Daily news blog for Seattle's University District neighborhood

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The Experimental College Offers Continued Education For Seattle Residents

October 22nd, 2014 by Nico Lund

Even if you have never been a student or haven’t walk a campus for a very long time, the ASUW’s Experimental College is an opportunity for you to experience UW’s campus with a purpose, learn a new skill or hone in on a current passion.

Begun in 1968, the Experimental College was a vision of some University of Washington Students to offer interesting non-credit classes for current students as well as Seattle-area residents.

All classes are taught by UW students and community members selected by the EC staff. All instructors are chosen for their professional expertise in the subject that they are teaching.

Here is just a Snippet of the kinds of classes you can take this quarter (find more on their online catalog).

Book Making with Bonnie Thomson-Norman

Drawing for the Absolute Beginner with Nils Osmar

Crash Course in Film Making with Nils Osmar

“Learn to Play Guitar in a Day” with Marlene Hutchinson

Sensing Place: Tools for Experiential Ecology with Joanna Wright

There are plenty of evening courses as well as weekend workshops that can fit even the busiest schedule. Because this is not-for-credit, it takes the pressure off to allow you to focus in on your personal passion for your own personal pleasure. There are even classes that can add to your current skill-set and help you move forward in your career.

Let us know if you have taken courses at EC. We would love to here about your experiences in the comments!

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#Mugshot Monday #9 – The Spirit of the Buffalo Thunders at Cafe Solstice

October 21st, 2014 by Nico Lund

Welcome to #MugShotMonday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafés

The first thing I decide when I’m standing in the ordering line at Cafe Solstice is; if the zombie apocalypse happens I could b-line it here and be happy for a while.

Originally an old school espresso stand started in 1993 on Broadway in Capitol Hill,  Cafe Solstice re-imagined itself in 2002 and has now become one of the U-district’s coolest cafes. As of June of this year, they have even re-united with their roots by opening a second location on Capitol Hill.

I spoke with Sarah Schafer, general manager and long-time employee at Cafe Solstice who filled me in on the significance of the Buffalo in their logo.

It is told that the spirit animal of Cafe Solstice is the buffalo. Being the largest land mammal in North America, it represents the strength of a tribe. The folks at Solstice really feel that what makes this cafe a special place is their commitment to the community.


Walking into the cafe, you are immediately greeted with a shelf of books to read. The counter area is a big open space to accommodate lines so you don’t feel to crunched while waiting to order. There are bottles of San Pellagrino, old school coke and ginger brews chilled and ready to grab. In the cases are a great selection of decently priced sandwiches ($5-$8), gourmet mac-n-cheese ($5.75), granola and greek yogurt options and a whole host of delicious looking sweets.

They serve Lighthouse Coffee, rotating beers on tap (always offering an Elysian brew) and have live music. This place is a go-to place for breakfast, lunch or an evening snack.

Schafer said that they try to support the artists and musicians who are regular clientele and often feature their art on the walls or book them to perform. Artists and musicians can bring in demos and artist submissions in person or through their Facebook page to be a featured artist.

Although conveniently situated close to UW, the patrons are a refreshing mix of students, professors, locals, artsy types and all sorts of people reading, drawing writing, chatting and computer-ing. People should note that Cafe Solstice likes their music, so this is not for the quite-study-corner types. There is plenty of seating, but it is a plus if you are open to sharing your four top if you are by yourself–no one likes a table-hog!

As always, remember to tip your barista and enjoy the good vibes.

Cafe Solstice U-district is Located at:
4116 University Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
(206) 675-0850

Cafe Solstice Capitol Hill is Located at:
925 E. Thomas St.
Seattle, Washington 98102

Their Hours Are:

Mon – Thu: 6:30am – 11:00pm
Fri: 6:30am – 9:00pm
Sat: 7:00am – 9:00pm
Sun: 7:00am – 11:00pm

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Inside the Tent City On Ravenna: A Well Organized Effort

October 17th, 2014 by Nico Lund

You might have noticed that a tent city has popped up on Ravenna ave and 8th ave NE. Being a resident of this neighborhood I had some questions. I decided to stop by and get some answers.

