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Finding a common ground
Sheila McGuffin, Lama John Heaviside and Amy Ezzo stand inside the freshly painted Common Ground, in the building that housed Old & Funqui before it went out of business this summer. Behind them is a painting by Ethan Foster. Islanders including McGuffin, the space’s manager, Heaviside, who facilitates weekly poetry workshops, and Ezzo, Vashon Youth Council’s progam director, are working to make Common Ground a space for Island teens to come together — “Live, work, learn, play,” is Common Ground’s motto. Common Ground is the new home of the Vashon Youth Council, and events happen there every week, including performance poetry workshops starting at 5 p.m. every Thursday evening. Sponsored by the youth council, the Vashon Park District, Development of Island Teens and Café Luna, the nights are for aspiring poetry slammers, beat poets, or anyone 20 and under who’d like their poetry to sound great when it’s read aloud. Heaviside, once a heavyweight in the New York City poetry slam scene, leads the events. “Ad executives, lawyers and presidents must all use powerful imagery and rhythm of language, learning the applied science of imaging and language rhythm and how it transfers to other genres,” he said. The workshops empasize presentation that is applicable to everything in life, from relationships to employment, he said.