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Archives for 09/03/2006 - 09/09/2006

Saturday, September 9, 2006

HUMP 2 Storms Seattle!

posted by on September 9 at 12:19 PM

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Northwest Film Forum was packed last night with porn fans and porn stars—and a good time was had by all. I’m too busy tearing tickets and policing the screenings (no cell phone cameras allowed) to write a full report. But the PI’s Vanessa Ho wrote up HUMP’s opening night in this morning’s paper.

It may seem strange that in a city where you can’t get a lap dance, can’t smoke in a bar and can’t buy high-octane beer downtown (as of Nov. 1), you can watch a whole bunch of amateur porn and not feel like a total pervert….

This year, films include gay, straight, funny and group sex; copulation between a salt shaker and a napkin; beautiful, artsy sensuality; and raunchy, stop-motion sex between two dolls.
Some people say the popularity of the festival, which ends tonight, is a liberation of sexual taboos and a dig at what some people view as an increasingly dour City Hall.

Others say Hump! is an ideal blend of Seattle’s love of film, do-it-yourself leanings and a Northwest sexiness borne of rainy winters and rugged summers.

“There’s the long, dark winters in Seattle that lend themselves to sex,” said Rachel Venning, co-founder of Seattle-based Babeland, a chain of sex-toy stores. “It’s the perfect event for Seattle. It’s no wonder it’s so successful.” …

“It’s a window in the collective erotic imagination of the city,” [Stranger editor Dan Savage] said. “Even if every film isn’t to your taste, it’s interesting to have that window into your fellow citizen’s inner life.”

My HUMP highlight so far: Getting to shake the hand of the man—or the hot gay boy, I should say—whose performance in “Lawnboy,” an audience favorite, inspired Bradley Steinbacher to write this HUMP capsule review:

Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Super giant cock. Really. Super. Giant. Cock.

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UPDATE: From the Comments…

Oh, and I’ll ask again here (‘cause, who reads the forums anymore?): why no dyke films in competition? Not complaining, since I assume there’s a reason… just wondering what the reason is. No films? Bad films?

A very interesting question, Violet DaGrinder. Last year HUMP had no gay films and tons of lesbian action. Who can forget the piss-and-play-piercing action in “Grinding Gears”? Or the expert sword play in “Pirate vs. Ninja”? There were lots of gay men at HUMP last year, but almost no gay action on the screen. Gay men complained about, we called them on their bullshit (don’t bitch about there not being any gay films, guys, if you’re not prepared to make one!), and we got a good selection of gay films for HUMP 2.

We were shocked—shocked and saddened—when we finished watching this year’s submissions and realized there was no lesbian action. What happened? We dunno. There was one “lesbish” submission: “The Passion of Idaho.” This film feature no actual lesbians, or lesbian action, just a few lesbian-identified potatoes rolling around. The jury felt that the lesbian potato film didn’t make the grade—and, really, lesbians have enough body-image issues without seeing themselves played by potatoes at HUMP.

UPDATE 2: Sex writer, educator, and blogger Violet Blue is in town for HUMP and she’s digging Seattle.

HUMP! is a great example of what I’m feeling right now about how Seattle is pushing ever forward with sex culture in America. Something as wildly popular as HUMP! takes porn out of the hands of small-minded southern California businesses and shows that “porn by the people, for the people” is viable, valid, thriving, healthy and fun. This film fest started small last year but exploded in its second round, with fourteen sold out shows starting tonight and hundreds of entries my friends at The Stranger told me are of incredibly high quality. [Actually, it’s “dozens,” not “hundreds”—but, yes, the quality is high!] Believe me—read the film reviews of the homemade hardcore films I’ll be seeing tonight (and know it’s a boiled-down sampling of the over 3 hours of under 8-minute films that were submitted for the fest). People did this!

So Seattle—thank you.

Thank you, Violet Blue!

UPDATE 3: Q13 Fox News was here earlier today. If you missed HUMP but wanna see what the action was like and hear some reactions from HUMP goers, check out Q13 tonight at 10.

UPDATE 4: Holy shit. Hundreds of folks lining up on 12th Steet, people clamoring to get rush seats, guys outside stapling dollar bills to their chests, lots of foggy looking people with the munchies getting popcorn. Sorting and counting ballots after the screening. And doing it again and again and again—six screenings Friday, eight screenings Saturday. We are fucking fried. If I never see another porn again—particularly one featuring female ejaculation and/or come running out of someone’s vagina—it will be too soon.

But check with again tomorrow and I’ll probably be back to my old self. Right now, though, I’m ready to hand out some prizes and hit the sack.

Oh, one last observation: There were so many completely fucking hot people in the audiences—folks who, you know, really should have been up on the screen. I’m not saying that average folks shouldn’t be up on the screen too—I like the mix at HUMP. Young folks, old folks, buff folks, softer folks. Still, it was hard not to wish some of the folks walking in had made films. There were just so many guys—and a few gals—coming through the doors that I wanted to see naked.

And hopefully now that we’ve done this twice, and folks have seen that it’s fun and safe and we do our damndest to protect folks who participate (I even make a speech asking people to be nice—me!—telling the crowds no booing, no mean-spirited cracks), more of the people who come to HUMP will feel like they can participate next year and put themselves up on the screen. (I tell people no mean-spirited cracks because they could be sitting next to the folks whose images are up there on the screen.)

And, yes, I mean you in the second row.

Okay, HUMP 3! is one year from today. Get busy folks.

UPDATE 5: Okay, it’s all over. At the end of the last show we destroyed our only copies of this year’s HUMP entries—our tapes and our backups—in front of the final sell-out crowd. So if you missed “Lawnboy,” “Come On Love,” “Getting a Leg Up in Porn,” “Condoments,” “Jacking Off,” “Cute Sweet Hot Sexy,” “Fairies on a Ferry,” and all the rest of this year’s HUMP films, well, you missed them. These films will never be seen again—unless the folks who made them elect to show them to you.

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Okay, we’re counting the last batch of ballots, and then we’re off to Havana to hand out the prizes…

Russian Literature

posted by on September 9 at 10:29 AM

This image got me thinking about the greatness of the Russian novel.
02.jpg To name a handful: Sologub’s Petty Demon, Bely’s Petersburg, Sokolov’s School of Fools, Bitov’s Russia House, Sinyovsky’s The Trail Begins, Olesha’s Envy. It’s not surprising that the best American novel was written by a Russian.

Good News for the Army; Dismal News for Taxpayers

posted by on September 9 at 9:48 AM

The army is pleased to heaven with the recent “turnaround in recruiting.” How was it made possible? Why are young (and old) Americans (the maximum enlisting age is now 42—it used to be 35) willing to risk death in an illegal war that has nothing to do with the fight against terrorism? An amazing $40,000 signing bonus. Bush is not sending soldiers to war; he is sending mercenaries.



Friday, September 8, 2006

Goldy Rips Mike!

posted by on September 8 at 5:05 PM

Over at Horsesass, Goldy catches Mike McGavick in yet another lie—this time about a life lesson he learned as a child/fabricated as an adultand rips McGavick a brand new asshole. Then it’s Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat’s turn. It’s good readin’.

Love is Nice

posted by on September 8 at 3:47 PM

From Slog reader Jay comes this photo of some romantic chalk art he found in Louisa Boren Park at the north end of 15th Ave E in Capitol Hill:

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It’s kinda tough to see, but the lady robot said yes.

Awww….

(Nevertheless, it must be said that socially conscious robots refuse to get married until everyone can.)

Dirtier than HUMP!

posted by on September 8 at 3:04 PM

I was just up at the desk of our production guy Dan Paulus, who showed me his most prized personal posession:

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Animal crackers 69ing! He found them in the box this way 2 years ago. Although the HUMP! rules exclude porn involving animals, we can still speculate — what kind of animals are they? It seems to be some cross-species action between a… polar bear? And a koala?

And Now… Laptops

posted by on September 8 at 2:46 PM

Last week I wrote a few Slog posts about the traffic circle at14th & Howell on Capitol Hill. It had become home to a growing number of computer monitors and I was intrigued. Every time I stopped to take a look someone passing by would ask, “Is this supposed to be art or something?” My post upset some folks, who angrily pointed out that a computer monitor contains certain environmental toxins and if they were left there to rot, well, no one would be able to drink from the stream that runs through the traffic circle at 14th & Howell.

Eventually someone hauled off the six monitors—excuse me, someone hauled off the six highly toxic monitors—and the traffic circle at 14th & Howell was once again a pristine wilderness.

Riding by today, I noticed a chair sitting in the traffic circle.

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I got a little closer and noticed a laptop sitting on the chair. I flipped open the laptop and noticed a message on the laptop’s screen, spelled out with keys popped off a computer keyboard.

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Whoever left this laptop—this toxic laptop—in the traffic cirlce at 14th & Howell didn’t want their to be any confusion about whether it was art or not. The message read…

DAN, THIS IS ART

Duly noted.

Shortbus Unloads at Toronto International Film Festival

posted by on September 8 at 2:13 PM

I just got off the Shortbus, John Cameron Mitchell’s latest film, here at the Toronto International Film Festival. “So you here to see the art-porn movie?” a fellow reviewer greeted me. What, no “good morning”?

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We were lucky to get seats—the line to get into the press screening far exceeded the capacity of the theater. I’ve tried to read as little about the film as possible since it debuted at Cannes this past spring (it’s also gotten some play right here on the Slog). My first impressions: It’s got a lot of heart, humor, and sadness. That may not be quite what the people have been clamoring for, but there you have it.

The big panty knot up here in Canada is Sook-Yin Lee, a CBC Radio host who plays a pent-up couple’s therapist—she nearly lost her public radio job for playing a role that has her (really) doin’ it like a break dancer with her onscreen hubby, writhing on the bathroom floor with a dildo, and slapping her twat in a desensitization tank. She’s not the only one worth noting, though. Paul Dawson and PJ DeBoy play a struggling couple who invite a young man (Jay Brannan) into their lair for a three-way while a secret voyeur (Peter Stickles) looks on through a telephoto lens. I won’t give too much away, as I hear Shortbus is going to make a stop in Seattle near the end of October. I will say this though: There is a lot of cock. There’s some vag too. And some dominatrixing. And masturbation. And cunnilingus. And fellatio…

—Shannon Gee @ TIFF

Brad & Angelina Fight the Good Fight

posted by on September 8 at 2:11 PM

Not only are they freakishly beautiful, they’re brilliantly evolved: According an interview in the forthcoming Esquire, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie won’t be getting married until the United States’ marriage laws aren’t riddled with bigotry.

“Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able,” says Pitt in an Esquire profile hitting newsstands on Sept. 19.

I understand, deeply, the urge to mock everything celebrities do forever, but this is huge. They’re two of the biggest movie stars in the world, and they’re willingly bringing the battle over gay marriage into their own hyper-privileged, heterosexual lives. This is celebrity deployed for as good a purpose as any, and I love them for it.

Full Breitbart story here.

Oh, Thank God!

posted by on September 8 at 2:08 PM

Lindsay Lohan’s missing handbag has been found.

More Lisa Whelchel Madness!

posted by on September 8 at 1:59 PM

Did you know that before she skyrocketed to fame as a Mousekeeter and star of The Facts of Life, Lisa Whelchel was an evangelical ventriloquist?

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Read all about it at Lisa Whelchel’s blog!

Then experience the priceless commentary at The Blair Necessities, the blog devoted to Lisa Whelchel’s blog!

Seattle Weekly: Meet the New Editor

posted by on September 8 at 1:45 PM

We hear it’s going to be Mark D. Fefer.

If it is Mark, well, this choice is going to put me in an awkward position. Mark was an intern at The Stranger for a summer, then worked for me for two years. He was kind of my protĂ©gĂ©. He sorted “Savage Love” mail, lined up interviews, kept my schedule, and worked his way up to doing a little arts writing for us. Then Mark moved to New York. It’s going to be odd going head-to-head against someone I have such fond feelings for, but what can you do? Welcome back to Seattle, Mark. We missed you.

A self-professed “Hot Blooded Latina”

posted by on September 8 at 1:27 PM

Gov. Ahnold Schwarzenegger is apologizing again for inappropriate behavior (see: “Close the border” with Mexico, women groping), this time for attributing an assemblywoman’s attitude to her black and Latino blood.

Apparently, the comments were made during a closed, tape-recorded speech writing meeting while the Gov’nator was speaking affectionately about Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia.

From the NYT:

”I mean Cuban, Puerto-Rican, they are all very hot,” the governor says on the recording. ”They have the, you know, part of the black blood in them and part of the Latino blood in them that together makes it.”

And then! Ms. Garcia herself appeared at a press conference to say she took no offense at the comment. Indeed, she often times refers to herself as a “hot-blooded Latina.”

Re: Seattle, B.C.

posted by on September 8 at 12:28 PM

Uh, in other news, is not this WTO movie a complete and utter ripoff of Medium Cool? Can the ladies please stop losing their children in historic riots already? But if the homage must be so blissfully obvious, I expect to see some sun-dappled Appalachian baptisms, please.

