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The Science series presents cutting-edge research about biology, physics, chemistry, ecology, geology, astronomy, and more. These events appeal to many different levels of expertise, from grade school students to career scientists. With a range of relevant applications, including medicine, the environment, and technology, this series expands our thinking and our possibilities.
 
The Arts & Culture series enriches our community with imagination and creativity. Whether reinventing the classics for a new audience or presenting an innovative new art form, these events are aimed at expanding horizons. From poetry to music to storytelling, this series leaves our audiences inspired, encouraged, and seeing the world with new eyes.
 
The Civics series at Town Hall shines a light on the shifting issues, movements, and policies, that affect our society, both locally and globally. These events pose questions and ideas, big and small, that have the power to inform and impact our lives. Whether it be constitutional research from a scholar, a new take on history, or the birth of a movement, it's all about educating and empowering.
 
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“For-profit health insurance is the largest con job ever perpetrated on the American people—one that has cost trillions of dollars and millions of lives since the 1940s,” says popular progressive radio host Thom Hartmann. The New York Times bestselling author returned to Town Hall with the latest installment of his “hidden history” series, The Hidd…
 
There are bird nests that you can eat. Some birds go “anting,” a behavior in which they rub ants all over their feathers and skin. A mockingbird can emit up to 200 distinct noises. These facts, and many more, are encapsulated in Christopher Leahy’s new book, Birdpedia: A Brief Compendium of Avian Lore. Leahy highlights his A to Z treasury of bird f…
 
Have you ever visited the defunct coal chutes on Capitol Hill? Do you know where you can find a 100-year-old sidewalk or the nearest pocket park? Susanna Ryan, local cartoonist and creator of Seattle Walk Report, was joined by Crosscut’s Knute “Mossback” Berger for a fresh look at Seattle’s hidden historical gems. Ryan gave us a preview of her new …
 
At first sight of Frida Kahlo’s painting The Two Fridas, author Emily Rapp Black felt an instant connection with the artist. An amputee from childhood, Rapp Black grew up with a succession of prosthetic limbs, and learned she had to hide her disability from the world. Kahlo sustained lifelong injuries after a horrific bus crash and her own right le…
 
In the last two decades, many nations have adopted “gay reparations,” or policies intended to make amends for a history of discrimination, stigmatization, and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The United States, however, has been reluctant to embrace any form of gay reparations, making the country something of an outl…
 
On June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that state bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional, making same-sex unions legal across the United States. But the road to that momentous decision was much longer than many know. Author Sasha Issenberg introduced a definitive account in this presentation that discussed his book The Engagement: America…
 
Protecting wild animals and preserving the environment are two ideals so seemingly compatible as to be almost inseparable. But in reality, between animal welfare and conservation science there exists a space of underexamined and unresolved tension: wildness itself. When is it right to capture or feed wild animals for the good of their species? How …
 
In postwar America, there was arguably no newspaper comic strip more recognizable than Charles Schulz’s Peanuts. It was everywhere, not just in thousands of daily newspapers. For nearly fifty years, Peanuts was a mainstay of American popular culture in television, movies, and merchandising, from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to the White House…
 
From Homer to Helen Keller, from Dune to Stevie Wonder, from the invention of Braille to the science of echolocation. What is the common thread between them? In this stunningly personal and informative presentation, writer and educator M. Leona Godin explored the fascinating history of blindness, interweaving it with her own story of gradually losi…
 
On June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, the end of legalized slavery in the state was announced. Since then, a certain narrative and lore has emerged about Texas. But as Juneteenth verges on being recognized as a national holiday, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annette Gordon-Reed—herself a Texas native and the descendant of enslaved people—reworks t…
 
In Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories, author Donna Miscolta traced the social education that a Mexican American girl receives as she experiences and responds to microaggressions and systemic racism in and out of school. Unfortunately, though Living Color is fiction, many of the incidents depicted in Angie Rubio’s life are inspired or derived from M…
 
Somewhere, between character and caricature, there exists an authentic and unique urban place, believes urbanism consultant and author Charles R. Wolfe. One that blends global and local, old and new. Yet, in a dramatically changing world dominated by crises of climate change, maintaining public health, and social justice, finding such places—and ex…
 
To hyphenate or not to hyphenate, that is the question. It has been a central point of controversy since before the imprinting of the first Gutenberg Bible. And yet, the hyphen has persisted, bringing and bridging new words and concepts. In conversation with Rich Smith, Associate Editor of The Stranger, academic and anthropologist Pardis Mahdavi sh…
 
India is in a crisis. In September 2020, the Indian government passed three new agricultural bills that deregulate and privatize India’s agricultural industry. Since then, farmers and farmworkers across India have taken to the country’s capital, staging the largest protest in human history. By prioritizing corporations over people and the planet, m…
 
