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Town Hall Seattle Arts & Culture Series

Arts & Culture Podcasts

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.

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.


United States


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.








154. R. Michael Hendrix: What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation

What kind of beat is irresistible to listeners, and how is it achieved? What makes a musical collaboration successful? What can musical minds teach us about innovation? They don’t think like we do, and in the creative process, they don’t act like we do. R. Michael Hendrix believes it isn’t a coincidence that some of the world’s most respected creators, like Jimmy Iovine and Bjork, are also entrepreneurs. The designer and musician joined us to share from interviews he conducted for his book...


153. Sonora Jha with Ijeoma Oluo: Motherhood, Masculinity, and How to Raise a Feminist Son

The message that the patriarchy and toxic masculinity negatively impacts men and boys as well as women has gotten louder in recent years. But what does that understanding mean for mothers who want to raise feminist sons? Seattle University journalism professor Sonora Jha joined us to offer her own thoughts about this complex and important question. In a deeply personal conversation with bestselling author Ijeoma Oluo, Jha shared her journey to raise a feminist son as a single immigrant...


152. Annabelle Gurwitch with Susan Orlean: Adventures in Downward Mobility

For many generations, Americans were sold the idea of upward mobility. But today’s generations are unfortunately and unexpectedly struggling with downward mobility, both financial and emotional. A new essay collection gives irreverent and empathetic voice to this generation, hurtling into their next chapter with no safety net, and author Annabelle Gurwitch joined us to discuss this unique book. In conversation with writer Susan Orlean, Gurwitch shared passages from You’re Leaving When?:...


151. Emma Smith with K. Elizabeth Stevens—This Is Shakespeare: A New Study of the Bard

Was Shakespeare a timeless prophet, a verbal innovator, a technical genius, a man who encapsulated the human condition as no one else has? Well, sort of. But Shakespeare expert Emma Smith argued that much of what we are taught about Shakespeare is not important. She contended that the inconsistencies and uncertainties in his plays are not a problem, but rather the thing that makes them so enduringly relevant. Smith joined us to share from her electrifying new study of the Bard’s work,...


150. Mark Kurlansky: The Unreasonable Virtue of Fly Fishing

Fly fishing, historian Mark Kurlansky has found, is a battle of wits, fly fisher vs. fish–and the fly fisher does not always (or often) win. The targets–salmon, trout, and char; and for some, bass, tarpon, tuna, bonefish, and even marlin–are highly intelligent, wily, strong, and athletic animals. The allure, Kurlansky learns, is that fly fishing makes catching a fish as difficult as possible. There is an art, too, in the crafting of flies. Beautiful and intricate, some are made with more...


149. Leila Cobo with Agueda Pacheco Flores: An Oral History of Latin Music

Have you ever wanted to ask Enrique Iglesias, Descemer Bueno, and Gente De Zona about their 2014 hit “Bailando”? What’s the story behind that Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine hit “Conga,” the one you that makes it irresistible to move? How does Daddy Yankee feel about being the “King of Reggaeton,” and were he and Luis Fonsi surprised by the outcry when the “Despacito” lyrics were translated to English? Billboard’s VP of Latin music Leila Cobo joined us in conversation with local...


148. Claudio Lomnitz: The Intersections of Jewish and Latin American Culture

Tracing his grandparents’ exile from Eastern Europe to South America through to his own experiences, anthropologist Claudio Lomnitz joined us with a stunningly personal study of the intersections between Jewish and Latin American culture. Drawing on his memoir about his immigrant family, Nuestra America: My Family in the Vertigo of Translation, Lomnitz weaved a fascinating culture study. Beginning with his grandparents, he explored how they became involved in the Peruvian leftist...


147. Anna North and Alexis Coe: Rewriting History Through a Feminist Lens

A young woman outlaw in 1894 and a new look at the life of George Washington: what could these two stories have in common? Perhaps more than you’d think. Both introduce a new look at an often romanticized area of American history, seen through a feminist lens. Authors Anna North and Alexis Coe joined us in conversation about rewriting history in genres that are often dominated by men. With North’s novel Outlawed and Coe’s nonfiction You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George...


146. Ronald A. Crutcher with Dr. Quinton Morris: Navigating Race on the Road to Leadership

Born to two parents who never graduated high school, Dr. Ronald A. Crutcher grew up to become a leader at the highest levels of academia and the arts. As a child musician, he met with Coretta Scott King. As an adult educator, he sat at Maya Angelou’s holiday table. But it is Dr. Crutcher’s success as a Black intellectual steering through highly charged social issues that makes his story both unforgettable and urgently important, and he joined in conversation with Seattle University’s Dr....


145. Jeffrey Stewart with LaNesha DeBardelaben: Alain Locke, the Father of the Harlem Renaissance

A tiny, fastidiously dressed man emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence and call them the New Negro — the creative African Americans whose art, literature, music, and drama would inspire Black people to greatness. Professor Jeffrey Stewart brought Alain Locke’s story to the forefront with his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, The New Negro: The Life of Alain...


144. Colin Bryar and Bill Carr with Chris Devore: An Insider’s Look at Amazon’s Culture, Leadership, and More

Colin Bryar started at Amazon in 1998; Bill Carr joined in 1999. With twenty-seven years of Amazon experience between them, much of it in the early aughts—a period that brought products and services including Kindle, Amazon Prime, Amazon Studios, and Amazon Web Services to life—Bryar and Carr joined us, in conversation with Chris Devore, to offer unprecedented access to the Amazon way as it was refined, articulated, and proven to be repeatable, scalable, and adaptable. Bringing...


143. Victor L. Wooten with Wier Harman: The Healing Power and Humanity in Music

Grammy Award-winning bass player and author Victor L. Wooten invites us to imagine a world he has created in his book The Spirit of Music. This is a world where three musicians are mysteriously summoned to Nashville, the Music City, to join together with Victor himself to do battle against the “Phasers,” whose blinking “music-cancelling” headphones silence and destroy all musical sound. Perhaps that world sounds similar to ours, where the soundtrack of our lives plays in tiny earbuds while...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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,...


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...


136. Roger Rosenblatt with Paul Muldoon: On Life, Love, and Responsibility

The Cold Moon occurs in late December, auguring the arrival of the winter solstice. Approaching the winter solstice of his own life, author Roger Rosenblatt embarked upon writing Cold Moon: On Life, Love, and Responsibility, dedicated to the three most important lessons he has learned over his many years. In this conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Muldoon, Rosenblatt delved into those three lessons: an appreciation of being alive, a recognition of the gift and power of love, and...


135. Alone Together Book Club Discussion with Jennifer Haupt, Amber Flame, Claudia Castro Luna, and Lidia Yuknavitch

The COVID-19 crisis has led to a moment of grief, isolation, and uncertainty that is nearly unprecedented in recent memory. How are we changing as a result, both as individuals and a society? In response to the pandemic, author and editor Jennifer Haupt rallied 90 authors, her publisher, and other business partners to explore the impact in Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19, all proceeds of which benefit the Book Industry Charitable Fund. Haupt joined us in...