News Blog for Seattle's University District Neighborhood


Entries from March 2012

The first Seattle Deaf Film Festival is coming to the U District

March 19th, 2012 by master

An usual film festival is coming to Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus. The Seattle Deaf Film Festival starts Friday, March 30. The event is being organized by Deaf Spotlight, which focuses on deaf culture, cinema, performing arts and visual arts.

The three days worth of feature length and short films are about and for the deaf community.  This is the first  film festival of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

Festival director Patty Liang says a committee had to narrow more than 70 submissions down to just a few films. “We are very lucky to have a strong core committee and supporters sharing a passion for cinema and working together to make this a reality,” said Liang.

The films will be accessible to both deaf and hearing persons, with many in American Sign Language but all subtitled in English.

Sponsors of the Seattle Deaf Film Festival include Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, and University of Washington Department of Linguistics, AccessComputing, Office of Diversity & Minority Affairs, Association of Disabled Students, the Q Center, Sprint, ZVRS, ADWAS, Stranger Ticketing and Reel Grrls.

More information on ticketing, schedule, and details are available at

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Project to repair NE Ravenna Boulevard starts next week

March 16th, 2012 by master

The Seattle Department of Transportation will begin a project this month to repair, repave and improve well worn NE Ravenna Boulevard between 15th Avenue NE and Green Lake.

Construction crews will be on the road starting as soon as March 21 and will work from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m and occasionally at night. The project will happen in two phases with the first happening between I-5 and Green Lake and the second between 15th Avenue NE and I-5. In each phase they’ll work on the westbound lanes first then shift to the eastbound lanes. Crews will keep one lane open most of the time but SDOT says there will be times when one or two block detours will be needed. The bike lane will also be closed at times but signs will direct riders through or around the work zone.

The project includes repairing the roadway base, replacing the asphalt overlay, upgrading pedestrian curb ramps. The project also includes a new curb bulb at E. Green Lake Drive N and N.E. 71st Street. The bulb will reduce the amount of time it takes pedestrians to cross the street.

For more information: SDOT’s project webpage.

Courtesy Seattle Department of Transportation

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Art exhibit takes over University Heights Center

March 14th, 2012 by master

Step inside the University Heights Center these days and you’ll see an unusual art exhibit. Breaking away from the traditional collection of framed art hung from the walls, artist Julia Hensley created one giant collage that moves along the walls and throughout the building.

The installation, called HEIGHTEN, is part of a larger program of the center; University Heights Arts Gallery. The center is home to a wide variety of cultural, musical, and performing arts and nonprofit corporations.

While the exhibit opened last month, University Heights will host a second opening/ open house on Friday March 16 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Visitors may take a tour of the facilities, view the living art installation display and be a part of the collaborative piece. Refreshments will be available. Event festivities will include local/regional wines may be featured & light appetizers, Live Music & demonstrations of the artists’ & centers’ activities. $5 donation per glass (suggested donation).

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U District receives revitalization grant

March 13th, 2012 by master

By Julia Li

A grant from the city of Seattle could help kick-start a new round of revitalization efforts for the U District. The Office of Economic Development awarded the University District Chamber of Commerce a $70,000 grant to help grow the neighborhood’s economic and cultural livelihood. The grant is a slice of $844,000 the city is doling out to nine business districts this year through the Only in Seattle Initiative. According to Seattle’s OED website, the Only in Seattle Initiative “promotes a healthy business environment for business organizations and neighborhood business districts.”

Don Schulze, best known in the neighborhood for his restaurant Shultzy’s, is on the Chamber’s board of directors and is helping to lead the task force. He says the planning process has just begun, and the grant money will help generate structure and organization to get the wheels rolling. Part of the grant money will help create a steering committee of representatives from residential areas, businesses, and the University of Washington. The main idea behind the committee is to get the various U District stakeholders on board with any future development plans.

“We want to make the U District a vibrant neighborhood not just for students, but also for the private sector and university staff,” Schultze says. “We expect to see a lot of growth and urban density.”

Schulze is specifically in charge of the marketing portion of the steering committee. Some of the marketing projects include promotion for events like the U District Street Fair, Ave-venture, and a music festival for local artists. A Festival of Lights is also in the works, in which local businesses would decorate their buildings with white lights. These kinds of events help bring community members together and celebrate U District culture.

In addition to marketing, there will also be committees concerning public safety, urban design, organizational leadership, and retail and business development.

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‘Hunger Games’ craze invades U Village

March 13th, 2012 by master

UW News Lab

The Hunger Games' stars Liam Hemsworth, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson sign autographs at U Village.

The star cast of the new movie The Hunger Games made its final stop Saturday, March 10, at University Village. Actors Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth were available for autographs and a Q&A session.

The 100 earliest-arriving fans were given wristbands for access to the signing at the Microsoft store.

The Village visit did not go unnoticed by the tweeners of Seattle, despite the poor weather. Amanda Dootson, a waitress at a University Village restaurant, said, “I could probably count on my fingers and toes how many teeny-boppers were screaming ‘I volunteer as tribute!’ while waiting in line to meet the cast.”

By 10 a.m. the parking lot was packed and fenced areas were filled with fans. By 1 p.m., it appeared that thousands had shown up for the event, and the occasional meltdown could be spotted for those who weren’t granted access.

Free posters were given out and music played for the duration to keep morale high for hopeful fans. Event those not granted access could view the stars from a distance for the Q&A session later in the afternoon.

A common theme during the Q&A was “Will you go to prom with me?” and high shrills every time an actor spoke.

Some controversy surrounded the access granted to fans.

