Cafe Racer celebrates five years of far-out jazz | Concert preview | Soundposts | Seattle Times

Wednesday, January 07, 2015 // Share on Facebook

Cafe Racer celebrates five years of far-out jazz | Concert preview

Posted by Paul de Barros

The late baritone saxophonist Andrew Carrico, who died tragically young in 2012, used to describe his sound as “somewhere between a cry and a roar.” The musicians who gathered with him at the University District hangout Cafe Racer appropriately adopted those words as the title of their festival, which celebrates the kind of unpredictable, elbows-out jazz (and beyond) played at the cafe’s Racer Sessions. The fifth edition of the festival is this weekend.

The Friday roster features Albert Ayler-influenced saxophonist Neil Welch (pictured); the intriguingly mysterious Lawson ensemble; electronic experimentalists Young Nudist (with keyboardist Michael Coleman), and the delightfully wonky electro-pop quintet Heatwarmer (Luke Bergman, vocals, bass, keyboards; Kristian Garrard, guitar, conga; Aaron Otheim, keyboards, vocals; Andrew JS, EWI, keyboards, vocals; Evan Woodle, drums, vocals).

Saturday, it’s electronic and “found sound” composer Shannon Kerrigan; Dio Jean-Baptiste & Geoff Traeger (drums and processed vocals); WA (Simon Henneman, bass, guitar; Gregg Kepplinger, drums); drummer Evan Woodle; keyboardist Otheim; trombonist Christian Pincock; and cellist Lori Goldston.

Sunday’s program is curated by bassist Bergman’s King Tears Bat Trip and also features Welch.

Cry & Roar

8 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Jan. 23-25, at Cafe Racer, 5828 Roosevelt Way N.E., Seattle; $5-$15 per night (

via Cafe Racer celebrates five years of far-out jazz | Concert preview | Soundposts | Seattle Times.

Top 10 live music venues in Seattle | Travel | The Guardian

Friday, November 07, 2014 // Share on Facebook

A cosy neighbourhood coffee shop and a colourful hole-in-the-wall bar, Cafe Racer is home to the Obama (Official Bad Art Museum of Art) and The Racer Sessions. Curated by a different musician every Sunday, the sessions are dedicated to exploring innovative original compositions and improvisation. The community of avant-garde musicians who jam here every Sunday have been hailed by the New York Times as the future of Seattle’s jazz tradition. If improvisational music isn’t to your taste, stop by the bar at night from Thursday to Saturday, when local punk and rock bands play live and loud.

via Top 10 live music venues in Seattle | Travel | The Guardian.

The Future of Seattle’s Jazz Tradition: The Racer Sessions :: Sosh :: Seattle

Thursday, October 30, 2014 // Share on Facebook

For years, Racer Cafe has brought together various artists, musicians, and performers in a welcoming and accepting atmosphere. Their longstanding Sunday sessions have fostered a community of like-minded artists from every walk of life.

The record label Table & Chairs started the Racer Sessions at the cafe over three years ago to work on musical composition and allow for free improvisation. The event has since prided itself on being the nucleus of a vast, intricate network of artists, and has always been synonymous with inclusivity and compassion.

The Racer Sessions cover a much larger scope than just jazz, welcoming and encouraging all types of improvisors to join the sessions. Open-mindedness of both the staff and patrons has made the Racer Sessions such a success.

via The Future of Seattle’s Jazz Tradition: The Racer Sessions :: Sosh :: Seattle.

