Category: Seattle Special Events

Seattle Real Estate Bar Camp

The name “BarCamp” is a reference to the events origin, with reference to the hacker term, foobar: BarCamp arose as a spin-off of Foo Camp, an annual attendant-driven conference hosted by Tim O’Reilly.

The ideas were absconded by and riffed upon by techies in the real estate field and Real Estate Bar Camp was born.

The most interesting thing about it is that it’s user/attendant created: the program is developed by the attendees at the event, using big whiteboards upon which a schedule is hastily put together, that can be rewritten or overwritten by attendees to optimize the days events. The goal is to reach out to new people who will increase the common intelligence about new technologies, and to create opportunities for cross-fertilization between people and new ideas.

How cool is that?

Seattle’s event was held at the lovely Zillow offices and a big shout-out and thank you goes to the management who allowed us to use their vacant offices for the event.

I enjoyed seminars on blogging, creating dynamic websites, Twitter and other social networking sites, something from Greg Swann called Scenius, a great presentation by Mike Simondson from Altos Research, and another about Active Rain from Rich Jacobson. I met the fellow behind, which is a great way to rate the walkability of a neighborhood.

Rhonda Porter and Jim Reppond
Rhonda Porter and Jim Reppond

Greg Swann
Greg Swann

David Gibbons
David Gibbons

Whitney Tyner
Whitney Tyner

Rich Barton
Rich Barton

Jim, Lloyd Frink & Spencer Rascoff
Jim, Lloyd Frink & Spencer Rascoff

I got to listen to statistician Stan Humphries discuss Zillow’s data. I had a nice chat with Rhonda Porter and I guess Ardell was there, but I missed her somehow. I enjoyed seeing David Gibbons again and hearing about his roundabout journey to Zillow. I also got to meet a lot of the brains behind Zillow, Spencer Rascoff, Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink, and had a beer with my friend Whitney Tyner at the after-party beer blast that Zillow hosted in their 46th floor office suites.

Bill Gates to address Realtors at Paul Allen First Citizen Awards

Four speakers from different aspects of Paul G. Allen’s life will share the stage at a civic banquet on Oct. 30 to pay tribute to Allen, this year’s recipient of the Seattle-King County First Citizen Award.

Bill Gates, James Kelly, Sen. Patty Murray and Tod Leiweke will share accolades and anecdotes when they talk about their connection to Allen, founder and chairman of Vulcan Inc., and some of the reasons for his selection as 2008’s First Citizen. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the prestigious award, which was created by the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors® (SKCAR) in 1939 to celebrate community leadership, volunteerism and public service.

Paul Allen is an empire builder and with his vision, he has changed the look, feel and vision of Seattle. He owns 2,600,000 square feet in the South Lake Union neighborhood. He’s developed new residential, office, retail and biotech research space and this redevelopment represents one of the largest urban revitalization projects in the country. His employees lobbied the Mayor and Seattle City Council to upzone this and other neighborhoods around the city, changing the social fabric and the conversion of Seattle as parochial backwater to bustling cityscape with distinct high-rise urban villages.

I have mixed feelings about his accomplishments and contributions to our city. On one hand, I appreciate his philanthropy, his donations to the UW and his creation of his Brain Institute. On the other hand, I’m not sure I approve of the uh…. Vancouverizaton of the South Lake Union area. The most interesting neighborhoods grow organically, made up of residents, shops, shopkeepers, services, art and public spaces. I do not believe that planned communities can ever match the vibrancy of a neighborhood that has developed over many years. His South Lake Union community has created residences to house the workers that work there. Like a glittery, upscale company town, it’s a fancy rat cage for the little mousies that can’t step off the treadmill for fear they’ll lose their granite-countered condos.

I am also bitter about problems that only Paul Allen could have solved. I don’t fault Bill for not funding certain frivolous community pet projects. After all, he has a family and is busy saving lives with his Gates Foundation. But Paul, he’s buying yachts and his favorite sports teams and venues, the EMP and the Science Fiction Museum. If he can spend his money on those boy-toy sort of things, he could certainly spend some of that on some of my favorite civic projects.

One of our biggest losses was the Kalakala. a former ferry that operated on Puget Sound from 1935 until its retirement in 1967.

Kalakala was notable for its unique streamlined superstructure, art deco styling, and luxurious amenities. The vessel was a popular attraction for locals and tourists, and was voted second only to the Space Needle in popularity among visitors to Seattle during the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

After its retirement in 1967, the vessel was sold to a seafood processing company and towed to Alaska to work as a factory ship. There, a group of artists discovered the rusting hulk in 1984, purchased the vessel, and managed to refloat her and tow her back to Seattle in 1998. The vessel has since been a source of controversy as its owners were unable to raise sufficient funds to refurbish the vessel or even to keep her moored in Seattle’s Union Bay. That’s where Paul Allen could have stepped in. The vessel was sold in 2004 to a private investor, who moved it to an anchorage in Neah Bay provided by the Makah Tribe. Who knows what’s going to happen to it now.

