Archive for the ‘events’ Category

Sakura-con 2010 wrap up

When I walked in to Sakura-con Friday afternoon, I planned to stay for a short time just to check out the con and get a general feel for what was going on. Instead, I stayed for several hours, drawn in by screenings, panels, and other special events, as well as the fun of simply walking around and checking out the many excellent costumes attendees put together. There really is a lot to do and see at Sakura-con which is definitely the best-organized con I’ve ever attended. Being fan-created and fan-produced makes all the difference. All of the activities offered were things that people really wanted – not every room was jam-packed, but none of them were empty.

Easter eggs at WPZ hatch a penguin

Humboldt penguin chick at Woodland Park Zoo photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo delivers the exciting news that their Humboldt penguins have adopted to their new home well home well enough that they’ve started breeding. Six total eggs in three nests have arrived for the first breeding and nesting season since the new penguin habitat opened last May.

One of the eggs has already hatched to reveal the first offpsring for penguins Dora and PJ: another egg is expected to hatch shortly.

“This hatching is significant for the penguin Species Survival Plan,” said Mark Myers, a Woodland Park Zoo curator who specializes in birds. “Humboldt penguins are an endangered species and here at the zoo these birds are important conservation ambassadors to teach visitors about the impacts humans have on penguins in their range countries.” Species Survival Plans (SSPs) are cooperative breeding programs that work to ensure genetic diversity and demographic stability in North American zoos and aquariums.”

“We are cautiously optimistic that the chicks will thrive under the care of their parents,” noted Myers. As part of the animal care protocols for penguin chicks, staff will attempt to weigh the hatchlings daily for the first five days or so. “As long as the chicks are achieving acceptable weight gains, they will remain under the care of their parents. Our goal is to minimize staff intervention and allow the parents to raise their chicks and gain experience as parents.” If necessary, keepers might offer supplemental feedings to chicks that fall behind the weight curve or if there is a large age difference between siblings.

The penguins arrived at WPZ last spring as part of a SSP for the purposes of creating a breeding colony. Not all of the penguins have recommendations to breed but additional breeding penguins are arriving in April and May to help grow the colony even more. Candles and soft music probably won’t help, but what will is your paid attendance at the zoo and/or your donation to their programs. A mere 12,000 Humboldt penguins are estimated to live in the wild, their population having been decimated by overfishing of anchovies, which they eat, and the over harvesting of guano, which they use to build their homes. Woodland Park Zoo is committed to conserving Humboldt penguins by supporting the Humboldt Penguin Conservation Center at Punta San Juan, breeding endangered penguins through the Species Survival Plan, and encouraging visitors to choose sustainable seafood options

The Humboldt penguin SSP is among 39 SSPs that Woodland Park Zoo participates in, including the western lowland gorilla, ocelot, Komodo dragon and red panda. Under the auspices of AZA, SSPs also involve a variety of other collaborative conservation activities such as research, public education, reintroduction and field projects.

Sakura-con returns

Previous year Sakura-con attendees in a photo by Roger Abramson via Creative Commons

It started as a small event for Otaku – devoted fans of anime and manga, Japanese cartoons and comics – back in 1998 at the Double Tree Inn in Tukwila, but in the past few years Sakura-Con has grown huge, necessitating a move to the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in downtown Seattle. Starting April 2, fans of anime, manga, and Japanese culture as a whole will be gathered together for lectures, classes, screenings, contests, shows, games, and just hanging out together and having a good time.

With three full days of activities from morning through night, Sakura-Con truly does offer something for everyone. Diehard fans have some tough decisions to make as they attempt to fit in everything and casual fans or the merely curious get a great opportunity to sample a little bit of everything to determine what they like.

