THE STRANGER: Not Your Typical Basement Show
Full page article, center spread June 2008

The Round Celebrates Three Years of Unpredictable Music, Poetry, and Art.
“On paper it sounds like the most uncomfortable experience possible,” says guitarist Eric Howk of performing at the Round. “Everyone up onstage the whole time, no real rules or organization. But it works! And it is comfortable. It’s really fun watching this thing that we were all a little unsure of come to life so naturally.”
…If the Round wasn’t done well, it would be a free-loving clusterfuck of open-mic clichés. But Marion keeps it from looking like amateur night by bringing in strong talent and big personalities—past performers have included local stars Howk, Mark Pickerel, Damien Jurado, Shane Tutmarc, Jon Auer, Jen Wood, and Robin Pecknold.   more…

SEATTLE WEEKLY, 2009:  I checked out Round number 48 at the Fremont Abbey Arts Center last week, and in case you’ve never been, it is, as its name implies, a round-robin, multimedia arts performance in which a handful of songwriters switch off performing their and each others’ songs, with a spoken word poet (or poets) thrown into the mix, too. To top it off, there is also at least one artist painting or otherwise creating visual artworks on the sidelines.
Well, the Round has grown since its humble beginnings — there are now Rounds happening in other cities as well — and to commemorate this 50th Seattle show, it will be held at the very-classy Triple Door on Tuesday, July 7 with some well-known performers: Jesse Sykes, (pictured)Damien Jurado, and Buddy Wakefield. They’ll be joined by artist Scott Erickson, Easy Street muralist Glenn Case and a poet from Youth Speaks (not to mention some other mysterious “special guests.”
If you’ve never been to the Round, it generally happens the second Tuesday of every month at the Fremont Abbey Arts Center, and the space tends to fill up; since this one’s at the Triple Door, it shouldn’t pack out quite so fast, but the noteworthy roster means that it might be wise to buy tickets in advance
ROUND 50, JULY 2009
“…Most showcases serve to attract an audience, but the Round’s main purpose has been to create a place where artists could interact, collaborate, and support each other.

Bumbershoot lineup for The Round mentioned in good company in Seattle Times, wow.

An uncommonly warm music venue reopens its doors

My initial experience with the intimate “In the Round” performances included a rotating showcase of musicians, live painting and a poet. (I know what you’re thinking, but it was incredible: a vegan dinner, chairs! A crowd that was respectful and genuinely interested. Not one person standing with their arms crossed cynically, waiting to be impressed.) It was held in the basement of the Fremont Arts Abbey, and though the Round has no official affiliation with their landlords, the space lent a special sacred quality to the packed show. But then the monthly event was uprooted due to renovations and held in venues such as Nectar Lounge, which felt out of place—like seeing your kid sister at a bar. Thankfully, after three months away, the Round is coming home. “I’ve nearly died a few times during the renovation of the Abbey—on a 45-foot roof in the wind and rain,” says Round founder Nathan Marion, “but I’m so excited about the new space and can’t wait for people to come over and see it.” Christening the room tonight are Tomo Nakayama of melodic indie-rock outfit Grand Hallway, singer-songwriter Carrie Biell, and poet Ryler Dustin. After all, there really is no place like home.
The Round is a pretty great event—a few musicians share the stage with poets and painters and they all take turns playing songs and reading poems for the audience, sometimes even collaborating on the spot. And I know that could sound like some artsy fartsy bullshit, but it’s actually carefully curated with talented people, and therefore a lot of fun.  MEGAN SELING

THE STRANGER: A Round at the Fremont Abbey

posted by Trent Moorman on March 10 at 14:18 PM, 2007

The Fremont Abbey Arts Center has been renovated. 4272 Fremont Ave N. The Abbey is a 9000 square foot nonprofit venue that hosts all ages music, visual, and literary arts. There are also dance classes. They are not breakdance classes, but they are enriching just the same.


The Fremont Abbey also hosts the Round, curated by Nathan Marion. The Round is a regularly occurring multi-media show that takes musicians like Rachel Flotard from Visqueen, Robin Pecknold from Fleet Foxes, and Kirk Huffman from Kay Kay and puts them on stage at the same time with painters and spoken word artists. Someone starts a song, the others join in, improv ensues, people paint, and sometimes a poet speaks. They toasted the new space this past Friday:

Round 34 is tomorrow – Tuesday, March 11th. It’s Sonny Votolato (Slender Means), John Van Deusen (Lonely Forest), and Tara Ward.

“If the idea of a multimedia experience that combines live music, poetry, and visual arts scares you just a bit, you’re not alone—local troubadour Mark Pickerel admits his initial reluctance to participate when he was approached last year. In the wrong hands, the Round (a monthly event curated by Nathan Marion) could be a pretentious mess. Instead, it’s a relaxed, down-to-earth and—gasp!—fun evening where songwriters trade stories and songs, quality poets ply their trade and visual art happens at the same time. “It’s a cool way for different artists to connect,” says Pickerel. This month’s musicians are Robb Benson, Bre Loughlin, and Lesli Wood, which is reason enough to attend. Take a chance on something new and different. You might be surprised.” BARBARA MITCHELL

Seattle Weekly:

“If you’re one of those artistic types with trust and/or intimacy issues, I suggest you avoid playing Seattle staple The Round. Now in its 47th incarnation, The Round comes off like a singer/songwriter group therapy session. The performance format is much more open than traditional show boundaries; at The Round, artists can collaboratively explore covers, sing their own or their stagemates’ “classics,” try out new material or take a crack at improv in a relaxed environment. This anything-goes format has got to be the musical equivalent of throwing yourself backwards into an awaiting crowd, not only hoping you’ll not only be caught, but held up and praised. This month’s show features Jesy Fortino (Tiny Vipers), Grant Olsen (Arthur & Yu), John Van Deusen (Lonely Forest), and poet Maya Hersh, quality performers who’ll surely use The Round’s element of surprise to their—and the audiences’—benefit.” MA’CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

…the audience is literally surrounded by perpetual creativity.

by Rachel Bayer

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