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Archives for 02/12/2006 - 02/18/2006

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Smokin’ in the Safeway. And the Starbucks. And the Elks Lodge. And…

posted by on February 18 at 4:10 PM

The good folks at Seattle/King County Public Health sent me a list of places that have received tobacco complaints since the ban went into effect. These establishments don’t necessarily permit smoking (there isn’t a clandestine smoking aisle at Safeway), they’re just places that have been smoked in or near in the past couple of months while a complaint junkie was on the premises.

A reader asked me to post the list. It follows the break.

Continue reading "Smokin' in the Safeway. And the Starbucks. And the Elks Lodge. And..." »

Fair Market?

posted by on February 18 at 1:25 PM

Former Seattle Monorail Project board member Cleve Stockmeyer got the boot from voters last November, but that didn’t keep him from having his say about the moribund agency’s actions on the popular Fox News show Hannity and Colmes, where he appeared last Friday, February 10. (His replacement, Jim Nobles, originally agreed to go on the show but reportedly canceled at the last minute; the SMP declined to make anyone else at the agency available.)

The show, part of a series on “eminent domain abuse,” focused on the efforts of a West Seattle businessman’s efforts to buy back his property, which once housed an auto repair shop and video store, from the SMP. The property owner, Dennis Ankeny, is furious that the monorail agency won’t return property it purchased for the 14-mile Green Line, which voters rejected in November. “All 34 [property owners] should get their properties back,” Stockmeyer told Alan Colmes. Currently, state law requires agencies to sell their property at market value. But because the monorail agency is not fulfilling one of the criteria for eminent domain, public purpose, Stockmeyer said, the state should “fix the problem” and change the law.

On Monday, Stockmeyer conceded that Hannity and Colmes did gloss over a few important details “in their zeal to prove that government is bad.” (Like which monorail they were talking about: File photos and computer simulations showed posters from the 2000 monorail campaign and “Freeway Monorail” along I-5, an idea that never made it off the ground.) Nevertheless, Stockmeyer said, “in the case of an aborted project” like the monorail, “the only just compensation is to put [property owners] in the position they would have been in had they held onto the property.”

More on Chihuly

posted by on February 18 at 11:34 AM

When you write a long article about something there’s a lot of stuff that never makes it into the article, including how the writer got the story in the first place, what they think of the subject they’re writing about, what hoops they had to jump through to get people to talk, etc. This week in the paper, Jen Graves has a feature about Dale Chihuly’s lawsuits against glass artists he’s accusing of making knockoffs of his work. It’s a great story:

What’s bizarre about all this is that the small-time sales of a few Chihulyesque pieces in a couple of malls pose no threat to the worldwide Chihuly empire. But by suing his former employee, Chihuly himself is drawing attention to the fact that Chihuly is, in some senses, not the real deal. Whatever he wins in copyright, he stands to lose in public image. Chihuly is providing Rubino with a platform on which to call the bluff of Chihuly’s creativity.

For anyone who wants more on this story, now up on our website is a Q&A with Graves about her article, Chihuly, why no one involved would talk, etc. We’ll probably start doing these web-only Q&As with the writers of long arts pieces as a regular thing, since there’s always so much great backstory that never makes it into the paper.

Gray Power

posted by on February 18 at 10:33 AM

We do a lot of hollering on the Slog about how this headline about a Bush abuse of power or that headline about a Bush administration “scandal” surely spells doom for Bush. We’re starting to sound pretty Boy Who Cried Wolf, if you ask me—a lot like all the Democrat blogs out there. (Frankly, it’s why I’ve stopped reading AmericaBlog.)

But I must say, this story about how Bush’s Medicare lie is going to bite Republicans in the ass is hard to dismiss.

There are 42 million potential voters afffected by the program.


Friday, February 17, 2006

Know Your Enemy

posted by on February 17 at 6:15 PM

Here’s the Washington State Republicans’ lengthy (Doth Protest Too Much?) talking point press release about DNC Chair Howard Dean’s coming visit to Olympia. Dean’s going to be in Olympia for the Democrats’ annual Crab Feed this Monday.

Continue reading "Know Your Enemy" »

This Week on Slog

posted by on February 17 at 4:31 PM

Saturday, February 11

Saturday was the last loud day of the Danish Cartoon controversy (on Slog, anyway) and host to one more vigorous debate.

Sunday, February 12

Slog rested on Sunday.

Monday, February 13

A minuscule Nazi demonstration in Fremont brought back last week’s most-contested catch phrase, freedom of speech. And we saw more proof that everybody’s reading Slog as Seattle Weekly and Stranger staffers threw spit-wads at each other behind the news that the Weekly’s music editor is leaving.

Tuesday, February 14

Cienna Madrid let us in on a good Valentines prank she played on her brother, Carlos. (He flipped some dirt back in the comments thread.) And David Schmader advised us to skip The Wedding Singer.

Wednesday, February 15

Josh Feit wondered if there are better uses for Key Arena besides Sonics games. A courteous and intelligent discussion ensued.

Thursday, February 16

Annie Wagner revealed her fetish for Mormons on film and Paul Constant injected Ace of Base into thousands of heads. Then Dan Savage decided it would be fun to have the 2008 Republican National Convention in Seattle and readers got excited about the protest possibilities. Dan also retired Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch and was badgered about returning a proper table of contents to The Stranger.

Friday, February 17

Jen Graves took readers on a little illustrated art walk and Josh Feit ignited a discussion on the latest downtown height-limit plan. Linger a while longer if you can; I’ve got to get back to work but Friday is still in progress.

Free Taxi?

posted by on February 17 at 4:18 PM

There is a Very Important Person someone in the office wants to take on a Very Important Date and they’re looking for a Very Important Means of transportation.

Has anybody heard of / have contact information for a individual, possibly named Josh, who operates a mysterious vehicle known as the Free Taxi? Apparently this person is willing to be paid in entertainment. Sounds like a fairy tale, but it’s worth a try. Email me at annie@thestranger.com if you have any pointers.

A Lung, a Nail, and an Intentionally Generic Name

posted by on February 17 at 3:50 PM

Here’s a nice story about Guy “Bud” Hart, the man from Placerville, CA who just coughed up the nail that had been loitering in his lung since 1970.

Placerville, by the way, is an intentionally generic name. The town was dubbed Dry Diggins during the Gold Rush, then Old Hangtown because of all the vigilante hangings there (it had a conveniently large oak tree). By 1850, the more upright citizens tried to give the town a friendlier name. The City of Placerville was incorporated in 1854.

The Sonics’ Empty Bellevue Threat

posted by on February 17 at 3:36 PM

Sonics V.P. Terry McLaughlin scoffed at the recent city study that showed Key Arena could make a profit without the Sonics, telling the Seattle Times that the findings only hold up if the team leaves the region.

His point being: If Bellevue builds a new arena, it would steal a portion of the profitable concert business from Key Arena.

Here’s why that’s an empty threat: Because it works both ways. That is, Key Arena will steal concert buisness from Bellevue too.

That’s a big problem for the Sonics. In order for the Sonics to be profitable they need all the revenue from the 20 or so concerts that currently come through Key. This is the NBA model. Since the NBA business plan is unworkable with its crazy high salaries, they ink deals all over the country that give teams the revenue from the concerts. (At Key, the city gets the money from concerts.)

The Sonics wouldn’t set up shop in Bellevue because it couldn’t guarantee them enough concert money.

New Reasons to be Repulsed by Scott Stapp

posted by on February 17 at 3:32 PM

I’ll take Pam and Tommy over this any day.

Vote for the Big Shot this weekend!

posted by on February 17 at 3:20 PM

Voting ends this Sunday night, so don’t forget to print out a ballot (found here) and vote for your favorite local band.

More info and music for all the bands can be found at www.thestranger.com/bigshot.

Apostrophe Atrocities

posted by on February 17 at 3:00 PM

Whoever is responsible for the One Punk ad banner in rotation at the top of the Slog must take those five extraneous apostrophes out. I’m all for punk apparel, but sloppy punctuation is neither anarchic nor cool.

It’s About Time

posted by on February 17 at 2:55 PM

After an uncharacteristic delay during which even some of the most jaded among us entertained a small hope of salvation, the leaders of our once-fine country have finally gotten around to seeing to it that there will be no consequences for the Bush administration over their Secret Illegal Domestic Spying Program.

Yesterday Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R - KS) announced that he had made an agreement with the White House to “fix” the illegal wiretapping program.

With at least one confirmed maiming under his belt, Vice-President Dick Cheney is more fearsome than ever and has been holding private meetings with Republican lawmakers where it is said he has been urging them to “not fucking fuck with [him].”

Senator Roberts’ current stance:

“I believe that such an investigation at this point … would be detrimental to this highly classified program and efforts to reach some accommodation with the administration,” Roberts said.

Right, right. We don’t want to investigate blatantly illegal activities for fear of interfering with those activities in the future. And we don’t want to jeopardize any chance we might have to come to an agreement with the people who committed these crimes, because that would be fucked up. What were we thinking? I can’t believe we almost investigated.

Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, Republicans are arguing for a “more limited scope” to their own investigation, arguing that their tiny, black, evil hearts compel them to do so.

No one is saying exactly what kind of a “fix” these unbelievable pricks have in mind, but it’s likely to be something along the lines of a proposal from Senator Mike DeWine (R - OH), which would basically amend the law the Administration broke (FISA) so that they didn’t break it, retroactively. The Bush administration has made clear what their interpretation of the law is (that it doesn’t apply to them, nor does any other law), and DeWine just wants to codify that understanding into the law itself. Of course, the administration won’t have to be bothered with that either, since they don’t have to follow the laws. But it will be the law that says that they don’t have to follow it. So they won’t follow it, if they don’t want to, but not because the law said so, but because they feel like it, since, you know, you’re not the boss of them.

Bye-bye, shred of hope.

Cape Fear

posted by on February 17 at 2:54 PM

Where there’s a will, there’s not necessarily a way. That’s the upshot of last night’s meeting of the Alki Community Council, which hosted five officers (two from liquor enforcement, three from the Department of Planning and Development) who they hoped might be able to answer this question: How do we take our neighborhood back from unruly revelers?

“We do not know the future of our neighborhood,” cried council trustee Gary Ogden, “and we feel threatened!”

They should. What Ogden and the rest of the council like about the neighborhood — the scenic views of the Sound and Seattle, the long flat beach, the leisurely pace — is exactly what makes it ideal for the nightclubs that have gathered in increasing numbers along Alki Avenue SW.

It’s happened all over Seattle: Quiet restaurant with liquor license is purchased by a nightclub operator, who takes over that license and does what nightclubs do: party. And club patrons do what they do: get wasted, make lots of noise, and eject various fluids from various orifices in the vicinity surrounding the club.

Maybe there is some byzantine city code that would give residents the legal right to jettison the more raucous clubs on their shore and/or exclude those who would come in the future? Surely, the loud music is illegal? Or there must at least be a limit as to how many bars can occupy a strip of real estate?

“No,” came the chorus from the liquor enforcement officers and DPD. Diane Sugimura, director of DPD, could offer little more than the suggestion that the residents negotiate with the club owners, but Ogden says they’ve already tried that tack with the most flagrant offender — Celtic Swell, at 2722 Alki Ave SW — to little effect. “They dug in. They were mean,” says Ogden.

