Tacoma – YOU Take the Cake!

A big thanks to TACOMA for showing us the love at Cakewalk last Saturday! We know a lot of worthy groups have been bending your ear lately, Tacoma, a lot of exceptional organizations and people who are holding on tight during the current economic mess and holding their breath, just like us. We’re all in it together. But when the going gets tough, you shine the brightest, and last Saturday was no exception – thanks to your generous giving, and the splendid outpouring of gifts by our art and culinary communities (also feeling the pinch) – the Cakewalk exceeded its goal and Spaceworks is funded through the end of the year!

Judi Hyman wields her “Business Open” cake with a yellow frosted detour sign, candycorn traffic cones and Oreo and graham cracker “dirt”!

This event was fuuun. We have no idea how many people eventually filled the tricked-out warehouse at 311 S. 7th St. (headquarters of Electricbranch Creative), but the competition was fierce for the fantastic array of original art and homemade cakes up for grabs. DJ Broam, DJ Mr. Melanin and videographer Kris Crews set the tone for the night, and there was gyrating aplenty as partygoers moved around the separate “cakewalk” and “artwalk” circles for which they had bought tickets. The fact that this was an all-ages event made it all the more fun. Apparently, there is no official rulebook that governs the Cakewalk, but we were warned that body blocking little kids to get what we wanted would not be tolerated. Still, we threw down our $20 (artwalk) and $5 (cakewalk) tix with abandon, happy to support a great cause.

Spaceworks award recipient, Electricbranch Creative founder and Cakewalk event organizer, JD Elquist, with Drew.
Peter Stanley gets lucky.

Some people have all the luck – like Peter Stanley, twice a winner who took away an incredibly intricate Sean Alexander ink on paper as one of his prizes. “The main thing is to support Spaceworks,” he said. “It’s the best thing to happen in this town in a long time.” His date, Liz Kaster, also sashayed away with a piece of art, the iconic “Prop Cake” broadside designed by master printmakers Jessica Spring and Chandler O’Leary for their Dead Feminist series. “I love their work. I have a lot of their pieces,” she said.

Pas-de-dough: performance piece by the BareFoot Collective. Photo: Jamie Brooks

Another multiple winner was Post Defiance editor Katy Evans, whose arms were full with a delicate print by Meghan Mitchell, and one of Jennifer Adams‘ fine equine figures sculpted in paper (you can see more of her horses right now in a Spaceworks installation in the Woolworth Windows).

In a dark corner of the warehouse, contemporary dance troupe and Spaceworks award recipients the BareFoot Collective performed a dance piece possibly inspired by French artist Yves Klein‘s 1960 experimental work, Anthropométries. Painting their entire bodies with languorous movements, they kept viewers spellbound. Meanwhile, the conga-for-cake line rolled on with art lovers competing for dough (if we’re giving sugar/eggs/flour a lot of ink tonight it’s because we’ve been covering the art pieces in Cakewalk for the past few weeks).

“P.H.D’Licious” owner Denise Parker boasts “a sweet degree in flavor.”

The latest comer in Tacoma’s cupcake derby is Denise Parker, owner of a baking company called P.H.D’Licious, and originator of the surprisingly luscious Corona [as in beer] Cupcake with lime frosting, a fresh lime sliver, and upon request, a sprinkle of salt. We’ll take a six-pack! Parker, who looked like a dazzling avatar of the 1960s singer Ronnie Spector in flawless head-to-toe vintage, also introduced a PB&J (made with homemade strawberry jam) ‘cake, and mini-cupcakes adorned with edible pearls. “Everything from scratch,” she said proudly.

We saw attorney Stan Rumbaugh walk the walk for his wife, political strategist Sarah Rumbaugh, with a successful outcome: she proudly hoisted a fabulous ink drawing to add to her booty.

Sarah Rumbaugh stayed in the game all night.
Stan Rumbaugh turned over his winnings to Sarah Rumbaugh.

Rick Semple and Jori Adkins took time out from restoring the architectural gems they own in the Dome District to support Spaceworks. Their building projects, mostly self-supported, are now going on 10 years. “We need a vacation,” said Jori. The couple are headed for Mexico in the winter. We hope they come back.

We had a pleasantly hazy conversation with artist Shaun Peterson, Ben Ferguson of BLRB Architects and Dr. Jamie Brooks of Brooks Dental Studio about genealogy and our respective family histories, pondering the tangled webs of humanity, world events, personal choices and restless internal dispositions that after centuries had landed us together in Tacoma, Washington, on a balmy Saturday night walking in circles to win dessert.

Aaron Stevens and dentist/gallerist Dr. Jamie Brooks.

Goldfinch front man and Broadway Center programmer Aaron Stevens filled us in on the long-awaited Broadway Center “Fall Free for All” next weekend – it’s a full two days of music, theater, film, dance and more, all FREE, don’t miss it.

More and more righteous art and beautiful cakes blew past our fingertips. People kept walking round and round until every last blessed painting and oven-baked masterpiece had found a happy home.

Cakewalk was the kind of great party for ages 5 to 95 that Tacoma does really well – no one got obliterated and did something stupid, but many got very, very silly without even taking a drink. Money was made to support a great cause: to energize Tacoma’s downtown with art and fledgling entrepreneurship and to promote the work of our hardworking creative community. It made us feel warm inside, even if we didn’t get to put an artwork in the backseat or bring home something good to eat.

Amocat Café owner Morgan Alexander gets a grip on the ganache-covered, chocolate truffle cheesecake he created with Paula Jacobson.

Eddie Sumlin supertight on Saturday night.
Ben Ferguson and artist Shaun Peterson.

Post Defiance editor Katy Evans waxes triumphant.


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