SEATTLEITE Seattle Restaurants, Events, Shopping, Culture + Lifestyle Tue, 30 Dec 2014 21:52:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Radar: Another City, Another Pure Barre Thu, 25 Dec 2014 08:08:27 +0000 Continue reading ]]> The Sweeney team strikes again–this time in Redmond. The sixth local Pure Barre studio opened its doors this October in the Red160 apartments in downtown Redmond and joined Super Jock N’ Jill, Rudy’s Barbershop, Top Pot Doughnuts and more local businesses with Eastside offshoots.

Pure Barre Redmond

Teacher Hannah during a busy Thursday morning at Pure Barre Redmond


Redmond is the third Pure Barre studio to open in Seattle-Eastside just this year and the location was chosen for several reasons. Most notably its high activity–full of bike trails, runners and Marymoor Park plus the city’s focus on revitalization, says Sami Sweeney, co-owner of Pure Barre Washington and master teacher trainer.

It was only a matter of time that a Pure Barre studio made it here. The Bar Method, another barre player, has been in Redmond Town Center since 2009. And while The Bar Method has expanded to just one other studio in South Lake Union, Pure Barre has somehow engulfed the entire Western Washington area with several studios in Seattle and now two on the Eastside, Bellevue and Redmond. To say Pure Barre Washington is hitting its strides is an understatement. A combination of perfect planning and pleasant personalities from owners Sami and Brandon Sweeney have made Pure Barre the creme de la creme of barre studios around here with a certain Seattle Seahawks quarterback and well-known FOX College Sports anchor recently coming in for a lift, tone, burn.

The 1,900 square feet Pure Barre Redmond space is a beaut. Depending which way you come through Redmond, you might miss the door front amid the construction cranes and one-way streets surrounding the lively area where the studio is located. But the giant red Pure Barre logo planted in a window on the mid-rise building is unmistakable (in case you’re still wondering, the studio is located next to Zeek’s Pizza).

My visit to Pure Barre Redmond was met with crisp winter sunlight coming through the studio windows and cool high-tech storage lockers–unfamiliar and upgraded elements from my usual go-to studios (Pure Barre Bellevue and Pure Barre Queen Anne). Katie Kelly, who I had formerly known as my beautifully happy Saturday morning teacher at Pure Barre Bellevue, greeted me as the now-studio manager of Redmond as I meandered in from the street. From there, it was burning (and shaking…and trying not to pass out) as usual in the Sami-instructed class.

Despite the growth, Pure Barre Washington continues to maintain its community-driven, student-focused, family-feeling style thanks to its down-to-earth owners and incredible teachers. Another city down, a hundred cities to go? Where do you think the next Pure Barre Washington location should be?

The official FREE Pure Barre Redmond Grand Opening barre-ty takes place Friday, January 16, 2015 from 6 – 9 PM and will feature light refreshments, Homegrown sandwiches, dessert from Flying Apron and a live DJ–plus giveaways and a special grand opening class punch card deal. More details here.

Pure Barre Redmond | 16015 Cleveland Street, Redmond, WA | (425) 658-3915

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Ring in 2015, Bonza Bash Style Wed, 17 Dec 2014 16:00:14 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Ring in the New Year at Seattle’s Most Upscale Soiree.

If you don’t have any plans for New Year’s yet — don’t fret — you and yours are most cordially invited to rock the night away as Seattle welcomes 2015 in style. Here’s the swankiest parties the Emerald City has to offer on Wednesday, December 31st.

TurkPhotos NewYearsEve2012 (1036)-M


WHEN: Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 // 8:30 pm to 2:00 am

WHERE: Fremont Studios, Seattle

WHAT: Welcome the new year with Seattle’s classiest and most sophisticated event. This black-tie affair will feature a brassy live performance from Mach One Jazz Orchestra, as well as the hottest club hits courtesy of Kiss 106.1 and DJ Tamm. Enjoy other perks such as complimentary red carpet photos and coat check.

DRESS CODE: Dress to impress. This is a “black tie” event, with most guests wearing tuxedos, suits, gowns and cocktail dresses. With so few opportunities in Seattle to dress fancy, it’ll be a wonderful chance to take advantage and dazzle the night away in your finest.

GET YOUR TICKETS: General Admission, $79; VIP, $195 (tickets)

Hurry to purchase your tickets! They sell out every year!

Find more information here.

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Music Madness: Land of the Sweets, Burlesque Nutcracker Fri, 12 Dec 2014 17:22:52 +0000 Continue reading ]]> A Very Naughty Christmas with Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann

What:  In its ninth year running, Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann’s rendition of the Land of Sweets Burlesque Nutcracker offers Seattleites an exciting twist on the classic holiday production. With promises of stunning choreography, skillfully designed costumes and playful banter, you’re sure to wind up on the naughty list after attending a 2014 showing.

land of sweets triple door

Photo Courtesy of Scott Butner

As the Land of Sweets approaches it’s 10th anniversary at the Triple Door, we were curious what has evolved in production over the past several years. “One of my absolute favorite moments to illustrate the evolution of the show is that the first year, Jasper and I sat on the floor for endless hours, hand-placing thousands of petals on panties,” said Lily Verlaine. “They came to be referred to as “Skull Panties” because of the fact that we stretched the fabric around a huge skull that was roughly the size of people’s hips! Most recently, we are working with very talented professional designers like Louise DiLenge and Stephanie Seymour who have much more efficient ways of creating bold statements,” said Verlaine.

land of sweets triple

Photo Courtesy of Christopher Blakely

We were surprised, and slightly disappointed to hear that the sultry, and show stealing Miss Indigo Blue would not be providing crude entertainment for the masses this year. “The biggest surprise for returning guests is at the top of each act, as Miss Indigo Blue is taking the year off from performing,” said Lily Verlaine. Two ladies are set to perform in her place, and promise not to disappoint. Don’t miss the opportunity for a festive evening full of snowflakes falling from fluffy panties, tassels hidden beneath sheer suits, and a whimsical winter wonderland at the Triple Door. The Land of Sweets will run Dec 11th- Dec 26th, tickets can be purchased here.

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The Radar: Storks Now Delivering Diapers, Not Just Babies Mon, 01 Dec 2014 08:07:37 +0000 Continue reading ]]> No longer relegated just to babies, storks have expanded their services to include 100-percent cotton cloth diapers to Seattle and Eastside families. Diaper Stork, launched in September 2014, creates convenience for area young professionals who might also be moms or dads.

Young professionals are always striving for that work-life balance but what happens when work-life becomes work-baby? Between commutes, meetings and the occasional happy hours, diapers may not always be at the forefront of to-dos–despite being a necessity. That’s where Diaper Stork comes in.


Started by Seattleites Jen Harwood and her husband Kole, Diaper Stork not only offers the convenience of diaper delivery to your doors, but also an eco-conscious alternative to disposable diapers giving young professional parents peace of mind.

