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String comes to the Garden House to entertain, challenge preschoolers

November 9th, 2012 at 6:25 am | 2 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

String, a dance and object theatre show for children ages 2-6, will come to Beacon Hill next week for five showings at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, November 14 and 15, and at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, November 16. The 35-minute show will be followed by a Q&A session with performer Mary Margaret Moore.

The show’s website describes String thusly:

“Every time that we witness 40 children focusing on the noise of a paper bag, we are deeply touched. Their deep concentration is truly magical.

“To create for children is to challenge them. In String, we stretch their capacity to decipher emotions. Small details, a raised eyebrow, a pinky movement, is enough to convey an emotion.”

Preschool classes from Beacon Hill’s Denise Louie Education Center and José Martí Child Development Center will attend the shows, but there are seats open to the public at each performance. Tickets are free, however, you must reserve a seat through Brown Paper Tickets.

If you can’t attend next week’s show, mark December 27 and 30 on your calendar, when the show will return to the Garden House. Watch the String website for details.


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Spice Box art and variety show 10/5 at Skin Deep Dance

September 24th, 2012 at 5:10 pm | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Skin Deep Dance will present Spice Box, a monthly art and variety show, on Friday, October 5, at the Skin Deep Dance Studio (in the El Centro de la Raza building).

This month’s Spice Box will include art by Kook Teflon, art and performance by Magi, and performances by Amazon Heart, Bollywood Bliss (Katrina’s Bollywood student troupe), Janelle Bel Isle, Lesley Rialto, Twilight, and Chloe Anderson.

Admission is $10/person, free for kids under 12. All ages are welcome, and the event is family friendly. Proceeds will benefit Skin Deep Dance’s SEEDS (Self -esteem, Empowerment and Education through Dance) program.

The Spice Box series will continue on the first Friday of every month. Performers and artists have already been booked for events on November 2, December 7, and January 4.

The studio’s address is 2514 16th Ave. S. #311. Enter El Centro through the North entrance.


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Beacon Rocks! rolling onward

April 30th, 2010 at 4:17 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Beacon Hill Music logo The Beacon Rocks! music series project planned for this summer is moving full-speed ahead. Beacon Hill Music, the community group that is putting the event together, has been awarded a Small Sparks Fund grant. The Small Sparks Fund of the Department of Neighborhoods provides awards of up to $1,000 to support community efforts such as events and neighborhood organizing. They have awarded Beacon Hill Music $860 for the “Beacon Rocks!” series, which will pay for the permits for all four events this summer.

There are two fundraisers for Beacon Hill Music: a Backyard Party scheduled for Sunday, May 16 from 3:00 to 7:00 pm, and a Dance Party on Saturday, May 22 from 7:00 pm “till we drop”. To RSVP for either event and get addresses and other information, email beaconrocks@gmail.com.

The final Beacon Idol event of 2010 is Saturday May 29 at 7:00 pm. If you live, work, or go to school in Beacon Hill, you can audition for Beacon Rocks! at the Beacon Idol event. If you’re not a performer, come and cheer the contestants on. The event will be at ROCKiT Space, 3315 Beacon Avenue South.

The Beacon Rocks! shows are a free, outdoor, family-friendly Beacon-centric music series, including all styles of music, and will be held on June 13, July 11, August 8, and August 29 at the new Festival Street next to Beacon Hill Station at Beacon Avenue South and South Lander Street.

For more information about Beacon Music and Beacon Rocks, see the website.


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Neighbors invited to discuss future of ART’s on Beacon Hill coffeehouse

March 26th, 2010 at 6:09 pm | 5 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

ART's on Beacon Hill at 13th and Shelton will host a community meeting this weekend and fundraising performances during April. Photo by Wendi.

Owner Michael Perrone sent this letter about the future of the ART’s on Beacon Hill coffeehouse in the former DeVos grocery at 13th and Shelton:

Dear Neighbors,

Thank you for all of your recent and generous support, as we are working hard to provide a community center that supports and reflects the diversity and rich history of our Beacon Hill and Georgetown neighborhoods.

