Street Bands in White Center - Honk Fest

Honk! Fest West 2018

This impressive three-day celebration of a “global renaissance of community street band culture” arrived in White Center, WA on Saturday June 2. 

The musicians go all out in every way. The music is loud and raucous. So are the wardrobes, hairstyles and general demeanor of the musicians who give every impression of having more fun than anyone. But the audience is deeply appreciative as it roves from one “stage” to another. This is a high energy/low resources operation. The stages of a well-financed music festival are absent. Here the street is the stage, which only makes everything feel more authentic and down to earth, as befits community street band culture.

16th Street the main drag in White Center — “Not so white. Not so centered” as the local bumper stickers say — offers a great backdrop for the musicians and their music. Rather than the ubiquitous sponsors’ logos at high-powered music festivals White Center local business store fronts provide the backdrop: Beer and Wine Source, Los Potrillos Tacqueria, Angkor Market, Bok A Bok, Proletariat Pizza, Locker Room Tavern, We Buy Gold and more.

Most bands hail from the Pacific Northwest but some come from as far away as Lowell, Mass as Honk! Fest is a national operation. The band names are as creative as the music and the bands’ appearance including among others, Brass Liberation Orchestra, Chaotic Noise Marching Corps, Filthy Femcorps, Neon Brass Party and, one of my favorites, Rise Up! Action Band singing/chanting “Say Their Name!” and “You and I must fight!”

The entire day was a cacophony of music, color, dancing and a great deal of unbridled joy, much of it led by women who seemed to be everywhere and in every band. I hope the photos capture some of that. I had a blast!

http://www.honkfestwest.org

 Red head from The Party Band, Lowell, Mass

Red head from The Party Band, Lowell, Mass

 Rise Up!Action Band, Seattle

Rise Up!Action Band, Seattle

 Give Back Brass Band, Seattle

Give Back Brass Band, Seattle

 Filthy Femcorps, Seattle

Filthy Femcorps, Seattle

 16th Ave SW, White Center

16th Ave SW, White Center

 Filthy Femcorps, Seattle

Filthy Femcorps, Seattle

 Filthy Femcorps, Seattle

Filthy Femcorps, Seattle

 Brass Band at Brass Knuckles Bistro

Brass Band at Brass Knuckles Bistro

 16th Ave, SW White Center

16th Ave, SW White Center

 Chaotic Noise Marching Corps on 16th Ave SW

Chaotic Noise Marching Corps on 16th Ave SW

 Chaotic Noise Marching Corps on 16th Ave, White Center

Chaotic Noise Marching Corps on 16th Ave, White Center

 Filthy Fem Corps, Seattle

Filthy Fem Corps, Seattle

 Horn Player from The Party Band, Lowell, Mass

Horn Player from The Party Band, Lowell, Mass

 Too much fun on 16th Ave SW, White Center

Too much fun on 16th Ave SW, White Center

 Ed and Andrew from The Party Band, Lowell, Mass.

Ed and Andrew from The Party Band, Lowell, Mass.

 Horn Player outside Angkor Market

Horn Player outside Angkor Market

 Brass Band exiting Brass Knuckles Bistro

Brass Band exiting Brass Knuckles Bistro

 "Say their Names" from Rise Up! Action Band

"Say their Names" from Rise Up! Action Band

Notions of Home Exhibit at Photographic Center Northwest

Two of my photographs from On the Wing Line are in the exhibit Notions of Home at Photographic Center Northwest this fall. 

The Boeing factory is home for a large part of my life, more than I’d like. Those I work with are my extended family. We work on the factory floor building wings at an incredibly fast rate of 47 airplanes a month. Perhaps because we’ve worked the swing shift for so long, it has intensified our sense of it being a home away from home. Instead of dinners with our kids or spouses, we spend them with each other. 

We are together with each other more than our immediate families. We care for each other. We see each other through cancer treatment. We talk about difficulties in marriage together. There are births and funerals. We laugh and get irritated with each other, like any other family.

