Town Hall Seattle Arts & Culture Series



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.


  • 123: Joanne Bagshaw with Kirsten Harris-Talley: How to Resist Sexism and Dismantle the Patriarchy

    123: Joanne Bagshaw with Kirsten Harris-Talley: How to Resist Sexism and Dismantle the Patriarchy

    25/03/2020 Duración: 50min

    From reproductive rights and the wage gap to #MeToo and #TimesUp—gender inequality permeates nearly every aspect of our culture. According to award-winning psychology professor Joanne Bagshaw, the message that our society sends to women and girls is clear: you’re not enough. In conversation with Washington at-large City Councilmember Kirsten Harris-Talley, Bagshaw offered tools for women everywhere to navigate sexist institutionalized power structures, attitudes, and events that are outside of our control. With advice from her book The Feminist Handbook: Practical Tools to Resist Sexism and Dismantle the Patriarchy, Bagshaw helped us confront negative messages that have been deeply internalized by our society, combat the effects of gender and race discrimination, and create lasting change through activism and community. Join Bagshaw and Harris-Talley as they untangle the role that sexism and discrimination plays in our lives, our mental health, and our overall sense of well-being.  Joanne L. Bagshaw, PhD, is

  • 122: Pacific Flyway: Waterbird Migration from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego

    122: Pacific Flyway: Waterbird Migration from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego

    17/03/2020 Duración: 01h10min

    Celebrate the magnificence of waterbird migration along the Pacific Flyway—the 10,000-mile migratory corridor from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego. Join the authors of the book Pacific Flyway, along with wildlife photographer Gerrit Vyn, and discover the vast network of saltwater and freshwater habitats linked by millions of waterbirds who migrate between their breeding and overwintering grounds. Through stunning photography, migration sounds, and amazing video footage, explore the extraordinary stories of these remarkable birds that convert food, air, and water into a mileage plan that has few equals in the animal world. Delve into the daunting array of survival challenges these birds face—widespread habitat loss and degradation resulting from global climate change and unparalleled human disturbance—and learn about research and conservation efforts by biologists, wildlife photographers, and citizen activists striving to combat these conditions. Traverse the Pacific Flyway and engage with the lives of waterbir

  • 121: Leah Plunkett: Why We Should Be Cautious With Our Kids’ Data

    121: Leah Plunkett: Why We Should Be Cautious With Our Kids’ Data

    10/03/2020 Duración: 01h02min

    Our children’s first digital footprints are made before they can walk—even before they are born. More and more parents are using fertility apps to aid conception, posting ultrasound images to social media, installing baby monitors with built-in AI, and storing terabytes of baby pictures in the cloud. Educator Leah Plunkett arrived at Town Hall to examine the implications of this phenomenon, which she calls “sharenthood”—adults’ excessive digital sharing of children’s data. Drawing from her book Sharenthood: Why We Should Think before We Talk about Our Kids Online, Plunkett cautioned parents, teachers, and other trusted adults against unwittingly compiling digital dossiers for children that could be available to everyone—friends, employers, law enforcement—forever. She outlined the mistakes adults make with kids’ private information, the risks that result, and the legal system that enables “sharenting.” Plunkett unpacked the faulty assumptions made by our legal system about children, parents, and privacy. Join

  • 120: Raphaël Liogier: Heart of Maleness

    120: Raphaël Liogier: Heart of Maleness

    04/03/2020 Duración: 01h25min

    Recent years have witnessed significant progress toward gender equality—from the ousting of prominent men accused of sexual misconduct to the unprecedented popularity of the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Following the shocking, infuriating accounts shared as part of the #MeToo movement, sociologist and philosopher Raphaël Liogier felt compelled to reassess toxic masculinity as the deepest root of gender inequality and its many manifestations. Liogier took Town Hall’s stage to share reflections from his essay Heart of Maleness, mapping out the crucial work still to be done, first and foremost addressing the core male fantasy about women’s bodies and minds. Liogier contended that the archetypal Prince Charming and a monstrous predator such as Harvey Weinstein are two sides of the same coin. He asserted they are the products of a worldview that not only places a man’s desires above a woman’s but also doubts whether women are fundamentally capable of knowing what they want. He unpacked the influence of society’s deep-s

