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Originally published Monday, July 14, 2014 at 8:10 PM

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Radio days at Seattle Center; a fun fundraiser at the zoo

KEXP begins its public fundraising push for its planned new home at Seattle Center, and the Woodland Park Zoo throws its annual fundraiser.


Seattle Times staff columnist

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It was a big deal, nine years ago, when KEXP DJ John Richards “came out” and admitted to listeners: “I have a kid.”

Standing at “All In: The Rally for KEXP’s New Home” at Seattle Center last Thursday, Richards wondered what he had been so worried about.

The place was teeming with tots, who are being raised to love KEXP as much as their parents do. They’ve attended station-sponsored dance parties at places like the Tractor Tavern, learned to breakdance with the Vicious Puppies Crew and, on this night were gathering around the stage to watch musical guests The Cave Singers. (That was Richards’ son, Arlie, 9, right there in front.)

“There’s no demographic,” Richards said. “There’s just music lovers.”

Kelsey Leighton and John Morefield brought their 5-month-old daughter, Magnolia June. The couple met at a KEXP show at EMP Museum a few years back and made a point of thanking Richards for, well, everything but the girl.

The event marked the start of the “Music Match” fundraising campaign, in which every dollar raised through Aug. 5 will be matched by Pearl Jam, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Dave Matthews. The goal is to raise $400,000. The entire capital campaign is $15 million.

The groundbreaking for the new home has been pushed back to December, delayed in part by the transition from a McGinn to a Murray administration; and because the new home will be located in the Center’s upper Northwest Rooms, built for the 1962 World’s Fair and therefore a historical site that requires a certain delicacy.

The concrete facade is embossed with a Native-American-inspired motif designed by architect Paul Thiry. KEXP and SKP Architects got approval to replace some of those panels with windows and will have to go through the same process to make changes to the colonnade, the overhang and even the color scheme.

“There is an overall process of respecting the building,” said Denise Burnside, KEXP’s director of business and operations.

The courtyard (and the beer garden) filled up quickly. There was KEXP DJ Jon Ketzer, who moved back to Seattle last month after teaching music at the University of Alberta. “Art Zone” host Nancy Guppy snapped a selfie with me (and, hopefully, cropped me out).

Mark Dederer and Toby Bright, both members of the capital campaign advisory committee, took in the crowd — Bright in a T-shirt bearing the logo of KEXP’s predecessor, KCMU.

“I’m thinking 1993?” Bright said when I asked how old it was. “I keep it under glass.”

DJ Kurt B. Reighley (the B. is for Bartholomew, in keeping with his family’s fixation on biblical names) reminisced about shows he had seen at Seattle Center.

Weezer, Ronnie Spector, Joan Jett,” he said. “It’s great to think that we are going to be an integral part of that music legacy.”

Said DJ Darek Mazzone: “We don’t have a basketball team or a hockey team. But we have KEXP.”

Party animals

The otters are all on birth control. So are the gorillas.

Oh, the things I learned at the 34th Annual Jungle Party at the Woodland Park Zoo, where a pig named Baxter roamed the grounds, an armadillo named Eduardo circled his pen and the two-legged types wore animal prints.

It was a little weird, but wonderful: “Carnaval: The Rhythm of the Rain Forest” raised $1.4 million to support wildlife conservation initiatives; as well as the zoo’s education and outreach programs, new animal exhibits and animal care.

“Not everybody gets to go to Africa and Asia,” said Zoo Board Chairwoman Nancy Pellegrino as we stood in the giant tent where the dinner would be held. “Here, you have that tangible experience that incites you to care more about creatures in the wild.”

I went into the on-its-way-to-wild reception on the zoo’s North Meadow to see Paul Balle, head of major gifts for the zoo; JJ McKay with Fredda and Steven Goldfarb; Rob and Marti Liddell and their daughter, Clare; and Mexican Consul General Eduardo Baca Cuenca.

Dr. Leroy Hood of the Institute for Systems Biology told me of a wellness study he just launched, outfitting 100 people with a Fitbit activity and sleep monitor. Hood and his team will monitor their molecular characteristics in an effort to minimize disease.

“It’s a paradigm shift in medicine driven by consumers and not doctors,” Hood told me. “We’re trying to change health care and to make it less expensive and more effective. ”

The study will grow from 100 to 1,000 participants in 2015, and eventually will include 100,000 people. (Count me in).

Brooks Sports CEO Jim Weber talked up the imminent opening of the company’s new headquarters (and retail store) at North 34th Street and Stone Way in Fremont — right along the Burke-Gilman Trail. Smart move: Weber has run three to five days a week for the last 30 years.

Rick Rasmussen, of Alaska Airlines, told me of the regular lunches he has with MVP Gold members, who tell him what’s working and what’s not. One thing that’s working? The “first class granola,” so popular that the airline just posted the recipe online. (http://blog.alaskaair.com/2014/06/22/recipe-first-class-granola/).

And something is clearly working for former U.S. Bank President Ken Kirkpatrick. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor and given a 1 percent chance of living eight to 14 months. That was three years ago.

“I’m the poster child for Swedish,” he said, while his wife, SaSa, beamed.

“They didn’t know our Kenny,” said their friend, Debbie Centioli, who brings holy water to the house all the time. (SaSa keeps it in the fridge.)

Whatever works.

Nicole Brodeur’s column appears Tuesday and Sunday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or nbrodeur@seattletimes.com.



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About Nicole Brodeur's Names in Bold

On Tuesdays, I tell you about my travels through some of the week's social and philanthropic events — not just the ones for the swells, but those for work-a-day folks who care about making this region move and improve. 206-464-2334

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