What do twenty-four people on stage, hundreds of people in the crowd and two hours of thoughtful, edgy, funny, political, corny, scientific and emotional storytelling make? The first Ampersand Goes Totally Live.
An eclectic mix of artists, journalists and activists attracted Forterra’s most diverse audience ever to Town Hall in Seattle on November 6th for the debut of our unrehearsed live event. Produced by journalist extraordinaire, Florangela Davila, the event was an outgrowth of the conversation begun by Forterra’s debut magazine, Ampersand, released in October and also produced by Florangela.
From our slightly biased vantage point, the evening was absolutely perfect. And luckily, we weren’t the only ones that felt this way. One guest told us, “It was fun, I learned, I laughed and I felt proud to have a connection to Forterra.”
Forterra’s never done an event like this before and it was exactly what we set out to do. “I realized as I was walking home that evening that I really did come away with a deeper sense of how the urban world and our nearby wilderness are interwoven,” an attendee reflected.
It was great to see old and new faces in both the audience and on stage. And this is a trend we plan to continue; in our ever-changing region we are serious when we say that we need to bring more people to the table.
It was an interesting potpourri of speakers – and very inspirational. Despite the recent rain, it made me fall in love with the Northwest again and so proud to be a Seattleite.
The exhibitors in the lobby (El Centro de la Raza, SuttonBeresCuller, Pronto Cycle Share, Nature Consortium, and Mountaineers Books) set the tone for an evening of warm energy and enthusiasm that flowed into the Great Hall for the main event. Each contributor presented a unique point of view on why place matters. The catch? They had to do so in under five minutes.
It’s safe to say each and every contributor succeeded in inspiring the audience to maintain and continue to nourish our Pacific Northwest. “It was an interesting potpourri of speakers – and very inspirational. Despite the recent rain, it made me fall in love with the Northwest again and so proud to be a Seattleite,” commented another attendee.
Among the acts at Ampersand Goes Totally Live were Seattle rappers, Prometheus Brown (Blue Scholars) and Thig Nat (The Physics); Adam Sedgley with locally based public radio program, BirdNote; solo performance artist, Stokley Towles; The Onlies, a Garfield High School bluegrass trio; Chef Daisely Gordon of Café Campagne and international award-winning owl photographer, Paul Bannick. Click on the image to the right to see the full lineup.
Journalists Knute Berger (Crosscut.com) and Charles Mudede (The Stranger) participated in the “Density Game Show,” answering questions like which city they feel is tackling density in the right way and how they would make sure Seattle isn’t just a city for rich white people.
Seth Grizzle, co-founder of Graypants talked about using conscientious design, local materials and responsible production to create diverse products, architecture and artwork. “Dream. Scribble. Make. That’s our process for creation,” Seth said.
Standing next to the dress she created using mussel shells from Shelton, artist Terra Holcomb described her work crafting ingenious dresses out of natural materials found locally. “Everything could possibly be a dress including moss, pine cones, even berries,” Terra said.
TEAGUE designer, Roger Jackson, described the process of developing the award-winning bike designed for Seattleites – “The Denny” – and mused, “Today is our opportunity to design a new and better world.”
Native American storyteller of the Lower Elwha Band of S’Klallam Indians, Roger Fernandes, spoke of our connection to the natural world and shared the Salish story of blackberry and wolf.
“There was something for everyone tonight, from the ultimate urbanista to the nature lover. A sustainable region needs to be the work of all of us and all of us must feel welcome doing it,” reflected Forterra’s President, Gene Duvernoy. “But to me the most beautiful thing about the evening was the common thread of why place matters to each of these contributors.”
Forterra plans to follow up on the success of this event with its next issue of Ampersand due out spring 2015. Be sure to secure your printed copy by becoming a Forterra member. Learn more at ampersand.org.