There’s a certain comfort I feel when I’m there that I don’t feel elsewhere. When I clock in, I feel the sense of coming home. I’m among people who care about me. It doesn’t mean I love my job. The pace is demanding and the pounding, drilling and blasting of horns is deafeningly loud. Like most blue collar jobs, our wages and working conditions are deteriorating, but it’s still possible to make a decent union wage. They are not what they used to be and we wonder if they ever will be again.

Many of us are very far from our birth homes. We come from all over the world and have been thrown together. This series is an exploration of my extended family who work on the Wing Line.

 Aman, Horizontal Build Line Inspector   I grew up in Punjab, and moved here when I was 12 years old. I come from a family of 4 girls and 2 boys, I am the youngest of all. I grew up on the farm where we had chickens, parrots, peacocks, and 2 dogs.  My house is built in the middle of fields of mustard, wheat, corn, We grew our own vegetables and food. We had cows and buffalos for our dairy needs.   I love my job and people I work with. I feel blessed to have great co-workers as friends, as guides, and I appreciate their care and support. I feel my coworkers are my second family.    I would like to go back and visit my homeland every few years, but I would like to settle down here in the States permanently.   I dream to own some land and build a home similar to the one I had back home in country side, with a few chickens, dogs, and rabbits as my pets since I can’t have fields of mustard, wheat or cotton or corn here in the States. I would settle down to be surrounded by the natural beauty of Washington State.    

Aman, Horizontal Build Line Inspector

I grew up in Punjab, and moved here when I was 12 years old. I come from a family of 4 girls and 2 boys, I am the youngest of all. I grew up on the farm where we had chickens, parrots, peacocks, and 2 dogs.  My house is built in the middle of fields of mustard, wheat, corn, We grew our own vegetables and food. We had cows and buffalos for our dairy needs.   I love my job and people I work with. I feel blessed to have great co-workers as friends, as guides, and I appreciate their care and support. I feel my coworkers are my second family.

I would like to go back and visit my homeland every few years, but I would like to settle down here in the States permanently.   I dream to own some land and build a home similar to the one I had back home in country side, with a few chickens, dogs, and rabbits as my pets since I can’t have fields of mustard, wheat or cotton or corn here in the States. I would settle down to be surrounded by the natural beauty of Washington State.

 

 Olga, Parts Inspector   I come from the little city on the Pacific ocean called Soviet Skaya Gavan’ (Soviet Harbor). To work on the wing line means for me lots: new friends, like a family relation, new info on how to do things - food for the brain.     My passions are any kind of creations — including designing shirts and dresses. I created a Medusa from tree roots with snakes and I painted her and put a dress on her in my garden … I did decor on our fence around the house with spikes made from tree branches. Last month I did the first felting top for myself, felted home shoes, hats and cat domes. Any kind of art is my passion.    

Olga, Parts Inspector

I come from the little city on the Pacific ocean called Soviet Skaya Gavan’ (Soviet Harbor). To work on the wing line means for me lots: new friends, like a family relation, new info on how to do things - food for the brain. 

My passions are any kind of creations — including designing shirts and dresses. I created a Medusa from tree roots with snakes and I painted her and put a dress on her in my garden … I did decor on our fence around the house with spikes made from tree branches. Last month I did the first felting top for myself, felted home shoes, hats and cat domes. Any kind of art is my passion.

 

Thunderbird on 16th Ave., White Center

Long Shot, 2017

I've participated in the Photo Center Northwest's Long Shot event since it's inception. This year 695 individuals from 32 states and 14 countries participated and we raised over $26,000 for the Photo Center.

I submitted five images to the jurors and this shot from 16th Ave in White Center was chosen to hang as part of the exhibition. It was the end of a long day that started at the Georgetown Carnival and later included watching the Rainier Roller Girls bout against the Spokannibals at South Gate Roller Rink. This was was the last subect I photographed that evening after wandering a bit in White Center with my friend Ann-Marie.