If you are a casual fan, experienced attendees have some tips for you: go with friends who are more knowledgeable to keep from being overwhelmed, or go Friday, the most (relatively) quiet of days and make sure you check the schedule in advance to find a day that offers the most of what interests you. DoktorZetsubou, going for the fifth time, suggests that if you’re not sure you’re ready for a con, you sit on the bottom floor and observe for a while, but adds, “If you’ve got a casual interest in anime, I’d definitely recommend spending one of the days there just to see if you’re into it or not and get an idea as to what the ‘anime fan community’ is like. Sakura-Con’s website has some great tips for con attendees that are particularly helpful for the first-timer.

One of the things I’m most looking forward to seeing is all the costumes – a significant number of people participate in “cosplay” – dressing up as their favorite characters – and ever since the con moved downtown a few years ago I’ve always looked forward to seeing costumed guests walking around downtown. Costumes are a big draw – says Sailor Tweek (who has been six time), ” I’m also a big fan of the costumes. No matter how good or bad the costumes might be, I love the ocean of creativity that is cosplay at a convention!” Michi, an attendee since 2002 and staff since 2006, is looking forward to “being able to wear the costumes that I’ve put several months worth of time and effort into.” Says Small Rini Lady, in her third year on staff with eight years of attendance, “I love to see people dressed up in their outfits and get into the roles and I love to dress up myself (i have 7 outfits ready for this year). It’s so fun to join in games and jump into conversations with people you’ve never met before but its like your best of friends because you assume the roles (the characters) that have known each other forever.”

Not everyone’s comfortable dressing up, of course, but it’s definitely always cool to see those who are. Plus, there’s are many other attractions. Small Rini Lady says, “I’ve brought many friend who just liked to people watch and enjoy the atmosphere. They love to look at the costumes, try the new things, practice their photography, watch the anime to see why it’s so popular. It’s like going to a museum in a foreign country for them, tons to learn and spark new interest from.”

Amplexicaule, going for the second time, says, “[M]y favorite things have been the exhibitor’s hall, and the Anime That Scarred Me For Life panel.” DoktorZetsubou will be happy to see other fans: “I really love the people there, everyone’s so friendly and I’ve met some really incredible fellow fans there. Otherwise, I’m a figure maniac, and so the shopping aspect is really exciting. The panels, too… I just love the whole convention, I guess. This year I’m most looking forward to shopping, being around other anime fanatics, and seeing DJ Sharpnel.”

Most people attending are from the area, but Sakura-Con’s a big enough draw that people travel here for it–besides Washington, con-goers come from all over the US and Canada, too.

Among the activities this year: “Being a Digital DJ” with DJ Shrapnel, Comic Production with Chloe Chan, Ancient Anime from Japanese History, Chado Urasenke Tankokai Seattle Association presenting the Way of Tea, Kabuki Academy, and What Not To Wear, Kimono Edition, are just a few of the panels; there are three dances including a formal ball; a charity auction to benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Sakura-Con Cosplay Chess, in which convention attendees in cosplay serve as the pieces; art shows and exhibitors.

Pre-registration for Sakura-Con is closed, but don’t fret: you can still purchase a membership, full or pro-rated, at the door that allows you to attend.

Sign up for the Washington Coast Cleanup

Point of the Arches by Sam Beebe/Ecotrust via Creative Commons

Earth Day 2010 happens on April 22 but you can get a head start on the celebration by joining in the Washington Coast Cleanup 2010 on April 17.

We’re lucky to live in a state with such a beautiful coastline as ours and to show our gratitude to Mother Earth, we really ought to give her a helping hand or two by taking out the trash that accumulates on our beaches. Thousands of marine mammals, fish and seabirds are gravely harmed, even killed, by household plastics, fishing nets, tires and other bits of junk and waste.

Help clean up this trash by signing up as a volunteer to clean Washington beaches from Sooes Beach in the north all the way down to Long Beach. Washington Coast Savers have plenty of opportunities for anyone interested in taking part. Volunteers will collect trash and carry it off beaches to designated collection points. Additional volunteers are needed to help coordinate all this activity so if you want to help but have a hard time walking far or carrying trash bags, you still have a chance to participate.