The best route might be to talk instead to other residential neighborhoods that have felt suddenly besieged by nightclub development, like Fremont and Ballard, where NIMBYism gave way to pragmatism.

Alki Beach, however, wants to go down fighting. They’re going to hector more local officials about revising codes and draft a neighborhood plan that includes more service-oriented commerce — grocery stores, laundromats, and the like — in the spaces that might otherwise be filled by nightclubs.

Mini Artwalk

posted by on February 17 at 2:45 PM

A bunch of good art shows opened last night. We’re going to review Lauren Grossman at Howard House and Matt Sellars at Platform in next week’s issue, so I won’t go into those here. But there’s also Keith Tilford at James Harris, Matisse and Louise Bourgeois at Greg Kucera, and Jennifer Harrison at Garde Rail Gallery. I’ll start with Harrison, and since I didn’t see that show yet, I can’t say much, except that in reproduction, the paintings—all of houses crowded up against one another—look likable:

green_garage.jpg

Tilford’s ink drawings are based on scenes of crowds he found on the Internet, and they’re like the particles that would remain of people on a street after a nuclear bomb has hit and just before the human dust falls to the ground. All the flesh is gone, and just these millions of little pieces, made in rapid gestures, remain. The scenes are creepy, too, like they’re full of zombies. (Check it, Brendan Kiley.) Up close, they’re incredibly detailed abstracts. I’m going back to see them again. Here’s one:

untitled_crowd1.jpg

And of course, the Matisse prints—just what you think they’ll be, full of curvaceous female nudes that seem tossed off compared to the detailed, heavily worked textiles they wear and sit on—and works, mostly on paper, by Bourgeois, the sculptor working on the nude fountain for Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park, which is supposed to open later this year. Bourgeois is mostly known for her three-dimensional works, but I like her on paper, too. In this little show, she gets her perversity and her rectitude across perfectly. All three of these are hers:

bourg_rectory.jpg

bourg_mother_and_child.jpg

bourg_twosomeweb.jpg

Week of art pirates

posted by on February 17 at 2:21 PM

I was hoping the title The Marvelous Views of Ice Pirates and Astronauts would be literal, and it totally is. There’s something Rushmore about Chad Wentzel’s show of completely lovable new drawings at Washington Ensemble Theatre. They’re boyish and slightly naively drawn, and they’re framed in white porthole frames, as if capturing the scenery as it goes by during an odyssey through sparkling glaciers and on the moon. The titles are captions written by someone under a wondrous spell: “If Only Every Day Could Be This Good,” “I Wish Mom Could See This,” “I’m Glad It’s Warm in My Ship.” One glacier has pointy ears, like a gnarly, eyeless monster from a child’s nightmare. It’s called “Isn’t It Beautiful.”

There aren’t any images of them available for me to show here, otherwise I would. Try to imagine them: Wentzel made them on smooth white vellum. He outlined the snowy bluffs and distant planets and rivers of icebergs in pencil and then painted on light opalescent shadows. Then, he brushed salt water on them, which, dried, gives the magical look of splintered ice. Each scene has this feeling of snowblindness, of the lightheaded delirium of white on white on white.

According to WET curator Ady Kenady Walker, Wentzel is doing a bigger solo show in May at Crawl Space called “Everything I’ve Always Wanted at the Same Time.” I can’t wait to see it. For now, I’m focusing on resisting buying “I Wish Mom Could See This” for my mom.

Apologies, apologies

posted by on February 17 at 1:23 PM

Harry Whittington, the man Cheney shot in the face last weekend (and who consequently suffered from a mild heart attack), has finally been released from the hospital.

His first order of business? An apology:

“My family and I are deeply sorry for all that Vice President Cheney and his family have had to go through this week,” Whittington said.

No word yet if Cheney has accepted Whittington’s apology. Stay tuned!

On the Boards’s Blog

posted by on February 17 at 1:07 PM

I went to the split dance bill at On the Boards last night and I’ve blogged about it at On the Boards’s site. Serious dance folks should know that I don’t know a damned thing about dance, although I know a couple things about theater, and, as anyone who’s ever read my writing before knows, I know when I’m bored. I’m often bored at dance. But I wasn’t bored last night. I thought both acts went on a bit long, and — I’m going to get rocks thrown at me for saying this — I thought Monster Squad’s piece (they are from Portland) was more interesting than Zoe Scofield’s (she is from Seattle), but I endorse both. Still, I want to know (and I put this on On the Boards’s website): Modern choreographers, why this reliance on the epileptic freakout? Do you have dancers just do this whenever you can’t think of anything else to have them do? Is it the modern dance equivalent to treading water? Spasms, aerobic though they may be, are really not that interesting to watch.

Steinbrueck’s New Math

posted by on February 17 at 1:05 PM

City Council Member Peter Steinbrueck has an alternative proposal to Mayor Nickels’s downtown heights plan. Steinbrueck wants developers to put more money toward low-income housing ($20 per square foot Vs. Nickels’s $10 per square foot) & he wants higher “Green building” standards than Nickels.

However, a study that Steinbrueck commissioned to analyze the competing proposals—which was presented at a council briefing earlier this week—appeared to backfire on Steinbrueck when it showed that under Steinbrueck’s plan, the percentage change in land value was a 23 percent decrease, while under Nickels’s plan, land value increased 36 percent.

Steinbrueck’s colleagues—even lefty Nickels antagonists like Richard Conlin and Nick Licata—seemed shocked at the numbers, and Steinbrueck’s plan seemed doomed.

It turns out, however, that the consultants weren’t comparing apples to apples when calculating the square footage of the buildings under both proposals. Steinbrueck quickly asked the consultants to redo the analysis. With the correct numbers, they found that land value increases 24 percent under Steinbrueck’s plan while land value increases 33 percent under Nickels’s plan.

More important, the new numbers showed that the competing plans are about the same when it comes to the real bottom line for developers, which is something called Internal Rate of Return. Under Nickels’s proposal, the Internal Rate of Return for developers would be 27.6%, and under Steinbrueck’s plan, it would be 26.3%. The industry standard for Internal Rate of Return is 20%. (Under the initial flawed study, Steinbrueck’s plan had appeared to just squeak in at 20.1 percent.)

Smokin’ at the Hospital

posted by on February 17 at 12:55 PM

In the course of working on another story, I learned that Public Health has received 188 complaints since the smoking ban went into effect and they have not issued a single ($100) fine. (“We educate and try to help places come into compliance,” said MatĂ­as Valenzuela of Public Health.)

I asked King County Public Health for a list of the complained-against. Among the usual suspect bars (with sky names—the Comet, the Moonraker, the Twilight, Wings Aloft—and tough names—the Buckaroo, the Whisky Bar, Bubba’s Place— and masculine Spanish names—El Gaucho, El Corazon, El Chupacabra), there are a few places that should definitely not be on the list, including: University of Washington Medical Center, Service Paper Company, Fairfax Hospital, First Mutual Bank, the United Parcel Service, and, my favorite, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Cute!

posted by on February 17 at 11:46 AM

Photos of tiny plastic people living on food = the cutest thing I’ve seen in quite awhile.

Click.

Veiling the News, Continued

posted by on February 17 at 11:45 AM

Last week, during the flap about our decision to publish some of the Muhammad cartoons, I posted a list of other U.S. papers that had published the cartoons. It was a list of 8 papers. (Since then, the list has grown to 17 papers.) One of the papers was The Daily Illini, the student paper at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Ill, which published the cartoons the same day we did.

Today’s lead story in the NYT national section is about the Daily Illini’s decision to publish the cartoons. And about the offensive result: The paper’s editor in chief, Acton Gorton, and the paper’s opinion page editor, Chuck Prochaska, were suspended from the paper.

re: Shut Out of the Laser Dome

posted by on February 17 at 10:40 AM

The Plan B laser show was transporting, relaxing, lovely. I only wished there was a good way to watch both the band and the ceiling at the same time. The laser patterns were artfully orchestrated, although short on Pars Kid designs (I only saw two images that looked like his: a big-headed moper kid and the puffy Plan B logo). Dan Paulus went and knows more about music than I do—maybe he’ll describe the aural experience.
It was pretty cold in there. Next time I’ll take a blanket. Also: I looked for the missing beer garden and was told that no one filed a request for an alcohol permit in time (it has to be in 45 days in advance of an event). Still, it was a wonderfully odd, ethereal hour of my life, made exceptional by the company of a good friend who’d been away for too long.
Dave, I’m sorry you missed it. It doesn’t work to come in late to a laser show—it was dark and crowded in there and you might have stepped on a face or two while looking for a seat.

Shut Out of the Laser Dome

posted by on February 17 at 9:56 AM

So I arrived at the Laser Dome for Plan B Orchestra’s Laptop Laser concert at 10:25 pm (start time was 9:45) only to discover nobody at the ticket booth, the gates locked, and me and a Stranger coworker contemplating our climbing skills and whether it was worth risking injury to get into the venue. We decided not to try to vault the 12-foot gates and opted to drink to forget this disappointing experience.

I have to wonder why operations were shut down when, according to an attendee reached by cell phone, the actual show hadn’t even begun yet! Can anyone at Pacific Science Center explain the reasoning behind this policy? More importantly, can anyone who caught Plan B Orchestra let me know how it was?

Prizes for Eyes(es)

posted by on February 17 at 9:25 AM

Olympian Seth Wescott, who claimed gold in yesterday’s Men’s snowboardcross, is hot. The women boarders run the course tonight. And did you know the winter Olympics has cheerleaders? Pretty Italians in horrible outfits. They’re jumping up and down haphazardly and singing “Wooo-wooo!” on the piazza right now.

Open House

posted by on February 17 at 9:02 AM

State Representative Ed Murray (D-Seattle) still won’t say whether he’s going to give up his secure seat in the house and make a run for the state senate this fall. But insiders see the run as a sure thing, despite Murray’s very Hillary Clinton-esque ambiguity about his plans right now.

Which means two things, at least to the insiders. One: Murray will ride the wave of his recent successes on transportation and gay civil rights straight into the senate seat held by Pat Thibaudeau (D-Seattle), an aging legislator who hasn’t made a whole lot of noise in recent years. And two: In the meantime, the race for Murray’s open house seat will become one of the most exciting political brawls of the season.

One way you can tell how eager people are for Murray’s official announcement of his intentions (expected after the session ends March 9) is that most of the people who are serious about taking his current job aren’t waiting for any revelations from Murray. Here’s a list of the people who have filed to run for Murray’s seat even before he’s announced he’s leaving it, along with a run-down of how much money they’ve already raised:


Big-shot lawyer and gay rights activist Jamie Pedersen: $23,000

Democratic activist Lynne Dodson: $20,059.34

Former city councilman James Street: $17,739

King County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Bill Sherman: $10,327.73

Chair of the 43rd Disrtict Democrats, Richard Kelley: $6,710

Perennial candidate Linde Knighton: $15

Peter Steinbrueck legislative aide Stephanie Pure: $0

So Much Depends Upon a Red Apple, Glazed with Rain Water, Beside the White Chickens

posted by on February 17 at 1:00 AM

Hackers who tried to pirate Apple’s operating system have encountered, buried deep inside the code, a poem. Apple put it there. And it sucks. It’s a terrible poem. Apple made nearly $14 billion in revenue in 2005 according to CNN — a record for the company. The least they could do is pay someone to write a decent poem. The poet laureate? What’s he up to? (Apparently, writing about stars and cows.)


