We here at Town Hall Seattle are proud to announce a new cross-disciplinary residency program launching September 2012. One carefully chosen artist and scholar will each inhabit Town Hall for three months: attending events, communicating with audiences, and creating a new work that resonates with the chorus of voices, ideas, instruments, and conversations you know and love at Town Hall.
The In-Residence program is an inversion of Town Hall's usual nature of programming, in which artists or speakers present and audiences attend. Forging powerful connections across Town Hall’s diverse content through public contemplation and audience dialogue, Residents will self-select events at Town Hall outside of their normal fields of interest to attend and invite audience members to share in that experience with them through facilitated discussions through a variety of platforms both online and direct.
Inaugural Residents Ahamefule Oluo (Artist-In-Residence) and Lesley Hazelton (Scholar-In-Residence) will literally and figuratively be given the keys to Town Hall for the duration of their residency and invite a cohort of self-selecting audience members to join in a process of discovery, experimentation, and creation, culminating in a final work presented on the Town Hall stage at the end of their three month residency. It all begins on
September 23, Downstairs at Town Hall with the first in a regular series of Scratch Nights. These ongoing programs are a salon on creativity and process, a safe place for experimentation and discovery, with the understanding that things said in that room do not leave that room. Audience members will be asked to respect the intimate nature of these events by pledging to continue the process to completion and not discussing works-in-progress outside of the safety of the creative circle. Follow the conversation on Twitter with #InREZ.
Town Hall’s In-Residence program is funded, in part, by The Wallace Foundation and the Washington State Arts Commission. Media sponsorship provided by The Stranger.
About Ahamefule J. Oluo:
Ahamefule J. Oluo is a Texas-born, Seattle-raised musician, composer, writer, and stand-up comic. In his musical career, Oluo has collaborated with artists ranging from Brooklyn-based hip-hop trio Das Racist to orchestral indie-pop darlings Hey Marseilles to bassist and composer Evan Flory-Barnes, recipient of the prestigious Meet the Composer grant. As a writer and stand-up comic, Oluo was a semi-finalist in NBC´s Stand-up for Diversity Comedy competition and works in close creative partnerships with comic Hari Kondabolu and writer Lindy West. Oluo´s 2011 essay for The Stranger, "My Father Is an African Immigrant and My Mother Is a White Girl from Kansas and I Am Not the President of the United States," was praised by Mother Jones magazine and named one of longform.com's essays of the week. In 2010, Oluo debuted an ambitious 10-movement pop-opera called Reverie, which was met with acclaim from critics and spontaneous weeping from audiences (the good kind of weeping, he's pretty sure). Follow Aham on Twitter at @ahamefulejoluo.
About Lesley Hazleton:
Lesley Hazleton is an award-winning writer whose work focuses on the intersection of politics, religion, and history, especially in the Middle East. She reported from Israel for Time, and has written on the Middle East for numerous publications including The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, Harper's, The Nation, and The New Republic. She received The Stranger's Genius Award in Literature in 2011.
Hazleton was born in England, and became a United States citizen in 1994. She was based in Jerusalem from 1966 to 1979 and in New York City from 1979 to 1992, when she moved to Seattle to get her pilot's license (which she did successfully).
Hazleton has described herself as "a Jew who once seriously considered becoming a rabbi, a former convent schoolgirl who daydreamed about being a nun, an agnostic with a deep sense of religious mystery though no affinity for organized religion." "Everything is paradox," she has said. "The danger is one-dimensional thinking."
Hazleton currently blogs as The Accidental Theologist, focusing on religion, politics, and existence; a new book THE FIRST MUSLIM is forthcoming from Riverhead in 2013. Follow Lesley on Twitter at @accidentaltheo.
Scratch Night: Confessions
September 23, 2012 at 7:30pm
Downstairs at Town Hall, $5
Town Hall kicks off the inaugural Fall 2013 In-Residence program with the first in an ongoing series of Scratch Nights. Originating in the UK, a Scratch Night is a free-form, anything goes space where artists of all stripes have freedom to experiment in front of a live audience. Afterwards, the action moves online, to a bar, or another open place of conversation where the audience talks back and the performer listens.
Led by Town Hall Artist-In-Residence Ahamefule J. Oluo, prominent Seattle performers and artists dig deep to confess a story that they have never told publicly. Audience members in turn explore the assumption that art is about communication and from that assumption the hypothesis that the more honest and vulnerable the communication is, the more it connects with people in a deep and personal level. As with all confessions, audience members are expected to respect the privacy of the storyteller and the first rule of Scratch Night: “What happens at Scratch Night stays at Scratch Night.”
Tickets are $5 at townhallseattle.org or 888/377-4510 and at the door beginning at 6:30 pm. Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street.
Ahamefule J. Oluo (Town Hall Artist-In-Residence)
Scratch Night: Crowdsourcing Fiction
with Nassim Assefi and Scholar-In-Residence Lesley Hazleton
October 28, 2012 at 7:30pm
Downstairs at Town Hall, $5
What happens when readers and an author meet around a table to collaborate on a new piece of fiction? The second in a series of regular Scratch Nights (free-form, anything goes events where artists of all stripes have freedom to experiment in front of a live audience), is the brainchild of Town Hall Scholar-In-Residence Lesley Hazleton. The goal: to edit a new piece of fiction using crowdsourcing and direct engagement between readers and an author. Inspired by the TEDGlobal 2012 conference on Radical Openness, Nassim Assefi will attempt to harness the wisdom of the masses to improve her novel during National Novel Writing Month in November 2012. Making transparent the opaque process of writing using wiki-like technology, Assefi will beta-test her crowdsourced novel-revising experiment with an intimate audience at Town Hall on October 28, questioning what it means to write a book in the digital age, blurring the lines between writer and reader, editor and audience.
Tickets are $5 at townhallseattle.org or 888/377-4510 and at the door beginning at 6:30 pm. Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street. More info at townhallseattle.org.
Other events you might find the Town Hall Artist and/or Scholar-In-Residence:
Paul Tough: How Children Succeed
Thursday, September 20, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00pm
Paul Auster in Conversation: ‘Winter Journal’
Thursday, September 20, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00pm
Paul Elie: Reinventing Bach
Davy Rothbart: My Heart is an Idiot
Thursday, October 4, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00pm
Monday, October 1, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00pm
Tracie McMillan: Going Undercover in American Food Culture
Lit Crawl Seattle: Funny Ladies
Tuesday, October 18, 2012, 6:00 – 6:45pm
Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00pm
Chris Ware, Charles Burns & Chip Kidd: Building Comix
Monday, October 22, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00pm
Bishop Gene Robinson: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage
Monday, October 29, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00pm
Kevin Dutton: You Might Be a Psychopath
Tuesday, October 30, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00pm
Thursday, November 8, 2012, 7:30 – 9:30pm