You are currently viewing all posts written by Gabriel Campanario.
December 6, 2013 at 9:54 PM
Sketched Nov. 18, 2013
Talk about an interesting transformation. Back in the early 70s, when people stopped using the city’s historic bathhouses as places to change into their swimwear, the little brick buildings were repurposed as art centers. Currently, Seward Park’s is a ceramic studio, Madrona Beach’s hosts a dance company, and Green Lake’s is the home of Seattle Public Theater (SPT.)
I recently stepped into the Green Lake venue to watch a rehearsal of SPT’s “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” which runs through Dec. 24. This is the play that helped save theater at the bathhouse when STP moved into the space in 2001, said artistic director Shana Bestock. Now in its 13th consecutive season, the holiday classic has become one of the city’s longest running plays.
People may not know there is a cozy, 165-seat theater here, said Bestock, but those who step inside enjoy the experience. “Everyone loves being in an old funky space.”
November 29, 2013 at 5:38 PM
Sketched Nov. 26, 2013
For the first time in years, the Polar Star is about to go break some ice.
Budget cuts and repairs kept the aging heavy-duty icebreaker sidelined since 2006, but come Tuesday, it will leave Pier 36 on a four-month deployment to Antarctica.
Deck Officer Paul Garcia said the mission is to break a path through 80 miles of ice so a tanker can bring fuel and supplies to the remote McMurdo Station, a U.S. research center built on the world’s most southern piece of ground accessible by ship.
The cutter can break through ice up to 21 feet deep, Garcia told me as I joined him and Operations Specialist Zachary Madden atop the ship’s “aloft conn,” the navigation station with 360-degree views situated high up on the vessel’s mast.
Madden noted it’s summer in Antarctica, so the crew will have constant daylight to admire landscapes most of us won’t experience in our lifetime.
If only I could tag along with my sketchbook!
Try to blur the city skyline you see in these sketches and picture ice and penguins instead. That’s what awaits the Polar Star in Antarctica.
November 22, 2013 at 6:29 PM
Sketched Nov. 15, 2013
Turns out Amazon wasn’t the first Seattle enterprise to revolutionize the shopping experience. Back in 1950, Northgate Mall made its debut as the first shopping center in the country to be defined as a “mall.”
The key difference from other shopping centers was that stores faced each other along a wide pedestrian walkway where cars were not allowed, the mall’s current general manager, Steven Heim, told me on a recent Friday afternoon. “It was a radical idea back then,” said Heim, a native Washingtonian who is very enthusiastic about the mall’s history.
When I asked Heim what interesting traces of the mall’s past remain, he led me to the original service tunnel that runs the length of the mall. Today’s trucks are too big for it, he said, so it’s not used very much. Heim also showed me a relic stored away for years: the eagle-shaped bookends of an old entrance sign. And he walked me through an abandoned restaurant, also hidden on the basement level, that he believes was popular with Sonics fans. He wishes he knew more about it — clues, anyone?
Now, in case you don’t care about the historical trivia and would rather know where to park at Northgate this holiday season, here’s Heim’s tip: “There’s always spaces on the fourth and fifth floor of the parking garage.”
November 15, 2013 at 9:13 PM
An austere monument at Alki Avenue S.W. and 63rd Avenue S.W. marks the “birthplace of Seattle,” the point along the West Seattle shoreline where a group of pioneers led by Arthur Denny landed 162 years ago this week.
I used to think the Denny Party stumbled upon these lands the same way Columbus happened upon America. But I know better now. Arthur Denny had dispatched his younger brother, David, to scout the area a few months earlier.
That means the 24 men, women and children who came aboard the Schooner Exact had something to look forward to. Namely, the cabin David Denny and fellow pioneer Lee Terry were building to welcome them.
On their arrival, however, they found a big disappointment. David had fallen ill, and the cabin was unfinished – in the middle of November. No wonder “the ladys sat down on the loggs and took A Big Cry,” as later reported by a member of the party.
Though a major metropolis has blossomed along Elliott Bay since then, it’s not difficult to imagine what the pioneers had to go through that Nov. 13 of 1851. Stand for a few minutes on that beach this time of the year and you’ll feel the same chill in the air while seagulls fly through the same cloudy skies that greeted the Denny Party.
I think I would have cried too.
November 13, 2013 at 6:21 PM
Nov. 14 UPDATE: Machinists voted a resounding no to Boeing’s contract offer.