A blue tarp circles the encampment. I walked until I found the entrance on the Ravenna side. I was immediately greeted with smiles and directed to the front “office.” I met a volunteer organizer who asked to be called ‘Micky Mouse’ to protect his identity. He told me about the SHARE/WHEEL organization that runs Tent City 3 then he introduced me to resident Tom who gave me a little tour.

SHARE stands for Seattle Housing and Resource Effort and WHEEL is for Women’s Housing, Equality and Enhancement League. As mentioned on their website:

“SHARE and WHEEL are a self-organized, democratic, grassroots organizations of homeless and formally homeless individuals. SHARE was founded in 1990 and WHEEL was founded in 1993.  For 22 years we have been working to eradicate homelessness, educate the community, and empower homeless people.”

Mouse told me that Tent City 3 has be running for 13 years and is a model for tent cities across the nation. They are self-managed to help promote the dignity of the individual members.

People might wonder what kind of people are allowed to be part of this Tent City, how long they will stay in a location and why they are here in the first place. Mouse gave me some of their standards:

To be welcomed into the community one needs to have a current ID and must pass a sex-offender check. Tent City 3 does not allow anyone with a sex-offense in their operation. Mouse said that no level of sex-offense is acceptable for their city.

Stays can run from three to six months, but tend to stay in the three-month time frame. They create a contract with their host or neighborhood and they are very strict about sticking to that contract. This tent city is set to relocate to the Seattle University Campus on Jan 11th 2015.

Also of note is that Tent Cities provide their own trash removal and port-a-potties. Bus tickets are provided to each participant each day so they can get to work or appointments. Each Tent City has a food preparation area and volunteers bring hot meals most evenings while other times area residents kindly bring food donations. Some local construction companies have even stopped by to offer work to able-bodied folks.

Tent City 3 also has their own security-safety patrols. Volunteers work up to 30 hours a week to help maintain the site.

Mouse tells me passionately that the people here are not ‘camping,’ they are ’surviving.’ In the words of a resident from their website:

“People are people are people.  What do we want?  We want our lives back.  We lost our lives for the most part when we lost our jobs, housing, and opportunities to the rough times we are living through right now.”

Tom gave me a tour and showed off his awesome long hair!

Mouse said that tent city gives some of these people a safe way to survive that is a step above some other options available to homeless people in this city.

How can you Help?

Most importantly, Donations are gladly welcomed. On the website, there is a detailed list of wants and needs. Items such as hardware, kitchen, office, camping, health supplies and of course clothing is always needed. I spoke to another resident of Tent City 3, Roger, who said that sometimes neighbors order them pizza’s.

Pictured in front of his Tent, Roger said he was a network engineer before the 'dot bomb'

To some neighbors, it might feel shocking to have a Tent City pop up in your ‘hood. What I found is that taking the time to stop by and meet these people puts a friendly face to an important issue.

As I got in my car and drove away, I felt more at ease knowing that there are great people out there working hard to help people struggling to survive. It was also inspiring, especially knowing there is more I can personally do to help out struggling families in our surrounding areas.

For more information, to volunteer or donate supplies please stop by and talk to the people at Tent City 3, or visit the website.

Online Donations can be made at their PayPals Page.

SHARE is a 501c(3) non-profit registered in the state of Washington and all donations are tax-deductible. WHEEL shares SHARE’s 501c(3).

Tent City 3 is located at:

NE 64th St and 8th Ave NE
Seattle WA 98115

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#Mugshot Monday #8 – Café on The Ave Restores my Faith in Humanity

October 13th, 2014 by Nico Lund

Welcome to #MugShotMonday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafés

There are some Mondays that just resonate with the quintessential theme that day carries. Today is one of those days for this blogger. From waking up with a headache to forgetting my computer-cord at home and only having  a 1% charge; I wasn’t feeling optimistic about getting anything done today.

Enter (literally) Café on the Ave.

I stepped up to the counter and ordered a 2% latte. I felt a little disoriented for a moment because even though there are plenty of directions on how and where to order, I wasn’t sure I was doing it in the right place. This is probably a throwback from when I used to work here back in the Espresso Roma days. Café on the Ave. wants you to order at the register, not at the espresso machine.

