100 episodes

The Arts & Culture series enriches our community with imagination and creativity. Whether reinventing the classics for a new audience or presenting an innovative new art form, these events are aimed at expanding horizons. From poetry to music to storytelling, this series leaves our audiences inspired, encouraged, and seeing the world with new eyes.

Town Hall Seattle Arts & Culture Serie‪s‬ Town Hall Seattle

    • Books
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

The Arts & Culture series enriches our community with imagination and creativity. Whether reinventing the classics for a new audience or presenting an innovative new art form, these events are aimed at expanding horizons. From poetry to music to storytelling, this series leaves our audiences inspired, encouraged, and seeing the world with new eyes.

    142. Lisa Iversen, June BlueSpruce, and Anne Hayden with Dr. Bonnie Duran: Whiteness Is Not An Ancestor

    142. Lisa Iversen, June BlueSpruce, and Anne Hayden with Dr. Bonnie Duran: Whiteness Is Not An Ancestor

    For over two decades, family constellations facilitator and therapist Lisa Iversen has been working with groups, including descendants of ancestors who have perpetrated harm or been victimized in circumstances of injustice. This work has led to a timely and thoughtful discussion about the intersection of gender and white privilege, a collection of essays that brings together twelve white women who explore the role of whiteness in collective moments of immigration, colonialism, slavery, and war. In Whiteness Is Not an Ancestor, these writers from the US, Canada, and the UK disentangle themes of innocence, grief, race, privilege, and belonging in their families and ancestries.
    Iversen joined us, along with two contributors to the collection—essayists June BlueSpruce and Anne Hayden—in a discussion moderated by Dr. Bonnie Duran, Professor in the UW Schools of Social Work and Public Health. Together, they explored their relationships with whiteness, sharing the genealogical research, family documents, and deep reflections that informed their contributions to the collection. They invited us to engage with difficult truths of history, including concerns about the fate of democratic nations sourced in whiteness—and to continue the work of dismantling racism and healing collective historic trauma.
    Lisa Iversen is the director of the Center for Ancestral Blueprints and CAB Publishing. She is the author of Ancestral Blueprints: Revealing Invisible Truths in America’s Soul.
    June BlueSpruce is a writer, intuitive healer, Systemic Family Constellations facilitator, and activist. Her work has been published in a poetry chapbook, several anthologies and journals, and scientific articles. She writes about dreaming, healing, and social change on her blog.
    Anne Hayden is a student of nature and of the human heart. She has taught and mentored students in the Eco-Psych field through Fairhaven College of WWU and Antioch College. As a trained initiation guide, she has guided nature-based, experiential programs for groups and individuals through Northwest Soul Quest for 25 years.
    Bonnie Duran, DrPH (Opelousas/Coushatta Descendent) is a Professor in the Schools of Social Work and Public Health at the University of Washington. She has worked in public health and social care research, education, and practice with a focus on Native Americans/Indigenous peoples and other communities of color for over 35 years.
    Buy the Book: https://www.thirdplacebooks.com/book/9781735305028 
    Presented by Town Hall Seattle and Third Place Books. 
    To become a Town Hall Seattle member or make a donation online click here. 

    • 1 hr 1 min
    141. Catherine E. McKinley with Erika Massaquoi—The African Lookbook: A Visual History of 100 Years of African Women

    141. Catherine E. McKinley with Erika Massaquoi—The African Lookbook: A Visual History of 100 Years of African Women

    Most of us grew up with images of African women that were purely anthropological–bright displays of exotica where the deeper personhood seemed tucked away. Or they were chronicles of war and “poverty porn.” But now, curator Catherine E. McKinley draws on her extensive collection of historical and contemporary photos to present a visual history spanning a hundred-year arc (1870–1970) of what is among the earliest photography on the continent. These images tell a different story of African women: how deeply cosmopolitan and modern they are in their style; how they were able to reclaim the tools of the colonial oppression that threatened their selfhood and livelihoods.
    In conversation with fellow curator and designer Erika Massaquoi, McKinley joined us to share photos and stories from her striking and subversive work containing those images, The African Lookbook: A Visual History of 100 Years of African Women. Together, they discussed the the dignity, playfulness, austerity, grandeur, and fantasy-making of African women across centuries that are captured in the photos. McKinley also shared photos taken by Europeans of African women, and they examined the relationships between white men and the Black female sitters where—and the profound resistance expressed in unexpected ways to this exploitation. They invited us to explore the range and beauty captured in a one-of-a-kind collection of photographs—and how sewing machines and the camera became powerful tools for protest.
    Catherine E. McKinley is a curator and writer whose books include the critically acclaimed Indigo, a journey along the ancient indigo trade routes in West Africa, and The Book of Sarahs, a memoir about growing up Black and Jewish in the 1960s–80s. She’s taught creative nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. The McKinley Collection, featured here, is a personal archive representing African photographies from 1870 to the present. She lives in New York City.
    Erika Dalya Massaquoi is a designer and curator. Her curatorial work includes exhibitions for the Seattle Art Museum, the Frye Museum of Art, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) List Visual Arts Center, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Her publications include DISGUISE: Masks and Global African Art (Yale University Press). She has taught digital media, cinema, and contemporary art classes at Yale University, NYU and The New School. Massaquoi is also founder & CEO of The OULA Company, a womenswear business that designs and manufactures vibrant garments from African Wax Fabric that are sourced globally and made in the USA.
    Buy the Book: https://www.elliottbaybook.com/book/9781620403532 
    Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here. 

