Seattle and New Orleans are joining forces for Bilocal, a media mash-up of literature, music, art and food at Town Hall on Nov. 12-13.
Seattle and New Orleans artists are joining forces for Bilocal, a mash-up of literature, music, art, film and food at Town Hall this weekend. Proceeds will benefit investigative journalism in the Gulf region by a nonprofit group.
“I wanted to have a thoughtful public conversation on what is community,” said event producer Bob Redmond. “I also wanted to bring together writing and the common good.”
Redmond, art curator for the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle for a number of years, came up with the idea after studying New Orleans with his book club. He searched both cities for writers, asking them to create pieces on the themes of community, home and food.
Artists from both cities created prints based on the writers’ works, and those are in an exhibition at Tether Design Gallery in Pioneer Square through Nov. 26.
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“All too often, literary events are not fun enough,” said Seattle writer Jonathan Evison. “But there will be wine, cheese and booze. … It will be vivacious.”
Twelve writers, 12 artists, two musicians and two filmmakers from both cities are participating. Entertainment over the two days will include everything from spicy Creole and Cajun dance music to Native-American violin.
Food will also be top-notch, coming from chefs such as Tom Douglas, Robin Leventhal of Crave and Matthew Dillon of Sitka & Spruce.
“At first, the connection between the two cities felt arbitrary,” said Evison, a founding member and frontman of the Seattle punk band March of Crimes. “But, if you culturally dissect the cities, it makes a lot more sense. … We have seafood and music.”
Evison will read a piece Saturday from his forthcoming book “West of Here,” which emphasizes community is “not an address, after all, not even a place, but a spirit, an essence, a pulse.”
New Orleans writer David Rutledge hopes the event will also dispel some myths about his city.
“People don’t think of New Orleans as a literary city, but it really is,” said Rutledge, an American literature professor at the University of New Orleans. “They only think of Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras and getting drunk.”
Writer Dedra Johnson, also of New Orleans, added: “I think we are still arguing for our relevance and survival, especially on a national scale where New Orleans is just decay, ruin and spilled oil. Folks outside south Louisiana do not see us as we are, but see us through filters of their own. We become their argument, not a place, not a real people.”
In the spring, the Seattle writers will join their counterparts in New Orleans.
The goal, said New Orleans singer-songwriter-artist Coco Robicheaux, is to “speak soul to soul.”
Marian Liu: 206-464-3825 or firstname.lastname@example.org