Skip to main content
Advertising

Picture This

Seattle Times photographers offer a glimpse into what inspires their best visual reporting.

May 11, 2013 at 9:48 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Cafe Racer heals, reflects after tragedy


ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Baker Leonard Meuse hugs former manager Nancy Neyhart outside of Cafe Racer early this year. Meuse, who was shot twice during last year's mass shooting, didn't hesitate to return and work at the cafe. "It's the fastest road to my recovery emotionally by facing it everyday," he said.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Jonny Henningson plays guitar with the soul garage rock band "Hounds of the Wild Hunt" during a KEXP Audioasis Community Partnership Concert for the Victims of the Cafe Racer Shooting Memorial Fund. Members of the group have been coming to the cafe for years. "You can just be yourself and everyone can love you for it," he said.

ERIKA SCHULTZ/ THE SEATTLE TIMES

Former Cafe Racer manager Nancy Neyhart shows one of the heartfelt mementos left by the community after last year's tragedy. The cafe is often described as being a creative, inclusive space that feels like a neighborhood living room.

This player was created in September 2012 to update the design of the embed player with chromeless buttons. It is used in all embedded video on The Seattle Times as well as outside sites.


ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Nancy Neyhart, former Cafe Racer manager, and Ava Shockley, a local salon owner, share supportive messages, paintings and pictures that flooded the cafe's sidewalks after last year's mass shooting. Shockley helped create a memorial area that includes an old trunk in the back of the cafe.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A picture of best friends and artists Joe Albanese and Drew Keriakedes (also known as Meshuguna Joe and Shmootzi the Clod) is displayed in the memorial area at Cafe Racer. The men performed with the band "God's Favorite Beefcake." Their former bandmate Gus Clark described it as "one part circus jug band, one part apocalyptic carny jazz." The men met at the Oregon Country Fair, and then played together in the group Circus Contraption, said Nancy Neyhart, former Cafe Racer manager.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Darla Rae Barry Benson, left, and Liz McDonald talk with owner Kurt Geissel and his dog inside the Cafe Racer. "Cafe Racer has always collected a wide assortment of people and groups -- lot of musicians, lot of cartoonists, lot of painters," Geissel said. "Nobody was going to let this horrible event define what Cafe Racer is or was."

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Cafe Racer employee Leonard Meuse survived being shot twice by gunman Ian Stawicki, once in the chest and once in the head. This image from his doctor shows shattered sections of his jaw.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Cafe Racer employee Leonard Meuse attends a follow-up visit with Dr. Craig Birgfeld at Harborview Medical Center. The plastic surgeon tended to Meuse's facial reconstruction, as well as a recent infection. Meuse, the lone, injured survivor of last year's mass shooting, expects doctor visits for years to come.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Ben Todd, from left, Sarah Blanchard and Kristian Garrard talk outside of Cafe Racer before a benefit concert. Todd and Garrard play in the band Lonesome Shack, which Todd describes as "haunted boogie." "Cafe Racer is where I met my bandmates, and it's been a huge part of our relationship," Todd said. "It's been inspiring to see the community come together after the tragedy, bounce back from it and pull together. It's what all the victims would have wanted -- to carry on and strengthen the bonds."

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

After a recent benefit show, Cafe Racer patrons mingle on Roosevelt Way Northeast. Throughout the day and night, the cafe's neon sign flashes, "We're open." "We weren't going to let that negative energy keep us down," said owner Kurt Geissel. "None of the victims would have wanted it."

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Leonard Meuse puts out a batch of freshly made baked goods on the counter of Cafe Racer during a recent KEXP Audioasis Community Partnership Concert for the Victims of the Cafe Racer Shooting Memorial Fund. "Community is a huge part of healing," Meuse said. "Knowing that so many people are there for you is mindboggling. It's powerful."

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A large crowd dances to music of Nu Klezmer Army at Cafe Racer. Despite the tragic loss of their friend and bass player Joe Albanese (also known as Meshuguna Joe), Cafe Racer is still their favorite place to play, says bandmember Gus Clark.

ERIKA SCHULTZ/ THE SEATTLE TIMES

Guitarist Jonny Henningson, left, motions to Cafe Racer employee Daniel "bones" Crouch through the window during a recent show. Henningson, who plays with the soul garage rock band "Hounds of the Wild Hunt" said members of the group have been long-time patrons. "We've been keeping this place open with our beer money," Henningson said.

ERIKA SCHULTZ/ THE SEATTLE TIMES

Dustin McMahon, center with hands up, cheers during a "Hounds of the Wild Hunt" performance. The recent KEXP Audioasis Community Partnership Concert raised money for the Victims of the Cafe Racer Shooting Memorial Fund. A live taping from last year's benefit at the Neptune will be available in June 2013 and will also aid the memorial fund. For more information, visit: www.caferacerlove.org.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Seattle resident Lawrence Adams threw a stool at gunman Ian Stawicki during last year's shooting rampage at Cafe Racer. Police say his bold action saved lives. Adams, who lost his brother in the World Trade Center attacks, said the loss "gave me resolve to do what I did." A year later, Adams said he misses his friends, especially sharing tales from the previous day.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Keith Johnston sits in the memorial area during a recent evening at Cafe Racer. Johnston said he misses his friends Donald Largen and Drew Keriakedes, but thinks the community is healing from the shootings. As a cafe regular, Johnston said he empathizes with owner Kurt Geissel, "deep in my heart for reopening."

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A memorial trunk at Cafe Racer collects mementos honoring the victims from last years shooting including Drew Keriakedes, 45, from left, Joe Albanese, 52, Donald Largen, 57, and Kimberly Layfield, 38.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Cafe Racer shooting survivor Leonard Meuse rests after a shift of baking for the restaurant. After being shot, Meuse went into "survival mode," calling 911 from the floor and then hurrying to call his boss from the back room. Since the incident, Meuse faced his feelings and returned to the cafe, where he finds a strong sense of family and community. "It's simple, you just put one foot in front of the other," he said.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Cafe Racer pins are worn at a show earlier this spring. "You can't cram all the people in there that are affected by or love the place," said owner Kurt Geissel. "They wouldn't fit."

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Gus Clark balances a chair during an impromptu dance party at Cafe Racer. "Whether you are a college kid or an old man or a dirty punk or just a little off -- as long as you're are nice -- you are welcome," said Clark, about the cafe.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Leonard Meuse gives Chihuahua "Papi Chulo" a temporary wig with his beard at Cafe Racer. Silly jokes and banter are the norm for Meuse, Ricky Castellanoz (Papi Chulo's owner with the tattooed hand) and owner Kurt Geissel, behind. "This is a second home, or, someone's 'other living room' to many people," Castellanoz said. "I love this place because it is a place for everyone. All walks of life are welcomed here, which I think exemplifies Cafe Racer's reputation for holding such a strong community and acceptance for all people."

ERIKA SCHULTZ/ THE SEATTLE TIMES

Nancy Neyhart, left, former Cafe Racer manager, and Nick Anderson put up a Cafe Racer Love banner at a recent benefit show. Neyhart helped start the Victims of the Cafe Racer Shooting Memorial Fund. The memorial website and general fund benefits the injured shooting survivor and the victims' families. It also assists with employees' missed wages, and it helped rebuild the cafe.

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
No comments have been posted to this article.
Start the conversation >

PREVIOUS POSTS

Advertising
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►