On Saturday March 27, 2010 between 5 and 7 p.m., you are invited to attend a special community meeting at ART’s to discuss upcoming events and options for further community involvement and support. All neighbors are invited so please spread the word!

As you know, we have been working closely with the City of Seattle to renew historic licensing allowing for the reinstatement of ART’s as the community corner where neighbors gather, share a cup of hot beverage, a tasty delight, and news of the day. It is our aim to continue this tradition and reopen the corner coffee shop as a community hub and center of creativity. To assist in this endeavor, ART’s has recently partnered with CULTURE FORUM, a non-profit Culture and Arts organization dedicated to artist and cultural exchange through community building.

ART’s current offering opens April 1 running through May 1, and is entitled MIXED: First Person and is a 42 minute multi-media stage play developed with the Evergreen State College, CULTURE FORUM, and of course ART’s.

We are very close to achieving our goals, but cannot do it without your input, involvement, and support. So please accept our invitation to attend this special meeting, and we hope to see you very soon at ART’s! If you have any questions, please feel free to give a call or just stop on by!

Sincerely yours,
Michael Perrone
ART’s on Beacon Hill
4951 13th ave south 98108
phone: 206-861-6260

Christian Ryser of CULTURE FORUM tells the Beacon Hill Blog that the city has agreed to reinstate the building’s original historic status and zoning, including retail and gallery use, and that they are allowing fundraisers to be held. The Mixed: First Person show is functioning as a fundraising effort for ART’s. He adds, “The bad news is that ART’s is suffering from the same banking malpractice as the rest of the world. Culture Forum has partnered with ART’s to provide artistic direction as well as an avenue for tax deductible donations. We are attempting to find a way to modify and or buy out the absurd loan on the building. ” They are working with an attorney from Beacon Hill in this effort.


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Zoning may keep 13th Ave coffeehouse closed

February 12th, 2010 at 4:41 am | 15 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Art's on Beacon Hill in the old DeVos Grocery building at 13th and Shelton. All photos in this post by Wendi.

Michael Perrone has a dream for an old grocery store near Maple Elementary School. In his dream, the old DeVos grocery store at 13th and Shelton, closed since 2005, would be a neighborhood gathering place, called Art’s on Beacon Hill. It would contain a coffeehouse with art on the walls, a jukebox, a player piano, and a performance studio. The building would be a resource and asset to neighbors in this mid-Beacon Hill neighborhood.

It hasn’t quite worked out as planned. Perrone painted, cleaned and decorated the old building, using vintage parts salvaged from the old grocery store in many places, and it looks just about ready to open. (In fact, an “Open” sign usually sits in the doorway.) But it remains officially closed, as it has since 2008 when the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) notified Perrone that he could not operate a “community theater” in part of the building.

Old objects found when renovating the DeVos building decorate a vintage display unit in the coffee shop. Owner Michael Perrone's reflection appears in the middle.

The building’s history goes back a long way on Beacon Hill. Louis DeVos brought his family to the Hill in 1908, and in 1909, they moved into a house on South Shelton Street. A few years later, Louis bought the plot of land at 13th and Shelton and built a retail building there, first renting it to an Italian grocer, then establishing his own grocery business. The family business was successful, and eventually grew to include three stores including one at 2718 Beacon Avenue South (currently the location known as the empty “South China Restaurant” lot just south of Beacon Hill Station). Though two of the DeVos stores were closed during the Depression, the store at 13th and Shelton remained open into the 21st century, finally closing for good in August 2005. It was sold to Perrone as a “tear-down” in 2006.

Though the building had operated continuously as a commercial building since it was built in 1915, later in the 20th century the site was rezoned to SF5000 — single-family housing. Existing businesses such as the DeVos Grocery are allowed to continue in operation when their zoning changes, as a “non-conforming use.”

