Arts and Entertainment

New Year’s Eve on Vashon: Get out and dance at two lively events

Publish the Quest will play at the Red Bike on Saturday.  - Courtesy Photo
Publish the Quest will play at the Red Bike on Saturday.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Islanders can close out the old year and toast 2012 at two New Year’s Eve bashes this weekend.

The Vashon Pride Association will open the doors to its annual New Year’s Eve Gay-La at 7:45 p.m. Saturday at the Center for Sustainable Book Arts, 22100 Vashon Hwy. S.W. The center is housed in the former VFW Hall.

The party will kick off with a champagne toast, followed by music spun by DJ Kelly and played live by The Eves of Destruction. A dessert contest will sweeten the evening.

Proceeds from the Gay-La will benefit two good causes — the Pride Association’s annual scholarship fund for a graduating Vashon teenager, and the It Gets Better Project, which is aimed at inspiring hope for young people facing anti-gay harassment, bullying and lack of family support.

The It Gets Better Project was founded in 2010 by Dan Savage, a syndicated columnist and author who once lived on Vashon.  What began as a single YouTube video made by Savage and his partner Terry Miller as a response to a rash of teen suicides has now led to an online explosion of 30,000 other videos. It Gets Better contributors have included everyone from young people to celebrities, activists, politicians and media personalities.

Karen Eliasen, owner of Vashon Island Music, is organizing the party along with Sue Nattrass, an Olympic athlete and business owner, and longtime Islander Cathie Anderson.

Eliasen said she is hoping for a big crowd to turn out to support these causes and have a good time.

“In the old days all the gay people on the Island knew each other,” Eliasen said. “We’d have occasional potlucks, parties, auctions and dances. Nowadays, there are lots of different groups on the Island … and we don’t all know each other anymore. I’m hoping that the New Year’s Gay-La will be a chance to cross-pollinate some of these interesting yet isolated groups.”

Tickets for the party will be on sale in advance at Vashon Island Music ($10) or at the door ($15). One drink ticket is included with the price of admission.

Publish the Quest, a band founded by Vashon native Jacob Bain, will play a New Year’s Eve show at Red Bicycle Bistro.

For Bain and the six other members of his band, the show will be a homecoming after an incredibly busy year of recording and touring.

The band recently returned from Europe, where they released the single “Sodade” in Portugal and then went on to tour Poland with the Sony recording sensation Nneka.

In the last two years, the band has also hopscotched the globe to perform in Africa, first in Cape Verde in 2010, and then in Zimbabwe at the 2011 Harare International Festival of the Arts.

Publish the Quest also released a new album, “Then What!?” in June, featuring guest appearances by Femi Kuti, Matt Chamberlain, Eyvind Kang and Radioactive.

And if all that wasn’t enough, Bain recently took the band on a 14-day tour of the West Coast.

“I’m in awe of what he’s accomplished with this really great band over the last year,” said Pete Welch, who booked the group to play at the Bike on New Year’s Eve. “The new CD is spectacular.”

The band’s music, familiar to its many Island fans, is a potent, danceable blend of blues, rock, ska and world pop, played with a blend of guitar, horns, bass, percussion and hip-hop and reggae-styled vocals.

Currently, Publish the Quest has a close alliance with the nonprofit group Learn Africa. Proceeds from their single “Sodade,” recorded with Cape Verdean vocalist Laise Sanches, will benefit arts education programs in Africa, and the band plans to continue to release more songs that will be sold to benefit groups that work to empower young people through the arts.

Publish the Quest’s New Year’s Eve show starts at 9 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $10. The show is for all ages until 11 p.m., and 21 and older after that.


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