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Archives for 07/03/2005 - 07/09/2005

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Sub-Zero

posted by on July 9 at 4:43 PM

Okay, so I stopped liking Judith Miller right around the WMD scare, and I haven’t felt passionately either way about her refusal to give up her source (I’ll leave those screeds to the knowledgeable news section), but this sucks. It’s the first concrete example of a chilling effect—and in the case of the Plain Dealer, it looks like the source could have been a real whistle-blower, not Karl Rove.

Backsliding on Evolution

posted by on July 9 at 11:45 AM

Apparently a hotshot Viennese cardinal (who’s chummy with Pope Benedict XVI) has begun taking his cues from the Seattle-based “intelligent design” (aka “wily creationist”) think tank, the Discovery Institute. Diverging from the ex-Pope’s cautious but smart acknowledgment in 1996 that evolution is “more than a hypothesis” and leads to productive scientific inquiries, Cardinal Christoph Schnborn is now scoffing at the idea that evolution might be “somehow compatible with Christian faith.” The New York Times has the story.

This pisses me the fuck off, especially since I took two years of biology at a Catholic high school, and, as everybody ought to know, biology as a discipline does not make sense without a strong foundation in Darwinian evolution. It scares me to think that Catholic school students might not be given the tools to understand a major branch of science. And it should scare you too—2.6 million American children are currently being educated in Catholic schools.

Continue reading "Backsliding on Evolution" »


Friday, July 8, 2005

Press Releases We Never Finished Reading

posted by on July 8 at 4:40 PM

YING YANG TWINS NEW ALBUM U.S.A. (UNITED STATE OF ATLANTA) IS THE #1 HIP-HOP/R&B ALBUM IN THE COUNTRY

New York, NY, July 8, 2005 - U.S.A. (United State of Atlanta), the fourth album from Ying Yang Twins debuts at #1 on this week∂s Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart on sales of 201,478. In a unique promotional tie-in that help jettison album sales, a $50 Exxon gift card was placed in 500 random CDs and as well as a chance for fans to enter an online contest to win free gas for a year.

?!?!


“A Little Trouty, But Quite Good”

posted by on July 8 at 3:39 PM

With all the holiday/SCOTUS resignation/lunatic bombing mayhem of the past week, I’d missed the sad news that screenwriter Ernest Lehman died on July 2. After the jump is one of my favorite scenes from him, from one of my favorite films: North By Northwest.

Continue reading ""A Little Trouty, But Quite Good"" »

Dear imaginary sugar mama/daddy

posted by on July 8 at 3:17 PM

I’ll take one of these.

I wonder if they come pre-programmed with this(which I think I am giving up on for now; perhaps one day I’ll like it as much as I love all their other records.)

wonderful/weird

posted by on July 8 at 2:33 PM

Michiko Stehrenberger, an artist/illustrator I’ve admired forever, just moved to Seattle. She has a show up in Tashiro-Kaplan. And she’s a doll. Yay.
Later, it was weird to see that after all these years people are still going to Neighbours in droves on Thursday night.

Worthwhile New Publication Alert

posted by on July 8 at 2:28 PM

Consume with (raised) consciousness.

unlettered arrogance

posted by on July 8 at 2:00 PM

We here in the theater section are used to haughty artists writing in to complain about not being handled with kid gloves. Sometimes friends of the artists write to friends at the paper, insinuating that, for example, I’ve never heard of Mark Morris. (Confidential to VJ: Um, of course I have. And also: I review performance, not an artist’s “significant impact on the community locally” or lack thereof. And also: I had no problem with the soloist; the fake-pompous molecules were what made me wince.)

But I’m getting carried away. This letter, addressed to Stranger writer Lindy West regarding her review of One Flea Spare, really takes the buttercream-frosted cake:

Continue reading "unlettered arrogance" »

NARAL: Even DUMBER Yet

posted by on July 8 at 1:07 PM

Not 5 seconds after I posted about how ill-advised and stoopid I thought NARAL’s “Screw Abstinence” fund raiser idea is, they obliviously sent this e-mail to Stranger writer Annie Wagner.

Delivered-To: annie@thestranger.com From: “Sonja Eberle” To: annie@thestranger.com Subject: local affiliate right in town!

Hi Annie,

Thanks for your great piece on the upcoming Supreme Court battle in this weeks Stranger.
I just wanted to let you know that NARAL Pro-Choice Washington is the state affiliate of NARAL Pro-Choice America (www.wanaral.org) and mobilizes Washingtonians right out of Seattle to uphold a woman’s right to choose.

Best,

Sonja Eberle

Communications Associate
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington

Stand up for a pro-choice future…your voice counts!

Sonja, I think Annie’s heard about NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. Given that you’re a local communications staffer for NARAL, you might want to check out what Annie wrote about NARAL Pro-Choice Washington last February after she interviewed your executive director re: Chocolate for Choice. That’s right, “Chocolate for Choice.”
Hmmm…a chocolate-themed fund raiser followed with a sex-themed fund raiser. Am I detecting a theme? I think you guys should have a little more respect for your constituency.

NARAL is DUMB

posted by on July 8 at 11:30 AM

Does this strike anyone else as a cringe-worthy and counterproductive theme for a pro-choice fundraiser. It seems politically idiotic for the preeminent pro-choice group in the country to be sponsoring this pandering, pseudo-hipster “sex positive” event. It undermines NARAL’s credibility as an organization that is seriously concerned with unwanted pregnancies by playing into the right’s stereotypes about the left as a promiscuous bunch of libertines. Wow-weee, the left is “pro-sex”and those meanie Christian activists want to preach abstinence in the schools. Look, I’m just as freaked out as anyone about the creeping evisceration of separation of church and state (see links below), but let’s be smart politically. A “Screw Abstinence” fundraiser is fucking trite, juvenile, and politically stupid.