Want to help but can’t make it out to the beach? You can donate funds used for purchasing garbage bags, paying disposal fees, creating signs and getting all the other supplies needed for the event online through Discover Your Northwest or by sending a check (payable to “Washington CoastSavers”) to:

Washington CoastSavers Program
c/o Discover Your Northwest
164 S. Jackson St.
Seattle, WA 98104

Seattle dims the lights for Earth Hour Saturday

photo by Juan Carlos Del Olmo / WWF-Spain

photo by Juan Carlos Del Olmo / WWF-Spain

Earth Hour began three years ago as a way for people around the world to come together to make a statement about climate change in a simple way by turning off their lights for one hour.

Global participants include Sydney’s Opera House, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in London, the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Acropolis and Parthenon in Athens, Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, and the Elysee Palace and Eiffel Tower in Paris, to name a few. In the US, the Empire State Building, the Vegas Strip, Mount Rushmore, St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, SeaWorld in Orlando, the Golden Gate Bridge, Santa Monica Pier, and the National Cathedral in Washington, DC are among those taking part.

Locally, Earth Hour happens Saturday, March 27, at 8:30 pm. Mayor McGinn has announced that the City of Seattle will do its part by shutting off all non-essential lighting at the Seattle Municipal Tower, City Hall, and the Justice Center, Parks and Recreation Community Centers. In city facilities, all building lights will be turned off except for emergency lights, lighting for around-the-clock operations at Civic Campus buildings and all outdoor lighting where not required by code to remain on.

Also taking part: the Key Arena, Pacific Science Center, and the Space Needle. ART Restaurant at the Four Seasons has cooked up a special meal for the event – guests will dine by candlelight and have the opportunity to purchase the Glassybaby votives on their tables with 10 percent of the proceeds going to Conservation International.

Participation in Earth Hour is simple – turn off your lights from 8:30 to 9:30 pm. For more information on the event, visit their website.

Solo across the Pacific with Roz Savage

Ever thought of breaking out of the rat race to do something truly amazing? Like, maybe rowing solo across the Pacific Ocean?


Roz Savage has. In fact, after becoming the first solo woman ever to compete in the Atlantic Rowing Race, Savage transformed herself from an ordinary office worker into an adventurer and author of a memoir entitled, logically enough, Rowing the Atlantic.

Now Savage wants to take on the mighty Pacific, using her upcoming voyage to inspire grassroots environmental activism, as well as not a little awe. Get inspired by her Monday and Tuesday at the Benaroya Hall, advance tickets online or from $18 to $35 (with excellent discounts for students) at the door.

BODIES…The Exhibition


Did you know that a baby is born colorblind? Or that your body grows 40 yard of hair every day? And that you produce 12,000 gallons of urine in your lifetime?

Well, if you didn’t know or even if you did, you need to check out BODIES…The Exhibition. Why? Because it’s totally creepy, cool. And because I’m gonna give you a discount. But more about that later.

If you’ve been to the BODIES exhibit in Seattle before, I should warn you the new location is a bit smaller. This was great for someone like me, who has an attention span of a fly. It still took a good hour an a half though, and that’s mostly because we couldn’t stop talking to Crystal, the very knowledgeable guide who walks around, in a lab coat, just in case you have a question. And we had lots. We talked to her about the actual bodies (they were never claimed by their families) and how they died (of natural causes) and man, oh man, she knew her stuff. Crystal definitely deserves an employee of the month award, if for anything, dealing with us yapping her ear off.

For the faint at heart, please know that you are seeing actual bodies. You’ll see muscles, veins, bones, skin and yes, private parts. There is one small area where you can touch a REAL brain and bladder. But besides that, there is no touching, picture taking or even gum chewing anywhere near the bodies.