Let Us Now Praise Famous Geniuses

posted by on September 8 at 12:05 PM

It’s always amusing to see how other critics around town respond to our newly endowed Geniuses. WET set designer Jennifer Zeyl usually gets and almost always deserves props for her work, but I don’t think Seattle Times critic Misha Berson has ever led with three paragraphs on her designs before:

First, let us go directly to the set. Washington Ensemble Theatre’s world-premiere mounting of “The Museum Play” has a really nifty one.

The company’s ace resident designer, Jennifer Zeyl, has tucked a solid-white bedroom on one end of WET’s small stage.

Taking up more space is a corner of an odd museum, boasting display cabinets chockablock with animal skeleton parts, a mounted stag head, pinned butterflies and a profusion of other familiar and unidentifiable miscellany from the natural world.

Joe Adcock also wants in on the action:

Adding significantly to the cleverness quotient of director Marya Sea Kaminski’s production is a setting by Jennifer Zeyl. The scenery includes several history and science exhibits behind glass and a bedroom that functions as a display case. Symbolism becomes a form of wit when butterflies that seem to be pinned for all eternity to exhibit panels start moving around.

Meanwhile, Richard Morin at the Seattle Weekly declines to cite Zeyl by name:

Beyond the bedroom, the majority of the stage is taken up by the titular museum, a sort of musty funhouse of dark corners and display cases full of pinned butterflies and creepy looking dioramas.

Weirdly, this is the first Zeyl set in some time that I didn’t totally love.

* * *

In other Genius news, our film winner, James Longley, was quoted in a recent Reuters article on upcoming movies about Iraq. Iraq in Fragments, filmed mostly in 2003 and 2004 but presciently organized around the three ethnic factions currently facing off in Iraq, will open in Seattle at the Varsity on November 10. It may only play for a week, so mark your calendars. You do not want to miss this movie.

Sonic Utopia

posted by on September 8 at 11:46 AM

This dubby, minimal house is free and perfect for a road trip, particularly in a hybrid automobile.
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Snake God Rocks

posted by on September 8 at 11:20 AM

From the Herald International Tribune:

Beauty queen turned Bollywood actress, Sushmita Sen, doesn’t just dazzle audiences, she charms snakes too.

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When a snake slithered onto a movie set scaring crew members, Sen didn’t flinch — instead she bowed before it and chanted Hindu hymns to calm the reptile.
Filmmaker Tanuja Chandra told the Mumbai Mirror newspaper in an interview published Tuesday that as they spotted the snake, which lay coiled at the edge of a dance floor of a pub they were using as a set, Sen told everyone not to disturb it and it would leave.
“As she went closer, the snake hissed. We all moved back, but Sushmita went down on her knees and closed her eyes,” said Chandra. “She bowed before the snake and chanted some mantras.”
Chandra said the unit members were surprised when “the snake didn’t move from that place for a few hours. Later it left quietly.”
Sen, who plays a rock star in the movie “Zindagi Rocks,” or “Life Rocks,” said she wasn’t afraid.
“The snake is considered very auspicious so I asked everyone not to get scared of Nag Devta (snake god),” she told the paper. “I assured Tanuja that with the blessings of Nag Devta the film is bound to rock.”

Many Indians pray to snakes.

Sen won the Miss Universe title in 1994 and has acted in more than 25 movies in Bollywood, India’s popular movie industry. However, her latest film “Chingari” (Ember), in which she played a prostitute, did poorly at the box office.

“The Blair Necessities”

posted by on September 8 at 11:04 AM

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No doubt many of you remember, fondly or not, The Facts of Life’s Blair, played by ex-Mouseketeer Lisa Whelchel.

Perhaps some die-hard fans are even aware that the kooky, adult, and very, very Christian Ms. Whelchel has her very own blog.

But are you aware of the blog devoted to Lisa Whelchel’s blog? The one that’s funnier than shit?

Thanks to the many people who discovered this before I did, including my dream man Jake.

Seattle, B.C.

posted by on September 8 at 11:03 AM

From the Seattle Times:

Charlize Theron will play a pregnant bystander who loses her baby in Seattle’s WTO riots. Susan Sarandon may take the part of a newscaster sympathetic to the protesters… “It’s going to be the next ‘Sleepless in Seattle,’ “ said James Keblas, head of Seattle City Hall’s film office. “Once you capture a star like Charlize Theron, you are instantly a big picture.”

Except it isn’t going to be filmed in Seattle.

Keblas said he is working hard to get more of the shooting done in Seattle. But industry economics, including cheaper labor and other financial incentives, are driving the production across the border.

We can’t even get a movie about the WTO shot in Seattle. That’s just… sad. As hot tipper Gavin puts it:

So basically the city government that botched WTO, is letting everyone but Seattle profit from a movie that is not only set in Seattle but essentially about Seattle. The city is also failing to regcognize a growing trend of using Seattle as a setting. It continues to raise the question, as an actor, “Why the hell am I here?” …people don’t move to New York or L.A. for the traffic and crime.

The Path to 9/11: The Latest

posted by on September 8 at 10:31 AM

The New York Times reports that ABC/Disney is now re-editing certain scenes in the movie, while the same paper’s television critic seems unmoved by liberal complaints about the film. (Think Progress picks apart the review here.)

The Washington Post, in an article reprinted in today’s Seattle Times, ticks off the descriptors that former Clinton administration officials are using to describe the movie. Madeleine Albright: “False and defamatory.” Sandy Berger: “Flagrantly misrepresents my personal actions.” Bruce Lindsey: “Unconscionable.”

A Houston Chronicle editorial accuses ABC of fabricating history.

And Liberal bloggers today are targeting Disney board member and Apple CEO Steve Jobs, trying to get him to stop distribution of the film over I-Tunes. They’re also targeting George Mitchell, Disney’s Chairman of the Board; lower level phone-answerers at ABC and Disney; and Disney CEO Robert Iger. And, they’re urging people to sign the DNC’s petition calling on Iger to yank the film (the petition collected more than 100,000 signatures in its first 24 hours and is to be delivered to Iger today).

Meanwhile, Variety is hearing hints of a “bombshell”:

“The Path to 9/11” is looking a lot like “The Reagans, Part II.”

Bill Clinton loyalists are demanding wholesale changes to the upcoming miniseries — and while ABC is making some snips, the alterations, insiders say, may not please the Dems.

But a bombshell decision may happen anyway: Sources close to the project say the network, which has been in a media maelstrom over the pic, is mulling the idea of yanking the mini altogether.

Lindsay Lohan’s Purse: STOLEN!!

posted by on September 8 at 10:06 AM

IS NOTHING FREAKING SACRED? Not only did poor Lindsay Lohan have shots of her VJ flashed all over the internet this week (don’t look, it’s beneath you), it was also reported that beau Harry Morton DIDN’T propose to her after all, and now? According to TMZ.com, her hotshit Hermès Birkin bag with a MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF JEWELRY inside was stolen from Heathrow airport!
(In case you didn’t know, not even God herself can get a Hermès Birkin bag without knowing the right people—which she doesn’t. So screw the jewelry—JUST RETURN THE BAG!!)


“It is alleged that as [Lindsay] exited the Terminal One building, she noticed that an orange Hermès handbag was missing from her suitcase trolley.” The bag, according to police, contained “a quantity of jewelry.”

Lindsay’s rep, Leslie Sloane, confirms to TMZ the theft occurred and that Lindsay is extremely upset about the loss of personal belongings. “She is begging for the return of the items,” Sloane says. “She doesn’t care how she gets them back, she just wants her stuff back.”

The Hermès Birkin bag that was stolen also contained Lindsay’s much needed asthma medication.

Yeah! How is she supposed to screw everything in Hollywood while wheezing like a chicken with a perforated lung? GIVE IT BACK, YA CREEP!

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James Turrell at the Seattle Art Museum

posted by on September 8 at 9:52 AM

On a sneak-peek walkthrough of the new Seattle Art Museum downtown yesterday afternoon, the curator Chiyo Ishikawa was ticking off which art would go where: abstract expressionism here, minimalism here, pop here, Northwest School here, and the James Turrell room over there.

Stop—what? What James Turrell room?

Oh, the one from our collection that we’ve never been able to show, even though we’ve owned it for something like 20 years, she said.

Ishikawa isn’t familiar with the specs that drive this particular piece, but in general Turrell creates dramatic environments shaped by light (remember the Henry show a few years ago?). Later last night, I ran into Beth Sellars, curator of Suyama Space (having an opening Sept. 15, by the way), who said she suspects the mystery piece was a part of the Center for Contemporary Art’s first-ever show back in the early ’80s, and that it came to SAM after that.

When the museum opens in the spring, SAM’s Turrell room will have its own specially built enclosed space (I believe on the third floor). It will stay up for what Ishikawa described as a long time, but not permanently.

With all that space SAM is extending into over the next decade, I hope eventually it will go on permanent display, providing it’s good. If the CoCA tale is correct, the piece would have the city’s history recommending it in addition to Turrell’s importance. To give you the general gist of a Turrell room, here’s one at the Yorkshire museum that resembles what was at the Henry.

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More news to come: On another one of the light and space artists in Seattle.

Did McGavick push discrimination at Safeco?

posted by on September 8 at 9:49 AM

An article in today’s Seattle Times details the Washington Democrat’s attempt to obtain the release of information gathered in 2003 by the Insurance Commissioner’s office, which Dems hope will reveal that Safeco is the unnamed company in that report which used discriminatory credit scoring policies to cancel some peoples’ auto insurance.

Cantwell-challenger Mike McGavick was CEO of Safeco from 2001-2005 and pushed for credit scoring. However, many say the practice discriminates against so-called high-risk groups like divorced moms, minorities, and poor people by charging them higher rates or, in the case of the “unnamed company,” slashing their coverage altogether.

The Washington State legislature banned insurers from using credit scoring to cancel insurance policies in 2002, a year after Safeco stopped using the practice to cancel policies.

Today our esteemed news editor Josh Feit is down in Olympia, waiting through the hearing to see if the information will be released. We’ll update about this as soon as more news breaks.

Three-peat: Burner Outraises Reichert Again

posted by on September 8 at 9:43 AM

For the third straight fund-raising period, Democrat Darcy Burner has outraised Republican incumbent
Dave Reichert in the eastside’s 8th Congressional District.

According to her campaign, Burner has raised $311,980 since the last reporting period in June, while Reichert raised only $177,000 $198,043. No wonder the Reichert campaign is welcoming Karl Rove to town for a fund-raiser next week.

In the over-all cash on hand totals, Reichert still leads. He has $1.13 million to Burner’s $727,607. But Burner clearly has the fund-raising momentum, which is probably one reason the New York Times currently rates the 8th District House race as one of 16 “toss-ups.”

Don’t Miss This Jerry Saltz Piece

posted by on September 8 at 9:07 AM

Which at first doesn’t seem to be about anything, and then turns out to be about everything. Of all the critics, only Jerry can do this. It ends:

The closest I’ve come to getting a handle on all this is something painter Eric Fischl has talked about. Imagine calling two pets, one a dog, the other a cat. Asking a dog to do something is an amazing experience. You say, “Come here, Fido,” and Fido looks up, pads over, puts his head in your lap, and wags his tail. You’ve had a direct communication with another species; you and Fido are sharing a common, fairly literal language. Now imagine saying, “Come here, Snowflake” to the cat. Snowflake might glance over, walk to a nearby table, rub it, lie down, and look at you. There’s nothing direct about this. Yet something gigantic and very much like art has happened. The cat has placed a third object between you and itself. In order to understand the cat you have to be able to grasp this nonlinear, indirect, holistic, circuitous communication. In short, art is a cat.

The Painting Begins

posted by on September 8 at 9:00 AM

Right this minute (9 am, that is) at 410 Dexter Ave N, 21 artists will begin the feverish, 14th annual, 24-hour painting marathon at the Center on Contemporary Art, culminating in an auction at the gallery that starts at 6 pm Saturday. It’s like 21 studio visits and an exhibition rolled into one.

The artists include Chris Crites, who spins portraits from vintage mug shots; Rachel Maxi, a conjurer of urban idylls; Scott Foldesi, finalist for this year’s Betty Bowen Award; Chad Wentzel of Crawl Space fame; and Kristen Ramirez, who channels Ed Ruscha, Charles Sheeler, and Ellsworth Kelly in her billboard collages.

The marathon is open to the public with only a suggested donation of $5. Admission to the auction is $20; tickets here).

Morning News

posted by on September 8 at 8:44 AM

A suicide bomb in Kabul kills 16, including 2 American soldiers, just as NATO meets to discuss deploying more troops to Afghanistan.

Israel lifts the naval blockade from Lebanon and says all troops “could be removed within two weeks.”