Thursday, February 16, 2006

We’re On the List

posted by on February 16 at 6:28 PM

Via Seattlest:

Seattle is on the list of potential host cities for the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Other cities on the GOP’s invitation list include Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Diego and Seattle. The GOP is expected to select a city by February 2007.

God, I hope we get it. Could you imagine the protests? The mass arrests? The governor shutting down the border between Washington and Oregon to stop anarchists from coming up from Eugene? Can you imagine all the cute College Republicans walking up Pike/Pine from the Convention Center? It would be a shitstorm of unbelievable scale. I hope we get it!

I take it back, Greg. Don’t tell ‘em to fuck off. Tell ‘em to come…

The New, Even More Awful Generation of Spam

posted by on February 16 at 4:23 PM

Is it just me, or is everyone being hit more often with ominously cryptic spam e-mails with subject headers like this NEWÂșÂșâ„Šâˆ«ĂžÂ”ĂŠĂ“-Ï€ïŹ‚Âżâ„ŠÂ±â‰„ÂĄÂ§âˆšâ€ąÂżâ„ĂžĂ•ÂȘ˘«√CD¥ı¥§ from senders with baffling names like this: ÂșÂșâ„Šâˆ«ĂžÂ”ĂŠĂ“xzbzxvsagfsarwe@yahoo.com?

That’s some scary shit, people. What’s Homeland Security doing about this?

The Second Coming (Presented By Microsoft)

posted by on February 16 at 4:23 PM

Seeing as how you pretty much have to be the Son of God in order to get your hands on the Xbox 360 (how’s that grand vision of a global launch going, Microsoft?), it’s only fitting that a 360 with the image of Jesus supposedly on the packaging is currently getting monster bids on ebay.

I Thought He Only Drank Jack Daniels

posted by on February 16 at 4:18 PM

One for the “what the fuck?” files: Vince Neil, winemaker.

Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch

posted by on February 16 at 3:32 PM

This is going to be the final installment of Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch. We’ll get to why in a moment, but first a little history…

This regular Slog item began when the Weekly referred to The Stranger as “Seattle’s smaller weekly” in a news story about their then-rumored, now-transpired sale to what was then New Times and is now Village Voice Media. Once upon a time the Weekly was the bigger weekly, but in the last few years the Stranger overtook the Weekly. Today our page count is consistently higher than theirs, and this irritates the dopes, grandmas, and old hippies down on Western Avenue. On the flip side, all of us up here on Pine get irritated when the Weekly lies about their size relative to the Stranger—we also get annoyed when they lie about their relevance, influence, and sexual prowess, but we’ll let that go for now. Thing is, we worked our butts off to be Seattle’s bigger weekly paper, and I wasn’t going to let liars at Seattle’s smaller weekly paper get away with telling their big, fat fibs.

Now, this may be of little interest to anyone who isn’t employed at the Weekly or the Stranger. Yes, it’s inside baseball. And that’s why I’ve kept Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch out of the print edition of the paper. It’s always been here, where it belongs, because the infinite space the Internet provides is the perfect arena for settling scores and petty one-upmanship.

I neglected to post Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch last week, so this is a double-header. Let’s get to the numbers, and then I’ll explain why this is the last installment:

For the week of February 9-15, 2006:

Seattle Weekly: 92 pages.
The Stranger: 120 pages.

For the week of February 16-22, 2006:

Seattle Weekly: 80 pages.
The Stranger: 100 pages.

This week’s double-barreled installment is the final one because I’ve decided, after consulting with the refs, that it’s time to invoke the slaughter rule. We were 24 pages bigger than the Weekly last week; we’re 20 pages bigger than they are this week. The Weekly hasn’t done an 80 page paper in February since 1996. Seattle Smaller Weekly Watch had a nice run, but the point is made, and it’s time to retire it.

Freaks of the Final Frontier

posted by on February 16 at 3:27 PM

As word spreads that EMP will host the Star Trek 40th Anniversary “Celebration and Conference” this September, a number of fascinating details are coming to light. Bargain-minded Trekkies will want to snap up the $95 tickets, while true obsessives will have to shell out $995 for the V.I.P. treatment which includes reserved seats (within the first three rows), entry to the Friday Night Gala Celebration on top of the Space Needle (where the Klingon Band will be performing), and, um, a collectible badge and show program. Sorry kids, the $5,000 and $10,000 tickets apparently sold out months ago, according to EMP publicist Christian Quilicci. What, pray tell, would a $10,000 ticket entitle one to? A circle jerk with William Shatner, perhaps? Be afraid Cienna, be very afraid.

Portland Big Shots

posted by on February 16 at 2:22 PM

The presence of both smoking and non-smoking venues and a commitment to preserving historical architecture are sufficient reasons to embrace our southern sister, but enough good things cannot be said about Portland’s strip club culture. I’ve always had a fondness for the silicone-free vixens and splendid soundtrack found at the Magic Gardens, but rumor has it that Devil’s Point is even more delightful, thanks to the bonus of live rock shows. Now I have the perfect impetus to check it out for myself: Stranger Big Shot nominees the Emergency are playing there on March 25th.

Mollywood!

posted by on February 16 at 2:00 PM

I love me some Mormons, and I love me some Mormon movies, and I really really love LDSfilm.com, which allows me to track both so-called “Mollywood” movies and mainstream fare that happens to feature Mormons in leading roles. Mormons, if you weren’t already aware, are statistically more likely to be hot blonds. (Hot blonds who believe in crazytalk, true, but hey—you’re not dating them, you’re just watching them run around Antarctica in Polartec. Errr.)

Now for some things you can either learn or extrapolate from LDSfilm.com.

1) The upcoming film Thank You for Smoking contains possibly the first-ever on-screen coitus involving a Mormon and a Scientologist. (I learned this while “researching” for my interview with director Jason Reitman this morning.)

2) Brokeback Mountain, which was booted off the schedule of a Utah theater owned by Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller, stars a wholesome Mormon girl by the name of Anne Hathaway. (She’s also the worst actor in the movie—is there some axis of evil that stretches between Mormonism, hotness, and minimal acting talent?)

3) There is a movie entitled Vampire Chicks with Chainsaws. I can do no further justice to this movie than has not already been done by LDSfilm.com:

Imagine a horror film with no swearing, sex, or nudity. Vampire Chicks fills that bill. However, it is NOT for kids. It is a horror film with chainsaws, vampires, and aliens, so it does contain some violence. This feature length film stars Adam Abram (“The Collectors”), Sarah Bell (“Familiar Spirits”), RaeAnn Christensen (“Take a Chance”), Oleysa Rulin (“Mobsters and Mormons”), Jamie Rosquist, and Jenna Linsonbee. Directed by Carlos Don Diego. All the myths about vampires are just that. Crosses, holy water, garlic—they do absolutely nothing! The only thing that can kill a vampire has been injected into Quinn, a rough and rugged hillbilly with a chip on his shoulder. Now he is wanted by both vampires and those who want to destroy them. Quinn’s only hope of survival is Karel, a renegade vampire warrior who does the unthinkable—she falls in love with him.

[Names in bold are Latter-Day Saints.]

Here at the office

posted by on February 16 at 1:59 PM

Two minutes ago, Charles Mudede misspoke, and then said: “I want to shoot myself in the foot.”

And then Dave Segal said, “Why don’t you put your foot in your mouth and then shoot it?”

(PS to all you Ace of Base fans: I’m now playing “The Sign” at full volume in the office.)

Dead Writers on Book Tour

posted by on February 16 at 1:53 PM

I hate when this happens.

Wendy Wasserstein (she won the Pulitzer Prize for her play The Heidi Chronicles) is dead. She died last month, at the age of 55, of lymphoma. It was in all the newspapers.

Yesterday in the mail I got an advanced press copy of her new book, a novel called Elements of Style, its cover designed to look like a present wrapped up in a bow, and on the back it says, “Wendy Wasserstein’s first foray into fiction—and what a debut!” followed by her bio, which ends, “She lives in New York City with her daughter, Lucy Jane,” and then, below that, in the publicity information box, it says: “10-City Author Tour: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C.” God.

This also happened last year when John Gregory Dunne died before his publisher sent out galleys of his latest novel, which also promised an author tour, and I kept thinking about John Gregory Dunne’s corpse being shipped around the country on a continent-spanning bookstore/radio show tour. I mean, what the hell? How much do galleys cost a publisher? Would it kill them to print new ones? (Pardon the expression.)

Right in the Fucking Face!

posted by on February 16 at 1:46 PM

I walk to work pretty much every day, and I pass twenty or so newspaper boxes along the way, so frequently the headlines stick in my head, like a bad Ace of Base song. Today’s particularly heinous offender is the quote from Dick Cheney, on the front page of the P.I., where he refers to shooting a lawyer in the fucking face as (emphasis mine): “…one of the worst days of my life.”
One of the worst days? Frankly, if I shot a friend and acquaintance in the fucking face, that’d probably be my worst day right there. And I’m thinking, for a draft-dodgin’ (sorry, other prioritizin’), millionaire-by-Halliburtonin’, vice presidentin’, catbird-seatin’ kind of guy like Dick is, what could the worst day of his life be? I’ve narrowed it down to three options:

1. When his daughter came out of the closet.

2. When he accidentally fisted that virgin to death, during the Secret Masonic Initiation Ceremony.

3. When he got blotto two weeks ago and had the face of Mohammed tattooed on his ass.

And, honestly, though, if he was drunk when he shot that guy in the fucking face, would somebody please send the motherfucker to jail? Please?

Apropos of Lunch

posted by on February 16 at 1:31 PM

Does the bad of fried negate all the good of tofu?

Big Shot!

posted by on February 16 at 1:30 PM

Get your vote in for the Stranger’s Annual Big Shot competition!

13 artists are on this year’s ballot—Bats of Belfry, Sera Cahoone, Common Market, Diminished Men, the Emergency, Girth, DK Sawka, Panda & Angel, The Pharmacy, Romance, Speaker Speaker, Tennis Pro, and Unnatural Helpers. (If you’re not familiar with the bands, you can read about them and download MP3s here.)

Pick your favorite, print a ballot, and then cast your vote by taking your ballot to your favorite record store on the list of participating locations. It’s that easy! The top four bands will play the Bigshot Showcase at Neumo’s on March 11th, where the winning band will be announced and showered with prizes including free studio time, a slot at this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party, an appearance on 107.7 The End, a wad of cash, and more!

All the details can be found here, www.thestranger.com/bigshot, and the polls close this Sunday night (Feb 19th). Vote now!

Ohno Overdose

posted by on February 16 at 1:10 PM

Yeah, Apolo Ohno’s the Seattle homeboy and God knows he’s got some visual appeal to the gay viewership, but this media lovefest has gotten out of hand.

