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Seattle Seahawks star Golden Tate only gets one night off a week. Tuesday.

So why would the wide receiver spend last Tuesday night at Gilda’s Club in Seattle, signing photos and footballs and posing for pictures?

His grandmother.

She died of breast cancer when Tate was 9, and he still feels the loss enough to want to do something in her honor. So he has been known to stop into Gilda’s, where families affected by cancer meet for support groups and other events.

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“I’ve been there,” he told the gathering, almost everyone dressed in Seahawks gear. “I know what it’s like to lose someone to cancer. I wanted someone to talk to and I didn’t have a group like this, that can bring comfort and strength.

“For the families who come here, this is a happy place.”

Spyro Kourtis of The Hacker Group used the event to present Gilda’s Club with a check for $25,000 — money raised by employees through bake sales and other staff events over the past two years. The company matched what was raised in honor of its 25th anniversary.

“It was good to do something local,” said Kourtis, who lost his father in September. Cancer.

Waiting in the back of the room was Cassandra Webster and husband, Steve, with their 10-month-old daughter, Julianna Golden — named for Tate.

The first time Cassandra felt the baby kick was while watching Tate catch a Hail Mary pass in a game against the Green Bay Packers last year. Not long after, Tate was visiting patients at the University of Washington Medical Center, where Cassandra Webster is a nurse. He signed her belly (at least, the jersey over it), and the decision was made.

When they finally met, Tate took the baby in his arms and they locked eyes.

“She’s like, ‘Who is this man?’ ” Tate said. “I am feeling greatness in this child already.”

Kronos fills in at gala

Performance artist Laurie Anderson was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Cornish College of the Arts annual gala Sunday night. Instead, she was at the memorial for her husband, Lou Reed
, who passed away Oct. 27.

But she did offer to fly to Seattle and teach the master class she had promised. Of course, they said no.

“Bless her heart,” Cornish communications head Karen Bystrom said with a sigh.

Bless, too, the Kronos Quartet, which agreed to take Anderson’s place. The group is celebrating its 40th year (it sold out the Neptune Theatre the night before the gala) and received honorary doctorates from Cornish last year. Cracked Kronos founding member David Harrington of his colleagues: “John (Sherba) and Hank (Dutt) have felt a lot smarter ever since.”

Cornish President Nancy Uscher held a private reception that included Gwendolyn Freed, the school’s new vice president of institutional advancement, and new Provost Moira Scott Payne, who moved here from Dundee, in Scotland.

In the room: Seattle Theater Group head Josh LaBelle,
Pacific Northwest Ballet artistic director Peter Boal and his wife, Kelly Cass; and Seattle Rep Artistic Director Jerry Manning.

At one point, Cornish board of trustees head Virginia Anderson had one arm around former Seattle Mayor Paul Schell and the other around Mayor-elect Ed Murray.

Schell’s advice for Murray? “He needs to be a good listener. It’s a challenging city in challenging times.”

And, as tumultuous as Schell’s one term was (the riots during the 1999 meetings of the World Trade Organization; the Mardi Gras riots in 2001; and being hit in the head with a bullhorn that same year),“It was worth it,” he said. “I only have good feelings.”

“Easy to wrap”

The Seattle7Writers — a nonprofit collective — held their fourth annual Holiday Book Signing at the Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Center on Sunday. Never a dull moment, and the perfect place to ask: What makes a book a good gift?

“I think you’re giving a thought when you’re giving a book,” said William Dietrich.

Sharing a table with Dietrich and dictating to me was “the bossy” Claire Dederer,
whose 2010 memoir, “Poser,” was a national best-seller. She told me to note that she “laughed obligingly” at Dietrich’s comment, and “couldn’t top” what he said.

“Books are easy to wrap,” Dederer reasoned. “They’re a good shape.”

Along came artist Victoria Haven, Dederer’s best friend and a 2004 recipient of a Genius Award from The Stranger.

Why give books? I asked Haven, whose mother is a librarian.

“They make people smarter,” Haven said, to which Dederer replied: “This is why we’re meant to be together.”

Across the room, I found the alphabetically ordered Jennie Shortridge (her fifth book is “Love, Water, Memory”) seated beside Garth Stein (“The Art of Racing in the Rain”), who has a book about to be published. Describe it in five words, I said. He took 16. (Guy needs an editor):

“It’s a coming of age ghost story set against the epic timber industry of the Northwest,” Stein said.

And what of the movie of “The Art of Racing in the Rain”? What of the folks in Hollywood?

“They suck,” Stein said. I decided to take another walk around the room.

There were local authors Erica Bauermeister,
Lynn Brunelle,

Deb Calleti.
In an adjoining room, Laurie Frankel was reading from her latest, “Goodbye for Now.”

Elizabeth George (her 18th Inspector Lynley novel, “Just One Evil Act,” came out last month) told me that books are the most intimate of gifts: “It’s like saying, ‘I know you, I know who you are and what you love.’ ”

You know what Claire Dederer is? Bossy.

Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Sunday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or

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