There’s dissent among Republican politicians about Bush’s plan to try terror suspects in military tribunals but the admin is pushing ahead anyway and also asking for greater wire-tapping authority while it’s at it.

Conservative think tanks like the Heritage Institute have received more than $2.5 million in donations from the Walton Family Foundation over the past six years — does this make it testy territory for them to inform reporters and advise politicians on Wal-Mart policy?

ABC re-edits parts of its 9/11 “docu-drama” after receiving negative attention from Democrats and Sloggers about the film’s perceived blaming of the Clinton administration for the attacks.

“Pure Passion” a tv show hosted by “ex-gays” will debut this Septemeber on two Christian networks.

Today also marks the anniversary of the beginning of the seige of Leningrad, which lasted 872 long, shitty days and led to the demise of the city’s zoo animals at the hands of starving townsfolk.

I Thought My Pot Cookies Were Strong

posted by on September 8 at 8:43 AM

Maybe it’s just as well that no one in the mayor’s office took me up on my offer of pot cookies last week. From the AP

3 Arrested for Pot Cookie Giveaway

Three people were arrested by campus police after about 15 students at the University of California, Berkeley got sick from eating what apparently were marijuana-laced cookies. The three, two of whom are Berkeley students, allegedly helped make and distribute the cookies, university officials said in a statement released Thursday.

UC police learned about the problem when they got a call Wednesday evening from a student who said she was feeling ill and anxious after eating the cookies, served at an independent student-run housing co-op near campus.

Police responded and found that about 15 others were experiencing similar symptoms including shortness of breath and minor hallucinations.

The Front Page

posted by on September 8 at 8:35 AM

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Swiped from Defamer.


Thursday, September 7, 2006

Kinda Quiet Around Here

posted by on September 7 at 5:22 PM

Slog has been kinda slow this afternoon—sorry about that. A couple of long edit meetings and final HUMP preparations.

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But a little good news for Project Runway fans: It’s on, bitches! The Stranger going to be hosting a Project Runway finale viewing party at Spitfire, the newish hipster sports bar on 4th Avenue. (The space used to be Sit & Spin.) Drink specials, finger foods, dashed-off couture, and all your Vincent-loathing buddies from the Project Runway comments threads. Wednesday October 4, bitches.

More details to come.

Time is Money

posted by on September 7 at 3:05 PM

A report from the auditor of the Office of Professional Accountability (the department housed in the SPD that investigates complaints about police misconduct)—and a concurring report from the OPA director, found investigations are taking far too long to complete (119 days on average). So, activist/City Council Members Peter Steinbrueck and Nick Licata have proposed legislation asking OPA to come up with a standard on timeliness for investigating these complaints.

(One factor in the prolonged investigations—119 days is a 25% uptick over the average of the last five years—is an increased number of complaints).

The Steinbrueck/Licata legislation is obviously a warning shot from the lefty duo (as the council enters budget season) that they’re going to be asking for more money to fund the OPA.

Over the past two budgeting cycles the OPA budget has remained static at $1.3 million, while the overall SPD budget has jumped about 7% from $178 million to $190 million.

Museum Play!

posted by on September 7 at 2:34 PM

Tonight The Stranger suggests you see The Museum Play at WET. I concur, with moderate reservations: You can read my web-only review here.

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If you do see The Museum Play, there are several other nearby experiences I strongly suggest you avail yourself of. You can’t have the seriously delicious-looking (I’m a doubting vegetarian, so I haven’t actually tried it) lamb burger at Vios down the street, because they stop serving it, along with the rest of the lunch menu, at 5 pm. Sad. But you can get a “Good Orange” at Fuel, next door to WET, which combines organic orange juice with some dairy product and, um, it tastes so good I had three last weekend. Inside WET, there’s a great gallery show curated by Anne Blackburn, which involves lots of bodily residue. I especially recommend Jody Wood’s used motel-soap curtain + projections, which is seriously gross.

I myself am off to see ACT’s A Number, which, like Museum Play, is quite short. I applaud this programming trend.

Elliott, We Endorsed You Already!

posted by on September 7 at 1:28 PM

Seattle Times reporter David Postman blogs about Republican contributor Mistress Madison who donated $1000 to Mike McGavick’s campaign. (The check, from dominatrix Mistress Madison’s Madison Communications, bounced).

McGavick spokesperson Elliott Bundy told Postman:

Apparently business is slow at “Madison Communications,” the check came into us non-sufficient funds. Too bad though, for a second I thought we had a chance to get the endorsement of the Stranger.

Elliott, we endorsed Mike! already… at least in the primary. Anyone who can hit 0.17 BAC! is going to get the Stranger Election Control Board endorsement.

Here’s that endorsement—published last week.

U.S. SENATOR (REPUBLICAN) VOTE FOR MIKE McGAVICK

Okay, only good Democrats read our endorsements and like all good Democrats you’re occasionally tempted to cross party lines and indulge in a bit of anti-GOP monkey wrenching—you know, go vote for the right-wing nut to up his or her numbers and make the GOP look bad. To that end we were about to recommend one of the fuckwits in this race—someone like William Chovil, who pledges to take on national and global socialism and communism, or Brad Klippert, who describes himself as a “Ten Commandment—honoring evangelical.”

However, that was before the GOP frontrunner—ex-Safeco CEO Mike McGavick—came out about his 0.17 drunk-driving arrest and issued a mea culpa about his divorce. It wasn’t McGavick’s heavy drinking and broken vows that won him our endorsement (we are thinking of having a 0.17 party though), but the expectation that more evidence of McGavick’s self-destructive streak will emerge during the campaign. Drunk driving? Divorce? If those are the skeletons McGavick has shoved out of his closet, we wonder what skeletons are still in there somewhere.

Help Wanted

posted by on September 7 at 1:19 PM

The creator of A Brief History Of Time is looking for an assistant student to help him prepare lectures and assist with scientific papers.
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The right candidate will get an opportunity to work for an year or two with the professor of mathematics at Cambridge University, and can take home a thick paycheque of ÂŁ22,774.

KOMO to air The Path to 9/11

posted by on September 7 at 12:15 PM

I just spoke to a representative of our local ABC affiliate, KOMO, and she told me that the Seattle station will be airing the documentary docu-drama work of fiction that is The Path to 9/11, despite the fact that it has been denounced by terrorism experts, by former Clinton administration officials, by liberal bloggers, and, most recently, by former president Bill Clinton himself, who today, through a spokesman, said:

It is despicable that ABC/Disney would insist on airing a fictional version of what is a serious and emotional event for our country.

Here’s Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, calling today for ABC to pull the two-part film, which airs on KOMO Sunday and Monday evenings. (According to reports, the film was created by a conservative activist and it soft-pedals the Bush administration’s responsibility for 9/11 while blaming Clinton for not killing Osama bin Laden.)

I’m told by a programming director at KOMO that they’ve been receiving quite a few angry calls and emails (and some thank-you notes) about the station’s plan to air The Path to 9/11. But as of now, the station has no plans to pull it.

Looking to contact KOMO? Look no further.

(TPM has a round-up of responses from other ABC affiliates around the nation.)

The film is also going to be distributed, via Scholastic, to public school classrooms across the country. I have a call in to the Seattle School District to see if they’re part of this distribution program, but haven’t heard back yet. Will update when I hear from them.

UPDATE: The Seattle School district tells me they haven’t heard anything about The Path to 9/11 or the educational materials from Scholastic.

Meanwhile, Scholastic is now withdrawing its first batch of educational materials because they “did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues.” The company is currently creating new materials that will lead students to ask, among other things: What are the differences between factual reporting and a dramatization?

The “Ghetto Latte”

posted by on September 7 at 11:54 AM

Starbucks baristas debate the pros and cons—with an emphasis on the con—of the “Ghetto Latte.”

Via Metroblogging Seattle.

I Knew Mohammed Mossadegh and…

posted by on September 7 at 11:44 AM

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s challenge to debate President Bush in the U.N. actually has precedent.

In fact, Ahmadinejad’s ploy is likely to resonate with Iranians because the precedent harks back to a watershed moment in Iranian history. Folk hero Iranian president Mohammad Mossadegh (1950-1953) took his case against the United Kingdom to the U.N. where he debated the U.K.’s foreign minister. Mossadegh became an international celebrity on his trip to NYC when he argued in the U.N. that the British did not have any right to Iranian oil profits, and that the profit sharing agreement had been coerced by U.K. imperialism. Mossedegh became an Iranian superstar for eventually ridding Iran’s oil industry of British control. (He also landed on Time magazine’s cover in January 1951 as 1950’s Man of the Year.

Mossedegh was ousted in a now infamous CIA coup in 1953 that restored the pro-Western Shah to power. The coup—and the brutally repressive Shah’s reign of power—came back to haunt the U.S. in 1979 when the Iranian students who took hostages at the U.S. embassy cited the CIA coup and America’s support for the Shah as their central grievance against the U.S. Ironically, the hostage crisis netted Iran its second Time magazine Man of the Year cover when the students’ inspiration, the new revolutionary leader of Iran, Ayatullah Khomeini, got 1979’s honor.)

Ahmadinejad is cleverly mining the Iranian cerebral cortex in his latest populist stunt.

Having said all that: Mossedegh was a cool lefty secularist nationalist who foreshadowed the smart Third World Power movements of the 50s, 60s (and badly warped 70s).

Ahmadinejad is a right wing machismo Pat Buchanan fascist whose rants hark back to the 14th Century … and who doesn’t deserve to be president of such a beautiful country.

The YouTube Campaign

posted by on September 7 at 11:17 AM

Much has been made of the way Ned Lamont and his supporters shrewdly used YouTube to vanquish Joe Lieberman. And much has been made of how other campaigns will now be emulating this strategy.

Looks like Darcy Burner — or, at least, a Burner supporter calling himself “andrtsao” and describing himself as a “media professional living in the Pacific Northwest” — is now doing just that. Here are two of what I’m guessing will become many straight-to-YouTube spots for Burner:

Hat tip (on the first one) to Goldy.

Seattle Symphony’s Former Exec Going to Baltimore

posted by on September 7 at 10:15 AM

Paul Meecham and Marin Alsop, heading up the BSO.

Modern Art Notes Has Harsh Words for Seattle Art Museum

posted by on September 7 at 10:11 AM

In this piece two weeks ago, I asked why, after several requests, I wasn’t getting information from the Seattle Art Museum about the artworks it has been deaccessioning. To be fair, director Mimi Gates wasn’t in town when I wrote the piece, so she didn’t have a chance to respond that time, but I had made the requests repeatedly over the course of months, and gotten nowhere.

Now leading blogger Tyler Green of Modern Art Notes has his say about the matter, and it isn’t pretty.

What the Seattle Art Museum seems to be doing isn’t only wrong, it diminishes the public trust in and the public faith in the institution. It is a blunder of the first order. The museum should be ashamed.

If the Association of Art Museum Directors was a useful organization and not a wimpy invertebrate, this would be the kind of offense that gets Gates publicly reprimanded by her peers, at least. Of course that won’t happen — AAMD has all the teeth of a wet mop. Time to start explaining, Ms. Gates.

Good Morning Slide Show

posted by on September 7 at 9:51 AM

The Seattle Art Museum has announced its finalists for the 28th annual Betty Bowen Award, and here they are (congrats!):

Margie Livingston

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Scott Foldesi

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Jenny Heishman

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Drew Daly

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Emily Gherard (this was the only image I could find, but it doesn’t do her justice)

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Mary Simpson here and here.

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The winner, who usually gets $11,000 (it can vary), will be announced Sept. 26, followed by a ceremony and reception at the Seattle Asian Art Museum on Oct. 26 from 6-8 pm (admission free). Last year’s winner was the Portland artist Marie Watt.

In other news, Scott Lawrimore has picked up two more artists that we know of for Lawrimore Project. One is Susan Robb, 2003 Stranger Genius winner.

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The other is Susie J. Lee, standout grad of the UW MFA program this year. (Her fellow grad Tivon Rice is already in Lawrimore’s stable.)

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Talk about ACTION News!

posted by on September 7 at 9:43 AM

The world hates reporters and especially “the media” Okay, we get that. But there is really very little reason TO BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF US. (Unless you work for Fox News—then it’s okay.)
Check out this A-M-A-Z-I-N-G video of a real estate scam artist beating the holy hell out of a Fox News Reporter in San Diego—and the guy’s wife gets in on the action, too!

Paris Hilton Busted for DUI

posted by on September 7 at 9:38 AM

But she’s got nothing on our MIKE! McGuiness. Pulled over early this morning in LA, Paris Hilton had a blood alcohol level of .08. When MIKE! was pulled over 13 years ago, he had a BAC of .17.

Paris also managed to stay fully conscious throughout her arrest ordeal, didn’t have to be handcuffed to a desk, and didn’t fall asleep or pass out at the cop shop. So hopefully her arrest won’t dash Paris’ dreams of one day sitting in the U.S. Senate. Gawker’s got the details.