A jukebox and Perrone's dog Sebastian in the area of the building that was intended to be a coffee shop.

If the non-conforming use lapses for a certain amount of time, however, the building reverts to single-family, and a new business can’t go back to the non-conforming use. Seattle Municipal Code 23.42.104 B says: “A nonconforming use that has been discontinued for more than 12 consecutive months shall not be reestablished or recommenced.” There are certain exceptions, but it is unclear whether Perrone’s use of the DeVos building was what DPD required to maintain commercial status as required in the code. Perrone believes so; he did acquire a permit to install commercial-grade electrical service in the building, and he states that he also sold salvage from the building’s old contents to maintain commercial status until the coffeehouse could open.

In 2008, Perrone began using the building’s performance studio. In March of that year, the Beacon Hill Times/South District Journal (now South Seattle Beacon) ran an article about the plans for the former grocery, stating that it would be “a coffee shop, repertory theater and eventually an education center” and home to the Seattle Novyi Theatre repertory group.

In April of that year, a complaint was filed with DPD about his use of the building for theater rehearsals and performances. Perrone says that DPD declared the site in violation, and also told him that he could not legally live in the caretaker’s apartment and would be fined $1500/day for illegally residing there, retroactive to when he bought the building in 2006. “I owe the city a million and a half,” he says.

The performance space at Art's.

Later in 2008, says Perrone, he gave up, feeling pushed into a corner. In frustration, he told DPD “fine, turn it into a single-family residence.” Currently, an open application is on file with DPD to do so.

In the meantime, Perrone still fights to save the building for his original intended use, with pro bono help from a lawyer who grew up in the neighborhood. He has a petition signed by over 150 neighbors who support his plans for the DeVos building. “Only one neighbor said ‘no,’” he points out.

Neighbor Dayna Provitt sent a message to the Beacon Hill Mailing List recently, appealing for help for Perrone:

“My husband and I were so glad to see the building purchased, and Mike’s attempts to put something into this part of Beacon Hill that might help bring a ‘neighborhoody’ feel to the street. … Here’s a guy who’s trying to bring some energy and community building to our neighborhood… and getting stuck in red tape. We’d hate to see this building go back to being an empty space again. … Maybe someone in the neighborhood can help him cut through the red tape and get his project going! Something useful in this space would be so great for our street.”

With no way to legally open the coffeehouse, Perrone has been unable to pay the building’s mortgage since August. It is currently scheduled to be sold at a foreclosure sale on April 2, unless fate intervenes and Art’s on Beacon Hill can open.

The player piano, mostly in tune, awaits coffeeshop customers and performers.

(More photos of the building after the jump.) More »


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NOT Tonight: An a cappella tribute to the library

September 17th, 2009 at 11:09 am | 1 Comment | Posted by Jason

Unfortunate update: We were improperly informed. The performance already occurred during the original re-opening. Our apologies for getting anyone’s hopes up. A couple of photos of the event are below:

Beaconettes Performance 1Beaconettes Performance 2

We’ve received notice via Dorothy Orzel about a very special library re-opening celebration event tonight:

The Beaconettes have decided to perform their ode to the Beacon Hill Library outside the building tonight. The Beaconettes are an all women a cappella group — mostly Beacon Hill residents — who have a great talent for writing witty lyrics to classic tunes. They won Best New Group at last year’s Great Figgy Pudding Contest. It just happens that they had recently penned this tribute to that unexpectedly glorious building (and its staff), so the re-opening seemed a perfect occasion to perform for patrons and staff…

The Beaconettes performed at the Beacon Hill Festival at Jefferson Park back in June. Several performances are available on YouTube: God Bless Our Ferries, Gentlemen; Danny Boy; We Three Naked Cyclists; and more.

You are invited to join them at 7pm in front of the Beacon Hill branch library.

Thank you, Dorothy!


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