Everyone knows about the dubious circumstances surrounding his gold medal win at the 2001 Olympics, when Ohno threw a tantrum on the ice over an alleged foul, resulting in a sympathetic judge disqualifying the race’s winner, a South Korean.

Today’s Seattle Times prints a column celebrating the “zen-like focus of the soul-patched one” and congratulates Ohno for being not just a world-class individual athlete but also a fabulous teammate.

Quite true, but only to certain members of his team. Few remember the other Ohno controversy, which happened just a few weeks before his gold medal, at those U.S. Olympic Trials. Ohno had already made the team, but his close friend Shani Davis, needed to win the event’s last race to qualify for the team. Davis was an underdog. Here is an article that tells the story of that race from the perspective of one member of the team, Adam Riedy.

Continue reading "Ohno Overdose" »

Hutcherson Vs. Sims

posted by on February 16 at 1:10 PM

I left out a key piece of info when I announced this a couple of days ago.

The Ken Hutcherson Vs. Ron Sims Debate will be at 7:30pm.

That’s 7:30pm at Town Hall on Thursday, March 2.

And it’s $5. We set this up last minute with Town Hall and all the money is going to Town Hall to cover the costs of putting on the event.

Related to Freedom Fries

posted by on February 16 at 1:03 PM

The opening sentence of this report says it all: “Iranians love Danish pastries, but when they look for the flaky dessert at the bakery they now have to ask for ‘Roses of the Prophet Muhammad.’

Myspace Sucks.

posted by on February 16 at 12:58 PM

For those of you who find certain aspects of Myspace as ridiculous as I do…

Myspace the Movie.

Children are Our Future

posted by on February 16 at 12:36 PM

According to BBCNews, US kids might soon have access to an avian flu vaccination because they are (small, cute) germ factories with a penchant for licking anything that moves.

Scientists in St Louis want to test the vaccine, made from an inert form of the potentially lethal H5N1 virus, on 120 children aged between two and nine.

So if all goes well, kiddies will soon be able to cough, shake hands, even kiss chickens and then engage in consensual sex amongst themselves without fear of the bird flu striking them dead.

The World Health Organization, meanwhile, is encouraging everyone else to buy face masks and start bumping elbows to stay healthy. Why elbows? Because hands are like animated germ mitts, and people should be keeping that shit to themselves with the threat of an epidemic approacing (I’m paraphrasing). Alas, hand jobs will also soon be taboo unless you are under the age of nine.

This means, sadly, that two of my favorite forms of physical expression—the high-five and face-slap—are on the brink of going out of style.

Who’s to Blame?

posted by on February 16 at 12:29 PM

There was a weird moment in Team Nickels’s Fire Levy briefing to council earlier this week when Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis began on a supposedly contrite note. (Obviously, there’s something to be contrite about here because the fire levy that voters approved in 2003 is 40% over budget—or $67 million over. And now, the mayor’s office is asking council to cover the overrun.)

But Ceis’s “apology” (“yes, there are significant overruns”) was coupled with an accusation. Basically, Ceis’s acknowledgment that the levy got fucked up was couched in a statement of pseudo collegiality that actually laid the blame on council. He said the lesson here is that the Mayor and the Council should work better together at the outset of major capitol projects to set a realistic budgets. The underhanded message: This was all the council’s fault for low-balling the fire levy.

As Ceis had it: The Mayor’s original fire levy proposal had been more expensive (that is: more realistic) and in trimming it down for voters back in 2003, the council had created an untenable situation where costs were obviously going to balloon…and well, here we are facing sticker shock.

This is obviously ridiculous. To lower the costs back in 2003, the Council wisely cut out specific items—like a gym. So, the fire levy that voters approved included that trimmed down, fixed set of items. It’s those items—items that were also part of the mayor’s original proposal—that have ballooned. It was the mayor’s office that low-balled those items, miscalculating inflation and, DUH!—budgeting for suburban rather than urban fire houses. (Um, somebody on the mayor’s team is not ready for prime time.) Insinuating that the Council set the levy up for failure because they cut stuff out—stuff that now has nothing to do with the cost increase—is just plain weird.

The blame here lies squarely with Team Nickels. Ceis’s attempt to blame the Council was super arrogant and perhaps a sign of things to come when he blames the council for the coming Viaduct tunnel overruns.

Turn Me On, Indeed

posted by on February 16 at 12:09 PM

Our Up & Comings section was so jam-packed this week that we didn’t have room to write about the Turn-Ons record release party. Silly us—we should have shoe-horned it in there somehow. Tonight they unveil their third and finest record, Parallels, at Neumo’s. Released on their own Childstar record label, Parallels is a gorgeous sprawl of articulate, glam-flavored pop that shimmers with their trademark harmonics and an enchanting Anglophile edge. Pleasing production values are courtesy of Brooklyn tastemaker Paul Mahajan, the wizard behind the Yeah Yeah Yeahs debut who the band met on their trip to NYC a couple of years ago. I swear this is one of Seattle’s most criminally overlooked bands.

From Atop a Tower of Letters

posted by on February 16 at 11:55 AM

Our mailbag is close to bursting with letters responding to last week’s Stranger and the Muhammad cartoon controversy. All of them are now online for those of you who can’t get enough of the issue. Gorge yourself (but be warned that these letters are unedited).

How to defeat al Qaeda, or duck them

posted by on February 16 at 11:54 AM

The government responds to terrorists by creating more of them, but WWAD (what would artists do)? Well, a bunch of artists organized by Paul Thomas of the TAR ART RAT Foundation for the Continuation of Humanity are making antiterrorism propaganda for a show opening April 6 at the OK Hotel in Pioneer Square. The inspiration, according to Thomas, is the official government antiterrorism preparedness training and certification web site. For more info, email TARARTRAT@gmail.com.

Could be a good show, or not. But it does stir a fond memory of mine. A couple years ago, when The News Tribune in Tacoma was sending me and photographer Janet Jensen over to Afghanistan to write about the forgotten zone there, we had to go through a required briefing with some brass on the McChord AFB in Lakewood. They made us wait for a half hour in a holding room, and then ushered us into an even more secure room, where they told us they were sharing low-level classified information that could safeguard our lives. I thought they were going to say, bin Laden’s guys hang out on the corner of Main Street and Muhammed Avenue, so do your interviews somewhere else. But instead, they had a more devious plan: If anyone in Kandahar asks where you’re from, they said, say Canada.

That was their official advice. Then we were dismissed.

Everything’s Still Better with Zombies

posted by on February 16 at 11:53 AM

It’s illegal to publicly wish for Bush’s death, but is it illegal to enact the president’s disembowelment by hungry zombies? “Um, I don’t know,” said Cleozombie, organizer for the zombie-political-street theater group Dead Awake. “I think it’ll be goofy enough to show we’re not a threat.”

Cleozombie and her undead pals will gore up their meal—this Monday at Westlake between 2:00 and 3:30—with Jell-o innards, pantyhose intestines, and fake blood.

Important facts: Cleo’s favorite zombie movie is Land of the Dead by George Romero (“but I also really like Sean of the Dead). She is a pacifist who likes horror movies (“but sometimes I close my eyes.”) She isn’t into Bush-bashing (“I don’t blame him—he’s an idiot—I blame the whole administration”) but thinks the visual of the prez being eaten alive by 20 zombies is too good to pass up.

And, like our news editor Josh Feit, Cleo thinks zombies are a rich metaphor.

Cleo: “Zombies represent the oppressed that eventually rise up and threaten a society.”

Josh: “1968’s Night of the Living Dead is an incredible distillation of the Vietnam television war, Birmingham, Chicago ‘68. It’s a complex metaphor that leaves us with contradictory questions, but we know that the zombies are us, and Night of the Living Dead is 1968… I could talk about this for hours.” (It’s true.)

“People who don’t get involved in politics are dangerous,” Cleozombie said. “Like zombies.”

But who would win a relative-danger contest? A politically disengaged person or a zombie?

“A zombie, I guess.”

And more dangerous to the president?

“A zombie. Definitely.”

Money Well Spent

posted by on February 16 at 11:46 AM

From Brandweek:

DALLAS — The Bush administration spent $1.4 billion in taxpayer dollars on 137 contracts with advertising agencies over the past two-and-a-half years, according to a Government Accountability Office report released by House Democrats Monday.

With spending on public relations and other media included, federal agencies spent $1.6 billion on what some Democrats called “spin.”

The six largest recipients of ad and PR dollars were Leo Burnett USA, $536 million; Campbell-Ewald, $194 million; GSD&M, $179 million; JWT, $148 million; Frankel, $133 million; and Ketchum, $78 million. The agencies received more than $1.2 billion in media contracts, according to the report.

What does all that dough buy you? An approval rating in the high-30’s. To be fair, though, defending things like a VP shooting octogenarians in the face can be a tad expensive.

Sweet Home Chicago

posted by on February 16 at 11:45 AM

Sure, it’s got elevated rapid transit, two pro-baseball teams (including the World Series champs), it gets shit done—like build a huge new park in the middle of downtown—instead talking shit to death, and the city doesn’t collapse in a puddle of tears every time there’s a piddling little riot.

Today’s news, though, brought another good reason to love Chicago, my home town…

Thanks but no thanks.

That’s Chicago’s answer to an invitation to submit a bid to host the 2008 Republican National Convention.

The Republican National Committee said yesterday that Chicago and 30 other cities were selected to submit bids explaining why they’d be a good choice to host the 2008 convention.

But a spokeswoman for Mayor Richard Daley says City Hall isn’t interested.

Hey, Greg Nickels: You want to be Seattle’s Mayor Daley, but you fucked your city out of rapid transit, which a Daley would never do. Here’s a chance to redeem yourself, if only a little: If Seattle is one the other twenty-nine thirty asked to submit a bid to host the Rs in 2008, act like a Daley and tell the Rs to fuck off. Come on! Act like a big city mayor for once!

Pot is the New Cherry

posted by on February 16 at 11:42 AM

Check out this AP story, which finds that marijuana is now Washington State’s 8th most valuable agricultural product, ahead of our famed cherries.

SPOKANE — Law enforcement officers harvested a dubious record last year: enough marijuana plants to rank the illegal weed as Washington state’s No. 8 agricultural commodity, edging sweet cherries in value.

The 135,323 marijuana plants seized in 2005 were estimated to be worth $270 million — a record amount that places the crop among the state’s top 10 agricultural commodities, based on the most recent statistics available.

And that’s just the weed that law enforcement seized.

But is it really that “dubious” a harvest? Imagine if marijuana were legalized in Washington and, like alcohol, its production and distribution was strictly taxed and regulated. Our huge annual marijuana harvest would mean a lot of potential tax revenue for a state that’s always complaining it doesn’t have enough to go around.

Court Orders Wal-Mart to Stock the Morning After Pill…

posted by on February 16 at 11:35 AM

…but only in Massachusetts, not nation-wide. Via Americablog:

Wal-Mart pharmacies in Massachusetts must carry emergency contraception pills, the state’s pharmacy board has ruled.Wal-Mart has until Thursday to comply with the ruling…. The drug, which is commonly referred to as the “morning after pill,” or “Plan B,” must be taken 72 hours after sex to prevent pregnancy.

