and free for anyone under the age of 22) 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, “Reverend Bliss entertained with a Thanksgiving dinner ” and, “They are noisy, and they are gassy, and they’re dirty, the ubiquitous tin Ford.” 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…

The November 29, 1919 Town Crier looked towards Christmastime with Thanskgiving in the rear view. “Looking backward for a moment, we see that the usual features of Thanksgiving day were very much in evidence: the turkey, roosting higher than ever, was nevertheless removed gently but with determination from his perch, and translated by fire and skill into a crispy brown mound of toothsome tenderness, entirely surrounded by Thanksgiving trimmings.” The story continued, “Perhaps the mince pie lacked something of its former delicious flavor, and again, perhaps it didn’t.”

Regardless of if your pie was delicious or not yesterday, take note, the holiday season is upon us and Town Hall has a great many holiday happenings in the coming weeks.

November 30: The Byrd Ensemble and Seattle Baroque Orchestra will play Bach’s “Wachet auf” and “Magnificat.”

December 8: Northwest Girlchoir will present their concert “Generation to Generation,” playing holiday favorites and unheralded gems.

December 10: KIRO Radio’s “Goodbye, Christmas!” KIRO Radio and Seattle Radio Theatre will present an original holiday radio play.

December 14: Seattle Girls Choir will present their holiday concert, “A Gift of Song.”

December 14: Magical Strings will showcase a “Celtic Yuletide.”

December 15: A special Short Stories Live event – “A Rogue’s Family Christmas.”

December 21: Early Music Seattle will present “Festive Cantatas: Christmas in Gabrieli’s Venice.”

December 28: Earshot Jazz will present their 31st annivesary concert of Duke Ellington’s sacred music.

That’s a lot to digest, we know. That said, there’s more going on at Town Hall than just these shows. Check out our calendar for a full listing and happy holidays!

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, “Last Wednesday evening was a dance given by the Broadway Orthopedic Guild at the Army and Navy Club” and, “The big card party is planned for November 24 for the Lighthouse of the Blind.” 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…

The November 22, 1919 Town Crier mentioned Thanksgiving. “With straining eyes we look across a disturbed and chaotic world and exclaim: ‘For what are we to give thanks?’ One year ago our hopes were high and our hearts were warm within us as we looked forward with confidence to the future. A twelvemonth of turmoil and confusion, of misunderstandings and suspicions, has depressed the spirit.”

The story continues with some amount of hope. “Mighty problems are facing the world. They demand solution and only through the sanest thought and action will the impasse be removed. Here is where the faith of mankind in the ultimate outcome is put to the test. The present difficulties were inevitable but isn’t it far better to be alive to their meaning than to have our senses dulled to the situation? Our work lies close at hand.” 

Town Hall is close to offering up a plethora of events dealing with some of the mighty problems facing the world. These include:

WTO Anniversary Events (11/30 and 12/7). 20 years ago Seattle protests shut down the World Trade Organization’s conference. On 11/30 the Community Alliance for Global Justice and UFCW 21 present the day-long “Another World is Possible! WTO+20 and the Justice Movements of Today.” On 12/7 the Washington Fair Trade Coalition offers a day of workshops and an evening program featuring Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz.

Eli Saslow (12/5). Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Eli Saslow joins us to discuss his new book, Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist.

Civic Saturday (12/7). A gathering of friends and strangers to dive into readings of civic texts, share thoughts and ideas, and reflect on the meaning of our nation’s creed—of liberty, equality, and self-government that truly unites us.

César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández (12/9). Almost 400,000 people annually spend time locked up pending the result of a civil or criminal immigration proceeding. Leading scholar César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández takes a hard look at the immigration prison system’s origin and operation.

Erika Lee (12/10). Author Erika Lee takes the stage at Town Hall with an unblinking look at the irrational fear, hatred, and hostility toward immigrants which have been defining features of our nation from the colonial era to the Trump era. 

Find some solutions to the world’s problems at Town Hall this Thanksgiving season. Have your voice be heard. You can check our full calendar here.