Continue reading "NARAL is DUMB" »

Re: Tracy + the Plastics

posted by on July 8 at 11:18 AM

Wynn Greenwood, aka Tracy + the Plastics, is well worth seeing live. She’s been popping up all over the place from Holland Cotter’s New York Times review of her show with K8 Hardy to an essay in Artforum about the awkward downtime in her work and its inherent value (the kind of art writing that uses “performative” repeatedly). Maybe I was too busy drinking, hanging out, and enjoying the show to notice the meaningful, pregnant pauses in her show but the impression I was left with was that it was very fun, smart, and strange. Go see her and give Beth Ditto money in the process.

David Denby = My New Hero

posted by on July 8 at 10:43 AM

After posting my dissenting opinion about Batman Begins here yesterday (scroll down to find it), and hearing a lot about how I was wrong from Nelson and Mudede, I came home to my lovely New Yorker to find that I wasn’t the only person in America cringing over the screenplay. Quoth Denby: “The screenplay sounds as if it were written after a course in self-realization taken on Santa Monica Boulevard.”

More Help For Beth Ditto

posted by on July 8 at 10:21 AM

In addition to a Portland benefit for Gossip front lady Beth Ditto in the next couple weeks, Neumo’s is holding a fundraiser for the insurance-less musician Monday August 1. Ditto had her gall bladder removed and needs help paying her hospital bills, and there’s a top notch couple acts playing in her support, from Pretty Girls to Tracy and the Plastics—a multi-media extravaganza who’s definitely awesome to witness and dance to live—and guests.

Continue reading "More Help For Beth Ditto" »

21st Century Celebrity Lessons

posted by on July 8 at 9:14 AM

So I know I already devoted an inordinate amount of ink to the Bobby-and-Whitney humilation showcase Being Bobby Brown in this week’s Last Days, but last night I caught a chunk of Episode 2, and was shocked all over again.

Here’s the thing: In previous eras, celebrities would do everything in their power to keep humiliating footage such as that featured on Being Bobby Brown away from the media and out of the public eye. For example, I heard years of whispers about that notorious Go-Go’s party videoin which a seriously bedraggled Belinda and Kathy sexually denigrate some groupiesbefore finally meeting the friend of a friend of a friend who had a twelfth-generation bootleg copy to show me.

But all anyone has to do to see Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston denigrate themselves in every way imaginable is get basic cable and remember to watch.

That celebs like Whitney and Bobby are unable or unwilling to distinguish between good attention (such as applause after a performance) and bad attention (such as shocked gawking at bizarre private behavior) is a subject for another Slog…or maybe not.


Thursday, July 7, 2005

The Gay Roots of Hiphop

posted by on July 7 at 5:22 PM

At the end of Mobb Deep’s “Quiet Storm,” which has a sick loop of “White Lines,” convict Lil’ Kim raps
“It’s the real/Hah, it’s the real baby, hip-hop hip-hop hip-hop…” The way she chants “hip-hop, hip-hop” directly references Man Parrish’s 1983 groundbreaking “Hip Hop Bee Bop (Don’t Stop).” Man Parrish, one of the founding fathers of hiphop, is gay and white. He also produced in 1984 “Boogie Down Bronx,” a solid street hit that featured a rapper named Cool Raul. Later, Man Parrish made a gay disco hit with Man 2 Man called “Male Stripper”. What does this all mean? There is no such thing as a clear center, as a hard truth. Hiphop’s birth was wonderfully messy. Check out the video of “Hip Hop Bee Bop (Don’t Stop)”; it challenges present notions of what is and what is not the soul of hiphop.

The Answer to Pop Bach

posted by on July 7 at 4:57 PM

Jem’s “They” is the pop song that recycles the melody on Bach’s F minor, BVW 881. Our music editor Maerz is the one who helped me solve the melody mystery. Thanks Maerz.

Government Watch Dog? Try Government Attack Dog!

posted by on July 7 at 4:47 PM

In today’s giant editorial in the NYT defending Judith Miller’s decision not to reveal the name of the White House pit bull who put the retaliatory hit on Joseph Wilson/Valerie Plame, the NYT has the nerve to couch Miller’s stance as a fight for the right of journalists to “work on behalf of the public without fear of retaliation from any branch of government…” and as “defending the right of Americans to get vital information from news organizations that need not fear government retaliation.” Doth protest too much about “government retaliation.” And it’s no wonder! Miller (and the NYT) are complicit in aiding and abetting government retaliation against the exact type of whistle blower (James Wilson) that they self righteously claim to represent.
And get a load of this: The NYT writes, “The most important articles tend to be the ones that upset people in high places, and many could not be reported if those who risked their jobs or even their liberty to talk to reporters knew they might be identified.” The retaliatory hit on Plame/Wilson was hardly an “important article” nor was it one that “upset people in high places.” Quite the opposite, it made the people in high places very happy. After all, it was their retaliatory hit.
The journalistic principle that the NYT should stand up for is “Naming Names” (you know, like naming the names of government officials who try to squash public dissent by retaliating against whistle blowers.) Instead, the NYT is standing up for hiding government malfeasance from the public. The NYT would have a case if the original “story” hadn’t been superseded by a real and important one: White House retaliation against truth telling.

Nanny Nickels

posted by on July 7 at 2:24 PM

Imploding monorail? Shrinking city revenues? No, Seattle mayor Greg Nickels knows what the real issue facing our city is: Strip clubs!

Today, Nickels proposed a whole new raft of regulations on topless establishments, which are already effectively banned under a 16-year-old “temporary” strip-club moratorium that’s being challenged in court. (An aspiring strip-club operator is claiming that the single-purpose moratorium amounts to an illegal de facto ban on a legal business.)

