I first encountered Plum when I was volunteering at KEXP 90.3 FM: before the radio station’s new home was built at Seattle Center, the major giving offices were located upstairs in the Armory, where the food court is. I stopped by Plum Pantry for pre-made salads and sandwiches on my way to my other job, but at the time I didn’t know it was part of a larger group of restaurants owned by Makini Howell. Today, the Plum brand encompasses a vegan bistro, bakery, food truck, pantry, catering and a cookbook. Although the Plum Pantry food is delicious, I’m excited to try something more elaborate.
Like many of you, I have been so busy recovering from Christmas that I’ve barely had any time to plan anything for New Year’s Eve. This time of year when I naturally reminisce about everything that has happened over the past 365 days, it only seems appropriate that the year end with a celebration of the good things of 2013, and a ‘good riddance’ to the not-so-good things. Fortunately, Seattle is one of the nation’s fastest-growing metropolitan cities (over 630,000 residents and counting), so there are dozens of great parties and gatherings to choose from. I can plan the perfect New Year’s Eve 2014 with one simple question: what Seattle public radio station do you listen to?
Seattle is the iconic underdog city. It may not be as bustling as the Big Apple, or as glitzy as Hollywood, but it has undeniably carved out a special place for itself in American lore as a city of start-ups. Microsoft, Starbucks and Amazon didn’t begin as household names. So what is it about Seattle that makes it ideal for kick starting independents?
Anyone walking by the Dexter-Denny intersection lately probably won’t notice the large orange and black mural that’s gone up within the last couple of weeks on the sides of 90.3 FM KEXP. In fact, many of the studio’s neighbors don’t know there is a radio station there at all – the gray concrete one-story block, affectionately called the Berlin Wall, looks far too small to house the approximately 80 employees and 200 volunteers they have on rotation to keep the non-profit studio running smoothly.
I got a chance to take a break from preparations for the fall fundraising drive to talk with artist Jonathan Wakuda Fischer as he put the finishing touches on the mural. He has been a longtime listener and donor to KEXP since he moved to Washington from Wisconsin 8 years ago. “I didn’t know I wanted to be an artist before I came to Seattle,” Jonathan says, “I found my creative self here.”