Throughout history, humans have been driven by the quest for two cherished ideals: community and freedom. The two don’t coexist easily. We value individuality and self-reliance, yet are utterly dependent on community for our most basic needs, a fact which has never been more clear than over the last year. Bestselling author Sebastian Junger created…
 
The guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin, the police officer who murdered George Floyd, was celebrated as a victory for racial equity progress in our country. As our nation continues to wrestle with racial equity, what local progress has been made? What have our leaders learned from the protests and calls for reform over the past several years? Are…
 
“Chickens are a lot more mainstream than veganism and a little bit like kombucha: super weird twenty years ago, now somewhat more popular and made even more so by logos, brands, and hashtags.” So begins Gina Warren’s book Hatched: Dispatches from the Backyard Chicken Movement. In this presentation that is part memoir, part food and sustainability d…
 
How healthy is journalism in the United States today? Andy Lee Roth and Mickey Huff of Project Censored joined us for a conversation on this topic, espousing their view of corporate media biases, censorship, and the importance of independent journalism, and the state of the free press. Project Censored was founded in 1976 by Dr. Carl Jensen at Sono…
 
One thing that seems to be true in all generations of American life is that it can be challenging to summon the courage to follow your dreams in a material world. In this conversation with writers Eric M. Johnson and Thomas McGuane, they considered this difficulty paralleled with their own work and lives. Through the lens of Johnson’s debut novel—a…
 
In 2016, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump declared: “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct.” This led many after his victory to blame “identity politics” for his win. When Trump was banned from Twitter, he claimed it was an assault on free speech. Columnist Nesrine Malik contended that both of these things we…
 
The United States is the only country in the world that sentences thirteen and fourteen-year old offenders, mostly youth of color, to life in prison without parole, regardless of the scientifically proven singularities of the developing adolescent brain. In 1991, Ian Manuel, then fourteen, was sentenced to life without parole for a non-homicide cri…
 
Paul Shoemaker believes America is approaching a looming inflection point. The author and social impact leader says that the massive upheavals over the last year is emblematic of how the social, economic, and health challenges facing us in the 2020s are radically different from those we faced even one generation ago. But far from feeling downtrodde…
 
Jeff Bezos’ empire, once housed in a garage, now spans the globe. Between services like Whole Foods, Prime Video, and Amazon’s cloud computing unit AWS, plus Bezos’ ownership of The Washington Post, it’s nearly impossible to go a day without encountering its impact. Many argue we live in a world run, supplied, and controlled by Amazon and its found…
 
“By turns raw and mystical, steeped in loss but also reconciliation, it is a book that challenges our preconceptions, in regard to content and form.” So says author David L. Ulin about The Spring, the debut book from author Annie Connole. Connole joined writer Frances McCue in a virtual conversation about the book-length lyric essay. Together, they…
 
What’s the state of downtown Seattle? How are businesses and other sectors navigating the ongoing impact of the pandemic, recent protests, lack of affordable housing, and other social and economic factors? Hear perspectives from leaders including Bob Donegan, President of Ivar’s, and Brian Surratt, Vice President of Real Estate Development and Comm…
 
Anna Sale wants you to have that conversation. You know the one. The one that you’ve been avoiding or putting off, maybe for years. The one that you’ve thought “they’ll never understand” or “do I really want to bring that up?” or “it’s not going to go well, so why even try?” The founder and host of WNYC’s popular podcast Death, Sex & Money presente…
 
Although over half the people incarcerated in America today have committed violent offenses, the focus of reformers has been almost entirely on nonviolent and drug offenses. Danielle Sered takes aim at issues of mass incarceration, insisting that we cannot just critique violence and mass incarceration, but must build practical, moral solutions to d…
 
American cities are currently faced with a two-pronged challenge: dealing with our climate crisis, and managing the lack of housing that is affordable and healthy. Our housing is not only unhealthy for the planet, green affordable housing expert Dana Bourland believes, but is also putting the physical and financial health of residents at risk, with…
 
Ronit Plank was six years old when her mother left her and her four-year-old sister for India to follow Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a cult guru at the center of Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country and whose commune was responsible for the largest biological attack on US soil. This was the beginning of a very long road to Plank grappling with the toll…
 
It has become impossible to deny that the planet is warming, and that governments must act. But some believe that a new denialism is taking root in the halls of power, shaped by decades of neoliberal policies and centuries of anti-democratic thinking. One such is journalist Kate Aronoff, who has written about the climate change fight in her book Ov…
 
In the hundreds of walks that you’ve taken this past year, to get out of the house and flee from screens, have you noticed things around you that you have questions about but don’t have the tools to answer? Maybe you’ve wondered how exactly that mushroom got there or thought again about the mysterious migratory patterns of birds. Join New York Time…
 
“The finest rock songwriter after Dylan.” “The best electric guitarist since Hendrix.” Who is this man? A man who packed more than a lifetime of experiences into his late teens and twenties? None other than international and longtime beloved music legend Richard Thompson. The master of British folk music joined us with an intimate look at the early…
 
