City Seen: Nature Consortium, Zombies Turn Rotten

Into the Woods
Photo by Rita Alcantara

Into the Woods

Ten years ago, West Seattle resident Nancy Whitlock set out to connect with her neighbors and to help the environment through art. She succeeded at both by creating the Nature Consortium, a grassroots nonprofit that leads youth art programs and forest restoration projects. The Arts-in-Nature Festival (August 23 and 24) at the leaf-canopied Camp Long in West Seattle celebrates the group’s tenth anniversary. “Nothing quite like this happens anywhere,” Whitlock promises. Over forty performances will take place in several unusual settings: by a pond,  on a climbing glacier, inside a fire circle. Dance troupes, a smorgasbord of music, even trapeze artist Gabriela Milillo will be here. Take part in a laughter circle led by (duh!) a laugh leader.


Who Needs Pilates?

You’re not sure if you’re watching a fight or a dance, but one thing is for certain: these capoeira masters have amazing abs. The line between combat and choreography here is indeed thin — it is believed that this Brazilian martial art developed among African slaves who pretended to dance in order to avoid punishment for practicing their fighting moves. (We’re not making this up.) What evolved is a highly fluid, acrobatic style of street fighting, once outlawed in Brazil (it was associated with the lower classes) but later declared a national sport. “It makes you strong inside, humble and more confident in your life,” says Marcos “Coquinho” Nascimento, head instructor of Axé Capoeira in Seattle. “It’s in your walking, your talking — everything.” Axé is part of an international network of training academies and, here, is linked to the University of Washington’s Experimental College. Classes for kids and adults at all levels are offered on Capitol Hill and in the U-District.

Photo by Kyle Johnson
Zombie Love

Zombie Love

The Phinney Ridge bachelor bungalow of Mark Rahner, pop culture critic for The Seattle Times, looks perfectly ordinary from the outside. But inside, comic-book revolution is brewing. Rahner and Robert Horton, film critic for KUOW, have created Rotten, a self-published comic about zombies run amok in the Wild West of 1877. “Zombies, undercover agents and the Old West,” says Horton. “You couldn’t think of a more potent nerd cocktail than that.” Rahner notes the comic’s pointed historical parallels to present times. “President Rutherford B. Hayes took office without winning the popular vote, stop-loss Civil War vets are angry and the heroes go to a military fort that’s like Abu Ghraib,” he says. Rotten came close to a TV deal and Rahner is headed to San Diego’s big Comic-Con convention hoping to make a deal to reach a larger audience. “I’ve always loved zombies,” he says.

Illustration by Dan Dougherty

Written by Tim Appelo, Cody Ellerd, Bond Huberman