Cultural events

On Friday, Jan 14th, Ghost Light Theatricals will premiere “Metamorphosis”, a play based on the famous short story by Franz Kafka and written and directed by Wilder Nutting-Heath.

“The story isn’t by any means original and it has been done many times. It’s like reading a good book again and again and again,” said director Wilder Nutting-Heath. “Each time it resonates differently with you and that’s why you come back to it.”

In short, Metamorphosis tells the story of Gregor Samsa, a salesman who is the sole provider of his parents and sister. One morning he wakes up to find that he has transformed into a bug overnight. His appearance is horrific and he is no longer able to leave his room and risk being seen. He goes from being the family’s provider to being the burden in need of sister’s care.

Nutthing-Heath said when he first read Kafka’s short story, he was a high school student going through an identity crisis.

“I identified with Gregor Samsa’s struggle with his new body.” he said.

When he read the story again at the start of the current project two years ago he was at a very different stage in his life, Nutting-Heath said.

Ghost Light Theatricals brings Kafka's Metamorphosis to the stage
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Ghost Light Theatricals
Events in and around Ballard

By Robinson Newspapers Staff
The print deadline for calendar submissions is two weeks before the date of the event to be publicized. Email, or to get it posted online immediately, email

Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Comment Period
You can submit a comment to: from Oct. 29 - Dec. 13, 2010.

An evening of contemporary Celtic music to celebrate the season of Christmas
With Wyndham Hill/ArkMusic recording artists, Jeff Johnson, keyboards, Brian Dunning, flutes and whistles, Wendy Goodwin, violin.
Suggested donation $10.00
Saturday, Dec. 18 7:00 p.m.
Northminster Presbyterian Church
7706 25th Ave. NW

Studio Holiday Show and Sale
There will be 21 artists' studios open, lots of small wrappable artwork,
holiday goodies and a jazz duo in the evening.
Noon - 9PM on Saturday, December 11th
Building C Studios
818 14th Ave NW

Fifty Four Sixteen Open house and holiday sale Sundays
New studio located upstairs at 5416 Shilshole Avenue NW.
November 28th and December 5th from 10am-5pm


click on photo to start slideshow

The temperatures are dropping, trees are standing bare and snow is falling. Winter season is here which means it’s time for winter ales. Winter brings out unique small-production seasonal brews called winter warmers. There are no specific rules for how these beers should be brewed but winter warmers are typically malty, complex and higher in alcohol. Some have spice or fruit characteristics, others are flavored with chocolate or vanilla.
In the Northwest, we are fortunate to be surrounded by many breweries so the winter beer selection is plentiful. BNT visited a few beer experts in Ballard and Fremont to hear their take on winter beer.

Hale’s Ales

Hale’s Ales’ featured winter beer is the Wee Heavy, which was first introduced in 1985.
The Wee Heavy is a mahogany colored beer with a complex hops, caramel, nut and roast flavor.
“We play around with the recipe a little bit each year,” said Dave Seiler, who has been a commercial brewer for five years and has been with Hales Ales for two years.
This year they added a bit more roast flavor, he said.

The Winter Beer Guide
Photo credit: 
Anne-Marije Rook

Winter Beer season is here!

More than 5,000 people started off the holiday season in Scandinavian fashion this weekend at the Nordic Heritage Museum’s Yulefest.

The annual Scandinavian Christmas festival has been an organized event in Ballard for nearly thirty year and included dance and musical performances, hundreds of hand-crafted gifts and traditional Nordic cuisine.

Jolie Bergman started volunteering at Yulefest as a 14-year-old in 1994 and has been involved ever since.

“Yulefest is a great thing to maintain as it opens minds and taste buds to Nordic culture,” Bergman said.

Holiday revelers could indulge in the round Danish pancakes called Aebleskiver in one room, watch Finnish dancing in another, and listen to a Swedish accordion duo while drinking Glogg or Nordic beer in the Bodega.

Bergman said that this Yulefest is the largest festival in the Northwest which highlights all the Nordic countries.

“Music, food and dance are the entry points of an ethnicity,” said Ralph Koschi, a dancer who performed Finnish folk dance at the festival.

“So maintaining a tradition like Yulefest to showcase these dances and cuisine is huge," he said.

Yulefest draws in thousands
Photo credit: 
Kelly Purnell

Thousands attended Yulefest for Nordic dance, music and Scandinavian cuisine.

Internationally acclaimed knitters and designers from across the United States and Scandinavia will gather in Seattle Oct. 15 through Oct. 17 when the Nordic Heritage Museum hosts its third annual Nordic Knitting Conference, expected to draw hundreds of knitters from around the world.

The conference will feature intensive, hands-on classes in various Nordic techniques representing Scandinavia’s rich knitting traditions and contemporary interpretations of this legacy.

The conference also includes a Friday night happy hour, a Saturday evening banquet with a keynote address on Estonian lace by Nancy Bush, and educational and social interactions with other knitters.

“Knitting is not only a celebrated tradition in the Nordic countries but has also become popular with contemporary textile artists and DIY enthusiasts of all ages," Eric Nelson, CEO of the Nordic Heritage Museum, said in a museum press release. "We are proud to bring these internationally acclaimed craftspeople, artists and designers together for this popular program.”

Expert knitters to convene at Nordic Knitting Conference
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Nordic Heritage Museum

The Nordic Heritage Museum will celebrate Scandinavia's rich knitting tradition, demonstrated in these socks, during the Nordic Knitting Conference Oct. 15 through Oct. 17.

