May 23rd, 2012 by Ryan Bianchi
By DARON ANDERSON
UW News Lab
Sound Transit unveiled the latest prospective design plans for Brooklyn station at an open house at the Neptune Theatre last night, May 22. Initial concepts for station art and a discussion of potential station names took center stage.
According to the Sound Transit website, Brooklyn station is part of the North Link Project, which will be a 4.3-mile tunnel spanning from University Station near Husky Stadium to a Northgate station near the Northgate Transit Center. Brooklyn station will be located along Brooklyn Avenue Northeast between the University Manor apartments on Northeast 43rd Street and the Neptune Theatre on Northeast 45th Street.
Bruce Gray, a media relations rep for Sound Transit, said the plan is to have the link open by 2021.
“Everything is really coming together,” he said. “It will be jewel of the U-District.”
Sound Transit Project Manger Tracy Reed welcoming everyone to the open house
Open house attendees had the opportunity to vote on prospective names for the station. The three contenders were U-District Station, Brooklyn Station and Northeast 5th Street. A write-in option was also available.
Meeting attendee Jorgen Bader said he encourages people to choose U-District Station or write in University District Station.
“Nothing about the station relates to the University of Washington,” he said. “It needs to tie into the university and introduce people to the university.”
Tracy Reed, a project manager at Sound Transit, said a permanent name will be chosen in June.
“It will reflect the nature of the environment and be brief and easy to read and remember,” she said, adding that the selection will not be similar to names of existing stations and buildings.
In addition to naming the station, the meeting was the first time the community was introduced to the local artists, Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo, who will provide the
station’s artwork. Last November, a Sound Transit art selection committee chose Han and Mihalyo, who own Lead Pencil Studio in Seattle.
“Our inspiration comes from the urban fabric of the city,” Mihalyo said. He added that they plan to have 3-D windows with videos running, still images and lighting.
“They will be ambient in nature,” he said. “We haven’t decided what, but they will relate to domestic and retail experiences.”
The open house presentation noted that the University Station will cater to visitors of Husky Stadium, the University of Washington Medical Center and the southern part of UW’s campus, while the Brooklyn Station will be more accessible for people traveling to the UW Tower, the “Ave,” north campus and buses that connect at Northeast 45th Street.
Attendees view displays and talk to Sound Transit employees during the station design open house.
Gray said the projected ridership at Brooklyn station for 2030 is approximately 12,000 daily boardings based on current transit ridership and projected travel times. Riders will be able to travel from Brooklyn station to Westlake Station in eight minutes and to Sea- Tac Airport in 41 minutes, Gray said.
The station will be approximately 80 feet below ground with elevators, escalators and stairs provided at entrances adjacent to the Neptune Theatre and near the Chase Bank on Northeast 43rd Street. Ticketing machines, covered bicycle storage, benches and four emergency staircases were also featured in the presentation. In addition, the station is designed to include street-level retail shops or office spaces at street level.
Gray said he expects the final design to be completed at the end of 2012, with demolition and construction work beginning shortly after. Construction of the station
will include closing Brooklyn Avenue Northeast and Northeast 43rd Street to traffic and pedestrians.
“The meat of the construction will be from 2014 to 2017,” Gray said. “The biggest impact folks will notice is that Brooklyn will be closed.”
Wilbert Santos, Sound Transit community relations’ specialist answers questions from attendees.
Tags: Brooklyn Station, construction, design, light rail station, Sound Transit, University District Station Share
May 21st, 2012 by Ryan Bianchi
By JORDAN BAER
UW News Lab
This past Friday, May 18, Peek opened its doors in University Village to a swarm of eager customers. The children’s clothing store, which originated in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2006, has additional locations in California, Arizona and Texas. But for its first Washington location, University Village in Seattle couldn’t have been a better choice.
“University Village is such a great location for us. It fits in perfectly with our brand,” said Christian Wais, general manager of all Peek locations.
General manager of Peek, Christian Wais, said, “We want to offer something complementary to what's already happening here. We're not trying to compete.”
That brand he’s referring to is defined by Peek’s three key values, which include nostalgia, wit and sophistication. As an upscale children’s brand, Peek delivers high-end clothing to even the youngest generations, thus filling the void in quality children’s-wear, according to Wais.
