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Clear September 18—19 for Intiman's HOMECOMING Performing Arts Festival on Capitol Hill

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Ahamefule J. Oluo — Photo courtesy of the artist
Ahamefule J. Oluo — Photo courtesy of the artist

The Intiman Theatre — which "uses the power of story and education to activate dialogue, confront inequity, and build collective joy" — will celebrate the return of the live arts by hosting the HOMECOMING Performing Arts Festival on September 18 and 19, 2021 on Harvard Ave. between Pike and Pine.

Although Intiman has put on theatre festivals previously, this will be the first time it will host a large outdoor performing arts festival.

Creative directors Jennifer Zeyl and Wesley Frugé started planning for this back in the early spring. "We're really excited, with all the COVID stuff going on, [about] having a safe environment where people can come together and really commemorate our move to Capitol Hill," said Frugé, who mentioned that Intiman has not hosted an in-person event since September of 2019.

Festival details
The festival will have over 100 artists performing in front of a 24-foot-by-10-foot mural created by Seattle artist Barry Johnson. But that's not all: the event will also include artist installations; a beer garden (presented with Life on Mars and sponsored by Jack Daniels); food trucks and vendors providing treats such as boba tea, tamales, coffee, and soul food; and interactive photobooth exhibits. Frugé said that Kendall's DJ and Event, Intiman's producing partner, has assisted with logistics, such as shutting down a city street for the weekend.

The festival opens on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 11 a.m. and will close that evening at 10 p.m., but not before Intiman and BECU present the "Angels in Seattle" awards, providing five local artists with $1,000 checks.

BeautyBoiz will headline on Saturday, which will highlight local drag and LGBTQ+ performers, including Arson Nicki, Cherdonna Shinatra, and Betty Wetter. Other performances will be by Bijoux, Velocity Dance Center, and the Royal House of Noir, among others.

All Black local talent will headline on Sunday, Sept. 19, including singer Ahamefule J. Oluo, a brand-new choreographed dance piece by Dani Tirrell and David Rue, and a children's program called "South End Stories." BeautyBoiz will also present their "Black Pride Celebration Live!" with performers such as CarLarans, Archie, and DaQween, among others. On Sunday, the event will begin at 11 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.

"Both evenings are really anchored by some of the most iconic Seattle performers," said Frugé, who added that "the two anchor headliner evenings are going to just be so overwhelming in [terms of] the amount of talent."

To find artists to perform for the festival, Frugé and Zeyl partnered with various art organizations that share overlapping missions with Intiman. A good number of the artists were booked via presenting partner organizations, although Intiman booked some headliners directly.

"There are some repeat organization lineups, but the actual festival lineup — [there won't] be any repeated performances," said Frugé. Café Racer, for example, will be programming both days but will have different bands performing each day.

Ticket and pass information
Single-day tickets and full-festival passes are being offered online. The former range from $5 to $165, with a suggested price of $65; the latter range from $10 to $205, with a suggested price of $105.

"We are offering a pretty wide range of ticket options, and that is based on Intiman's commitment to accessibility," explained Frugé. That said, Intiman encourages attendees to pay full price if it's within their financial means. Additionally, Intiman will provide 200 guaranteed free tickets on a first-come, first-served basis on each day.

COVID precautions and volunteering
Since this will be Intiman's first performing arts festival, it's hard to know how many people will attend, but Frugé believes there will be about 3,000 over the course of the weekend.

"We are keeping our eye on the capacity of the festival, just so that we can maintain some COVID safety," said Frugé. Outdoor COVID transmission is extremely low — especially among fully vaccinated individuals — but Intiman wants to make sure everyone has enough space to get away from the crowd if needed. Since the event is hosted outdoors, masks are not required for those who are fully vaccinated, but they are more than welcome. However, those not yet fully vaccinated should wear a mask at the event.

At this time, the festival will not be checking vaccination status, since it is an outdoor event, although there is potential for that to change in the coming weeks. Other COVID measures for the event include performer safety and providing hand sanitizer stations throughout the festival.

Intiman is still actively looking for volunteers to work the festival. A variety of shifts remain, including monitoring accessibility seating and providing attendees with information on what's happening next. Volunteers will receive full weekend passes for free and will be given options for tickets at other events by the Intiman Theatre, Kendall's DJ and Event, or BeautyBoiz.

"Intiman is so excited to be the newest arts organization operating in the Capitol Hill Arts District. We want to introduce ourselves to the neighborhood, be an excellent neighbor, and think about what our role is contributing to the 'gayborhood,'" said Frugé, who added, "Intiman wants to hold space for this LGBTQ+ community and be part of... welcoming people back to Capitol Hill, which was hit so hard by the pandemic."

Visit https://www.intiman.org/homecoming/ for further ticket and event information.