Seattle Now & Then: The Northwest Folklife Festival

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Members of the Love Israel Family performing beside the Flag Plaza Pavilion (note the sign upper-left) at the Folklife Festival on May 30, 1976. (photo by Frank Shaw)
NOW: Members of the Mad Robins posing for Jean Sherrard in front of Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion, which replaced the Flag Pavilion in 2002. From left: Michael Karcher (caller), Brandon Ananias Martin-Anderson, Amy Hanson Wimmer, Diana Herbst, Isaac Sarek Banner, Abigail Hobart, Anita Anderson, Melissa Coffey, David Kessler

Both groups posing her performed at Seattle’s by now venerable Northwest Folklife festival.  The earlier pleased posers are all members of the Love Israel religious community, living then near each other in several homes on Queen Anne hill.  They are performing from the Seattle Center stairway, between the Flag Plaza Pavilion built for Century 21 (our World’s Fair of 1962) and the Folklife visitors seated on the plaza behind photographer Frank Shaw. (You cannot see them.)  Shaw was a skilled amateur who filled several binders with his 2×2 negatives and transparencies (slides) recorded on his camera, a Hasselblad I envied then and still do.

Another Shaw photograph, this of the family’s booth at the same 1976 Folklife Festival at Seattle Center.

Posing for Jean, the contemporary players have named themselves the Mad Robins, and dress appropriately. Earlier singing a cappella (without instruments), they accompanied contra dancers at this year’s Folklife Festival. By Jean’s accounting they sang very well. To prove it, Jean both recorded their performance and edited it into a youtube video that you will also find with a link below under WEB EXTRAS.. The Mad Robins’ own description of themselves is packed with joyful influences.  ”We are a group of eight contra dancers who also sing in a variety of traditions: sea shanties, barbershop quartet, Sacred Harp, pub carols from the British Isles, folk songs, Broadway show tunes, and choruses.”

Later than Love Israel, a quartet of “old music” players perform on Seattle Center steps that seem to be under repair. I, Dorpat, took this about 30 years ago. Perhaps someone will write us with all the names and we will insert them for old time posterity.

Thanks to Red Robin Melissa Coffey for help with the Red Robins and to both Rachel Israel and Charles LeWarne for their help with Love Israel history. Historian LaWarne’s book, published by the University of Washington Press and sensibly named “The Love Israel Family,” is in print.

An early Folklife scene by Frank Shaw, which he carefully dated on the slide’s holder, May 28, 1973,
Probably the only one-man band at the 1986 Folklife Festival.
Folklife 1986, lead member of the popular band then, the Dynamic Logs, takes an opportunity to rest his guitar between acts.
Seattle Folk legend, Stan James, at Folklife in 2003, or possibly 2004, as a member of the Halibuts, a trio; of friends who performed songs written by local Clam King, Ivar Haglund.
Tired dogs at the unseasonably warm 2009 Folklife. These dogs were also employed to sell a chow that was purely for pets and by some generous appreciation of our best friend was promoted at the folk festival.
A portion of the landscaping at the east end of the Flag Plaza Pavilion in the 1970s photographed by Fred Bauer.
Hucksters/Hustlers at the 2012 Folklife Festival. I gave them five dollars with the promise that they would heal their pipe for as I explained I doubted that they could get a new one  out of my philanthropy.  . 

WEB EXTRAS

Jean here. I’ve added a photo of The Mad Robins in performance at this year’s Folklife:

And here’s a short video of their performance provided by member Melissa Coffey:

Anything to add, compañeros?  First, congratulations to Jean on completing the staging and directing what I’ll estimate was your 75th play with the good student-thespians of Hillside Academy.  Will you please estimate the number of productions that comprise your total Hillside opera, so far? Hillside is featured with a link at the top  of the blog’s front page, in the column directly to the right.)

Here follows a small spray of weekly links pulled from the last 37 years.   CLICK to open and CLICK to enlarge.

THEN: We imagine that the photographer A.J. McDonald waited for one of his subjects, the cable car to Queen Anne Hill, to reach the intersection of Second Ave. N. and Aloha Street below him before snapping this panorama in the mid-1890s.

THEN: In the first years of the twentieth century, visiting circuses most often used these future Seattle Center acres to raise their big tops. After 1911 the favored circus site was moved to the then freshly-cleared Denny Regrade neighborhood (Courtesy, Mike Cirelli)

guild-45

THEN: In the 32 years between Frank Shaw's dedication picture and Jean Sherrard's dance scene, Freeway Park has gained in verdure what it has lost in human use.

THEN: The Moose float heads south on First Avenue at Columbia Street during the 1912 Potlatch parade of fraternal and secret societies. Behind them are Julius Redelsheimer's clothing store and the National Hotel, where daily room rates ran from 50 cents to a dollar.

41st-aurora-pedes-overpass-10-22-36mr

THEN: As explained in the accompanying story the cut corner in this search-lighted photo of the “first-nighters” lined up for the March 1, 1928 opening of the Seattle Theatre at 9th and Pine was intended. Courtesy Ron Phillips

Temporarily untended the Good Shepherd orchard awaits its fate, ca. 1978.

Then Caption: Amateur photographer George Brown most likely took this view of Portland’s 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition from the north porch of the Washington State Building. Brown also played clarinet in Wagner’s popular concert and marching band, which was probably performing at the Expo. (pic courtesy of Bill Greer)

THEN: Seattle Architect Paul Henderson Ryan designed the Liberty Theatre around the first of many subsequent Wurlitzer organs used for accompanying silent films in theatres “across the land”. The Spanish-clad actor-dancers posed on the stage apron are most likely involved in a promotion for a film – perhaps Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925) or Douglas Fairbanks’ The Gaucho (1929) that also played at the Liberty. (Courtesy Lawton Gowey)

THEN: Revelers pose on the Masonic Temple stage for “A Night in Old Alexandria,” the Seattle Fine Art Societies annual costume ball for 1921. (Pic courtesy of Arthur “Link” Lingenbrink)

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 BELOW: A REMINDER TO VOTE THIS NOVEMBER

FRANK SHAW, the photographer lived next door to Seattle Center. He recorded this photograph of circus elephants on July 22, 1965 . We use it here as a reminder to vote this November.

One thought on “Seattle Now & Then: The Northwest Folklife Festival”

  1. In the Love Israel picture by the Flag Pavilion the string bass being played is likely ‘mine’. In the early ’70s I put my bass up for sale at the ‘Folk Store’ in the U District and I was told that it was bought by the Love Israel family.
    I played in all of the early Folklife Festivals with the jug band ‘Rag Daddy’.
    Good to see the picture of Stan James. A real Seattle folk treasure.

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