Locally owned and operated, the diapers are priced at a flat monthly rate determined by the baby’s age and are delivered weekly by Jen herself!

For more information on how to get a stork delivery, visit

Diaper Stork |  (206) 450-6715

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Music Madness: Iceland Airwaves Wed, 12 Nov 2014 20:38:18 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Musication to Reykjavik’s Iceland Airwaves 2014

The Flaming Lips In Concert - Iceland Airwaves Music Festival 2014What: Itching for a vacation to escape Seattle? Picture journeying to a brisk European destination with a geothermal beach in the heart of the city, and a peace tower conceived by Yoko Ono to honor the late John Lennon. Music is at the heart of the Icelandic culture, and the Iceland Airwaves Festival is the perfect reason to mark your calendar, and explore Reykjavik. The 16th annual festival took place last week, and has grown immensely in popularity, no longer Iceland’s best kept secret. Iceland Airwaves takes over the quaint city center of Reykjavik with thousands of locals, Europeans, Americans, Canadians, and music lovers from around the world pouring into 16 venues to catch over 200 artists. Headliners like Flaming Lips and War on Drugs, and local favorites FM Belfast, Agent Fresco and Lay Low had fans on their feet all day and night. Move over New York – with venues, pubs, and restaurants open until 5:00am, this is THE city that never sleeps!


Blue Lagoon

Why travel to Iceland for a music festival? IcelandAir offers affordable straight through flights from Seattle to Kevlavik, just 40 minutes outside of Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital city. Iceland is the perfect introduction to European culture, a picturesque Scandinavian country, and the ideal layout for a city music festival. All Airwaves off-venues were within walking distance from Harpa concert hall, the beautiful main venue with six halls, stretching out on a pier overlooking the marina. Reykjavik has held onto a small town feel, with 120,000 residents, allowing the festival to take over the city with venues in small pubs, art museums, clothing stores, and even out front of hot dog stands. Yea I said it; over 40% of Iceland’s population believes in trolls and elves, and their most famous restaurant is a hot dog stand. Naturally, I fell in love with the culture at first bite.

Another noteworthy off-venue is the beautiful Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa located on a lava field, creating the ultimate epic concert/geothermal pairing you’re ever likely to experience. Festival-goers can swim up to several poolside bars and scan their bracelets to purchase Icelandic cocktails and brews without ever leaving the comfort of the heated baths. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the breathtaking natural wonder that is the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), or climb a glacier with tour companies like Icelandic Mountain Guides. These guides are experienced and well versed in the Icelandic landscape and history, and lead exceptional tours in English, across the Golden Circle and countryside. Tour groups are fairly small, offering a personal touch, and you’ll definitely get comfortable with your guide and other excursion guests. Iceland Airwaves festival passes are quite affordable, offering week passes for around $170, a steal in comparison to local festivals like Sasquatch and Decibel. Be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s Iceland Airwaves 2015! Now back to the music.

Who: FM Belfast

fm belfastDestination music festivals are all about exploring the local talent, and Airwaves is the perfect place to discover the hype surrounding the Icelandic music scene. FM Belfast is an electro-pop band from Reykjavik, who were really discovered at Airwaves back in 2006, and ignited the crowd at Harpa this year, ending with a lively version of Oasis’ Wonderwall. Members have come and gone throughout the years, but the energy is always in your face, and their live performance was a highlight of the festival for many.

Agent Fresco

Agent FrescoAgent Fresco cannot really be pinned to one genre, and is a chameleon group of Icelandic men, who depending on the evening can be heard playing pop, electronic, alternative rock, synth, hard rock, or any combination of the like. Fans wrapped around two city blocks waiting in line in frigid temperatures outside the off-venue Gaukurinn, to catch their performance in the wee hours of the morning. Their music, almost aggressive at times, echos raw emotion, and it was no surprise to take in a panoramic view of the crowd, and see nearly every person belting every lyric right back at the band. While their stardom is clear in the local scene, their recognition has stretched internationally as well, with praise from KEXP in Seattle, Rolling Stone, and across the world.

Lay Low

Lay-LowSelf described as the alter ego of Icelandic singer/songwriter Miss. Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir, Lay Low is the fine line between endearing and FIERCE. She is the daughter of a Sri Lankan father and Icelandic mother, and she could silence the crowd with her captivating acapella, or warm the audience on the piano or bass guitar. She has performed around the world with Icelandic sweethearts Of Monsters and Men and Ásgeir, and you really just feel your arms stretching out to wrap her in a bear hug after her set. She is sweet and spicy, has dabbled in blues folk, alternative rock, and synths, and recently came out with an English album called Talking About the Weather – it deserves a listen.

Iceland Airwaves 2014 | November 4-9th, 2014

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Food Porn: Tavern Hall Opens in Bellevue Fri, 07 Nov 2014 16:50:33 +0000 Continue reading ]]> A Casual Gastropub in Bellevue.

Tavern Hall opened in Bellevue Square in October (formerly the Munchbar space). The restaurant and bar offers a trendy, yet casual place to hang out. Come as your are. Play shuffleboard on their four shuffleboard tables or catch the Seahawks (or your favorite team) on their 23 flatscreen TVs. The menu offers a huge selection of draft beer and elevated comfort foods.


Whether you want an appetizer or just something to snack on while you watch the game, the Hearth-Baked Pretzels are a must-order. They are soft and slightly chewy. Served with your choice of White Cheddar Jalapeño Sauce, Salted Peanut Caramel, Bacon-Onion Dip. The Salted Peanut Caramel sauce needs some work. The Housemade Ricotta is fresh and creamy, topped with a pistachio pesto, basil-marinated tomatoes, and herbed flatbread. The Stadium Nachos are great to share, with chili cheese sauce, jalapeños, black olives, red onions, guacamole, sour cream and optional spicy chili or ale-braised brisket. Both are good, but I’m a sucker for pork.

You really can’t go wrong with any of the flatbreads. There’s Salame, Sour Grapes, Wild Mushroom, and Fennel Sausage. The latter two are my favorite. That pistachio pesto is really well-made and the flatbreads achieve just the right amount of crunch that can only come from being baked in a brick oven.

Let me preface this review of the burger by saying: I eat a lot of burgers. I order burgers at almost every restaurant that has one on the menu, even the fancy ones. I grill handmade patties at home. In short, trust my burger opinion. Two friends ate at Tavern Hall a few days before I did and both their Tavern Burger patties were overcooked. I mentioned this when I ordered mine, yet it was still overcooked. The patty, especially after being overcooked, is thin, flavorless, and rubbery. You will get the same thing if you buy one in the freezer aisle at the grocery store. Tavern Hall will need to up their game if their website continues to boast that theirs is the “best burger on the Eastside.” *

Photos by Jennifer Liu.

The Steak & Cheese sandwich with ribeye steak, white cheddar jalapeño sauce, crispy fried onions and pepperoncini is a big hit. The Spicy Chicken sandwich with fried chicken, a pickle slaw and a spicy aioli is too. The BBQ Brisket is probably one of the better braised brisket (pulled pork) sandwiches I’ve had in Seattle. The jalapeño slaw really seals the deal.

