Sharing our stories. Strengthening our communities.
Illuminate Pride panel of Gender Warriors
What's bringing us queer joy?!
Being in storytelling community with you at Illuminate Pride!
We were grateful to be asked by Capital City Pride and Wild Tiny to coordinate this panel of LGBTQ+ keynote speakers and offer a storytelling activity at this all-day takeover of the new armory campus! We reached out to queer leaders and organizers in our networks and are so proud of the group of Gender Warriors who came together. Wild let us know that the panel brought the most people together at once all day! Thank you so much to the individuals who contributed their talents and wisdom. L2R: Lu, Lucy, Vendetta, and Sullivan, and host Meg. Hope to see you again for events like this - we love a good panel!
Arts in Education with TOGETHER! & Brave Practice
Thanks to funding from an ArtsWA 2023 Arts in Education grant, Window Seat Media and TOGETHER! hosted a series of 5 improv theatre workshops for middle schoolers before school through their Clubhouse Program. Each session was a little different - we played games, got to know one another better, and worked creatively and collaboratively all before 9 am!
On our fourth session, we facilitated a Playback Theatre performance so students could see how a performance works in real-time and also hear their own stories played back. During the fifth session, students were up on stage with us, playing back one another's' stories. TOGETHER! Clubhouse Site Coordinator, Katie, was generous enough to share a testimonial of her experience with Brave Practice. Below is an excerpt:
Thank you, TOGETHER!! We love working in schools and with youth and look forward to more improv with students. See full story on our project page.
From Our Community Archive
The stories created by our Winter Cohort are now up on our website! We've included a sample below. Enjoy!
Mother Needed Some Help
As a child, I would spend weekends at my grandparent's house helping my grandfather in the garden and then watching grandma transform our harvests into delicious jams, stews, and salads. Family meals were a big deal and grandma would spend weeks preparing. The order of operations in the kitchen were clearly organized and communicated to the other members of the family who would be assisting her (all the female family members). This time in the kitchen with my mother, sister, aunts and grandmother was joyful for me as the baby of the family. It was only as an adult that I have learned that, for my grandma, those cooking rituals were done out of necessity. She cooked because it was expected of her and no one else in the family was going to do it if she did not. She has told me that she finds food infinitely more delicious when someone else has done the cooking. So now when family visits her the rest of us take up that role and she sits back on the sidelines to take a well deserved rest.
-Carrie Chema, Winter Cohort 2023 Visual Journal Teaching Artist
My Mother's Shoes
Don't judge a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That's how the saying goes. And it’s true. You can never really know someone unless you've lived their life, or at least caught glimpses of not just the significant events, but the little day to day things. Everyone, everywhere, is who and what they are because of the experiences they have endured in their lives since the moment they were born. Little things that might appear to have no impact at all, may have a profound effect on someone, without them even realizing it. It was never more true than it was for my mother.
My mother was born in 1949 to Bay Nguyen and Ba Vuong. Seven and three, those were my grandparents. In Viêt Nam, you grow up with a number in a pecking order, starting with the first born being number 2 (because the parents are number 1, I suppose. The second born is number 3, Ba. That's my mom. And my grandmother before her, and me after her. Three ba bas, and their journey through this complicated life.
-Terry Vanderpham, Winter Cohort 2023
I Smell Popcorn
I stood at the top of the stairs as I inhaled and said; “I smell popcorn” in my seven year old tiny voice. I was tucked in bed yet woke to my favorite scent. Dad was making himself a bowl of buttery popcorn and my nose got a whiff and I was ready.
To this day, I have a strong attachment to popcorn and my childhood. Probably my fondest memory is our summer Sundays, after church, Mom would cook up a huge lunch with chicken, potato salad, fruit salad and rolls and we’d get our swimsuits on. The four of us kids loved this Sunday outing, which became a ritual during our Long Island summers with our little motor boat, named the Brigadoon. After a delightful day of swimming and building sand castles and jumping off sand dunes and eating, we’d head home, our fair cheeks pink with sunburn and our hair a shade lighter. We four would clean up in a bath and get into our pajamas and line up on the couch ready for the Walt Disney show, which, back then, was fantastic. This is about fifty-five years ago and it was before Disney movies.
Dad’s trademark food item was a giant blue metal bowl of buttery, salty popcorn along with his thick chocolate milkshakes. This was our dinner and I thought we were the luckiest family in the world! We each had a small basket lined with a paper napkin. Dad would fill each basket. This is popcorn cooked in a pan with oil, and a lid, and I can still hear the “ping ping” of each kernel banging against the lid. It made the best popcorn and no air popper today can compete. Some old fashioned methods are truly better, even if they take more time.
I went to bed with a smile on my face on those magical Sundays, with a tummy full of popcorn. I continued the tradition, minus the boat, and minus the milkshake, with my own two daughters and to this day, all of us continue to love popcorn, only we skip the salt and use nutritional yeast instead. It is still yummy and still connected to fond childhood memories, whatever they may be for each of us.
-Maggie Post, Winter Cohort 2023
Food for Thought
stories, projects, events, and works we love
Welcome 2 Houston: Hip Hop Heritage in Hustle Town
Congratulations to Langston Wilkins, the former Director of the Center for Washington Cultural Traditions and current faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on the publication of his new book! Order your copy!
Langston writes in Street Folk: "Welcome 2 Houston is an ethnographic look at the complex relationship between place, identity and hip hop heritage in Houston, Texas. It centers the voices and experiences of various hip hop practitioners as they navigate the complicated relationship between local heritage and individual artistic identity. I explore how Black Houstonians’ intense bonds with place have fostered a hip hop heritage that local practitioners negotiate in a variety of ways. Street-based artists, underground rappers and Christian hip hoppers offer very nuanced perspectives on local heritage. I also examine the relationship between place and musical heritage through slab, Houston's unique urban car culture.
I've been working on this book for about a decade. I interviewed artists in coffee shops, record stores, private homes and even a Walgreens parking lot. I attended numerous shows and related events. My ultimate goal for this book is to shed light on the cultural depths and creative vibrancy of working class Black Houston. These communities raised me and generously welcomed me back as an ethnographer. I'm excited to share these stories with the world.
August 1st is the book's official pub date and feel free to purchase through your favorite bookstore. If you purchase the book through The University of Illinois Press, you can get 30% discount with promo code S23UIP.
I'm also available for interviews, events, book talks and more. Please contact at email@example.com to get the conversation going."
Window Seat Media is a community nonprofit whose mission is to use storytelling and oral history to spark conversation, connection, and social change within our local community. We weave the stories that often go unshared into the fabric of our public life. We do this because we believe we write our future with the stories we narrate, and we are committed to co-creating a more inclusive, connected, and just world.Window Seat Media is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.Our tax ID# is 81-1200465. Your donation is tax-deductible.