Wonderful Honkfest West 2017 happenings…

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The weekend in Seattle held plenty for those with little in time, especially moments with great band music.

For me, I spent a little time for the second day of HonkFest West, a three-day grassroots, non-profit musical festival run and produced by volunteers. Much of the big sounds are from street bands coming from a variety of locations and backgrounds, to perform along three days in local areas. All performance are free and open to the public. However, donations in monetary supp ort are highly encouraged.

I had a little time on Saturday, passing through Pioneer Square’s Occidental Square, where nearby folk can hear the music and cheers from around the block. Coming closer brought a special awe to ears, with large group performances involving all the best instruments of the big band sound. I mainly stuck around for two main featured bands.

One group being The M9 (the M is Minor), a local band using high-energy in its brass combinations to bring about “global fusion sounds of the rich Balkan Romani brass tradition form the core of a repertoire which excites, invigorates, and inspires curiosity about one of Europe’s most misunderstood minorities.” Here’s a sample:

The other being Love-Bomb Go-Go, a PNW band from Portland, Oregon, a retro-future intergalactic band group dressed in funky attire, using an awesome blend of brass and dance. They are on “a mission to mend, with music, the divisions of civilization; seeking universal equality and striving, even, to re-establish purposefulness for each and every life.” Here’s a sample:

After both bands, I was treated to another gathered performance of the M9 and some added performers for another amazing jam session.

I share some choice pics I took of the excitement, below. For more on Honkfest West, check out  www.honkfestwest.org.

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– Orion T

Of the 46th NW Folklife Festival, 2017

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This Memorial Day Weekend, I took a little time out to check out the 46th annual Northwest Folklife Festival. The event is a wonderful combination of music (mostly) and artists gathering for free (donations highly encouraged) performance for the thousands of visitors present.

All located in the Seattle Center by the world-famous Space Needle, there was something extra special added to the grand mix of delights. That, being a full weekend of warm weather, supported by the blue sky and the sunshine. After nearly half a year of wet, cold, and gloomy weather, such kindness felt deserved for the locals and an extra bonus for incoming tourists.

I meanwhile did not spend as much time as needed, being that I had many errands and some projects to work on. Still, there were some good hours I got at the NW Folklife, checking out a nice variety of international sounds. Here, are some highlights in pics (with some video links)…

3 Play Ricochet, ” bluegrass band.

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The”New Genesis Gospel Choir,” I think. I forgot to write this one down, but the schedule I believe matches the time I took the pic.

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The Debaucherauntes,” a Jewish fusion folk band

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“See Beeze,” sidewalk performance

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The “Bollywood Stars”

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Greg Youmans, of the “Not Quite Full Harmonic Orchestra” one-man band

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A picture from my cellphone, showing the great Space Needle, with some reggae band playing. Sadly, I could not stick around to enjoy the entire show.

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That’s all for this year’s 2017 Northwest Folklife Festival. The past years, I covered more time, but at least I discovered some new music with a nice international variety. This year will likely not be last, and I look forward to checking out new acts, and hopefully more pleasant weather.

-Orion T

Picture of Today 4/16/2017, Happy Easter Style


Today was a pleasant Easter Sunday, where I spent much of it at the 2017 Sakura-Con, a convention for lovers of anime and manga. Though for me, it was more a nostalgic prance through a portion of pop-culture that is an occasional guilty pleasure for me.

There will be more pics and some notes, after I get some rest and pick time out of my busy schedule to sort and edit them. In the meantime, I hope the many of you out there had a most wonderful, adorable Easter Sunday.

– Orion

Picture above – no idea on who the two attendees were cosplaying as, or perhaps there is no reference other than the Easter subtext, but I love their presentation. 

Book Sale Shenanigans

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Woah, look at the all the books!

This, being the highlight of my winter end weekend, at the annual Friends of the Seattle Public Library Book Sale. This was my fourth year in attendance, now held at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. Over 100,000 items, including Music CD, movie DVDs, audiobooks, vinyl records, and many, many books.

Many, many people joined in this massive treasure hunt. Many of them resellers, for which there are sure profits. Others, treasure hunters looking for rare finds. Some just like the cheap thrills and the joy of finding such. I can’t resist, especially at the $1.00 to $4.00 prices for each item.

So here, are some sights up close inside the massive hullabaloo…

History!!

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Literature!

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Rare Books!

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Half my catch, mostly comics and graphic novels. The other half contained mostly larger books and hardcovers (mostly odd fiction, biographies, and history).

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Good fun, though I will probably not get around to reading many of these anytime soon.

– Orion T

Embrace the Coldness…

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The above pic happened last week, on the New Year’s Day of 2017.

The waters are of the Vancouver Harbour, with the Lions Gate Bridge ahead, and the mountainous (and snowy at the time) regions of West Vancouver beyond, all in the wonderful British Columbia region of the Canada country.