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, “Pupils of Mary Ann Wells went to Aberdeen for an Armistace Ball” and, “Mrs. Cecil Bacon has returned from the East.” 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…

The November 15, 1919 Town Crier had good things to say about the Seattle Symphony’s first concert of the season. “The orchestra assembled by Conductor Spargur has improved in quality and there is far better tone in the violin section.” They continued that there was “more smoothness in the brass choir and the wood winds were quite a satisfaction.” They played Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Charpentier. “Charming it was in the warmth and joyousness of the sketches so well contrasted.”

Warmth and joyousness will be found at Town Hall soon with a plethora of music concerts coming soon.

November 16: Sounds of the Sound 3 A showcase that presents a vast array of gifted musical artists who give a unique voice to the culture, diversity, spirituality, and soul of the Puget Sound area and its people.

November 23: Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra. “Heroes and Villains” includes famous melodies and a tribute to Stan Lee.

November 24: Philharmonia Northwest. Dr. Seuss and Charlie Brown meet for a family friendly concert. Read an interview with Philharmonia Northwest’s Julia Tai here.

November 25: Piano Ki Avaaz. A Town Music concert featuring a newly commissioned piano trio piece by Reena Esmail.

November 30: Byrd Ensemble and Early Music Seattle. Bach masterpieces “Wachet auf” and “Magnificat” will be played.

And there’s much more coming in December. You can check our full calendar here.

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, “Admiral Robert E. Koontz entertained with a dinner aboard the USS Oregon” and, “Patrons of the Orthopedic Tea Shop are notified that an excellent tea will be served every afternoon at five o’clock.” 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…

On the cover of the October 18, 1919 edition of the Town Crier was the distinguished gentleman John Spargur, the conductor of the Seattle Symphony from 1911 to 1921. The newspaper was touting their first show of the 1919 season that was to happen on November 7. On the repertoire was Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, and Gustave Charpentier’s Impressions of Italy.

Today’s Seattle Symphony is now under the direction of Danish conductor Thomas Dausgaard, their concerts the weekend of November 7 will include the movie music of John Williams.

Town Hall has their own classical music series. Curated by artistic director Joshua Roman, our Town Music season started last month with a stirring cello show.

Upcoming concerts include:

November 25, 2019:
Piano Ki Avaaz, featuring Joshua Roman (cello), David Fung (piano), and Kristin Lee (violin).

January 19, 2020:
Catalyst Quartet, presenting “Hemispheres: South America.”

April 8, 2020:
yMusic, a sextet that reimagines the classical music genre.

May 20, 2020:
Spektral Quartet, that presents a convergence of classical canon and modern composition.

Tickets are $15 per show ($10 for members). Tickets are FREE for anyone 22 and under.

Learn more here.

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, “One of the most delightful screen romances ever produced will be at the Coliseum Theatre on Friday” and, “Mrs. H.W. Salmon and two little daughters will be traveling to St. Louis for two months.” 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…

“Why do we hesitate to swell our words to meet our needs?” asked a writer for the September 27, 1919 edition of the Town Crier. “It is a nonsense question. There is no reason. We are simply lazy – too lazy to make ourselves comfortable. We let our vocabularies be limited, and get along rawly without the refinements of human intercourse, without refinements in our own thoughts; for thoughts are almost as dependent on words as words are on thoughts.” The writer continues in the piece entitled “On Enlarging One’s Vocabulary,” “For example, all exasperations we lump together as ‘aggravating,’ not considering whether they may not rather be displeasing, annoying, offensive, irritating, or even maddening…Like the bad cook, we seize the frying pan whenever we need to fry, broil, roast, or stew, and then wonder why all our dishes taste alike.” The writer has some suggestions. “Enlarge the vocabulary…I know that when we use a word for the first time we are startled, as if a firecracker went off in our neighborhood. We look about hastily to see if anyone has noticed. But finding that no one has, we may be emboldened.”

Many feel emboldened when they head off to college. It’s a new chapter in their lives. Their worlds are expanding. Their vocabulary is enlarging with text books stacked high in their dormitories. But does college still work? Can a college education today provide real opportunity to young Americans seeking to improve their station in life, or is the system designed only to protect the privileged and leave everyone else behind? Paul Tough will explore the landscape of higher education on Town Hall’s stage on October 4.

