They call him Kunta Kinte

Hello, people.

Looking for something fun to do on Thursday, Oct. 18 in Seattle? Well, you can take in part of the City Arts Fest, where I’m doing a collaborative arts piece with my friend, Pol Rosenthal.

We’ve designed a one-day installation for a storefront window as part of the festival’s Culture Club – Genre Bender evening. I don’t want to give everything away, but our piece involves plants, glass bottles, me and my friend, a microphone, a TV set, some speakers, a DVD player and a 1977 TV miniseries that starred LeVar Burton, Cicely Tyson, Louis Gossett Jr., Ben Vereen, O.J. Simpson and more. Our installation is called “JungleBox.”

We’ll be installed in a storefront at 411 Union St., between Fourth and Fifth. It runs 8 – 9:30 p.m. and it costs $10. Well, if you want to see other installations inside the space there’s a charge. But you don’t have to pay to stand on the street to watch me and Pol and the TV set. And you’ll be able to hear us from there, too. Stop on by if you want.

And if you want a hint to what you might see, look below.

Take care. Be well…

Little hams on little legs

You might be wondering: What’s Rosette been up to? Telling myself I’ve been busy, which is true. But now I’m getting busy with having more fun creating stories. Like this:

I’m working on a piece for Real Change newspaper, where I work as assistant editor, about a family farm in Kent, WA, called Whistling Train Farm. Run by Mike and Shelly Verdi, it’s a 15-acre farm full of fennel, marjoram, carrots, green beans, basil, sunflowers and more. Plus, they’ve got a cow, some goats and pigs. I plan to follow a tiny seed of spinach as it grows into a leafy bunch of greens sold at a Seattle farmers market, weaving in the story of the farm, the magic of how food grows, Shelly and Mike’s history, the federal Farm Bill and more.

When I went for my first visit on 20 Aug 2012, with photographer Lucien Knuteson, I discovered a litter of piglets had been born a week before. Well, those little oinkers showed up right before we left, along with their 450-pound mama sow. Take a gander and see if you can spot the runt. When the article comes out, oh, sometime in November, I’ll have a more complete video. Until then, this’ll whet your appetite.

Take care…

Live Reading from the “Gravity of Abuse” on Thursday, May 24th!

Rosette Royale will be doing a live reading this week from his “Gravity of Abuse” series! This event is sponsored by Real Change.

Here are the specifics:

Date: Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Time: 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Place: Ballard Public Library (map)

Reservations are required for this event. Click here to RSVP via email to event coordinator Erin George, or give her a call at (206) 441-3247, x201.

Just in case you haven’t been reading, here’s a few more details about the “Gravity of Abuse”:

A young woman, fearful for her life and that of her baby, flees from the baby’s abusive father. But like many young mothers escaping domestic violence, she has now here to go.  Brandy’s story is captured by Real Change Assistant Editor Rosette Royale in a new multimedia project called “Gravity of Abuse.”  Nearly two years in the making, this dramatic four-part series is the result of Rosette’s 2010 Seattle University Journalism Fellowship on Family Homelessness.  The series began in Real Change May 9.

We hope to see you there!

Driving Directions

Take I-5 exit 169 and follow the N. 45th St. ramp. Turn left on 45th St. and stay with the arterial for 3½ miles to 22nd Ave. N.W. (Note: The arterial will become N. 46th St. and Market St. before reaching 22nd Ave. N.W.) Turn right on 22nd Ave. N.W. and go north 1 block to N.W. 56th St. The library is on the right.

Metro Bus Information

Served by Metro Bus Routes: 17, 18, 44, 46, 75


Free parking is available in the underground garage beneath the building. Entrance to parking garage is on N.W. 56th St. Library and Neighborhood Service Center parking only. Violators subject to impound.

Radio ahead

Sometimes, you never know what’s gonna happen.

In mid-April, I got a call from a man named Stephen Hoffman, who said he was a producer with Marketplace, a national radio program. Frankly, I’d never heard of it, but I played it cool and acted like I had. (When I looked it up, I learned that Marketplace, a program of American Public Media, gets 8 million listeners a week, which, well, is a lot of peeps.) Stephen said the program was coming to Seattle to do a special show on housing and he wanted to know if I’d be interested in doing a radio commentary. I was interested, but told him I’d never done one. He said he’d help me out, but to think it over and get back to him. So I thought, I got back and I said yes.

After a few suggestions from the production team, I decided to do a commentary on the people who, amidst the foreclosure crisis, have never had a house to lose in the first place. I planned to focus on this by telling the story of Isaac Chapiro, a man experiencing homelessness here in Seattle. I wrote up a script and after a few editing suggestions, I tightened it up and printed it out.

Usually, commentaries are recorded in a studio, but Stephen suggested, since I’d written about places outdoors, we record it outside. So, I met Stephen and the audio/tech producer, Josh Rogosin, on a cold, drizzly Seattle morning. I read from the printed script while the rain splattered the pages, with a microphone placed closed to my lip. And while I was nursing a back injury. Somehow, we pulled it off in a few takes.

So here it is, a link to my 2-plus minutes of incandescent, radio-centered fame. There are also some pix of me, looking like I just stepped out of a used clothing store in the woods. Just click under the first pic of me to give a listen to my commentary.

Those who never had a home to lose: Rosette Royale on Marketplace Money

Buggin out

As a kid, I detested bugs. Really. They freaked me out. Any crawly, multiple-legged critter, one with wings that send it flying into my face: They all led to me shrieking like some banshee as I ran out the room or, if I was outside, running into the house to get away. But my most despised: the cricket. I loved the chirrup it made. But when I walked near one, it would always jump at me instead of away. It scared the hell out of me.

Then something happened. When I was almost 17, a brood of 17-year cicadas came to visit. I lived in Maryland and, over the course of three weeks, millions upon millions of them dug themselves out of the ground, crawled up trees, poles, legs — anything — and issued a piercing, ear-splitting call that drowned out any other sound around. Honestly. You couldn’t even hear planes fly overhead.

M. septendecim calling by Joe Green from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

The cicadas (called magicicada septendecim) live a 17-year lifecycle. Once they mate, the females lay eggs in little slits they make in tree limbs with an ovipositor. The adults die away. The eggs, shortly after, hatch and the grubs fall to the ground. They burrow in the earth where they molt for 17 years, crawling back out of the ground to start the process anew.

These days, I’ve become a bug lover. Show me an insect — wolf spider, unicorn beetle, honeybee — and I’m likely to stop and talk to it. I find insects incredibly beautiful. Like these insects. Photographed with their bodies covered in dew, they’re a sight to behold. Enough so, it can turn “Ewww” into “Wow.”