Café on the Ave took over where Espresso Roma café left off about 10 years ago.

They have a full menu (american mixed with a little Korean inspired food), Caffe Vita coffee and they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Café on the Ave. caters to mostly students which is immediately visible with tables strewn with textbooks and computers.

While ordering, the cashier was very friendly and showed me the internet code when I asked if there was wi-fi. I retrieved my latte and looked for a spot to park myself. With plenty of tables, a window bar and a bench seating area, I had no trouble finding space.

Upon pulling out my computer to began work I realized that my computer was out of juice and I didn’t have my cord. I immediately looked around and saw three student types with my style computer and asked one of them for a loaner. That was my first great experience here. The first person I asked was super friendly and didn’t even blink an eye at my request! Alas, my work day was salvaged! However, then I couldn’t seem to get on the free wi-fi. I asked the fellow sitting next to me and he said he had some problems with getting kicked off the internet. Luckily, he had a mobile hot-spot and offered me use of his password without my even asking for it!

These two extremely kind and generous acts really turned around my rough-start Monday.

I am now back on track with my two-week delayed #mugshot Monday post, my headache is gone and my faith in humanity has been upped!

Thanks Café on the Ave!

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The Grand Illusions Offers Plenty of Weird & Spooky this October

October 7th, 2014 by Nico Lund

From Walks With Zombies to Obscure X-Rated Dracula Movies, The Grand Illusion Cinema Always Seems to Deliver When it Comes to Bizarrely Intriguing Films

Photo Credit: Josh Daniels

The longest-running independent cinema in the city, the Grand Illusion Cinema is a perfect destination this October for Cinephiles and the people who love them.

Their latest calendar of events has been released and is chalk-full of strange delights. Here are a few highlights:

  • The exclusive Seattle premiere of Terry Gilliam’s madcap sci-fi epic, The Zero Theorem.
  • The 8th year of our annual horror series All Monsters Attack, featuring rare 35mm screenings of Jacques Tourneur’s Cat People and I Walked With A Zombie. Plus another Triple Feature Pizza Party and much more.
  • An evening with legendary recording engineer Martin Bisi, featuring a live performance by his band and a screening of the documentary, Sound & Chaos: The Story of BC Studio.
  • A rare 16mm screening of Canada’s criminally under-seen post-modern neo-noir film, Crime Wave.

General Admission: $8
(increasing to $9 on Aug. 1)
Student (w/valid ID) & Senior (65+): $6
Grand Illusion Member: $5

The Grand Illusion Cinema is located at 1403 NE 50th St.

For more information about shows and showtimes visit their website.

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Huge-Moungous Montlake Neighborhood Yard Sale Event Tomorrow!

October 3rd, 2014 by Nico Lund

Wondering where to find the next porcelain clown to add to your collection, or are you in dire need of a bow flex machine to help you stay fit through winter?

Well, I can’t guarantee you will find these items, however, the Montlake Community is having its second annual Fall Yard Sale.

From 9 to 3 this Saturday, shoppers can visit over 60 yard sale locations. All sales will be in the Montlake neighborhood just north of Capital Hill. Sales will be marked with bright yellow signs and maps will be available at Montlake shops on 24th ave.

Keeping with their original tradition, Montlake Blvd Market will be giving out free coffee, hot chocolate and soft drinks all day Saturday. Yum!

WHEN: October 4,  9 -3pm
WHERE: Over 60 yard sale locations throughout Montlake Neighborhood
CONTACT: Montlake Community Club

Montlake Yard Sale_Page_1

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What’s Happening In Our Hood? This Weekend in The U-district

September 26th, 2014 by Nico Lund

What’s Happening: Things to do in-and-around the U-district

A Night in Spain Paella Dinner
Sat Sept 27, 6–8:30 pm.
Wallingford Community Senior Center
4649 Sunnyside Ave N, Ste 140

For $15, you can help support the Wallingford Community Senior Center while enjoying traditional style tapas, sangria and other Spainish-centric food. Flamenco Dance performance to follow.
Tickets: $15

Free Museum Day
Various Locations
Sat Sept 27.

