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  • Team Demo Hugo

Fall 2018 Updates: Where the House Finally Is!

So much has happened since we posted last, with the film and the house that started it all. Let's dive right in. We submitted to SIFF. Last month, we put the final post-production touches on the film, and submitted to Seattle International Film Festival. If you know anyone at SIFF, put in a good word for us! We’ll be submitting to plenty of other festivals in the coming months, and starting to compile lists of libraries, literary centers, and other arts organizations in fast-growing cities around the country that might need this film. (And again, as always, we are always happy for help; if you have a suggestion, email us at

Timber Curtain was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. If you didn't know already, our writer / instigator/ executive producer Frances McCue started the poetry collection as narration for Where the House Was and morphed into a sister-project. It was published by Chin Music Press in fall of 2017 and last month it was honored at the Seattle Central Library as a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. The whole team was so proud to watch it on the big stage alongside so many other incredible books, including Ghosts of Seattle Past in the history category, and the poetry winner, Water and Salt, by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha. You can find the full list of winners here, the full list of finalists here, and you can buy Timber Curtain here. There’s a new Hugo House in town. At the beginning of September, we gathered with many other Seattleites to celebrate the opening of the new building at 1634 11th Avenue.

There was a line around the block to get in. Someone walking by might’ve thought it was a club. Balloons above the bar spelled out “Home. Home. I knew it entering.”—the opening line to “The Only Bar in Dixon.” Walking closer to the bar, you can see it’s backed with some scraggly, graffiti’d planks that are, in fact, floorboards from the old Hugo House.

The new place is full of beautiful touches and textures: a scavenger hunt’s worth of Hugo quotes hidden throughout the classrooms, a “bookshelf” of donor names, and even some built-in sunlight dappling the back wall. As Hugo said in “West Marginal Way,” “Some places are forever afternoon.”

We thought our hearts were bursting that opening night, but it was nothing compared to actually reading in the building. We got to host a Lit Crawl event and wrap up the unfinished business of the last event we held in the old building before it was torn down. That reading was interrupted when an air shaft/pigeon tomb flooded and sent water (and some sparks) down on the audience. Frances McCue and Production Manager Cali Kopczick screened clips from the final film, including a portion where Rebecca Brown (who was a very gracious member of the Lit Crawl crowd) serenaded the evacuating audience with an air-violin. Cali got to finish the poem she'd been reading onstage when the flooding started. McCue read from Timber Curtain and talked through some of her memories of living and working in the old house. There was no flooding this time around, but we can't say that every eye was dry.

It’s been 3+ years since we found out that the old Hugo House was being torn down, and now everything that launched from that news seems to be coming to a resolution all at once. In this new house and in all the festivals and film screenings to come, we can’t wait to grind in some dirt, spill some drinks, shout some words, and make ourselves a home.

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