Bill Sherman: Regarding that Endorsement…

posted by on September 7 at 9:07 AM

Expanding on Eli’s Sherman posts…

Will Sherman’s singing voice peel a few lesbian voters off Jamie Pedersen? We’ll see. But I’m not convinced that Sherman’s endorsement by the Seattle Times this morning is going to boost his chances. From the endorsement:

Sherman was an aide to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt during the Clinton presidency, so he comes with political savvy and awareness of public-policy issues.

Sherman is currently a deputy prosecutor for King County who focuses on domestic violence, something that always can use extra awareness and voice in Olympia.

Sherman is a solid environmentalist with endorsements from Washington Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club.

He is also supported by Allied Arts of Seattle, and is an advocate for improved public education.

Clinton, the environment, Allied Arts, not a fan of domestic violence—all good in liberal eyes, sure to help Sherman with voters in the hyper-liberal 43rd. But then the Seattle Times tosses in this…

His law-and-order job helped draw support from former Seattle City Attorney Mark Sidran

Bringing up Sidran isn’t going to help Sherman with voters in the hyper-liberal, Sidran-despising 43rd. (Yes, we endorsed Sidran for State Attorney General—over a Dem we correctly pegged as being unable to beat the R in that race—and the outcry only served to remind us how hated Sidran is in the 43rd). The Seattle Times endorsement should help, but let’s not overestimate its importance. Voters 43rd rarely see eye-to-eye with the Bush-backing, estate-tax-repeal-pushing, mass-transit-killing edit board at the Blethen Daily Ax Grinder.

Seattle Times Endorses Sherman

posted by on September 7 at 9:05 AM

The last big endorsement in the hot 43rd District house race dropped today, and it falls in Bill Sherman’s favor.

Says the Seattle Times editorial board:

Sherman is a bright new entrant to elective politics who brings a very promising résumé and set of skills.

The challenge in the 43rd goes beyond finding someone who can capably represent voters living in the district. All six could do that. The bigger question is who also can work best with lawmakers of a variety of political stripes in Olympia.

Sherman has the right mix of temperament, attitude and résumé.

I read that last line, by the way, as a swipe at either Stephanie Pure or Dick Kelley (or both). They’re the only candidates in this race who have a notably different temperament than the others (meaning: they’re angry liberals, in a way that can be grating or invigorating, depending on the audience), and Pure is definitely the one with the thinnest rĂ©sumĂ©.

In any case, Sherman now has three very impressive endorsements: The Sierra Club, Washington Conservation Voters, and the Seattle Times.

Is it enough to lift him above the name ID that Jim Street has among older voters (and the endorsement Street received from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer)? And equally important: Is it enough to lift him above the well-funded and Ed-Murray-endorsed Jamie Pedersen?

We’ll find out in less than two weeks. In the meantime, if you live in the 43rd, expect even more mailers: From Pedersen, who told me he’s rushing out a mailer to tout his recent Murray endorsement, and from Sherman, who would be a fool not to boast about today’s nod from the Times.

And for those keeping score, here’s where the candidates now stand in terms of major endorsements:

Jamie Pedersen: Endorsed by State Rep. Ed Murray, Equal Rights Washington (the state-wide gay rights lobbying group), The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the Seattle Metropolitan Elections Committee, and the Stonewall Democrats.

Stephanie Pure: Endorsed by The Stranger.

Jim Street: Endorsed by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and King County Executive Ron Sims

Bill Sherman: Endorsed by The Sierra Club, Washington Conservation Voters, and the Seattle Times.

Dick Kelley: Endorsed by the King County Democratic Party.

Lynne Dodson: Endorsed by the Seattle Metropolitan Elections Committee and the Washington State Labor Council.

The Bill Sherman Karaoke Tape

posted by on September 7 at 8:47 AM

We tried to go all celebrity stalker on Bill Sherman last night, and were desperately hoping to catch him on video singing karaoke at the dyke bar Wild Rose, where he was holding a campaign event. But alas, it turns out even candidates for the state legislature have to wait in the long diva line at the Wild Rose, whether they’re there to court the lesbian vote or not.

The last thing Stranger paparazzo Kelly O heard before she had to dash off was a young woman (below) exclaiming: “Look! Bill Sherman with a REAL LIVE LESBIAN!”

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Anyone out there stay long enough to hear Sherman’s song? Or perhaps better yet: What do you wish he’d sung?

Morning News

posted by on September 7 at 8:13 AM

Tony Blair announces he’s going to resign within a year in response to a “growing revolt” within his party.

U.S. hands over control of the Iraqi Army and Navy to Iraqi authorities… well, at least ceremonially.

Only in California: UCLA decides to take a “holistic approach” to admissions, hoping to increase its black student population by viewing achievments “in context of life experiences.”

The link between aging and cancer: Scientists discover a gene that supresses stem cells as people age - trying to reduce the risk of cancer.

The Energy Department is building a supercomputer to guard the nuclear cache at Los Alamos — and they’re using technology created for the Playstation 3.

Pot Kills!!: No, seriously. Thirty Berkeley students eat pot brownies at a party and call the police describing a “feeling of doom.”

The Building Industry Association of Washington released campaign ads in the Gerry Alexander vs. John Groen state Supreme Court race that attribute Alexander’s rulings to his age, saying “When it’s your time, you know it. You’re tired, you get sloppy, you make mistakes.” During the Stranger’s interview with Alexander in July, the justice said he didn’t think Groen was attacking him for being old. Now, he says it’s “insulting.” Groen, being a weasel, said he couldn’t comment.

Prolonged Standing, Water Boarding, and Eminem

posted by on September 7 at 12:16 AM

Following Dubya’s acknowledgment of secret CIA prisons comes further details on interrogation techniques reportedly authorized by top CIA officials, including prolonged standing, sleep deprivation, and the extremely controversial and horrific-sounding practice of “water boarding”. ABC News describes it:

The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner’s face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt. According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda’s toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.

“[It is] bad interrogation,” said former CIA officer Bob BaerIt to ABC. “I mean, you can get anyone to confess to anything if the torture’s bad enough.” “The person believes they are being killed,” said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch. “[A]s such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law.”

In lighter news:

The detainees were also forced to listen to rap artist Eminem’s Slim Shady album. The music was so foreign to them it made them frantic, sources said.

What’s more, it apparently drove some of them to turn into Ron Jeremy.

Full story here.


Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Project Runway: Michael Is OUT!

posted by on September 6 at 11:00 PM

Unfuckingbelievable!

His dress was the worst, and it got him booted. But Michael had the best line of the night: “I’m sweatin’ like a whore in church.”

Random thoughts…

Kayne’s dress was my favorite—but I used to do drag, so go figure. Too much? Not possible.

Sometimes the challenges just seem… a tad.. oh, I dunno… unfair. Who can make a couture, hand-sewn gown in two freaking days? I actually felt bad for Vincent—until he stuck his tongue up the ass the French lady designer on the boat. And must Jeffrey be such a DICK to everyone all the time? I would’ve chucked his shaving ass off that balcony. At least the bastard didn’t win two weeks in a row. Uli took top honors.

I did love the cheese-ball Fraunch moozeek, though. Can’t have too much accordian. But what was up with the egg throwing? Damn terrorists.

Oh, and I’m the only person out there who’s freaking sick of those Market Optical commercials? And that PR promo in which Heidi Klum goes “Ha-Haaa!”? And that pock-marked make-up dude goobs me out.

Oh, shit. Last week I got spanked for talking about who got sent home in the main body of a Slog post. “Put it after the jump,” folks said. Oops. Sorry about that. The rest of my comments after the jump.

Continue reading "Project Runway: Michael Is OUT!" »

The Serpent and the Hobo

posted by on September 6 at 8:22 PM

Comic book supergenius Alan (Swamp Thing, V for Vendetta) Moore discusses his worship of a blonde-haired magical snake named Glycon. He makes it all seem quite sensible, really. Glycon 4EVR.

(props to The Beat)

No Comment

posted by on September 6 at 6:36 PM

A late commentator (Vin) to the post on Bumbershoot’s whiteness has this to say:

I did see some of my bretheren out there this year though. All of us fall into one of these categories

* Black men lenny kravitz wannabes who wear dreadlocks and only date white girls.

* Black women who think they are Valley Girls and only date white guys.

* Weird counterculture black guys who bring their weird counterculture black girlfriends / boyfriends / wives / husbands / whatever with them.

* Black people who have been soundly rejected by other black people for any variety of cultural missteps that resulted in the revocation of their Ghetto Pass (all other’s above may also qualify under this heading as well).I did see some of my bretheren out there this year though. All of us fall into one of these categories.

Which one are you Vin?

Pimpin’ HUMP

posted by on September 6 at 6:28 PM

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This is it—your last chance to get a ticket to see HUMP, Seattle’s oldest and largest amateur porn festival. Once tickets for this screening are gone, they’re, like, totally gone. And once HUMP is over, these killer pornos will never, ever be seen again. Click here for tickets.

Sarah Rudinoff at the Final Mirabeau Room Show

posted by on September 6 at 4:49 PM

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Stranger Genius Awards recipient and all-around superstar Sarah Rudinoff will be helping out with the closing night party at the Mirabeau Room this Saturday. If you haven’t seen Sarah in Hedwig and the Angry Inch or any of her other theatrical roles, you haven’t lived. Few people sing from the soles of their feet the way she does. She’ll be joined by several other wickedly talented local musicians (including Gretta Harley and Rob Witmer) and will be opening for the band “Awesome.” She’s also claiming to be headed for a bit of an artistic hiatus, at least from public performances, so her fans would be foolish to miss it. Doors are at 9pm, music starts at 9:45. Tickets $10 at the door, $7 in advance at Ticketswest

Two Campaign Ads and a Campaign Ad Dare

posted by on September 6 at 3:55 PM

Mike McGavick keeps saying he wants to run a different kind of campaign…an issues oriented campaign that sets an example for political discourse. It’s a nice sentiment, but, rather than actually running an issues oriented campaign, McGavick seems to be running a campaign about running an issues oriented campaign—without ever talking about the issues.

It’s super fucking annoying.

Here’s his latest TV ad:

Mike: I look to the example of Senator John McCain because you see a person who doesn’t look to his party first for how to vote, but to the needs of his country and to his conscience. Sen. McCain: The American people are sick of the bitter, poisoned atmosphere that we have in our nation’s Capitol. And that’s why we need Mike, who understands that what the people of Washington want is people who work together for the common good. Mike: I’m Mike McGavick, and I approve this ad.

The one McGavick ad I heard that does talk about the issues (it was about the GOP trifecta bill), was pour and stir GOP. That’d be fine…if, of course, McGavick’s other big theme wasn’t….bipartisanship.

As I wrote last July, the bipartisanship theme is McGavick’s clever way of campaigning in a year when it’s not such a good time to be a Republican. It also helps him sidestep Cantwell, whose positions are pretty popular.

Here’s what I wrote last July after checking out McGavick’s stump speech:

Who’s the “we” that has to get more serious about veterans’ health care? President Bush and the Republicans who control Congress, that’s who. But McGavick doesn’t name them—he can’t name them. What he can do—what he is doing, while Cantwell is AWOL—is seize on public disgust with Bush and the congressional Republicans by attacking government in general. McGavick is running with the public’s foul mood rather than being forced to run against it—or even against Cantwell.

Anyway, here’s McGavick’s latest radio ad about transcending partisanship. You’ll note, he doesn’t say anything about Cantwell—nor does he say where he’d break with his own party.

Here’s his latest Radio Ad:

Mike: The partisan nonsense that is ruining our nation must stop, and we can help stop it this November.

Announcer: Mike McGavick, willing to stand up and say, “enough.”

Mike: To look to your party first to know how to vote, what a wrong-minded concept.

Announcer: Mike McGavick, the candidate for Senate who will fight to change the destructive culture in Washington, D.C.

Mike: You work with others to solve problems, with open hearts and open minds.

Announcer: Washington, D.C., needs a change and Washington state needs a new senator. A true Northwestern voice of common sense, Mike McGavick.

Mike: That’s the Northwest way of doing things, and that’s the kind of senator I will be.

Announcer: Republican Mike McGavick. Reformer. Problem solver. For U.S. Senate.

Join the fight for change at MikeMcGavick.com

Paid for by Friends for Mike McGavick.

Here’s my dare for McGavick’s next ad about bipartisanship. I want him to come on and cite three policies where he differs from the GOP and three policies where his position is similar to the Democratic position.

Randy Hilfman Spells Defeat

posted by on September 6 at 3:43 PM

I skipped Bumbershoot on Monday night to congregate with the hardened orthographers at the third Seattle Spelling Bee. After last month’s poor showing, I had little hope of returning to the form that won me second place in the first bee. Then I pulled off my greatest feat of spelling to date:

C-I-C-I-S-B-E-I-S-M

The Oxford English Dictionary definies “cicisbeism” as “The practice of attending a married woman as cicisbeo.” With adorable though misleading chastity, the OED claims that a cicisbeo is a woman’s “recognized gallant.” At any rate, my correct spelling elicited the evening’s biggest round of applause. More importantly, it extended my lead over the hitherto unbeatable Randy Hilfman.