  • Dennis Baron: Exploring The History Of Our Pronouns

    Dennis Baron: Exploring The History Of Our Pronouns

    28/02/2020 Duración: 54min

    Like trigger warnings and gender-neutral bathrooms, pronouns are sparking a national debate. They’re prompting new policies in schools, workplaces, and even prisons. Pioneering linguist Dennis Baron joined us with insight into our pronoun patterns, drawing from his book What’s Your Pronoun: Beyond He and She. Baron lent us essential insight into understanding how twenty-first-century culture has evolved based on past pronoun use—and how our modern day usage is nothing new. He highlighted how Shakespeare used singular-they; women invoked the generic use of he to assert the right to vote (while those opposed to women’s rights invoked the same word to assert that he did not include she); and people have been coining new gender pronouns, not just hir and zie, for centuries. Join Baron for an illuminating look at the role pronouns have played—and continue to play—in establishing our rights and our identities. Dennis Baron professor emeritus of English and linguistics at the University of Illinois, has long been a

  • Julie Blacklow with Pepper Schwartz: Diary of a Badass Reporter

    Julie Blacklow with Pepper Schwartz: Diary of a Badass Reporter

    26/02/2020 Duración: 01h24min

    Even as a teenager, Julie Blacklow displayed qualities that marked her as a natural for reporting—courage, tenacity, and a willingness to get in anyone’s face if it served her mission to help people. On the other side of her forty-year career, Blacklow arrived at Town Hall with a retrospective on her time spent as one of the first women in television news in America. In conversation with famed intimacy and sexuality researcher Pepper Schwartz, Blacklow drew from her book Fearless—Diary of a Badass Reporter to reflect on her decades in the television news business, where she met thousands of people and learned along the way how to ask questions in the worst—and best—moments of their lives. Blacklow presented an unforgettable memoir spanning her dramatic television career, cancer, and dozens more extreme highs and lows. Julie Blacklow is an Emmy Award-winning journalist for KING-TV with more than forty years in the television news business. Among the first generation of women in television news in the United S

  • Humanities WA Think and Drink: Is the Internet Making Us Miserable?

    Humanities WA Think and Drink: Is the Internet Making Us Miserable?

    19/02/2020 Duración: 01h19min

    “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” asked a cover story in The Atlantic, citing skyrocketing rates of anxiety and suicide among young smartphone users. But what does the research actually say about how tech use affects our happiness? Is the modern “techlash” too pessimistic? Gather for a Think & Drink with Humanities WA to examine whether the rise of technology is just the latest punching bag for age-old issues like addiction and depression. Listen in as a panel of experts explore key questions about the impact of rising tech use on our health and well-being. Are smartphones changing the way we focus, socialize, and experience emotion? Can phones actually help us lead happier, more meaningful lives? Join us for a discussion of how the little devices in our pockets could be having a big effect on our minds. Featuring University of Washington professors at the iSchool, David Levy and Alexis Hiniker, and Seattle University professor, Joshua Johnston. Moderated by University of Washington professor, P

  • Anna Wiener with Kristi Coulter: Uncanny Valley

    Anna Wiener with Kristi Coulter: Uncanny Valley

    13/02/2020 Duración: 01h24min

    In her mid-twenties, at the height of tech industry idealism, New Yorker writer Anna Wiener left a job in book publishing for the promise of the new digital economy. She landed at a big-data startup in the heart of the Silicon Valley bubble—a world of surreal extravagance, dubious success, and fresh-faced entrepreneurs hell-bent on domination, glory, and (of course) progress. Drawing from her book Uncanny Valley, Wiener deftly charted the tech industry’s shift from self-appointed world savior to democracy-endangering liability, alongside a personal narrative of aspiration, ambivalence, and disillusionment. In conversation with author and journalist Kristi Coulter, Wiener recalled her arrival to Silicon Valley amidst a massive cultural shift as the tech industry rapidly transformed into a locus of wealth and power rivaling Wall Street. She mused on the company ski vacations and in-office speakeasies, boyish camaraderie and ride-or-die corporate fealty which revealed a new image of Silicon Valley—one of a regi