The brunch menu features a Dutch Baby, Hashes, a Malted Belgian Waffle, and Fried Egg Sandwich. I’d be willing to check that out sometime. Bellevue is seriously lacking on brunch spots.

The moral of the story: people are going to come here. This place is already and will continue to be crowded, especially on game nights and weekend nights. Some of their food borders excellent, others need re-working, but it’s all offered at a reasonable price. Our waitress was superb, but overall, the service could be better (I shouldn’t expect more from Bellevue though, right?). Come drink some beer, order some munchies, hang out with friends, play some shuffleboard… it’ll be a good time.

Open Monday from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm.
Tuesday through Thursday from 11:00 am to midnight.
Friday from 11:00 am to 2:00 am.
Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 am.
Sunday from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm.

Happy Hour is offered from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm to close daily.

Tavern Hall    |     958 111th Avenue NE, Bellevue     |    (425) 454-7500

*The best burger on the Eastside is at tie between Broiler Bay and John Howie Steakhouse.

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SEATTLEITE SPOTLIGHT: Fashion go-getter Kahlana Barfield Mon, 03 Nov 2014 04:21:41 +0000 Continue reading ]]> The best feeling is paying it forward, it’s what makes the world go round – even in a place like New York City. For a girl like Kahlana Barfield, who left Seattle to pursue her fashion writing career in the Big Apple, finding someone that would root for her was something she least expected.

As Instyle Magazine’s current beauty director, Barfield writes and edits beauty stories, oversees celebrity beauty shoots, and represents the magazine at industry events and on television on shows like the “Today” show, CNN, and “Good Morning.”

Today, she’s the industry’s go-to gal, responsible for uncovering the latest trends and revealing the hottest products and technologies to enhance the personal style of over 10 million women each month.

You could say everything that Barfield has today was intentional. She knew she wanted to write and she knew she wanted to be in fashion, so she kept her eye on the prize. Her hard work paid off but she says she didn’t get there alone.

When Barfield decided to pursue her fashion ambitions in New York City nearly ten years ago, she knew she was going to have to put in some hard work to be successful. It was New York, she couldn’t miss a beat.

The summer after college graduation she took an internship at Suede magazine, a short-lived fashion magazine owned by Essence. “I was an intern. I knew I had to start from the bottom, but I was game for that,” she said. “I just wanted to be in the industry. I didn’t expect to write when I first walked in the door. I had to pay my dues. I knew that.”

Her job there was to traffic samples and check them in to be ready for fashion shoots, often times running across town herself to pick up all the items, acting as the company’s general messenger.

It’s a good thing Barfield arrived in New York City with luck on her side. After just two months at Suade, she got offered a general internship at Instyle. She says it was a blessing in disguise. General internship didn’t mean just fetching coffee. She got to float between the different departments within the company, which forced her to think beyond just working in the fashion department. “I got to really find out what I wanted. I was exposed to the full machine of how a magazine operates,” she said. And the relationships she made with the various editors throughout the company were priceless.

During her internship the current beauty editor’s assistant went on vacation and they needed a fill-in assistant. Barfield hopped on that opportunity and knew it was her chance to show everyone what she was capable of. “I was the first one to the office and the last one to leave,” she remembers. “I wanted them to remember me.”

On her last day as an intern at InStyle she gave everyone in the office thank you cards. The beauty director that she had assisted for asked her if she would ever consider moving to NYC if a position opened up. Of course the answer was YES. “Coincidently” two weeks later Barfield received a call about an assistant editor position that they wanted her to interview for.

Barfield joined InStyle in 2005 as Beauty Assistant and was promoted to Associate Beauty Editor in 2008, Beauty Editor in 2009, Senior Beauty Editor in 2011, and Beauty Director in 2013.

“I work for the smartest editors. My colleagues are innovative and creative. Not a lot of people can say they’ve been able to grow their career in one place. I didn’t have to move companies in order to get a promotion. It showed me that the company really valued me and wanted to see me grow,” said Barfield.

In the fashion industry you don’t just walk into a job with BA degree, internship experience is key. That’s where you make relationships and learn the industry, said Barfield. She also recognizes the doors technology and social media have opened for those wanting to work in the fashion industry today.
Thanks to social media, there are endless opportunities in fashion outside of New York. “It’s not just about going to New York anymore, It’s about going after whatever your interest are because now you can do it with social media platforms. You can start a blog or Instagram account and gain a following and really take off in a fashion career on your terms,” said Barfield, using beauty bloggers as an example. “Now you can really do whatever you want from wherever you want to do it, you just have to take advantage of the platform and realize you’re an entrepreneur.”

It’s also important acknowledge that you can’t always do it alone. Speaking from her own experience Barfield said, “I encourage every person to have a mentor. Nobody gets to where they are on their own. Don’t be afraid to ask someone you admire to be your mentor. Today, I have several mentors. Without them I wouldn’t be nearly as far in this industry. Its important to give back. I have to pay it forward now.”

INSTYLE_Kahlana Barfield 2More about Kahlana Barfield

High School: Garfield High
College: Howard University journalism major, fashion minor
First writing gig: A summer internship at the Seattle Times, but the work was too slow for her. She knew she needed to go to New York.

What do you miss about Seattle the most?
Family. My entire family lives here. My two sisters are my BFF’s. I visit twice a year during the holidays and summer. The first stop after landing at the Sea-Tac Airport is Ivars.

Fondest memories of living in Seattle
Summers, I grew up in Madison Valley in the Central District of Seattle. I’d always spend weekends at Madison Beach where my grandparents lived. I remember hot days with ice cream and the community. That was our territory.

Most stylish woman you know
My grandmother. I remember as a child we’d go downtown once a month and go to Nordstrom or Bon Marche (now Macy’s) and pick out one thing. It was her treat to me to pick out something that was my sense of style.

My nana always taught me, “Quality over quantity.” I knew I always loved fashion. My grandma started all that.

Follow Kahlana Barfield @kahlanabarfield



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Social Venture Partners and their set of beez neez entrepreneurs Tue, 28 Oct 2014 05:41:40 +0000 Continue reading ]]> The Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch showdown is Tuesday and the competition always starts a buzz, and this year, literally. The annual competition of local social innovators showcases entrepreneurs who find opportunity in creating wealth for everyone. Common Acre is starting with the bees who play a crucial role in the food chain.

The group is building a better home for the insects because bees are under attack by both disease and a shrinking habitat. They and other pollinators need wildflower meadows, which are becoming scarce.

This year Common Acre struck a deal to use buffer land around runways at Sea-Tac Airport to raise bees naturally and free of chemicals. The “Flight Path” project is turning scrub land into pollinator habitat and transforming a corner of the airport concourse (named Terminal “Bee”) into an art and education exhibit.