The new rules would require bright lights throughout strip clubs; prohibit strippers from taking tips directly (“tips for dancers must be placed in a container provided by the club); and impose “a four-foot rule for lap dances,” according to Nickels’ syntactically tortured press release.

From Nickels’ statement: “I don’t want strip clubs opening up in our neighborhoods. … As a city, we have a clear duty to protect our neighborhoods from activities that aren’t appropriate near homes, schools and churches.”

One question, Greg: What strip clubs?

how DARE you?!?

posted by on July 7 at 2:21 PM

DAVE SEGAL:

“Admittedly, I haven’t heard [“Arrow Through Me”] in a while, but isn’t it a ballad, Sean? Are you thinking of “Coming Up” or “Temporary Secretary” from McCartney II? The world breathlessly awaits your response.

At last, a musical challenge from Mr. Segal I can rise to. “Arrow Through Me” is not a ballad. It is a slow soul jam, with unmistakeable disco instrumentation and arrangement, from the porno-film bass/clav line to the out-of-nowhere horn section to the great falsetto vocal delivery throughout. It’s an experiment with trying to sound like the radio, in the sexy style of, say, a “Deja Vu” or maybe “Dim All The Lights” or something. The album version of “Coming Up” (not to be confused with the live version issued as a (#1) single, included with the LP of McCartney II), is a nervous, lo-fi pop song that obviously meant something to Talking Heads. “Temporary Secretary” is a paranoid, belligerent, awful-wonderful, kraut-drenched pastiche of Kraftwerk, Can, Pink Floyd, and whatever other semi-avant garde acts he was trying to imitate through a haze of pot smoke. But “Arrow Through Me” is indisputably disco. Fake, hilarious, honky disco (“Ooh, baby, you couldn’t a done a worse thing to me if you’d a taken an arrow and run it right through me… you couldn’t a found a more down hero, if you’d a started at nothin’ and counted to ze-e-e-e-ro”), but disco nonetheless. As if there was ever a genre where authenticity mattered less…

krumping ignominy

posted by on July 7 at 2:14 PM

This week’s issue contains a review of the movie Rize that references the newest urban dance craze, krumping. Due to the fact that The Stranger copyediting department contains only white women from the Northwest—with limited knowledge of South Central L.A. culture and the influences that spawned the krumpsters—krumping was capitalized several times, which was very very wrong.

Important Disco/Not Disco Minutiae

posted by on July 7 at 1:52 PM

My favorite disco track is, obviously, “Arrow Through Me,” from Paul McCartney’s last record with Wings, Back To The Egg.

Admittedly, I haven’t heard this song in a while, but isn’t it a ballad, Sean? Are you thinking of “Coming Up” or “Temporary Secretary” from McCartney II? The world breathlessly awaits your response.


outdoor smoking ban

posted by on July 7 at 1:28 PM

I’m taking the extreme position that smoking should be illegal in all workplaces AND public outdoor spaces. I freaking HATE walking through the fumes that trail smokers on the sidewalk (even more than I hate seeing smokers litter). In Tokyo, the ultra-dense Chiyoda neighborhood banned public smoking completely a couple years ago. When I visited I delighted in seeing a Smokers’ Style cafe… a haze-filled, glassed-in gas chamber where the weak and addicted could poison themselves without fear of a fine. Perfect.

The Counter-Counter Intuition

posted by on July 7 at 12:21 PM

AP Wire:

A group calling itself “The Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe” posted a claim of responsibility, saying the blasts were in retaliation for Britain’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The first, and leftiest thought is: I wonder if Blair will now see the error of his ways and pull British troop support from the coalition. It seems pretty safe to assume that the British people, who have been far more stalwart and serious in their opposition to the Iraq invasion from the jump, will be increasingly vocal now that it has cost them lives at home. Will Blair dare to diverge from Bush’s dictates? I must say that, despite my own (conflicted) opposition to the war, I fucking hope not.

Continue reading "The Counter-Counter Intuition" »

London Bombings

posted by on July 7 at 11:52 AM

Bush and his stupid cronies perpetrate their warmongering and bullying and then when the repercussions come they hit regular people. Working people, people with families, people just trying to take the bus to their jobs. It is horrible and unjustit makes me sick.

Ad Hominem Henry

posted by on July 7 at 11:46 AM

A story in this week’s Seattle Weekly quotes monorail critic Henry Aronson belittling new Seattle Monorail project chairwoman Kristina Hill, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Washington, as an intellectual lightweight. “She’s a landscape gardener!” Aronson sneered.

That’s an odd comment to make about a woman who was recruited to the UW from MIT and is one of the youngest tenured professors at the university. Would Aronson have referred to Hill’s colleague Paul Toliver, the former head of Metro, as a “bus driver”? Or to her fellow board member Steve Williamson, head of the King County Labor Council, as a “protest organizer”?

In fairness, Aronson’s slam wouldn’t be the first attack on landscape architecture (there are entire forums out there where landscape architects and urban designers go round and round about the relative merits of each profession).

But as a former port commissioner who was forced to resign his position in disgrace, it’s hard to see what right Aronson has to be impugning another public official’s credentials.

One elected official’s response to Aronson’s asinine aside? “What a moron!” But I wonder who’s the bigger moron Aronson, or the Weekly reporter who breathlessly reported his idiotic ad hominem attack?