You can learn more about the event here.

As always, tickets are FREE for anyone 22 and under. Another word for FREE is COMPLIMENTARY.

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 officers of the battleship Idaho were hosts of a dansante and luncheon” and, “Miss Florence Williams attended the ball for the Prince of Wales.” 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…

The writers of the September 27, 1919 edition of the Town Crier were fond of September. A small story read, “Like wine to those that be of heavy heart are the lovely days of September, cool and bracing in the mornings and evenings, with sunny, hot noons. The second blooming of the roses adds a June touch to the gardens, and with the gorgeous dahlias, brilliant geraniums, softly shaded asters and the crisp sweet peas, the autumn lingers with us in beauty as though it were loath to take its departure.”

Before September departs, friends, add your own touch to Seattle’s gardens. On September 28, at Yesler Terrace Park, join Town Hall and The Black Farmer Collective for a Town Green Day of Service. Starting at 10 am, lend your hands for a morning of urban gardening, helping a local space grow strong and become a thriving community resource.

Wear appropriate clothes. Participants will assist in tasks like weeding, tilling, planting and more. You can learn more about the event here. Let’s keep autumn’s beauty linger a bit longer.

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, “August, with its smoke and haze, its cool mornings, fierce noontides and chill evenings, has been upon us and now in its last days it has flung the unfailing harbinger of autumn in our faces” and, “One of the gayest parties of the season was the dance given by Mr. and Mrs. James Doster Hoge 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…

On page six of the August 30, 1919 edition of the Town Crier, a writer waxes poetic about breakfast. In “Ideal Breakfasts,” they write, “Every man to his taste, of course, and especially in the matter of breakfast, which is a delicate function that should have have its poise disturbed by culinary errors or the gastronomic prejudices of others.” They continue, “A breakfast, above all meals, should be simple, honest, and straightforward. It should be devoid of fantastic decoration.”

The writer goes on for some time about broiled fresh pig’s feet, grilled kidneys, and soft-boiled eggs. They have particular thoughts about how one takes their coffee. “There should be a small pot of it, just enough for two cupfuls. A Hoover portion of sugar is enough, and it always has been enough, in peace times as well as in war. Only a perverted, or a juvenile, taste can stand a dose of syrup first thing in the morning, and one must be a lumberman or a deep-sea sailor to enjoy coffee sweetened with brown sugar or molasses.”

What would the writer of “Ideal Breakfasts” think of writer Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book, We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast? Foer will be at Town Hall on September 25 as part of our Homecoming Festival to discuss his new book with Town Hall In the Moment’s Steve Scher. Foer, the award-winning author of Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, will discuss the ways that humanity has turned our planet into a farm for growing meat. Foer’s assertion is that catastrophic climate change has resulted from this meat production and considers how our descendants will judge our actions at this crucial moment.

This is to say, Foer probably won’t be imbibing in broiled fresh pig’s feet any time soon. I don’t know how alarmed the Town Crier writer would be upon hearing that. Times change.

Get your tickets (ONLY $5) to Jonathan Safran Foer’s event today!

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 Dorothy Ewing will be the guest of honor at a picnic luncheon” and, “Have you heard whispered the coming vogue for Oriental pearls?” 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 August 23 issue of the Town Crier. It’s for the Cremation Society of Washington on Queen Anne Boulevard at Sixth West (an organization that still exists in Tacoma). Under the management of Arthur Wright, the Cremation Society offered a private ambulance, earth burials, shipments. There were licensed embalmers on site. Funeral directors, too.

This all might be of interest to you and one Caitlin Doughty. A celebrated licensed mortician, she’ll be coming to Town Hall as part of our Homecoming Festival on September 16. She was here last year as part of our Inside/Out season. You can listen to that talk here. This time, she’ll discuss her new book, Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, blending her scientific understanding of the body and the intriguing history behind common misconceptions about corpses.

Buy tickets now. The event is (snicker snicker) TO DIE FOR.

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.

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