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Town Hall Seattle Arts & Culture Series

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Frances McCue with Cary Moon

The 2016 demolition and relocation of Seattle’s beloved literary center, The Richard Hugo House, inspired comments and musings from local luminaries on the future of our city’s cultural and physical landscape. Among them are recent mayoral candidate Cary Moon and Hugo House founding director Frances McCue, who take our stage for a conversation on McCue’s latest poetry collection Timber Curtain. The pair offered a mediation on the intersection of poetry and urban planning, and the ethics of...


Sam Wasson with Andrew McMasters

In many ways comedy is a great equalizer—a ubiquitous and nationally beloved form of entertainment. To give us some perspective on the meteoric rise of American comedy, Sam Wasson took the stage to discuss his book Improv Nation: How We Made A Great American Art, a richly reported, scene-driven narrative that moves fast and digs deep. Wasson tracked the origins of improv, from the experimental theater troupe Second City who set up shop in Chicago at the height of the McCarthy era, to Dan...


Neil Patrick Harris

Who hasn’t entertained childhood fantasies of magic? To help us rekindle that shared dream, award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris brought us The Magic Misfits, the debut book in his newly premiering children’s series. The story follows a young magician’s adventure to discover a family of friends and their own self-worth. The book itself is cleverly designed as a treasure trove rich with codes and ciphers, and promises to engage active young readers with secrets of how to make their own...


Mayor Greg Nickels and Steven Agen

The Seattle Sounders 2016 MLS ‘worst-to-first’ run was as thrilling as it was improbable. When they lifted the Cup last December, their achievement represented a major success for a community fostering soccer culture within the city for more than 40 years. Few are more familiar with the development of the Seattle soccer scene than former Seattle mayor Greg Nickels. Both a fan in their NASL days and a key player in bringing MLS to the Emerald City decades later, Nickels joined Steven...


Irene Skyriver

Many of us are inspired at the thought of taking a journey of self discovery. Irene Skyriver took just such a journey—an epic solo kayaking trip to find herself and a new sense of connection with her ancestors. In her memoir Paddling with Spirits she chronicled her solo voyage from Alaska to her home in Washington’s San Juan Islands. Town Hall is proud to debut Irene as she vividly reimagined stories of her family history and native coastal ancestors (Tlingit and Makah), interweaving them...


Kate Lebo and Samuel Ligon

Town Hall’s history of spirited community gatherings took a new form when we invited Kate Lebo and Samuel Ligon to share their new anthology, Pie & Whiskey: Writers under the Influence of Butter & Booze. The book is a collection of six years’ worth of literary work plus newly generated pieces, all from prompts that involve pie, whiskey, or both—from writers like Jess Walter, J Robert Lennon, Kim Barnes, and ML Smoker. Congregating with several of their contributing authors, Lebo and Ligon...


Barry Blitt with Luke Burbank

When we’re distraught over the state of our country, sometimes the best we can do is laugh. Luckily we have Barry Blitt, whose satirical cartoons have lampooned American politics and culture for decades. His iconic New Yorker covers are era-defining images, earning adoration from critics and fans and piles of hate mail from everyone else. He took our stage to share pages from his latest anthology Blitt, opening his private sketchbooks to show us never-before-seen drafts and uproarious...


Pratap Chatterjee and Khalil

We are being watched, but who’s watching? Author Pratap Chatterjee joined forces with artist Khalil to illustrate the complex history of mass surveillance since 9/11 with VERAX: The True History of Whistleblowers, Drone Warfare, and Mass Surveillance, a striking work of investigative journalism presented in the form of a graphic novel. Journalist Chatterjee visually outlined a fact-finding expedition into programs that guide missiles for drone strikes, “deep packet inspection” data-mining...


Nathan Myhrvold

Nathan Myhrvold proved that bread is far from stale. A renewed spirit of creativity and innovation is emerging from breadmaking’s 6,000-year- old tradition, and Myhrvold is leading the charge with flour-dusted hands and an insatiable curiosity. Formerly the Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, and cofounder of Intellectual Ventures, he has since turned his inquisitive attention to cooking. Modernist Bread is Myhrvold’s highly anticipated follow-up to Modernist Cuisine, the tome famed...


Rachel Yang and Jess Thomson

Exemplifying cross-cultural cooking at its most enticing, James Beard Best Chef-nominee Rachel Yang and Seattle-based freelance food writer Jess Thomson shared their cookbook My Rice Bowl: Korean Cooking Outside the Lines, a celebration of Korean fusion cuisine inspired by traditions around the world. Together the two explored the landscape of America’s fusion-cooking culture and expound upon Yang’s childhood stories—those of a Korean immigrant who tried everything to become an American,...


