Hugo House Hosts Cephalopod Appreciation Event



Cephalopod. That word probably sounds familiar from early high-school biology. For a group from Seattle, these marine animals are far more than just an association with a high- school biology class. The Cephalopod Appreciation Society (CAS) invites all lovers of cephalopods– such as squid, octopus, cuttlefish, and Nautiloidea– to celebrate the fascinating existence of these creatures.

Once every year, The Cephalopod Appreciation Society hosts an event to admire the beauty of the marine animals. On Wednesday, May 1, the group extended their tentacles to the public to gather and learn about what impact cephalopods have spiritually, artistically, and in nature.

Sierra Nelson is the founder of the CAS. The society started in 2003 and tries to put this event on once every year, only missing it a few times. Typically, they host it at Hugo House, right across the street from Cal Anderson Park, but they have also hosted at the Seattle Waterfront Space.

The group known as ‘Merfolk’ performed a dance routine focused on the Nautilus, using a series of intricate movements to demonstrate the complexity of the creature.

Nelson was always interested in marine sciences and thought cephalopods were intelligent, beautiful creatures and the formation of the CAS took off from there.

“I would talk about it with other people and they would be like, ‘Oh I love cephalopods too,’” Nelson said. “It just seemed like there was momentum to get together to celebrate learning and thinking about them.”

For such a niche event, the audience was packed, and Nelson was thrilled about it. “So many people came tonight just to celebrate,” Nelson said.

The event had two halves to it, and crowd members who stayed until the end were rewarded with tap dancers and a folk band dressed as cephalopods.

The performers and presenters showcased their cephalopod related art. Many poets discussed cephalopods and sexuality, or dreams of cephalopods. The crowd got to get up close with a cephalopod via videos that a legendary, local diver, Diver Laura, had filmed.

A few local artists also had the opportunity to discuss their work around town, as the CAS is mainly located out of Seattle. There were numerous projects that had cephalopod-inspired artwork that is displayed on murals in restaurants, dumpsters, and even sculptures.

For Nelson, there was no clear favorite act as she exclaimed they were all great. The acts throughout the years have changed, but the spirit remains the same celebrating beauty throughout life by appreciating cephalopods.

A first-time attendee, Kianna, enjoyed the poetry and the music the most.

“I’m friends with one of the people in Merfolk, and I know they do a lot of events. I wanted to come out and support. It’s a good mash-up for me,” Kianna said.

Kianna likes cephalopods and decided that she would try to fit the theme to the best of her ability, as she explained how she owns fish and jellyfish clothing, but no cephalopod attire. Nelson proudly wore her cephalopod printed clothing as she eagerly welcomed performers to the stage.

Luckily for fellow attendees that did not sport cephalopod attire, there was a craft table set up for fans. Kianna was surprised to see this set up at the event, but it added to her enjoyment of the event.

“I was super excited to check out the craft table, and the plushy table. I love it. My friend and I were hoping for a keepsake,” Kianna said.

Ava Clark, also a first-time attendee, found out about the event from a friend and thought it would be a unique event to attend.

“I had no idea about it until my roommate found out about it online. This is definitely a Seattle event,” Clark said. Clark has heard of niche events taking place in Seattle, but this one surprised her.

“I’m not sure what I expected necessarily. I was thinking maybe it would just be a marine biologist discussing cephalopods or something, but this was a pleasant surprise,” she said. “I really liked how people tied cephalopods into their artwork and how they feel like the imagery of the animals is powerful in different ways. It says a lot about people I think.”

With every performer on stage, eyes lit up and smiles spread across the room as people listened to others share their passion for art, life, and the fascination of cephalopods.

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