Annjette Del Valle, manager of Glassybaby in University Village, said she thinks there are a lot of people that want more options for children’s apparel and she’s hopeful that Peek will be able to provide that.
“We felt like a lot of kids didn’t get the same attention to detail and quality that were in adult clothes. We wanted to bring a level of premium sophistication to kids,” said Wais.
Peek delivers high-quality clothing to children through its use of soft fabrics and a sophisticated color palette.
And it seems as though they may be doing just that. With refined prints, soft fabrics and miniature versions of pieces you might see in an adult clothing store, Peek is definitely bringing new styles to the arena of children’s clothing. Peek gets a lot of its fabrics from Liberty London, which is one of the oldest printmakers in the world. Some of Peek’s more sophisticated pieces include paisley and floral prints from Liberty London. As for the miniature items, Peek offers neon-colored Vans in infant sizes and a khaki-colored dress with a coral floral print that you might hope to find at J. Crew in adult sizes.
“The whole idea was kind of peeking into your child’s future and peeking back into your own childhood,” Wais added. “When you see our mix and our product, you can see we’re doing something different.”
Micaela Wanzer, a current employee at Peek in University Village, added, “What I love about Peek is that it appeals to both children and adults. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard adults, both women and men alike, come in and say how they wished that we made clothing in their size.”
Wanzer first became familiar with the brand when she worked at Nordstrom last summer, which is a large distributor of Peek-brand clothing. “Peek is unlike any other kids-apparel company out there and is really unique in style and aesthetic,” said Wanzer. “It is playful, like most kids clothes are, but it has an edge of sophistication and, of course, is very high quality.”
Peek avoids just using the primary colors and instead pairs coral, mustard and lilac with neutral tones in order to achieve a more adult color palette. In addition, Peek avoids childish graphics. Wais joked, “You’ll never see a dinosaur on one of our shirts.” Peek clothing is generally in the $30-$60 range for young boys and girls as well as for baby clothing.
Not only is it Peek’s mission to fill the need for more options in children’s apparel, Wais insists it’s also to encourage children to interact with, and be curious about, the world they live in. Maybe that explains why Peek is stocked with children’s books, has a craft station and often uses pictures of scientists or artists on its T-shirts.
Craft stations are set up to ensure that children interact and have an experience while in Peek stores. “We want to be able to provide what we do, which is a great customer experience,” said Wais.
According to Wais, Peek may be opening three more locations this year, but no official announcement has been made.
To learn more about Peek, please visit its new location in University Village or website at www.peekkids.com/store/.
Tags: business, children's clothing, shopping, university village Share
May 21st, 2012 by Ryan Bianchi
The 43rd annual University District Street Fair never fails to draw a good size crowd, even when the weather’s not cooperating. This year’s fair boasted some 500 booths for food, merchandise, information and entertainment. The fair is one of the cities premier events for people watching.
May 7th, 2012 by Ryan Bianchi
By MAGGIE THORPE
UW News Lab
Lars Foster-Jorgensen and Trent Walkiewicz act in Wing-It Production’s new unscripted play “Gauntlet.” Photo credit Wing-It Productions.
What if you could be the “player” within a play?
Improv theater group Wing-It Productions did just that at their opening night for their new unscripted play, “Gauntlet” on Thursday, May 3.
In addition to the typical audience interaction needed in improv, a new level of virtual interaction was used for the actors. Microsoft engineers and Carnegie-Mellon graduate students collaborated with Wing-It to create an exclusive Kinect video game for the play.
In addition to the innovation’s “wow-factor,” the use of a video game in the play is vital to the story.
“Gauntlet” is about two friends who are winners at playing video games but are losers in life. Depending on audience suggestions, the plot revolves around a major life event. The video-game world almost parallels the real world, making the “audience member become lost in the show, much in the same way that video games engulf the player,” said director Andrew McMasters.
Each performance is a unique experience, just like starting a new file on a video game. The actors rotate the basic parts. “Female gamers will not be excluded,” said actors Elizabeth Westerman and Amalia Larson, who play the role of the video gamers.