Dissenting Opinion on ‘Batman Begins’

posted by on July 7 at 11:17 AM

Hate to disagree with Justice Mudede and Justice Nelson (who know from movies and have made a few themselves, whereas what the hell have I ever done?), but: Batman Begins ain’t the great movie they’re pretending. Mudede thinks the movie is so great he wanted us to put it in Stranger Suggests twice in one week. I saw the thing late last night. On materialistic terms, it’s fantastic. The scene when he’s standing in a cave of swirling bats: great. The jumping-through-air-while-on-fire: great. Liam Neeson and Michael Cane: great. But Jesus Christ a better script could have been written by a class of illiterate schoolchildren. I don’t understand why they can spend a bazillion dollars to make a huge movie and put the actors in these beautiful places and not have a single interesting thought behind any of it. The dialogue is piss-poor and loaded with cliches (someone’s been burning their candle at both ends, face your fears, didn’t you get the memo, why do we fall? so we can learn to pick ourselves back up again, etc, etc). And Katie Holmes is simply retarded. I’ve always thought her career was a Hollywood practical joke, but she’s abysmal in this (altough her nipples are at attention in every shot). About 30 minutes in she’s sitting in the car with Christian Bale and there’s this contrived conflict between them and she says, “Your father would be so ashamed of you.” I said under my breath, “Blah blah blah,” and my date said, “We could go next door and see the rest of Star Wars if you want.” And he had already seen Star Wars.

blech

posted by on July 7 at 11:16 AM

This Bach stream is soothing my sickened state of mind and stomach.

A last word about Disco…

posted by on July 7 at 11:13 AM

…then back to the terrorist horror.

DAVE SEGAL:

“Be suspicious of wholesale condemnations of any genre. Believe it or not, there is good disco.”

DAVE SCHMADER:
“Dave’s right, and I imagine (hope) that Sean was referring to the crap-disco that ruled in the very very late ’70s, when every idiot with a record deal was taking a whack at a disco track.”

Once again, my colleagues’ musical assiduousness punctures my attempt at childish humor. My favorite disco track is, obviously, “Arrow Through Me,” from Paul McCartney’s last record with Wings, Back To The Egg.

The Smoking Ban

posted by on July 7 at 10:13 AM

There’s a testy debate going on in the Politics section of our forums concerning the proposed statewide smoking ban and its discontents. The proposed ban, Initiative 901, is almost certain to be on the ballot this November, and if past polls on the subject are any indication, the ban has a very strong chance of passing.

However, as more and more people are starting to notice, and as we report in this week’s Stranger, the proposed ban includes some troublesome fine print that makes it more restrictive than other statewide indoor smoking bans. That fine print could lead to vast swaths of outdoor urban space being placed off-limits to smokers.

London Calling

posted by on July 7 at 9:32 AM

I feel like Sean Nelson after the waves washed over Thailand: Terry and I have tickets to the UK next week. We’re going to Glasgow to see friends. We weren’t going to stop over in London, although we have a layover at Heathrow, but we hope to change our tickets and spend a night in the city. We want to spend some money and ride the Tube. I had the same reaction after 9/11 - soon after the attacks I was in New York, spending money, riding the subway. I documented that trip in a chapter of my last dumb book, Skipping Towards Gomorrah.

I lived in London for two years - 87/88, really 16 months - and fell in love with the city. The food revolution had yet to hit, and all the food I could afford was total crap; apartments were outrageously expensive; I was broke when I arrived and practically homeless. But the theater was amazing, and that’s all I cared about then. I wound up finding work at two high-end restaurantsJams of London and Orsowhere I waited on lots of nutty celebs but, sadly, couldn’t afford to eat the food I was serving.

Coming from Chicago, which has a subway and El, I was proud that I quickly made an effortless transition to riding the Tube everywhere I needed to go. The system had yet to fall into disrepair - an American is in charge of turning the Tube around, the guy who turned around the New York City subway system (that’s why one of the people at the London press conference this AM had an American accent).

Anyway, I’m rambling. London is one of the places I feel most at home in the world - it really is a wet dream of a place for anyone who loves big, vibrant, chaotic urban environments. And the way the people of London live in, love, and use their city is a model for urbanists everywhere. I’ve traveled there a lot - a couple of years ago we took DJ on his first ride on the Tube. Watching the news this AM, I got very upset - although the death toll was much lower than the 9/11 attacks on New York, I found myself just as upset and angry. It was like learning that a great old friend had been mugged and brutalized by some awful thugs. Sitting at distance, you feel nothing but a hopeless, helpless rage.

Anyway, the best thing I read this AM (hat tip, as they say, to Andrew Sullivan), was this quote from Ken Livingston, London’s ass-kicking, car-taxing, lefty mayor:

“This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful; it is not aimed at presidents or prime ministers; it was aimed at ordinary working class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christians, Hindu and Jew, young and old, indiscriminate attempt at slaughter irrespective of any considerations, of age, of class, of religion, whatever, that isn’t an ideology, it isn’t even a perverted faith, it’s just indiscriminate attempt at mass murder, and we know what the objective is, they seek to divide London. They seek to turn Londoners against each other and Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack… I wish to speak through you directly, to those who came to London to claim lives, nothing you do, how many of us you kill will stop that flight to our cities where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another, whatever you do, how many you kill, you will fail.”

Yes, yes: We must defend the cities, and remain in them, and build them up, and defend our shared urban values.

Disco: As Dense With Masterworks As Any Other Damn Genre

posted by on July 7 at 9:31 AM

Dave’s right, and I imagine (hope) that Sean was referring to the crap-disco that ruled in the very very late ’70s, when every idiot with a record deal was taking a whack at a disco track.

The best disco songs are some of the most exciting, immediately rewarding rock music ever made. My eternal faves: Sylvester’s “Mighty Real,” Cheryl Lynn’s “Got To Be Real,” Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” (duh) plus “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls” by HRH Donna Summer and every song on side one of Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall. (Late entry so miraculous it earns a place in the pantheon: Lady Madonna’s “Into the Groove.”)

