Social in Seattle

A Celebration of Inclusivity

Events around town promote a better future

By Linda Lowry February 15, 2024


Washington state hosts a diverse range of cultural events that celebrate its inclusive spirit. These include the inaugural Seattle Kraken Gala, Latino Legislative Day, and the opening night of Seattle Rep Theatre’s “Quixote Nuevo.” The Compania Nacional De Danza also puts on captivating performances at Meany Center, and the James Beard Foundation offers innovative culinary explorations. 

The Seattle Kraken’s first-ever fundraising gala at Climate Pledge Arena was a lively celebration to raise funds for the One Roof Foundation. The foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Seattle Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena, aims to eliminate youth homelessness, increase access to play, and promote environmental justice. The event raised more than $1 million. Kraken players, coaches, management, and notable Seattle personalities including Kraken investor Marshawn Lynch, Kam Chancellor, and Lana Condor attended the event. 

The Latino Civic Alliance recently held its annual “Latino Legislative Day” at the state capitol in Olympia. A group of Latino leaders from Burien founded the nonprofit organization in 2012 to empower and enhance the lives of Latinos in the community. Its mission is to offer access to resources, advocate for the rights of Latinos, and promote civic engagement. Legislative Day was established to represent the interests of Latinos in Washington State. More than 700 participants attended the free event. Keynote speakers included Rep. Julio Cortes, Gov. Jay Inslee, Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Steve Gonzalez, Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, Rep. Bill Ramos, Rep. Alex Ybarra, Rep. Emily Alvardo, Rep. Scarlett Mena, Sen. Rebecca Saldana, and Burien City Councilmember Jimmy Matta.

Discussions covered critical topics such as workforce development, small businesses, farmworker rights, gun violence affecting youth and communities, the dangers of the opioid/fentanyl epidemic impacting children, lack of affordable housing, and more. A standout moment was the special program and award ceremony, where the Mount Vernon School District Mariachi Band set the stage with a captivating performance.

The Seattle Rep’s production of Quixote Nuevo received a standing ovation on opening night with a full house in attendance. The play, drawing on the Mexican American experience, was written by Octavio Solis, who has written more than 25 plays. He was also a consultant and voice actor for the popular Pixar/Disney film Coco. “This is our fourth production of Quixote Nuevo, and we have never felt more supported and cared for than during our time here at Seattle Rep and in Seattle,” Director Lisa Portes says. “This city and theatre are both beautiful, and the staff have been fantastic in providing us with their unwavering support.” Portes is a founding member of Latinx Theatre Commons and is chairperson of the Department of Theatre and Dance at UC San Diego. 

The story is about an aging Cervantes professor named Jose Quijano who embarks on a daring adventure on his tricycle to reunite with his long-lost love. He calls himself Don Quixote and sets out on a quest to uncover the truths of his past. The play is set in the Texas desert, where the boundaries between reality and fantasy are blurred, and the lively rhythms of Tejano music enrich the ambiance of the performance. 

As the lines between reality and imagination become indistinct, the audience is treated to a moving and often comical spectacle. The production blends puppetry with the energetic beats of Tejano music, resulting in a unique and unforgettable experience. Attendees at the event include Damaso Rodriguez, Seattle Rep’s new artistic director; Jose Iniguez, one of Seattle magazine’s Most Influential people; and Rosa Cano, co-founder and creative director of eSe Teatro. The play, which just ended its run, was a joint production of Seattle Repertory Theater, Portland Center Stage, and South Coast Repertory. 

The Compania Nacional De Danza, the National Dance Company of Spain, returned to Seattle after a 14-year absence, delivering a stunning performance at Meany Center on the University of Washington campus. Known for its expressive, powerful, and refined movement style, the company captivated the audience with three classic works that showcased its artistic prowess. 

The show started with Sad Case, a lively and humorous dance piece by Sol León and Paul Lightfoot. The performance was accompanied by the fiery and syncopated rhythms of Mexican mambo, adding energy and playfulness to the program. The evening continued with Passengers Within, choreographed by Joaquín De Luz, an enthralling contemporary piece inspired by those who dared to question the status quo, and the music was composed by Philip Glass. The performance was visually stunning, providing a captivating and thought-provoking exploration of the human experience. The evening culminated with White Darkness, a magnificent and virtuosic one-act ballet by Nacho Duato. The piece was crafted as a requiem and immediately captured the audience’s attention with its exhilarating choreography and expressive depth.

The Honorary Consul of Spain in Seattle, Don Luis Fernando Esteban Bernaldez, organized a private cocktail reception during intermission. The event was attended by several prominent figures, including University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce, the new Consul General of India in Seattle, Prakash Gupta, and Dr. Michelle Terry, who is assistant dean at the University of Washington School of Medicine Career Development Office of Faculty Affairs and a physician at Seattle Children’s Hospital. 

The audience included Level VII and Level VIII students from Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB), who were on a field trip for New Voices, a choreography and process course created for young women in dance. The course started in 2018 and aims to educate and mentor the next generation of female choreographers. The night featured an amazing display of dance, art, and community. It showed how art can bring people together and inspire young artists. According to a reliable source, Compania Nacional De Danza is slated to perform in Seattle again soon without waiting another 14 years.

The James Beard Foundation Greens recently held an event at Eight Row, a restaurant located in Seattle’s Green Lake neighborhood. The JBF Greens program is a new initiative to bring together young food enthusiasts in their 20s to 40s who are passionate about developing a more equitable and sustainable culinary industry.  Chef David Nichols created a multi-course feast highlighting his commitment to quality, innovation, and the essence of the American farm. The tasting menu featured dishes such as pumpkin pozole, ceviche, sunchokes with mayacoba beans, and black cod with red kuri-guajillo cream. Nichols interacted with attendees throughout the event, and shared insights into his culinary techniques. 

Nichols grew up on a cherry orchard in Central Washington and is a two-time James Beard Award semifinalist. The event featured a selection of beverages, including wines from Syncline Winery, and non-alcoholic alternatives by NON. The drink menu balanced perfectly with the flavors of each dish. James Mantone, the winemaker from Syncline, attended the event and appreciated how the chef expressed himself by drawing from his heritage, background, and multicultural experience to create the food. The next JBF Greens event is scheduled for May at the Kricket Club.

About the Social in Seattle Column

Linda Lowry is the director of opportunity at Seattle magazine. She has a pulse on the greater Seattle region’s social landscape and provides insight on the people and personalities that make our city vibrant and unique.

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