The notoriously difficult third round had eliminated all comers aside from me. Only three contestants out of twenty managed a single correct word. Alas, Randy earned a spot among those three in grand fashion: he spelled his first two words correctly to pull into a tie for the lead. Then he made short work of “enceinte” (a French word meaning “pregnant”) to claim his third consecutive title.

Had I managed to spell “nannofossil,” I’d have had a chance. If Randy Hilfman weren’t among the more pleasant people I’ve ever met, my wrath would have been justified. All I could do was drop my jaw and remember what losing pitcher Don Hendley said after Sandy Koufax’s 1965 perfect game: “It’s no disgrace to get beat by class.”

-Andrew Bleeker

Moving Pictures

posted by on September 6 at 3:07 PM

The movies that make up the list below the image have had the greatest influence on me. They are always on my mind, always in my house.
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1) Blade Runner, Scott (cinema as urban theory)
2) I am Cuba, Kalatozishvili (Hegel as cinema)
3) To Sleep With Anger (cinema as Afro American literature—the director, Burnett, and main actor, Glover, of this movie are in the above image)
4) The Mirror, Tarkovsky (cinema as Proust)
5) Aliens, Cameron (the cinema of American militarism/also the cinema of Marx)
6) I Can’t Sleep, Denis (cinema as post-colonial exhaustion)
7) North by Northwest (cinema as cinema)
8) Chungking Express, Wai (cinema as late capitalism)
9) Hyenas, Mambéty (cinema as Economic Structural Adjustment Program)
10) Kwaidan, Kobayashi (cinema as Hearn)
11) Last Command, Sternberg (Nabokov as Cinema)

Bravo!

posted by on September 6 at 2:07 PM

Via the NYT:

The Metropolitan Opera announced today that it would begin broadcasting live performances into movie theaters across the United States, Canada and Britain, rubbing shoulders with professional wrestling and rock concerts.

Arts in America (and Britain)

posted by on September 6 at 2:02 PM

Pop quiz!

Was the United States’ “postwar satire boom” a revolutionary movement? Author Stephen E. Kercher says yes.

Did the Arctic Monkeys make the best record by a British or Irish artist in 2006? The jurors for Britain’s Mercury Prize say yes.

When you’re dead, will you have a friend and ex-lover to talk about you as lovingly as Patti Smith talks about Robert Mapplethorpe in today’s London Times? Cross your fingers.

Am I alone in my freakishly high estimation of music critic Robert Christgau, who was fired last week from the Village Voice? Thanks to Slate’s Jody Rosen, I am not.

And finally, how come Seattle doesn’t have any parks that Meryl Streep does plays in?

Who knows, but here’s something fun to do tonight anyway:

Ruff Gemz (CLUB NIGHT) Ruff Gemz is DJ Fucking in the Streets, DJ Porq, and Sam Rousso’s new vehicle to move rock kids’ asses to unpredictable sounds. Happening the first and third Wednesdays of the month, Ruff Gemz hopes to achieve this noble goal by testing the Baltic’s dope sound system with electro, mutant disco, punk funk, rock remixes, and some weird tangents to keep you off-balance. Plus, $1.50 PBRs and $3 drink specials. (Baltic Room, 1207 E Pine St, 625-4444. 9 pm, free till 11 pm, $3 after, 21+.) DAVE SEGAL

Six Left

posted by on September 6 at 1:07 PM

Vincent. Is. Crazy.

But not the good kind of crazy that I’m generally really attracted to.

He’s the bad kind of crazy.

C’mon Project Runway, please please please send him home tonight.

Who do you think should leave?

Suri Surfaces

posted by on September 6 at 1:06 PM

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Well, there you have it—she exists, and Annie Leibovitz has proof.

Not a Bad Time to Be an Artist

posted by on September 6 at 1:00 PM

In a couple months, a new organization called United States Artists (their website is here) will announce the first 50 winners of $50,000 grants. They’ll be giving these grants to artists every year “to ignite the creativity that makes this country great.”

Philip Bither, a curator at the Walker Art Center, tells the New York Times: “The individual artist has been at the back of the line in terms of support in American funding over the last decade, so any new system designed to get support directly into the hand of working artists is important.”

It’s almost as if he’s channeling Emily Hall, who in first describing the Stranger Genius Awards—five annual awards of $5,000 each, chosen by The Stranger’s arts writers and editors—wrote that, outside of Artist Trust…

…most arts money in Seattle is given to institutions rather than artists. We’ve got nothing against institutions—we’re giving one of our awards to an institution—but we want to give a good chunk of money to a few individuals who we feel are underknown, undershown, underfunded, underpraised. We want to give money to artists for whom it would make a difference; although even the most “emerged” artists could very well use $5,000, we want this money to be a career boost rather than a career affirmation. We want to give an artist money to pay the bills, to put up a play, to take a mind-expanding trip to Brazil, to stop taking temp jobs for a few months and finish that book.

Now in its fourth year, the Genius Awards have come to be about more than just the underknown, undershown, underfunded, and underpraised—although there are several underknown/shown/funded/praised names on every year’s list. We still give the bulk of the prize money to individuals. The money still comes with no strings attached and, unlike U.S.A.’s system, there is no application process. And this year’s Genius Awards will be the biggest yet: The party (at the Henry Art Gallery on Oct. 21) will be followed by an eight-week exhibition of Genius Award winners of year’s past. Hot damn!

I wonder who the first artist with a Genius Award to go on to win a U.S.A grant will be…

McGavick: To Remember or Not to Remember?

posted by on September 6 at 12:25 PM

It’s a week-and-a-half later and Mike McGavick is still having to talk about this DUI thing.

He had to answer questions about it again yesterday on the Dori Monson show on KIRO radio—where he got bogged down discussing drunk driving laws in Europe. (Wow, you know your campaign for U.S. Senate is tanking when you’re on the air talking about drunk driving laws in Europe…)

And he had to talk about it some more on KIRO 7 Eyewitness News with Essex Porter.

The big problem is: He still can’t get his mea culpa straight. First he says he doesn’t remember the whole thing, and then he says it’s indelible in his mind.

Check out his contradictory statements from his interviews yesterday.

Here’s McGavick being interviewed by Essex Porter on KIRO TV yesterday.

Porter, to McGavick: Did you deliberately minimize the circumstances of…?

McGavick, to Porter: No, not at all. Look, all I did was go on my memory. I didn’t try to mislead anybody. Why would I try to minimize a DUI? The DUI was the big news, and I’m the one who put it out there.

Porter: McGavick said he was cited, but not arrested. However, the police report says he was placed under arrest for DUI.

McGavick, to Porter: I’ve read the report—it is like reading a story of another person. I mean, look, I was, I just don’t remember. But it doesn’t matter.

So, McGavick’s story is that he “doesn’t remember.”

Personally, I don’t get how someone doesn’t remember being arrested—given that he also had to go before a judge to argue for “probation judgment”—which allowed him to expunge the court records by paying a fine and attending alcohol education classes. How does someone go before a judge and go to alcohol education classes and not remember that they were arrested…handcuffed to a desk, actually?

Well, on Dori Monson’s show…he says, in fact, he does remember.

DM: Do you still drink?   MM: Yes

DM: OK

MM: I enjoy a drink.

DM: You never drink and drive?  

MM: Drink too much and drive? No.  

DM: But you’re not zero-tolerance, then. I mean if you’ll…

MM: No, because if — social drinking’s a part of my life. I enjoy it when I’m with friends, but I know my limits very clearly. I learned them in a very painful way — in a way that is indelible in my mind.

Oh, and for kicks: Here’s U.S. Senate candidate McGavick wasting precious free media time talking about drunk driving laws in Europe.

DM: So, I mean, aren’t you at .03, .05, aren’t you a bit more of a danger than at point-than at no alcohol?

MM: You know the law-the laws take all this into account, Dori, if people were afraid that would cause dangerous driving we’d have laws against it. I think where the law is set is about right. I do think, though, that some of the European countries have better ideas. Their punishments, as you know, are much more extreme. And I do think that some of those models might be better, but look, I fully understand where your question is going but no, I will not drink to much and drive, period. I learned that lesson, and if anything I’ve gotten a thirteen-year later reminder of just what a stupid and humiliating event this is.
  

Bush Acknowledges Secret CIA Prisons

posted by on September 6 at 12:01 PM

Not the most shocking news, but still disturbing. Do we give him points for admitting it?

New Poll: Burner Leading Reichert, 49% to 46%

posted by on September 6 at 12:00 PM

Hat tip to Goldy.

Burner’s lead is within the poll’s margin of error, but still, this is impressive. And check out the huge Bush disapproval rating in the 8th District. Makes it even more bizarre that Reichert is bringing Rove to town next week.

Lost in the Stacks

posted by on September 6 at 11:44 AM

No doubt, it’s easy to get lost in the Central Library. So SPL has hired a “wayfarer” or “wayfinder” or some such nautical-sounding employee to make some tourist-friendly signs. But will the signs point to the “Mixing Chamber” (a dorky, unrevealing name nobody really uses) or will they adopt more friendly nomenclature? I vote for “This way to the Plastic Tomato Womb.”

tomatowomb2.jpg

The Fabulous Baker Bus

posted by on September 6 at 11:32 AM

Turns out dogs aren’t the only ones chowing down on pot. Today also brings a delightful I, Anonymous confession from someone who calls him- or herself the Bong Smokin’ Metro Driver:

Hi there. I’m your friendly Metro bus driver. I also smoke a ton of pot. Not on the job, of course, and not really a ton. More like a pound or so a year. Some of you have a drink after work, I smoke bong hits. For over a decade now I’ve been driving you around King County without incident and have managed to achieve a nearly flawless safety record. The morning, the evening and the middle of the night. From the Rainier Valley to Magnolia to Issaquah to the Aurora Village Transit Center and all points in between. Microsoft commuters and little old ladies and downtown worker bees and crackheads and all sorts of other spun-out motherfuckers. I’ve smiled at all of you and given all of you a ride. And I didn’t give you a hard time that day you were short a few cents (or dollars) for the fare or you forgot your bus pass. And I waited for you that time you were running to catch the bus. And I’ve made your trips on the bus soooooo smoooth and pleasant that a lot of you have taken the time to call or email Metro to tell them what a wonderful driver I am. And I can assure you that I am only one of hundreds of us drivers who smoke just about every day. You can tell who we are; we’re the mellow and friendly ones. Don’t worry. You are in good hands. We’ll get you there!

While I was writing this post, I received an email/press release from the office of King County Executive Ron Sims:

Seniors and people with disabilities living in King County will have better transportation options thanks to a fleet of new passenger vans going into service today. King County Metro Transit obtained the 21 new passenger vans with a $906,000 state grant and is donating them to eight local agency partners involved in Metro’s Community Access program.

Hurrah! Stoners driving buses is cool, but stoners driving vans is how God meant it to be…

Rove to Reichert’s Rescue?

posted by on September 6 at 11:20 AM

Over the weekend, the New York Times offered two very interesting stories that, when combined with this story in today’s P-I about an upcoming Karl Rove-Dave Reichert fundraiser, paint a picture of a very worried Reichert re-election campaign.

First, the two New York Times stories. On Saturday, the Times reported that Karl Rove is “struggling to steer the [Republican] party to victory this fall,” largely because Republicans in Congress are increasingly losing faith in his political judgment.

Outside the White House, as Mr. Bush’s popularity has waned, and as questions have arisen among Republicans about the White House’s political acumen, the party’s candidates are going their own way in this difficult election season far more than they have in any other campaign Mr. Rove has overseen.

Some are disregarding Mr. Rove’s advice, despite his reputation as the nation’s premier strategist. They are criticizing Mr. Bush or his policies. They are avoiding public events with the president and Mr. Rove.

Also in that story, the Times reports that Rove and other Bush advisors…

…have determined that control of Congress is likely to be settled in as few as six states and have decided to focus most of the party’s resources there… Those states will likely include Connecticut, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington, though officials said the battle lines could shift in coming weeks.

When people talk about “control of Congress” this year, they’re mainly talking about the House of Representatives, because it’s the House, and not the Senate, that’s most likely to flip into Democratic hands this November. And what’s the big House race here in Washington? Darcy Burner vs. Dave Reichert in the eastside’s 8th Congressional District.

Why are Rove and others so concerned? If the Democrats take the House, Bush’s term is essentially over; he’ll be dead in the water, agenda-wise, for the next two years, and will likely have to deal with a series of Congressional investigations into… well, take your pick: Iraq WMD intelligence, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Plame-gate, etc. And as the Times reported on Monday, political analysts and party strategists now agree that…

…Republicans enter the fall campaign with their control of the House in serious jeopardy.