  • Lyric World: Conversations with Contemporary Poets—Poetry And Wonder

    Lyric World: Conversations with Contemporary Poets—Poetry And Wonder

    04/02/2020 Duración: 01h08min

    How can poetry expand our understanding of civic life? Poet and former Town Hall Artist-In-Residence Shin Yu Pai invited us to the first of her Lyric World discussions, exploring the role of poetry as it stokes our curiosity and gives voice and attention to the human experience. Thomas Hitoshi Pruiksma is a poet, magician, and musician who brings together many diverse practices in his creative expression. Pruiksma touched upon the similarities between poetry, magic, and music to explore the boundaries and edges of what’s visible and to gaze more deeply into the nature of wonder. Joined in conversation with Seattle-based poet Melanie Noel, Pruiksma illuminated the ways that different languages alternately obscure or reveal truth. Together they asked us to suspend our judgement and embrace the not-knowing that defines these art forms. Throughout their discussion, experience a performance by kora player and griot-trained jeli Ibrahim Arsalan. In West African society, the jeli preserved ancient stories and tradit

  • Indigenous Reparation and Recognition in Seattle: South Seattle Emerald + Bitterroot Magazine Panel

    Indigenous Reparation and Recognition in Seattle: South Seattle Emerald + Bitterroot Magazine Panel

    31/01/2020 Duración: 01h27min

    Seattle is one of the wealthiest and fastest-growing cities in the nation, but that growth has come often at the expense of the Indigenous people who first lived here. In a forthcoming piece in Bitterroot and the South Seattle Emerald, writer Marcus Harrison Green examined how Native citizens in Seattle are pushing for greater representation, and how non-Native Seattle residents and officials can improve the relationship with Indigenous residents of this traditional Coast Salish territory. Green joined along with Fern Renville and Russell Brooks for a panel discussion moderated by Bitterroot editor Maggie Mertens, exploring ways the city can best recognize its Indigenous roots and residents, and whether reparations should be a component of that process. Russell Brooks (Southern Cheyenne) is the executive director of Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre in Seattle. Marcus Harrison Green is the publisher of the South Seattle Emerald. Rachel Heaton (Muckleshoot) is the co-founder of Mazaska Talks, a tool that

  • Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding—Switched on Pop: How Popular Music Works, and Why it Matters

    Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding—Switched on Pop: How Popular Music Works, and Why it Matters

    28/01/2020 Duración: 01h15min

    Pop music surrounds us—in our cars, over supermarket speakers, even when we are laid out at the dentist—but how often do we really hear what’s playing? Musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding brought us a masterclass in pop music, illuminating the essential musical concepts behind two decades of chart-topping songs. With insight from their book Switched on Pop, based on their eponymous podcast, Sloan and Harding gave us the tools we need to interpret our modern soundtrack. They revealed musical insights such as how a single melodic motif follows Taylor Swift through every genre that she samples, André 3000 uses metric manipulation to get listeners to “shake it like a Polaroid picture,” or Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee create harmonic ambiguity in “Despacito” that mirrors the patterns of global migration. Join Sloan and Harding and learn to engage with the timeless concepts within the music of today, and start listening to familiar tracks in new ways. Presented by Town Hall Seattle. Recorded live

  • A Scribe Called Quess? with Nikkita Oliver: Dismantling the Colonial Legacy

    A Scribe Called Quess? with Nikkita Oliver: Dismantling the Colonial Legacy

    23/01/2020 Duración: 01h33min

    At the intersection of art and organizing, activists have found success combating white supremacy. Town Hall presented one such activist award-winning poet, educator, and Take Em Down NOLA coalition co-founder A Scribe Called Quess? He delivered poems from his latest book Sleeper Cell, investigating the institutionalized racism and disenfranchisement of Black youth. A Scribe Called Quess? told the story of a struggle that culminated with the successful organizing of Take Em Down NOLA to remove four white supremacist monuments in New Orleans in 2017. He explored the history of white supremacist symbolism in New Orleans from a global and deep time perspective, zooming in to the decades long struggle to remove these symbols. Along the way, A Scribe Called Quess? connected the symbols of white supremacy that litter New Orleans to the history of racist violence that they reflect and endorse to the present day systemic oppression and state sanctioned violence they give license to. Listen in as A Scribe Called Quess