Re: Disco as Cultural Referendum

posted by on July 7 at 9:30 AM

CHARLES MUDEDE:

“We must not separate her fate from the fate of disco in the late 70s, which was despised by middle America for being too gay and too black.”

SEAN NELSON:

Not to mention too shitty.

Be suspicious of wholesale condemnations of any genre. Believe it or not, there is good disco (I say this as someone who is neither black nor gay). Just about anything done by Giorgio Moroder is inspirational. Loads of Italians did good work in the ’70s and ’80s. Even hits by Diana Ross (“Love Hangover”) and Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell” hold up well. The Wire magazine’s Peter Shapiro has just written a book about the subject, if you need some highbrow legitimization with your musical appreciation.

British Terror

posted by on July 7 at 8:22 AM

Key facts at present:

*At least 4 explosions across central London, with targets including the subway and a double-decker bus packed with commuters

*Identified as a “coordinated terror attack,” which was quickly claimed by al Qaeda (this claim hasn’t been verified, and al Qaeda would probably claim responsibility for the explosion of acne on the chin of an Olsen twin)

*50 or so dead, hundreds more wounded, with the number of deaths predicted to rise as the aforementioned bombed bus gets figured out

“US cities go on “heightened alert,” specifically NY, Boston, Washington DC, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles

Apologies to Comrade Mudede

posted by on July 7 at 7:29 AM

But I just want to say that I finally saw Me and You and Everyone We Know, and so should everyone else, obviously. (Of course, if you want to wait until you’ve seen Police Beat first, that would be all right, too.) Of all the film’s great virtues, its sense of humor, its gentle-but-not-exactly-warm visual texture, and its dreamy frankness about childhood, the very best is the sense of fruition it confers on the NW-international girl-punk artistic underground that MJ arose from. I’m not talking about legitimacy; the Portland-Olympia-Seattle index has been far better than legit for a lot longer than most of the world has been aware of it. But other than rock bands (Bikini Kill first, Sleater-Kinney best, and maybe, to a certain extent, Nirvana), this scene has almost never been on the world stage, except in the theoretical lip-servicey world of critics (again, mainly rock-based). This film, by simple virtue of the fact that it’s a film, to say nothing of a Cannes Camera D’Or-sharing debut by an already-notable highbrow gallery/museum artist, is a massive breakthrough (gratuitous designer denim butt shots and all), because cinema is the most meaningful artform, period. Everything else is a boutique.

Continue reading "Apologies to Comrade Mudede" »

Spooky New Army Ads

posted by on July 7 at 7:13 AM

Following several months of missed recruitment goals, the U.S. Army recently added $500 million to its recruitment campaign. This week, a new wave of join-the-Army commercials started appearing on TV, and they’re quietly diabolical and terrifying.

In one ad, a young African-American man serenely presents a stack of Army pamphlets to his mom, whose worry he soothes by citing the Army’s ability to help pay for college. “Besides, it’s time for me to be a man.”

In another, a young Caucasian man defends his dream of enlisting in the Army Reserves over a game of pool with his dad, whose fears for his son are conquered by the young man’s devotion to “be a part of something real,” no matter what his liberal-pacifist dad thinks.

Both ads presenting military enlistment as a move so brave and punk-rock it’s bound to frighten your parents, but if you’ve got the fire in the belly, you’ll be able to bring them round to what’s right.

Genius, and horrifying.

Casey Corr Prediction

posted by on July 7 at 5:16 AM

The once-crowded Conlin race will dwindle down to just Miller V. Conlin as Casey Corr (whose poll numbers suck, by the way) jumps into the Jan Drago race. Corr will play up an anti-Monorail position, which will have traction against pro-Monorail Drago. Being anti-monorail will also help Corr combat his image as Mayor Nickels’s boy.


Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Disco as Cultural Referendum

posted by on July 6 at 2:55 PM

CHARLES MUDEDE:

“We must not separate her fate from the fate of disco in the late 70s, which was despised by middle America for being too gay and too black.”

Not to mention too shitty.

Too Gay, Too Black

posted by on July 6 at 2:30 PM

I believe Li’l Kim’s is being punished for her rising popularity in the gay community. Her sentencing is yet another marching order. We must not separate her fate from the fate of disco in the late 70s, which was despised by middle America for being too gay and too black.

Li’l Kim Gets Her Sentence

posted by on July 6 at 1:54 PM

That’s right: Li’l Kim has been sentenced to to a year and a day in federal prison for keeping it real, which in this unfortunate instance meant telling easily disprovable lies to a federal grand jury.

For more details, go here.

The cruel facts of celebrity justice: Men who kill wives and molest kids enjoy acquittals, while women who lie to the government go down, down, down…

A Monorail Solution at last!

posted by on July 6 at 12:49 PM

Hey, SMP: you can keep your farshlugginer $11 billion price tag. We’ll be hiring this guy to build us our own personalized RTS.

P.S. Nerd alert!

Afrirampo Rule

posted by on July 6 at 12:10 PM

Stranger Suggests gush and then some Tuesday night at the Funhouse. These two movie-star-beautiful Japanese women (Pika and Oni) rocked like an estrogenated, Asian Permalink

Just when you thought you could cancel the cable

posted by on July 6 at 11:38 AM

My plan was to cancel the cable, because Comcast is an abomination and I only ever seem to watch Bravo, and then only to watch The West Wing, which I have now seen every single episode of at least 3 times (though that doesn’t stop me from watching the Marathon Monday, every Monday, sometimes for the whole eight hours). I was really going to do it. I was. Then I discovered the Blow Out show, which is gayer than a Stranger editorial meeting in 1996, starring the gayest straight man on cable. And that, my friends, is saying something. Where Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston, with their crack voices and their poo problems, are a prolonged derangement of the senses, Jonathan and his hairdressers are a different kind of train wreck altogether.