So what is Rove doing about it? As the P-I reports this morning, he’s on his way to Washington to campaign and fund-raise next week for Reichert.

But here’s the big question: Why would Reichert agree to this? Why isn’t he in the group of Republican lawmakers, mentioned in the Times story above, who are “going their own way,” “disregarding Mr. Rove’s advice,” “criticizing Mr. Bush,” and “avoiding public events with the president and Mr. Rove”?

Reichert has already had a visit from Bush this year, and has introduced Dick Cheney and Laura Bush at local fund-raisers. Each time, the Burner campaign has used the events to cast Reichert as too chummy with the unpopular Bush administration to be trusted with another term—a strategy that’s working quite well for Democrats in House and Senate races around the country. The Burner campaign has also said it gets big fundraising bumps of its own each time an unpopular Republican appears in town to help Reichert. (And Burner’s impressive fund-raising, as anyone following this race knows, is one of the main reasons she’s seen as so viable in the first place.)

So if you’re Reichert, why hang out with Rove? Why give Burner such an easy messaging and fund-raising opportunity? Why make yourself one of the few Republican Congressmen who aren’t “going their own way”?

My guess: Reichert is worried, and Rove & Co. are promising him something too good to pass up (most likely money and get-out-the-vote help). In Reichert’s calculation, the political benefit in turning on Bush and Rove must be less than the financial and get-out-the-vote benefits of sticking with them.

It’s an interesting gamble, and one that leaves Burner with yet another opportunity to hammer away at her main campaign theme:

Reichert = Bush (and Rove) = Wrong Direction

Burner = Change

YouTube Request

posted by on September 6 at 11:14 AM

Stranger reader Adam S.K. wanted you to see this YouTube clip. Enjoy. Or, uh, not.

It’s Olsen Twins Wednesday!

posted by on September 6 at 9:48 AM

Yay, YAY, YAY! It’s WEDNESDAY, which means it’s time for another exciting episode of OLSEN TWINS WEDNESDAY! Now as you know, the Olsen Twins are adorable and cuddly—but did you know they are also freaking marketing geniuses? They have a shit-ton of MK & A products on the market (I’m the proud owner of a MK & A tube of Aquafresh toothpaste). But here is a great classic commercial for another great product, the OLSEN TWINS DOLLS. (All I can say is this is gonna be one HOT “sleep-over.”)

Headline of the Day

posted by on September 6 at 8:39 AM

From this morning’s NYT:

Iranian Leader Wants Purge of Liberals From Universities

Hmm… that headline sounds familiar…

Oh, yeah:

Conservatives push to counter liberal professors

Bad Dog! Bad!

posted by on September 6 at 8:26 AM

It appears that we’re not the only species that appreciates good BC Bud. Via RawStory:

A Vancouver veterinarian who runs a 24-hour emergency clinic says she treats a surprising number of dogs who have overdosed on marijuana or other illicit drugs.

Dr. Suann Hosie says many of them have consumed large amounts of pot from their owners’ stashes.

“They sometimes hallucinate. Certainly on marijuana, they have a dry mouth, their pupils are dilated, they stagger. They act just so weird that the panicky owner brings them in.”

Morning News

posted by on September 6 at 8:06 AM

The respiratory problems like sinusitis and asthma that many Ground Zero workers reportered after Sept. 11th are caused by the dust of the towers, a massive study confirms.

Many sectarian-violence fearing Iraqis are changing their names to sound more Shiite or sect-neutral.

“The challenge from Iran and Syria” now tops Israel’s defense agenda.

Japan’s Princess Kiko gives birth to the first male heir in the family, perhaps ending the debate about the need to change Japanese law to allow women to accede the throne.

Pot kills — no, not people, bonehead. The environment.

As Seattle schools kick back into session, some city kids catch the 6:45 ferry to the suburbs’ high schools.

Nickels: Not only pro-people but also pro-trees.


Tuesday, September 5, 2006

I Will Never Be Hip

posted by on September 5 at 10:30 PM

There’s really nothing to say about this, except “AWESOME.”

The hip dude? Robert Blake’s son, Noah.

Midwestern misnomers

posted by on September 5 at 5:17 PM

It’s the end of the day, so I was looking up how to spell “misogyny” on the internet dictionary. In searching for my word, the computer also returned this fun list of similar words:

1. misogynist
2. misogynists
3. misogynies
4. misogynistic
5. misogynic
6. misogamist
7. magazinist
8. Missouri City
9. Michiganites

The Future of the Mirabeau Room

posted by on September 5 at 4:55 PM

1.jpg

The rumors have been swirling for quite some time, and it does look like the Queen Anne nightclub is headed for big changes in either ownership or ambience. Owner Dave Meinert has confirmed that a sale to an undisclosed party is pending; if that does not go through, the club will be closing for remodeling at the end of this week. This week’s poetry and comedy showcases (slated for tonight and Wednesday, respectively) will still take place; the last scheduled event is this Saturday, when the band “Awesome” will perform. I’ll post more details as they become available.

HUMP—One Show Added

posted by on September 5 at 4:04 PM

hump-banner.jpg

This is it, porn fans. We’ve added one more HUMP screening—Friday at 4:00 p.m.—and we won’t be adding anymore. We can’t possibly add anymore, no more, no how.

Click here to get a ticket. Do it now.

Report of Broken Curse Premature

posted by on September 5 at 3:52 PM

Red Line, home of excellent pizza pies and an interior color scheme clearly conceived of by a blind person, has met its demise in the space of restaurant doom at Olive and Denny. Apparently the evil spirits did not concur with my, um, less than prescient reporting on the subject. What will take Red Line’s place? An Amante, which apparently is a North Carolina—based “gourmet pizza” chain (“We use only 100% real cheese”—hey, terrific!). Hello, Amante, and goodbye already. God. Damn. It.

UPDATE: This Amante business may actually be a local “gourmet pizza” chain. Still, and again: God. Damn. It.

[Note: You can make Webster’s say the word “prescient” here by clicking on the little bullhorn icon. If you say “pre-sigh-unt,” people will laugh at you, and rightfully so. God. Damn. It.]

Proud to be an American

posted by on September 5 at 3:36 PM

This year’s Texas State Fair will feature deep-fried Coca-Cola.

What’s more, the deep-fried cola concoction beat out deep-fried macaroni n’ cheese and a deep-fried cosmopolitan to win the creativity prize at the second-annual Big Tex Choice Awards Contest.

Full story here.

HUMP—Last Chance for Tickets?

posted by on September 5 at 3:16 PM

Okay, all the screenings for HUMP this weekend are sold out.

We can add just one screening to the already packed schedule—but it’s at an odd time, Friday at 4 PM.

We’re currently debating whether or not we’re gonna go for it. Stay tuned, anxious non-ticket holders.

Arts in America & Elsewhere

posted by on September 5 at 3:09 PM

Hello! Welcome to Arts in America, covering this Tuesday that feels like a Monday, as well as numerous regions that are by no means America. Today’s delights:


* After a second summer slaying ‘em in Provincetown, Seattle’s own Dina Martina has announced another step on her path to world domination: An extended New York run of her new show Dina Martina: Soft Palate, Fallen Arches. The show runs from September 22 to October 7 at the Cutting Room, and in addition to the usual parade of unforgettable horrors, the show should provide some first-rate star-gazing. (Ms. Martina’s last NY show drew such luminaries as Whoopi Goldberg, John Waters, Tony Kushner, Law & Order’s awesome S. Epatha Merkerson, and, uh, “Peace Mom” Cindy Sheehan.)


* Where do MySpace profiles go when they die? MyDeathSpace.com. Read about the entirely non-ironic site here.


* Meanwhile in non-American art: Chinese film director Lou Ye has been banned by from making films in his home country for five years, after his movie Summer Palace screened at Cannes without government approval, and former Spice Girl Gerri Halliwell believes her baby was clobbered by a nanny.


And finally here’s your Stranger Suggests for the day, written by me about a movie I liked a lot more than I expected to. (Toni Collette may be the world’s greatest film actress who isn’t Meryl Streep.)

Little Miss Sunshine (CROWD PLEASER) Tracking a dysfunctional-to-the-last-person family on a cross-country road trip, Little Miss Sunshine is as contrived as a knock-knock joke. But underneath all the contrivance glows a sweet, warm, fucked-up comedy you’ll be happy to see. The saviors are the actors—Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, and breakout indie starlet Abigail Breslin—who light up this frequently predictable parade with tiny moments of inspired, idiosyncratic brilliance. (See Movie Times for details.) DAVID SCHMADER

Re: McGavick Snows the PI

posted by on September 5 at 2:55 PM

This morning, I criticized the PI for letting McGavick dupe them about his position on Iraq. He got them to report that he thinks it’s aokay to debate the war.

I hauled out two quotes…one that I got when I heard McGavick on the campaign trail east of the mountains… and one from a paper in Idaho called the Lewiston Morning Tribune— where McGavick says it’s not kosher to debate the war.

Turns out the PI didn’t have to look to rags like the Stranger or the Lewiston Tribune to do a little basic fact checking, though. The very reputable Seattle Times…reporting on a McGavick press conference last August 14 (that the PI also attended) …finds McGavick completely contradicting what he told the PI yesterday.

Again, this morning’s PI has McGAvick differentiating himself from the GOP party line by saying it’s aokay to debate the war.

Well, here’s the Seattle Times paraphrasing McGavick less than a month ago:

McGavick repeated his contention that the issues around the invasion should not be debated until the war is over and all U.S. troops are back.

Re: Target ABC

posted by on September 5 at 1:51 PM

So ABC is showing a bullshit “documentary” about 9/11 that lays all the blame—100% worth—at the feet of Bill Clinton. Clinton, of course, took terrorism seriously, tried to do something about it, and was blocked by Republicans who were against anything he was for and for anything he was against. Lefty bloggers are pissed, and they’re making noise.

I imagine Bill Clinton is power pissed too—and it seems to me that he could get this piece of shit off the air by calling a press conference and denouncing this film and ABC.

McGavick Says I’m Sorry. Again.

posted by on September 5 at 1:32 PM

Seattle Times reporter David Postman is reporting on his blog that GOP U.S. Senate candidate Mike McGavick has returned $14,000 in contributions from VECO (his 10th biggest contributor), an Alaskan oil field services company that has come under federal investigation.

Is Brendan Kiley a Bigot? An Investigation.

posted by on September 5 at 12:56 PM

OK. Read this.

Did you understand it? Did you gather from it—a piece by Brendan Kiley about Gary Shteyngart’s book Absurdistan, included in last week’s Bumbershoot guide, because Shteynhart was part of an event at Bumbershoot—that Shteyngart is an author who deploys racial stereotypes only to shame us with their familiarity? You might have gotten that from the sentence: “His novels… deploy stereotypes only to shame us with their familiarity.” If you were still unclear, you would gather as much from the rest of the piece (as Brendan notes, there’s a character in the book who keeps saying, “Where the niggaz at?”), but just in case, just to make it extra clear, Brendan’s second-to-last sentence is: “Gary’s stereotypes are stealth missiles—you think they’re pointed toward your funny bone, but at the last second they turn and hit you right in the conscience.”

Then there’s the last sentence. Kiley’s now-famous last sentence, the purpose of which was just to say that, by the way, Shteyngart is not doing this event alone, there’s another author too, but there isn’t enough room here to give equal treatment to her book. (Absurdistan is a big-deal book, was on cover of the NYTBR, but we hadn’t yet covered it in The Stranger.) Kiley’s last sentence reads: “Shteyngart is scheduled to appear with some Arab chick.”

Now, multiple choice. Taking Brendan’s whole article into account, how would you characterize this last sentence?

(A) It’s absolutely sincere, and shocking, incontrovertible proof that Brendan Kiley is a racist and a misogynist and probably a white male.
(B) Uh, I’m not an idiot, that was a Shteyngart-esque way to address the fact that Shteyngart was not doing the event alone, that there was another author involved, and anyone who takes that literally as Brendan Kiley’s estimation of the other author—Laila Lalami—needs to brush up on their reading comprehension skills.

On Sunday at Bumbershoot, Mark White, from Scala House Press, who was the moderator of the discussion between Shteyngart and Lalami, got all sanctimonious about how Lalami had been dismissed as “some Arab chick” in The Stranger and in the course of getting all sanctimonious and asking her how she felt at this published injustice against her and Arabs and women in general never bothered to mention the context. The audience, deprived of the context, audibly gasped. White asked Lalami how she felt about it, and Lalami (who is a smart woman who obviously understands irony [“the use of words to express something other than and esp. the opposite of the literal meaning”—Webster’s Collegiate 10th Edition]) pointed out that she was neither Arab (she’s Moroccan) nor a chick (uh, she looked like a chick to me) but that the only thing that bothered her was that she wished The Stranger had reviewed her book too. It would have been cool if she’d explained the context to the crowd, because Mark White was just playing everyone, but she didn’t.

