Conflict of Interest On the Radio
posted by February 10 at 3:54 PMon
posted by February 10 at 3:54 PMon
posted by February 10 at 3:46 PMon
Tonight the Tacoma Art Museum opens its Northwest biennial. The show is a mixed bag with definite highlights and lowlights. (What else is new about a biennial?) Alex Schweder recreates—in a heap this time—his spit-and-packing-peanuts casting of his bathroom in Rome for the entry of the museum. SuttonBeresCuller put a boat in the middle of the museum, for what appears to be no reason other than to uphold their title as the Northwest masters of the big Koonsish gesture (yes, I realize there is a “stone wave” under the boat: so? somebody help me here?).
But one of my favorite pieces in the show (vying for that title with Jeffry Mitchell’s Turtle Wedding and Daniel Attoe’s Twin Peaks-inspired paintings-within-a-painting) is Victoria Haven’s wall drawing made for the show, from her new Rabbit Hole series. The mysteriously oriented shape is made with colored tape offset by the barest hint of paint, raising the possibility of shadows. This is an object existing in some realm ungoverned by three-point perspective.
An installation view of Rabbit Hole #4 (2007) by Victoria Haven
posted by February 10 at 3:22 PMon
Today at the Henry Art Gallery, another notable traveling show opens, Elusive Signs: Bruce Nauman Works With Light.
For Nauman’s influence alone, he is a figure whose work is always worth seeing. This exhibition, organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum, is not comprehensive in tracking his body-based, task-oriented, studio-centric, playful career thus far: instead it focuses entirely on neon. This decision makes it a more pointed, political, and aggressive show than a full retrospective would be, especially tucked away as it is like a beautiful, dangerous captive in the subterranean galleries of the Henry.
I’ll write more about the show later, but in the meantime, I’m going to be posting occasional images. Part of the reason is that they won’t get out otherwise, and they’re striking. The Henry can’t use them for advertising because they’re licensed through Artists Rights Society, which charges exorbitantly. But editorial use is unlimited, so we’ll start here.
My Name As Though It Were Written on the Surface of the Moon (1968)
At the Henry, this hangs on a white wall, and the effect is much more innocent (the letters look much more white), which seems apt, since it was one of Nauman’s first-ever video works. (The Henry is also showing an early video of Nauman manipulating a neon tube, which wasn’t ready at the press preview, but which should stop the gap felt in this show of Nauman’s actual presence, which is so often a part of his work.)
He started working with neon partly because it was cheap and he was poor, and he became attracted by the neon beer signs in the windows across from his San Francisco storefront studio. This piece, according to Liz Brown, Henry curator, has not been seen in a window (instead of on a wall) since it was in Nauman’s studio storefront, glowing out toward the beer signs.
The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths (Window or Wall Sign) (1967)
posted by February 10 at 1:13 PMon
Question 1: Does this mean the state will also scrap the (“Oh, gee, how’d that materialize?”) starry-eyed elevated review that was in the works? ( Rumors have been circulating that WSDOT was going to announce a cheaper elevated option when it released its tunnel hack job.)
Question 2: Is this just a stunt by pro-rebuild/anti-tunnel WSDOT to send a message that: Nickels’s plan is half-baked … without actually crunching the numbers?
Man, as delicious as it is to watch Team Nickels get completely faced—hearty comeuppance for the last 20 months which began with that see-through dose of anti-monorail opportunism followed up by months of hapless tunnel hypocrisy, I must say, WSDOT and the state are even more frustrating.
Latest example: Today’s PI reports: “[Gov. Gregoire’s spokeswoman Holly] Armstrong says Gregoire’s concern has always been about safety and getting something done. ‘She never had a preference,’ Armstrong said, adding that it was clear the city was biased in favor of the tunnel.”
Never had a preference? Listen to this audio of Gov. Gregoire’s December 15 press conference, where she says: “This would be an easy decision for me, candidly, if cost was not a factor. I would find that the tunnel was the preferable option because I think it embraces the values of the city and its future.”
At the time, she was dealing with the $4.6 to $5.5 billion tunnel option (“cost is a factor”). But Team Nickels has claimed to have cut $1.2 billion off that price tag. If Gregoire, candidly, preferred the tunnel, why not go ahead with the review of the cheaper tunnel plan?
Sigh. Cosmic comeuppance, I guess. Just as Mayor Nickels ditched a project he said he once supported (the monorail) by not giving a fair hearing to the cheaper plan in 2005 (because it wasn’t politically expedient), Gregoire seems ready to let political expediency bury her preferred option, the tunnel.
Wimpy Mayor. Wimpy Governor.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually agree with Team Nickels’s spokesperson Marianne Bichsel today. From this morning’s Seattle Times:
Marianne Bichsel, a spokeswoman for Nickels, said Friday that without oversight from the panel, any upcoming reports by the DOT lack credibility. She said the DOT is caving to political pressure by anti-tunnel House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, and others.
“Clearly, they’re scrambling. I hope they will acknowledge this process has fallen apart,” she said.
posted by February 10 at 1:04 PMon
For the role of Anna?
The strangest scenes in the movie will involve Zsa Zsa and a prince.
posted by February 10 at 11:45 AMon
posted by February 10 at 11:00 AMon
(ART To celebrate the 100th anniversary of nothing, the artists who run Crawl Space asked two museum curators (Liz Brown and Bruce Grenville) to create a group show from a nationwide call for artist submissions. The result is five mini solo shows: tracings on the wall of the wall’s serious imperfections by Janet Lee of Redmond; Portlander Storm Tharp’s inky portraits in the style of mid-century celebrity photographer John Deakins; German-born Christoph Gielen’s haunting photographs of buildings as social beings; Mike Calway-Fagen’s documentations of unexplained performances; and a suite of sweet drawings of a daddy longlegs losing one leg at a time, by Justin Gibbens of Seattle. (Crawl Space, 504 E Denny Way, 322-5752. Noon—5 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES
(DRAG-QUEEN FASHION SHOW) Remember that documentary Paris Is Burning? The one Madonna ripped off “voguing” from—that unforgettable glimpse inside the seedy, glamorous, and impossibly FIERCE drag scene in underground New York? Of course you do. Xtravaganza is a one-night-only homage to that film, that spirit, and those infamous “balls.” DJs Post-Op, Jay Jack, and Ursula “Labeija” Android will spin the tunes, and there’ll be a very special performance by Jackie Hell La Face. Haute trannies, fashionistas, and all the legendary children—start planning your outfits NOW. There’ll be a sure-to-be-shady fashion runway walk-off and the door cover varies from $1—$7 depending on the ferocity of your attitude and your ensemble. Think gold lamé, girl. Bring the REAL. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 9 pm, $1—$7, 21+.) KELLY O
posted by February 9 at 6:15 PMon
Here is the blurb he sent me:
Ian Butcher of Roy McMackin’s Domestic Architecture, who helped design Western Bridge in Seattle, is curating a small group show based on traditional architectural models. Each of the nine artist/teams was given the same plan views of a modest factory home (from the ’30s?) called “The Franklin.” Other than that, it’s a free for all.
His piece he described simply as “a house within a house.”
Opening is from 7-10 at No Space Gallery, 507 E. Mercer St. (corner of Summit and Mercer).
Michael will be the guy who looks like a white, retro Ben Kingsley. Here’s a shot of him with his barometer collection.
More of his multidisciplinary work can be seen here.
posted by February 9 at 5:38 PMon
Has everybody already heard this band, the Vicious, from Umeå, Sweden? (I assume not, but I have to ask because I’m an ignorant, ignorant square.) During my few weeks of running around the rock clubs of Europe (which made me more thankful than I realized for the Seattle smoking ban), everyone was going nuts for these Vicious guys. (You can listen to some of their songs here.)
They’re born of a Swedish Umeå scene seeded with money from the International Noise Conspiracy and they’re a guilty goddamned pleasure—all the clichés of punk rock rolled into a beautiful, candy-coated package. The band members are all sweet-smelling and well-pressed and polite. Sweet home Umeå (just a few klicks south of the Arctic Circle) has something like the lowest crime rate in the world, but they sing about “the pigs kicking in doors and breaking bottles.”
I’m not a fan of authenticity for its own sake—the quest for The Real is one of the most stupidly quixotic wastes of time in art, especially in punk and hiphop—but it does seem a waste to have such a great band write about such vapid lyrics about irrelevant subject matter.
They should write songs about Sweden, where everyone is attractive, speaks five languages, and has great style. Or about nationalized health care.
They could name their next single “Democratic Socialism Built a Little Ghetto in My Soul.”
posted by February 9 at 5:03 PMon
Watch it here.
I like the first half of the commercial—sarcastic messages (“Pedestrian-friendly retail!”) superimposed above images of a larger new viaduct, traffic, and stores dwarfed by the viaduct. But the last part, which features a glittering new “open” waterfront accompanied by the sounds of docks creaking and gulls crying, is a little misleading.
Not Another Elevated Viaduct, the redundantly named anti-viaduct group, started out as Citizens for a Better Waterfront—a Nickels-backed pro-tunnel group. The commercial all but encourages a “no/yes” vote: “Vote NO for another viaduct; Vote YES for your waterfront.” (Nitpick: wouldn’t that mean if you vote no you get another viaduct?) The Stranger Election Control Board encourages you to vote no on both measures. Here are a few reasons why.
posted by February 9 at 4:57 PMon
I haven’t started drinking early this Friday, but is it just me or are the Slog’s blues bluer and blacks blacker? It just looks, I don’t know, more vibrant and shimmery to me right now.
posted by February 9 at 4:33 PMon
It’s the League of Women Voters’ annual guide to all your representatives—from city hall to the U.S Senate—with contact info for all of them.
Just send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This has been (and still is) my favorite publication for eight years.
posted by February 9 at 4:16 PMon
I was just grousing to myself there isn’t a lot of interesting action on next week’s state House legislative calendar (unless you count regulating cell phones and text messaging while driving; regulating body piercing; and regulating card games). And then wham, I get an announcement from the Seattle Displacement Coalition that their bill to cap condo conversion, mandate tenant compensation, and regulate timing of construction is getting a hearing on Monday.
Sour grapes: This is an issue where I do wish Stranger-endorsed Stephanie Pure (until recently a lifelong renter who was booted from her apartment last year when it got converted to a condo) was in the state house instead of K&L Gates attorney Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill, U-District, Wallingford), who owns a fancy house on Capitol Hill.
Pedersen e-mailed supporters of the bill the following statement: “As a resident of Capitol Hill, I have heard about these problems from friends and constituents and am very interested in providing reasonable protections for tenants who find themselves in this position. I do not, however, support allowing local jurisdictions to impose moratoria on condo conversions. I suspect that local politics might cause that power to be exercised with unpredictable — and perhaps unpleasant — consequences on the housing market.”
I’m sure Rep. Pedersen has heard about this tenant issue from friends and constituents. Indeed, there were 2300 condo conversions in Seattle in 2006, a 450% increase over 2004. Three thousand nine hundred affordable rentals were lost in that time. And the average price of the new condos is $250,000.
Meanwhile, there actually is some interesting business in the House next week: Hearings on the death penalty; hearings on eminent domain; and hearings on expanding health care.
I haven’t looked at the Senate calendar yet, but I just heard that it’s NARAL lobbying day in Oly on Monday, which means all those socialist, abortion-loving, witchcraft nyphomaniac, lesbian man-haters will be knocking on legislators’ doors to back the sex ed bill, which is going to pass the house (as usual) and is also getting a hearing in the Senate for once (next week on Valentines Day). And it looks like it’ll pass there too.
