Our city is on fire. The streets are smoking with hot deejays, the buildings are blazing with passionate performers, the bars are burning wildly and the galleries are smoldering with artists you have never heard of. Seattle needs your help- but don’t grab the buckets, grab your friends and plunge headfirst into the fire-stoked madness yourself. If you haven’t noticed the smell of something big about to happen in Seattle, then you need to get out there and feel the frisson of energy in our city. I dare you.

Seattle is crawling alive with talented artists and performers pouring out their souls on stages, behind decks, on the canvas, on the microphone, every single night. You might think that the “Seattle arts scene” is reserved for cool, young people with crazy colored streaks in their hair who have no worries and plan secret parties under bridges and dance all night and live only to have fun. Well, yes, this is one of the blazin’ hot music scenes in this city. But there are more, so much more.

Seattle is stocked full of people who know that the transcendent experience of shared understanding through art does not discriminate; it goes way, way back into human history, beyond race, beyond gender, beyond class, beyond all the labels we want to separate ourselves with. This need to be understood through creative expression is universal and much more important to our happiness than any contrived consumer “needs” for big screen TVs or picket fences. It is an innate necessity in every single human on this planet, and I experience it every night in Seattle. I see middle-aged men with bad haircuts playing their souls out to a crowd of strangers on a Monday night. I hear singers like Vicci Martinez grabbing the ears of everyone in the Showbox with her open, clear voice; her tales of lost love overwhelm me, not because I am so into her music, but because she is. I wander into the sports bar Fuel in Pioneer Square and am completely bowled over by a random butt-rock band screaming and giving their absolute all to a mad, slammin’ crowd of fifteen. On Friday nights at Trinity the booty-shaking, bottle-full-a-bub Top-40 crowd proves that they too, must dance to the beats and gets down accordingly; I clap for comedians who live to make people laugh despite themselves. I see artists at events painting and bravely putting themselves out there to have their innermost expressions judged; I watch actors on tiny stages who have devoted hours and hours of their lives to entertaining YOU.

You may not be into bluegrass music or improv comedy or punk bands, but as a human you will appreciate the passion, the energy, and the enthusiasm that these artists create to make our world a little more colorful and exciting, a little more alive. Are you part of this world of creative expression, taking place all around you in Seattle, burning it down venue by venue with a flaming passion? You should be, and now you have no excuse. Get out there, I dare you. Follow your interests on CultureMob.com and meet your community; then go further and try something new, something weird, something a little uncomfortable. The notion that the secure, convenient experiences are the most worthwhile to pursue is just wrong. We spend our whole lives trying to create a safe little bubble away from weird situations and unusual moments, to pare down the excitement in favor of a warm cup of tea. I know the green tea is yummy and your couch is comfy, but get off it- no one ever had a soul-changing experience while Tivoing stories about other people’s lives.

What is your story? Is it full of amazing, random experiences that have changed who you are? Do you remember meeting that painter who transformed the way you think about art with the stroke of a brush? Have you been blown away by a musician who is channeling a higher power so much that his hands don’t even seem to touch the guitar? Have you been moved to tears by the words of an actress that will never win an Oscar? I have, this week, in Seattle, experienced this passion, this unabridged enthusiasm for life and art and the expression of the desire for understanding and communication that fills every single human being on this planet. Right here, in Seattle, every night.

Art is for every human being; we are all privy to the energy of the universe; all you have to do is follow your interests and find your community. Do you like offbeat, quirky theater productions? Multi-media art installments? Crass comedians? Quilting extravaganzas? Dance-offs? All of the above? Whatever you are interested in, there is a community in Seattle waiting for you to share your experiences and opinions, and you can find them at CultureMob.com.

Our city is on fire! Is your life? Get out there, Seattle, and add to the flames. I’ll see you on the dance floor.

Shilo Urban

Community Seattle is on Fire! Burn, Baby, Burn!