A list of local luminaries turns out for the event; and the Hutch honors Kansas City Royal Alex Gordon with its annual award.
The first record Seattle Mayor Ed Murray ever bought was Tom Jones’ “Delilah.”
And he saw the movie “Funny Girl” nine times. Nine. Times.
“That’s how I figured out I was gay,” Murray cracked to the crowd gathered at the KEXP groundbreaking party the other night at Seattle Center.
Earlier that day, longtime listener Cheryl Hanson “threw the switch” on the new home in front of the Northwest Rooms, where the station will move from its current, cramped home on Dexter Avenue North, and expand its operation to include a DJ booth visible from the outside, a public performance area and a place where visiting bands can do their laundry and store their gear.
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“Welcome to the mother ship,” station director Tom Mara told the morning gathering, which included Seattle City Councilmembers Jean Godden, Tom Rasmussen and Sally Bagshaw, who donated $1,000 very early on in the new-home campaign. Bagshaw spoke of visiting her son in Brooklyn, where he streams KEXP on his computer.
“Anybody heard of Made of Boxes?” Bagshaw asked the crowd of her new favorite band. “You will!”
Adra Boo of Fly Moon Royalty called the station “the hand patting us to move forward.”
She remembered driving in the car with her mother and hearing one of her songs on the radio for the first time: “We’re going crazy. ‘It’s 5 o’clock! People are in cars! So they’re in traffic listening to the whole song!’
“I hope this thing blows all the way up,” she said of the new home. “I can’t wait.”
There to witness history were many who helped make it: KCMU station manager (and Audioasis founder) Jon Kertzer; current KEXP DJs John Richards, Kevin Cole, Kurt B. Reighley (aka DJ El Toro) and Riz Rollins, who broke out his black-satin KCMU jacket.
“That’s when they gave jackets out for free,” Rollins cracked, remembering when the station was a 10-watt operation in a basement in the University District. “I never get to wear it.”
King County Executive Dow Constantine recalled hosting a show that aired from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Thursdays: “I never had a more exciting time, and neither did the eight or nine people listening.”
(It wasn’t all bad: It’s how he met his wife, Shirley Carlson, who delivered their daughter, Sabrina, last May.)
Midday DJ Cheryl Watersbroadcast the show from inside the building.
In the crowd: Kate Becker, head of the Seattle Film and Music Office; Randy Engstrom of the city’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs; Seattle International Film Festival directors Mary Bacarella and Carl Spence; Ben London and Tina Meadows of the Northwest Polite Society marketing firm; John Roderick of The Long Winters; Mark Dederer of Wells Fargo and Molly Moon Neitzel of, well, ice cream.
Standing in the back of the crowd: Macklemore.
New Home Campaign Advisory Committee member Paula Boggs was joined by her co-chairs: Scott Redman, Ashley O’Connor McCready and Mike McCready, who put a sonic seal on the morning event with a riff from Iggy Pop’s “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”
Target date for the new home: Dec. 2.
Humanitarian home runs at Hutch Awards
Alex Gordonof the Kansas City Royals wears the same baseball hat through 162 games — and practices.
“Most guys get 10 hats a year,” he told a group of students at Hutch School the other morning. “But I wear the same hat all season.”
The ritual has paid off: Last year, Gordon led the Royals to their first World Series appearance since 1985. And he was the 50th recipient of the Hutch Award, which honors the founder of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
On the morning of the award ceremony, Gordon visited the school with keynote speaker and baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, who has been honored not just for his playing but also his Winfield Foundation, which provides health-care services to underprivileged families.
Winfield told the kids (patients and their siblings) how he kept his spirits up, even when he was walking back to the dugout after seven of 10 at-bats failed.
“You find ways to remain positive, and separate what happens on the field to what happens at home,” Winfield said. “People judge your character on how you act when things are going badly.”
Later, at a sun-drenched ceremony at Safeco Field, Gordon accepted the Dale Chihuly-made award with a shout-out to his family:
“To win this award, you need to have great people in your life,” Gordon said, nodding to his mother, Leslie, a two-time breast-cancer survivor, and his wife (and college sweetheart), Jamie.
“She’s a fighter,” Gordon said of his mother. “I’m glad she’s here to share this with me.”
In the crowd, former Seattle Mariner John Olerud and Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, who introduced new backup catcher John Baker, just signed to a minor-league deal.
Eddie Vedder, a lifelong Cubs fan who gave his childhood mitt to his hero, the late, great Ernie Banks, when the band played at Wrigley Field in 2013, signed a few autographs before making his way over to his friend, former Hutch winner and Boston Red Sox Sean Casey, who was once voted the friendliest player in the game. Makes perfect sense to me.
Near the exit, Fred Hutchinson’s widow, Patsy Hutchinson, sat in her wheelchair in a pink hat, waiting to head back home to West Seattle.
“I’m 94 and still alive!” she told me, adding that she was especially impressed with Winfield — and the way he ended his time at the mike:
“A good speech is like a woman’s skirt,” he said. “Just long enough to cover the important points, and short enough to keep it interesting.”
“He really amazed me,” she said of Winfield. “And what a good sense of humor.”