Former GOP state Rep. and now Democratic state Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond), who’s moving the bill in the Senate, will address the NARAL crowd.
posted by February 9 at 4:12 PMon
Congressman Jim McDermott was here at the Stranger earlier today to answer questions from Slog readers live. Here are the questions and his answers for those of you who missed them previously:
Q: Rep. McDermott:
What will this Congress do to make concrete progress on slowing the United States’ staggering contribution to global warming? I think it’s clear that more study and research and committees are not the answer: we need to take decisive action on as many fronts as possible (conservation, new energy sources, etc.), and Bush’s recent suggestions would be laughable if they weren’t so depressing in their inadequacy. What can we expect and when can we expect it?
Thank you for giving us this opportunity.
Posted by Levislade | February 9, 2007 10:07 AM
A: The process has already started. One of the six issues that Speaker Pelosi brought to the floor in the first 100 hours was HR 6, energy legislation. I was selected as floor manager to get the bill passed. Then Speaker Pelosi set up a select committee to coordinate all the efforts of the various committees. The committee refers ideas and proposed legislation to the standing committees for action. We’ve taken the important first step of recognizing the energy crisis we face as a nation and the need to address global warming now. The cavalry is coming.
Posted by Rep. Jim McDermott | February 9, 2007 11:08 AM
posted by February 9 at 3:56 PMon
David Goldstein reports a rumor we’ve been hearing for a few days around here: the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has plans to unveil a new, 11th-hour four-lane “rebuild-lite” that trims $400 million of the cost of a new elevated rebuild. Plans for the alleged rebuild include shoulders that would be opened to traffic during rush hours, supposedly enabling the road to accommodate as many cars as today’s viaduct. (The safety implications of eliminating both shoulders at rush hour on a limited-access roadway are mind-boggling.)
State transportation secretary Doug MacDonald says a plan for a smaller viaduct would give voters a more accurate perspective on the mayor’s recently unveiled, four-lane “tunnel lite,” which Nickels’s office says would cost $1.2 billion less than the original six-lane tunnel. Yesterday, MacDonald told me “there are people [at WSDOT] asking if you’re adjusting the assumptions for the tunnel, what would happen if you made complementary assumptions and adjustments for the elevated? That’s what we’re trying to figure out.” The ballot March 13 pits Nickels’s tunnel lite against the original six-lane, 71-percent larger elevated viaduct (71 percent is the average difference in bulk between the existing and planned new viaduct); however, because the vote is nonbinding, there’s nothing to stop WSDOT from promoting its new six-lane viaduct by talking up the cheaper four-lane alternative.
Tunnel supporters and viaduct opponents have long been convinced that WSDOT will do anything it can to promote the elevated—from excluding the mayor’s office from meetings of the expert review panel studying the new tunnel to attempting political sabotage by unveiling a smaller, cheaper rebuild. MacDonald claims that’s preposterous. “That is the spin coming from the city—that the process has been tainted by a state embrace of the elevated. I don’t think, frankly, that that’s correct.” However, in a voice mail MacDonald left with an aide for state house speaker Frank Chopp (who supports his own version of the elevated), MacDonald encouraged Chopp to “drive home his point” in a meeting with the city to “bring this thing closer to a conclusion. I’m just afraid we’re going to slip off sideways into endless more rounds of process, process, process.”
posted by February 9 at 3:50 PMon
Witchy Poo: The Passions of Jake Shears.
The Murph-mobile: It’s Like a Fat Guy in a T-Shirt Doing All The Singing.
Tonight: In Music With Video!
White Wedding: Cracked-Out Christians Need to Take it Eazy.
Macrame Owls: Crafty, Crafty Cave Singers.
Bad Taste: I Glibly Suggest Deerhunter Eat, They Suggest I Eat a Dick. Advantage: Deerhunter.
Hell’s Bitchin’: Demon-Skull-and-Crusader-Cross a Nice Touch.
posted by February 9 at 3:08 PMon
And not even Stevie Wonder could have, this was the top headline from today’s Seattle Times:
First off, is this even news? If this follow-up nonstory belongs anywhere, it’s buried somewhere in the B-section.
And second, to play off Tina: What’s drugs got to do with it? Some of the guys who worked at the dealership might have snorted some painkillers. That’s possible. But the drugs didn’t make anyone bilk a mentally disabled guy out of his life savings. Millions of drug users—the overwhelming majority—don’t con mentally disabled people out of dough or run rackets. The problems occurred because someone at this dealership was a swindling, greedy asshole. So why are drugs the first thing blamed in the 400-point headline? Maybe the story of a con-artist car salesman is too cliché for the Times, or maybe without drugs as a whipping post, it just isn’t news…
posted by February 9 at 2:46 PMon
Academy Award-nominated, three-time Sundance winner Iraq in Fragments, directed by Stranger Genius James Longley, is back at the Varsity for one week only. There is no excuse for missing this vital film. (Josh Feit, I’m looking at you.)
Showtimes are as follows: Fri-Sun 2:10, 4:40, 7:20, 9:45; Mon-Thurs 7:20, 9:45. James Longley will be in attendance for a Q&A at tonight’s shows; producer John Sinno will be in attendance Saturday and Sunday evenings. Go. You won’t regret it.
In the film section this week: On Screen, with reviews of Factory Girl (Warhol’s mom kept Campbell’s soup in a kitchen cupboard?! No way! FRAUD!!), The Guatemalan Handshake (all the Park-City certified quirk you can handle), Flock of Dodos (a clumsy but entertaining doc about the intelligent design/evolution “debate”), Absolute Wilson (a doc about Robert Wilson: ugly duckling transforms into world-famous avant-garde theater genius!), and Breaking and Entering (laden with dumb symbolism, forgettable plot).
I feel a little bad about having come down so hard on The Guatemalan Handshake. Some people will really, really like it (if you adore Napoleon Dynamite and Wes Anderson, give it a chance); it isn’t badly made; and it’s being self-distributed, so it needs all the eyes and mouths it can get to find its audience. I can say this: the Seattle run is accompanied by a truly impressive number of special events.
The Guatemalan Handshake
Northwest Film Forum, Fri-Thurs 7, ( pm
Director Todd Rohal and producer Megan Griffiths in attendance at every screening, all week long.
Composer David Wingo performs live after Fri and Sun 9 pm shows.
Kimya Dawson performs live after Sat 9 pm show.
David Gordon Green’s (George Washington, All the Real Girls) new short Will You Lather Up My Rough House? shows in front of Monday shows.
Aluminum Fowl, directed by James Clauer and produced by Harmony Korine and Agnes B., shows in front of Tuesday shows.
A TBA short film screens in front of Wednesday shows.
And the short that started it all, Todd Rohal’s Knuckleface Jones, screens in front of Thursday shows.
Looking ahead to next week: Seattle Art Museum is sponsoring a special series at the Museum of History and Industry: Thelma Schoonmaker, editor for Martin Scorsese, will speak about two of her late husband Michael Powell’s rarest films (not currently available on DVD or VHS). Gone to Earth screens Tuesday at 7:30 pm, and Age of Consent screens Wed at 7:30 pm. Tickets are a steal at $10 for nonmembers: Call SAM’s box office at 654-3121.
Other limited runs include Satyajit Ray’s Two Daughters at SAAM, Vertigo and On Dangerous Ground at NWFF, Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain at the Grand Illusion, a new work-in-progress screening of Linas Phillips’s new film Great Speeches from a Dying World at NWFF, an advance screening (with director Q&A!) of The Lives of Others, and much, much more.
See Get Out for complete listing of film shorts and Movie Times.
posted by February 9 at 2:40 PMon
Sure, November 2008 is nearly two years away, but it’s
apparently never too early to declare one’s intention to run for president, and thus it’s never too early to get to know the people who might be the next leader of the free world. This month we’ll be taking a brief look at them.
“Peace through Strength” is the campaign slogan for this little-known Republican presidential candidate from San Diego. Duncan Hunter has positioned himself as the most conservative Republican candidate in the 2008 election. He is fighting an uphill battle—the last member of the House to win the presidency was James Garfield.
Born and raised in southern California, Hunter attended college briefly before enlisting in the U.S. Army to serve in Vietnam from ‘69-‘71. He then graduated with a J.D. from Western State University in San Diego, California in 1976, and worked for a time as a lawyer in private practice. Hunter ran for congress in 1980 in the 42nd District of California, which includes San Diego. He narrowly beat out the incumbent Democrat and has been easily re-elected in ever since.
In 2003, he became the chair of the House Armed Services Committee which is responsible for the funding and oversight of the Department of Defense and the U.S. Armed Services. He lost this committee chairmanship when the Democrats took power in November. Along with his fellow Congressman Randy Cunningham, Hunter received campaign contributions from Brent Wilkes, the founder of defense contractor ADCS. Though Cunningham was indicted and is currently serving a 6 year sentence for bribery and tax fraud, Hunter has never been charged with any wrongdoing.
Because of his position as chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Hunter has been instrumental in garnering more money for the U.S. military and the war in Iraq. Here he is defending the conditions for prisoners in Guantanamo:
Hunter has also earned a reputation for being tough on national security because of his strong support of the U.S. border fence. He pushed to get 14 miles of double fence built south of San Diego and wrote the bill that President Bush just signed which calls for building a 700-mile fence along the US-Mexico border. He also supports sending more troops to Iraq and calls the United Nations “an organization of limited value.”
Hunter authored the “personhood-at-conception” bill, supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, believes prayer should be permitted in public schools, and calls Ronald Reagan his “soul mate.”
Congressman Hunter and his wife, Lynne, live in Alpine, California. They have two sons, Duncan Duane (who has served two tours of duty in Iraq) and Sam, and four grandchildren.
Posted by Eli’s Intern: Sage Van Wing
Previously: John Edwards, John McCain, Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama, Sam Brownback, Christopher J. Dodd,
Newt Gingrich, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Huckabee, Tom Vilsack, and Joe Biden.
posted by February 9 at 2:13 PMon
Video (including excrement being alchemized into gold) is NSFW.
The Stranger didn’t shower much attention this week on Alejandro Jodorowsky’s crowning achievement, The Holy Mountain, which is playing at Grand Illusion Feb. 9-15. So I will try in my amateurish manner to convey why it is important that you don’t miss this rare screening of his 1973 cult classic. I am no film critic, but I am a connoisseur of psychedelic experiences, and few in any discipline can surpass The Holy Mountain when it comes to extreme sensual dazzle.
You can read a synopsis of The Holy Mountain here, but a dry recitation of the plot cannot do justice to the stylistic flamboyance and intellectual promiscuity that Jodorowsky flaunts throughout the movie’s 114 minutes. In its exploration of occult practices and dissection of religious, ideological, and philosophical hypocrisies, the film is supremely ambitious. Jodorowsky strives to scrutinize several belief systems in order to find the meaning of existence and the secret to immortality. In the process, he renders some scenes as unbearably sublime while others come off as ludicrously farcical. No matter their tone, though, every shot is a masterly display of composition and rich, lysergic detail. The tonal shifts can be shocking and disruptive, but they all work in service to Jodorowsky’s sui-generis examination of humanity’s follies and noble searches for eternal verities. His vision is expansive and requires a vast repertoire of mises-en-scène to manifest it.
I have never seen a film that better combines hallucinogenic imagery with incredibly deep, mystical music (soundtrack by Don Cherry!), while also addressing so many profound religious and philosophical issues as does The Holy Mountain.
It is Jodorowsky’s masterpiece, and the wildest mind-fuck you’ll ever have in a cinema. I say this after viewing it five times—once even while not tripping. You will never forget this unique film, and you’ll probably want to see it at least twice in order to absorb everything that’s happening in it.
Here’s All Movie Guide’s take: “The Holy Mountain is beautifully shot and designed, and it suggests what might have resulted if Luis Buñuel, Michelangelo Antonioni, and George Romero had all dropped acid and made a movie together.”
posted by February 9 at 1:36 PMon
From, of all places, the Corner at the National Review:
According to a congressman’s wife who attended a Republican women’s luncheon yesterday, Karl Rove explained the rationale behind the president’s amnesty/open-borders proposal this way: “I don’t want my 17-year-old son to have to pick tomatoes or make beds in Las Vegas.”
posted by February 9 at 12:00 PMon
Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott is here at The Stranger offices and ready to answer your questions. Put them in the comments and he’ll reply in the comments.