I don’t know much about Scala House Press except that on their website, Salman Rushdie’s first name is spelled “Salmon.” Like the fish. Did you do that cuz he’s Indian, Mark? Is that a dig? You know he’s not American Indian, right? And it’s the American Indians who loved the salmon…

By the way, Mark White is not alone in his inability to comphrend Brendan Kiley’s obvious bigotry. A selection of sentiments from the shitstorm of letters we’ve gotten:

not bad: racist, sexist, and dismissive in only three words. you must be exhausted.
What a disrespectful thing to print.
Very nicely written review of Gary Shteyngart’s work except for the very last part…

Sigh…

Target: ABC

posted by on September 5 at 12:20 PM

Next week, ABC is scheduled to air a “docudrama” about the events of September 11, 2001—a “docudrama” that reportedly suggests that President Bill Clinton should have prevented the attacks.

The Path to 9/11 was written by a conservative activist and although it purports to be an objective account of the events leading up to and through 9/11, only the Republican head of the 9/11 Commission (and not the Democratic head) was brought on as a consultant to the project. Liberal bloggers are furious, Richard Clarke has issued a pre-buttal, AmericaBlog has gone into full-time anti-ABC campaign mode, and already one Congresswoman is outraged.

My question is, does ABC have any idea what we have in store for them this coming week, in terms of the pain we’re going to make them feel over this outrageous misuse of the memory of 3,000 dead Americans and others in a blatant effort to influence the November elections?

I’m simply curious if ABC is stupid or masochistic? Because either way, they really need to Google what we did to Microsoft and Ford (and AOL and Paramount and the Cheney family before them) if they want a taste of the damage we’re going to inflict this week on the network that has now basically turned September 11 into a cartoon, and a partisan one at that.

For ABC to treat one of the greatest tragedies in American history like some fictitious soap opera is beyond reprehensible. And for ABC to run what is clearly a false and partisan Republican hit piece only weeks before one of the closest and most important elections in recent history, is un-American.

Stay tuned.

Late to this story? It all traces back to a man named Cyrus Norwasteh

Apparently Warren Buffet Is Polyamorous

posted by on September 5 at 11:34 AM

In reading about the recent marriage of financial wizard Warren Buffet, I came across this revealing snippet:

“The pair have been living together since the late 1970s. Nothing unusual about that, except that Mr Buffett also had an apparently close and loving marriage to another woman, Susan, until her death in 2004. The trio even sent out Christmas cards signed “Warren, Susie and Astrid”…The two women proceeded to “share” the billionaire….Mr Buffett spent a good deal of time with his wife — they often appeared at functions together…(His now-wife) Ms Menks would pack him off to see her, apparently without a trace of jealousy, and would sometimes appear beside her smiling, talking and even holding hands.”

Sounds like a lovely arrangement to me.

4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42

posted by on September 5 at 11:18 AM

lost_gruppo2.jpg

Because I live in a Lost-obsessed household, it didn’t really surprise me when the alarm went off early this morning so that my boyfriend could dash to the store and purchase Season Two on DVD. What did surprise me was the scene he reported from the Northgate Best Buy: the place hadn’t even been open for 15 minutes and they were almost sold-out. “I felt like a real geek,” he told me via phone, “until I realized everyone else was there for the same reason.” Season Three starts on October 4th. Lost geeks, unite!

14th & Howell

posted by on September 5 at 10:37 AM

The traffic circle at 14th & Howell is once again a pristine natural wilderness. Elk were sighted this morning, coyotes will be reintroduced soon.

14thHowellMonday.jpg

But I wonder… why didn’t the person who hauled off the computer monitors bother to pick up the trash bags, coffee cups, pieces of paper, and chunks of Styrofoam that also litter the site? It’s the story of Seattle: The interesting, thought-provoking trash is gone, the boring, every-day trash remains.

Lindsay Lohan’s Grocery Receipt! (Yes, We’re That Pathetic.)

posted by on September 5 at 10:37 AM

Ummm… NO. We don’t have anything better to do than look at Lindsay Lohan’s grocery receipt, dug out of the dumpster by those intrepid tabloid reporters and posted at Mollygood.com. And who knew? Lindy and I share very similar grocery interests! There’s Doritos (both Nacho flavored and Ranch), Ham & Cheese HotPockets, Sleeping tablets, Magnum Condoms (which are generally a bit tight on me, but they do in a pinch), and about 54 gallons of NyQuil Cough Syrup (which I only use when I have a tickle in my throat, or go on a hallucinogenic FREAKOUT).

090506 Lindsay Reciept-thumb.jpg

Busy Banksy

posted by on September 5 at 10:35 AM

Banksy, the practical joker from the U.K. who got his start as a graffiti artist (see here and here—the latter is on the Palestinian side of the West Bank barrier wall) and went on to kill telephone boxes and hang his own work in the Tate and the Met, has turned his sights on Paris Hilton. He’s smuggled hundreds of doctored copies of her new CD into stores—allegedly with the help of Gnarls Barkley—with tracks like “Why Am I Famous?” (Which seems as good a question for an art star as an heiress.) You can buy a burnt copy on ebay. (Currently, they’re going for $57.13.)

Full story here.

UPDATE: The above link to ebay doesn’t work—they took down the listings for the burned copies, but you can bid on an actual Banksy-Hilton CD here. Currently, the top bid is over a thousand dollars.)

Blanc Bumbershoot

posted by on September 5 at 10:26 AM

From this image, which is on the website for Bumbershoot, I draw this question: Why do blacks not attend the festival?
Picture 3.jpg
There are lots of black acts and yet very few blacks in the audience. Are the black acts not black enough? Are the programmers clueless about black tastes in the arts and focus only on what they know, white tastes? Or is the festival too expensive? If one argues that because the number of blacks in the city is low, they are effectively drowned out by the sea of whites at the festival, I would argue that at the Seafair’s Torchlight Parade, which happens in July, the sea of white people doesn’t drown out the sea of black people. Blacks go to the parade but not the festival. Bumbershoot is essentially a white celebration.

Salad of a Lost Ferret

posted by on September 5 at 10:08 AM

easter_ferret.jpg

Boil 6 ferrets until tender. The last five minutes of cooking time, add 3 eggs still in their shells. Remove ferrets and eggs from pot and let cool. De-bone ferrets. Peel eggs. In a food processor, grind meat and eggs separately. Place in a large bowl and with a spoon or fork, mix in mayonnaise or sandwich spread and pickle relish to desired consistency and taste. Serve on toast or crackers with your favorite garnish.

Adapted from squirrel salad recipe at A Squirrel Cuisine.

Ed Murray Endorses Jamie Pedersen in Seattle’s 43rd District

posted by on September 5 at 10:05 AM

[First posted at 8:50 a.m., and now updated with more from my interview with Murray.]

I usually make it a point not to be awake at 7:30 a.m., but when State Rep. Ed Murray called me late last night and invited me over for an early morning interview on the first day of the fall campaign season, I knew I was probably going to hear something interesting. And indeed I did.

Murray, who is leaving his seat in the state house to run (unopposed) for the state senate, has said for some time that he wouldn’t be endorsing a candidate in the contentious six-way race for his house seat. But Murray has changed his mind in light of the recent ruling against gay marriage from the state supreme court. This morning, over oatmeal and tea, Murray told me that he’s endorsing gay rights activist and Preston-Gates lawyer Jamie Pedersen:

Given the marriage decision from the supreme court, and given, in particular, the reprehensible language used in the decision, I believe that the political ground under the gay and lesbian community has shifted significantly. It was an earthquake of a setback and the need to move forward united and strong every place we can is the reason I’m endorsing Jamie Pedersen…

The next few years are going to determine whether we are going to move forward on marriage or whether this is going to be a 30-year-long battle.

I’ve made an argument for 11 years that having a place at the table makes a difference… Jamie is smart, driven, hard-working, and while he is new to the world of politics, I think he’s smart enough and he’ll learn. And that’s an opportunity that neither the gay and lesbian community nor this district should lose.

Given Murray’s 11 years representing Seattle’s 43rd district in the state house, and given his stature within Seattle’s gay community, this announcement is sure to shake up the race. (In fact, as I said on Friday, it could well determine the winner.)

However, Murray down-played any sense that his endorsement would be decisive, telling me:

I think it’s still very much of a race for all of them. Like all politicians, I hope that my endorsement is worth something, but I have learned that in the end it’s going to be Jamie Pedersen who wins and loses this, not Ed Murray’s endorsement.

Supporters of the other candidates—Stephanie Pure,
Jim Street, Bill Sherman, Dick Kelley, and Lynne Dodson—are sure to be disappointed by Murray’s decision to take sides in the race, and Murray went to some effort during our breakfast to highlight his admiration for all of the candidates, and two in particular:

This has been very difficult because I respect all of these candidates, and two of them I have worked with in the past — Jim Street, who is one of the most competent elected officials I have ever worked with, and Bill Sherman, who is a personal friend and would be an outstanding member of the legislature

(Expect to see those quotes on mailers and campaign literature for Street and Sherman soon.)

Murray continued:

I think I now will have the volunteers of five campaigns upset with me, and one campaign happy. This is not the smartest move on my part. But I feel so strongly about the marriage issue that I’m willing to do something that is not overall in my best political interest.

There has been a lot of discussion within the gay community this year about whether identity politics should trump all else in choosing the state representative for a district that covers Capitol Hill and other very gay areas of Seattle. Murray knows his endorsement will be seen by some as putting identity politics and one issue (gay marriage) above all else, and he answered the charge this way:

First of all, you should not support somebody simply because he or she is gay. The person should be competent, and you should believe in his or her abilities to be effective as a legislator. Second, we have many friends and many supporters in the legislature. But I can tell you after spending 11 years behind closed doors with other legislators, nobody pushes our issues as their first priority unless they’re gay.

He also hit back at the suggestion that four openly gay members in the legislature is enough.

This thing of ‘no more gays’ is just bigotry, and when I hear it from people on the left I am just stunned. You’re talking about a whole group of people who still have very few people who represent them in public office and still lack the rights of their fellow citizens. So I find that very appalling.

As for his take on the race, Murray declined to predict a winner, but he did predict that it would be close, with a fragmented 43rd District electorate likely not giving any one candidate a majority.

Whoever wins this is going to win with probably 25-percent of the vote. They’re going to have probably three-quarters of the district who didn’t vote for them. So whoever wins this seat is going to have a lot of work to do. It’ll be a period of building bridges, not holding grudges.

On the frequently-whispered criticism that Pedersen lacks the people skills and charisma necessary to make it in the legislature, Murray said:

If Jamie’s going to succeed, he’s going to have to develop his political skills and probably a more open personal style. If he doesn’t, he’s going to get a primary challenger.

But he also took a shot at his own mercurial tendencies, saying Pedersen’s quiet demeanor can be turned into an asset.

Some people will like the fact that Jamie is more measured and less volatile than I am. So the criticisms can also be turned into a positive.

Any specific advice for Pedersen if he wins? In an answer that will be of interest mainly to gay political insiders—but will be very interesting to them—Murray said, without hesitation:

Stop listening to Evan Wolfson and start listening to past and current legislators. Being an advocate is a very different thing than being a legislator.

And finally, Murray said he knows this endorsement will be seen by some as the anointment of an heir to the legacy of Cal Anderson (the state’s first openly gay legislator), who held the 43rd District’s house seat before Murray. However, Murray doesn’t exactly see it that way. Assuming he wins his senate race, which seems all but certain since he’s running unopposed, Murray says he will still be the point-person on gay rights issues in the legislature:

I’m not anointing an heir. I plan to remain the legislative lead on GLBT issues in Olympia for some time to come.

Knock knock…

posted by on September 5 at 9:51 AM

smootch.jpgwho’s there?

McGavick Snows PI

posted by on September 5 at 9:05 AM

This morning’s PI article comparing the respective Iraq war positions of Democratic Sen. Cantwell and her GOP challenger, Mike McGavick, lets McGavick get away with a total whopper. The credulous PI says McGavick “runs against the GOP grain by welcoming vigorous debate [about the war]…” They go on: “That view differs from Bush, who [has] likened disagreement with the policy in Iraq to not supporting the troops.”

The PI bases this analysis on the following quote that McGavick gave them: “Debating where we are and where we are going is always healthy.”

That might be what McGAvick wants liberal PI readers in Seattle to hear (and the reporters at the PI seem happy to let him get away with it), but I was with McGavick on the campaign trail this summer in Moses Lake, WA.—which is about 2-and-a-half-hours east of Seattle in GOP territory—and he said something completely different to the red meat (actually, doritos and chili) audience there.

Here’s a snippet from the article I wrote from Moses Lake

“We have learned things—since being there—that turned out not to be true,” McGavick admits after a lone Democratic community-college student sitting in back brings up the war. “But it’s inappropriate to have those debates until our troops are out of harm’s way. I would not take up the Congress’s time right now debating those things. I can learn about them later.”

The college student’s question was prompted by an article that ran in the Lewiston Tribune just a few days before McGAvick showed up in Moses Lake.

