News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood


Entries from March 2014

Think Globally: Could you be a host family?

March 31st, 2014 by master

Katie Stemp, a Seattle-native and the Local Representative for World Heritage Student Exchange contact Fremont Universe recently to spread the word that the organization is seeking local host families for international high school students. As the Local Representative Katie helps match high school exchange students from around with world with qualifying families. She says students love being placed in Seattle, probably for the same reason we love living here!

Katie’s request struck a personal tone with me. When I was a sophomore in high school my family was approach with a similar request that lead to a wonderful experience hosting a student:

Our guest’s name was Ana and she was from Spain. Galicia actually, up in the north where they speak with a slight lisp. She had already done a brief program in the UK and was determined to improve her English. Although her program was only a month long it was a thrill to have her and it has had a lasting impact on my life.

Watching her experience my everyday world as an incredible new adventure was unforgettable. We even made a movie called “Ana de Espana” that catalog her various reactions to things. Especially the Converse store, she loved the wild and colorful Converse the best.

I visited her in Spain the following year for two weeks, she later visited me in college, and now, ten years later we are still in touch. Ana now hopes to find a job in the United States so we can visit more and she can continue mastering English.

If you or someone you know are in a position to host an exchange student I highly recommend considering it. My family and I really had never really thought about it before we were approached about hosting Ana. Needless to say I’m very glad we did.

The program my family participated in was a shorter summer program and based in the San Francisco Bay Area. For questions pertaining  to the World Heritage program please contact Katie, her contact information is listed below.

– Cara, Fremont Universe Editor

More information about the World Heritage Student Exchange Program:

Host an Exchange Student
World Heritage Student Exchange Program, a highly respected, non-profit, public-benefit organization, is seeking local host families for high school boys and girls from Scandinavia, France, Germany, Italy, Thailand, China, South Korea, and the former Soviet Republics. Students are already awaiting word on their host families for the 2014/2015 academic school year (or semester). Host families provide room, board, and guidance for a teenager living thousands of miles from home. Couples, single parents, and families with or without children in the home are all encouraged to apply.

The exchange students arrive from their home country shortly before the 2014/15 school year begins and each World Heritage student is fully insured, brings his/her own personal spending money and expects to bear his/her share of household responsibilities, as well as being included in normal family activities and lifestyles.

If you are interested in opening your home and sharing your family life with a young person from abroad, please call local Area Representative Katie Stemp at (206) 218-4948. Please also visit our website at

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Frolic in Fremont

March 28th, 2014 by master

It’s Friday evening in Fremont and the clouds have moved aside if only for a little bit. The happy hour folks have reached elation and Fremont is preparing for another weekend. A long week and fickle weather haven’t dampened (oh dear..) anyone’s spirits. It seem’s Fremont is ready to frolic.

Fun fact: The City of Seattle likes our musicians! As part of a new pilot program 5 venues throughout the city have new “Musicians Priority” loading and unloading zones to help acts out. Fremont’s High Dive is one of the participating venues and sports a new sign as seen below. Musicians, venues, and promoters have been very positive about this move by the city and we can’t wait to see how it plays out here in Fremont.

The new priority parking for musicians in front of the High Dive

Here is a rapid rundown of the music you can find in Fremont this weekend:

Nectar Lounge

Friday 3/28 (TONIGHT) HILLSTOMP CD Release Party, Heels To The Hardwood, and Blake Noble (Americana / Blues) :: $8adv / $10dos 8PM 21+

Saturday 3/29 Weatherside Whiskey Band, Deception Past, Hallstrom, and The North Woods (Country / Americana) :: $5adv / $8dos 8PM 21+

Sunday 3/30 FRANKIE PAUL, THE MELODIANS w/ Yellow Wall Dub Squad plus The Highlife Band and DJ Kid Hops (Reggae / Dancehall) :: $10adv / $15dos 8PM 21+

For Nectar’s complete calendar and more details visit Nectar’s website

High Dive

Friday 3/28 (TONIGHT) Red Heart Alarm (EP Release), Spanish For 100 (Farewell Show), and Stereo Embers (Indie/Rock) :: $8  9:30PM

Saturday 3/29 The God Damn Devil, Cinco Gringos, 7 Year Old Blind Girl, Anticulture (Punk/Rock) :: $8 9:00PM

Sunday 3/30 Theoretics , Funky 2 Death , Half Kingdom, Sam Miller, , and Daniel Blue of Motopony. Hosted by David Michael Stedman of Staxx Bros. (A benefit for a friend) :: $8 suggested donation 7:00PM

For High Dive’s complete calendar and additional details please visit their websiteAll shows listed are 21 plus. 

The Fremont Abbey

Friday 3/28 (TONIGHT) AND Saturday 3/29 Abbey Grown: A locally sourced dance & music performance :: $10 student, $12 adv, $15 door


Have fun frolicking Fremont!