But of the day and of fascination, is the lone woman taking a dip in the icy cold waters. I overheard nearby, she was practicing for some attempt at the world record for enduring the freezing water. I think it was 22 seconds, or around that. I didn’t get her name either.

But what I did learn later, was of the annual (97th) Vancouver Polar Bear Swim on the south side of Central Vancouver, at English Bay. Over 1,500 persons dived into the frigidness for a similar and shorter feat, where the waters temped at 7 degrees Celsius (44.6 Fahrenheit). I was a bit late for the main show, yet in time for leftover festivities. Here are some giving it a go.

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Overall, an exciting and notable day for many in 2017, a surely interesting year to come.

– Orion T

Pictures and notes by Traveling Orion, (Orion Tippens). For external use for public use, please contact and obtain permission first.

Post Election Rally Reflections…

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The days since the election have been a roller coaster of emotions for many after the surprise results of Donald Trump’s electoral win for the next President of the United States.

And, what a reaction! There was the initial shock, then the reality set in. Yet, nearly half the country didn’t vote, perhaps because of from much disillusionment with Hillary, turned to apathy and third-party alternatives. The bulk of the Trump supporters I think were turned on by his anti-PC attitude, the usual right-wing rhetoric but in a more authoritarian tone, controversial remarks that many felt were xenophobia, racist, sexist, with other fears bringing out the worse in others, and driving the results of the election to its unexpected conclusion.

Such resulted into fears of new America where ugly attitudes towards minorities, women, LGBTQ, immigrants could increase with the rise of the alt-right and controversial proposals of Trump, backed by his voters who succeeded and feel somewhat empowered. Many were also unhappy with his comments hinging with overtones of xenophobia, racist, sexism, and fears based on untruths.

Then came the protests, prominently throughout the major cities of the US. Groups mostly youthful, chanting “Not My President,” “Love Trump Hate” and other slogans turned hashtag phrases. The reaction was mainly positive, in showing unity and strength against the new establishment. Keep in mind the protesters are also engaged in progressive causes, many of which met with great resistance to the GOP of Trump who also controls the Senate and House of Representatives, and soon the Supreme Court. So, there is plenty of concern for all, not quite ready for the Donald as Commander-in-Chief.

And the rallies were great, far more than I expected. Thousands especially in New York City, Los Angeles, Oregon, Oakland. Most of which was peaceful and organized, with some incidents of violence by some troublemakers here and there. Nothing got too out of hand. those willing to listen had much to understand and listen to for their messages were scattered throughout social media and other press outlets, both digital and press. Those not willing to listen, mostly Trump supporters would pass them off as illegals, rioters, welfare and unemployed bottom feeders’ whatever it takes to cloud their message and keep Trump going toward his idea to “Make America Great Again.”

Whether that happens or it goes completely the other way, is up to all involved in this process of democracy, where voices on the street can be just as powerful as the Election Day ballots. There is much time before Trump’s big Inauguration Day, where he can make amends for his negative comments that perpetuated the rallies, and perhaps ease the concerns of those outside his voter demographic. If not, Inauguration Day will be interesting, and busy.

The pictures above and below are from Sunday night in Seattle, from Capitol Hil to the Downtown area. The last two are from the first night after the election. Mostly, among them were mostly young adults, many college students, I think. Cops stayed along the edge on their bikes, seem cool headed as many would ride ahead to direct traffic as the flow stay organized. Group stopped when cops needed to get ahead of the march at narrow turns. Some of the protesters gave the cops high fives when close. The local atmosphere felt positive with no violent incidents that I know of from all this. Overall, a success for the protesters.

Orion T

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Fantastic Times at the 2016 NW Folklife Festival

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I was at the annual Northwest Folklife Music Festival, again..

This, being my fourth time of attending this huge annual extravaganza of folk music and dancing, from all over the world. Since 1971, it’s brought a large array of arts, crafts, dancing, and sounds from multiple ethnic varieties to the Pacific Northwest, backed by donation and volunteer support. Held once again at the Seattle Center by the great Space Needle I attended Saturday and Sunday, with no energy left for the sunny Monday finale. Overall, some great times were had…

Here are some pics…

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The Freelance Reveleers, a ragtime blues group doin some sweet street performing..
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Tom Day Wait James with Dave Acker and the Growing Boys for some serious country folk jamming..

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This Balkan dance group (missed their names) showed some fantastic choreography, and among my favorites for this year

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More Eastern European dancing, from Saturday night.

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A mighty drum circle underneath the Rhythm Tent..

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A street performer (name was lost to me), with his awesome didgeridoo..

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Inside one of the many booths present selling eccentric home-crafted delights. The food selection was great too.

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Another shot of the good times, of which made up an overall great time for many..

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That’s all for now!

– Orion T