Back in February, Howie Echo-Hawk made a lot people feel cringe — and that was his goal. He was one of the performers behind the fifth run of “Dear White People,” a variety show at Boom Boom L’Roux spotlighting people of color. As a member of the Pawnee Nation, Howie didn’t shy away from talking politics, racism, or genocide. He forced audiences to confront our country’s violent history, Seattle Globalist columnist Reagan Jackson wrote at the time.
“When I do standup, I am telling these stories for Native people first and foremost, and then all [people of color]/LGBTQ+/disabled/any oppressed community,” Howie told us via email. “Now, usually, there aren’t many Natives, if any, in the audience. Because of the genocide. And since I know that, my stuff is very pointed at white folks. I call it ‘Punishment comedy.’”
We caught up with Howie to learn more about how his confrontational comedy lands with Seattle audiences.
What inspired you to get into comedy?
I kind of always wanted to try comedy, along with making my own music, writing, and various other self-aggrandizing acts, but just never did. Then Donald F*cking Trump got elected, and I was like, “F*ck it. If he can do that, what even matters? Let’s just do this.”
I was also really irritated with white folks, specifically white Seattle liberals, because of their inaction during the election, and their supposed outrage after. I remember so many white liberals saying, “Oh gosh, I’m just so embarrassed Trump is our president,” because that was the biggest worry they had — to be embarrassed. I wanted to try and push their buttons a little.
What’s your favorite part about being on stage?
Being elevated above the audience both physically and spiritually.
What motivated you to talk about your indigenous heritage, race, and genocide in a comedic light?
Probably the same reason white male comics talk about dollars, depression, divorce and dicks: It’s all they’ve got.
What’s the response been like to your work?
It’s been really fascinating. It has ranged from actual tears to people laughing so hard they shock themselves. And that’s just during one set. Some white people get offended, and some white people want to be buddies with me. I put those people essentially in the same category. I can literally say that it is not for them. If they like it, then cool. If they don’t, then cool.
Know of a Seattleite doing awesome things around our city? Hit reply to let us know, and we might feature them in a future edition.
Wage hike. On Tuesday, Amazon surprised everyone by announcing they’re planning to start paying their U.S. workers a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Why’d they do it? Jeff Bezos told The New York Times it was in response to the public’s scorching criticism of him and his corporation — and he’s encouraging other big businesses to follow in his footsteps. Seattle venture capitalist and corporate responsibility advocate Nick Hanauer told GeekWire he’s stoked about this. “Obviously, it is great news for Amazon workers,” he said. “But even more significantly, his pledge to engage in advocating for higher wage standards shows remarkable and rare leadership. I’m super proud of him.” 💰 (GeekWire, The New York Times)
Putting this on our vision board. As we wait for our light rail system to expand in big ways, we’re daydreaming. Of what? Things like the electric car city in Sacramento, pedestrian-first urban planning in Denver, and an equity-focused bus system in Detroit. (Curbed Seattle)
Warm up with a cuppa. Fall is upon us and that means cozying up on brisk mornings with a mug of something hot. If you’re not a coffee fiend like many of your neighbors, you’re in luck — Seattle has an awesome selection of tea shops, too. A few of the spots to find something teasty: Ballard’s Zen Dog Studio for their tasting ceremonies, Burien’s Phoenix Tea for its single-origin varieties, and the International District’s Panama Hotel for his historic café and memorial to Japanese internment. 🍵 (Eater Seattle)
The Great Chocolate Popcorn Debate. Seattle’s beloved Cinerama theater is known for serving up great flicks and (arguably greater) popcorn. What sets theirs apart from your average theater? It’s chocolate popcorn. 😍 But it turns out this delicious local treat is rather controversial. Seattle Times movie critic Moira MacDonald, a self-described popcorn purist, called the chocolatey snack “just wrong.” Food writer Bethany Jean Clement liked the choco-pop at first, but ended up sugared out. “If you can eat a whole bag of chocolate popcorn and not have to go run in circles in the lobby, then collapse in a corner, I salute your sugar tolerance,” she wrote. 🍫 (The Seattle Times)
And by the way… In yesterday’s poll about The Stranger team’s conflict about cushy movies vs. the classic red ones, 90 percent you — not too surprisingly — said you preferred the reclinable, comfy theatre seats popping in cinemas around town. 🙌
🤓 TODAY: Hear your neighbors dive into 5-minute talks on a fascinating topic with Ignite Seattle (Capitol Hill) — SOLD OUT, with a standby line and a livestream
🎙️ TOMORROW: Get a fun primer on Seattle history from the recession of the glaciers to the opening of Ballard Locks at this Foundation event. (Fremont)
🍸 Monday, Oct. 8: Learn all about gin at this Foundation workshop where tickets get you light snacks, an apertif, the classic cocktails, and a digestif. (Phinney Ridge)
🍽 Tuesday, Oct. 9: Eat good food and meet good people while you honor and celebrate local agriculture at this Futurewise Feast with Friends. (Downtown)
👍 Wednesday, Oct. 10: Decode your leadership style at this Impact Hub Lunch + Learn (Pioneer Square)
🗣️ Wednesday, Oct. 10: Hear from CNN’s Van Jones at Seattle Arts & Lecture’s three part series shining a spotlight on journalism and journalists (Downtown)
🎙 Wednesday, Oct. 17: Join us as we co-host Seattle’s Fuck Up Nights at the Seattle Interactive Conference and learn — in good fun! — from people’s failure. (Downtown)
🎟 Ride go karts and bumper boats after dark (Tukwila)
🍴 Get greasy at Cowabunga, the festival of beef (South Lake Union)
🍿 Kick off the Social Justice Film Festival with a flick on immigration (University District)
👋 Make new friends and learn old local history at this Evergrey partner event. (Fremont)
🎈 Pumpkin it up at this family friendly fall fest (Pioneer Square)
🗣 Watch U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) debate challenger Susan Hutchison (R) (Tacoma)
👋 Meet and support Native Coast Salish artists (Downtown)
🍻 Go on a wild ’90s bar crawl (Pioneer Square)
🎈 Root for robots at Robothon (Queen Anne)
🎈 Geek out with Legos at BrickCon (Queen Anne)
🎈 Take the fam to the big Issaquah Salmon Days Festival (Issaquah)
🛍 Refresh your wardrobe at the 4th annual Frock Swap (Ballard)
🏞 Walk a corn maze and ride monster trucks at Thomas Family Farm (Snohomish)
🎶 Get hoppy and classical at Bachtoberfest (Columbia City)
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag#theevergrey on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with an Evergrey membership. Is an event sold out? Hit reply to let us know and we’ll update the listing in tomorrow’s newsletter.
Want to go to a feast next Tuesday? You’ve got ‘til 3 p.m. to enter to win a pair of VIP tickets to the Futurewise Feast with Friends. Each ticket is worth $250, and gets you and a foodie friend bites, brews, and vino from top Seattle spots.
Want to enter? Just share this, your unique link to our signup form, to a friend who then joins in this crazy thing we’re doing together: https://theevergrey.com/invitation/*|UNIQID|*
Have a good one, all. – The Evergrey