Seattle Weekender: Edible plants, Seattle reads a 9/11 novel, y Cinco de Mayo

Crosscut's guide to a culturally enriching weekend in the city. Or at least some fun.
Crosscut archive image.

Dancers at a Cinco de Mayo celebration in Washington DC

Crosscut's guide to a culturally enriching weekend in the city. Or at least some fun.

Cinco de Mayo at El Centro de La Raza 

Este sábado es el Cinco de Mayo and there is no better place to celebrate this far north of the border than at El Centro de la Raza, the center of Seattle and King County’s Latino community. Their annual cinco de mayo festivities include raffle prizes, craft booths, activities for the niños, heaps of traditional mexican food for sale, and performances from Ameyaltonal Danza Azteca, Canciones de Ofelia Alanis-Torres, Seattle Fandango Project, and Seattle Mariachi Azteca. This year’s event also includes a morning Financial Sum-It, with bilingual workshops on college financing, home buying, avoiding identity fraud, and consumer rights.

If you go: Cinco de Mayo Celebration at El Centro de la Raza, Saturday, May 5, 1-5 pm, workshops 10 am-12:45 pm, free.

Amy Waldman

Every year since 1998, Seattleites, whether knowingly or not, have been involved in a city-wide book club called Seattle Reads, founded by the Seattle Public Library in the hopes of getting everyone in the city talking about the same book. This year’s selection is The Submission — and you still have 24 hours to finish it before the last of a series of appearances today (May 4) and Saturday by author Amy Waldman’s Seattle appearance on Saturday.

Waldman’s novel imagines the controversial hailstorm that ensues when a jury in charge of blindly selecting a 9/11 memorial design picks the submission of a Muslim-American architect. “Although that premise may sound suspiciously ‘high concept,’” says NPR’s Maureen Corrigan, “The Submission ventures far beyond the contrived and, through an ensemble cast of characters, tackles issues like identity politics, the rights of undocumented workers and the stress fractures of democracy.”

Waldman, who is an experienced reporter and the former co-chief of the New York Times New Delhi bureau, will be discussing her novel with the Seattle public at five locations between Thursday and Saturday, and on Friday the Book-It repertory theatre will perform a staged reading of the novel, followed by a discussion with both author and adapter. How often do you get to experience a book club meeting attended by the author?

If you go: Meet Author Amy Waldman, Seattle Public Library Central, Ballard, and Columbia branches, Friday May 4-Saturday May 5, various times, free.

May Edible Plant Sale

There is nothing more delicate, decadent, and magical than eating a flower. Except perhaps eating the leaf of a root beer plant, or a deep purple slice of heirloom tomato. This Saturday Seattle Tilth welcomes you to step into Willy Wonka’s garden as designed by Michelle Obama — and get the plants, seeds, and knowledge you need to design your own.

The plant list boasts over fifty varieties of organic tomatoes, 20 varieties of peppers, and Geraniums in 10 different scents (Prince Rupert Lemon, anyone?). In addition to warm weather fruits and veggies, all of the old herbal seasoning standbys will be there (parsley, sage, rosemary, curry plant) and, for the homebrewers out there, seven different varieties of hops. The herbal plant list includes so many types of mint — ginger, grapefruit, strawberry crème, chocolate peppermint, lime, mojito, peppermint candy — it makes you wonder if you’ll be growing a plant or a frappuccino.

The grounds of Wallingford’s Good Shepherd Center provide a dreamy, leafy, backdrop for additional festivities, which include food vendors, live music from Nyamuziwa Marimba and the Mighty Tiny Band, and presentations from speakers on subjects like “City Chickens.” This year’s event will also have a demonstration tent, where short presentations will rotate throughout the day. For those whose green thumbs are a little wilty, the knowledgeable Tilth staff and volunteers will be buzzing around to answer questions and give recommendations on how to build your own Gingerbread greenhouse. Inch by inch, row by row...

If you go: May Edible Plant Sale, Meridian Park behind the Wallingford Good Shepherd Center, Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6, 9 am-3 pm, free, most plants $3 or $4.

Under the Rainbow

Several weekends ago, the Weekender mentioned the much-lauded Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, which arrived in Tacoma in March and “traces the evolution of sexual identities through a diverse range of artworks.” For those of you who want more (or haven’t wanted to bother making the drive to Tacoma), four Seattle gallery owners put together an exhibition in support of the Tacoma’s Hide/Seek, building on themes of sexuality and gender in American art, with an emphasis on photography and local artists.

Under the Rainbow: Images By and About Gay Men and Women features two color shots from Annie Leibovitz of diver Greg Louganis and painter Keith Haring, as well as Berenice Abbott’s 1920s portraits of both Edna St. Vincent Millay and philanthropist Dorothy Whitney in drag. Featured local photographer Steven Miller made a big impression on The Seattle Times’ Michael Upchurch, who writes “Miller's ‘Proof of Homosexuality in Nature,’ thanks to digital tricks, depicts a whimsically raunchy fantasy in which two male models dressed in bunny-rabbit costumes get up to a whole Kama Sutra of tricks on what looks like Alpine meadowland in the Cascades.”

More works from Miller (in collaboration with fellow Seattle-based photographer Adrain Chesser) can also be found at Photo Center Northwest’s Author and Subject: Contemporary Queer Photography. The three exhibitions together uncover a sexuality often glossed over in art history, but one that is never hidden from those willing to seek. Says Dr. Jonathan Katz, a co-curator of Hide/Seek, “When we don’t tell the history of sexuality in American art we get the art history wrong.”

If you go: Under the Rainbow, Greg Kucera Gallery, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:30 am-5:30 pm, free.

Mushroom Maynia and Pacific Northwest Mushrooms with Becky Selengut

Don’t have much room in your schedule this weekend? What about mush-rooms? Pacific Northwest funghi are both abundant and versatile — and this weekend the Burke Museum is offering not one, but two events for your shrooming pleasure. First, as part of the Hungry Planet exhibit and PCC tasting series, local chef and co-author of Washington Local and Seasonal Cookbook Becky Selengut will be at the Burke Museum offering mushroom recipe demonstrations and tastings.

If Selengut’s spring vegetable risotto with fava beans, morels, and pea vines doesn’t fill you up, come back for seconds on Sunday. The Puget Sound Mycological Society (one of the largest mycological societies in North America) will be hosting Mushroom Maynia, with such toadstool-inspired activities as spore printing, mushroom identification, lessons in funghi ecology, and mushroom hat making. Speakers, including John Sundstrom, chef and owner of Lark restaurant, will be giving talks on mushroom consumption from Seattle to Poland to Tibet. For those Crosscut readers still mourning the departure of the Pioneer Square Mushroom farm, there will be a workshop in growing your own oyster mushrooms.

If you go: PCC Tastings: Pacific Northwest Mushrooms with Becky Selengut, Burke Museum, Saturday, May 5, 11 am-1:30 pm, free. Mushroom Maynia, Burke Museum, Sunday, May 6, 10 am-4 pm, free.


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