UPDATE: Our hour with McDermott is up. Thanks everyone for your questions, and thanks again to the Congressman for being here.
posted by February 9 at 11:45 AMon
posted by February 9 at 11:07 AMon
For the post Death and the Maiden, the man that is a mind called Fnarf provided the definitive statement on the woman that was a body called Anna Nicole Smith.
Mocking the misfortunes of rich, talentless celebrities is the biggest form of entertainment there is. Anna Nicole’s function in life was to be a continuous train wreck. There was no other reason to pay attention to her. There are millions of dumb, pretty girls out there, but only Anna Nicole was able to turn that into a riveting moral and physical collapse. That’s the show. That’s all there is.
It’s the same reason we follow Paris Hilton: no one, not even stupid teenage girls, actually likes her. We like to make fun of her, and wish ill upon her, and laugh when it happens. This is the chief form of celebrity now. Britney Spears, pop star? Popular. Britney Spears, shithead-marrying, cooter-baring, falling-down drunk white trash? SUPERSTAR.
There are many, many more examples. In fact, there aren’t very many counterexamples. Who cares about so-called “celebrities” who are well-adjusted, sane, intelligent, and polite? Nobody. We demand our celebrities be talentless substance abusers, laughably incompetent at relationships and child-rearing, foul-mouthed, retarded, mean and violent. Nobody wants to watch Courtney Love “sing” or “act”; we want to watch her fall off her shoes and scream curses at the photographer, and we want to see her weep as a judge takes her child away from her.
Anna Nicole was just better at it than most celebrities. She is, after all, famous for nothing; she’s never seriously acted, sang, or even modeled; her “modeling” was really “stripping”. But that’s OK, because talent and artistic performance just get in the way of what we really want, which is a bloated, pilled-up Anna fighting with her interior decorator over pillows while accidentally banging her kid’s head against the bannister. With tears.
I certainly have no use for the guy she fought the long probate battle with; he never did anything to earn the money, while she fucked the last few drops out of the old man for it. Hard duty.
posted by February 9 at 10:25 AMon
Philly: Bans blunt wraps.
Military Recruiters: Helping hippies pass drug tests.
Tennessee Commissioner: I was a teenage dealer.
Painkillers: Killing more than pain in Washington.
Scientists: Marijuana-like substance could park Parkinson’s
Hemp Farm Plans: Burned.
Pole Position: Nude skier allegedly spotted playing with his pipe.
posted by February 9 at 9:51 AMon
Start sharpening your questions for the Congressman, and go ahead and put them in the comments now if you’d like.
McDermott will be here for his live Q&A with Slog readers starting at 11 a.m.
posted by February 9 at 9:44 AMon
This is a good idea.
Today and Saturday, the public can tell the state what should happen to… the seminary building [at St. Edward State Park], which has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission is engaged in a four-step planning and development process to determine the best use of the seminary building that is the heart of the 316-acre park…
The process began after McMenamins, a Portland-based chain of hotels, restaurants and brew pubs, submitted a 2005 letter of intent to lease the seminary building and turn it into a hotel with a restaurant and a conference center.
Yes, yes, yes. McMenamins has a track record of sensitively restoring and adapting historic buildings in Oregon and recently Washington, opening hotels, brewpups, and theaters. The seminary is crumbling and McMenamins has the money and the expertise to save it. Leasing the crumbling seminary to McMenamins is a great fucking idea—so naturally the usual NIMBY asswipes are losing their shit.
But local residents have vehemently opposed the company’s proposal. “If McMenamins or someone else takes over the seminary building, they control the park,” said Ray Benish, co-chairman of Citizens for St. Edward State Park, which wants a consortium of tenants to use the building. “We’re not going to get that to happen, and we’re adamant about it. Even if the park commission signs a contract with McMenamins, we have all kinds of stops and blocks we can use.”
Whoa—what’s with the threats? If the seminary burns to the ground under mysterious circumstances late one night I suggest the police start their investigation with Benish.
Seattlest called it yesterday, and they’re absolutely right.
posted by February 9 at 9:33 AMon
The Seattle Times comes out for closing the gun show loophole on its editorial page today where they ask a central question:
Why are people so worked up about this? A legitimate buyer still gets the gun. The illegitimate buyer does not because he or she has undergone and failed a background check. What is so scary about that?
Bravo. That’s a great question.
It’s a shame they don’t ask it down in Olympia.
Indeed, today’s Seattle Times news article on the gun show loophole bill frames the issue this way: “Backers say [background checks] would help keep criminals from getting firearms, while opponents say it would only further erode gun rights.”
The article dutifully goes on to test the supporters’ claim about criminals with a he said/she said on that point. But the article never issues any follow-up questions about the opponents’ claim regarding gun rights.
To challenge the proponents’ claim about criminals, the article quotes some stats that damage the claim and quotes the president of Washington Arms Collectors, who says: “Show me a gun that comes out of a Washington Arms Collectors gun show that was used in a killing.” (It’s a damn good question, and I’ve been told that SPD chief Gil Kerlikowske, the main advocate of the bill, doesn’t have the stats…the, err, smoking gun, on that.)
However, the article never gets around to questioning the opponents’ central premise, namely that requiring private dealers to do background checks for mental illness and criminal records (something licensed gun shop owners have to do) somehow infringes on gun rights.
That too is a damn good question, but it never comes up.
If the Seattle Times news article is going to frame the debate as: “The loophole allows criminals to get guns!” vs. “Closing the loophole infringes on gun rights!” —the article oughta test both claims as they peddle that objective journalism of their’s—rather than relying on toothless editorials.
Posing the question on the editorial page is okay. However, why not force opponents of the bill to actually answer the question by asking it down in Olympia where it matters. Otherwise the opponents’ claim is left standing as the central, unchallenged premise of the hearing.
p.s. Reporters at the The Seattle Times have often complained to me—when I attacked things like their McGavick endorsement—that I don’t get it: There’s a separation between news and editorial. Okay, but I hope you guys don’t go and defend today’s underreported article on the gun bill hearing by telling me the central question was asked on the editorial page. Cake/Eat it too and all that.
Meanwhile, word from Democratic leadership is that the bill isn’t going to pass.
posted by February 9 at 9:32 AMon
Condi Rice bemoaned the fact that the State Department is having a hard time finding qualified language experts—particularly people that speak Arabic and Farsi. New York Dem Gary Ackerman had a suggestion for Rice: Perhaps the State Department could hire the 322 foreign language experts discharged from the military since 1992 for being gay and lesbian.
Well, it seems that the military has gone around and fired a whole bunch of people who speak foreign languages — Farsi and Arabic, etc… after they trained them in their foreign language schools for 63 weeks, and presumably they all pass all kinds of security things, and many of them told on themselves and were fired. For some reason, the military seems more afraid of gay people than they are against terrorists, because they’re very brave with the terrorists. I mean, If the terrorists ever got a hold of this information, they’d get a platoon of lesbians to chase us out of Baghdad.
The affirmative suggestion that I would make is why can’t the State Department look to pick up all those people that were fired from the military because [the State Department does not] have a policy [against hiring gays and lesbians], and put these three dozen Farsi and Arabic people to work.
posted by February 9 at 9:12 AMon
One of the plans regularly floated for extricating ourselves, at least partly, from the disaster in Iraq is pulling our forces back to Kurdistan. Hey, the Kurds love us! So we pull out of the Sunni and Shiite areas, let the civil war/ethnic cleansing commence/continue without our forces being stuck in the crossfire.
If we want to keep that option open—the pull back to Kurdistan option—maybe it’s not the best idea to go dropping bombs on Kurdish troops. Just sayin’.
posted by February 9 at 9:00 AMon
Okay, this is total horseshit.
Akron Watson, an “American Idol” contestant from Dallas and one of the feel-good stories of the new season, has been disinvited from the Hollywood round of the show, possibly after producers discovered a pot bust on his record.
Watson, whose San Antonio audition aired on last night’s “Idol,” was arrested in April 2003 for misdemeanor possession of marijuana… But Watson tells Pegasus News that two days before he was scheduled to leave for Hollywood, he received a call saying that he would not be competing anymore “for unknown reasons.” “Idol” producers did not comment on their withdrawn invitation.
Sen. Barack Obama can admit to smoking pot and using coke and he can run for president, but this poor motherfucker isn’t fit to run for pop star because he has one misdemeanor pot bust on his record?
Heavens, we can’t have anyone on American Idol that’s touched a controlled substance.
posted by February 9 at 7:52 AMon
I’m back. After five (or was it six?) weeks of sleeping on floors, being crammed into vans, and getting an up close and personal tour of Western Europe’s squats and bars and and rock clubs, I’m finally back.
I missed the robust water pressure of American showers. I missed clean clothes. I missed beds and, the few times I got a bed, missed not having to share a bed. But more than anything, I missed Wikipedia.
The nine of us (two bands and me) were almost never near computers. We were riding in the tour van, sitting in the clubs, or walking down the street. You can have conversations in all of these places, these places without the magic of reference materials and online searching, but it is not advisable. Dozens of questions will go unanswered: Was that Swedish band the Knutters spelled with a ‘K’ or an ‘N’? (Answer: K.) Dozens of easily-avoidable arguments will erupt ‘Holland’ only refers to part of the Netherlands. No, ‘Holland’ refers to the entirety of the Netherlands. No, fuck you. (Answer: both, kind of.)
Now I can wallow in reference material, happy as a pig in slop. Top three on my list of Stuff People Kept Talking About But I Couldn’t Look Up: the conspiracy theories about chemtrails, the cancer-fighting effects of vitamin B-17, and the purpose of bile.
If you need me, I’ll be looking stuff up.
posted by February 9 at 7:30 AMon
In case you missed it: Anna Nicole Smith is dead.
In case there was any doubt: Pentagon report finds that civilian military officials should be rebuked on faulty Iraq intelligence.
In case you like to hope against hope: A small bit of peace declared in the Middle East.
In case you were hoping to see Dick Cheney on the witness stand: It may not happen.
In case you want to know more about that mistrial: An exploration of the Watada case and double jeopardy.
In case you like yesterday’s news: Coming out is not just for college anymore.
posted by February 8 at 5:40 PMon
Earlier today, I posted a letter from CAPP, Communities Against Payday Predators, addressed to Gov. Gregoire.
The 60 plus signers asked the Governor to support a bill calling for a cap on interest on payday loans.
I was surprised that KC Exec Sims had not signed.
Well, that’s all cleared up now.
Dear Governor Gregoire,
Earlier this week, the Communities Against Payday Predators coalition sent you a letter requesting your support of HB 1020, which seeks to address the real problems with predatory payday lenders. A copy of the letter is pasted below in this e-mail. Unfortunately, I was traveling and unable to sign onto the letter. I wanted to let you know that I support the bill and the efforts of the coalition. I hope that we can count on your support this year to reform this industry and stop predatory payday lending.
King County Executive
posted by February 8 at 4:20 PMon
Stuck In The Mud: Lou Reed’s Mistrial.
Love Eats Shit: David Schmader Smears the Academy.
The Truth: Charles Mudede Loves Dub.
The Power: David Schmader Loves Prince.
The Blackness: “The People at the Seattle Show That Were Offended Were in the Minority.”
The Whiteness: All You Don’t Need Is Italics.
“You Can Drop My Lime Anytime”: Ari Spool Coins My Favorite New Euphemism.
Your New Favorite Band?: Don Yates, Unpaid Intern Love the Whore Moans.
Hairy Monsters: Sasquatch Festival Announces Dates.
This is the Redux: M.I.A., Diplo, Switch, and “Bird Flu.”
Drop It: Terry Miller “Drops The Lime,” Oh Yeah!.