Lewiston Morning Tribune, July 20, 2006, By DEAN A. FERGUSON of the Tribune. McGavick: It’s wrong to debate war. McGavick is a fierce supporter of the “War on Terror.” Just as previous generations fought fascism and communism, this generation must battle terrorists, he said. “The paramount job of the federal government is to keep us safe and secure,” he said. In an earlier stop at the Lewiston Tribune, he said it is wrong to debate the war. Despite a “large” list of mistakes, the war debate needs to happen when the war ends. “We’ve got lots of time and we’ve got lots to learn,” McGavick said.

Here’s a Slog post I had done at the time on McGavick’s Lewiston position.

Ballad of a Lost Ferret

posted by on September 5 at 8:36 AM

ferret.jpg

Last Friday, I Slogged about the above “Lost Ferret” poster I’d been seeing on poles around my neighborhood.

Over the weekend, a number of pro-ferret readers expressed disgust and outrage at my cruelty and failure to have been aborted before my birth. (Scroll down to the comments here!)

To my ferret-friendly critics: I wasn’t advocating the beating death of a ferret. I was writing, however mean-spiritedly, about the importance of context in pet ownership. If you have a kitten that gets loose, most people will likely help care for it and return it naturally. But what if we’re talking about a pet rat? Most people will call an exterminator, and can you blame them? To me, a ferret is somewhere between a kitten and a rat, and thus it’s a toss-up how likely it is that a stranger will have the natural empathy to help a stray ferret find its way home.

Also, to whoever called my original post “useless”: Fifty bucks says the Slog post got word of the lost ferret out to more people than all the fliers combined. Good luck to Pam and to Cookie.

Morning News

posted by on September 5 at 8:11 AM

The conservative guy wins: The Mexican Supreme court hands down its verdict for the contested July 2nd election.

Drop it like it’s hot: Republican leaders abandon work on their fearsome immigraton overhaul to focus on stronger pre-election issues.

Pro-Iraq War candidate for the Arizona House decides to back his stance by deploying to Iraq in the Army Reserve.

Complaints about sexual harrassment in the workplace are on the decline — peaking at 15,889 in 1997 and now at 12,679. Experts point to the rise in workplace training and the increasing average award in sexual harrassment cases.

Internet multi=player game World of Warcraft heralded as the “most popular game since Pac-Man!” as orc obsession seizes over 7 million people internationally and rakes in $1 billion.

“Activist judges who legislate from the bench!!!” — that describes, uh, the WA state Supreme Court?

An Anti-Wal Mart group drew a crowd of 400 in Seattle last night, including Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray.

Yikes.

posted by on September 5 at 5:03 AM

Starbucks quotes a senior fellow at the pro-intelligent design Discovery Institute on its coffee cups.


Monday, September 4, 2006

14th & Howell

posted by on September 4 at 6:25 PM

MonitThisOne.jpg

The guilt trip/consciousness raising must be working. Today there are six computer monitors at 14th & Howell, same as yesterday. The scene of this environmental disaster—second only to the Exon/Valdez—is now, however, more artfully arranged. A little pyramid of monitors facing the late summer sun. Very Abu Simbel.

Still, and for the record: Oh, the humanity, can’t something be done, think of the children, how do people sleep at night, etc.

I’m in Berlin

posted by on September 4 at 4:36 PM

Where the street food is fantastic, the early-fall light is idyllic in the late afternoon, the ambulance sirens sound straight out of a 1950s film, and the transit system is phenomenal but, like every other indoor space in the city, strangely overheated. (If anyone can explain to me why everybody wears multiple jackets here, even in 75-degree weather—frequently supplemented by boots, scarves, and fleece hats— e-mail me, please). It’s lovely and urban and gritty here, especially in neighborhoods like Kreuzberg , where I’m writing from an Internet cafe called Cafe Mir. (The waitress has been particularly encouraging of my pitiful gestures at German, but I can tell she’s only humoring me).

For the first few nights, we stayed at the UfaFabrik—a slightly threadbare “intentional community”-turned-“international center for culture and ecology” that offers an impressive cultural and educational program, including a circus, outdoor theater, school, adult-education classes, and cafe. (They also have acres of green roofs and extensive clean-energy and recycling programs.) Like many institutions founded the 1970s, the UfaFabrik has seen better days (many members of its “core group,” which got together in 1972 and occupied the patch of land in the Tempelhof-Schoneberg district of Berlin in 1978, still live there) but it’s charming in its rundown way. And I like the idea that living “ecologically” doesn’t always necessitate going “back to the land”—the neighborhood it’s in is resolutely urban, dense and graffiti-covered as the grittiest part of Berlin.

It’s not just the transit that makes cities like Berlin work, although it does make our puny little 14-mile light rail line look pretty pathetic by comparison. (There are also bike lanes everywhere, and you really will get run over if you walk on them, as I learned from several near-misses today). It’s also the incredible heterogeny of cultures in every neighborhood, the wide sidewalks and tall buildings, and the vast array of public and private outdoor space. Just about every building facade conceals a large interior courtyard, and many of these courtyards contain cafes, art spaces, clubs, and other cool stuff. Most of the bars and cafes here include large outdoor areas, often on the sidewalk, despite the fact that Berlin, like Seattle, gets a lot of rain. (It’s also significantly colder in the winter.) So what’s our problem?

One possible reason for the difference, although it hardly explains it on its own, is the fact that Berliners have a relaxed (one local called it “nihilistic”) attitude toward alcohol consumption and nightlife—much unlike Seattle. No one here appears to worry that allowing sidewalk cafes will encourage illegal drinking (one reason it’s hard for bars in Seattle to get a permit to use the sidewalk, or, conversely, for sidewalk cafes to get a liquor license); in fact, everywhere you look are people schlepping down the street drinking beer. The doner kebap stands even sell small (375-mL) bottles of vodka and Jagermeister along with the ubiquitous Turkish sandwiches.

But there’s something else going on, too: People here seem to have a different attitude toward urban life than we do in shy Seattle. Outdoor seating is oriented toward the street, the better to enable people-watching and interaction. Awnings are omnipresent, making it possible to sit on the sidewalk without worrying about the weather. And even in the seedier neighborhoods, people are out at all hours, putting “eyes on the street” and making things feel relatively safe even when the walls are covered with anti-capitalist graffiti and even with a 17 percent unemployment rate. (As far as I can tell, there’s no state-mandated closing time.)

And the food? you ask. It’s excellent, thanks. Since arriving, I’ve consumed my weight in sausage, beer and Turkish meals; according to my guidebook, Berlin has the largest Turkish population outside Istanbul.

I’ll probably post more later, but for now, I’ll leave you with this photo I took of a machine selling small toys for 20 cents. Steve Jobs, consider yourself warned: Someone in Berlin has it in for you.

… And Then There’s the US Contribution to Southern Afghanistan

posted by on September 4 at 4:32 PM

This year’s opium harvest is the biggest ever recorded in Afghanistan. When is a country officially a narco-state?

The Canadians Fight for Southern Afghanistan

posted by on September 4 at 3:14 PM

NATO (mostly Canadian) and Afghan forces estimated killing 200 Taliban outside Kandahar Sunday. Four Canadian soldiers were killed and several wounded. If the estimate is correct, this would be the biggest single defeat of Taliban fighters in months, reports the New York Times.

Hundreds of Taliban fighters have been massing in the Panjwai and Zhare districts, just west of Kandahar, the main city in southern Afghanistan. For months, the rebels have been mounting attacks on and near the main highway, stirring fear of an imminent assault in Kandahar.

“The Taliban presence in Panjwai is undoubtedly having a large psychological effect on Kandahar and has to be dealt with,” a senior NATO officer said last week.

Kabul is the Afghan capital now, but Kandahar is the historic capital of the country and was the seat of the Taliban government, not Kabul.

At least the Canadians are focused on the area from which the Sept. 11 terrorists actually came.

Things I Saw at Bumbershoot Yesterday

posted by on September 4 at 1:07 PM

In about eight hours, I managed to squeeze in the following delights:

•Twenty minutes of Jeremy Enigk.
•Twenty minutes of Mike Daisey.
•Twenty minutes of Mates of State.

The rest of the time was spent in line, squeezing through the fellow crowd members, and browsing the trinkets. It would’ve been nice to see more. I also ate a hot dog and a third of a funnel cake (those things SUCK).

I could be wrong, but it seems like the elimination of Friday made the audience denser and more desperate to cram it all in. I’m not complaining; Bumbershoot is a cool event, with lots of good features that attract a more diverse audience than would normally attend any of these events if they were held independently (there were probably more African Americans, for example, at the two indie rock show fragments I saw than at all the I.R. shows I’ve seen this year combined). Not that diversity alone is its own reward, but there’s something to be said for art that can withstand being performed in front of people who aren’t already in its cheering section. There’s a strong sense of being out among people who only leave their houses once a year. I think it’s great that Bumbershoot gets them out of their Kirklands and into the world. And I think it’s great that standard-issue city folk are forced to be shoulder-to-shoulder with them. It can make for an uncomfortable mash-up of Seattles: old and new, suburban and urban, pre-fashionable and effortlessly chic. And every possible thing in-between (faux-hawks included). Though my heart was screaming to leave, my brain felt like this had to be a positive jam—to be taken out of your zone of comfort and forced to be cheek-by-tie-dyed-fanny-pack with the same people you scream at on the freeway (or who scream at you on the street even as they try to run your bikes over): surely, that is city life. At least in this city.

Killer Pose

posted by on September 4 at 8:20 AM

Willi Ninja in Paris is Burning

Willi Ninja, Mother of the House of Ninja and one of the stars of Jennie Livingston’s brilliant 1990 documentary about Harlem ballroom culture, Paris is Burning, died Saturday at the age of 45, ending his bout with a long-term illness.

If you don’t remember Ninja, perhaps you’ll remember the dance style of which he was a master and that was consequently made into a worldwide obsession after Madonna discovered it one night at a New York club. It became the basis for one of her most iconic songs—”vogue.” A few years ago, several breakdancers active in the 1980’s and ‘90’s confessed to me that, despite the fact that Willia Ninja was homosexual (a taboo in old school b-boy culture), he commanded their absolute and final respect because of the way he had mastered his mind and his body and integrated them both subjectively and objectively.

In Malcolm McLaren’s 1989 song “Deep in Vogue,” there’s a soundbyte from an interview with Ninja in which he states:

The House of Xtravaganza, the House of Ebony, the House of Dupree: Who the hell are they? You know, they’re somebody when they’re in that little ballroom

Of course, that wasn’t strictly true for him. He and two other voguers from that scene “made it” in the relative big time. He became an active choreographer, walked a few runway shows in Paris, was photographed and interviewed, and gave vogue performances throughout Europe and in Asia. While not a superstar, he was an ambassador of a creative spire of queer culture in the proper sense—one that continues to flourish in ballrooms from L.A. to Chicago to Atlanta to New York. His performances were the perfection of physical expression—an heroic marriage of athleticism and aesthetics. He will be missed.

If you want to see him and a load of other dancers practicing what really constituted vogue back in his day, I’ve uploaded an excellent video to YouTube. You’ll be surprised; it’s so much more than striking a pose. Fittingly, Willi Ninja is the first figure on the screen:

Killer Stingray

posted by on September 4 at 5:47 AM

Mistah Crocodile Hunter—he dead.


Sunday, September 3, 2006

50% More Computer Monitors at 14th & Howell

posted by on September 3 at 7:42 PM

On Friday there were four computer monitors in the traffic circle at 14th & Howell on Capitol Hill. Tonight I rode by and there were six

MonitorMound.jpg

Someone is also taping notes to the monitors in the traffic circle asking the people who, um, have already left their computor monitors in the traffic circle at 14th & Howell not to leave their computer monitors in the traffic circle at 14th & Howell.

“Please don’t just leave them here,” the note reads, addressing a reader who has already left them there.

Rumours/Murmurs

posted by on September 3 at 2:06 PM

Running through Interlaken Park this morning, Fleetwood Mac’s “I Don’t Want to Know” from Rumours came on. This reminded me of Janet Bloomberg’s Bas Mitzvah, but it also reminded me that R.E.M. should cover Rumours from start to finish for their last album.

R.E.M. Rumours.

Karl Rove’s Stepfather was Gay

posted by on September 3 at 9:03 AM

According to this new book. Why am I not surprised?

In Chapter 9, “A Few Simple Questions: What’s in Karl’s Closet?,” the authors draw on interviews with gay acquaintances of Rove’s stepfather, Louis Rove, as well as an interview with a circumspect Karl Rove, to reveal that Louis was openly gay after getting divorced from Rove’s mother. The chapter jabs hard at Rove, pointing out that Louis Rove, who was clearly Rove’s primary father figure, died in Palm Springs just as “his son was in the midst of launching the antigay issues campaign that was to lead to the re-election of George W. Bush.”

Via Americablog.