Continue reading "Just when you thought you could cancel the cable" »

Proud Mother Moment

posted by on July 6 at 11:31 AM

No, Stevie Chick is not my kid (thank god cause I believe we’re around the same age) but I am glowing with happiness for him because the Stranger contributor wrote the cover story on the White Stripes for MOJO Magazine. While I haven’t read the piece, I did read a separate journal about the piece he sent to friends, a journal that involves his trip to Brazil to interview the band, watch them play live, and celebrate Jack White’s marriage, which happened while he was traveling with the band.

Protesters on Parade

posted by on July 6 at 11:19 AM

From AP:

AUCHTERARDER, Scotland - Thousands of protesters chanting “Power to the People!” began a march toward the site of the G-8 summit on Wednesday, following hours of acrimony caused by a decision � later reversed � to ban the demonstration. The protesters, banging drums, blowing whistles and led by a bagpiper dressed in traditional Scottish costume, marched through the narrow streets of Auchterarder, a village of about 4,000 people, toward the nearby fenced-off perimiter of Gleneagles.

Somewhere in that crowd is Seattle’s own Infernal Noise Brigade, looking damn good and making a racket. I wish I could find pictures. If anyone comes across pictures of the INB on news websites, email me… This is the part of their European tour I’m missing. (For tour dates and info, click here.)

Terra Non Firma

posted by on July 6 at 11:18 AM

The filmmaker Jem Cohen, who made a beautiful documentary about outsider musician/drag queen/freak Benjamin Smoke, recounted in an recent Artforum interview how he was shooting from the window on the train to DC and the police confiscated his film due to supposed national security concerns. This got me thinking about how even the landscape has taken on a new politicized weight. It’s frightening on the most basic level yet it’s exciting for artists to think that even something as seemingly resolved and boring as the landscape is reactivated.

All of this is by way of telling you that you should go see Terra Non Firma at Howard House before it closes on Saturday July 16. It’s an excellent group show of paintings, which investigate ideas about landscape. Some of the work may have the lightweight air of Williamsburg painting circa 2002 but none of it is flimsy or without merit. And there are lovely contributions by two of my favorite Seattle artists Victoria Haven and Robert Yoder.

Look

posted by on July 6 at 11:02 AM


inside a box
inside a box
inside a box
it’s a box

Girl on girl? Boy on boy?

posted by on July 6 at 10:57 AM

The NYT didn’t say the subjects of the bisexual study were shown “girl on girl,” or “boy on boy” porn. It said they were shown “a series of erotic movies, some involving only women, others involving only men.”

That could mean GoG or BoB, but it could also mean the subjects were shown dirty movies that showed only a series of solo Gs or Bs diddling themslves. But, like I said, I’m talking to Gerulf Rieger at 12. I’ll ask him about this too…

my tiny First Thursday pick

posted by on July 6 at 10:53 AM

If you do find yourself at First Thursday tomorrow, tumble down into Marcus’ [sic] on Yesler and look at the walls. One of my favorite so far undiscovered spook-pop surrealist painters, a local kid with blond dreads named Joe Vollan, has new paintings up. If you spot Joe, ask to see his fly tattoos.

Get Your Rock Face Ready

posted by on July 6 at 10:52 AM

The national Air Guitar Championships are coming right up July 14th in, of course, Hollywood, CA, where you don’t have to actually know how to play music in order to become famous. Contestants “perform” for one minute and are judged on “a combination of technical prowess, stage presence and ‘airness.’ ‘What we mean by that,’ said [founder] Cedric Devitt, ‘is really that elusive quality of transcending the imitation of an art form, ­ie playing guitar—and creating a new art form, air guitar.’” There are high hopes that the US winner will do our country proud in the future Air Guitar World Championships. We can only dream.

“Hello there. You’re all idiots.”

posted by on July 6 at 10:44 AM

The FOX Newshounds site (slogan: “We Watch FOX So You Don’t Have To”) occasionally posts some of the hate mail it receives. Enjoy, if you can stomach it.

Re: Not so fast, Josh…

posted by on July 6 at 10:34 AM

Well, as one would expect in a study whose lead author (Rieger) is a grad student and whose senior author (the besmirched Bailey) is a professor, the grad student is in Bailey’s lab. Which means he’s hardly outside the sphere of Bailey’s influence. Bailey probably helped design the study, at minimum.

My completely uneducated opinion is that it’s possibly problematic that the study judged attraction to women based on responses to porn featuring exclusively girl-on-girl action, which, while hardly unpopular, is but a subset of straight porn. Most straight guys like watching porn that features large erect penises. But, um, I’m obviously getting way out of my league here…

So forget all that, and look at this picture of Rieger and a male companion and a pretty, pretty sunset.

And more disturbing, here’s a list of Bailey’s favorite artists/albums. After If I Should Fall from the Grace of God by the Pogues, the next artist is “God.” Apparently God didn’t make any records.

Media Lobotomy

posted by on July 6 at 10:33 AM

Re: Rove. Conclusion:The Media is Lame.

Ultimately, what may turn out to be the most important scoop about the Bush White House happened only because a Court stepped in and did a lobotomy on two duped reporters.
Without the court, the media would have shambled along, happy to aid and abet the White House. The media only succeeded in doing its job (rooting out misdeeds by public officials) by default (Rove’s name is in Cooper’s notes). It’s as if the basic tools of journalism (a reporter’s notebook) rose up to save the increasingly wayard profession from itself.

Another Reason to Like Mayor Nickels (or hate him)

posted by on July 6 at 9:33 AM

The Michael J. Fox character (remember Spin City) in Mayor Nickels’s office is obsessed with this web site. Now, it all makes sense.

