Our Q&A with October speaker, Cynthia Brothers, who will be talking on the theme of Pioneer.
🎟 You can get tickets for her upcoming CreativeMornings talk here. 🎟
Cynthia started Vanishing Seattle in 2016 to document the displaced and disappearing homes, small businesses, and communities of Seattle – often due to redevelopment and gentrification. She’s a member of the anti-displacement CID Coalition, has contributed to The Seattle Globalist, and worked as a nonprofit consultant in immigrant rights, online organizing, and arts & culture. Being from Seattle, she’ll readily admit to local clichés like playing in bands and once making espresso for a living – and is proud she went to high school where Bruce Lee first demonstrated his “one-inch punch.” You can find Cynthia on Instagram and Facebook @vanishingseattle and at www.vanishingseattle.org.
[CreativeMornings (CM)] How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
[Cynthis Brothers (CB)] I see creativity as the ability to interpret and share something in a new, fresh, or provocative way. Much of what I do with Vanishing Seattle is just documentation – collecting and reflecting back what I’m witnessing in the city – but it elicits pretty strong reactions. Some of my work is also about interrupting and challenging dominant narratives and assumptions we may hold about notions of “progress” and change.
[CM] Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
[CB] From the people, history, and spaces of this city. There’s so much rich culture here – past and present. Every place has a story – I don’t have to go far to find curiosity and inspiration – whether it’s from the visual cityscape or the vibe and characters haunting an old Seattle watering hole.
[CM] What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
[CB] Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
[CM] Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
[CB] Tarik Abdullah and the Black & Tan Hall team. Julie-C and the Artist Coalition for Equitable Development (ACED). Dozer/Crick Lont and Beacon Arts: Artists, creatives, and culture workers who are visioning and implementing alternative, inclusive, and equitable community spaces, business, and development models.
[CM] What are you reading these days?
[CB] How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood by Peter Moskowitz. Can’t recommend this highly enough – demystifies the process of gentrification as a very planned and intentional set of policies and practices enacted by local governments, big banks, corporations, and real estate investors in the interest of profit-making. Bonus: it’s not written in Academic-Speak!
You Don’t Have to Say to Love Me by Sherman Alexie. Sherman Alexie is my favorite author – after the passing of his mother, he wrote this memoir about his complicated family and childhood on the Spokane Indian Reservation, and how he’s navigating both grief and love.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet by Jamie Ford. A love story set against the backdrop of WWII and Japanese American incarceration. Taking place in Seattle in the 1940s and 1980s – there’s lots of beautiful historical detail in this book that centers Nihonmachi, Chinatown International District, and the local jazz scene. And it’s going to be made into a film – executive produced by George Takei!
Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America. The “Pope of Trash” - and one my favorite filmmakers - hitchhikes the 70-W from Baltimore to San Francisco at the age of 71.
[CM] How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger?
[CB] I share pictures and stories of disappearing and displaced spaces, communities, and cultures of Seattle.