What a great opportunity Paul had, to keep the Kalakala in Seattle and moor it in South Lake Union, at the Center for Wooden Boats and near the Armory where the Museum of History and Industry will be relocating.

It’s probably not too late. He could buy back the Kalakala, restore it, turn it into a floating museum or fancy dinner ship or what ever he wanted. Paul Allen owns the worlds largest privately owned yacht, the “Octopus” plus an entire fleet of other yachts, including the Tatoosh and the Meduse. He obviously loves boats and feels an affinity for the sea. This would have been the perfect public works project for him and the citizens of Seattle.

As you can see, I’m still bitter about this lost opportunity.

But I’ll be there, at the dinner to honor the things he has done right. It’s this coming Thursday, October 30th at the Sheraton in Downtown Seattle. Though this civic award is sponsored by the Seattle King County Association of Realtors, anyone can attend. Click HERE for tickets.

Raising the bar on the real estate tour

Pete\'s Monkey Skull Lounge

We in real estate love the Open House and the Street of Dreams-type tours builders and developers sponsor every year. The Ballet or the Opera might do a designer showcase house for charity, or the local historical society may offer a tour of an architecturally significant property.

That’s fine for some, but nothing can compare with the annual “Home Bar Tour” put on by Terrence Gunn every year here in Seattle.

You pay your money and you get your ticket to the best two-day home tour and excuse for a party on wheels, and this time our “Dead Elvis Lounge” at our house on Capitol Hill is the first stop.

Here’s this years itinerary:

Friday, July 20th:
The first day of the event will take place at Pete’s Monkey Skull Voodoo Lounge (one of Seattle’s best — if not THE BEST — home bars). Check in/meet and greet will be from 5pm-7pm. During this time ticket reservationists will check in, receive their ticket and Aloha bag. DJ Terence Gunn will be playing Lounge, Exotica, Calypso, Hawaiian, Surf, Pop Jazz, and Latin throughout the evening. Complimentary appetizers and tropical libations will be available. At 7pm a backyard BBQ will take place, will plenty of food and drink for all. Round 8pm-ish Seattle’s own Atomic Powered Surf band, The Mercury Four, will break the musical waves. A raffle will take place round 9pm, followed by more live and DJed music. Please note: there may be a vendor or two at the event, but there will be no vendor’s section this year.

Saturday, July 21st:
The following day, beginning at 5pm and going until 11pm, will be a six-hour chartered tour of 4 Seattle-area home bars. Complimentary drinks and food will be provided at each stop. The meet up, departure and return location for bus boarding will be in (undisclosed location unless you buy a ticket!) Look for a large orange-yellow school bus and a gathering crowd of folks in Aloha shirts. Meetup time at Lincoln Park will be between 4.30pm and 4.45pm. The bus will depart at 5pm. Bring your ticket/boarding pass with you (provided in your Aloha bag the previous day). Please allow ample travel time to the Park so you will make the bus on time.

The Tour
Stop #1. The Dead Elvis Lounge (at my house!)
Stop #2. The Atomic Lounge/Cabana Bar
Stop #3. Fantasy Island
Stop #4. The Shrunken Head Lounge

This is the best party on wheels by far. And beats them dry Sunday Open House tours, hands down……. 🙂


Photos from the 2006 Home Bar Tour of the Monkey Skull Lounge

The Riviera Room

The Zanzibar

The Castaway Lounge

My Dinner with Andrei

Andrew Miksys and Andrei Codrescu

Andrei Codrescu, that is.

Mr. Codrescu is in town this week for a series of lectures and events and my husband and I hosted a party at our home for him last night.

Also in attendance was Anderew Miksys, photographer of exquisite photographs of a Lithuanian Gypsy community in BAXT, with text by Andrei Codrescu.

Tonight you can attend a lecture by Andrei Codescru speaking at Town Hall

And Friday night will be a fun evening of debauchery a la Codrescu at the Center on Contemporary Art, in the shadow of the Space Needle:

Writer, poet and bon vivant extraordinaire Andrei Codrescu brings his worldy wit and wisdom to Seattle as he talks on “States of Memoir, or How to Reconnect Old Brains to New Ones in Several Languages.”

Friday January 26, 7:30pm: THE BAXT PHOTOGRAPHS at CoCA
Acclaimed photographer Andrew Miksys, with the assistance of Andrei Codrescu, presents his intimate portraits of a Lithuanian Gypsy community. Book signing to follow. FREE and open to the public.

Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA)
410 Dexter Avenue N.

Friday January 26, 9pm: CODRESCU & FRIENDS at CoCA

Get ready for an evening of belly dancing, burlesque, poetry and debauchery at CoCA. Joining Andrei Codrescu will be the musical group Orchestra L’Pow, the belly dancing troupe Hipnotica, and burlesque dancer extraordinaire Babette La Fave. David Rauschenberg will provide all the DJ action, with Rick Klu as the evening’s emcee.

My good friend Cecilie Miller is putting on this shindig, and it should be a hoot. Gypsy wear encouraged, or at least a bangled bracelet or two.