8-Track Magic: Charlie is the Coolest 13 Year Old Ever.
How Low Can You Go?: Dave Segal “Drops The Lime” Lower, Longer.
posted by February 8 at 4:06 PMon
posted by February 8 at 4:05 PMon
Washington State’s top federal prosecutor, John McKay, was terminated along with six other federal prosecutors for “performance-related issues,” according to a statement made Tuesday by a Justice Department official. Another statement claimed they were making room for up-and-coming Republicans. McKay was appointed just after 9/11 – when conservatives felt confident they could derive power by strong-arming the American psyche – but he was given his pink slip shortly after the Blue Wave of November 2006. Hmm…
McKay supported the Patriot Act and appeared to march in lockstep with Republicans, but his career hasn’t always reflected the draconian policies his book’s cover suggests. A few pages in, McKay’s résumé reveals service in the Clinton Administration, and he is oft credited with almost single-handedly preserving legal services for indigent persons. During his local tenure, McKay focused on terrorists and murderers, and he was reticent to federally prosecute medical marijuana defendants or other cases brought to set examples of federal dominance over (progressive) states.
Was McKay not tough enough for the conservative right? If that was the “performance-related issue,” then who will replace him? As a last-gasp attempt to maintain a grip on domestic issues, the Bush Administration will probably appoint a crony prosecutor willing to impose federal control through the court of law, since they have clearly lost the jury’s ear in the court of public opinion.
posted by February 8 at 2:48 PMon
Postman has the scoop on freshman state Sen. Eric Oemig’s (D-45, Kirkland) intent to file legislation next week to call on the U.S. Congress to investigate Bush’s conduct of the Iraq war and impeach Bush.
Oemig’s spokespeople tell me that Sen. Adam Kline (D-37, Seattle) said he’ll give the resolution a hearing in the judiciary committee.
Sen. Oemig’s staff is sending me the language from federal rules that allow a state legislature to pass such a directive to the U.S. Congress.
More to come. I’m interviewing Sen. Oemig tomorrow about his righteous? audacious? irrelevant? thrill-seeking? publicity seeking? cool? idea.
Oemig’s spokesperson Jeff Reading just forwarded me the federal rules that empower Sen. Oemig to bust Bush.
Jefferson’s Manual is a sort of interpretive guide to parliamentary procedure, and is included (along with the Constitution) in the bound volumes of the Rules of the House of Representatives. It is ratified by each congress (including the current one), and has been updated continuously through the history of our democracy.
Within the Manual itself, the section covering impeachment is designated Section LIII. Section 603 refers to the section of the entire volume (including the Constitution and Rules) in which you’ll find the listing of acceptable vehicles for bringing impeachment motions to the floor. The second vehicle being of most interest to our method. It reads:
“In the House of Representatives there are various methods of setting an impeachment in motion: by charges made on the floor on the responsibility of a Member or Delegate (II, 1303; III, 2342, 2400, 2469; VI, 525, 526, 528, 535, 536); by charges preferred by a memorial, which is usually referred to a committee for examination (III, 2364, 2491, 2494, 2496, 2499, 2515; VI, 552); or by a resolution dropped in the hopper by a Member and referred to a committee (April 15, 1970, p. 11941-2); by a message from the President (III, 2294, 2319; VI, 498); by charges transmitted from the legislature of a State (III, 2469) or Territory (III, 2487) or from a grand jury (III, 2488); or from facts developed and reported by an investigating committee of the House (III, 2399, 2444).”
posted by February 8 at 2:17 PMon
amounts to this:
By Edvard Munch.
posted by February 8 at 2:07 PMon
Lots of Slog-readers liked our live Q&A with Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott after the president’ State of Union speech.
McDermott liked it, too, and wants to do another.
So tomorrow, starting at 11 a.m., Congressman Jim McDermott will be here at The Stranger offices answering your questions live on Slog.
Need some grist for questioning the Congressman? Here’s McDermott on the HuffingtonPost recently, writing about the prospect of war with Iran. Here’s a Slog post on McDermott’s new plan to end the Iraq War. And here’s what people asked the Congressman the last time he was live on Slog.
Start sharpening your questions. If you want to put a query in the comments now, go ahead, and perhaps we’ll start with your question first tomorrow.
posted by February 8 at 2:06 PMon
You’re probably wondering where we got the pair of bloody hearts on the the cover of this week’s Stranger. I’m sorry to say that two pigs were harmed in the production of these images. Pig hearts are so similar to human hearts that they’ve been transplanted into humans. They usually go into hot dogs, sausages, and Boca Burgers—shhhh… don’t tell the vegetarians—but you can buy them at the Uwajimaya for about a buck a piece. Which is what we did. We got six of them, which means that, um, six pigs were harmed in the production of this week’s cover. Sorry about that.
The models had to handle the bloody hearts—and they were good sports—but the person who suffered the most was our own Ari Spool. For some reason pigs hearts are sold cut into halves… so Ari spent Friday night stitching the hearts back together. And now two of them are on the cover of the paper—because, hey, there’s nothing unsightly about a bloody pig heart.
But our design director clearly felt something in one set of photos was unsightly. See if you can spot the difference between David Belisle’s original, un-retouched image of Kristopher…
…and the image that ran on our cover…
If you guess “bat wing tattoo photoshopped off tattooed love boy,” you are correct. The design director of The Stranger has revealed himself to be an inkphobic, anti-tattoo bigot. And here’s a picture of him:
posted by February 8 at 2:01 PMon
Not to be insensitive, but Anna Nicole could barely play herself for real in her real-life reality television show. How will they (they!) ever find an actress of the requisite physical and histrionic stature to portray her accurately? Ari Spool and I have debated, and we’ve narrowed it down to these five. If you care at all (which you should, obviously), you may vote just below the photos:
Got a write-in vote? Put it in the comments. Poll is open till noon tomorrow!
posted by February 8 at 1:30 PMon
From Sandeep Kaushik, circa 2003:
On the evening of Wednesday, April 2, a group of Seattleites supporting the presidential candidacy of former Vermont Governor Howard Dean met at Piecora’s Pizza on Capitol Hill. The monthly meeting was organized at Meetup.com, a new web service used by candidates to bring together and organize grassroots supporters. Nearly 200 people showed up that night, without any outreach from the Dean campaign. As many as could fit crammed into the restaurant’s backroom, with more spilling out of the entryway; all were there to support a relatively obscure second-tier candidate in an election still 19 months in the future.
From a press release issued today by Washington for Obama:
SEATTLE, WA— More than 100 supporters of Illinois Senator Barack Obama are anticipated this Saturday at Seattle’s Piecora’s Pizza to celebrate Obama’s expected announcement that he is running for President. Using tools familiar to many Americans after their development and growth during the 2004 Presidential election, activists and “netroots” leaders have begun organizing in earnest to support Obama’s bid to capture the White House in 2008.
posted by February 8 at 1:22 PMon
Nipper plays taps on kazoo over the phone system loudspeaker.
posted by February 8 at 1:13 PMon
More than 60 leaders representing minority communities signed a letter that was hand-delivered to Gov. Gregoire today by a group called CAPP—Communities Against Payday Predators.
The letter, cc’d to members of the legislature, asks the governor to support HB 1020, which would put a cap of 36% annual interest on payday loans.
February 8, 2007 Dear Governor Gregoire, As leaders in communities of color, we are writing to express our deep concern over predatory payday lending and urge you to extend to all families the same consumer protections that military families will receive under federal law. We are troubled that payday loan shops are proliferating in our neighborhoods. Payday lenders drive working families deep into debt by charging outrageous interest rates, with a repayment system that is set up for families to fail. With a typical interest rate of 391% on loans that have to be paid in-full in two weeks, it is no wonder that over 90% of borrowers are forced into having five or more loans a year. In 1995 the state legislature legalized payday lenders, creating a loophole through which the industry can operate outside of the rules that guide the practices of other financial institutions. In 10 years, payday lending in Washington State has grown to a $1.4 billion industry, issuing over 3.5 million loans in 2005. This fast growing, highly profitable industry is reaping profits from our communities while undermining the ability for families to thrive. Last year Oregon passed tough protections by capping interest rates and currently 11 states effectively ban predatory payday lending. Last fall the Republican Congress and President Bush capped the interest rate on payday loans to military families. We ask that you extend these reasonable and fair consumer protections to all payday loan borrowers. These protections include: ? Capping the annual interest rate on payday loans at 36% ? Prohibiting the use of post-dated checks or electronic access to bank accounts ? Eliminating mandatory arbitration clauses from loan agreements We are asking you to protect the interests of communities of color by throwing your full support behind HB 1020. House Bill 1020 provides protections that will place barriers between our communities and financial failure.Speaker of the House Frank Chopp (D-43, Seattle) was asked about the payday loans cap at his press briefing yesterday, and he didn’t seem too enthusiastic about its chances of passing out of the Financial Services and Consumer Protection Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Steve Kirby (D-29, Tacoma. As we’ve reported, Kirby is a big recipient of political contributions from the payday loans industry. He says he’s not even considering the bill.
I’ve included the list of signers below.
Footnote #1: No Ron Sims?
Footnote #2: With CO2 caps, payday loans caps, and condo conversion caps in play this session, the GOP should start spoofing the Democrats as the party that wants to put limits and caps on everything. Maybe the GOP should float a bill calling for a cap on legislation mandating caps.
Footnote #3: As Angela reported this morning, there’s an initiative in the works to cap the interest on payday loans as well. (She’ll have more on that this aftenoon).
posted by February 8 at 12:59 PMon
David Schmader, on the phone: “It wasn’t like the president was assassinated or anything. But it is major.”
posted by February 8 at 12:52 PMon
RIP Anna Nicole Smith. Fuckin’ RIP, gurl.
posted by February 8 at 12:40 PMon
In this week’s Police Beat, we got the neighborhood wrong in the first item. Noc Noc (my most beloved hangout) is firmly downtown (Second at Pike), not in Pioneer Square. I’m sorry I didn’t catch it in time. Anyway, the always competent Noc Noc security staff are to be commended for preventing a potentially bloody assault. Here’s the (corrected) bit:
Smoking Ban/Downtown/Sun Jan 28/10:58 pm: Officer Kallis responded to a report of a knife fight outside the Noc Noc nightclub. “I contacted the victim who told me the following: He was sitting on the sidewalk, eating some food. [The suspect] was standing next to him, smoking a cigarette. [The victim] asked [the suspect] to move away from him while he ate. [The suspect] told him to ‘fuck off,’ and continued to smoke. [The victim] became angry and took his artificial leg and threw it on the ground. [The suspect] pulled out a folding knife and pointed it at him and said, ‘I’m gonna kill you.’”
The victim identified in the report is a well-known Pioneer Square transient. According to a Noc Noc bartender, “He always sits out there with his rotten-ass leg and throws his garbage around.” Bouncer Mike Hidalgo, who witnessed the January 28 incident, says the would-be attacker had been smoking not a cigarette, but a crack pipe. When the victim, trying to enjoy his dinner on the sidewalk, got mad and threw his leg, the smoker “put his pipe away and pulled out a knife.” Another doorman Maced the man with the knife and called the cops. The suspect, who also had an outstanding warrant for escape, was arrested and booked into King County Jail.
posted by February 8 at 12:38 PMon
Starting with our latest issue, Stranger news reporter Angela Valdez has taken over the Police Beat column.
A standing ovation is in order for the fantastic Charles Mudede, who decided to stop writing the column after an 8-year run.
Mudede fans, however, should give Valdez’s first installment a read. The story of the drunk young women who told Valdez they started out the evening with the goal of getting “kicked out of a bar,” but then, as the police report shows, ended up in the slammer for attacking a Nordstrom planter display, is a total freak show.
posted by February 8 at 11:45 AMon
I’m not a football fan, so I missed the whole first-black-coach-to-win-the-Super Bowl buzz.
All I can say is, what is up with the NFL?