Don Gillett came up with the show’s concept about six to seven years ago during the show “CUT,” which involved a green screen that the actors would interact with. Motion-capture technology has progressed enough since then, Gillett decided to create a show using Microsoft’s Kinect technology. “We were building the game while they were rehearsing it. It took about two months to make, but there was difficulty with that. Like we would have to change parts to go with what they were rehearsing,” said Gordon Jeffery, a Carnegie-Mellon graduate student.
Kinect — a motion-sensing input device by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 console and Windows PCs — is used by the actors playing the roles of the video game avatars. While these actors stand in front of the device and act out their characteristics, the video gamers use the Xbox controllers to manipulate the camera and gameplay. The need for coordination between actors is especially high with using this technology. For example, in Thursday night’s show, the video game avatars were named “Tentaculus the Octopusinator” and “Volatile Primate the Triathlete.” Tentaculus would wiggle his arms like tentacles and Volatile Primate was hunched over. These physical characteristics were reflected on the gameplay on the large screen. The accuracy of motion-capture immensely increased the humor. The video gamer who was Volatile Primate would move the character around and interact with the setting – such as killing villains or jousting. Even when the actors did not know what they were doing with the game controls, it helped with the comedy of the show and their quick wit saved any technical difficulties experienced. This made the experience uplifting and fun.
It is not only the use of technology that makes the unscripted play a success, but also the witty dialogue improvised by the actors. The ensemble made the show feel like it was actually scripted with smart conversations and character development, leading to new story directions without a bump.
You can find out more information about “Gauntlet” and order tickets at www.wingitpresents.com/gauntlet/.
It plays Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. from May 3 until May 19.
Tickets are $14 for adults and $10 for students, seniors and military.
Tags: Improv, The Ave., Theater, Wing-it Productions Share
April 21st, 2012 by Ryan Bianchi
Husky Fest kicked off Thursday and wraps up today. The event offered a lot of educational information, music and food trucks.
Engineering students help kids launch air powered rockets.
Environmental Science Professor Robert Wing Lee demonstrates how these mirrors can focus enough of the sun's energy to burn a GI Joe figure.
The electronic engineering school shows off robots and remote controled quadrocoptors.
Tags: Husky Fest, spring, University of Washington Share
April 17th, 2012 by Ryan Bianchi
Anyone would be hard-pressed to think of a neighborhood tradition that’s half a century old (outside the UW campus, of course). But this week, the members of the University Congregational UCC are putting the finishing touches on the 50th annual Superfluity Sale. Budget conscious shoppers will find kitchen items, decorations, bedding, small furniture, lamps, plants and much more.
The sale started as a white elephant gift exchange back in March 1962. It has since raised more than $450,000 dollars for charities that support vulnerable children, youth and women.
You can check it out at 4515 16th Ave. N.E. Here’s the schedule:
2012 Superfluity Sale
April 19th 7-9 pm
April 20th 9:30 am – 6 pm
April 21st 9:30am-1pm
Kitchen and Housewares sold at Superfluity 2011
Books sold at Superfluity 2011
Plants sold at Superfluity 2011
Collectibles and decor accents sold at Superfluity 2011
Tags: rummage sale, superfluity, University Congregational United Church of Christ Share
April 12th, 2012 by Ryan Bianchi
The Wayward Vegan Cafe, which moved to the 5200 block of University Way NE from NE 55th Street more than a year ago, is now stepping up its game by expanding its hours to include dinner.
The dinner options developed by co-owners Colin and Tami Blanchette feature meat- and dairy-free takes on old favorites such as quesadillas, filet mignon, fried chicken, ribs, and nachos.
Dinner will be served from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily in addition to breakfast and lunch.
The restaurant has been in the U District for more than seven years.
Tags: restaurants, The Ave., University Way, vegan Share
April 6th, 2012 by Ryan Bianchi
The Seattle Times reports that Sundance Cinemas will take over Metro Cinema starting next month. Sundance will reportedly add stadium seating, among other improvements, to the longtime U District movie theater.
Tags: Landmark Theaters, Metro Cinema, movie theater, Sundance Cinema Share
March 19th, 2012 by Ryan Bianchi
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 www.deafspotlight.com/SDFF.
Tags: Deaf, film festival, Kane Hall Share
March 16th, 2012 by Ryan Bianchi
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
Tags: road construction, SDOT Share