Visit the Burke Museum for free! Also, other city museums will be participation such as: Nordic Heritage Museum, EMP, Seattle Art Museum, Northwest African American Museum, the Log House museum on Alki, and the always free Frye and Center for Wooden Boats. And, down in Tacoma, the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum and Washington State History Museum

Tickets: Free

Real Time Comic
Sat Sept 27 at 8 pm
Open Flight Studio
4205 University Way NE

Dance, animation, and live music, with six collaborators in total

Tickets: $15-$20.

Ethnic Cultural Theater
Nanjing University Traditional Instrument Orchestra
Fri Sept 26 at 7 pm.
3940 Brooklyn Ave NE

Traditional Chinese Music Orchestra Performance: Nanjing University Traditional Instrument Orchestra

Tickets: Free

Maple and Vine

Sat Sept 27 at 8pm and Sun Sept 28 at 2pm.
Ethnic Cultural Theater
3940 Brooklyn Ave NE

Mirror Stage’s Feed Your Mind staged reading series

The first entry is a community of 1950s era re-enactors.

Tickets: $10.

Stefan Litwin

Fri Sept 26 at 7:30 pm.
Brechemin Auditorium
UW Campus

Litwin is a pianist/composer

Performing Charles Ives’s Sonata No. 2, “Concord, Mass.,” and a composition of his, Thoreau’s Nightmare.

Tickets: $15

5241 University Way NE
Fri Sept 26 at 7 & 10 pm.

Rev. Rawlings & Ms. B Haven
Freudian Slurp


Grand Illusion 1403 NE 50th St

20,000 Days on Earth (NR)

Fri 7 pm, 9 pm

Seven Gables 911 NE 50th St

Hector and the Search for Happiness (R)

Fri 4:35 pm, 7:10 pm, 9:45 pm

Sundance Cinemas 4500 Ninth Ave NE

Boyhood (R)

Fri 1:15 pm, 4:40 pm, 8 pm

The Drop (R)

Fri 4:10 pm, 9:15 pm

The Equalizer (R)

Fri 1 pm, 4 pm, 7 pm, 9:45 pm

Jimi: All Is by My Side (NR)

Fri 1:30 pm, 4:20 pm, 7:15 pm, 9:50 pm

Last Weekend (NR)

Fri 1:45 pm, 4:30 pm, 7:05 pm, 9:20 pm

Love Is Strange (R)

Fri 4:50 pm, 9:40 pm

The Maze Runner (PG-13)

Fri 1:50 pm, 4:25 pm, 6:55 pm, 9:25 pm

My Old Lady (PG-13)

Fri 1:40 pm, 4:15 pm, 6:50 pm, 9:10 pm

The Notebook (R)

Fri 2:10 pm, 7:20 pm

The Skeleton Twins (R)

Fri 2 pm, 4:45 pm, 7:10 pm, 9:30 pm

The Trip to Italy (NR)

Fri 1:20 pm, 6:45 pm

A Walk Among the Tombstones (R)

Fri 1:10 pm, 4:05 pm, 6:40 pm, 9:35 pm

Varsity 4329 University Way NE

Alive Inside (NR)

Fri 5:30 pm, 7:30 pm, 9:25 pm

Flamenco, Flamenco (NR)

Fri 5:15 pm, 7:20 pm, 9:30 pm

Take Me to the River (PG)

Fri 5 pm, 7:05 pm, 9:20 pm

Guild 45th 2115 N 45th St

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (R)

Fri 4:15 pm, 7:05 pm, 9:50 pm

This Is Where I Leave You (R)

Fri 4:45 pm, 7:20 pm, 9:45 pm

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Meet the Authors of Amulet and Smile This Thursday 9/25

September 23rd, 2014 by Nico Lund

Come Down to The University Bookstore for another fantastic Reading Allowed event.

Celebrating the release of his newest book in the Amulet series and also the success of her books Smile and Drama, Kazu Kibuishi and Raina Telgemeirs have come together to speak to what inspires them and what they have in store for the future.