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A Chance to Chat about Fremont’s Public Art

March 27th, 2014 by master

The Fremont neighborhood and its many displays of public art have come to be a seamless partnership in the minds of the community and for many visitors. However, this partnership requires more than just creativity, it also calls for funding, planning, and of course, passion.

One particularly passionate person is Barbara Luecke who will be the featured guest for this month’s Fremont Fireside Chat on Saturday, March 29th, at 3PM at the History House. Barbara co-founded the Fremont Arts Council Solstice Parade and helped bring the Troll to Fremont. She worked at 4Culture for some time and is currently the Public Art Program Manager for Sound Transit.

A work-in-progress troll circa 1990, courtesy of the
The completed troll!

The completed troll! Image from

This wonderful opportunity to learn more about Fremont’s public art and what it entails is sponsored by HomeStreet Bank and hosted by Kirby Lindsay of The one-hour presentation is FREE and aims to foster friendly, casual discussion.

The Fremont Fireside Chat series will feature a different guest each time to share stories and details about a specific aspect of the ‘Center of the Universe.’ Keep an eye out for the next Fremont Fireside Chat!

As Fremont community members we get to enjoy Fremont’s art year round, let’s take advantage of this unique opportunity and learn how that art came to be.

See you at the History House!


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Support Literacy Source’s Student Book Fund this Month

March 25th, 2014 by master

Literacy Source, a non-profit based here in Fremont, began twenty-eight years ago with an emphasis on Adult literacy instruction in the North Seattle area. Since that time they have grown to offer a variety of programs in addition to Adult Basic Education such as English as a Second Language, citizenship classes, and a high school diploma program.

With their expanding programs Literacy Source has also expanded their reach. In addition to offering classes at the Center in Fremont they partner to provide offsite classes at correctional facilities, schools, community centers, and churches throughout Seattle.

This month Literacy Source has seeking support from the community for the Student Book Fund. They hope to purchase the following materials with donors generous contributions:

  • Sets of books for our student Book Club.
  • Materials for our Adult Basic Education and ESL classes.
  • Books for students at a variety of reading levels that can be checked out.
  • Curriculum resources for volunteer tutors and instructors.
  • Audio books for students to listen to and read-along with.
  • Workbooks for student and tutor pairs.

However, Literacy Source aims to make this a literary campaign as well! All donors who contribute a gift of $25 or more by the end of March will be entered into a drawing. In this unique drawing two donors will be selected on April 1st and be asked to submit a short list of their favorite books. Fellow Seattleite, Author, NPR contributor, and of course, Librarian Nancy Pearl will take these lists and each will receive a personalized list of five book recommendations.

There is less than a week left in the campaign, to make your contribution head here.

Also, the 2014 Literacy Source Breakfast which last year raised $90,000 for programs will be held at SPU on May 7th, you can find registration here.

Fremont Universe loves hearing about local non-profits, organizations making a difference in our community, or those raising awareness about other communities. Let us know what organizations your support and are passionate about at

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Red Star has Arrived

March 24th, 2014 by master

Red Star Taco Bar is now open at 513 N 36th Ave, previously home to the White Rabbit, with a newly revamped space. The new design is strong in it’s simplicity and bold theme. With several beers on tap, a staggering display of liquor, and the a la carte menu Red Star is another stop to add to the hungry (or thirsty) Fremonster’s roster.

The space seems brighter and it is a challenge to figure out where exactly White Rabbit’s stage once lived (to the left of the loading door in the back). In addition to numerous high-tops there are several expansive booths, perhaps to tempt those moving in larger packs. The a la carte menu offers Pre-Taco, Taco-ish, Taco, and Post-Taco items all priced between $1.00-$7.00.

Following the recent Grand Opening Red Star Taco Bar is open everyday from 4:00PM until 2:00AM. Welcome to Fremont!

To find out more you can visit their website, Facebook, or Yelp page.

Know about new restaurants or businesses coming to Fremont? Curious about where an old favorite has gone? Send your tips and questions to

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Bagpipes and the Bars

March 17th, 2014 by master

Fremont is ready for St. Patties! Ten of our neighborhoods best watering holes have come together to celebrate the most festive parts of St. Patricks day with live music, drink specials, and all shades of green. It all starts at 9PM tonight! There will be bagpipes and drums roaming from bar to bar, here is where you can catch them from 9 until Midnight:

9pm – Dubliner
9:20pm – 9 Million
9:40pm – Red Door
10:00pm – Barrel Thief
10:20pm – Hive Dive

10:40pm – Red Star Taco Bar
11pm – Ballroom
11:20pm – Norms

11:40pm – LTD

For more stationary music the Dubliner will have live bands, the High Dive – karaoke, Ballroom – DJ – No cover, and the Barrel Thief will have Tullamore dew irish whisky flights.

