What’s Good in Seattle: Summer on the Water, June 26, 2014

Posted on June 26, 2014, 7:45 pm
6 mins

Summer has officially arrived and the outdoor parties and events have begun in a big way. It’s Gay Pride Weekend, so there will be no shortage of events and parties for LGBT people and their allies. Adrian Ryan at The Stranger has compiled an exhaustive list of every celebration and brunch related to Pride Fest, so check that out if you want the scoop. (BTW, if you go to one big party this weekend, make it Gender Blender tonight…or one of the other outrageous queer extravaganzas organized by Nark Magazine.)

If you are like me and the crowds and festival atmosphere are a little too much all at once, now may be the perfect time to go a quieter, aquatic way…either all summer or just between parties, parades, weddings and barbecues. Here are three events with ties to water and—incidentally—how things change and heal with the passing of time.

Artist Fabrice Monteiro’s Gorean Summer at M.I.A Gallery

A new exhibit of work opens this evening, Thursday, June 26 at M.I.A Gallery downtown. Artist Fabrice Monteiro travels and photographs internationally, and this series of photographs from a 2012 trip to Goree Island (off the coast of Senegal) captures the vital energy and optimism of the region. Goree Island was a hub of the slave trade in past centuries, and the evidence and physical structures of that brutal history remain, but Monteiro turns his eye to revelers from the mainland, a largely youthful population dancing and playing in the sand and surf. The black-and-white images are striking on their own terms, with the pale sun and sky merging into a softly textured plane where the dark bodies brim with activity and confidence. It’s a scene completely outside of the typical Seattle experience captured with dreamy sophistication.

The opening reception is tonight from 6 to 8 PM and the exhibition runs through July 26 at M.I.A Gallery (1203
2nd Avenue).

The Ramps to Nowhere at the Arboretum

A favorite diving spot overlooking lily ponds and marshy areas between Lake Union and Lake Washington is soon to be no more. The storied Ramps to Nowhere at the north end of the Washington State Arboretum will be demolished by 2016 (which means 2020 in Seattle bureaucracy terms) after sitting fallow for about half a century. Casey McNerthney at the Seattle P.I. has provided a glossed history and a look at what is to come for the area—more trails, less skinny-dipping and cruising grounds. Whether you welcome or lament the plans, you have perhaps only one summer left to explore this unofficial Seattle landmark.

If you don’t feel like navigating the rather untended trails, the best view of it may be from the water itself, in which case renting a kayak from Agua Verde Café and Paddle Club (1303 NE Boat Street) may be one of the more accessible options. (Plus it is a charming place to have a light lunch.) The ramps are a testament to Seattle’s perennial  developmental gridlock and best-laid-plans going awry—all of which is frequently tied to stark physical and cultural divides. The area around the ramps is beautiful and melancholy and worth seeing before it is fully incorporated into the rest of the park.

Speck on Speck on Speck at Gasworks Park

In light of the march of progress measured in decades, it also behooves one to contemplate existence measured in eons. Tomorrow night (Friday, June 27), Seattle-based artist Allyce Wood will host Speck on Speck on Speck as part of an event series called Summer Field Studies presented by The Henry Art Gallery. It’s a free event that will also include members of the Seattle Astronomical Society, as Wood leads attendees in a reading and thought experiment regarding our scale in relation to the stars above and the city lights twinkling over Lake Union, viewed from Kite Hill in Gas Works Park. Gas Works is a unique space in its own right: a toxic space overlooking a still quite polluted lake, both of which were tainted by tons of industrial waste in the last century. The healing is slow and plumes of ooze still emerge from the lush hills of the park around the decaying citadel of the old gas works itself, but time marches on and it is all worth pondering as the days begin to shorten again.

Sunset is quite late, so who knows how many stars one will actually see tomorrow, but Speck on Speck on Speck runs from 9 to 10 PM and the Henry recommends bringing a sweater. Happy gazing!

T.s. Flock is a writer and arts critic based in Seattle and co-founder of Vanguard Seattle.

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