Gabrielle Langholtz with Renee Erickson and Naomi Pomeroy

What is American food? To answer this question—and dispel the myth that our nation is a culinary wasteland—food author and editor Gabrielle Langholtz presents us with America: The Cookbook, a comprehensive compilation (and celebration) of our country’s myriad traditions and regional favorite dishes. Langholtz is joined in by Seattle-based chef and author Renee Erickson and Portland, Oregon food legend Naomi Pomeroy. Together they open a conversation about America’s heritage of melting-pot...


Garry Wills

What does the Qur’an actually say about veiling women? Does it justify religious war? Garry Wills, one of America’s greatest religious scholars, leads us through an insightful and erudite study of these questions and more in this opportunity to learn together about Islam’s most sacred text. In What the Qur’an Meant, Wills turns his Pulitzer Prize-winning writing and lifetime of religious study to help combat the false information too often spread about the Islamic faith. Through the eyes...


Caitlin Doughty with Sonya Vatomsky

“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living,” Marcus Tullius Cicero once wrote. Caitlin Doughty has spent her life around the dead. A mortician by trade, Doughty, in From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death travels the world to discover how other cultures care for their dead. She goes to Bolivia to see cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls; to Japan to watch relatives of the deceased use chopsticks to pluck their loved ones’ bones from...


Stephen Greenblatt

Comprising only a few ancient verses, the story of Adam and Eve has served as a mirror in which we seem to glimpse the whole, long history of our fears and desires. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stephen Greenblatt, a Harvard professor and general editor to The Norton Anthology of English Literature, explores its literary and cultural history in The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve. He will be joined onstage by interviewer Lesley Hazelton—veteran author and journalist, and former Town Hall...


Dar Williams with Rebecca Saldaña

Small towns across the country are facing the same identity and economic struggles in post-industrial America–why do some flourish while others fail? Legendary folksinger Dar Williams approaches the question through a lifetime spent touring America’s small towns–playing their venues, composing in their coffee shops, drinking in their bars. She’ll be in conversation with Rebecca Saldaña, Washington State Senator for the 37th District, to discuss What I Found in a Thousand Towns. Williams...


Zaria Forman

We are all connected–sometimes on the thinnest sheet of ice. Brooklyn-based artist Zaria Forman’s expressive Antarctic panoramas bring that delicate balance into focus and asks us to consider what’s at stake with climate change. Forman traveled to the most remote landscapes on earth to capture the beauty of the natural world alongside its haunting fragility in her show Antarctica. Surrounded by her hyper-realistic drawings, this in-gallery interview conducted by Gage Academy’s artistic...


Ann Powers with Riz Rollins

Join NPR’s illustrious music critic, Ann Powers, as she examines how popular music shapes fundamental American ideals and beliefs. She’ll make the case that through our music, we communicate difficult emotions and truths about our most fraught social issues, most notably sex and race. Her new book, Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music, deftly argues that popular music has become America’s primary erotic art form. In a survey spanning more than a...


Daniel Handler with Sherman Alexie

Prepare for an unforgettable night as award-winning author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) is joined on stage by Town Hall returning favorite Sherman Alexie to tackle All the Dirty Parts of male adolescence. In his newest work, Handler offers us Cole, a brazenly candid teenage protagonist who speaks directly to readers: “Let me put it this way, draw a number line, with zero is you never think about sex and ten is, it’s all you think about, and while you are drawing the line, I am...


David Duchovny with Jess Walter

Actor David Duchovny has won two Golden Globes for his best known characters: FBI Agent Fox Mulder on the sci-fi horror show The X-Files and writer Hank Moody on the comedy-drama series Californication. As of May 2015, he has been executive producing and starring in the historically based cop drama Aquarius. His second novel, Bucky F*cking Dent, explores the bonds between fathers and sons and the age-old rivalry between Yankee fans and the Fenway faithful, and grapples with our urgent need...


John Darnielle

John Darnielle has developed a cult following as the frontman for the indie folk band The Mountain Goats. Along with a prolific collection of angst-ridden, revelatory songs, he also writes novels. His first, Wolf in White Van, was a New York Times bestseller, National Book Award nominee, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction. Now he offers Universal Harvester, a horror-inspired story set in 1990s Iowa where creepy footage begins appearing on VHS tapes at the...


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