See signs of St. Patrick’s Day in the Center of the Universe? Send us your tip! or share with us on Facebook

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Happy Pi Day!

March 14th, 2014 by master

Perhaps the perfectly nerdiest of all holidays, Pi Day is here! March 14th or 3.14 will be celebrated in classrooms, offices, and amongst mathletes all around. In Fremont, Pie, makers of sweet and savory “hand held pies” will be going all out for the occasion according to their Facebook page. Pies will be available for $3.14 from Noon until 3:14PM AND the shop will reopen their Late Night Window from 9:30PM until 2AM for those math fans still about and about. Perhaps with 3.14 pints in them.


Savories: Chicken Pot Pie, English Meat, Triple Pig, Channa Masala, Pesto Mac + Cheese, Gluten Free Channa Masala

Sweet: Berry Awesome, Apple, Strawberry Rhubarb, Key Lime, Peanut Butter Cream, Lemon Custard w/ Raspberries, Gluten Free Berry Awesome

Breakfast: Tomato Basil + Swiss Scramble


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ComedySportz Gains a Home Court Advantage

March 13th, 2014 by master

Fremont is use to all sorts of funny things. Sometimes there are funny hats, funny sayings (e.g. De libertas Quirkas), or funny sights to be seen. However, ComedySportz brings a new kind of funny to Fremont; the endless possibilities, unlikely scenarios and unique challenges of improv competition. This may be a sport that Fremonsters can really get behind.

ComedySportz new set at the Atlas Theater in Fremont


Brought to Seattle in 2012, and previously located in Ballard, ComedySportz Seattle is one of over 20 ComedySportz Leagues found throughout the United States. While each league operates as an independent business they are licensed by the World Comedy League, Inc. and follow the same rules set down by the original ComedySportz in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Alex Grindeland, the Seattle league’s “Top Head Chief Principal Managing Director in Charge of Excessive Professional Titles” originates from Milwaukee as well. He decided almost three years ago that he wanted to move to Seattle and bring ComedySportz with him, but he couldn’t do it alone. Alex and his good friend Kesan Holt made their way west and introduced ComedySportz to Seattle two years ago this June.

After outgrowing their space in Ballard, ComedySportz found themselves a new home at the Atlas Theater. This new space is located within Atlas Clothing above the Bliss Boutique. ComedySportz hosts a Wednesday Improv Jam for all skill levels and offers two shows every Friday and Saturday evening at 8:00PM and 10:00PM.

However, no two shows are alike. Different games are played each time, the referee changes, a new  audience participates, and a group of 7 Actletes from a roster of 26 take the stage. Who knows what will happen? No swearing at least or “potty humor.”

ComedySportz is an all-ages show and the Actletes challenge themselves to keep it clean and positive. If they slip up the audience or referee can call for  a “brown bag foul” and a brown paper sack is placed over the offending player’s head. The Atlas Theater does offer adult beverages at the bar located just to the left of the stage and remains open after the 10PM show.

The space has a high, curved ceiling and the balcony is home to a selection of vintage clothing. The audience fills the space in the provided chairs, around tables, and on stools. The set is painted with all the traditional Seattle icons and simply designed for the ever changing needs of improv. To the left and right of the stage each team has a “dugout” with a bench that rarely sit still on. From the moment the match begins until the final scores are tallied it’s “Game On.”


Alex, appearing in his referee uniform above, raised the curtain about the world of improv and ComedySportz for us:

Why improv? What is it about improv that makes it so accessible?

The audience is invested in an improv comedy match in a way no other type of theatre can achieve. We are comedy as a sport, and that part isn’t a joke. Its real. As you saw, our audience doesn’t just laugh, they gasp when they are amazed and they yell when they disagree with the referee’s call. They know they are seeing something that will never happen again and, for that reason, they are invested in the outcome. I love theatre, but I’ve only ever seen that level of audience involvement at a ComedySportz match and it’s why I love it so much.

What is the relationship between the Seattle Comedy Group and ComedySportz Seattle?

Seattle Comedy Group is a CSz Company, meaning we are licensed by CSz Worldwide to hold ComedySportz matches. There’s a bunch of standards and criteria a group needs to meet before they can play the sport of ComedySportz. It’s surprising, but comedy can be serious business.

Can you share more about how ComedySportz Seattle got started?

3 years ago I lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, playing ComedySportz with the Milwaukee team. (The Milwaukee ComedySportz team was the first ComedySportz, and has been around for about 30 years.) I decided I wanted to move to Seattle, but I didn’t want to stop playing ComedySportz… so I thought I’d bring it with me. I knew I’d need help, so I asked my good friend, Kesan Holt, to move out with me. We packed everything we could into my Pontiac Grand AM and started the drive out here. We definitely took the long route. We spent a month stopping in other CSz cities along the way to learn best business practices from their managers. Those cities included the Quad Cities, Buffalo, New York City, Richmond, Houston, Los Angeles, San Jose and Portland. We learned a lot.