Not so fast, Josh…

posted by on July 6 at 9:31 AM

Americablog has the dirt on Bailey, and he does seem dirty, but Bailey is the study’s “senior author,” not its lead author - that would be NU grad student Gerulf Rieger. I’m going to interview Rieger today at 12, and I’ll bring up John A.’s points.

The study also wasn’t conducted just at NU, where John A. asserts that Bailey has difficultly recruiting subjects. It was done at NU and the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, which would seem to dilute the influence and impact of the Bailey issue.

So I wouldn’t so quick to dismiss the study - it does seem to jibe with most gay men’s real world observations: male bisexuality is rare, rare, rare, whereas female bisexuality is more common. Men and women are very different animals, sexually speaking. To take just one example, there are more than twice as many gay men as lesbians. Why? Dunno, but it merits study. That there might be a difference in the occurrence of bisexuality in males and females isn’t quite so absurd as Josh or John A. would like to believe it is.

And, finally, no one is arguing that there aren’t a lot of guys out there having bisexual experiences. I think that there’s difference between sexual orientation and sexual capability. Some mostly straight men do respond to other men sexually, and experiment, yadda yadda yadda. But the vast majority of these “bi” men are not emotionally available to other men in other words, they may have sex with other men, but they only have relationships with women.

This is why dating bi guys and girls has such a bad rap among gays and lesbians. Even if the bi guy you’re dating is single, you’re still just a piece on the side.

Re: Like I Said/Bisexuality

posted by on July 6 at 9:24 AM

Looks like you might have to wait another 14 years, Dan. Aravosis has the dirt on yesterday’s NYT re: the end of bisexuality.

Savage + Dave Zabriskie = Tainted Love?

posted by on July 6 at 8:05 AM

My esteemed colleague Dan Savage has noted his affection for Tour de France cyclist Dave Zabriskie, whom Dan describes as a “hottie” (see Tuesday, 5:30 pm).

As it happens, Dan’s cycle-stud crush appears to maintian a web site, davezabriskie.com, on which the American racer describes, among other things, the proper care of one’s “taint” while riding a bicycle across, say, the country of France.

An often overlooked part of being a healthy and fast cyclist is the taint. The taint is the part of your body that contacts your saddle. I believe the name was derived from the taint not being the parts that are well know by name: as in it taint that and it sure taint those! If you cant comfortably sit on the saddle you taint gonna be able to ride your bike very far. This can negativly effect training and racing, so one must keep this area well main-taint-ed. There are three simple concepts to accept and follow: Cleanliness, Lubrication and Dryness. Trust me all of this was learned by experience! Here are the steps to follow…

To give a brief preview, the steps involve a razor, a hair-drier, a mirror, chamois cream, and the possibility of “butt butter.” Click here and scroll down to the section titled “MAIN - TAINT - ANCE” for more details, if you dare.

Returning to the subject of Dan’s crush, and his fervent advocacy of “seat cams” as a way of making the Tour de France more exciting to watch on television, one wonders: What did Dan Savage know about MAIN - TAINT - ANCE, and when did he know it?

Extended Family Issues

posted by on July 6 at 8:00 AM

This past weekend I travelled to a family reunion in Lucinda, Pennsylvania, a tiny town a hundred miles north of Pittsburgh where there’s still no sewer system, just a really stinky creek and an unprecedented density of people named Schmader. The most prominent attraction of Lucinda’s main street: the large, multi-colored sign for local lumber company Schmader Hardwoods. (Insert single entendre here.)

My family time was fineGermans make good pie and like to drink, and I have lots of lovely aunts and uncles and cousins and brothers and nieces and nephews. Plus, a number of relatives who’d Googled themselves expressed gratitude for my Stranger-&-Showgirls-enabled installation of the Schmader name on the world wide web.

Due to work obligations and a natural bias against boring weekends, my fella Jake stayed home in Seattle. When I called from the airport, I learned he’d been wrangling with some extended family issues of his own. Specifically, the DNA-driven arrest of his aunt’s ex-husband (Jake’s ex-uncle) on charges of capital murder.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Re: Pop Bach

posted by on July 5 at 8:32 PM

While listening this piece by Bach, F minor, BVW 881, which is on Solo Keyboard Works, I realized that its melody was recently recycled for a faded pop song. But I failed to determine the name of the pop song or its performer. I recall the lyrics saying something about being so sorry. Can any one help me? Dave Segal cant.

I’m telling you, Charles, it’s Paul McCartney’s “Uncle Albert and Admiral Halsey/Hands Across the Water.” Or maybe it’s R.E.M.’s “South Central Rain,” with its chorus of “So sorry.” Always at your service, sir.

Making the Tour de France Bearable…

posted by on July 5 at 5:39 PM

Beer may make the Tour de France more enjoyable, but what can’t be made more enjoyable by a few beers? Root canals, audits, and funerals all go better with beer. I would like to propose a cycling-specific idea that would make The Tour de France much more exciting to watch: Seat Cams.

Basically everyone’s bike seat would have a tiny fiber-optic camera mounted on it. When the goings get dull (which they get every, oh, four seconds or so), the director cuts away to a bike-seat’s-eye-view of some incredibly hot guy’s ass.

Watching hottie Dave Zabriskie’s ass as he pumps his way up a mountain would be much more fun than watching “the pack” go up the very same mountain.

Seat Cams! Seat Cams! Seat Cams!

Enough is Enough

posted by on July 5 at 5:27 PM

Enough about Miranda July. You know how I feel about all this, so please be considerate and stop. She has had much more than her fair share of fame.

Warning: More Sports

posted by on July 5 at 5:25 PM

Despite what Slate has to say about the Tour de France being dullsville, I made my way down to The Summit Public House to watch stage three of the Tour yesterday (as suggested by this here paper) and it was awesome.

