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The Arts & Culture series enriches our community with imagination and creativity. Whether reinventing the classics for a new audience or presenting an innovative new art form, these events are aimed at expanding horizons. From poetry to music to storytelling, this series leaves our audiences inspired, encouraged, and seeing the world with new eyes.
 
The Civics series at Town Hall shines a light on the shifting issues, movements, and policies, that affect our society, both locally and globally. These events pose questions and ideas, big and small, that have the power to inform and impact our lives. Whether it be constitutional research from a scholar, a new take on history, or the birth of a movement, it's all about educating and empowering.
 
The Science series presents cutting-edge research about biology, physics, chemistry, ecology, geology, astronomy, and more. These events appeal to many different levels of expertise, from grade school students to career scientists. With a range of relevant applications, including medicine, the environment, and technology, this series expands our thinking and our possibilities.
 
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By the time food politics expert Marion Nestle obtained her doctorate in molecular biology, she had been married since the age of nineteen, dropped out of college, worked as a lab technician, divorced, and become a stay-at-home mom with two children. That’s when she got started. In her new memoir, Slow Cooked, Nestle reflects on how she achieved la…
 
There’s no denying it: Work relationships can be hard. The stress of dealing with difficult people can dampen creativity and productivity, degrade the ability to think clearly and make sound decisions, and cause people to disengage. We might lie awake at night worrying, withdraw from work, or react in ways we later regret — rolling our eyes in a me…
 
Over 49 million children attend public school in the United States, with over 52,000 of them here in our Seattle Public Schools alone. The U.S. public school system guarantees every child in every city, town, and rural area in the country, a warm, safe place to grow and learn. While public schools in the U.S. have been around for well over 150 year…
 
Imagine a world where decisions are decided by the roll of a pair of dice. What to eat? Roll the dice. Who to marry? Roll again. How to die, and when? Get rolling. We can only imagine how different our lives might be if we surrendered every decision to the unpredictable fall of two numbered cubes. From Penn Jillette — yes, that Penn Jillette of the…
 
Are you are frustrated with the political dysfunction our country is experiencing? From unresponsive and unrepresentative government that fails to tackle our largest problems, to extremists undermining free and fair elections, it is easy to be very pessimistic about our country and its politics. There is a way forward. Please join Joshua Graham Lyn…
 
Before there was Kate Beaton, the New York Times bestselling cartoonist of Hark! A Vagrant, there was Katie Beaton of the Cape Breton Beatons — specifically Mabou, a tight-knit seaside community where lobster is as abundant as beaches, fiddles, and Gaelic folk songs. With the singular goal of paying off her student loans, Katie heads out west to ta…
 
It can be said that the lifeblood of any free society is persuasion: changing other people’s minds in order to change things. But what happens when people increasingly write one another off instead of seeking to win one another over? Journalist and Town Hall alumni Anand Giridharadas contends that America is suffering a crisis of faith in persuasio…
 
Jonathan Franzen is known for being, well, a little bit of everything: cantankerous and compelling, celebrated and controversial. Known for his vivid character development, his six novels have provoked commentary of all sorts from each end of the spectrum and everywhere in-between. Unsurprisingly, when Franzen — dubbed by TIME as “The Great America…
 
Can the choices you make on a daily basis transform society? Sociologist and Princeton professor Dr. Ruha Benjamin thinks so, and has the research to support the idea. Dr. Benjamin’s groundbreaking research on race, technology, and justice spanned years and focused primarily on larger, structural changes. But the scourges of COVID-19 and anti-Black…
 
From the authors of 2020’s Tiny Imperfections comes a new novel that takes a humorous but candid look at issues like race, religion, parenting, and love through the lens of female friendship. Never Meant to Meet You features protagonist Marjette Lewis, a self-proclaimed “fixer” and kindergarten teacher facing the challenges of raising a son on the …
 
Have you ever wished that animals or plants could talk to us? As it turns out, they can. The natural world is teeming with conversation, though many of it is beyond human hearing range. Scientists are using groundbreaking digital technologies to uncover these sounds, revealing vibrant communication in the Tree of Life. In The Sounds of Life: How Di…
 
What is it like to be the mouthpiece for the President of the United States? You or I may have found ourselves stressed about writing an essay or sending a letter, but imagine having to craft sentences that the entire nation — and much of the world — will hear. Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America is the latest release by C…
 
Imagine having an identical twin on the other side of the world — one you had no idea existed. That was the reality for sisters Isabella and Hà, born in Việt Nam but adopted and raised separately across the globe. One sister remained in a rural Vietnamese village that often went without electricity; the other grew up with a wealthy white family in …
 
A silent epidemic of chronic illnesses afflicts tens of millions of Americans: These are diseases that are poorly understood, frequently marginalized, and can go undiagnosed and unrecognized altogether. In her latest book – The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness – renowned writer Meghan O’Rourke delivers a revelatory investigation into …
 
It was in 2002 that Robin D.G. Kelley published Freedom Dreams, a history of renegade intellectuals and artists of the African diaspora throughout the twentieth century. The book presented a premise that the catalyst for political engagement is not oppression or misery, but hope. From Aimé and Suzanne Césaire, to Paul Robeson and Malcolm X, to Jayn…
 