Cafe Racer – Seattle, WA – The Stranger

Tuesday, October 07, 2014 // Share on Facebook

Cafe Racer


Cafe Racer is a hodgepodge of mismatched furniture, weird stuff on shelves, and, of course, the OBAMA (Official Bad Art Museum of Art). Here are some clean-cut college types drinking beer, here is a lady with poppy-red lipstick and a big fur hat claiming your drink is her own in a friendly but insistent manner, here is the fiddle player from the band sneaking potato chips off an abandoned plate. The menu is simple, with Racer Dogs being the clear favorite. Of note in menu verbiage: “We take pride in the fact that we are a friendly place… If you want your food in 30 seconds, go to McDonald’s. If you don’t want anyone to talk to you, go to Starbucks.” It’s true: The food takes a while, and people will talk to you. Also: strange and generally wonderful live music several nights a week. Cafe Racer is an embodiment of the triumph of the human spirit. Cafe Racer equals love.

via Cafe Racer – Seattle, WA – The Stranger. Cafe Racer: Seattle’s Famously Quirky Dive

Sunday, October 07, 2012 // Share on Facebook

Cafe Racer: Seattle’s Famously Quirky Dive

Easily one of Seattle’s all-time quirkiest and best-loved neighborhood dives, the Café Racer Espresso (5828 Roosevelt Way NE), has since 2005 offered up good coffee, simple food, cheep beer, and fun music to an eclectic clientele comprising an ongoing parade of outsider artists, actors, writers, motor-scooter enthusiasts, neo-vaudevillians, musicians, hippies, steampunks, stray dogs — all sorts of social misfits — and even a few “normal” college students and neighbors. Among the joint’s attractions are its irreverent and nonconformist vibe; its motley collection of mismatched chairs, tables, and couches all strewn between a maze of oddly shaped rooms; and a mind-boggling museum of “bad art.” Overseen by owner Kurt Geissel (b. 1959), the cozy venue epitomizes that theoretical physical space sociologists refer to as a “Third Place.” As such, it is a comfortable, inexpensive, and very inviting spot where everyone is welcome, conversation is spirited, live music is energizing, and creative sparks fly. Alas, bullets also flew on May 29, 2012, when a gunman murdered several regulars and wounded a staffer. But, like a beautiful phoenix rising from the ashes, the Café Racer community first stood together to mourn, and then to rebuild their little bohemian oasis, which reopened on July 20, 2012. . . .

via the Free Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History.

The Official Bad Art Museum of Art, aka The OBAMA | KPLU News for Seattle and the Northwest

Monday, March 07, 2011 // Share on Facebook

We all know where to go to see “great” art. But what about really “bad” art? Where do you see that collection?Well, you are in luck because Seattle has its very own Official Bad Art Museum of Art. It’s The “OBAMA.” The collection’s curators are the Seattle couple Marlow Harris and Jo David.

Club House for the Creative

The museum is housed inside Cafe Racer, a blue, nondescript coffee house and bar right at the edge of the University District in Seattle.

The people who hang out here are burlesque artists, cartoonists, musicians and the occasional sword swallower. It’s a club house for the creative. To get into the “OBAMA” isn’t easy. Joe David says the artwork has to meet a certain standard.”

“It’s a piece that started out with the right intentions and then something horribly went wrong along the way.”

Yes, the pieces are bad, but they are still interesting to view. The collection goes well beyond “Dogs Playing Poker.”

Dozens of paintings line the wall salon style. There are babies with big eyes and cheesy nudes, which are in a room off to the side for a little privacy. Someone spent hours making a contemplative rabbi in needlepoint and Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” is executed in a lot of yarn.

The Minds Behind The Idea

Joe David and his wife, Marlow Harris came up with the idea for the OBAMA. It’s one of their many jokes that have taken on a life of its own. These are the same people who started Seattle’s annual Elvis impersonation contest which now draws “Elvi” from around the world.

Some days it’s like Christmas at Cafe Racer. A few paintings might be left outside before it opens. No notes, just the unspoken understanding that they are meant for the walls of the OBAMA.

Sometimes pieces arrive in the mail. One was even sent from California. David and Harris say they have so much really “bad art” that they are paying people $5 to take the dregs away for good. . . .

via The Official Bad Art Museum of Art, aka The OBAMA | KPLU News for Seattle and the Northwest.