  • Pamela Paul and Maria Russo with Maria Semple: How to Raise a Reader

    Pamela Paul and Maria Russo with Maria Semple: How to Raise a Reader

    21/01/2020 Duración: 01h02min

    Pamela Paul and Maria Russo want to encourage our children to develop a lifelong love of reading. They presented insight from their book How to Raise a Reader, an illustrated journey offering clear, practical wisdom for instilling a love of literature in our kids. In conversation with author Maria Semple, Paul and Russo presented curated reading lists and inspiring advice for developing rituals around reading, building a family library, or finding ways to engage a reluctant reader. They debunked common myths, assuaged parental fears, and delivered invaluable lessons that are both positive and easy to act on. Listen in as Paul, Russo, and Semple explored new and lively approaches to cultivating a love of reading in younger generations. Pamela Paul is the editor of The New York Times Book Review and oversees books coverage at The New York Times. She is also the host of the weekly podcast The Book Review. Maria Russo is the children’s books editor of The New York Times Book Review. She has been a writer and edi

  • Beethoven’s Immortal String Quartet Legacy: SCMS Winter Festival Preview

    Beethoven’s Immortal String Quartet Legacy: SCMS Winter Festival Preview

    16/01/2020 Duración: 01h09min

    Seattle Chamber Music Society’s Winter Festival brings together some of the finest musicians in the world, offering six exceptional chamber music concerts and a fun Family Concert during the last two weekends of January. To prepare us for this incredible festival, SCMS and Town Hall presented a special preview discussion focused on the immortal string quartets by Ludwig van Beethoven, nine of which will be performed at the Winter Festival by the Ehnes Quartet. Geoffrey Block, musicologist and author of Experiencing Beethoven: A Listener’s Companion, presented a brief overview of the composition of Beethoven’s string quartets, which traversed the breadth of his compositional life. He shared his favorite passages in these legendary pieces of the chamber music repertoire, unpacking the techniques of this legendary composer and highlighting what makes them special and memorable. Sit in for a preview of the SCMS Winter Festival! Geoffrey Block is Distinguished Professor of Music History Emeritus at the University

  • Richard Louv: Connecting With Animals To Transform Our Lives

    Richard Louv: Connecting With Animals To Transform Our Lives

    27/12/2019 Duración: 01h01min

    How can our connections with animals transform our mental, physical, and spiritual lives? Journalist and author Richard Louv presented perspectives from his book Our Wild Calling, exploring the future of human/animal coexistence. He asserted that sharing our lives with animals can serve as an antidote to a growing epidemic of human loneliness, and help us tap into the empathy required to preserve life on Earth. Louv shared interviews with researchers, theologians, wildlife experts, indigenous healers, psychologists, and others to show how people are communicating with animals in ancient and new ways; how dogs can teach children ethical behavior; how animal-assisted therapy may transform the mental health field; and what role the human/animal relationship plays in our spiritual health. He reported on wildlife relocation and on how the growing populations of wild species in urban areas are blurring the lines between domestic and wild animals. Join Louv as he made the case for protecting, promoting, and creating

  • Death and Music with John Richards and Dr. Amy Richards

    Death and Music with John Richards and Dr. Amy Richards

    18/12/2019 Duración: 02h18min

    Music can be a powerful tool for helping us cope with the loss of the ones we love—especially when our community comes together to experience that music live. KEXP’s morning show host John Richards invited us to a special community evening on death and music at Town Hall. Richards shared his inspirations for his annual “Mom Show,” a program of remembrance and reflection that began as a memorial for the loss of his mother. Richards took an honest look at how a community shares their experiences of death and music, presenting special musical guests, personal stories from past years of the program, and an exploration into the intersection of these two distinct veins of life and how they feed into one another. Join Richards for a live heartfelt program urging us to handle death through music and community. Artists: A tribute to Shawn Smith Super-Krewe Oh, Rose Adra Boo Hey Marseilles Puget Soundworks Hosted By: John Richards Amy Lindsey Richards Presented by Town Hall Seattle and KEXP. Recorded live in The Great

