Ray Larsen photo by Daniel Sheehan.
In this industrious city where cultural erosion is becoming the norm, and every year it feels more pronounced than the last, Café Racer is a treasured oasis that feels like an almost perfectly jarring juxtaposition with Seattle’s relentless path of growth. A path that finds itself becoming increasingly accustomed to importing character rather than cultivating it.
Visually, Racer is home to a dazzling curation of clashing oddities. There you’ll find art on the walls, plenty of trinkets one might find at a travelling flea market, plastic bottles upcycled to become lamp shades, and even an N64. As a space, it has an open-concept stage adjacent to the bar that hosts an infinity of shows, literary readings, and dance performances. If attendees are not up for a performance or looking for a break, they can just head upstairs to the OBAMA Room (Official Bad Art Museum of Art) to catch up with friends, or plot a conspiracy with creative folks who care about the art of it all.
There are several creative communities that come together for collective creative engagement here, and among them is one of the most welcoming, adventurous, and open-sourced music incubators in the city: a free improvisation and creative music session called Racer Sessions. On any given Sunday at 8pm at these sessions, one can find Seattle’s finest creative musicians side-by-side with curious sonic explorers to freely improvise music out of thin air without pretext; even combining at times with movement and lyrical artists.
This January, Racer Sessions will be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of its staple experimental and new music festival, Cry & Roar. For two holy nights, Friday January 24th and Saturday January 25th, Cry and Roar will take over all of Café Racer’s connecting spaces to create an immersive environment that explodes with unbridled creativity and expression. And capping off the weekend will be a special Racer Session on Sunday January 26th featuring local power trio No Baby, comprised of dancer/choreographer Allison Burke, multi-instrumentalist Joe Oakes, and former Thunderpussy drummer Ruby Lucinda.
This year’s Cry and Roar producers Haley Freedlund, Chris Icasiano, and Evan Woodle have put together a collection of performances that showcase and elevate the music pioneers that have helped grow this unique scene from its inception, as well as more recent torch bearers who continue to push the art and community forward.
Included in this year’s festival lineup will be the likes of Casey Adams, Amelia Coulter, Gregg Keplinger, Ray Larsen, Jason McGill, Ted Poor; an improvised string quartet featuring Lori Goldston, Noel Kennon, John Teske, and Janna Webbon; Bad Luck; and movement artists Jocelyn Beausire and Kate O’Day.
Racers Sessions has persevered through much during its decade-long tenure. Among them, a rapidly changing city, tragedy, changing of guards, Café Racer’s temporary closure and its transfer to new ownership—the wonderfully Seattle-spirited Jeff and Cindy Ramsey. This Cry and Roar will be a full-circle celebration for what has become a testament to the power of community through art, in all its overflowing character. A beautiful reminder that the creative soul is alive and blossoming and is welcome to all who seek it.
JANUARY 24TH – 8PM – $10+
Great Bliss (Jason McGill)
JANUARY 25TH – 8PM – $10+
Lori Goldston//Janna Webbon//Noel Kennon//John Teske
JANUARY 26TH – 8PM – FREE
Racer Sessions: No Baby