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What Are People Doing?

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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 Garden Club Convention, with meetings, luncheons, and dinners goes up to Friday, then guests leave for a Mount Rainier trip” and, “Miss Jasmine Eddy is motoring home from Harvard.” 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 July 7, 1930 edition of the Town Crier had an ad highlighting the University Book Store. They were telling folks buying gifts for new brides and grooms that “there is nothing that so pleases as the wedding present of the thoughtful – a gift of books.” Indeed, “These remain in the library when other gifts have disappeared, a constant reminder of the giver, and a constant source of pleasure to the married couple.”

Another constant source of pleasure in Seattle since January 10, 1900? The University Book Store. They first opened for business that day in a cloakroom next to the University president’s office in Denny Hall. Today, it is one of the great college stores in the country. Although it is one of more than 5,000 college stores in the United States, it is third in total sales volume and leads all college stores in the sale of books and supplies.

Happy birthday, University Book Store! We, at Town Hall, congratulate the bookstore for their gift of books throughout the years to the community at large and thank them for their lasting and fruitful partnership with us.

To learn more about the bookstore’s history, go here. To learn more about their coming events, go here. To learn more about Town Hall’s coming events, go here.

What Are People Doing?

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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, “A number of friends motored up to Seattle to partake in a dinner dance hosted by Mrs. Edward Agnew,” and, “Mrs. Darrah Corbett celebrated Christmas day with a tree.” 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 Seattle Symphony placed an ad in the December 27, 1919 edition of the Town Crier. They were excited about their coming January 20 performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, his “Eroica” symphony. Tickets were priced at 50 cents to two dollars.

Speaking of Beethoven, 2020 is the 250 anniversary of his birth. On January 12 Town Hall will host Seattle Chamber Music Society’s Winter Festival Preview. Taking place in the Forum, Beethoven scholar Geoffrey Block, musicologist and author of Experiencing Beethoven: A Listener’s Companion, will present a brief overview of the composition of Beethoven’s string quartets, which traversed the breadth of his compositional life.

The event is only $5 (free for anyone under the age of 22). That’s music to your ears, isn’t it?

What Are People Doing?

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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. Frederick Bentley will have a Christmas Day dinner at her home for 14 guests,” and, “Mrs. A.W. Hawley entertained on Wednesday afternoon with an interesting ‘Hour of Magic’.” 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 lamented loose talking in the December 20 edition. “Never has there been a time when straight thinking was needed than right now. Loose talking needs a padlock.” It continues, “Every hour we hear and read radical opinions expressed, by those who by tradition and training should be leaders in our community, which if acted upon would inevitably lead to crime and blood-shed.” Town Crier writers feared the worst. “The man with a low-grade mentality broods over fancied wrongs and it takes only a little to put him into the criminal class and that is furnished more often than we think by the loose talking of those who should know better.”

There seems to never have been a time than now when straight thinking is what we need. Lies and half-truths run rampant. Few know that more than Samuel Woolley. Woolley, a writer and researcher with a focus on emerging media technologies will be on Town Hall’s stage on January 9 to discuss his new book, The Reality Game: How the Next Wave of Technology Will Break the Truth. He cautions that technology may soon play an even deeper role in the rise of disinformation—with human-like automated voice systems, machine learning, “deepfake” AI-edited videos and images, interactive memes, virtual reality, and more. Can we survive the onslaught? Tickets are on sale now ($5 and free for anyone 22 and under). 

The 1919 Town Crier story continued, “A thoughtful man said the other day, ‘I’ve had wide experience and know many people of all classes but I’ve never known a good man or a good woman; I’ve never known a bad man or a bad woman. There never was one of either kind – everyone is a blend of both.’ It takes straight thinking to get to that point.” It concludes, “The majority allows others to think for them. It is far easier. Today the issues facing everyone of us require cool and careful thinking and no loose talking.”

There’s plenty of straight thinking at Town Hall. There’s plenty of cool and careful thinking and no loose talking. Join us for an event sometime soon. Our online calendar can be found here.

What Are People Doing?

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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, “Youngsters, taking advantage of the cold snap, have hunted up the old ice skates of various vintages and are indulging themselves in the rare sport of skating,” and, “A party of ten married couples dined ‘Dutch’ last Wednesday 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…

There was happiness and rejoicing in the December 13 edition of the Town Crier in regards to a Saturday concert. “There is going to be a wonderful treat given to the children of Seattle,” the Town Crier proclaimed. The Seattle Symphony, with the help of one Louise Van Ogle, would be doing a children’s concert. “The concert, which will be given in Meany Hall, will open with the ‘March of the Toys’ after Mrs. Van Ogle tells a story about the toys that will take part in the parade.” It continues, “Of course there will be a good many of them because they come from the workshop of the Wizard of Oz and everybody knows what a wonderful toymaker he was.” The concert concluded with some fancy Claude Debussy numbers.

Readers, you’ll be happy to know that there will be a wonderful treat given to the children of Seattle on January 18. Town Hall will be doing a children’s concert. As part of Town Hall’s Saturday Family Concert series, Senegalese percussionist Thione Diop will perform in Town Hall’s Forum. Diope’s powerfully expressive Djembe drumming evokes the heart of the instrument as a traditional cultural icon from West African used to call the people together. It’ll be a concert filled with music, dance, and culture. Tickets are free for youth and only $5 for adults. They’re on sale now!

Join us for a wonderful concert the whole family can enjoy.

What Are People Doing?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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

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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?

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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.

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