The first black coach to win an NBA title (and at $125,000, definitely one of the top-paid people in the NBA at the time) was Bill Russell in the 1967/68 season. That’s nearly 40 years ago. 40 years ago!
Oh, and Russell wasn’t a supa Christian. He’d taken to calling himself Felton X, and was actually a bit of a black power freak.
Today, Russell lives on Mercer Island, I think.
posted by February 8 at 11:43 AMon
posted by February 8 at 11:21 AMon
On yesterday’s 700 Club, loony preacher Pat Robertson said people who get too much plastic surgery “got the eyes like they’re Oriental, and, you know, it’s all pulled.” Ha! That wacky Pat! What will he say next?
On the positive side, he thinks Greta van Susteren looks just “gorgeous.”
Via Media Matters.
posted by February 8 at 11:20 AMon
Attention Oscar obsessives: After years of tireless suffering in private, I finally have an outlet for the aggressive obsession I’m required to devote to each year’s Academy Awards. AA Meeting is a weekly podcast devoted to all things Oscar, from nominees’ odds to winner predictions to all the rest of that meaningless award-show bullshit I’m physically incapable of ignoring.
In the third AA Meeting: the mysterious stank pit that is the Academy Award for Best Original Song, this year featuring offerings from Dreamgirls, Disney/Pixar’s Cars, and An Inconvenient Truth.
If music be the food of love, love eats shit. Enjoy.
posted by February 8 at 11:06 AMon
“She’s helping someone have a baby? I didn’t know she was a—what’s that called? A Sherpa? An Urkel?”
—Stranger receptionist Mike Nipper, in search of the word doula.
posted by February 8 at 11:00 AMon
(THEATER)The recent review of An Enemy of the People by Seattle Times theater critic Misha Berson proved this: The century that made the world she now lives in is also the century she knows nothing about. But the great social transformations of that century informed Ibsen’s imagination and so they must inform any direction of his plays. Strawberry Theatre Workshop’s adaptation has this understanding as its ground. Go and see for yourself. It’s really good. (Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, 322-7030. 7:30 pm, $20.) CHARLES MUDEDE
posted by February 8 at 11:00 AMon
(ART) The year Mary Henry showed her first painting at an art museum, Adolf Hitler was Time magazine’s Man of the Year (1938). This year the Whidbey Island-based artist will be 94 and she has been a powerhouse of geometric abstraction for almost all of that time, never deviating from her roots in 1920s constructivism. She designed a majestic architectural mural as part of her Howard House show of paintings; if you’re lucky, you’ll catch the grand dame at tonight’s opening. (Howard House, 604 Second Ave, 256-6399. 6-8 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES
posted by February 8 at 10:16 AMon
Those two bloggers John Edwards hired, then (supposedly) fired, then left in limbo for 36 hours?
They’re keeping their jobs. More here.
posted by February 8 at 10:15 AMon
That was one of the big questions among reporters and anti-war observers as the court-martial of Lt. Ehren Watada collapsed yesterday, ending in a mistrial.
You’ll have to get up to speed on the stipulation at the center of the mistrial to follow this, but once you get up to speed, come back and consider a very good point that was raised by Seattle Times reporter Hal Bernton at a military press conference held yesterday afternoon after the mistrial had been declared.
Bernton read back some of his notes from Monday, day one of the court-martial, when the judge, Lt. Col. John Head, had asked Watada to explain his understanding of the stipulation. It’s important to note here that on Wednesday, one of the more dramatic moments had been the judge essentially halting the court-martial proceedings so that he could personally question Watada about the stipulation. But as Bernton pointed out, the fact was that two days earlier, on Monday, the judge had done basically the same thing, asking essentially the same questions of Watada about the stipulation—and receiving the same answers.
Bernton wondered: Why did the judge suddenly decide on Wednesday that the stipulation was not what Watada thought it was, and that this was a court-martial-upending problem?
It was a good question, considering that the judge’s reconsideration of the stipulation came one day after the prosecution had rested its case—a case the prosecutors had built in large part on the stipulation that the judge had decided to declare inoperative. The Fort Lewis spokespeople didn’t really have a good answer to Bernton’s question. “I can’t speak for the judge,” said Lt. Col. Robert Resnick, an expert on military justice brought in to help explain the case to reporters.
From my vantage-point during the court-martial, the judge appeared to be blaming the mistrial on the military prosecutors’ faulty understanding of the stipulation. But it was really the judge who had allowed the stipulation, let the court-martial proceed, and then suddenly come to a new understanding of the stipulation one day after the prosecution had rested its case.
Notes taken by my intern, Sage Van Wing, at the court-martial on Monday confirm what Bernton recounted.
At the heart of the judge’s rejection of the stipulation on Wednesday was his concern that it was in fact a “confessional stipulation”—a stipulation sufficient for convicting Watada on the charge of not deploying to Iraq—while Watada apparently believed he had signed only a “stipulation of fact” and still retained a legitimate defense against the charge of failing to deploy (i.e., the war is “illegal”).
The judge acted like this was news to him on Wednesday, but on Monday, under questioning from the judge about the stipulation, Watada had said, according to Sage’s notes:
My intent was that the order to deploy was an illegal order and that the war itself was illegal and that I had no other choice but to refuse. My intent was to refuse that order.
In other words, it was clear on Monday that Watada did not believe the stipulation, in which he only admits to the fact of not deploying, was a “confessional stipulation.” To put it another way, Watada agreed that he didn’t deploy, but he believed that his reason for not deploying—the “illegal” war—was his defense (although, in one of the more strange aspects of the trial, Watada was not allowed to raise that defense).
This is very wonky, but it’s important.
Nothing really changed between Monday and Wednesday in terms of the information available to the judge about Watada’s understanding of the stipulation. Watada’s request on Wednesday morning that the jury be told about his “illegal war” defense was the trigger for the renewed debate on Wednesday over the stipulation’s meaning, but that debate revealed nothing that wasn’t already clear on Monday. (And anyway Watada’s attorney, Eric Seitz, said after the mistrial that he had fully expected the judge to simply reject his proposed jury instruction on Wednesday morning and move on, letting the defense present its case. “Never ever has a proposed jury instruction triggered a mistrial,” Seitz said.)
So, again, what was the judge thinking? Here are the three main theories, all of them based on pure conjecture since the judge won’t be explaining his inner thoughts on this matter:
1) The judge was legitimately slow on the uptake, only realizing half-way through the court-martial that he had allowed in a stipulation that he believed was fatally flawed.
2) The judge had a sincere change of heart about excluding Watada’s “illegal war” defense and moved to scuttle the court-martial so that in a new court-martial (if one ever happens) Watada might be allowed to challenge the legality of the Iraq war.
3) The judge believed the court-martial wasn’t going the military’s way and moved to scuttle the trial before Watada ever got to take the stand.
posted by February 8 at 10:03 AMon
That’s No Shit Sherlock.
Today, The Seattle Times reports the big “news” that Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43) is open to the surface/transit option.
I reported this news exactly two months ago. Let’s see, my headline was: “House Speaker Frank Chopp Open to Boulevard/Transit Option.”
The reason The Seattle Times got around to reporting this news today is because King County Exec Ron Sims made a splash at yesterday’s overrated global warming press conference down in Olympia by stating again! (the PI got this wrong last week) that he’s against both the rebuild and tunnel, and he’s for the surface/transit option.
As I Slogged it yesterday:
Another great question that got asked was this: With all this talk of reducing carbon emissions, why is the state getting ready to build a giant freeway along the Seattle waterfront?
There was laughter, Paulson said he didn’t want to get into viaduct politics, and Sen. Majority leader Lisa Brown pretended to answer the question. Then, King County Executive Ron Sims took the microphone, and he said it straight: “You cannot talk about fighting global warming while also talking about building a tunnel or a rebuild. We will not achieve the goals.”
Sims then said Seattle should “vote down both” the tunnel and the rebuild and re-think transportation. “I support what’s called the surface/transit option,” Sims said.
So, Seattle Times (fans of the reactionary rebuild) thinks the Chopp “development” is a story now because Chopp is joining another high-profile leader like the KC Exec in voicing support for the surface/transit option. Well, I pointed out that angle two months ago.
Look, I’m not Slogging all this to toot my own horn. I’m Slogging all this because I’m sick of the mainstream media’s failure to cover the momentum that has been building for the surface/transit option.
Note to Cary Moon. This is what you said was going to happen two years ago. Burn on all the consultants and politicians that just can’t outmaneuver your smarty pants self on this.
And Note to America: You cannot hurt Muhammad Ali and stay alive.
posted by February 8 at 9:33 AMon
This meeting of the JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE APPRECIATION SOCIETY will now come to order. First and only piece of business? Justin’s concert at NYC’s Madison Square Garden last night where he not only reportedly put on an amazing show, but teamed up once again with SNL’s ANDY SAMBERG for a live version of the most hee-larioso SNL sketch ever, “DICK IN A BOX.” Check out the story here at People.com, and if you are a diehard JT fan like myself, take a peep at this live concert footage of the song—which is annoyingly shaky, but I loved it all over again. Plus, it amply demonstrates that I’m not the only person in the world who goes apeshit over Monsieur Timberlake!
OH, WHY CAN’T YOU VISIT THE NORTHWEST, JUSTIN? WHY? WHY? WHY???
posted by February 8 at 9:13 AMon
Bovine, The Oregon Trail Reversed (2006) by Whiting Tennis
The latest Artnews is out today, and in it, the UW scholar Patricia Failing reviews Whiting Tennis’s show at Greg Kucera Gallery last year. She very much likes Bovine. I’ll type in the relevant parts of her piece, because there’s no way to link to the story on the web site of Artnews (grr):
Tennis finds a range of cues in used plywood. In Bovine (2006), a 14-foot-long crossbreed of a cow and an Airstream trailer, he refers to the saga of westward migration as depicted in B movies. The back of the wood trailer/cow is studded with an array of anecdotal, scene-setting objects—paint bucket, hammer, watering can, croquet mallet, harmonica, and books—often used in cinema to induce bonding with unseen characters. Bovine trumped the experience of cinema, however, with its olfactory addition: the sculpture infused the gallery with the musty smell of decaying wood.
Seattle Art Museum acquired this work, led by new contemporary curator Michael Darling. P-I critic Regina Hackett took this as a strike against Darling in her blog post on January 25. She dismisses Bovine this way:
It reeks of frontier nostalgia and trades in wild West stereotypes. It’s shabby chic without the chic.
I wasn’t convinced by Bovine, either, but I couldn’t enjoy my disconnection from it.
I simply felt disappointed that the artist’s very genuine expressive gesture did not reach me. Tennis spent an hour in the gallery with me before the show opened, and he declared that Bovine, The Oregon Trail Reversed (that surtitle often gets left off in reviews, but it’s relevant) was his line in the sand. “I don’t want any more change,” he told me.
As a 47-year-old single man, he had just bought his own first house, and many of these works were created using the objects he found in the garage, left there by the former owner, an elderly man. I was touched by what was clearly an homage to him staking a claim of sorts in his own life, but many of his other works seemed to be doing the same thing, only in a way that was more sly, more oblique—just more. That’s why I described those and left Bovine more or less alone in my original writing about the show back in October. I shouldn’t have done that.
Bovine is what Tennis intended as the centerpiece of his show, and now, thanks to SAM, we will be seeing it again. Will it work?
I am curious to see it up against the permanent collection, in a lineage that is going to, if I’m remembering correctly, push Morris Graves into fairly close proximity to the abstract expressionists. These seem to be salient touchstones for Bovine, which has a kind of softness, but also the brawn of a Di Suvero, the immense, brooding spirituality of a Kline, and, as Failing so aptly writes, the treacle and predictability of B movies. Is Tennis cutting off the grand gesture with an ironic slash? I don’t think so. Though I might change my mind about that if he makes smoke come out of the chimney, which he planned to do but couldn’t rig together for the opening at Kucera.