Xenophobia and bigotry against the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community are on the rise in cities throughout the country, including Seattle. With nearly 4,000 hate crimes reported in the last 12 months, this trajectory became impossible to ignore when six Asian women were killed in a shooting in Atlanta. Why did this happen? What we…
 
As the world’s scientists declare a “climate emergency,” the fight to protect our planet’s ecological resources and the people that depend on them is more urgent than ever, argues journalist Audrea Lim. But she believes that the real battles for our future are taking place far from the headlines and international conferences, in mostly forgotten Am…
 
In publishing today, some of the most expressive, form-breaking, innovative writing seems to come from Native authors. While the written tradition often overlooks Indigenous authors, in recent years we have seen a small increase in Native people telling their own stories in their own ways. In a conversation facilitated by author Kristen Millares Yo…
 
A young girl was raised on a rice farm in rural Japan when, at seven years old, her mother left her abusive husband and sailed with her two elder children to Hawaii, crossing the Pacific in steerage in search of a better life. That young girl would become the first Asian-American woman and the only immigrant serving in the United States Senate. Sen…
 
Have you ever asked someone, “How are you?” while not really caring about their actual response? And why would you need to, when we are conditioned to rarely respond to this question honestly? This is an example of deception and self-deception, and it happens in little and big ways around the world every single day. While this example may seem inno…
 
Marlon Peterson grew up in 1980s and 90s Crown Heights, raised by Trinidadian immigrants. Amid the routine violence and crack epidemic that would come to shape the perception of his neighborhood, Peterson spent his childhood preaching the good word alongside his father, a devout Jehovah’s Witness. The specter of the American Dream loomed large, and…
 
The United States is the only country in the world where property rights commonly extend “up to heaven and down to hell,” which means that landowners have the exclusive right to lease their subsurface mineral estates to petroleum companies. Shale gas extraction—commonly known as fracking—is often portrayed as an energy revolution that will transfor…
 
The vast majority of American—71 percent—believe the economy is rigged in favor of the rich. Guess what? They’re right! And Morris Pearl and Erica Payne would know—they’re some of America’s wealthiest “class traitors,” and they joined us to take us on an engaging and enlightening insider’s tour of the nation’s tax code, which is where they say ever…
 
Many believe that COVID-19 has exposed everything that’s wrong with decades of the world’s governments betting on militarism, competition, and wealth creation. But is a better world really possible after this crisis? Author John Feffer collected insight from dozens of the world’s leading thinkers and activists to answer this question, and he joined…
 
The roster of Warner Brothers Records and its subsidiary labels reads like a roster of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Prince, Van Halen, Madonna, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Red Hot Chili Peppers, and dozens of others. But the most compelling figures in the W…
 
Lying has been a part of society since the beginning. Over the past decade, however, it has become increasingly clear that damaging lies and falsehoods are amplified as never before through social media platforms that reach billions. Lies have abounded: about COVID-19, about vaccines, about public officials, about products. And unfriendly governmen…
 
What kind of beat is irresistible to listeners, and how is it achieved? What makes a musical collaboration successful? What can musical minds teach us about innovation? They don’t think like we do, and in the creative process, they don’t act like we do. R. Michael Hendrix believes it isn’t a coincidence that some of the world’s most respected creat…
 
What’s ahead for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents when it comes to civics in our country and communities? How can we work together when parties are often divided themselves? This April Civic Cocktail continues an intended multi-part, multi-party series begun in February. With a new administration in the White House, local leaders discuss th…
 
Is aging a disease? How old does your body say it is? How can we live longer, healthier lives? Dr. David Sinclair, Harvard professor of genetics and bestselling author, joins ISB co-founder and genomics pioneer Dr. Lee Hood for a conversation about the very latest in aging research. David A. Sinclair, Ph.D., A.O. is a Professor in the Department of…
 
The message that the patriarchy and toxic masculinity negatively impacts men and boys as well as women has gotten louder in recent years. But what does that understanding mean for mothers who want to raise feminist sons? Seattle University journalism professor Sonora Jha joined us to offer her own thoughts about this complex and important question.…
 
In 2008, the American economy collapsed, taking with it millions of Americans’ jobs, homes, and life savings. The ensuing financial crisis was devastating, and many are still feeling its effects today. But despite the crisis, the US government has yet to implement policies that would prevent a repeat of the Great Recession. Why is that? Kerry Killi…
 
In 2015, the United Nations gathered for the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference. What resulted is arguably the most significant global agreement on the reduction of climate change: The Paris Agreement. On Earth Day 2016, 174 countries signed the agreement, including the United States (which withdrew in 2020 but officially rejoined in F…
 
For many generations, Americans were sold the idea of upward mobility. But today’s generations are unfortunately and unexpectedly struggling with downward mobility, both financial and emotional. A new essay collection gives irreverent and empathetic voice to this generation, hurtling into their next chapter with no safety net, and author Annabelle …
 
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