When we got to Seattle we started doing improv comedy shows around town. We wanted to meet talented people to bring on board. It worked. We held try-outs and now we’re fortunate to have a roster of 26 really, really funny players.

Over the last two years as Seattle Comedy Group went along and gained fans, it eventually became clear it was time to get our own venue. Hence, the Atlas Theatre.

Why would you say Seattle Comedy Group is different than other improv or improv competition groups?

My roster is really good looking. Have you seen my cast? Everyone is so attractive! A rarity among comedy groups.

I’m kidding. (But I’m not kidding. They’re hot.)

More importantly (maybe), is that there’s an energy and sense of joy that my players bring to the matches. They love to play and they put all their attention to giving the audience a great show. Also, it’s a show for everyone, so they have to challenge themselves to be funny without being dirty, which makes them better players.

How does it feel to call Fremont and the Atlas Theater home now?

So good. It feels great to have a home and Fremont is the perfect neighborhood for ComedySportz.

Visit ComedySportz Seattle’s website for upcoming shows and ticket information. Going to a ComedySportz show? Let us know about your experience at!

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Didn’t Catch The Dip? Now You Can!

March 13th, 2014 by master

Just recently  The Dip played at Nectar and Fremont Universe talked a little bit about them here. Now you have a chance to catch them again!


Over yonder in Ballard the Tractor Tavern will host General Mojo’s Key Project Album Release Party with The Dip and The Fradies this Thursday evening at 8PM. Tickets are $8, 21 and older only please.

Can’t make it the Tractor? Stick around Fremont for these other live music shows Thursday evening:

Marmalade at the High Dive (this and every Thursday) $6 cover, 9PM

JERU THE DAMAJA w/ Zoolay, Kung Foo Grip, Nu Era, Porter Ray, and Romero Franceswa at Nectar
$10 advanced, 8PM

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The Pocket Theater’s Fremont Pit Stop

March 12th, 2014 by master

The Pocket Theater recently called Fremont home while performing at the West of Lenin Theater  from January 31st until March 1st. In that time, they produced more than 15 shows and put on more than 25 performances. The calendar offered a wide range of shows including sketch comedy, improv, stand up, theater and variety shows.


This new theater, founded in 2013 by Clayton Weller after a successful Kickstarter campaign, is currently living the nomadic life while searching for a permanent home. During the month of March they will be based at the Seattle Creative Arts Center in Ballard before heading south to the Rendezvous in Belltown and eventually returning to Fremont in May.

The Pocket Theater places an emphasis on small, intimate performances that reward both the audience and the performers. As Executive Director, Clayton has spent significant time researching, collaborating, and questioning traditional theater models. The goal he says, is to “make a theater where its impossible for the performers to fail, from everyone’s perspective.”

The end result is indeed  more intimate and fosters a stronger sense of community. Having a theater nearby offering the high volume and variety of shows that the Pocket does makes stage entertainment far more accessible. Tickets are about the same price as a movie (all  shows are $10 ahead of time online and $14 at the door) and audience members are rewarded with impromptu laughter and a greater sense of participation. All together this makes the Pocket’s performances worth venturing out for, whichever venue they are currently calling home.

While at West of Lenin the sketch comedy group Ubiquitous They, which Clayton is a member of, made the most of the studio space and engaged every member of the audience with their antics. Clayton explains sketch comedy has the ability to be extremely “lean” comedy and that when done right it sheds much of the unnecessary content. In Ubiquitous They’s most recent show “Foxtrot,” every facial expression, exaggerated gesture, and slight cue resulted in either  laughter or furthered the plot. Not a moment of the audience’s time is wasted and that certainly adds up to more laughs. Visit Ubiquitous They’s Facebook page for more news about upcoming performances.

Image from Ubiquitous They’s Facebook Page

Here are a few more useful facts:

UBIQ·UI·TOUS adjective
: existing or being everywhere at the same time

UBIQUITOUS THEY comedy group
: collaboratively creating and performing sketch comedy since forming at University of Puget Sound in 2003

SketchFest Mash Up comedy workshop
: an intensive weekend workshop for people of skill levels to brainstorm, pitch, practice, produce, and perform a sketch comedy show, all in one weekend. The first one of 2014 begins Friday March 14th

3 Houses United improv show (this weekend)
: a comedy show featuring six skilled improvisers from Seattle’s three improv comedy institutions: Comedy Sportz, Jet City Improv, and Unexpected Productions. You can catch it at The Pocket Theater this Sunday March 16th at 7PM!


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