So to Slate’s suggestions for improving the Tour de France viewing experience, I add this one: drink beer while watching.

Pop Bach

posted by on July 5 at 5:17 PM

While listening to this piece by Bach, F minor, BVW 881, which is on Solo Keyboard Works, I realized that its melody was recently recycled for a faded pop song. But I failed to determine the name of the pop song or its performer. I recall the lyrics saying something about being so sorry. Can any one help me? Dave Segal cant.

Warning: Sports Related Posting

posted by on July 5 at 4:37 PM

It’s so rare when a Seattle sports team makes a smart decision that the Sonics’s re-signing of Ray Allen is a bit of a miracle. The deal: five years, $80 million, with an additional $5 million in possible performance bonuses. That’s a lot of mozzarella.

(Confidential to Josh Feit: The Washington Wizards SUCK.)

Dina Hits P-Town

posted by on July 5 at 2:47 PM

Seattle’s beloved post-postmodern chanteuse/raconteur/freak Dina Martina is spending the next few months entertaining the gay troops summering in Provincetown.

I’ve been mildly obsessed with watching Dina land on unsuspecting audiences for years, travelling to her first shows in Portland, and rejoicing at the sight of the stricken look of horror that overcame Dan Savage’s mother-in-law during Dina’s performance at Dan and Terry’s faux-wedding reception. Today I searched the web to see how the virgin market of Provincetown was responding to Ms. Martina’s magic, and found this review from the gay paper EDGE.

To the EDGE reviewerDavid Foucher’s his nameeven more off-putting than Dina’s lack of talent and surplus of labia is her alleged homophobia, which spins Foucher off into heady territory that puts even my own Dina theorizing to shame.

Continue reading "Dina Hits P-Town" »

Heather McHugh is the Bomb

posted by on July 5 at 2:42 PM

Two Stranger staff favorites filmmaker and artist Miranda July and poet Heather McHugh both appear in the current issue of Bomb. The two interviews are excellent. Read together they make great contrasting portraits of two Northwest artists (July lived in Portland but has since moved to Los Angeles and McHugh calls Seattle home). McHugh is from the academy and July was nurtured by the DIY aesthetic. Sure, their worlds are completely different but their opinions intersect a lot on a certain organic approach to their work and McHugh’s accompanying work in the magazine is of her usual impeccably high quality.

On a side note, Bomb is one of my favorite magazines, but last year I learned the hard way that absent-mindedly wearing its t-shirt to the airport is a very bad idea. Suffice it to say, I pay very close attention to how I dress before flying now.

More on Uninsured Musicians

posted by on July 5 at 2:23 PM

The Recording Academy is putting on a free health fair tomorrow, July 6th, at the Vera Project, where you can “learn about cool alternative medicines, get a hearing test, Hepatitis C test, get your blood pressure/cholesterol checked amongst a bunch of other great services. We’ll also have brief lectures on repetitive stress injuries, preserving your vocal chords for singers and how acupuncture can benefit musicians.”

MusiCares PNW Health Fair, July 6 - 6 - 9 p.m. The Vera Project, 1916 4th Ave., Seattle

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Re: Monorail Resignation Letters

posted by on July 5 at 1:14 PM

Tom Weeks and Joel Horn just don’t get it. (“Though we tried to explain the complex, long-term financing proposal, and called for apples-to-apples comparisons with other major regional transportation projects…”) The problem with the monorail is not that the public’s PERCEPTION of the monorail’s $11 billion price tag ($2 billion, plus $9 billion in interest) is wrong. The problem is that the price is TOO GODDAMN HIGH. All this talk of “apples to apples” comparisons (the monorail can’t be compared to Sound Transit because it plans to operate without a subsidy after 2020; it’s unfair to consider interest costs over 50 years; no one every talked about interest payments before, etc.) doesn’t change the fact that the finance plan Horn and Weeks call “confusing” costs three times what a $2 billion project should cost using a conventional financing scheme. Weeks and Horn were right to resign. It’s a shame that they couldn’t resist shifting the blame for the current debacle onto the media and the taxpayers who paid Horn’s $187,000 salary.

Infernal Fans

posted by on July 5 at 1:08 PM

I’m leaving next week to maraud around with the Infernal Noise Brigade on their current European tour, because I’m writing something big about them. I’m a new fan. I’m looking to interview a couple longtime fans before next Tuesday. Email me: frizzelle@thestranger.com.

In the meantime, here’s a map that shows all the cities I’m joining them in: Amsterdam, Brussels, Hamburg, and Berlin. I’ve been staring at this map all morning. I like the texture of the mountains.

Help the Gossip

posted by on July 5 at 1:02 PM

Some of you may have already heard (I’m late to the news) that The Gossip’s Beth Ditto is recovering from major surgery. And like most musicians out there, she doesn’t have health insurance. But like the lucky uninsured musicians out there she has friends willing to host a benefit in her honor. It’s in Portland on August 15th at the Doug Fir with some big names they can’t announce now.

For all uninsured musicians wanting help with medical costs, remember MusiCares has an 800 number for those in need. Pass it on.

Like I Said….

posted by on July 5 at 8:43 AM

As I’ve been saying in Savage Love for, oh, 14 years now (I started writing the column when I was 18, as everyone knows), there’s no such thing as male bisexuality. Now the science is there to back up my claims - the NYTimes has the story.


Monday, July 4, 2005

Monorail Resignation Letters

posted by on July 4 at 2:33 PM

Monorail Board Chair Tom Weeks and Monorail Director Joel Horn resigned their respective positions today.

The resignation letters are linked below.

Continue reading "Monorail Resignation Letters" »