Most kids’ today are very tech savvy, whether they’re playing video games, watching streaming services, interacting on social media, or even — as the pandemic quickly showed us — attending school virtually. Tech companies have become a huge part of kids’ lives, but at what cost? Who benefits and how does technology and consumer capitalism affect ch…
 
We all do it, but we hardly ever talk about it. After all, human feces isn’t exactly a popular topic of discussion. We’d simply like to flush it and forget about it. Researchers, however, want to change all that. That’s because our body’s natural byproduct may be the key to solving some of today’s biggest problems. Local, award-winning journalist a…
 
One of the most profoundly human experiences that most of us share, at some point in our lives, is the feeling that we are living through a monumental shift; the feeling that something socially, culturally, or politically is changing, and we are participating in — and making — history. In his latest work, distinguished professor and historian Dr. P…
 
Juan Alonso-Rodríguez describes his paintings and sculptures as an on-going exploration of abstraction based on forms both found in nature, and those conceived by human ingenuity. From horizon lines to his father’s wrought iron railing designs, memories of sights and sounds of his Caribbean origins always play an integral part in his creativity. He…
 
How did we become so deeply divided? In 2019, hate crimes reached a ten-year high in the United States. In 2020, 40% of each political party deemed supporters of the opposing party “downright evil.” In addition to division across political lines, rampant discord is likewise rooted in other hot-button issues like race, religion, gender, and class. D…
 
Long before “going green” became a hashtag, people like William O. Douglas were on the front lines of the environmental justice movement. Despite being known for some notable accomplishments — for example, the fact that he was the longest serving U.S. Supreme Court justice, having sat from 1939-1975 — Douglas largely remained an unsung environmenta…
 
Do you have a strong opinion about things like the Oxford comma, splitting infinitives, or whether to use punctuation in a text message? Well, you’re not alone. When Ellen Jovin set up her first Grammar Table outside her Manhattan apartment building and invited people to ask her questions, it took only around thirty seconds for the first visitor to…
 
When someone recommends a book to you that you end up loving, something special happens: you feel closer to that person somehow, understood on some unspoken level. That could be one of the reasons why Zibby Owens, a top influencer in the book publishing world, has garnered a passionate fanbase of her own as the host of the award-winning podcast Mom…
 
Poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, widely known for penning the famous words, “I know why the caged bird sings!” in his poem, Sympathy. Born in 1872, Dunbar was one of the first African American writers to be internationally recognized in the wake of emancipation. But while his extraordinary talent was celebrated, a deeper examination of his life reveals m…
 
Nabil Ayers has been part of the music scene in many capacities: musician, record-label creator, band manager, music executive, and founder of Seattle’s Sonic Boom Records. He is also an author, writing about music and race for the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and many others. Now Ayers has written a new memoir, My Life in the Sunshine: Searching…
 
With its massive economy and military budget, America is the world’s most powerful country. How did the U.S. come to have so much power to affect nations and people around the globe? How did the country achieve this status over the past 250 years? Michael Mandelbaum helps us understand how the U.S. got here through the evolution of its foreign poli…
 
Building Policy Update: As of June 1, 2022, masks remain required at Town Hall Seattle. Read our current COVID-19 policies and in-building safety protocols. Thu 7/14, 2022, 7:30pm Blaise Agüera y Arcas and Melanie Mitchell with Lili Cheng How Close Are We to AI? BUY THE BOOKS Ubi SuntBy Blaise Agüera y Arcas Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thi…
 
David Duchovny is best known for his television roles as FBI agent Fox Mulder on The X-Files (1993-2002 and 2016-2018) and writer Hank Moody on Californication (2007-2014), both of which earned him Golden Globe awards. Beyond his extensive on-screen accomplishments, which include dozens of other films and television shows, he’s also a musician and …
 
With exponential growth in the Seattle area, demand and costs for housing are high and availability is low. Affordable housing is difficult for so many to come by, and the region is feeling more than just growing pains; it’s in crisis. In Seattle, most residential areas are zoned for single-family homes, restricting the ability to increase housing …
 
Typically held at bars and nightclubs, drag is a form of entertainment in which a performer uses clothing and makeup to impersonate a particular gender identity, usually of the opposite sex. Yet drag is so much more than nightclub entertainment — it provides community, instills self-confidence, and can even save lives. Join drag king performer Ceas…
 
The fight for racial justice within the U.S. criminal legal system — and the call for its reform — has intensified in recent years. Studies show that Black Americans are almost five times as likely to be incarcerated than whites. Can our society be transformed? The story of the formerly incarcerated gang founder and leader, Antong Lucky, reveals ho…
 
Year after year, the quality of the world’s agricultural soil is degrading, which deeply impacts the quality and quantity of the food that we grow. Further, there’s a clear link between the health of our soil and the health of humans. What does that mean for us? Eventually we’ll face an existential crisis of the world’s food supply and our health. …
 