Sketched Nov. 13, 2013
This morning I took my sketchpad to the aerospace worker’s union hall in Everett, where thousands of Boeing machinists stood in line throughout the day to vote on a company contract. For the most part, the atmosphere was pretty somber, which is understandable when you consider what’s at stake. Boeing is threatening to build the 777X airliner somewhere else if the union doesn’t approve the contract. That could mean the region would lose more than 50,000 jobs in the next few years. (Seattle Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates has all the details on that.)
Still, a few machinists had not lost their sense of humor. James White, a 17-year Boeing employee who works on the 777, was dressed as Captain America. “Sometimes someone has to stand up and lead the charge,” he said. Nearby, another machinist held a cardboard sign with a picture of Yoda and this slogan: “Vote No You Must.”
According to some machinists I talked to, the union, which has more than 30,000 members, is split about 60-40, with the majority rejecting the contract because it will cut benefits they have fought very hard to get over the years. Of the more than twenty machinists I talked to, only two said they voted to approve the contract and they did not wish to be identified.
For many, the issue means more than just working at Boeing. The contract represents “another nail in the coffin for middle class America,” said Mark Braun, a 27-year Boeing veteran encouraging others to vote against it.
This group of Boeing buddies includes Brian Duff, 53; Charles Kauffman, 51; Matt McEwen, 30; and Chelsea Kauffman, 20, who is Charles’ daughter. “If we let Boeing take our benefits away, other companies will follow,” said Duff.
Amanda Ferrara, a 27-year-old mechanic, expressed her view with these words: “We need to fight for what we have. Keep the benefits going for the people coming after us — our children and grandchildren.”
Robert Mahan expressed disappointment at the way the company presented the contract terms. “We didn’t have enough time to chew on this.” He wished there had been a little bit more give and take, more time for negotiation.
November 8, 2013 at 6:31 PM
Sketched Nov. 1, 2013
Every November, as soon as we turn the clock back and it’s suddenly dark before 5 p.m., a case of early-winter blues strikes me. This year I took a preventive measure, though. I jumped aboard a Ducks tour for a dose of cheer that may last me through the season. Call it a flu shot for the soul.
The 90-minute excursion took me to familiar places — downtown, Pioneer Square and Fremont — and ended with a splash in Lake Union. But it was the entertainment, not the views of the city on a dreary day, that put me in a good mood. Capt. “Phlip Dover” (get it?) drove the amphibious truck while cracking jokes and swinging to the beat of James Brown’s “I Feel Good.” By the time we pulled over at Seattle Center, I was singing “Who Let the Dogs Out” and speaking to the Puerto Rican couple next to me as if I’d known them forever.
Capt. Phlip, who just earned his employee bobblehead for “quacking since 2009,” said that nothing beats being a tourist in your own city. At the end of the day, “You get to sleep in your own bed.”
November 1, 2013 at 9:28 PM
Sketched Oct. 17, 2013
In Seattle’s beer alphabet, “R” is for Rainier. But the beer hasn’t been brewed or owned locally since 1999.
Another ‘r’ – this one lower case – brands the new toast of the town: Reuben’s Brews.
In only three years, owner Adam Robbings has gone from concocting beer recipes in his garage to crafting and bottling ales that are winning gold medals in international tasting competitions and filling the shelves of more than 50 stores in Western Washington.
Robbings, a 39-year-old cheerful British accountant who quit his day job last April to brew full time, still seems surprised by the accolades. He’s been told that he has the best asset a brewer could have: a sophisticated palate that lets him play with multiple flavors until he finds the perfect recipe. He doesn’t even drink that much beer. “I just want to taste it and move on,” he said as I watched him sniff and sip his Imperial IPA. He described the taste as a mix of “dank citrus, passion fruit and a little pine.”
Jason Call, a Marysville homebrewer I met at the tap room in Ballard said Robbings’s path to success is an inspiration to local craft brewers. “He is showing us it can be done.”
Robbings said he was blown away by the variety of beers in the Pacific Northwest when he moved to Seattle a decade ago. He still remembers the first two brands he tried: Manny’s and Mack and Jack’s, and says the craft beer industry in Seattle is 20 years ahead of England.
Reuben’s operation is a family affair ran by Robbings, his wife, Grace, and his brother-in-law Mike Pfeiffer, who moved to Seattle from the Midwest to help them out — you can see him helping a customer in this sketch. The most important member of the team, however, hasn’t even reached drinking age yet. That would be the fellow the brewery is named after: Adam and Grace’s son, Reuben, who is 4 years old.
The microbrewery is located in the heart of the Ballard industrial district, a block away from the Bardahl Manufacturing Corporation. Just like Woodinville has seen wineries concentrate in its “warehouse district,” Ballard may be experiencing the same type of boom for breweries. Robbings said several have opened nearby since they leased space in this warehouse in August of 2012.