    • 1 hr
    140. Spirited Stone: Lessons from Kubota’s Garden

    140. Spirited Stone: Lessons from Kubota’s Garden

    Fujitaro Kubota, whose unique gardens transformed Seattle’s landscape in the 20th century, immigrated to the US in the early 20th century, worked as a nurseryman, and eventually bought 20 acres of clear-cut forest in southern Seattle that he shaped into a beautiful and enduring Japanese garden. He also created a memorable garden in the Minidoka prison camp while he was incarcerated there during World War II; upon his return to Seattle, he focused on Kubota Garden, which had fallen into disrepair.
    Today, Kubota Garden serves one of Washington’s most diverse zip codes. Now, novelists, poets, artists, and community members examine Kubota’s legacy in Spirited Stone: Lessons from Kubota’s Garden. In this panel discussion moderated by poet Shin Yu Pai, contributors to Spirited Stone Dr. Charles Johnson, Nathan Wirth, and Marcus Harrison Green talked about their connections to Kubota Garden and how it has inspired them.
    Dr. Charles Johnson is professor emeritus at the University of Washington. He is the author of 25 books, a novelist, philosopher, essayist, literary scholar, short-story writer, cartoonist, illustrator, and a screen-and-teleplay writer. Dr. Johnson’s most recent publications are The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling, his fourth short story collection, Night Hawks, and GRAND: A Grandparent’s Wisdom for a Happy Life.
    Nathan Wirth is a self-learned photographer who seeks to express his unending wonder for the fundamental fact of existence. In his work, he attempts to focus on the silence that we can sometimes perceive in between the incessant waves of sound that often dominate our perceptions of the world. Wirth currently makes his living teaching English Composition at City College of San Francisco.
    Marcus Harrison Green is the founder and publisher of the South Seattle Emerald, a columnist for The Seattle Times, a former Reporting Fellow with YES! Magazine. After an unfulfilling stint working for a Los Angeles based hedge-fund in his twenties, Marcus returned to his community determined to tell its true story, which led him to start the South Seattle Emerald, and eventually move on to cover the area as a reporter for the Seattle Times.
    Shin Yu Pai is a podcast correspondent and produces Lyric World: Conversations with Contemporary Poets for Town Hall. She is a former Town Hall Inside / Out artist-in-residence and served as the fourth Poet Laureate of the City of Redmond from 2015 to 2017. She is the author of ten books of poetry, including most recently Ensō.
    Buy the Book: https://store.chinmusicpress.com/product/spirited-stone-lessons-from-kubota-s-garden 
    Presented by Town Hall Seattle and Kubota Garden Foundation.
    Become a Town Hall Seattle member or make a donation here. 

    • 1 hr 3 min
    139. Tyler Stovall with ChrisTiana ObeySumner: The Intertwined Histories of Racism and Freedom