I don’t want to spoil the whole exhibit for you, so just go for yourself. It’s not just educational. It’s highly interesting. We had a blast with the headsets, especially since there’s a child and adult option. I, of course, being 31 years old chose the child option more times than not. And if you’re wondering if you’re the type of person who would like this sort of thing, I can assure you that BODIES is for everyone. So bring the kids. Go by yourself. Or take your grandma who’s still smoking a pack a day, just to show her what her lung looks like.

And besides, it’s worth a go because through the rest of the exhibit – which officially ends March 28th – you can get a 20% discount when you buy tickets online and enter the code: GEN1

BODIES…The Exhibition
Promo code through March 28th: GEN1
1505 5th Avenue // Seattle, WA
Hours of Operation:
Sunday – Thursday – 10 am – 7 pm
Friday – Saturday – 10 am – 10 pm

EMP’s Pop Conference registration open now

The EMP‘s ninth annual Pop Conference offers academics, critics, performers, and dedicated fans a chance to get together and talk about all kinds of musical issues with a series of expert-led panels.

The 2010 Pop Conference begins on April 15 with an opening reception followed by “Making Technology Bounce: An Artist-Producer Roundtable with Nile Rodgers, Joe Henry, and Janelle Monae”. Panels continue April 16 – 18 focused on a theme of sounds and the machines that make them. Topics of discussion include the player piano, Autotune software, cell phones, recording studios, and presentations on everything from vinyl/cassette fetishism and post-punk reverb to Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad and Andy Warhol’s tape recorder.

Some of the panel titles include: Hip-Hop Layerings, The Machine Speaks: Oliver Wang Interviews Dave Tompkins on the History of the Vocoder, Roundtable: Freddie Mercury Deconstructed, Instruments of Change in Jazz, Analog-Digital Divides, Plagiarhythm Nation: Appropriation in Electric Dance Music, and Past.Text.Race.Sounds: The Black Voice Remix, among many others.

Best of all, the Pop Conference is free to attend. Space IS limited, however, so you’ll need to register in advance at their website.

Grape Escape to Issaquah this weekend

If you like wine, you really ought to head over to the eastside this Saturday, particularly if you like your wine blended with the sweet, sweet taste of doing good. The Rotary Club of Issaquah is hosting Grape Escape 2010 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Issaquah this Saturday, March 13, from 6 – 9 pm, offering wines from the Lake Chelan AVA and a food menu that includes roasted top sirloin, grilled chicken skewers in a lemon beurre blanc sauce, crab cakes pan seared with lemon herb remoulade, savory wild mushroom tarts, and more.

Proceeds from the on site silent auction, wine sales and raffle go to the Issaquah Rotary Scholarship Fund which helps local graduating high school seniors continue their education in college.

Participating wineries include Ventimigilia Cellars, Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards, Rio Vista Winery, Lake Chelan Winery, and Wapato Point Cellars.

You can register in advance online through Friday; after that, you simply pay at the door. Salut!

Photo by hlkjlgk via Creative Commons

Sign up now for SIFF’s 12 hour movie marathon

How much do you love movies? A lot? A whole lot? Enough to spend an entire day watching them? How about watching them for 12 hours–with a free breakfast, complimentary coffee, donuts and beer thrown in to boot?

SIFF has found an appropriate fundraiser to help them raise the capital they need to continue their valuable work of supporting film in Seattle (and around the world, through their annual film festival): a 12 hour movie marathon featuring six films from SIFF’s storied past. You can participate in multiple ways: one way is to buy tickets at three different levels – $100 gets you breakfast and general admission seating for all of the films; $250 gets you breakfast, a reserved seat and pillow, blanket, popcorn and a catered box lunch; $500 includes all of the above plus a bottle of wine and an invitation to a future special event with SIFF’s leadership.

The movie lineup features:
The Whole Wide World
To Die For
The Road Warrior
Blood Simple
The Fourth Man
Trouble in Mind

You can also ask your friends and acquaintances to sponsor you to reach the level you desire – SIFF’s got tools for you set up your own online donation page.

For more information, check out their page for the marathon.

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