  • Mo Rocca with Steve Scher: Mobituaries—Great Lives Worth Reliving

    Mo Rocca with Steve Scher: Mobituaries—Great Lives Worth Reliving

    12/12/2019 Duración: 01h18min

    Mo Rocca has always loved obituaries. He has relished the chance to read about the remarkable lives of world leaders, captains of industry, innovators, and artists. But according to Mo, not every notable life has gotten the sendoff it deserves. He set out to right that wrong with Mobituaries, his book profiling the people who have long fascinated him—from the 20th century’s greatest entertainer to a forgotten Founding Father to sitcom characters gone all too soon.  Mo was joined in conversation with podcaster and broadcaster Steve Scher to share the stories of the people who made a difference, but whose lives—for some reason or another—were never truly examined. There’s Thomas Paine, whose Common Sense lit the fuse for the American Revolution—and whose paltry obit summed up his life thusly: “He had lived long, did some good, and much harm.” And then there’s screen icon Audrey Hepburn. She remains a household name, but how much do we know about her wartime upbringing and how it shaped the woman we fell in love

  • Caroline Wright: How To Talk To Kids About Death

    Caroline Wright: How To Talk To Kids About Death

    10/12/2019 Duración: 01h14min

    How do you talk to kids about death? Author Caroline Wright wondered the same thing when she was diagnosed with an aggressive, terminal brain cancer as a mother to her young sons. Now, having lived a year past her prognosis and written a children’s book to help children know the undying love of a parent, Caroline joined us at Town Hall with a mission to help other parents find hope and agency with similar diagnoses. Wright was joined by a panel of leading experts in the fields of children’s bereavement and cancer to discuss the complicated issue of what to say to our kids to comfort them when facing loss. They outlined strategies for talking about tragedy with children, and highlighted the importance of building community during times of loss. Wright offered us tools for helping our children navigate grief—tools which we can use to face tragedy in our own lives and overcome grief ourselves. Caroline Wright is a cook, author, and terminal brain cancer patient. After her diagnosis she focused her career on her

  • Jenny Odell with Austin Jenkins: Reclaiming Our Attention in an Age of Distraction

    Jenny Odell with Austin Jenkins: Reclaiming Our Attention in an Age of Distraction

    04/12/2019 Duración: 01h21min

    Artist and critic Jenny Odell sees our attention as the most precious—and overdrawn—resource we have. Town Hall joined with UW Communication Leadership Graduate Program to present Odell on Town Hall’s stage, in conversation with political reporter Austin Jenkins. Odell and Jenkins addressed the dilemma of life in an age of constant distraction. They advocated for us to reclaim our own attention, redefining what we think of as productivity and reconnecting with the people and places that surround us. Odell rebuked the idea that we must be online all the time, highlighting the corporate profit models built around cultivating our compulsion to stay logged in for fear of “missing out.” Together Odell and Jenkins invited us to a critical discussion about how to coexist with ubiquitous technology and arrived at more meaningful understandings of happiness and progress. Jenny Odell is a multidisciplinary artist and writer based in Oakland, California. Her work examines the ways in which attention (or lack thereof) l

  • Paul Theroux with Katy Sewall: A Mexican Journey

    Paul Theroux with Katy Sewall: A Mexican Journey

    26/11/2019 Duración: 01h14min

    In times fraught with tensions across borders, some of the most critical stories are those that bring us closer to the people on the other side. Legendary travel writer Paul Theroux came to our stage with just such stories in On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey, a recollection of his drive along the entire length of the US/Mexico border and his deep foray into the hinterlands on the back roads of Chiapas and Oaxaca. Theroux met in conversation with radio host Katy Sewall to uncover the rich, layered world behind today’s brutal headlines. He visited Zapotec mill workers in the highlands and attends a Zapatista party meeting, communing with people of all stripes who remain south of the border even as their families brave the journey north. Just south of the Arizona border, in the desert region of Sonora, Theroux showed us a place brimming with vitality yet visibly marked by both the US Border Patrol looming to the north and mounting discord from within. With signature humanizing sensibility, Theroux and S

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