Happening this Thursday Sept. 25 at 7pm, you’ll definitely want to bring your tween! Kibuishi and Telgemeier are tapped into the emotions and topsy turvy roller-coaster psyche of those special years.

  • When: Thursday September 25, 7pm
  • Who: Kazu Kibuishi and Raina Telgemeier
  • What: Amulet #6: Escape From Lucien and Smile (Scholastic) Reading & Book Signing
  • Where: U District store (4326 University Way NE, Seattle 98105 206.634.3400)

You can bring your own copy or purchase a copy for book signing

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#Mugshot Monday #7 – SureShot Espresso’s Got Grit

September 22nd, 2014 by Nico Lund

Welcome to #MugShotMonday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafés

As I opened the door and walked into Sureshot Espresso, I was greeted with the nostalgic scent of cafe’s from my past. A combination of coffee bean dust, old furniture and grit. I could tell that this place was used to well worn boots and quirky ideas. Personally, that makes me like a place.

Kind of like the Star Wars Cantina but without aliens and alcohol,” says Scott L. from a review on Yelp. I have to agree. This place seems to me to be a meeting place for a motley crew of patrons.

There were two grungy but sweet looking guys on the couch having a conversation about Hemp Fest and another guy quietly surfing the internet on one of the computers they have there for public use. (you get 15 minutes complimentary with a minimum purchase of $2) They even have printers for folks to use at 20 cents a sheet.

Another fun thing to know is they have a room of pinball machines! Not only that, they have Mrs. Pac-man and my personal all time favorite, Galaga!

1.Small, loose particles of stone or sand. 2.Courage and resolve; strength of character
In addition to a menu of tasty pastries and lunch items, they also serve white coffee. I chatted up the barista about what exactly white coffee is. He explained to me that it has a different taste and more caffeine than traditional dark roast coffee. The beans are flash roasted, meaning that they are very lightly roasted. Sureshot was the first cafe to offer it in Seattle and has been serving it now close to a decade. They have a loyal following because of it.

Sureshot is frequented by students and neighbors alike and they have a modest amount of seating for hanging out. Located conveniently near the corner of 45th and University Ave, they are open daily for 7am to 12am.

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Weaving Works: Lost and Found In the Roosevelt Neighborhood

September 16th, 2014 by Nico Lund

Since 1974, Weaving Works has been a resource for Seattle fiber artists, crafters and the yarn-curious. Residing for years in the University District, Weaving Works has now relocated to the Roosevelt business district.

In their second month at the new location 6514 Roosevelt Way NE, they still get the occasional frantic caller standing in their old location wondering where they are.

“No worries though” — Jennifer and other employees assure them — “we are still around, still owned by Marcy Johnson, still have the same amazing inventory, still offer classes and most importantly, yes, we still have looms!

Today they are extra excited as they just launched their Fall Class Schedule.

Have you always wanted to try Appalachian Basket Weaving or other Exotic Fiber Arts? Or, are you looking to learn how to knit, crochet or weave? Not only do they have a very knowledgable staff, Weaving Works also has a great reputation for excellent classes.

The new space is bright and cheery. Albeit, a little smaller, the layout and organization of their yarns, wool and supplies was methodical and I had no trouble locating what I needed for my current knitting project.

I do miss the bazillion knitted samples that the old space had, though, I’m sure in time samples of cute baby hats, whimsical shawls, and delicate lace sweaters will cover the walls and tempt me to try a project just outside of my comfort zone.

Being that I personally live right smack in the middle of where they used to be and where they are now, it’s no sweat off my back to take a walk to get a skein or two. Unfortunately, their new location is sans a parking lot, of which customers might miss, but if you really need a parking lot, there is the whole foods complex just about a block-and-a-half south where you could probably secure a spot.

Roosevelt is definitely taking off with a lot of new businesses. When you grab some yarn for your winter fiber projects you can hop next door to Atlantic Crossing or one of the many other restaurants and pups in the area. Jennifer and her co-worker said the great food in their new ‘hood is a plus!

For More Information About Weaving Works Go To Their Website Or Visit Their FaceBook Page.

Phone (206) 524-1221/1-888-524-1221


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