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Taking photos of just about everything nowadays is a staple in our culture. Often, though, these photos aren't the best quality. If you want to improve your own skills—whether with your smartphone, tablet, point-and-shoot camera or DSLR—join fellow members during a digital photography class Tuesday, May 14.

The Club welcomes Ari Shapiro of Dauber Art Photography as the new class instructor. While technology is, of course, a big part of some photography, Ari says there is something else to master first.

"The old line that says 'a picture tells a thousand words' really is true!  The first thing to master is seeing what that story is and how you, as the photographer, plan to tell it. After that, learn to see light."

Once you find your subject, it's about capturing it in a way that makes sense to you. His class is for all skill levels, and will cover the basics—how cameras work, their settings and terminology—and also cover some advanced techniques—light balance, photo composition and digital software.

"We'll discuss some of the traditional 'rules' and how they apply today, and creative ways to break them," Ari says. "This class will be more about the concepts of photography, not necessarily a specific type. The ideas learned here can be applied to several different styles."

You don't have to bring your camera or equipment to the class, although you may if you prefer to ask specific questions. If you're a pro, a hobbyist or a novice with a phone, the class can be of interest.

To register for the May 14 event, which takes place from 6:30-9 p.m., contact Membership Director Kaarin Keil at The class is $45.

By Allyson Marrs

It's a city known for its culture—for its music, food and unwavering spirit. New Orleans is loud, proud and full of life.

Just for fun, the Bellevue Club is throwing a bayou party, to bring a little bit of Southern hospitality (and celebration) all the way to the Pacific Northwest. Friday, May 17, members are invited to the South, for an evening spent with some of N'awlins' best exports.

There will be a lively jazz band, a palm reader and, of course, a big ol' New Orleans Cajun buffet. It's a May Mardi Gras that's fixin' to be one great party.

The city has always been synonymous with great music, tangled with European, Latin American and African-American cultures. The bold sounds of brass bands are also said to have originated here, infusing their sound into jazz. One of the most famous jazz musicians came out of these parts, too—Louis Armstrong.

The music scene also encapsulates rhythm and blues, and because of the cultural melting pot, the sounds of Zydeco and Cajun music are also prominent.

What's a great party without music? The city's deep roots in musical creation and evolution could feasibly be credited to its big, bold celebrations.

Perhaps the most famous of these celebrations is New Orleans' Carnival season, which culminates in Mardi Gras (literally, Fat Tuesday). With parades and floats—the only parade ever allowed through the French Quarter—and traditional food and music, it's a way to enjoy the last few days of eating and living big, before the fast, which begins Ash Wednesday.

That food is something to be seriously celebrated. Centuries of influence from its varying cultures mean that a single region is immensely famous for French, Spanish, Italian, African, Cajun and Cuban cuisines. All of these have now become known as "Louisiana flavor."

New Orleans' specialties include Gulf oysters on the half-shell, boiled crawfish, gumbo, jambalaya and the Monday tradition of red beans and rice.

More than anything else, though, the culture of the city is alive—almost pulsating with its vibrancy. It's an amazing thing to be able to continually absorb new cultures, while continuing tradition, so it's no wonder people seem to be gripped by the city's magic, which you can be, too, if only for a night.

The Big Easy rolls in Friday, May 17, from 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $75, and can be purchased by contacting Membership Director Kaarin Keil at

They may call it "The City that Care Forgot," and you're sure to remember this night for many to come.

mingle photoGIRL POWER HOUR

The social networking event is back for the second time at the Bellevue Club. Wednesday, May 8, join a panel of social media-savvy women for a few hours of discussion, socializing and plenty of fun.

Created by Darnell Sue and Samantha Jackson in 2007, Girl Power Hour was built out of necessity, as a way for women to connect and share ideas.

"We decided to keep it women only because we wanted to create a new spin on the old boys club," Darnell says. "We wanted a place just for us. Plus, adding men to the mix changes the environment. Women feel like they have to be something else, and quite frankly, we felt like there were enough coed events out there."

Darnell's background is in marketing and international business, but she thrives on the constantly changing landscape of social media. Her company hosts quarterly networking events, in addition to running a social media management brand—Girl Power Hour Media.