Wal-Mart currently only carries the pill at its Illinois stores, where it is required under state regulations.

I guess this means that Wal-Mart doesn’t carry the morning after pill in Washington State. Is NARAL or somebody working on a way to force Wal-Mart to sell the drug in its Washington state stores? We should try to become the third state to force Wal-Mart to do the right thing.

With Alito on the Supreme Court, and abortion rights slipping away, it’s increasingly important that women have access to emergency contraception.

The Universe According To Josh Feit

posted by on February 16 at 11:20 AM

Josh Feit just told me that this line in my last post on Mike Davis (“Here is one of the many passages that blew my fucking mind this morning”) does not sound like me in the least. I agree, it doesn’t sound like me, and I have no idea why expressed myself in a way that is not myself in sound. Nothing ever blows my fucking mind. I’m not that type of guy. To restore order to the universe, the delicate system of which has been disturbed by my unexpected turn of mind, I offer this adjustment: “Here is one of the many passages that swept me off my feet this morning.” I believe that sounds much more like me.

Lori Earley Prints

posted by on February 16 at 10:08 AM

the_wish.jpg

For those of you who loved this memorable Stranger cover (May 26, 2005), Roq la Rue is offering limited edition Giclee prints, signed and numbered by Lori Earley.

Check it out here.

Absolute Slum

posted by on February 16 at 9:28 AM

Mike Davis has done it again! His new book Planet of Slums is awesome—in the root sense of that word. (I’m not sure if it’s out yet—I’m reading a review copy.) So far (I’ve read half of it), the book stands as the most important Marxist critique of globalisation since Empire (by Negri and Hardt, 1999). Here is one of the many passages that blew my fucking mind this morning:

“..Any realistic hope for the mitigation of Africa’s urban poverty has faded from the official horizon. At the annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank in October 2004, Gordon Brown, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer and hair apparent to Tony Blair, observed that the UN’s Millennium Development Goals for Africa, originally projected to be achieved by 2015, would not be attained for generations: “Sub-Saharan Africa will not achieve universal primary education until 2130, a 50 percent reduction in poverty in 2150, and the elimination of avoidable infant deaths until 2165.” By 2015 Black Africa will have 332 million slum-dwellers, a number that will continue to double every fifteen years.

Black Africa equals Trouble Everyday

Brave Enough

posted by on February 16 at 9:10 AM

In this morning’s mail…

The 15th of february 2006, SBS a national Australian TV showed horrible images of the torture made by US soldier at Abu Ghraib. Those pictures are now largely published around the world. (At least I’ve seen them in the biggest European Newspapers, Algerian and Maroccan Newspaper, Al Jazeera, and so on…) Those pictures are forbiden in the US!!!

Since the Stranger have been so brave lately and published the cartoon depicting Mohamed, will you be brave enough too, to publish those pictures? Will you carry on standing for freedom of press?

Here are some links :

nhttp://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-3218,36-741969@51-740895,0.html
http://www.liberation.fr/page.php?Article=359637

Best regards
Houria

Thanks the note, Houria, but you’re incorrect about these pictures being somehow forbidden in the United States. They were all over television and the papers when the Abu Ghraib story first broke (an American television network broke the story), and these new pictures are all over the place now—they’ve been shown on CNN, in the Washington Post, one was in today’s New York Times, and they’re cropping up in other places. We’ll put one on our website, if you like:

IMAGE_T5_58510.jpg

These images pissed off a lot of Americans, particularly conservatives, just as the Mohammed cartoons pissed off a lot of Muslims. And they were published regardless. And it has to be said, Houria: there were no riots, no death threats, no deaths, no burning buildings. So the damning point you think you’re making—that Americans are hypocrites because we’re not publishing these outrageous photos—is doubly faulty. The pictures have, in fact, been published here, and people who were pissed about it—and some people were very, very pissed—tolerated their publication. Some Americans were outraged that when the pictures were published (decent Americans are more outraged by the torture), and they may think they’re offensive and harmful to the war effort, but no one called for the “trial and punishment” of the editors at the papers that printed them and television networks that showed them.

Finally, it seems that you’re a new reader of the paper. As that’s the case, you probably missed this cover:

2004-10-28-cover.jpg


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Who Will Be Out?

posted by on February 15 at 11:00 PM

Project Runway is on in six hours, and—horrors—I’m in Portland, staying at a hotel that does NOT have Bravo! Oh, the humanity!

Who will be out? Kara, finally? Santino, deservedly? Chloe, inconceivably? Daniel V., over my dead bodily?

I will not be watching, and, as a result, I may die. You, however, may discuss.

UPDATE: Okay, bitches! Who’s out? I missed the whole damn show, and I’m bitter about it. I’m not going to read the comments, but I don’t see how I can avoid hearing the news before i can catch a repeat tomorrow. Argh!

That Doesn’t Count

posted by on February 15 at 7:43 PM

When you write some short story-poems and you superimpose them on silent videos of landscapes, and even if you house the video screens in elaborately crafted plywood cases shaped like blue US mailboxes laid on their bellies, and you put each box on one level of a stair platform, it’s still not an art installation. It’s a poem with a picturesque moving backdrop. Don’t try to fool me. So say I to you, Hugo House, where today I visited your “art installation” called The Eight Essential Ingredients, of which the above sculpturish hoo-haw is the main component.

In other art haps, Seattle U’s new Lee Center for the Arts opened Tuesday. It’s mostly a theater building (what’s with art stuff that’s mostly something else this week?), but it has a gallery fronting 12th Avenue, curated by Carrie E.A. Scott, a writer for The Stranger, who said she plans to devote the space to Seattle artists, especially in solo shows where the artists can interact with the gallery’s particular dimensions and conditions as a street presence.

The first show, though, is a simple thank-you to benefactors of the center who are also collectors. On display are six artworks grouped under the heading Collecting Drama, including Cindy Sherman’s 1995 closeup of herself as a glam spacebot (below), last seen at Western Bridge and owned by Bill and Ruth True; Marc Chagall’s stick-in-the-sand 1973 lithograph “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” from the collection of Ellsworth and Nancy Alvord; and one work each by Kenneth Callahan, Robert Rauschenberg, and Anthony Quinn.

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The Sonics’ 6th Man: The Taxpayers

posted by on February 15 at 5:10 PM

Are there better uses of Key Arena for the City?

Average Revenue per Sonics Game to the City: $28K
Average Cost per Sonics Game to the City: $23K
Net Gain to the City: $5K

Average Revenue per Key Arena Concert to the city: $95K
Average cost per Key Arena Concert to the City: $39K
Net Gain to the City: $56K

Source: City Council Study

The Sonics’ 6th Man: The Taxpayers

posted by on February 15 at 5:05 PM

The line from Team Nickels on the $200 million Sonics bailout is this: “Hey, if the legislature’s gonna give us the money, we’ll take it.” This is what Dep. Mayor Tim Ceis told the legislature last week.

This is a far cry from Ceis’s tough guy posture last December. Commenting on the same $200 million public subsidy late last year, Ceis told the Seattle Times: “I understand [the Sonics’] frustration, but you have to build some kind of agreement around the right solution, and right now they don’t have that.”

So, what’s changed?

Well, I guess Ceis thinks the legislature is giving the Sonics the money. (Or wants the public to think the legislature is giving the Sonics the money.)

Problem is: The legislature isn’t giving the Sonics the money. The legislature is authorizing King County to give the Sonics the money. Where’s King County supposed to get that money? The same place the Sonics wanted to get it last December—from entertainment taxes in Seattle.

Bottom line: The legislature is set to authorize a $200 million Sonics subsidy, and the Mayor’s office is either pretending you’re not going to pay for it, or pretending it’s a different “solution” than the one Team Nickels opposed last December.

The Defining Freedom

posted by on February 15 at 4:20 PM

David Summerlin, a frequent writer in our comments section, is a vocal critic of The Stranger’s decision to re-print the Danish Mohammed cartoons—which we did in the context of a piece about the uproar. That piece, “All the Rage: , is by Bruce Bawer, and it can be read here .

In response to my post earlier today, David S. wrote…

Of course you can talk about it as a “straight up freedom of speech issue.” Now, as then, that characterization would be oversimple and not quite accurate…

I take a contrary position to yours not because I oppose “free speech,” but because I consider your strategy impotent and showy. I don’t even oppose the republication of the cartoons — I only oppose republishing them in a reactionary context that escalates a dangerous holy war.

Yadda, yadda, yadda. David does go on. Our re-publication of the cartoons was not “reactionary,” whatever that means in this context. And, I’m sorry, but Danish, French, German, and American writers, editors, and bloggers are not guilty of escalating a “dangerous holy war,” it’s the idiots rioting in the streets (some of them on the orders of their governments), to say nothing of the Saudi clerics calling for the “trial and punishment” of the cartoonists who drew the original twelve images (some of which weren’t even of Mohammed), who are guilty of that. (You gotta love those Saudi cleric: try `em and punish them. Gee, if the cartoonists are already guilty, and punishment is a foregone conclusion, why bother with a trial?)

The publication of the original twelve cartoons was not a provocation; the rioting, burning of embassies, issuing of death threats, and calls for beheadings are. This is an assault on free speech—period. It is an attempt by the most reactionary, conservative, backward adherents of one the world’s most reactionary, conservative, backward world religions to impose their religious taboos on people who do not share their beliefs. That some, like David, are all too willing to grab ankles in order to avoid escalating a holy war that they intend on fighting whatever we do only proves that some folks don’t get it: If we start trimming our rights to mollify these religious bigots, where does it end? If freedom of speech is the first thing we’re willing to sacrifice, is there anything we’re willing to defend?

I was stewing about all of this on my flight to Portland. At the airport I bought the latest issue of The Economist. I was delighted to find this stirring, kick-ass, fuck-the-ankle-grabbers editorial—their lead editorial—in the magazine.

Freedom of expression, including the freedom to poke fun at religion, is not just a hard-won human right but the defining freedom of liberal societies . When such a freedom comes under threat of violence, the job of governments should be to defend it without reservation. To their credit, many politicians in continental Europe have done just that. France’s interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, said rather magnificently that he preferred “an excess of caricature to an excess of censorship”…

Shouldn’t the right to free speech be tempered by a sense of responsibility? Of course. Most people do not go about insulting their fellows just because they have a right to. The media ought to show special sensitivity when the things they say might stir up hatred or hurt the feelings of vulnerable minorities. But sensitivity cannot always ordain silence. Protecting free expression will often require hurting the feelings of individuals or groups, even if this damages social harmony. The Muhammad cartoons may be such a case.

In Britain and America, few newspapers feel that their freedoms are at risk. But on the European mainland, some of the papers that published the cartoons say they did so precisely because their right to publish was being called into question. In the Netherlands two years ago a film maker was murdered for daring to criticise Islam. Danish journalists have received death threats. In a climate in which political correctness has morphed into fear of physical attack, showing solidarity may well be the responsible thing for a free press to do.

There are many things western countries could usefully say and do to ease relations with Islam, but shutting up their own newspapers is not one of them

Go read the whole terrific, blistering, bracing piece here.

