Three in the morning passed, and I had work early Sunday morning and a pile of neglected homework to do, but I was too stoked to sleep. The weekend's wave of positive vibes was just too ripping. I'll likely be riding it all week long.

The kickoff was the Friday, May 2, All Ages Art Night at the Seattle Central Library. I had never visited the city's colossus of a new library, but the night couldn't have left a better first impression. The event showcased diverse artistic endeavors from many of the city's gifted young locals, but Seattle's Hip-Hop Youth Council easily stole the show.

Though the small stage provided felt miniscule against the library's battleship-sized walls, the Council's group of poets and rappers couldn't have been bigger or more exciting. The Council aims to provide positive opportunities for youth in hiphop culture. The group had a newsletter available decrying violence in Seattle's African-American communities, accompanied by photos of friends and family whose lives have been taken prematurely. There was an underlying message of hope and change throughout the group's performance, which climaxed with the whole crew of kids piling onto the stage to perform an epic city pride anthem called "206 Twist." The group hosts a weekly showcase called We Got Next every Wednesday night at Waid's at 1212 East Jefferson Street. Go! I guarantee that you'll leave with a smile stuck on your face.

After such a fun Friday night, the bar was set pretty damn high for Punk Rock Prom at Redmond's Old Fire House Teen Center on Saturday. But having been to the last six or seven proms, I knew that the all-out effort the OFH puts into making the night a memorable one would be more than impressive. There were streamers and a giant photo backdrop, abundant punch and cookies, and the sizable crowd all looked adorable in their Value Village dresses and ties. I'm no old man, but it's always eye opening to go back to the teen center and see a new generation of kids. Whether an escape from serious threats like street violence or less daunting problems like suburban monotony, it's great to see organizations providing creative alternatives for kids, 'cause we can't all join the football team, and nobody wants to get shot. recommended