Spirit of the bee_SVP Fast Pitch 2014

The group says creating pollinator habitats will do a lot to support our local food economy. “One in three bites of food is due to bees ‘being or not.’ Can we pollinate the crops we have?” said Bob Redmond of Common Acre.

The first hives went in earlier this year and the project launched with donations. The plan is that revenue from honey sales will sustain the program in the future. Currently, 30 sites account for over 200 acres of pollinator habitat.

View all of the 14 finalists competing for a piece of the $250,000 in grants and investments.

Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch showdown   l   Tuesday, October 28th   l   McCaw Hall 5:00 p.m.   l   Tickets


* Update! Congrats to the 2014 Fast Pitch Winners!

Organization Award Track Amount
Dyslexi-type Microsoft Award Technology for Good High School Venture $10,000
Pay It Forward Women’s Funding Alliance Award for Girls & Women. Established Nonprofit $7,500
Pay It Forward Tableau Foundation Slalom Data Innovation Award Established Nonprofit  $10,000
InvestNextDoor Outerwall/Points of Light Civic Venture Award Startup For-profit an opportunity to win $50,000
SEEDclassroom Impact Donor Award Startup For-profit $3,500
Evrnu Audience Choice Award Startup For-profit $3,500
Evrnu, SEEDClassroomBike Works Grow50 3 winners $120,000 in consulting
Dyslexi-type First Place High School Venture $1,500
Club What  Second Place High School Venture $500
Scholarship Junkies First Place University Venture $4,000
MiPS Bank Second Place University Venture $1,000
Tiny Trees First Place Startup Nonprofit $15,000
Edge Schools Foundation Second Place Startup Nonprofit $3,000
Unleash the Brilliance First Place Established Nonprofit $20,000
Bike Works Second Place Established Nonprofit $4,000
Evrnu First Place Investment Fund For-Profit $140,000
Lendr Second Place Investment For-Profit $55,000
Recovery Cafe Most Improved Established Glory
Select Semifinalists & Finalists Angel Checks All tracks 20-$500

– See more at:

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Winter Wanderlust: The North Shore’s Turtle Bay Resort has Your Adventure Covered Sat, 25 Oct 2014 06:16:10 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Seattleites are usually no stranger to extreme sports, we love nature and outdoor activities, even in the cold and grey, we manage to find ways to stay active – rain or shine. But if you’re looking to switch up your routine this winter and maybe get a little tan while burning a few calories, Turtle Bay Resort, located in the North Shore on the island of O’ahu in Hawaii is a one-stop shop of adventurous activities to suit thrill-seekers of all types. Here are our top adventure picks – warning: you may end up hopping on the next flight out.

north shore_turtle baySurf Adventure: Known for their massive waves and famous extreme surf competitions, like the Triple Crown of Surfing, the North Shore attracts professional surfers from all over the world. Intimidated? No worries, you can ease your way up to a 50-foot wave by training with the best. Whether you’re looking to catch major waves, brush up on your surf skills, or just learning  to surf, you can train with a world-champion pro at the Hans Hedemann Surf School. Hans Hedemann has won world titles from some of the most prestigious competitions around the globe, Hans and his team of surf pros will help you become a natural waterman or waterwoman.

HansHedemannHelicopter Adventure: What better way to scope out the island than hovering and zipping around in the Magnum P.I. chopper like Tom Selleck – now that’s one cool way to cruise! Made famous from the 1980’s hit T.V. series, “The Chopper” has called Turtle Bay Resort its home after retiring from Hollywood, now you can experience all the breathtaking aerial views of O’ahu in this iconic ride. Fly along Sacred Falls, the majestic Kahana Rainforest, Kaneohe Bay, Makapuu Lighthouse, Koko Head, Hanauma Bay, Diamond Head, Waikiki, Pearl Harbor, Waimea Bay, and finish along the famous North Shore surf breaks. But you can take this adventure to the extreme by growing a Tom Selleck mustache (or apply a fake mustache) for the perfect photo opp.

turtle bayPaddle Adventure: You can double up your paddle adventure with both kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. Start your day with a kayak excursion and check out sea turtles through the clear bottom window, or explore a historical WWII bunker and learn about its unique past. Once your arms get warmed up and you’ve broken-in your paddle skills on the kayak, you’re ready to move onto stand up paddle boarding. Test your balance and coordination against the famous North Shore waves, this all-body workout will have your inner-adventurer craving more.

kayakaBanyan Adventure: Make your way into this ancient jungle and explore these giant Banyan trees at Kawela Bay. These magical looking trees have massive trunks and vines that make for an awesome backdrop as you run through this scenic forest on your morning jog. But don’t get “lost” – this jungle was the scene of many eerie episodes of “LOST” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” – you may just find yourself in the middle of a major motion picture set.

THE-BANYAN-TREEFrom surfing, helicopter cruising, kayaking, paddle boarding, and jungle exploring – Turtle Bay Resort in the North Shore has got your calorie-burning , adrenaline-seeking cravings covered. What are you waiting for? It’s time to pack your bags with your swimsuit, running shoes, flip flips and your thirst for adventure – don’t forget your sunscreen.

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Music Madness: Ásgeir Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:00:34 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Ásgeir Breaks the Silence at Columbia City Theater


Who: When 20 year old Ásgeir Trausti released his first album In the Silence in his native Icelandic tongue and country, he became somewhat of a boy wonder phenomenon overnight. Many of the songs had been written by his father, a seasoned local poet, and the deeply rooted connection and alluring radiant voice were felt and welcomed by critics immediately. The album has since become the largest grossing Icelandic album of all time, and statistics indicate that over 10% of the country now owns it. Back in March, Ásgeir translated the album to English, and has been wooing North America with his soothing vocals, paired nicely with french horns, acoustic guitar, and he has wrangled his childhood friend to join him on the piano. His music has been praised as simple, yet defining, and he brings a sense of hope and lightness to each set, effortlessly captivating each audience, every time. His North America tour will wrap up on the West coast this month, but if you miss him this week, you can catch him with Irish singer songwriter Hozier after the new year in February at the Paramount. If you have not yet discovered Ásgeir, do yourself a solid and head over to Columbia City theater, as he is sure to perform the perfect intimate set to kick off your week.

Where: Tuesday Oct 21st Columbia City Theater 9:00pm,  tickets

Ásgeir|Tuesday Oct 21st 9:00pm |Columbia City Theater

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Culture Dose: Vancouver Island’s Culinary Trail Mon, 13 Oct 2014 14:23:30 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Feasting our way across some of BC’s hidden gems.

The challenge of visiting any island: Often, it takes work to get there. As a traveler, there’s not much
within one’s control; choppy seas and foggy skies can lead to schedule delays that can’t be contested. Sometimes Mother Nature just wins.

Yet this unpredictability also defines the beauty of island hopping. You must simply surrender, go with the flow, sit back, and enjoy the journey. Arriving at the destination comes to feel like an accomplishment, and what you find on the island often feels like a hidden treasure, an insider’s find—a place where the pace is slower and the people kind.