It won’t be the celebration they had back in 1935, when Seattle’s 6,000-seat Civic Auditorium was the setting for an early Oct. 9 Leif Erikson Day celebrations. But, Leif Erikson Day 2010 will contain many of the same elements.

In fact, the Seattle Civic Auditorium has changed more than the local celebration has. This landmark built in 1928 became the Seattle Opera House in the early 1960s and was then gutted and reconstructed as McCall Hall in 2003.

Leif Erikson Day, on the other hand, still includes a gathering, a dinner, a speaker, Scandinavian music, the governor’s proclamation, and all the Nordic pride the participants can muster.

Washington’s Gov. Clarence Martin issued the state’s first proclamation of Leif Erikson Day and Gov. Chris Gregoire followed 75 years later with a very similar proclamation. Both mentioned Leif Erikson as the first of many Scandinavians who journeyed to America.

Martin’s message reported that local Scandinavians were making plans for a suitable memorial to Leif Erikson, and Gregoire’s brags that the Ballard statue of Leif Erikson has been replicated and given to Norway and Greenland.

75 years later, still celebrating Leif Erikson Day
Photo credit: 
Courtesy of Elisabeth Ward

Icelander and Viking expert Elisabeth Ward will give the keynote speech at this year's Leif Erikson Day celebration Oct. 9. CLICK IMAGE TO SEE PROCLAMATION.

By Anne-Marije Rook

As Washington celebrates the 100th anniversary of women voting in the state, the Nordic Heritage Museum exhibits a similar story from abroad.

A new exhibit, “100 Years of Women’s Voices and Action in Finland,” is currently on display at the museum paying tribute to Ballard’s Nordic ties and the women that fought for equality.

At the Sept. 10 exhibit opening, Tarja Filatov, deputy speaker in the Finnish Parliament, spoke about the Finnish women’s movement and the history reflected in the exhibition, previously displayed in New York and Washington D.C.

In 1906, Finland became the second country in the world to grant suffrage to women (following New Zealand) and the first to allow women to be elected.

“This was an international breakthrough for women," Filatov said. "We are still proud of this decision. I believe that Finnish society’s pioneering example has also encouraged other countries.”

Nordic Museum looks to Finland during centennial of women voting
Photo credit: 
Anastasia Alto/Nordic Heritage Museum

A member of the Nordic Heritage Museum speaks with Kristiina Hiukka (center), vice honorary consul for Finland in Washington state, and Tarja Filatov (right), deputy speaker of the Finnish Parliament.

When Norwegian architect Einar Jarmund, whose work can often be found isolated over a river or alone in a snow-blanketed forrest , designs a building, he is seeking to paraphrase nature. He said it is his challenge to strive to be as good as it.

The work of Jarmund's firm, Oslo-based Jarmund/Vigsnæs, is on display now at the Nordic Heritage Museum in an exhibit called “Lost in Nature: The Architecture of Jarmund/Vigsnæs.”

The exhibit is a collection of images and models of architectural projects in Norway that have a close relationship with nature.

Jarmund said as an architect you are given a place to put your building, and he is fortunate enough that for his firm that place is often nature.

There is something special about being given a natural setting to work with; it is an amazing source of inspiration, he said.

According to the press release for "Lost in Nature," Jarmund/Vigsnæs focuses on projects with the potential for meaningful architecture, frequently in strong natural settings with harsh climate conditions.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

Yvonne and Clay Vollan admire "Lost in Nature: The Architecture of Jarmund/Vigsnæs" at the Nordic Heritage Museum. CLICK IMAGE FOR PHOTOS FROM THE EXHIBIT.

Project set to be complete by middle of November

The Seattle Chinese Garden, now under construction just north of South Seattle Community College, held a "topping out" ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 31 amid fireworks and applause in which the top beam above the Ceremonial Gate for the Knowing the Spring Courtyard was placed.


All 21 of the chinese artisans, here to work on the project were in attendance as well as group of Garden board members and friends of the project. The artisans were welcomed on Aug. 22 in a special event the West Seattle Herald covered here.

Courtyard Project Director Yangming Chu said the date and time were in line with Chinese tradition. "When you have weddings or ceremonies you have to pick an auspicious date so they looked at the calendar, today's the best day, one of the best days for raising the beam. Also the particular hour is important so between 5 and 7 they looked at the traditional calendar and this is a good time to raise the beam."

topping out.jpg
See video
Photo credit: 
Patrick Robinson

The top beam above the Ceremonial Gate of the Knowing the Spring Courtyard in the Seattle Chinese Garden was placed on Aug. 31 shortly after 5 pm.

Scandinavia, which encompasses Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, is a land that brings to mind long winters, saunas and fair-skinned natives. But, the northern European culture is also deeply rooted in the Ballard community.

Viking Days took place July 17 and July 18 at the Nordic Heritage Museum. The festival, now in its 27th year, featured reenactments, Scandinavian food, tables lined with Nordic arts and crafts plastic sets of Viking armor and for the children.

Eric Nelson, CEO of the Nordic Heritage Museum and a third-generation Swede, said the two-day festival is a community event.

“One of the favorite stops is the Taste of Scandinavia,” Nelson said, pointing to a line of women busily producing sugary edibles. “We have a group of volunteers from each of the five countries who all prepare specialty foods. Those are all community members, most of them live in Seattle and help out at the museum.”

While the weekend attraction used to include a broader celebration of Scandinavia, it has since shifted its focus to Viking culture.

Nelson said the festival was particularly pertinent to the Ballard neighborhood.

Photo credit: 
Celina Kareiva

Mary Viker poses with her Norwegian dolls at the 27th annual Viking Days July 17.

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