Next Episode: Conversation!

Event Date: Tuesday, February 19 from 7:30 to 9:30 pm

Admission is free. Tell your friends.

This roundtable conversation series happens at Vermillion, an art gallery, bar, and neighborhood gathering place at 1508 11th Ave, Seattle ( For more information on the series, call John Boylan at 206-601-9848. If you want to link to this announcement, you can do so at

A history of the conversations is available at

The Summary

This time, we’re talking about conversation, looking at why and how we talk. We’ll have a guest host, Randy Engstrom, the Interim Director of the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. And we’ll have one guest, noted conversationalist John Boylan. See below for more details. And please note the time; we’ll be starting a little later than usual.

The Guest (see the bios below)

John Boylan, writer, raconteur, provocateur

The Story

This will be a conversation about conversation, why we talk, what we say, and what we expect to find when we talk with each other. And we’ll go into why this conversation series exists, and what it has—or has not—accomplished over the years.

John Boylan writes:

I tend to see conversation as a core glue or mortar with which we build both our identities as individuals and the relationships with which we construct our families and our communities. It’s how we become who we are. It’s not the only glue, and it may not be the most important. But it certainly has the deepest potential for both stark pain and soaring uplift. It is, after all, how we are educated, how we make decisions, how we most immediately express our desires.

Often conversation delights. For me that happens when I find myself in discussion with someone of excellent imagination, or someone who just knows a lot and in the course of an evening’s conversation can make me stretch my mind.

Sometimes conversation pisses me off, as in a crowded theater…, but let’s go into that when we meet. Do come.

Thanks to John Perkins, Meredith Clark, and Randy Engstrom for excellent conversations that led to this one.

The Guests in Detail

Randy Engstrom has been a passionate advocate and organizer for cultural and community development for over 10 years.  He is currently the Interim Director of the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. He served as Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission in 2011 after serving 2 years as Vice-Chair, and was chair of the Facilities and Economic Development Committee from 2006 to 2010. He was most recently the Deputy Director of the Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association (DNDA), a community development organization that seeks to create a thriving neighborhood through a variety of creative programs and services. Randy served as the Interim Director of the King County Food and Fitness Initiative while working at DNDA, where he stewarded a multi-faceted program that sought to create policy and systems change in the food-retail, school and built environment sectors.  He was also the Founding Director of the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, a multimedia/multidisciplinary community space that offers youth and community member’s access to arts, technology, and cultural resources ( opened in 2006. Prior to DNDA and Youngstown, Randy spent 3 years as the Founding CEO of Static Factory Media, an artist development organization that owned and operated a record label, bar/performance venue, graphic design house, recording studio, and web development business. Before Static Factory Randy was the Program Coordinator of the Fremont Unconventional Center, a non-profit event space dedicated to helping other charitable organizations with their fundraising efforts through event facilitation and support.  He is also a founding member of Stronghold Arts Collective, an artist live/work project comprising four neighboring houses collectively owned by eight resident artists. In 2009 Randy received the Emerging Leader Award from Americans for the Arts and was one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. He is a graduate of the Evergreen State College in Olympia, and he received his Executive Masters in Public Administration at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs.

John Boylan is a writer, conversationalist, and provocateur. Since the 1997 he has run a roundtable conversation series about art, politics, and culture at large. The series has featured more than 300 guests, including some of Seattle’s most fascinating artists, scientists, poets, engineers, writers, musicians, composers, architects, actors, impresarios, and culture workers of all stripes. A history of the conversations is available at

John is active on a number of cultural and community fronts across Seattle, including service on the board of directors of Art Corps (, Seattle’s largest nonprofit arts education organization.

From 1994 to 1996 he was the editor of Reflex Magazine, which covered the visual arts in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and since has written irregularly about art and culture in Seattle. He also has several fiction projects in the works, including Ship, an experiment in serial space opera, which is about to resume production after lying fallow for some months:

John is employed by the Microsoft Corporation, where among other things he runs a website for software developers, He has two bachelor’s degrees from the Pennsylvania State University, in history and English literature, and a master’s degree in communications from the University of Washington. His master’s thesis looked at the ways in which the New York Times contextualized the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations for an American audience.


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