BC Ferries by Corinne Whiting

BC Ferries by Corinne Whiting

We recently dove into the thriving culinary scene unfolding on nearby Vancouver Island, and we came away feeling happy, full and mightily impressed. We learned that a strong sense of community there pervades amongst restaurants, bars and local businesses, and loads of passionate talents are in the midst of creating delicious dishes and drinks with ingredients that are regional, seasonal, sustainable and fresh. Here are suggestions for some of the best spots to taste the flavors of the island:

In Victoria, take a bike tour with The Pedaler, where friendly guides lead you to some of the city’s best finds (think hot coffee or cold brew at Fernwood, to-die-for ice cream sandwiches inside Cold Comfort‘s charming, vintage space, sweet treats at Bon Macaron Patisserie plus other surprises that range from pizza squares to Jamaican patties). Depending on your palate, choose between tour itineraries like Beans and Bites, Hoppy Hour Ride and Eat.Drink.Pedal.

Fernwood Coffee by Corinne Whiting

Fernwood Coffee by Corinne Whiting

Cold Comfort ice cream sandwich treats by Corinne Whiting

Cold Comfort ice cream sandwich treats by Corinne Whiting

Victoria's Bon Macaron Patisserie by Corinne Whiting

Victoria’s Bon Macaron Patisserie by Corinne Whiting

These days, no visit to Victoria is complete without a stop at the hip, new Public Market at Hudson, where each local vendor’s stall seems to get tastier than the next. “Must visits” here include the Salt Spring Island Cheese and Silk Road tea spaces, as well as Sutra (for the lamb curry dog), Victoria Pie Co. and La Cocina de Mama Oli (try the tortilla soup, for starters), where owner Olimpia clearly seasons her traditional Mexican dishes with genuine love.

La Cocina de mama Oli at Victoria Public Market by Corinne Whiting

La Cocina de mama Oli at Victoria Public Market by Corinne Whiting

If you’ve somehow saved room for more food in Victoria, grab appetizers at the Catalano Restaurant and Cicchetti Bar, where we’d recommend the Artisanal Salumi and Cheese Board accompanied by the refreshing Catalano Coastal Gin Tonic (any cocktail that features spirulina, of all things, piques our interest). You won’t soon forget your dinner across the street at 10 Acres, where you can enjoy the perfect-10 ambience and dishes showcasing the islands freshest meats, cheeses, seafood and seasonal produce coming straight from the restaurant’s own farm. Next to a fireplace in the heated garden courtyard, enjoy fried heirloom green tomatoes, quinoa fritters, Sooke trout, Salt Spring Island mussels and the steak and frites platter, featuring some of the best truffle fries you’ll likely ever encounter.

Salt Spring Island Cheese by Corinne Whiting

Salt Spring Island Cheese by Corinne Whiting

After you’ve sated your appetite for Victoria, hop on a short ferry ride across to Salt Spring Island, an artsy and quirky Gulf Island known for its creative community and weekly market. While on the island, pop into the Salt Spring Island Cheese factory and shop for a behind-the-scenes glimpse, or enjoy a tasting or two at local wineries like Mistaken Identity. (Consider booking a room at nearby charming B& B Hedgerow House.)

Salt Spring Island Farmers Market by Corinne Whiting

Salt Spring Island Farmers Market by Corinne Whiting

By Corinne Whiting

By Corinne Whiting

It’s mealtime back on the mainland; check out Cowichan Valley, where a food revolution is under way. (Cowichan’s nickname “The Warm Land,”comes from the First Nations Coast Salish, who named the area Quw’utsun’ or Cowichan, meaning “land warmed by the sun.”) Cowichan chefs pride themselves on maintaining a tight-knit community; rather than acting as competitors, they often host fundraisers together to benefit the food system of the valley.

Bridgeman's Bistro by Corinne Whiting

Bridgeman’s Bistro by Corinne Whiting

We highly recommend lunch at the lauded eatery Hudson’s on First (in Duncan, “City of Totems”), a warm and inviting turn-of-the-century house where rainbow prism reflections dance across tables and soothing global tunes play overhead. Chef Daniel Hudson, who appeared on “Top Chef Canada,” uses only ingredients from the valley, ranging from foraged mushrooms to local wasabi from Nainamo. Afterward, wile away afternoon on the delightful grounds of Merridale Ciderworks.

Hudson's on First, Duncan, by Corinne Whiting

Hudson’s on First, Duncan, by Corinne Whiting

Merridale Estate Cidery by Corinne Whiting

Merridale Estate Cidery by Corinne Whiting

After all this east coast eating, it’s time to head west along a wending road to beautiful Tofino, a spot so alluring words hardly do justice. From the region’s expansive, tranquil beaches, watch intrepid surfers by day and a galaxy of stars twinkling overhead by night. There’s magic in Tofino everywhere you look.

Tourism Tofino sums up the destination nicely:  “It’s the feeling of peace you get from gazing at the calm inside waters of Clayoquot Sound.  It’s the bobbing heads of surfers braving legendary swells on endless beaches.  It is food so fresh that you often pass it on your morning stroll.  It’s muted silver skies ushering in brilliant coloured horizons just for you, or it seems. It’s salt bathed streets scattered with restaurants, galleries, and resorts constructed in true West Coast fashion. It’s living history nestled into surreal landscapes: this is Tofino, and you have to see it to believe it.”

Tofino Tea Bar by Corinne Whiting

Cheryl Graham of the Tofino Tea Bar by Corinne Whiting

Wolf in the Fog, Tofino, by Corinne Whiting

Wolf in the Fog, Tofino, by Corinne Whiting

While in town, be sure to enjoy a delicious dinner at Wolf in the Fog, an outstanding new addition to the Tofino culinary scene (the restaurant’s funky artwork is worth a visit in itself!). Wolf’s friendly owners created the space for folks who were into fine dining, “but over the pretension.” (We’ll cheers to that!) Don’t miss the seaweed salad, rare albacore tuna (served with leeks, bacon, celery and apple) or the Szechuan Surf & Turn platter. If your budget allows, book at a room at Long Beach Lodge Resort; a special, decadent destination whether you arrive in the height of summer or the middle of the enticing storm-watching season. Staying at this place will remind that, indeed, life is good.

Thanks, Vancouver Island, we’ll no doubt be back again soon!

Long Beach Lodge Resort by Corinne Whiting

Long Beach Lodge Resort by Corinne Whiting





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Halloween: Bonza Bash Masquerade Ball Thu, 09 Oct 2014 15:00:30 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Halloween is just 3 weeks away! Back at Fremont Studios this year, Bonza Bash presents Halloween 2014. This year, Halloween falls on a Friday, October 31st. Mark your calendars and start thinking about your costumers.  