October 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM
Sketched Oct. 10, 2013
In the war between cars and bicycles I try to keep myself out of the crossfire — my preferred ways of transportation are walking or busing. But I would certainly bike more if I felt safer on the road.
My standard of safe cycling, however, may be pretty high for this city. Even on a “Bicycle Sunday” along car-free Lake Washington Boulevard this summer I felt intimidated by spandex-clad cyclists zooming by in packs as if they were in the Tour de France.
Imagine then how I felt recently riding through one of the least safe cycling routes in town: the “missing link” segment of the Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard. The mere sight of cyclists and cement trucks sharing the road made me cringe.
I understand the debate over completing the trail is more than a decade long. But, while it continues, the flow of cyclists enduring the treacherous path isn’t slowing down. What would it take to make this a safe ride now?
One of the most treacherous moments riding along the “missing link” was approaching the Ballard Bridge. Though my instinct was to keep pedaling straight, I had to make a sharp turn to negotiate hard-to-see rail tracks running parallel to the the road.
Most of the “missing link” runs through an industrial corridor including marine-fabrication shops, warehouses and boat repair businesses. Workers who approached me as I sketched said the new trail would probably eliminate their parking spaces near the rail track.
The current trail ends at 11th Avenue Northwest by the Ballard Fred Meyer and it starts again about 1.5 mile from here at the Ballard Locks. If you venture past this sign as I did, all I can say is this: Be careful!
October 11, 2013 at 10:15 PM
Sketched Oct. 3, 2013
Halloween impresario Scott Kolling has a benchmark to measure the success of a haunted house. If he can scare the 35-year-old guy, he can scare anybody.
“Nightmare on 9,” his newest attraction, sure terrified this 43-year-old.
Housed at the Thomas Family Farm off Highway 9 in Snohomish, the haunt recreates a slaughterhouse with a gruesome past. According to Kolling’s clever script, a butcher was torn in half by a meat grinder, but his upper body was never found.
Is that creepy enough for you? Meeting the actors in the dressing room beforehand didn’t lessen the fear factor for me. As soon as I entered the twisting hallways of “Nightmare,” I wanted out. But I had to do my job, so I tried to keep cool as I sketched spooky butchers roaming between pig carcasses and a few other scenes of manufactured horror.
What attracts people to this kind of thrill is beyond me, but I have to admire Kolling’s creativity. After 18 years in the business (the Haunted House at Georgetown Morgue is also his brainchild,) he seems to know how to please his customers.
“We love it when we hear screams,” he said.
INSIDE THE DRESSING ROOM
ENTER THE NIGHTMARE
October 4, 2013 at 6:38 PM
The days of the downtown Greyhound Bus Terminal are numbered. The entire city block where one of Seattle’s oldest transportation hubs has stood since 1927 is slated for redevelopment next year. Will we miss it?
The significance of the building may be lost at first sight. The majority of the original brick work was covered with beige ceramic tiles in the 1960s. (What were they thinking?) Mismatched additions like a roof overhang covering the passenger-loading area also mask the integrity of the station.
But consider the history. Decades before buses and light rail shared the downtown bus tunnel, streetcars and buses ran alongside the same wall where I recently sketched passengers boarding the 2:10 p.m. Greyhound to Vancouver, B.C.; part of the rails can still be seen through the pavement.
The Central Stage Terminal, as it was called then, was the southern base of the Seattle-Everett Interurban rail line and home to a number of coach companies that later displaced the streetcars and preceded Greyhound. Call it the first hybrid bus-rail station in the city.
While Greyhound plans to build a new terminal near the Stadium light-rail station early next year, the redevelopment of this site into a massive hotel/residential complex will erase an important part of Seattle’s transportation past. The city didn’t deem the terminal worthy of landmark status, so don’t expect the bulldozers to leave any part of it standing.
The waiting room inside the terminal was abuzz with activity on a recent weekday. Mary Patton had traveled here from Sequim on the Dungeness Line shuttle bus. She said she was a Seattle Times subscriber, so I didn’t have to do much explaining about my work. I hurried to make this sketch before she boarded the 1:10 p.m. bus to Portland, where she was planning to attend a wedding.
Gary Saben, who’s worked for Greyhound for 39 years, stopped to peek at my sketch of the building, and I came by to draw him when his bus was ready to leave. He said he’s looking forward to the new terminal in Sodo. “Change is always good.”
When I asked station manager Joseph Hapac what was special about the terminal, he knew exactly where to take me. We walked outside towards Ninth Avenue and he pointed to the rails still visible on the pavement. Then he pointed up to the part of the building where you can still see the original brickwork, right above the roof overhang.
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