More Dying Dives?

posted by on February 15 at 1:56 PM

Rumors abound that the Comet Tavern has been sold and is potentially closing. Does anyone know if there’s any truth to this?

I Miss Maerz

posted by on February 15 at 1:45 PM

blondies-1.jpg

on East Pike Street

posted by on February 15 at 1:01 PM

Black Chandelier is gone, contrary to rumors that they were merely remodeling. They were fools not to have a final clearance sale.
And the former Spinton/Ego space just east of Broadway, which has been undergoing interior renovation for months, appears to be preparing to open—interviews for staff are being held at the Downunder on Saturday, Feb 25. The façade is still as ratty as ever, and I have no info on what type of club is about to inhabit that space. Anyone know anything?

Juicy Cheney Rumors

posted by on February 15 at 1:00 PM

Wonkette runs down the latest and greatest, among them: Cheney delayed news of the shooting in order to cover up an affair.

Meanwhile, Steve Martin breaks the news that Cheney also shot three presidents.

Re: God’s Anger

posted by on February 15 at 12:17 PM

Charles Mudede, translated:

050228910-bong.jpg

God’s Anger

posted by on February 15 at 11:52 AM

This fragment, which concerns the source of God’s anger, was composed by Hegel during his Jena period (1801-1807). It is one of the most terrifying images of life/the world/existence ever written. No writer of fiction has ever used words so magnificently. To better understand the passage, read it once, and then read what I have bolded, and then reread the whole passage. Who ever masters Hegel’s work and ideas, possess not a kingdom of thought but the ruins of that kingdom. (I have made small improvements to the translation for the sake of comprehension.)

“God, having become Nature, had extended Himself into the [splendor] and the mute cycle of formations, become conscious of the expansion, of the lost punctuality, and grown angry about it. The anger is this shaping, this gathering into the empty point. He finds Himself as such, and His essence is poured out into unquiet, restless eternity, where there is no present, only a wild going outward, always becoming as fast as [it is] transcended. This anger, while He is this rushing outward, is at the same time an absolute going into Himself, a growing into a central point. In so doing His anger devours His formations into Himself. Your whole realm of extension must pass through this central point: by it your limbs are crushed and your flesh mashed until it becomes part of this fluidity.”

Freedom of Speech

posted by on February 15 at 11:20 AM

Okay, can we talk about Toon Wars as a straight-up freedom of speech issue now? A cartoonist in Germany is in hiding after drawing a cartoon—yes, an offensive one—that didn’t even depict he-who-must-not-be-drawn. A cartoonist at a daily paper in Ohio is under attack for drawing a cartoon that made fun of CNN for not showing the Mohammed cartoons, a cartoon that featured an image of Mohammed but with his face blurred out—which is precisely how Muslims in many Islamic countries depict Mohammed.

Blogger Eugene Volokh comments:

So I guess it’s not just that we aren’t supposed to draw pictures of Mohammed as terrorist, or of Mohammed at all; we aren’t even supposed to draw pictures that are obviously not of Mohammed, and that are meant to mock the inability to draw pictures of Mohammed.” (Via Sullivan.)

Volokh links to a story in an Ohio paper:

“They take the prize for being the most ill-intended, irresponsible property group,” he said. “Allah curses and condemns them and every Muslim in this community should curse and condemn them.”

Julia A. Shearson, director of Ohio’s Council of American-Islamic Relations, said they want the Beacon Journal to apologize for running the “unethical” cartoon and want the paper to publish their letters to the editor.

After yesterday’s press conference, Bok met with several leaders. The cartoonist said he drew the cartoon to take a shot at CNN for “distorting a distortion” and not at the prophet or Muslims… .

Still, Muslim leaders said Bok’s cartoon was disrespectful because the prophet should not have been depicted in such a way. In fact, they said, there are no pictures or statues of Muhammad because he should not be confused with God… .

There are no pictures or statues of Mohammed? Really?

The Best Thing To Happen To Jesus Since the Resurrection

posted by on February 15 at 11:16 AM

According to Manchester Online, the city is gearing up for the most amazing Easter parade in history.

Jesus will sing Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” before dueting with Judas on New Order’s “Blue Monday.” The climax sees Jesus sing the Smiths’ “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” as he is flailed by Roman soldiers. He will then come face-to-face with Pontius Pilate with the two of them singing a duet of the Oasis hit “Wonderwall” and its chorus: “I said maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me.”

As MO reports, “The BBC plans to show the event live on BBC3 on Good Friday and says the idea was inspired by ‘the way Bach and other composers fused music and the Passion story’.”

Full story here.


Intelligent Design

posted by on February 15 at 11:10 AM

Busted Again.

What Really Matters

posted by on February 15 at 11:06 AM

Ah, Fox News. Sure, a man got shot in the face. We hope he pulls through and all, but more importantly…

cavutochen.JPG.jpg

Willie Nelson joins gay cowboy party

posted by on February 15 at 9:47 AM

According to the Dallas Morning News, Willie Nelson has had a gay cowboy song in the closet for quite some time, but has finally released it to show support for gay rights and for his friend and tour manager of 30 years, David Anderson, who finally came out to Willie two years ago. The song is available exclusively on iTunes. Its title, uh, rolls right off the tongue: “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other.”

According to the DMN, “Singing ‘Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other’ was Mr. Nelson’s way of telling a longtime pal everything was OK.” But if everything is so OK down there in Tejas, why did it take this longtime pal so long to come out to his boss? And why didn’t his boss release the song before the hit movie with the two hot stars making out? Even Willie Nelson wants to ride Brokeback.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Gallery 1412 Fundraiser Alert

posted by on February 14 at 5:48 PM

Stranger freelance writer Sam Mickens of Seattle art-rock band the Dead Science has an important announcement to make, so I’m posting it here. Please read his words and help support one of this city’s most adventurous music/performance venues. Your sweetheart should understand.

Gallery 1412, one of the city’s only dedicated all ages spaces and its only primarily experimental music venue, has recently fallen on some hard times financially. Having been kept afloat for its entire lifespan by the meager offerings of its collective members and show revenues, we need to occasionally indulge in some aggressively scrill-acquiring events.

“Tuesday, February 14th, 8pm at Gallery 1412, $5-15 sliding scale donation
1412 Valentine’s Day Benefit Party featuring:

Vermillion.Violet
(Prince cover band feat. members of The Dead Science)
Avant Bachelor Auction
(The cream of Seattle’s subcultural hunks up for bid)
Implied Violence Clown Show
(Debased outsider clowning)

“Opening the evening will be a sure-to-entertain-and-discomfort love-themed clown show from local experimental theater company Implied Violence.

“Following this will be a good old fashioned bachelor auction, but populated by the cream of Seattle’s rakish arts community and other generally “outsider” hunks. A full list is yet to be confirmed but some definite buyable men will be dancer/installation artist/salt shaker dk pan, local hiphop legend Specs One, and club promoter/incomparable fashionista Michito Iwata.

“Finally, Vermillion.violet, a Prince cover band including myself and the rest of The Dead Science, will perform. This is only the second show in three years for v.v, the last at another benefit, that time for a film project of performance art group P.A.N. Vermillion.violet is a charitable organization but that does not mean it is not wholly drrty.”

Smash-Up

posted by on February 14 at 5:05 PM

Broken-hearted? Devastated? Still angry about being dumped? Don’t spend this horrible night in a puddle of your own misery. Instead, come to Chop Suey where our very own Dan Savage is hosting our annual Valentine’s Day Bash.

For those who’ve never been, here’s the deal: Damaged souls bring mementos from failed relationships—mix CDs, wedding bands, undies, etc.—and Savage destroys them on-stage in front of an audience. It’s simple, it’s therapeutic, and by the end of the night it’s a drunken mess.

Doors are at 8 pm, and the cost is only $5—far cheaper than a trip to the shrink. See you there.

My Nazi valentine….

posted by on February 14 at 5:02 PM

is Justin Boyer, of the National Socialist Movement. He’s the brains behind last weekend’s neo-Nazi demonstration in Fremont. Boyer is not familiar with The Stranger, and so when I informed him that one of my editors was gay and the other was Jewish, he expressed skepticism as to whether my article (see “In Other News” tomorrow) would be fair and balanced.


I assured the racist douchebag that The Stranger upholds the most rigorous standards of journalistic objectivity.


Boyer says his group of ten gathered at that spot on 36th Street to challenge this statue of Vladimir Lenin, just north and west of the Aurora bridge:

WASEAlenin02.jpg


Try to follow the logic: Lenin was a communist and communists killed Nazis, and the Cold War teaches us to hate communists, and so the notion of a monument to Lenin in America is just outrageous. Boyer puts it more succinctly: “It’s an 8-ton piece of shit. We could have made bullets out of it.”

No celebration of ignorance-based hatred is complete without some inflammatory signage: “Hey Jew, we defy you,” said one. Another made a more thought-provoking point: “Race is a biological fact, not a social construct.” It’s a bitch to chant that one.


The real objective, however, was recruitment. Fremont is an arty, liberal neighborhood, so it wouldn’t seem to have much to offer the Aryan nation. Au contrare, says Boyer: “We get more leftists than we do from anywhere else.” Told that racism and liberal politics tend to be mutually exclusive, Boyer conceded that perhaps he didn’t know what a liberal was.


Overall, the demonstration failed to arouse the usual volley of epithets. Boyer says that his group was approached by hippies, lesbians, and a few Jews. “Most of them didn’t care,” says Boyer. “They said we have the right to free speech.” But it wasn’t a total loss. Boyer got the finger from a number of passing motorists, to which he responded (predictably) with the “Sieg Heil!” salute.


The next neo-Nazi demonstration is set for Olympia, though Boyer wouldn’t be more specific, saying only, “I pick my targets carefully.” My guess: A theater that is showing Brokeback Mountain, a film that Boyer and his Nazi minions are boycotting. After all, homosexuality is a “mental illness,” though Boyer is quick to point out that he loves his fellow male Aryan, “but I love him as a brother.” I don’t know all the euphemisms for gay sex acts, but that one sounds pretty freaky.

How To Succeed in Blogging

posted by on February 14 at 4:25 PM

With, and without even trying.

Dick Season

posted by on February 14 at 3:21 PM

It’s Dick season for the comedians.

Protest at our Office

posted by on February 14 at 3:18 PM

All week long we wondered if the sensitivity police would show up at our offices to protest the Mohammed cartoons that ran in the Stranger, but it wound up being those crazy Catholic kids at C’YA who picketed our offices today. They were upset about a piece in the paper by Rev. Buddy, the Stranger’s resident spiritual advisor, that claimed credit for the groups lame-brained protest in Westlake Park last week.

At their first protest, C’YA called on devout area Catholics—all four of them—to boycott See’s Candies and Hallmark Cards. Why? Because they were “leaving the SAINT out of St. Valentine’s Day!” We thought their protest, which we Slogged about last week, was hilarious, and we thought it would be even more hilarious to have our own Rev. Buddy pretend that it was all his idea. This, of course, didn’t sit well with the humor-challenged, orgasm-deprived kids at C’YA, so they announced an action on V-Day, at our offices.