Fremont Studios
This beautiful production studio will host this extravagant Halloween bash

Costume Contest
Last year, 2 guests won round-trip tickets to Australia. This year, something even better is in store. Definitely the biggest, richest BEST COSTUME contest in Seattle!

DJ Tamm from Kiss 106.1, one of the Pacific Northwest’s best known DJ’s will keep you dancing and shaking all night!

As always, complimentary red carpet photos and complimentary coat check. 


Early Bird Special
Early Bird Special tickets are on sale now, just $25 for GA or $110 for VIP.

There are only a limited number of early bird tickets available, so hurry and get them here.

For more details of the event, check the website!

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Do You Know Bruce? Only North American Bruce Lee Exhibit Opens in Seattle Mon, 06 Oct 2014 08:48:46 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Seattle’s Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (The Wing) is home to the only North American Bruce Lee Exhibit and is now open to the public. The opening ceremony on Saturday included welcome speeches by Bruce Lee’s widow Linda Lee Cadwell and his daughter Shannon Lee.

A traditional lion dance was performed outside, apparently the biggest ever in Seattle, with all the local lion dance teams joining forces for the special occasion.

Visitors to the exhibit will learn about who Bruce Lee was before his film career and Seattle’s early influence on the global icon.

Bruce Lee continues to influence many with his philosophy. During his career he transformed media perceptions of Chinese male stereotypes with his films, insisting on playing roles of real people rather than caricatures. But the Do You Know Bruce? exhibit is to show that there’s more to Bruce than you think.

More than just an action star, Bruce Lee broke barriers, defied stereotypes and inspired generations after him. He embraced his mixed race (his mother was half-Chinese and half-Caucasian), defied martial arts tradition by instructing students of all races, and challenged convention with his interracial marriage.

Bruce Lee’s roots are in Seattle. It’s where he went to college, met his wife, started his martial arts schools, and where he knew he had loyal friends.

The exhibit – filled with multi-media displays, personal belongings and collector memorabilia related to Bruce Lee’s time in Seattle and the Chinatown-International District – is a window into Bruce Lee’s life in Seattle during a time of obstacles and sacrifices.

Items like his handwritten poems showcase his relationship with Linda and his family, his global influence and legacy, and his martial arts. You’ll learn about his job at the legendary Ruby Chow’s Restaurant, his first martial arts studio, his philosophy studies, and his relationship with Linda Lee, who was also from the Pacific Northwest.

A Smithsonian Affiliate, National Park Service Affiliated Area, and the only pan-Asian Pacific American museum in the nation, The Wing is in a uniquely positioned to tell the story of Bruce Lee. The Do You Know Bruce? exhibit also features text panels written by national blogger Phil Yu (aka Angry Asian Man).

The exhibit will run for three years with a new theme and select items changed each year. Bruce Lee Neighborhood tours will be available starting in November, and private/school tours of the Bruce Lee exhibit and neighborhood tours can be booked by contacting the museum.

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Seattle Well Represented Amongst Martha Stewart Finalists Thu, 02 Oct 2014 16:26:27 +0000 Continue reading ]]> A study recently ranked Seattle as the best city for small business, and it doesn’t take much to realize why. With such a diverse, growing population, the city has seen new businesses sprout daily in order to suit its population’s increasingly eclectic tastes. It is no wonder then, that many of these small businesses have been selected as finalists for Martha Stewart’s Third Annual American Made Awards.

Given Stewart’s flair for embracing artisan originality, her American Made Award intends to recognize homebred companies whose products embody the sprit of innovation. According to the website, the award primarily looks for the businesses that have “changed the way we eat, shop, work, and live.” Though judge selections determine nine out of the ten winners, patrons have a chance to support their local establishments through voting. You can bet that many local Seattle favorites have turned up on the ballot.

Jane YuanThough the award covers a variety of categories, food and drink finalists have drawn the most attention. Some of the more notable local nominees include Simple & Crisp, a Seattle-based maker of fruit crisps, Noble Handcrafted, a manufacturer of wild foraged goods (think syrup, vinegar), and 2Bar Spirits, whose distillery gives daily tastings of their vodkas and bourbons. Other categories for the award include Crafts, Design and Style.

The ten winners of the American Made award will be announced on October 17. Prizes include a trip and appearance on the American Made event, $10,000 cash for further investment, as well as chances to appear on Martha Stewart’s website, magazine and radio shows. Not only will this award give local companies a chance to meet Martha Stewart herself, but also gives them a big boost in exposure nationally.

So if you have been looking for a way to help out your favorite local business, be sure to cast your vote on the official American Made award ballot page. You have the ability to vote up to six times a day, so there is no need to limit your decision to a single one. Who knows? A single vote could go a long way for the store or product that you love.



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In the Know: The Empowerment Project Mon, 29 Sep 2014 15:38:13 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Don’t miss the exclusive screening of The Empowerment Project hosted by Nordstrom and IndieFlix – an inspiring documentary featuring ordinary women doing extraordinary things.  This documentary tells the story of five female filmmakers who travel across the country interviewing inspirational women.

Their goal? Empower women to go after their career ambitions and gender equality. This could be a wonderful opportunity for you to check out for your school or simply an evening of inspiration for you and your family – plus enjoy sips, snacks and a Q&A session with the filmmakers.

When: Monday, September 29th at 6:30pm

Where: McCaw Hall (321 Mercer St, Seattle 98109)

How: please register here for your free tickets!


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Music Madness: Learn The Ropes of the Music Industry With CreativeLive Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:30:43 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Dexter Studio Now Offering Classes For Inspired Creative Professionals

OAR In studio

OAR Live in studio at CreativeLive

Who: Seattle is a city filled with a deep appreciation for everything music, from inspiring artists, band managers, teachers and recording professionals. We even have a department within the City of Seattle dedicated to the innovation of the local Film + Music industry, but where does one inspired young professional go to seek education in the field? CreativeLive has been offering video-centralized classes in their Dexter studio for creative types since they launched back in 2010. Students who prefer to learn from the comfort of their pajamas at home or  a coffee shop can opt to take classes live online, without spending a penny. Yes, you read that correctly; any student who tunes in to their FREE live classes can interact with other attendees and learn from professionals who have had success in the field. Past music and audio classes include topics such as introduction to home recording, tracking and mixing with outboard gear, and incite for becoming a music professor. If you miss the free live session, or want to learn at your own pace, video downloads can be purchased online.

CreativeLive has seen tremendous growth over the past few years with over 2 million students worldwide, and a strong demand for continued creative education.  Coursework is not just for the musically inclined, but also falls under the categories of photography and video, design, money and life, and craft making. The next upcoming class to put on your calendar is The New Music Biz: Bands, Brands, Managers & Tours, taught by Vans Warped Tour Founder Kevin Lyman. Learn some inside tips from Kevin on breaking into the industry, and developing and sustaining a career in music.

