John Boylan’s Autumn Conversation Preview

We’re back.

I hope you’ve all been having a wonderful summer. For a lot of people I know, this has been a summer to remember, a time when everything comes together and life is charged with beauty. For some, however, these have been difficult times, and I wish them the best of outcomes. For more than a few, the summer has been a little of both.

We’re putting together a great conversation series this fall. The venue remains Vermillion, a sweet little bar/art gallery on Capitol Hill (1508 11th Ave ( Whether or not you make the conversations, I encourage you to stop by. The conversation dates for the next several months are all on Tuesdays: September 22, October 20, and November 17.

Here are the topics I’ve been looking at:

Art and Alcohol—I want to go into the role that alcohol plays in the generation of art, and perhaps more commonly, the way that alcohol has become integral to support for art. Stories of art fueled by alcohol are legion, while it has become a given that most arts venues have some sort of bar or option for selling drinks. How does all that work?

Confidence—I’ve been wanting to explore the idea of confidence. Most art and culture can’t be created without it, to some degree. Any nation-state that suffers from a lack of it is doomed to fail. Is ours one of these? I’m not talking about cockiness or bravado, but rather a clear sense of where one is going, with a faith in the potential for positive results. And then there’s the flipside, with the dangers inherent in confidence, the world of confidence men—and women.

Public Art—What is the status of public art, especially in Seattle, the hallowed capital of such endeavors? Where does art in public places stand in the larger worlds of art, politics, and commerce? Is public art being redefined? If so, what is it becoming?

What Does Civilization Look Like—All of us, with “us” being considered very broadly, have some vision as what the world should be like, what our best dream of civilization would look like. It’s important to get those visions aired, thought out, fought over. Without bringing our visions into the life of the everyday, we can’t hope to make them real.

For more information, or to put forth guest suggestions, you can reach me at 206-601-9848.

I’ve been busy recently putting myself onto Web platforms. You can now find me on Facebook at Friend me, baby.

I’ve also just launched a little writing experiment, a serial novel: “Ship—a weekly adventure serial, a space opera, a romance, a small diversion in trying times.” You can find it at

And if you want to link to this announcement, you can find it at

Finally, a plug: conversation alum Davida Ingram writes that Storme Webber will be teaching a writing workshop at SAM on August 30. The workshop, “History in the Making,” focuses on writing and rewriting family narratives. It’s a closing event for the museum’s exhibit “Titus Kaphar: History in the Making.”

Storme is one of Seattle’s treasures, a writer, performer, teacher, and activist, and an extraordinary presence. Here are the details:


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