According to census data, the greater Seattle area is home to the fifth-largest Filipino American population in the U.S — the majority of which arrived in the area after 1965. From the 1950s to 1970s, Filipino Americans, or Pinoys, faced serious hardships and struggles with racism, discrimination, and exploitation. It was a difficult life for many.…
 
As a philosophy that means different things to different people and groups, it can be hard to know what liberalism stands for. Traditionally, liberalism is viewed as a political and moral philosophy based on individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise. In the 1990s and 2000s, democracy spread and markets prospered, and it see…
 
Alzheimer’s is a global health problem with more than 6 million people living with the disease in the U.S. alone. Tremendous gains have been made in the understanding of the science and basic biology underlying Alzheimer’s and other dementias. These advances are leading to great strides in strategies for prevention, detection, diagnostics and thera…
 
When the Seattle Art Museum opened the Olympic Sculpture Park on the urban waterfront in 2007, it changed the way people could interact with art and experience the city’s environment. The fact that it’s free and open to everyone makes the park one of the most inclusive places to see art in the Pacific Northwest. The sculpture park contains pieces l…
 
In 2015, anthropologist and writer Levi Vonk found himself on a journey filled with twists, turns, and a chance meeting that would forever impact his life. With a desire to report on the dangerous realities faced by Guatemalans as they fled civil and economic instability in their home country, Vonk joined a migrant caravan making its way into Mexic…
 
From the grasslands of the Columbia Plateau to the rich valleys west of the Cascade Mountains, There are over 70,000 miles of rivers in Washington state. Rivers are vital to our region’s ecosystems, hosting a wide diversity of living things in their waters and along their banks – our beautiful state would not be what it is without our waterways. Ho…
 
It’s no surprise that people love short stories. They hold all the elements of a great novel — an intriguing theme, characters that seem to come to life, and storytelling that lingers even after the last page — all packaged in a brief, delightfully readable package. It’s no wonder that award-winning author Don Lee has returned to short stories in h…
 
Beginning in the 1970s Chicana and Chicano organizers turned to community radio broadcasting to educate, entertain, and uplift Mexican American listeners across the United States. In rural areas, radio emerged as the most effective medium for reaching relatively isolated communities such as migrant farmworkers. And in Washington’s Yakima Valley, wh…
 
There’s a powerful movement happening in farming today, and it’s not a movement focused on flashy technology or producing food faster or at larger scales. Instead, it’s a movement that centers on farmers reconnecting with their roots, reviving their ancestors’ methods of growing food, healing their communities, and ultimately fighting climate chang…
 
As a hockey-loving kid from Minnesota, Jim Weber always had a competitive spirit and a knack for leadership. In the seventh grade, he wrote that he wanted to become an NHL hockey player, and his second choice was to someday run a successful company. Although his hockey dreams didn’t quite pan out, Weber further honed his leadership skills in colleg…
 
Hundreds of public monuments have come down during the social and racial reckoning currently sweeping our country. And while Seattle has not been at the epicenter of the furor over public monuments, there have been heated discussions over the monument to Confederate soldiers in a Capitol Hill cemetery and a statue of Vladimir Lenin in Fremont. In t…
 
In Black Writers Unmasked, members of the African-American Writer’s Alliance will share African proverbs, wisdom, love, hope, and readings from their new anthology. AAWA Members participating in this event are listed below, and their biographies are available here. Gail Haynes Georgia S. McDade Helen J. Collier (co-facilitator) Lola E. Peters Minni…
 
In 1972, Richard Nixon made a historic visit to China. The trip broke 25 years of silence between the U.S. and China, paving the way for the establishment of full diplomatic relations later in the decade. Around the same time, second-generation Chinese American Gish Jen started writing; she first visited China with her family in 1979, the experienc…
 
Sometimes it feels like we’re living the same day over and over again. We wake up in the same bed, eat the same breakfast, do the same tasks, and talk to the same people, just coasting along and going through the motions. Taking a vacation can offer a temporary break from the mundane; at the same time, it only reinforces the sameness of daily life.…
 
It’s sometimes easy to forget that the U.S. has reached its present state over decades and centuries of political decision-making, not just a handful of years. Every move builds on the last, doing and undoing the work of former leadership while facing new crises on top of the old. Is it possible to call out poor policy choices of the past, understa…
 
As the threats of climate change become more urgent than ever, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure about what to do. The problems — and their solutions — seem unwieldy and complicated. But what if we embrace the complexity of the climate crisis and create solutions that are just as intertwined as the issues? That’s where intersectional environ…
 
The United States is awash in manipulated information about everything from election results to the effectiveness of medical treatments. Corporate social media is a particularly effective channel for manipulative communication — Facebook being a particularly willing vehicle for it, as evidenced by the increased use of warning labels on false or mis…
 
On the first stop of the “Las cuatro esquinas Tour” around the United States, Dr. Adriana Pacheco and Seattle Escribe bring together a panel of key players in education, culture, and literature to discuss names, topics, trends and voices in literature by writers of hispanic heritage and their impact on the culture. The literature of writers from Sp…
 
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