When: Check the schedule of live classes online here and tune in September 27th @ 9:00am-4:00pm for The New Music Biz: Brands, Bands, Managers & Tours with Kevin Lyman


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International Food Bloggers Taste Seattle Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:53:21 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Food blogging has exploded over the last few years and people all over the world are sharing everything from their eating out experiences to their own at home recipes. This year’s International Food Bloggers Conference brought serious food writers from all over the world to learn about taking their hobby to the next level.

Organized by and Zephyr Adventures, the conference was held over the weekend at The Westin in downtown Seattle. Keynotes included Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, award-winning authors of The Flavor Bible, What to Eat with What You DrinkWorkshops covered everything from ingredients to writing a great story to ingredients for cooking up an amazing meal.

Demos highlighted national brands like Butterball to local restaurants like Kaisho, which recently opened in Capitol Hill and showcased their Thai Fried Chicken and Kimchi Waffles.

Thai Fried Chicken and Kimchi Waffles. Get the full serving at their new restaurant in Capitol Hill.

Thai Fried Chicken and Kimchi Waffles. Get the full serving at their new restaurant in Capitol Hill.

The conference was first held in 2009 and has an emphasis on food, writing, and technology. Though most attendees were from the United States, the intention of the conference is clear; connecting food lovers from all around the world and helping those that want to make a living from their love for food.

Scallops by Tulalip Resort Casino

Scallops by Tulalip Resort Casino

According to a study conducted by and Zephyr Adventures in 2012, recipes were the most favorite blog topic for food bloggers (89%), with restaurant reviews coming in second (49%).

The top two reasons for pursuing a food blog was the blogger’s passion for food and to make a name for themselves.

Lindsay Olives prepped for dirty martinis.

Lindsay Olives prepped for dirty martinis.

The International Food Bloggers Conference gets bigger and bigger every year. Perhaps the biggest takeaway is just connecting and networking with other bloggers, finding out what they do and learning from each other.

Bristol Bay Sustainable Salmon was a hit with their salmon and recipes.

Bristol Bay Sustainable Salmon was a hit with their salmon and recipes.

Every entrepreneur will tell you that there’s no right or wrong way to do things. Building your brand and coming up with your secret sauce isn’t always easy. Success takes skill, some good timing, and a lot of luck. In the meantime, sharing meals and stories aren’t that bad, either.


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Music Madness: A Sit Down With Hilltop Hoods Tue, 16 Sep 2014 15:30:55 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Hilltop hoods

Who: MC’s Suffa and Pressure met in high school in  the hills of Southern Australia and were later introduced to DJ Debris, whom they found  had a common appreciation and love for hip-hop music that was not prevalent in their local music scene. The trio joined forces as Hilltop Hoods, and soon became breakout leaders in the Australian music industry. After the release of their 2003 album The Calling, the Hoods have demanded a loyal following, and paved the way for rap and hip hop artists in their country, while established themselves as a force to be reckoned with on the International stage. After many successful albums, touring Australia with Eminem, and creating a huge following from their eye opening festival performances, the Hilltop Hoods have finally landed in Seattle, where a love and appreciation of talented rappers goes hand in hand with a freshly brewed latte, and finely rolled legal blunt. Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of hanging out with the kings of Australian hip-hop before their epic performance at the Crocodile Cafe. The venue was brimming with excitement before their set, as an audience of young and seasoned concert goers stood in anticipation for an evening on their feet.

What was the inspiration behind your latest album Walking Under Stars?

Pressure: We spent a lot of time and energy on our previously released album Drinking From the Sun, and Walking Under Stars is a follow up and answer to what we did there.

What were you most excited about for this tour, and why has it taken you so long to come to Seattle?

Pressure: This album means alot to us, and we’re excited to share it on our US tour. We’d never been to Seattle and got to stop by Pike Place Market today! We’re thrilled to be here and thank our fans and Seattle for supporting us!

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MUSIC MADNESS: Noise for the Needy Fri, 12 Sep 2014 03:28:14 +0000 Continue reading ]]> This weekend will be the 10th and final installment of Noise for the Needy, a music festival and nonprofit organization that has been raising money for charitable causes for the last decade. NFTN has hosted hundreds of bands and raised thousands of dollars since its first Seattle show in November 2004. The last installment of Noise for the Needy will be a great way to end Seattle’s summer music festival season and enjoy the last bits of sunshine! Read about why and how NFTN lasted so long.

Prior to the Seattle launch of NFTN in 2004, the festival already existed in California. Dave Green, who had a great interest in social work, created the festival while working at a local radio station and manned the soundboard at live shows. He brought together the local artists to help raise money for Mary’s Kitchen, a struggling soup kitchen run by Mary McAnena. That was 1992.

Dave’s brother, Rich Green, lived in Seattle at the time and they both realized that although what Dave had in California was great, the music community in the Northwest was completely different, and the culture up here was actually a better fit for bringing music and social causes together. So, NFTN was moved to Seattle, WA and Richard became the director.


The Redwood Plan at The Wild Rose – 2010

It’s hard to say what makes the Northwest music community magical but the culture brings people together in powerful ways and continues to keep giving.

Within the last year alone NFTN has helped collectively raise over sixty thousand dollars for the Vera Project, Ballard Food Bank, and Urban Rest Stop. For the last two years the festival has occupied venues in the Ballard neighborhood but prior, it was city-wide. Richard said some of the highlights for him were: Talib Kweli headlined the Showbox Market in 2008 and local acts Grayskul, Gabriel Teodros, and Common Market opened up the show benefiting Urban Rest Stop that year. “It was great to see our local artists sharing the stage with the national acts. There was so much energy and appreciation for everyone,” said Richard.

Austin’s Black Angels also performed that year at Neumos. The previous year Okkervil River played, benefiting the Rise ‘N Shine organization, and afterwards went out to get hot dogs at Shorty’s with the NFTN crew. “That was fun,” Richard laughs.

Common Market (Ra Scion & Sabzi) opened for Talib Kweli, 2008 - Showbox Market

Common Market (Ra Scion & Sabzi) opened for Talib Kweli at the Showbox Market – 2008

NFTN didn’t always take place in the city’s high-profile venues. Like all events, they had to get people excited about what they were doing and build their following. They started small and this year they want to end big. NFTN may have just reached its peak these past few years and Richard said he wants to end the festival’s running with amazing memories.

If Seattle’s trend of passionate musicians continues, there wont’ be a shortage of music events for the city to enjoy long after NFTN is gone.

“It’s rare to see so many people in one place so extremely passionate about music and active about pursuing music as a career. Musicians here always seem to figure out how to stay in it,” said Richard, who hinted he and members of the NFTN have plans to begin a new music-oriented fundraising projects. What they will involve? No details were given so we’ll just have to wait and see.

For everyone involved with NFTN, it’s sad that this will be their last festival, says Richard, but he’s even more happy and excited for what gets him pumped year after year — the shows.