"In my opinion, social media is hands-down the most important form of marketing today for any business or brand. Social Media is a part of today's business and social landscape, so you better figure out what your online voice is, and you better find someone to manage it for you."

Darnell views social media as key to professional development, which is the goal of the event. She encourages women who are entrepreneurs, and those who are overall business-minded, to attend. "Because social media and tech are such hot topics, and not just for someone who is in business or who is looking to start a business, I expect to see a very diverse crowd of women."

While a large part of the event is about connecting with other female professionals, Darnell hopes attendees will also take away new ideas—new apps, different techniques and a fresh approach—to apply to their businesses. "I also hope they will walk away with new friends, contacts and inspiration," she says.

Grab your smartphones and plug in Wednesday, May 8, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Must be 21 or older to attend. Social hour will include cocktails, appetizers and dessert, with partnerships from Pearl Vodka, Girly Girl Wine and Espresso Elegance.

To follow along, the hashtag for the event is #powersocial, and you can find @GirlPowerHour on Twitter.

Contact Membership Director Kaarin Keil at to register. Cost is $45.

Event Schedule:
6:30-7:30: Networking, cocktails and light appetizers
7:30-8:45: Panel discussion and Q&A.
8:45-9:30: Networking, cocktails and dessert

mingle photoBOYS WILL BE BOYS

Another year of mother/son bonding brings a new crop of fun activities and entertainment. This year's party will be Friday, May 3, and things kick off with a yummy, kid-friendly dinner.

After the feast, it's time to get inked! Airbrush tattoos will be available, so your little guy can get that "mom" tattoo early on, and in a little less permanent manner. Moms are encouraged to get in on the tattoo fun, too, and get their own artwork.

But the main event is a chatterbox. Charlie the Noise Guy is just what his name says. He's a vocal sound impressionist with a magic mouth capable of fantastic impressions.

He specializes in "noisy tales," where trains, crashes and sonic booms come to life. Charlie can perform hundreds of sound effects, which make his stories exciting and unusual. But Charlie is also a kids' comedian, so among the thrilling sounds, he'll entertain with a funny story, and even teach the boys a few sound-making techniques.

The show itself is 45 minutes, interactive and fun for all ages.

If you want to attend this year's mother/son party Friday, May 3, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., contact Membership Director Kaarin Keil at Tickets are $45 for one mother/son pair, and $10 for each additional son. Mother figures are welcome to join the fun too!

mingle photoFILMS4FAMILIES
SIFF movie viewing at the Club

A little piece of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is coming to the Bellevue Club Tuesday, May 7.

As part of the Films4Families series, there will be a viewing of one of the kid-friendly movies in its collection. Some 2012 selections included "Brave," "Brad & Gary," "Catch and Release" and "Ira Finklestein's Christmas."

During the event, you'll hear from a SIFF expert, and learn a bit about the film before you watch. Afterward, there will be a Q&A, and guests will receive SIFF vouchers for the 2013 season—redeemable at any screening of its Films4Families series.

This particular SIFF program is intended to introduce families to both national and international films—both well known and smaller in audience.

Films are either live action or animation, and meant to bring the family together through storytelling and entertainment. Often, Seattle-area families are among the first group to see some of the select titles.

The program also helps foster in kids a love of film, and educates the younger audience on how to think critically about what makes a picture great—from the story to the dialogue to character development.

To help with this, SIFF has a Youth Jury for its family movies. Comprised of seven youth, aged 8-12, the kids act as judges, watching all of the movies and naming a favorite. The winner is announced at the Golden Space Needle Awards, held after the festival ends.

Although movies are steeped in entertainment, children's films often have an underlying message or a call for creativity, which is beneficial for developing minds. When the whole family experiences these films, there's the possibility for discussion, which not only fosters relationships between parents and children, but a relationship between the kids and their imaginations.

The 2013 SIFF festival runs from May 16-June 9, and the full lineup will be announced Thursday, May 2.

You can learn more about SIFF by reading this month's Culture Shock column on page 18.

The Bellevue Club/SIFF movie fun is Tuesday, May 7, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $8/person, and you can claim yours by contacting Membership Director Kaarin Keil at

There will be a no-host bar and some treats available for purchase; so sit back, relax and enjoy the show.


Member Events Director: Kaarin Keil | 425-688-3384 |
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