According to the University Village webpage, fans were technically allowed to line up only beginning at 7 a.m. Camping out the night before was not permitted.

It was apparent that people started camping out the night before and many came earlier than 7 a.m. The web page states, “Be one of the first 100 people in line on March 10 at 9 a.m. to receive a VIP pass to this special event!”

Vanessa Radatus interns for the company who managed the talent. She said there were hundreds of crazed and screaming teenagers who started lining up to get wristbands as early as 2 a.m. She also noted that a young girl appeared to get trampled when the actors were heading to their cars. Fire trucks arrived at the scene.

The Hunger Games Seattle Facebook page is filled with posts from angered fans who felt that those who arrived early broke the rules. Other sources mention that there was poor organizing of the event. It’s highly likely the coordinators of the event couldn’t have predicted such a high turnout.

Not familiar with “Hunger Games”?
Published four years ago, The Hunger Games is the first novel in a young-adult trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Don’t be discouraged by the plot — it depicts the struggles of adolescents who are selected by a lottery to compete to the death in an arena.

The general appeal comes from a love triangle between protagonists Katniss, Peeta and Gale, along with the themes of human nature, rebellion and survival.

The second book is called Catching Fire, followed by the third, Mockingjay.

The film adaptation is of the first novel only. The Hunger Games is directed by Gary Ross and was written and produced by author Collins. It will be released worldwide on March 23.

The Hunger Games stop Saturday in Seattle was the last in an eight-city series of the star cast’s week-long mall tour. Other stops included Los Angeles, Atlanta, Phoenix, Chicago, Miami, Dallas and Minneapolis.

For screening hopefuls on March 23, be wary of the craze and enthusiasm surrounding the film. You may be subject to lines or fandom similar to that witnessed on Saturday at U Village.

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Six U District women held at knife point

March 5th, 2012 by master

The Seattle Police Department reports that six U District women were held at knife point in their home on Monday.

“On 3/5/12, at approximately 3:30 a.m., officers responded to a house in the 5000 block of 20 Av NE to a report of a burglary in progress. According to the victims, a man who was armed with a knife, broke into their house and gathered the female occupants into a room while threatening to use the knife. The suspect bound the female victims’ hands. One of the victims who was hiding in another room of the house managed to dial 911 before the suspect forced her out of the room.

Officers quickly arrived on scene and arrested the suspect. None of the victims were injured.

The Special Assault Unit and North Burglary Detectives responded and processed the scene.

The 35-year-old suspect was transported to the North Precinct where he is being processed. He will be booked into King County Jail for Investigation of Burglary, Robbery, Attempted Rape, Unlawful Imprisonment and Kidnapping.”

The Seattle Times also reported on the story.

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Sitcoms come to the local stage

March 5th, 2012 by master

By John Jinneman
UW News Lab

“We’ll even throw in six luxury coat hangers…you can hang your coat while you’re still wearing it!”

This is just a taste of the creativity of Carl Powers and others from The Collective during rehearsal for their improvisational sitcom “Just Friends” next week.

“Compared to a lot of other improv troupes, we do tend to be a little bit more ‘out there,’” Will Li, a senior member of the cast, said. “The themes are a little bit more sci-fi, fantasy, magic and crazy sort of stuff.”

The Collective is a registered student organization started in 1999 to give students an opportunity to perform improvisational theater. Shows vary from short-form improvisational comedy to long-form shows based on a particular theme.

“I see long-form as an improvised play, in the sense that it is easier to tech for and [there are] more things to watch out for,” Paul Lau, one of The Collective’s technicians, said.

Added Li: “Usually we have a format that we follow, that has a certain structure, then the structure is populated by audience suggestions.”

Powers specified his favorite long-form style as La Ronde because it tasks the actor with playing the same character even scenes are changed at random. “It is a lot harder than other long-forms, just ‘cause everything you do you have to justify it as, ‘what will this person do in this situation,’” Powers said.

To prepare for such performances, two rehearsals are held every week. During these, the performers play some games to relax before practicing for the show.

One of the games is zip-zap-zop, where the object is to be the last one standing. To achieve this goal, one person starts the game by saying “zip” and clapping to the left, “zap” and clapping to the right, or “zop” and clapping to a person directly across from him or her. If someone messes up the direction of the clap with the wrong word or says “zop” after someone else, then he or she is out for the round.

After everyone is relaxed, practice for the show can begin. Every show is a new experience, especially when The Collective puts on original performances like the upcoming sitcom show.

The show will have two episodes with interludes of commercials to capture the essence of a TV broadcast. Keeping with improv traditions, suggestions from the audience will determine the content of the advertisements.

The commercials will cover everything from fake product placements to political support and attack ads for famous people or characters. All political ads are for fun, and will not involve any current politicians running for office.

The name of each episode will be based on a song title, which will have an influence on the story.

Before every event, each member has his or her own ritual for getting ready.

“We usually [take] 15 to 30 minutes warming up, and usually we practice some of the games if we are performing short-form games,” Li said.

Kayla Hornbrook, another member of The Collective, said she tries to keep busy before performances so she doesn’t over think and become nervous. “I actually try to schedule work before shows. … If not that I’ll try to hang out with friends,” Hornbrook said.

Collective members go into every show knowing little of how the characters will develop.

“I don’t usually try to pre-think of characters or do anything,” Hornbrook said. “It’s just, what do I need to do right now, do I need to be crazy? Got it, done.”

The Collective’s next shows will take place at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13 and Wednesday, March 14 at Wing-It Productions, 5510 University Way NE. Tickets are $5 at the door.


(JOHN JINNEMAN is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News


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