When we heard they were actually outside we sent a photographer right down to get a pic—and it was a good thing the photographer rushed outside. Oh, they were such brave abstinence advocates! They must have been outside our offices for all of ten minutes. Maybe they were afraid we were going to come down and fuck them?

C'YAProtest1.jpg

I wanted to talk with them while they were here—just talk—but I was downtown. In fact, I was in Westlake Center, so I decided to stop by See’s Candies, where they’re still leaving the “Saint” off “St. Valentine’s Day,” and see how they were doing. As you can see in the photo below, See’s was packed.

See's.jpg

Look, C’YA, it’s not working. You’re not getting media coverage, no traction at all, and while Susan Paynter’s column in the PI last week sounded a lot like your website, if you Google “War on St. Valentine’s Day” you’ll see that you’re not the only folks in the country who had this idea. You were among the few who took the idea seriously—most, like Susan Paynter, only joked about fundies demanding that the “St.” be put back in “St. Valentine’s Day” the way they demanded that the Christ be put back in Christmas. But it’s not an original idea, and it’s not getting you anywhere. So why don’t you drop it?

At the very least you’re going to have to drop it until next year. Seeing as today is Valentine’s Day, the daily papers and the TV news folks aren’t going to cover your demo today or any other action you plan—not, at least, until next Valentine’s Day rolls around.

And by then, with any luck, you’ll all be over yourselves, over Catholicism, and over abstinence. And if each and everyone one of you is not getting any by next Valentine’s Day, drop by our offices again and I will send some staffers down to fuck your asses.

Kevorkian Time, Indeed

posted by on February 14 at 3:17 PM

Christ, no wonder Grandaddy broke up. Their forthcoming record is entitled Just Like the Fambly Cat and contains a track with the refrain “Meow, meow-meow-meow-meow, meow, meow”, an utterly irritating and endless reiteration that makes one wonder if Lady Elaine from Mister Rogers is about to start rapping. I used to love them during their Software Slump days, but good fucking riddance.

Most Americans Are Tired of Bullshit

posted by on February 14 at 3:12 PM

From the National Review:

THE CHENEY STUFF [Mark R. Levin]

Yes, Cheney is a public man so his actions are public — but in this case, they are public and unimportant. David Gregory and his band of pampered colleagues may be offended but many of us are not. Sorry, I don’t see any great offense or principle on display here. And I dare say most Americans are tuning out. The vice president is safe, his lawyer friend is okay, and nothing tawdry occurred. Now, back to the war.

This is Standard Conservative Blowhard Operating Procedure (SCBOP): Bad news breaks for the righties, the media gives it some play (usually minor play), then right-wing gasbags like Mark Levin announce with authority that “most Americans are tuning out” on the story—presumably because right-wingers have some sort of special batphone that taps straight into the heart of “most Americans.”

The Rs use this tactic with everything. Bush eavesdropping without a warrant? Most Americans don’t care. Abuse at Abu Ghraib? Most Americans aren’t paying attention. Bush’s buddy Ken Lay and that whole Enron debacle? Most Americans have moved on.

But here’s the thing Levin and his fellow right-wing dust bunnies should probably consider: Their Dear Leader Bush has an approval rating stuck at 40% approve. The Republican-controlled congress has even worse numbers. Could it be that maybe, just maybe, most Americans are no longer buying their bullshit? If you continually hitch your wagon to, and defend, a President unpopular by the majority of the nation, doesn’t that make you out of touch with most Americans? So why exactly would you know whether or not most Americans have tuned out?

Best Valentine…Ever

posted by on February 14 at 1:30 PM

Clearly, this guy knows what I like:

unknown.jpg


inside heart.jpg

Fascinating Movie

posted by on February 14 at 1:21 PM

You only have through Thursday to see After Innocence at the Varsity. It is a documentary about men who were wrongly imprisoned for decades, some of them on death row or in long-term solitary, and then released after DNA evidence proved their innocence. I saw it last spring at SIFF and I still remember how horrifying and engrossing it is.

See The Stranger review here.

Happy Valentine’s Day…

posted by on February 14 at 12:26 PM

…for those of you out there who are hopeless romatics like me and relish the chance/challenge to show Special Someones just how much you care!

I sent my brother a dozen red roses for Valentine’s Day because he is the handsomest, funniest guy I know and I love him dearly.

He is also 14 years old and in 8th grade in Boise, Idaho. If I timed it right, they should be delivered to him during junior high gym class.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY CARLOS! YOUR SISTER LOVES YOU!

Valentine Etiquette

posted by on February 14 at 12:01 PM

I’m one of those people who don’t particularly care about Valentine’s Day. Not in any sort of bitter “fuck all you couples, I’m perfectly happy single” way, or in a rage-filled “Hallmark manufactures our holidays!” sort of way (a perfectly valid point, but I can only shake my fist in rage for so many causes). It really just perplexes me—one day to celebrate love and romance? How about a singular day to commemorate fearless humor (perhaps Lenny Bruce’s birthday? Or Richard Pryor’s?). Do we need one day honoring the commencement of the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal)? These are utterly pointless questions by themselves, so I don’t expect anyone to answer me, but here is one I truly need help with: when some fetching young thing offers up a cheerful and sincere “Happy Valentine’s Day” via email or text messaging, how should someone such as myself respond? I don’t want to reply with a hollow reciprocation, but I think it would make me look like a real asshole to go into some diatribe about the lunacy of February 14th. I’m a big proponent of good manners (much like my esteemed colleague, Kurt B. Reighley), so any insights our readers or staff may have will be welcomed.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

posted by on February 14 at 11:16 AM

In the news this morning:

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - The 78-year-old lawyer who was shot by Vice President Dick Cheney in a hunting accident has some birdshot lodged in his heart and he had a “minor heart attack,” a hospital official said Tuesday.

Full story.

Not Since Carrie

posted by on February 14 at 9:48 AM

First let me explain that subject line: Not Since Carrie is the title of a book about flop Broadway musicals, the foremost of which is arguably the titular Carrie, which was, indeed, a musical based on Stephen King’s classic horror tale of telepathy, abuse, and a prom gone horribly wrong. Enjoy some review excerpts here. (Click “What Went Wrong” on the right side of the screen.)

Which brings us to The Wedding Singer, the Broadway-bound new musical based on the hit Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore comedy, which opened a pre-Broadway run last Thursday at Seatle’s 5th Avenue Theater.

I never saw Carrie, but I did see opening night of The Wedding Singer, or at least the first half of it, after which my friend Keith dragged me from the theater and away to a bar. The previous year, Keith had travelled to New York to see Taboo, the England-in-the-’80s musical based on the life of and featuring music written by Boy George and produced by Rosie O’Donnell. Taboo was a notorious flop, and upon fleeing The Wedding Singer, Keith said, “That was much, much worse than Taboo.”

Forgive my reliance on third-party opinion, but based on his Taboo experience alone, Keith’s opinion on the propsects of a would-be Broadway musical is worth more than mine. Me, I found The Wedding Singer: The Musical oddly klunky and close to charmless—crude judgments I found expanded and explained in this review from the website Broadwayworld.com. (My two favorite sentences: “[The song] ‘Come Out of the Dumpster’ seems more about Julia getting Robbie out of an actual dumpster than the friendship builder it should be,” and “It just doesn’t seem realistic that actual people would talk this much about the time period they are in.”)

So far the reviews have been mixed to really mixed, the main exception being this bizarre offering from the Seattle P-I. Of course, these reviews are of a show that’s essentially a workshop, with the possibility of problematic kinks being ironed out before the show hits New York. But can The Wedding Singer do the necessary work before its April 27 Broadway debut?

Place your bets…maybe The Wedding Singer will thrive as a critic-proof must-see for the bridal set, like Mamma Mia with the Abba songs replaced by limp Mr. Mister rejects. Or maybe it’s doomed to follow Taboo…Stay tuned.

Prophetic Quote from Wilfrid Sheed

posted by on February 14 at 9:43 AM

This may be a day late and a dollar short for the recent controversy, but it still rings true: “Cartooning is the most extreme form of cruelty allowed in civilized countries.”

Happy Saint Valentines Day

posted by on February 14 at 9:23 AM

First, we’re all tingling with anticipation about the C’YA protest outside our offices today . We intend to pelt these abstinence activists with used condoms and other bio-hazards.

In other news, this story—clearly timed for V-Day by some asshole editor somewhere—should crush the hopes of all the unhappily small-dicked men out there.

…researchers said on Tuesday that most men who have had penis enlargement surgery are not satisfied with the results.

“For patients with psychological concern about the size of the penis — particularly if it is normal size — there is little point in offering them surgery because it makes no difference,” said Nim Christopher, a urologist at St Peter’s Andrology Center in London.

Christopher and his colleagues, who questioned 42 men who had the surgery, found the dissatisfaction rate was very high. Often the men requested another surgical procedure.

“The average increase in length is 1.3 cm (0.5 inches) which isn’t very much and the dissatisfaction rate was in excess of 70 percent,” said Christopher.

He added that spam e-mails advertising penis enlargement surgery were inaccurate and gave men unrealistic expectations.

No shit. I get email at Savage Love from men with unrealistic expectations about “male-enhancement” pills and surgery every day. None of them work, and there should be a law against advertising them. It’s cruel, and it discourages small-dicked men from the only cure for their unhappiness: acceptance.

Got a small dick? As I’ve written numerous times, there’s not much you can do about it. Instead of bemoaning your small dick, it’s better to accept what you’ve got, learn to use it to maximum advantage, and refuse to waste money or mental energy on “male-enhancement” pills or surgeries.

Then, small-dicked guys, once you’ve reconciled yourself to the meat God gave you, ask yourself a couple of questions: How thick are your fingers? How big are your forearms? How long is your tongue? Big cocks are nice, they have their fans, but if you can’t compete in the big-dick Olympics, well, it’s better to make the most of what you do have than to waste time, energy, and money worrying about something you’ll never have.

And Now…Brokeback Mountain: The Forbidden Chant

posted by on February 14 at 12:46 AM

Today’s Brokeback Mountain-related news item: Football fans at Gonzaga University have been asked to stop yelling the title of the film at members of opposing teams.

“The reference to the recent movie about homosexual cowboys was chanted by some fans during Monday’s game against Saint Mary’s,” reports the Associated Press. “[It] is apparently intended to suggest an opposing player is gay.”

Full story here.

Meanwhile, Jack Twist’s cowboy shirts are going for $21,600.00 and counting…


Monday, February 13, 2006

First They Came for the Twee Antique Stores…

posted by on February 13 at 5:08 PM

Nazis were on the march this weekend—in Fremont. I saw it first via Goldy at Horsesas.org story. He links to Orcinus, who writes…

It’s hard to say what they were trying to accomplish. Fremont is one of the real arts centers of Seattle, and its politics are well to the left — as the Lenin statue suggests. It’s not likely they were looking for (at least hoping for) recruits. More likely is that they hoped to start some kind of confrontation. Evidently, they went away disappointed.

It seems to me that what these rallies are about is shoving their presence in our faces. For the past several decades, Nazis and white supremacists have been shoved so far back to the fringes that they scarcely ever would show their faces.

