Hidmo, an Eritrean restaurant near the border between the Central District and the International District, is owned by the sisters Asmeret and Rahwa Habte. Hidmo has become not only a center for local hiphop, but also a community center whose programs and projects receive funding from granting organizations like 4Culture. The place has a reputation for good food, good live shows, and promoting progressive political leaders and issues. The day before the recent election, Hidmo hosted "You Down with PPP: Politics, Process, Power," the third forum in a series about what the political races meant to the community. Hidmo, wisely, does not separate culture (a concert by lesbian rap group THEESatisfaction) from politics (a discussion about Referendum 71). Hidmo is an open organization, one that is willing to try new things and create a space for unexpected encounters. (The owners of Hidmo have invited me to hold an informal bimonthly discussion on contemporary philosophy. But it's not a business arrangement—they're not paying me.) Seattle must keep an eye on this business/art/political project. CHARLES MUDEDE

Paula the Swedish Housewife

Casting herself as the DIY doyenne of "the little fishing village" that is Seattle, Paula the Swedish Housewife made her name as a popular figure in the city's alterna-arts scene in the early to mid-'90s. She then devoted a string of years to motherhood and came roaring back in the new millennium as a theatrical producer. What got Paula on this list: her yearlong campaign to import the best gender-bending performance art the world has to offer straight to the stage of the Triple Door, including John Kelly's awe-inspiring Joni Mitchell tribute Paved Paradise Redux, Justin Bond's "tranny witch" celebration The Rites of Spring, and Joey Arias's eternally entrancing performances as (really, channeling of) Billie Holiday. With this series, Paula established herself as the veritable Harriet Tubman of drag art, smuggling in faraway drag talent for the benefit of us all. DAVID SCHMADER

Teen Tix

As the subscription generation fades into history, arts organizations have scrambled to find new, young audiences. Enter Teen Tix, Seattle's leading force for getting young butts into theater seats and museum halls, which lives in a little office in a musty corner of the Seattle Center House. Over the past five years, Teen Tix has cajoled local arts institutions into selling its members (13- to 19-year-olds) $5 tickets. Smart institutions, like Pacific Northwest Ballet, jumped at the opportunity. Less smart institutions dragged their feet. But Teen Tix persevered, and its members now have access to over 30 theaters, museums, etc. around the city: On the Boards, Seattle Art Museum, the Vera Project, Seattle Arts & Lectures, Northwest Film Forum, and so on. By the end of 2009, Teen Tix will have facilitated the sale of over 12,500 tickets (2,500 a year) to teenagers. In its most recent survey, 70 percent of Teen Tix members said they now attend the arts "more frequently" or "a lot more frequently" than they did before joining. If Seattle culture has a future, Teen Tix is at its heart. (Full disclosure: I sometimes teach a critical-writing class for Teen Tix members. But the organization's achievements far predate—and have nothing to do with—my involvement.) BRENDAN KILEY