The funny thing is, Bovine is the piece Tennis worked hardest to make. Some of his other objects were very simple adaptations of found materials, extremely unprecious and grouped together in a family sort of way, instead of exhibited sparsely in the modernist vein.
Despite their simplicity—because of it? I’m really not sure—many of these resonated deeply. Throughout the show, Tennis complicated things with simple touches, simple actions. Even his paintings and collages made much of little. His marks didn’t feel overly plotted, or like he was opening a vein. But they way they came together was downright poignant. There was something I truly loved about that show.
Drawing (2006) by Whiting Tennis (plaster and plywood)
Elizabethan (2005) by Whiting Tennis (acrylic and collage on canvas)
The First Thing (2006) by Whiting Tennis (acrylic on canvas)
posted by February 8 at 8:39 AMon
Seattle private investigator Richard Newland filed yesterday for a ballot initiative that would cap payday loan interest rates at 36 percent. His proposal closely resembles a bill that is currently struggling in Olympia, where a bi-partisan cadre of pols has been lending an ear to pleas of salvation from the the industry, which claims it would be put out of business by the cap. I’m not very handy with this web tool, but I will try to post the initiative here. Nope. Can’t do it. Will seek help and try later.
My profile of a chief payday loan cap opponent here.
More on the efforts to kill the bill here.
posted by February 8 at 8:34 AMon
My story on the mistrial in the court-martial of Lt. Ehren Watada is now up on The Stranger’s homepage.
The military’s effort to punish Lt. Ehren Watada for refusing to deploy to Iraq fell apart in dramatic fashion on Wednesday, with the judge for the court-martial declaring a mistrial and Watada’s attorney calling the case a “hopeless mess” that could not legally be restarted.
In a tense courtroom on the Fort Lewis Army Base, just south of Tacoma, the judge, Lt. Col. John Head, appeared to upbraid the military’s prosecutors, telling them they had entered into a pre-trial agreement with Watada that they did not understand, a mistake he likened to botching a basic contract.
“I’m not seeing that we have a meeting of the minds here,” Judge Head said. “And like any contract, if we don’t have a meeting of the minds there’s not a contract.”
posted by February 8 at 8:02 AMon
Canned: Seattle’s chief federal prosecutor got the boot for “performance-related” issues. What did he do to piss off Bush?
The First Ladies of the United States? Mormon Mitt Romney to run for the Republican nomination.
posted by February 7 at 5:50 PMon
So says TIME Magazine.
posted by February 7 at 5:42 PMon
No need to wonder about whether Seattle has an art scene. It’s HOT and HIP!
Inn at El Gaucho Sculpts Art Package in Celebration of Seattle’s Sizzling Art Scene
Conveniently Located by New Olympic Sculpture Park
Seattle, Wash. — (February 7, 2007) — Located in Seattle’s hip Belltown district, just minutes away from the new sculpture park and the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) opening in May, the Inn at El Gaucho is the perfect base to explore the city’s growing art scene.
The Inn has announced its new arts package in conjunction with Waterfront Seafood Grill, known for its stunning views of Elliott Bay, the Olympic Mountains, and now, with the opening of the Olympic Sculpture Park, world-class art.
The arts package, priced at $500, includes:
One night at the Inn
$200 gift certificate to the Waterfront Seafood Grill
Two signature SAM cocktails at Waterfront Seafood Grill, aptly named The Sculptor
A commemorative bottle of SAM sparkling Brut from Northwest Cellars
A commemorative SAM book
A Sculpture Park Continental Breakfast for Two, featuring fresh fruit, pastries and juice, coffee, tea and a morning paper.
Overnight valet parking at the hotel
Guests who purchase the package (valued at $650) can unwind after a day of art exploration and fine dining in one of the Inn’s relaxing rooms. The suites feature fine Anichini linens, pillow top beds, and handcrafted furniture as well as bathrobes, slippers, and pajamas. A plasma screen television and Bose Wave music system completes the luxurious offerings.
posted by February 7 at 4:42 PMon
Former Republican Party Precinct Committee Officer for the Central District Claude Zervas (right), and painter Joe Park. (Photo by Jenny Zwick)
posted by February 7 at 4:20 PMon
This week’s paper is online now, and I want to add to my In Art News account of the 20th anniversary Artist Trust auction, because I just got a press release that says Artist Trust grossed more than $260,000 at the sparkly affair on Saturday night.
That means Artist Trust will give 20 percent more money directly to artists in 2007. (In 2006, 52 artists received some $70,000 in GAP grants.) The fundraiser was a record for the organization.
I reported that video artist Gary Hill summoned an easy $20,000 by offering $10,000 of his own, but it turns out his dough continued to generate cash past when I was looking—right up to $61,000. The man was there to raise money, as he said.
The highest bid of the night was Michael Spafford’s Europa and the Bull II-3 (1986) at $4,250. No argument from me that the piece was beautiful: a roughly sketched black-and-white tribute to the mythical scene in which Europa’s curvaceous body was cut out of the center like a brutal Matisse.
posted by February 7 at 3:43 PMon
Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43, Seattle) just held his weekly sit down with the press corps, and he was asked about most of the high-profile bills in play in the house.
I’ve got to get on the road back to Seattle now to beat traffic, but I want to give a quick run down of what he said.
Closing the Gun Show Loophole
Chopp said he personally supported it, but “the votes just aren’t there in the caucus” to pass it. Asked what the problem was with making folks at gun shows get background checks before buying guns just as they have to in gun shops (i.e., this is hardly an attack on the Second Amendment), Chopp said NRA members of his caucus just didn’t see it that way… and he’d rather focus on issues where there’s consensus, like mental health. He made a couple of leaps there and said that was a good way—dealing with mental health issues—of preventing people from losing their shit and going on shooting sprees.
Payday Loan Cap
Chopp said he wanted credit unions to step up and do their part to serve the low-income market. He said he wanted the payday-loan industry to have reasonable rates, but said the caucus was still working something out. In summary: He was pretty circumspect about the whole thing.
Asked when they’d pass that, Chopp said, “Not in the next two weeks. We’ll see.”
Chopp said that was the governor’s priority, and while he was happy to work on it, “We’ve got our own priorities.”
Regulating Fraud in Paid Signature Gathering
Chopp said he strongly believed in the public’s right to petition the government (citing his own history running progressive initiatives). He said, however, fraud occurs, and his caucus was right to want to “stop that fraud.” He kind of contradicted himself, though, by using Eyman’s recent failure to get on the ballot because of ineligible signatures as an example of the problem.
Um… if the secretary of state caught Eyman’s false signatures, then the system’s working, no?
Final note: Chopp paused to say how thrilled he was that he got some good press on Sharkansky’s blog.
However, Chopp oughta stop and think about that. If I’m not wrong, Sharkansky gave Chopp a shout out for Chopp’s stand against the tunnel… i.e., for bringing us the rebuild. Thanks, Frank.
Oh, and thanks to all the hubbub in Olympia today about fighting greenhouse-gas emissions, Chopp was asked if anything like Sen. Erik Poulsen’s bill was brewing on the house side.
First, he cited bills that the house has already passed in recent years, like the car-emissions bill and green building standards. Then he said this session his caucus was working on the priorities that the environmental community had spelled out: a clean fuels bill; a PBDE bill, and a Puget Sound cleanup bill.
I reminded him that in fact there is an emissions cap bill in the house. Chopp said it wasn’t a priority.
posted by February 7 at 3:33 PMon
Earlier today I posted The Seattle Art “Scene”, and by some people’s responses, it seems they think I should have titled it The Seattle “Art” Scene, due to my own inability to discern the difference between a media prank and something that’s actually of interest to art or artists in Seattle.
Non-Specific Entity over at Artdish writes the following:
If I wanted the merry pranksters I’d still be dropping acid with hillbilly hippies in West Virginia. Can we get out of the joke? get out of the concept of the concept? and actually make something worth defining as a “movement” or “scene”? Why is everything in Seattle so up tight? so “intellectual”.. Why can’t I find anyone who just makes what they feel? Heck, half the best known local painters are using masking tape and a ruler.. Everyone seems to be conceptualizing their work.. There is too much “look at me.. look at my thought” and not enough look at the actual result of my thoughts and feelings.
This sounds very good, and I would completely agree, except that everything in Seattle is not so intellectual and uptight. Plenty of artists work intuitively and toward final objects that are as emotionally evocative as they are intelligent. Dan Webb, Claude Zervas, Jeffry Mitchell, Claire Cowie, Patrick Holderfield, Jenny Heishman, and Lead Pencil Studio come flying off the top of my head first thing as artists who pretty much do “make what they feel.”
Slog commenter Sarah Moon writes:
Seattle is working on having a scene of prank art by smirking frat boy geniuses who practice the art of being assholes. What was so smart or creative about the TAM antics? Please enlighten me, Jen!
The phenomenon of SBC is a little uncomfortable for me, too, not because I think they’re frat boys or assholes but because I think they’re in danger of being swept away by their own publicity. Some people seem to think that if you know them, you know art in the city, and that’s just weird. But I haven’t gotten the impression that they see it that way.
Most of the photographs in their Lawrimore Project show depicted their cute little selves mugging for the camera, and while people liked those, no, they weren’t great artworks. In trying to fit into a for-profit gallery scenario (read: to actually sell something), they sold what was easiest: their personas. It complicated things, which is where, I think, the fakers come in.
TotorTu’m (death or R. Mutt?) weighed in with another take:
I find it hard to believe that it is Lundgren’s contention that “fakers can do SBC works just as well.” Such hubris is just not one of his traits. Can you confirm/deny this statement Jen?
One tiny, tinfoil tree, as ‘funny, smart, and aggressive” as it is, is not tantamount to the SBC corpus.
It seems to me that Greg Lundgren is like a good critic. He’s part of the art world, and how much a part of it he is at any given moment depends on the strength of his ideas. I do think what he does is interesting when it’s interesting. And nope, I don’t think hubris enters into it. A joke isn’t the same thing as a factual proposal.
But what would be the problem with interrogating both the reception of an SBC piece and SBC itself? Going by a single conjoined name, like a band or a celebrity, they’re asking for it. Big deal.
My take on the tin foil tree was that it was a simple spoof. Just fooling. A fake tree by fake artists one-ups a fake tree by a big-name artist. Nice move.
The second act I know of by Lundgren et al is more pointed in the direction I was referring to. It happened this past weekend at a media event at the Tacoma Art Museum.
I wasn’t there, but I hear that while a sailboat was being lowered by crane into the open-air atrium at the center of the museum, the fakers were standing by wearing berets and smoking cigarettes from ridiculous cigarette-holders, sporting nametags that said “John,” “Ben,” and “Zac.” And the media did confuse them with the real performance artists (who often portray themselves in ridiculous fictions as well, but not usually fictions about being artists).
What does that tell you? Well, maybe in Seattle it would tell you that even the most visible artists are not so broadly visible. Performed in Tacoma, does it mean that hinterlanders are just too dim to recognize the difference between an actual artist and a stereotype of an artist? That’s a dead-end observation, though of some interest as a provocation (I’ll be curious to see whether The News Tribune plays ball in the aftermath of being duped; could be some very fun art writing coming out of this.)
SBC does have a history with plucking themselves out of context. Parking a mobile living room in the suburbs and living in it for a while made a point about how lost contemporary art and artists can be outside primly inscribed city circles. The fakers are extending the conversation by presenting these locally “famous” artists as French idiots.
The question is, what’s the relationship between the fakers and the original three? I’ve heard tell of a sixsome …
posted by February 7 at 3:25 PMon
New Rave #1: Terry Miller Almost Rolls on Kate Bush.
New Rave #2: All-Ages Hollywood Strip (Mall) Clubs.
Shanghai in the Grotto?: The Seattle School’s Chinese Hiphop.
Music for Asses: Hilary Clinton to Announce EMF as Running Mate.