Friday Sept 12th

Tractor Tavern:
Helio Sequence
Ravenna Woods
Prisim Tats
Black Nite Crash
9pm. $20, 21+

Black Whales
Hand Of The Hills
Goodbye Heart
8pm, ALL AGES, Free

Sat Sept 13th

Tractor Tavern:
Ivan and Alyosha
Horde and The Harem
Special Guests
9pm. $15

Conor Byrne:
Sebastian and The Deep Blue
And more
9pm. $10 21+

Ryan Caraveo
Future Shock
and more
8pm. ALL AGES, Free

For a complete schedule visit the Noise For The Needy website.


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Ones to Watch: Luc & the Lovingtons Thu, 11 Sep 2014 14:23:52 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Local musicans launch a unique tour to spread the love

Reading the news these days can be a real buzzkill; because of this, we cherish the rare feel-good stories even more. As an example, local group Luc and the Lovingtons are about to launch their revolutionary idea—a Goodness Tour designed to spread hope and positivity through music, rather than to simply gain profits for the musicians (who play the shows for free).

Though the complete tour schedule has yet to unfold, it launches here in Seattle today (September 11) with an 11 a.m. show at downtown’s Mary’s Place (a shelter for women and children), and this weekend the spirited musicians will take their talents to unlikely spaces like tent cities inhabited by homeless folks around town.

Though based in the Pacific Northwest, this “world-soul-reggae” band boasts South American roots and has become well-known for its dynamic live shows and powerful messages. (Comparisons have been made to such artists such as Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder and India Arie.) Luc and the Lovingtons’ song “Freedom Song” appeared on Jason Mraz’s 2012 album Love is a Four Letter Word, and songwriter Luc Reynaud has been a featured TEDx “Genius Talks” speaker, presenting on the healing power of music.

We recently caught up with Reynaud about his do-gooder ways, spreading “happy hits” and an approaching tour of a lifetime.

Courtesy Luc and the Lovingtons

Courtesy Luc and the Lovingtons

Seattleite: Can you tell us a bit about the origin of your group and the evolution of the Goodness Tour?

Luc Reynaud: Luc and the Lovingtons started in 2007 on the inspiration of an experience I had had in a relief shelter where I saw how music saved people. I said to myself, “I want to create the most jubilant, uplifting, filled-to-the-brim-with-goodness, soul funky band possible.” I started it with a group of some of my closest friends and finest musicians, and it’s grown to encompass players from all over the globe.

Yes, this is the first Goodness Tour we have ever done, but we’ve wanted to do this kind of tour since the very beginning. The founding idea of the band for me was putting music and service together. In the last couple years, we started creating our own thematic tours, ‘Welcome to my house’ tour, ‘We’re on an adventure’ tour, where we would take a song theme and an energy and vibe off it for the entire tour. I love getting on an idea and riding it like a magic carpet, just taking it as wide and far as you can.

Last year my best friend and founding member of Luc and the Lovingtons Felipe Canete died of a heart attack, and I went into the basement and prayed for what the next direction of our music would be, and the Goodness Tour came up. After getting through all that pain, and now that we are about to do the tour, I am so excited. It’s the best place to put your focus. Just thinking about ways to bring goodness.

S: How much of the tour is already planned, and how exactly will the shows work? How do you come up with venues at which to play?

LR: The tour is still being created as we speak, but right now we have a bunch of amazing shows lined up, some in tent cities for the homeless, juvenile detention centers, shelters for homeless women and families, shows for the elderly, etc. etc. It’s so completely different than any tour we have booked because we are not asking venues to let us in their doors; we are calling up social workers and saying, “Can we play for your people for free?” And most of the time, the answer is: “That would be great!”

S: What sparked your desire to give back through your musical talents?

LR: I feel so lucky, I feel like I’ve been given so much—great parents, great childhood, great family. Music is the best way I’ve found to share my heart with the world. I want to love the best I can and give the most I can.

S: How have you seen others positively affected by your music?

LR: It’s great when someone tells you an album of yours helped them through his or her year—or through a hard time. That’s the best, makes all the work worth it.  We wrote a song called “The Freedom Song,”and I was sent a video of a group of former child slaves in Ghana singing the song at the top of their lungs expressing their own newly-found freedom, and that made me cry…that moment was the best feedback of a song I think I will ever have.

S: How did “The Freedom Song” come about, and when did Jason Mraz become involved?

“The Freedom Song” was written with a group of kids and myself in a relief shelter after Hurricane Katrina. Part of it started with a poem written by a young boy Domeiko I worked with in Seattle; we put the music together down there in the shelter and recorded it with the kids there, too, right in that moment. I donated the song to an organization called Harmonic Humanity that was creating a compilation CD of original music for homeless to sell on the street. Jason found the song on that compilation CD and myspaced me asking if he could cover it. I said yes, and he took it all around the world and took us with him.

S: Your music has been described as a “jambalaya of genres.” What can people expect who have never heard you play before?

LR: If we are doing the full band live thing, it’s like Motown with the harmonies and the joy, the dancing and the class, reggae with the rawness and spiritual presentation, the positive vibe. It’s a celebration. Getting into the best feelings of the human family…The bubbly love thing…

S: What’s your main goal for the Goodness Tour?

LR: Ha, spreading goodness! But this first Goodness Tour, I would say the majority of it or three quarters of it is focused on outreach for those navigating homelessness. We are working with our loved organization Harmonic Humanity and traveling to places where folks without permanent homes congregate—and bringing music as an energetic service. After the jams, though, we plan to just listen, to spend a lot of time listening to people’s stories. It’s a totally acoustic tour, no big deals, amps, mics, just heart and soul music and conversations.

For the other quarter of the tour, we are partnering with an organization called Anonymous Good. Anonymous Good is an organization founded by Peggy Callahan, the same woman who, along with Jason, introduced our “Freedom Song” to those Ghanian children I saw in the video singing. Anonymous Good is based on a study in brain science that says when a person does a good deed or helps someone, they get a hit of serotonin, a hit of happiness…It also says that a person who hears or learns of a good deed also gets a happy hit. So they created a site where people could post their good deeds—anonymous or not—so others could learn of them, too, and everyone could get super flipping happy. The topper is that they gathered sponsors and philanthropists who are willing to match every good posted with a donation dollar amount going towards a good cause—like freeing slaves, feeding the hungry, creating clean water.

So when you post a good on their website, you feel good, make some else feel good, and you raise money for something good. You get to double or triple down on your good! We love the whole thing, so we created a challenge of 15 goods a week for us and all of our fans to join in with (everybody doing their own 15 and posting it in on our challenge page). Also, we put a message out for anyone in the path of our tour route to request possible moments of good we could create. So far, one woman has asked us to play for her 90-year-old mom whose health is ailing, and another person asked us to play for her friend who just overcame breast cancer; we are going to try to do them all.

It’s all swirling together and all of the dates and locations will be up on our website; just click on the Goodness Tour. Info will also be swimming around on our Facebook page. All ideas of goodness opportunities are welcome. Send them our way; all talents are welcome…bring your goodness to the goodness tour!

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