Now, they’re feeling that the tide is turning in their favor. They’re showing up in notably liberal venues not to recruit, but to make their presence known, and to send a message that they don’t intend to hide anymore.

FremontNazis2-724647.jpg

Fascists here, fascists there. Fascist, fascists everywhere.

Go Moana!

posted by on February 13 at 5:03 PM

I realize this is a Project Runway crowd, but my reality-TV dollar goes to The Bachelor: Paris (and, no, this has nothing to do with the fact that I don’t have cable).

HEAR Travis, the thick-headed doctor say things like “That was totally awesome!” and “How incredible was that?” and “This has been more unbelievable than I could have imagined!”.

WATCH the remaining three bachelorettes take off their kid gloves and fight to be the first to fellate the bachelor in an effort to win his favor.

SEE Moana (the “misunderstood” one) either rise to the top as the hottest, least cookie-cutter of the three, or plummet in a fiery ball of her own insecurity and psychosis.

Tonight is “romantic sleep-over dates” so wear something washable.

ABC, 9 o’clock.

Tom Cruise Furious At Another Gay Porn Star

posted by on February 13 at 3:32 PM

If there’s one way to infuriate Tom Cruise, it’s to insinuate some sort of connection between the venerable, adamantly heterosexual star and gay pornography. A couple years ago, Cruise sued a gay porn star/escort who claimed to have serviced the allegedly closeted star, and now Cruise is lashing out at another practitioner of the homosexually pornographic arts—porn actor/director Paul Baressi, who’s been hired by biographer Andrew Morton to provide information for Morton’s forthcoming “warts and all” book on Cruise.

Full, trashy story here.

Houston, We Have an Opening

posted by on February 13 at 3:23 PM

While the Stranger looks for a music intern, the Weekly is advertising on Craigslist for a music editor…

Music Editor

Seattle Weekly has an immediate opening for a music editor. This fulltime position entails planning and editing the weekly music section, writing feature stories and a weekly column, and working with freelance writers. Qualified candidates will have strong writing and organizational skills, and will be well-versed in rap, hip-hop, DJ/dance and indie rock. An editing test is part of the interview process.

Interested? Well, don’t call the Weekly’s offices, don’t drop off your resume at the Weekly’s offices, and if you see the Weekly’s editor or publisher on the street—or, haw-haw, in the clubs—don’t bother asking them about the job. Because they’re not the ones doing the hiring. Anyone who wants to work at the Weekly these days needs to get in touch with the folks who are really running the publication—and they’re in Houston, not Seattle.

Applicants should send a cover letter, résumé and five best clips to:

John Nova Lomax
c/o Houston Press
1621 Milam #100
Houston, TX 77002

The Stranger Seeks Music Intern

posted by on February 13 at 2:56 PM

We are looking for a literate, detail-oriented music fanatic (sense of humor is a bonus) to intern for us, starting March 1. Tasks include:

Compiling our Up & Coming lists
Fact-checking
Filing
Organizing the Stranger’s local-band CD library
Helping to sort submissions for The Stranger’s Big Shot competition
Possibly writing Up & Coming previews
Possibly writing CD reviews and features

This position is unpaid, but it could lead to paying freelance assignments and, if you’re devout enough, a Bible signed by our beloved Reverend Buddy. Send letters and rĂ©sumĂ©s to segal@thestranger.com.

True love that lasts forever…on your face.

posted by on February 13 at 2:53 PM

From BBCNews comes a creative new way to celebrate love on Valentine’s Day: Buy matching faces for you and your partner.

Liu Yan, 24, and her 28-year-old boyfriend had matching nose jobs a fortnight before Valentine’s Day, China Daily said.

“I suggested it as a way of celebrating our relationship and bringing us closer together with a special kind of bond,” the paper quoted Ms Liu as saying.

“My boyfriend loved the idea and paid for the whole thing; we’re very happy with the results.”

Because the only thing sexier than staring at your boyfriend when you say “I love you” is staring at yourself.

K.C. Executive Ron Sims Vs. Pastor Ken Hutcherson

posted by on February 13 at 2:47 PM

This is pretty cool.

King County Executive Ron Sims & Anitoch Bible Church Pastor Ken Hutcherson have accepted the Stranger’s challenge to debate each other at Town Hall.

The issue: Gay Marriage and Gay Civil Rights. The date, Thursday, March 2. Our moderator will be KING 5 reporter Robert Mak.

Hutcherson, of course, is the outspoken pastor at the Redmond Evangelical church, who has threatened all kinds of economic sanctions against Microsoft and Boeing for supporting the gay civil rights bill. Last year, his threats worked. This year, however, Microsoft reinstated its support of the gay rights bill. The bill passed.

Hutcherson, a former Seahawk, organized the Mayday for Marriage rally in the spring of 2004 that drew an estimated 20,000 conservative Christians to Safeco Field. He also organized the national Mayday for Marriage rally in Washington, D.C. that attracted some 140,000 participants from around the country.

As an African American, Hutcherson takes serious exception to the analogy that gay rights activists draw between the black civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s and the gay rights movement of today.

King County Executive Ron Sims, the state’s highest ranking elected black official, is an outspoken proponent of gay rights, and he explicitly draws a connection between the civil rights movement of the ’50s and ’60s and today’s gay rights movement. Sims helped orchestrate a gay marriage lawsuit against King County—sending the issue to the state Supreme Court where a decision is still pending. Connecting the issue to the black civil rights movement, at the press conference to announce that lawsuit, Sims swung open the door to the K.C. licensing office—a symbolic gesture to conjur memories of George Wallace “blocking the school house door.”

Save the date. March 2 at Town Hall. More details to follow.

Fat Air in Torino

posted by on February 13 at 2:08 PM

I keep hearing that last night’s Men’s Halfpipe contest was awesome—Americans Shaun White and Danny Kass took the gold and silver. You can watch the Women’s Halfpipe Final tonight on NBC, 8:30-11 pm, sandwiched between figure skating and speedskating. I won’t tell you which women won medals today in case you’re gonna watch it. (Click here if you must know now.)

Role Reversal

posted by on February 13 at 1:40 PM

Team Nickels descended on city council today to brief the council about the $67 million increase in fire levy costs. Nickels stumped for the original $167 million fire levy, and now council has to decide wether or not to go ahead with the levy at 40% over what voters approved in 2003.

In addition to the slide show of deteriorating fire stations that Team Nickels had running throughout their presentation to a skeptical council, Brenda Bauer, Nickels’s director of fleets and facilities, made a Joel Horn argument: the $67 million is not in current dollars, that’s over time, she said. “In today’s dollars it’s smaller than that.”

Indeed, monorail analogies—this time w/ Team Nickels playing the role of the “irresponsible board”— rang out at every turn. Team Nickels was trying to convince council to use council bonding capacity (councilmanic debt) to make up the difference and spread it out over a longer period of time. (Sound familiar?) Council Member (and budget chair) Richard McIver argued that if the city had to extend the bonds to cover higher costs, the levy should go back to the voters.

McIver asked: “If you can justify councilmanic debt to us, why can’t you justify it to voters?”

Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis responded: “That’s a political decision.”

Yes it is, Deputy Mayor. One that Team Nickels—despite its recent insistence on letting voters decide —seems scared to take. (Indeed, Ceis recommended against going back to voters with the increased costs.)

After the briefing, I asked McIVer if he was serious about a revote. “This is a whole new levy,” he said. “I think that option has to be on the table.”

Council Member Peter Steinbrueck overheard McIVer and shot in: “I agree with him!”

Sick and Wonderful

posted by on February 13 at 1:32 PM

Doggie Speed Dating and Lingerie Show TONIGHT at 7:00 pm at the Alderwood High Maintenance Bitch store (20101 44th Ave W, Lynnwood). “Each Dog Model will be accompanied by a Girl Model who will strut their stuff together down the runway,” according to the press release.
Also: TV personalities Ryan and Brandon from Bravo’s Showdog Moms and Dads will be there; free massages for canines; and dogs can send each other valentines that they will then wear around their necks (proceeds go to charity).
Info: (425) 248-2370

What Won’t You Print?

posted by on February 13 at 12:08 PM

I sent the following questionnaire to the editors of the P-I, the Times, the Weekly, and the Stranger:

1. Would your paper, under any circumstances, print the word “nigger”?

2. Would your paper, under any circumstances, print a swastika?

3. Would your paper, under any circumstances, print full-frontal nudity?

4. Would your paper, under any circumstances, print a violently degrading image of a woman? (For example: this banned album art from the Guns n’ Roses record Appetite for Destruction, featuring a nauseating cartoon of a woman who has just been raped by a robot. Here’s a link to the image featured in a story by the Guardian.)

5. Does your paper have a fixed policy on what potentially offensive materials it will or won’t print?

So far, the Stranger and the Times have answered. Where are you, P-I and Weekly? I want to finish my survey!

I Love the Lo_Fi

posted by on February 13 at 11:40 AM

All roads lead to the Lo_Fi these days. On Friday night I went to the Artist Trust party at ConWorks — it was crowded, and the art was pretty good, and there were bare-breasted girls rolling around in metallic fabric under intense lights, but the whole thing seemed to suffer from an energy problem — and then I walked a few blocks toward the freeway to the Lo_Fi. Even when the Lo_Fi isn’t crowded, the energy in that space is awesome, but Friday night it was packed. A 12-piece band played all of Curtis Mayfield’s soundtrack to Superfly. The night was clear and cold on the other side of the windows. The room was hot and full of people I didn’t recognize. The funk was sublime.

Then Saturday night I ended up at the Lo_Fi again, for my new favorite dance night. I went with a few friends, most of whom hadn’t been to the Lo_Fi before. (The Lo_Fi is kind of a well-guarded secret. One friend who’d been there was trying to describe it to another friend who hadn’t, and he kept going on and on about this hallway, which I agree is a nice hallway, although it’s the back room with the windows that gets me.) We got there around 10, it wasn’t very crowded, and it never got super crowded, although it was a quality crowd. The right crowd. A crowd who’d come to dance to soul. Girls in skirts, guys in hats and jackets. I loosened my tie a bit and danced until my chest hurt.

Blasted Cartoonists

posted by on February 13 at 11:32 AM

Perhaps we should tell the Islamic world that the Vice President shot one of those 12 Danish cartoonists?

The first rule of Fight Club is …

posted by on February 13 at 11:09 AM

… remake Fight Club as a Bollywood musical!

And here’s a little Monday morning treat for the Arrested Development fans out there who love Gob and Lindsey’s chicken dance.

Brokeback on the Block

posted by on February 13 at 10:11 AM

I just got a heads-up from eternal Hot Tipper Jake about this eBay auction, wherein the shirts worn by sultry moper Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain are currently selling for $17,000.

Proceeds go to charity, so if you’ve got a spare $20K and the desire to own a piece of clothing worn by Jake Gyllenhaal while he simulated getting cornholed, go here.

wifi on the fucking bus

posted by on February 13 at 9:38 AM

this is posted from the 48!


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Will He Stop at Nothing?!

posted by on February 12 at 3:08 PM

So, Cheney shoots and injures another man. The victim is hospitalized and is reported to be in good condition. Surprisingly, the man he shot was not George W. Bush.