Bird Flu, Not Bitches: M.I.A. is the Future.
New Rave #3: Whereas Klaxons are merely Myths of the Near Future.
Critical Beatdown: Big Tune Beat Battle Tonight at the War Room.
Pretty Vacancies: Hotel Motel Debuts at Havana
Smooth Operator: Dr. Patrick Gleason Schemes to Blow Your Mind.
posted by February 7 at 2:23 PMon
Eli phones it in from Fort Lewis…
The military prosecutors came back and moved for a mistrial. They looked very frustrated. The judge dismissed the jurors, and ordered them not to speak to the press or anyone else.
The big impact of this? In the new trial Watada and his lawyers will get to argue all over again that they should be able to essentially put the Iraq war on trial. In other words, argue that Watada’s actions were the result of his belief that the war was illegal, and orders to participate in that were therefore illegal. This judge had previously ruled all of that irrelevant. But the declaration of a mistrial has put all that back in play.
posted by February 7 at 2:21 PMon
Designed nearly decade ago by MVRDV, this building in Amsterdam is called WoZoCo’s Apartments:
A fine/interesting enough building. There is, however, one strange thing about WoZoCo’s Apartments: it only houses elderly people. Why is this strange? Because the spirit of the architecture is youthful, enthusiastic, and even experimental—the very last things that constitute the spirit of much that has to do with old age. This building lacks death. It’s too optimistic, like an irridenscent coffin, or a coffin shaped in some deconstructivist manner. Old people must live in grim structures; buildings that point not to this world of positive things but to the underworld of negative, annihilating forces. As being young is about leaving birth, being old is about going to death.
Also, when you look at WoZoCo’s Apartments you get the sense that it is very uncomfortable and too surprising. All of this leaping out, zigzagging, sudden balconies, profusion of colors—it’s just a bit much for an old bag of bones. The pull of gravity on granny and grandpa is heavy enough as it is. People of their age just want a place that offers as much peace as possible. What the authorities should do is turn this building over to those whose lives would make better sense of its architecture: the spirited youth.
posted by February 7 at 2:05 PMon
Not to be contrary, PartyCrasher, but last night’s Friends of Seattle party was much cooler and less old than you made it out to be. Yeah, the drink specials were cheesy, but the room was packed (I would guess 300-plus people, including neighborhood activists, city officials, and campaign veterans) and the energy was incredible. And their policy goals are specific (read ‘em here)— they don’t include anything on education because, well, they’re an urban-planning and transportation-centric group. Transportation Choices doesn’t have anything to say about the estate tax, but that’s because they’re a transportation group. And the viaduct is FoS’s main concern right now because, well, we have an election coming up in a couple of weeks. As FoS steering committee chair Gary Manca put it (somewhat hyperbolically), “what we do with the viaduct will determine what kind of city we live in for the next 100 years.” (The Stranger supports a “no/no” vote, by the way.)
Anyway, sorry to pick on you, Paul. But I had a blast mingling and talking to folks (young folks! who mingled! and actually broke out of their little cliques!) about why they’re excited to be a part of this new organization. When Steinbrueck asked how many people had walked to the party, three-quarters of the crowd put their hands in the air. When he asked how many had driven alone, about half a dozen folks sheepishly raised their hands. A friend whispered excitedly, “These are our people!”
Speaking of “our people,” here’s a group who definitely aren’t: Friends of Seattle’s “hall of shame,” featuring a half-dozen prominent contributors to the pro-new-viaduct campaign. Topping the list: Monorail hater (and estate-tax-repeal supporter) Martin Selig, who donated $10,000 to the pro-rebuild effort.
posted by February 7 at 1:35 PMon
A text just arrived from Eli Sanders, covering the Ehren Watada court martial at Fort Lewis…
Danger of a mistrial. Will know more by 2.
Here’s Eli from Fort Lewis:
The judge has given the gov attorney 15 minutes to come up with an argument that will convince him not to declare a mistrial or restart the entire case.
Here’s the issue: the government entered into a “stipulation,” an agreement with Watada, on the charges of missing movement—not getting on the plane to go to Iraq. Watada admitted to that. Watadad says that even though he admitted to not getting on the plane, he still believes he has a defense against the charge. His defense is that the order itself was illegal to begin with. The government believes that what Watada admitted to in the stipulation is enough to convict him on the charge of missing movement.
And here’s where it gets messy: The judge earlier excluded—ruled to be irrelevant—Watada’s entire defense (again, that the orders were illegal). This morning Watada’s attorney asked the judge to instruct the jury that Watada believes he has a defense, or at least a motivation, for doing what he did. The government doesn’t want the jury to be instructed that Watada believes he has a defense because that entire line of reasoning has been ruled irrelevant.
Now the judge has decided that the whole stipulation—the agreement between Watada and the government—is fatally flawed. The judge keeps saying, over and over, to the government attorneys, “Go back to contract , you don’t have a meeting of the minds.” (He means that they never had a valid stipulation because they didn’t agree about what it meant, so they have no “meeting of the minds.”)
The lawyers for both sides don’t agree with the judge. It’s literally true, according to the defense, that Watada didn’t get on the plane. But he has a reason that he’s not allowed to introduce—again, the war is illegal. The judge thought that Watada knew that by entering into the stipulation that he was essentially admitting guilt. After questioning Watada himself, the judge sees that Watada believes he does have a defense to the crime. So Watada’s interpretation of the stipulation (he admits facts, but doesn’t concede that he has no defense) is in conflict with the government’s interpretation (by admitting facts sufficient for conviction Watada’s motivation is irrelevant).
In two or three minutes we find out what happens.
UPDATE: Eli on the phone from Fort Lewis…
The judge has just ruled that there has been a “material breach of the stipulation,” and it’s inoperative. He gave the gov attorney’s two options. They can request a mistrial or they can reopen their case and try to prove it without the stipulation.
What that would mean is that the government would have to go back and prove every single fact with evidence and witnesses, which will draw out the trial. It would be impossible do in any immediate time frame. They would have to call people back from Iraq, call witnesses, gather evidence.
Watada’s defense attorney has completely outfoxed and outsmarted the government. He signed on to this stipulation, he let the government proceed with its prosecution and present its case, while at the same time reserving the right for Watada to believe that he did have a defense against the charge.
Most likely the trial will fall apart and they’ll have to start over. Or the trial will go forward under the same rules with the prosecution facing the increased burden of proving, or re-proving, all the things Watada had admitted to in the stipulation.
Will Watada be able to make his “illegal war” defense now? That’s an open question. At the very least if the trial is scuttled, the government will have to through the entire process of excluding Watada’s illegal war defense all over again.
Essentially in that scenario Watada would get a second shot at telling the world why he refused to deploy to Iraq.
This was originally posted at 12:30 PM. I moved it up.
posted by February 7 at 1:25 PMon
The Democrats just held a big press conference in the Capitol Building to announce … well…
It comes down to this: Governor Gregoire is creating a task force on global warming that will report back in a year (so much for urgency about the UN report on climate change).
Gregoire and Sen. Erik Poulsen (D-34, West Seattle) are in sync on Poulsen’s new bill to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, but there appears to be no mandate to do so nor any concrete mechanism to make it happen.
The governor of Oregon meanwhile announced an emissions cap and trade system two weeks ago.
Indeed, Austin Jenkins from KUOW asked the $20,000 question as the press conference was coming to a close: Is there a cap and trade system (i.e., a mechanism), and are these goals or mandates?
The answer was, they don’t know, and they’re “strong goals.”
Another great question that got asked was this: With all this talk of reducing carbon emissions, why is the state getting ready to build a giant freeway along the Seattle waterfront?
There was laughter, Paulson said he didn’t want to get into viaduct politics, and Sen. Majority leader Lisa Brown pretended to answer the question. Then, King County Executive Ron Sims took the microphone, and he said it straight: “You cannot talk about fighting global warming while also talking about building a tunnel or a rebuild. We will not achieve the goals.”
Sims then said Seattle should “vote down both” the tunnel and the rebuild and re-think transportation. “I support what’s called the surface/transit option,” Sims said.
It wasn’t my intent to get into the viaduct here, but the question derailed the press conference and Sims called bullshit on the governor.
Meanwhile, while Poulsen and the governor’s office were busy patting each other on the back about their lofty but intangible plan for reducing emissions, there’s a cap and trade bill in the house that was not mentioned.
I got to ask the final question of the press conference: If the task force is coming up with the specifics (the task force recommendations are due in a year), and the specifics are what make Poulsen’s bill meaningful, is the legislature really doing anything about global warming? The answer: The task force is coming back with recommendations in a year.
I repeat: There is a specific cap and trade bill in the house, and it was not mentioned.
posted by February 7 at 1:19 PMon
Former pro-basketball player comes out…
In his soon to be released book, former NBA player John Amaechi, who played six seasons for five different teams, admits that he is gay. He’s the first NBA player ever to come out.
Maybe Pastor Ted can hustle Amaechi off to his Super Magic 21 Day De-Gaying Camp. But something about the title of Amaechi’s book tells me that he isn’t going to interested in going straight…
(Thanks to Gomez.)
posted by February 7 at 12:59 PMon
Just so you know, CBS and the NFL have had very few, if any, complaints about PRINCE masturbating behind a sheet during Sunday’s Super Bowl. During one part of his AWESOME performance (how DID he stay so dry??), he was allegedly performing a guitar solo behind a gigantic backlit sheet, which caused this effect:
Here’s what the NFL spokesman had to say today to the few bloggers who accused Prince of masturbating:
“We respect other opinions, but it takes quite a leap of the imagination to make a controversy of his performance,” Aiello said. “It’s a guitar.”
Actually, Mr. Aiello, you’re wrong. THAT ACTUALLY IS PRINCE’S PENIS. The poor man has been deformed since birth, and it really hurts his feelings when you call it a “guitar.” I mean, C’MON! That doesn’t look anything like a guitar! (But it does look A LOT like Satan’s penis. Not that I would know anything about that.)
posted by February 7 at 12:54 PMon
John Edwards made a really smart decision in hiring two high-profile bloggers, Amanda Marcotte (of Pandagon) and Melissa McEwan (of Shakespeare’s Sister), to run his blog and “netroots” campaign, respectively. Both bloggers are prominent and well-respected commentators; both are also outspoken liberals and feminists.
You probably get where I’m going with this. Today, a a vicious smear campaign by right-wing bloggers like Michelle Malkin, including the charge that Amanda uses “hate speech”, curses (my lands!), and, my personal favorite, is “ugly” (lots more here) culminated in an attack by antisemitic Catholic League wingnut Bill Donahoe (the same guy who told former Rep. Mark Foley he shouldn’t have “allowed himself to be molested” and who believes “Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular”), the two bloggers have reportedly been fired.
What a stupid, wrongheaded decision. Marcotte and McEwan are smart, sharp-witted, and funny writers with huge online followings. By caving to pressure from right-wing bigots, Edwards brings his own integrity and ability to show leadership under fire into question. More importantly, his decision sends a message to the wingnuts that personal attacks, however untrue, work if repeated often enough. Lie; pour; stir.