    139. Tyler Stovall with ChrisTiana ObeySumner: The Intertwined Histories of Racism and Freedom

    The era of the Enlightenment, which gave rise to our modern conceptions of freedom and democracy, was also the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. How were those conceptions impacted by the coinciding racism? History professor Tyler Stovall believes they are intricately intertwined, and argues that being free has long meant being white.
    In this conversation with local activist ChrisTiana ObeySumner, Stovall joined us to explore the complex relationship between racism and freedom in France and the United States, the two leading nations that have claimed liberty as the heart of their national identities. With takeaways from his book White Freedom: The Racial History of An Idea, he brought us from the Age of Revolution to today, challenging the notion that racism is somehow a paradox or contradiction within the democratic tradition, and endeavoring to demonstrate how white identity is intrinsic to Western ideas about liberty. Don’t miss this conversation that is sure to provide vital new perspectives on the inherent racism behind our most cherished beliefs about freedom, liberty, and human rights.
    Tyler Stovall is professor of history and dean of the Graduate School of Arts and SCiences at Fordham University. HIs books include Transnational France: The Modern History of a Universal Nation; Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light; and The Rise of the Paris Red Belt.
    ChrisTiana ObeySumner (they/them) is a Black/Indigenous, Queer, Non-Binary, and Multiply disabled person. They are a community organizer and activist, and CEO of Epiphanies of Equity LLC, a social equity consulting firm that particularly specializes in social change, intersectionality, antiracism, and disability justice.
    Buy the Book: https://bookshop.org/books/white-freedom-the-racial-history-of-an-idea/9780691179469 
    Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here. 

    • 56 min
    138. Jeffrey Jackson:The Artists Who Risked Their Lives Using Art to Defy the Nazis

    138. Jeffrey Jackson:The Artists Who Risked Their Lives Using Art to Defy the Nazis

    Amidst the danger of Nazi-occupied Island of Jersey in the British Channel, two French women, Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe, drew on their skills as Parisian avant-garde artists to write and distribute “paper bullets”—wicked insults against Hitler, calls to rebel, and subversive fictional dialogues designed to demoralize Nazi troops. History professor Jeffrey Jackson joined us with the history of the audacious anti-Nazi campaign undertaken by this unlikely pair.
    In this presentation, Jackson drew on his book Paper Bullets: Two Artists Who Risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis to weave a timeline of Lucy and Suzanne’s resistance. Better remembered today by their artist names, Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, he explored how their actions were even more courageous because of who they were: lesbian partners known for cross-dressing and creating the kind of gender-bending work that the Nazis would come to call “degenerate art.” They also had communist affiliations in Paris, where they attended political rallies with Surrealists. He shared how they were betrayed in 1944, tried, and sentenced to death, ultimately surviving and continuing their fight even in jail by spreading a message of hope to other prisoners. Jackson invites us to a compelling story that has not been told before, about the galvanizing power of art, and of resistance.
    Jeffrey H. Jackson is Professor of History at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. An expert on European history and culture, he is the author of Paris Under Water: How the City of Light Survived the Great Flood of 1910 and Making Jazz French: Music and Modern Life in Interwar Paris. He has appeared in documentary films and helped develop “Harlem in Montmartre: A Paris Jazz Story” for PBS’s Great Performances.
    Buy the Book: https://www.thirdplacebooks.com/book/9781616209162 
    Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To make a donation or become a member click here. 

    • 57 min
    137. André Gregory and Todd London: Reflections on a Life Lived for Art

    137. André Gregory and Todd London: Reflections on a Life Lived for Art

    Art is fundamental. While in some places and times, it may be deemed nonessential or decorative, the reality is that it is a fundamental expression from one human to another, of curiosity, of perspective, of connection. Now an icon of theatre and film, Andre Gregory, joined us to share stories from a life lived for art.
    With his co-writer Todd London, Gregory pulled from his non-linear not-memoir This Is Not My Memoir to look back at his life in this livestreamed presentation. Gregory told of his Russian Jewish family who fled Germany to Paris, where he was born in 1934. He wove a fantastical tale from wartime Paris to golden-age Hollywood, from avant-garde theaters to monasteries in India—with some stops along the way to meet some famous, larger-than-life personalities. More than anything, Gregory and London create a portrait of an artist confronting his later years, reflecting on the answer to a question that has perhaps never been more poignant: what does it mean to create art in a world that often places little value on the process of creating it?
    Andre Gregory has been directing in New York for more than half a century. He has collaborated on film versions of his theatre productions with Wallace Shawn, Louis Malle, and Jonathan Demme. The now legendary My Dinner with Andre was created by Gregory, Shawn, and Malle. He is also an actor, writer, teacher, painter, and author of the poetry collection, Bone Songs.
    Todd London is an author whose books include An Ideal Theater, The Importance of Staying Earnest, and several novels. A past winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, he was the inaugural recipient of the Visionary Leadership Award for contributions to the American Theater.
    Buy the Book: https://www.thirdplacebooks.com/book/9780374298548 

    Presented by Town Hall Seattle. To become a member or make a donation click here. 

    • 1 hr 1 min

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