The irony, of course, is that the “hate speech” Marcotte and McEwan have been accused consists, basically, of calling people “homobigots” and “Christofascists.” If you really want to see the depths to which web-based hate speech descends, look no further than prominent right-wing bloggers like Instapundit, the Autonomist, and Jane Galt. From Media Matters:
Misha of The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler on the Supreme Court: “Five ropes, five robes, five trees. Some assembly required.” [7/11/06]
BC of The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler on John Kerry: “Rope. Tree. Justice. The only three things that Qerry [sic] deserves for his ‘service’.” [10/28/04]
Dean Esmay on New York Times reporters: “Exposing such a secret program is not whistle-blowing — it is high treason. When I say ‘treason’ I don’t mean it in an insulting or hyperbolic way. I mean in a literal way: we need to find these 21st century Julius Rosenbergs, these modern day reincarnations of Alger Hiss, put them on trial before a jury of their peers, with defense counsel. When they are found guilty, we should then hang them by the neck until the are dead, dead, dead.” [12/18/05]
Denny K of The Flying Monkey-Right Blog in reaction to photos of Rumsfeld’s and Cheney’s homes: “Let’s start with the following New York Times reporters and editors: Arthur ‘Pinch’ Sulzberger Jr., Bill Keller, Eric Lichtblau, and James Risen. Do you have an idea where they live? Go hunt them down and do America a favor. Get their photo, street address, where their kids go to school, anything you can dig up, and send it to the link above. This is your chance to be famous — grab for the golden ring.” [7/02/06]
And on and on. What a shame for Amanda and Melissa— but the bigger loss, by far, is Edwards’s.
posted by February 7 at 12:38 PMon
It is very difficult to find a decent sandwich roll in Seattle. Enter the Essential Baking Co. Rustic Bun:
The glory of these rolls is that they are nothing special. These particular ones, in fact, purchased at the 15th Ave. E. Q.F.C., could be fresher. (How about a “born on” date, E.B.C.? If Budweiser can do it, surely you can.) But they are good, basic rolls—not foccacia or other fanciness, and the rusticity is thankfully nominal—upon which to make a good, basic sandwich.
I am about to make such a sandwich. It will have roasted chicken (done in the Julia Child style, which involves turning the bird thrice, which sounds like a pain but is actually kind of fun, especially with big tongs; Cook’s Illustrated roasted 1,772 chickens and arrived at essentially the same method; the real trick if you want the moistest meat is to do the final bit of roasting breast-side-down, which I controversially maintain obviates the need for brining) and avocado (slightly overripe, organic) and Trader Joe’s mayonnaise (the best, unless you can get that amazing, lemony South American mayonnaise that comes in weird tubes) and Dijon mustard. Lunch!
posted by February 7 at 12:30 PMon
Seriously. Nobody cares anymore. Fuck off. You lost us at the millionth unexplained mystery, the millionth completely unmotivated action, choice, or statement made by long-established character. Where are the polar bears? Where’s Walt? Locke was working at pot grow? Did he shoot that baby-faced FBI agent or not? How come all of Kate’s flashbacks seem to take place in the 1940s? Why would that genius “other” dude work so hard to piss off the only guy on the island that can save his life? Why didn’t the others—so annoyed by the presence of the survivors—just call in the rescue boats?
Not watching. Don’t care. Renting Rome instead.
posted by February 7 at 12:15 PMon
For anybody not frequenting art openings, this Onion story from 2005 appears to be illustrated with a photograph of sometime Seattle Times critic and longtime Seattle art personality Matthew Kangas.
posted by February 7 at 11:52 AMon
I’m sure you’ll be getting reports soon from Erica and Josh about the Friends of Seattle kickoff party. I’m also sure that their reports will be jam-packed full of things like “news” and “journalism.” But you are no doubt wondering: how was quality and the timbre of the party itself?
Well, let me tell you: it was pretty much a Seattle Political Party. People clung to their friends and made small talk in little clots strewn about the room as members of FoS circulated, trying to, you know, git the pawty stawted.
There were some drunken journalists desperately clutching their free drink tickets as though they were diamonds, there were some earnest young kids out to make a difference, and there were some crusty old, been-there done-that types. I would have preferred to see FoS choose a different bar, a bar with more Seattle history, than Twist, which is kind of a mishmash of urban-bland styles, and the “exciting FoS cocktails” were, well, here:
Livable City Lemon Drop
No-Viaduct Vodka Tonic
Metro-Natural (sic) Margarita
Gin & Sustainable Soda
Presumably they were all out of the Renewable Rye Shots by the time I arrived with my Plus Ones, which is the true shame of the evening.
I kid, but really: the room felt excited. People were happy to be there, and when Peter Steinbrueck
got up to speak, he captured a lot of that giddy energy. He began by commenting on the palpable sense of thrill in the room—“This is something special here”—and he continued by pledging his allegiance to FoS’s goals, and then his speech tore through some important points: he declared that Seattle is “At least 20 years behind when it comes to mass transit,” and when he exclaimed that “We are going to tear down the Viaduct,” there was almost a gasp in the room, before a huge roar of applause. It felt kind of like when Howard Dean first started speaking out against the Iraq War; finally, someone said it to people who believe it and it didn’t sound like progressive pipe-dream nonsense.
The big complaint that I have about the party is that the FoS members who were sent out to fluff the crowd into a frenzy pretty much only had three words as talking points: “urban, livable, sustainable,” before launching into an anti-Viaduct-and-tunnel schpiel. They had literally nothing else.
When approached by a FoS Steering Committee member, I asked a question about density that, I feel, is under-addressed: will there be any safeguards to making sure that all this shiny new mixed-use retail space that’s opening up won’t be handed to chain stores and corporations? In other words, was FoS interested in making sure that mom-and-pop businesses had a chance to thrive in this new, dense Seattle? My FoS member stammered for a minute, said that he thought that it was illegal to discriminate against chain stores—false!—and then excused himself by saying “I think my wife just showed up.”
Likewise, one of my Plus Ones asked another Steering Committee member a question about FoS’s stance on education, and the poor man did everything but fake an epileptic fit trying to get out of the conversation.
Listen, FoS: I’m on your side. Really, I am. I’m all for the goals that you’ve got. As Steinbrueck said in his speech, “I couldn’t find a single issue I didn’t agree with” on your website. But your website only has one issue and a bunch of lofty goals. FoS, you’ve been around for a year now, and you’ve just had your coming out party, and, despite the ridiculously-named beverages, that party was a roaring success. But even as you fight the Viaduct—arguably the most important issue facing Seattle at the moment, certainly the most compelling issue—you’ve gotta form opinions on the rest of the city: Seattle just doesn’t need any more fair-weather Friends.
posted by February 7 at 11:47 AMon
Look at your URL bar, to the left of the address. Notice what’s missing? The Stranger.com needs a favicon (or “urlicon,” if you’re like that). Anyone want to design one for us?
Entries should be 16-color, 16x16-pixel .ico files. Send them to email@example.com before noon on Wednesday, Feb 14. The winner will receive 5 days of Slog posting privileges (subject to editorial review). No copyrighted images, please.
And don’t bother sending us
this; several people already have.
posted by February 7 at 10:46 AMon
Scientific American has a fascinating gallery of microphotographs up on its site. I’ve been obsessed with it all morning.
Here is a common flea at 10x magnification:
And here is a mouse retina at 550x magnification:
posted by February 7 at 10:45 AMon
HALF-COCKED (Film) Ian Svenonius (Spiv!) as an exaggerated version of himself! Tara Jane O’Neil as a greasy-banged ingénue! James Murphy and James Canty throwing a beer can at some punks and calling them fags! If any of these names/situations ring your indie-cred alarms, then you ought to see this film—shot over 15 days in 1994—documenting the rise and fall of the Truckstops, a very fake band made up of very real musicians, as they scam their way around the country in beautiful black and white with an awesome mix tape of a soundtrack. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 329-2629. 7 and 9 pm, $5—$8.50.) ERIC GRANDY
posted by February 7 at 10:43 AMon
Humorless, obtuse gay activists are demanding that a pub in the UK drop a popular item from their menu—a meat pie popular in parts of the UK called a faggots. Why anyone would want to eat a pie with a name that’s also slang for cigarettes, I can’t say. But I have to say that I agree with the owner of the pub—Mad O’Rourke’s Pie Factory in Tipton—when she says…
“It’s been on the menu six years during which time I have had hundreds of thousands of customers and not a single complaint. Why don’t these people worry about something important—like the National Health Service. These people say this is not funny but their behaviour is turning it into a joke. I am sorry that they are upset but I will not be bullied.”
posted by February 7 at 10:18 AMon
What many conservatives regard as the nightmare scenario—President Hillary Rodham Clinton—is increasingly seen by veteran Republican politicians and strategists as a virtual inevitability.
posted by February 7 at 9:56 AMon
Prosecutors say a husband and wife in Hull ignored their four-year-old daughter’s cries for help after intentionally giving her an overdose of medication that ended up killing her. Carolyn and Michael Riley were arrested Monday on murder charges. They were arraigned Tuesday in Hingham District Court and held without bail.
Prosecutors say 4-year-old Rebecca Riley was taking prescribed drugs for bi-polar disorder and ADHD.
Police were called to the Rileys’ home in Hull back on December 13 and when they arrived they found Rebecca dead on the floor of her parents’ bedroom… investigators say she was curled up on newspapers beside her parents bed holding a teddy bear. The court paper quotes witnesses who claim Michael Riley angrily refused to allow her into the bed while she was sick.
posted by February 7 at 9:53 AMon
An effort by the Seattle Displacement Coalition, the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness, and the Puget Sound Alliance for Senior Citizens to regulate condo conversions is getting traction in Olympia.
In addition to provisions such as increasing relocation assistance for tenants and prohibiting landlords from starting interior construction until the last tenant is out, which the advocates had gotten into an initial senate bill, they’ve now gotten co-sponsors Sens. Adam Kline, Ken Jacobsen, and Ed Murray (all from Seattle) to add language that would allow cities to limit the number of condo conversions.
Seattle had 2,352 condo conversions last year—a 450% increase since 2004. The result, according to the Displacement Coalition: the loss of 3,900 lower-priced rentals in Seattle in the last two years. Indeed, the average price of new condos is $250,000.
As I reported last week, the advocates were also trying to get a bill going in the house (that would include the conversion-cap idea along with the conversion guidelines in the original senate bill), but Seattle-area house Reps. Jamie Pedersen and Mary Lou Dickerson gave them the cold shoulder.
Well, last night they announced they got Seattle-area liberals Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37) and Rep. Bob Hasegawa (D-11) along with Rep. Phyllis Kenney (D-46) to co-sponsor a comprehensive bill in the house.
Oh, and the house bill’s prime sponsor? Edmonds-area liberal Rep. Maralyn Chase (D-32).
posted by February 7 at 9:37 AMon
Man, I hate the Saudis—always oppressing women, beheading homos, and exporting their batshitcrazy brand of Islam all over the world—but I love what those crazy motherfuckers do with interior design.
Every surface in that room, every last inch, is covered in marble, crystal, and bad, bad taste. Look at the furniture! You just have to gape in amazement and admiration. I mean, if you have all the money in the world and atrocious taste then you might as well just fucking go for it, right?
But someone needs to tell King Abdullah that dying your goatee is a pretty fucking gay thing to do.
posted by February 7 at 8:59 AMon
If it’s successful, this proposed legislation in New York would seriously undermine Apple’s marketing campaign for the iPod—you know, all those ads showing skinny/scruffy hipsters of indeterminate race walking down the street, lost in their iPods, or hipster silhouettes dancing like maniacs against a brightly colored background, also lost in their iPods. A state legislator in New York have a name for that condition:
…your favorite electronic devices could be in the crosshairs. Legislation will be introduced in Albany on Wednesday to lay a $100 fine on pedestrians succumbing to what State Sen. Carl Kruger calls iPod oblivion.
“We’re talking about people walking sort of tuned in and in the process of being tuned in, tuned out,” Kruger said. “Tuned out to the world around them. They’re walking into speeding cars. They’re walking into buses. They’re walking into one another and it’s creating a number of fatalities that have been documented right here in the city.”
Pedestrians have been hurt and killed in the manner Kruger describes. Not surprisingly, though, iPod users are less than thrilled with the senator’s proposal.
“That’s not a distraction,” said one woman, iPod securely implanted in her ears. “You have your iPod in your ears and you’re crossing the street, you are looking with your eyes. You don’t have to hear anything, really.
I’m what’s know as a “late adopter.” New technology—beh. Who needs it?
But my boyfriend got me an iPod for Christmas, explaining that my love of musical theater combined with my dread of small talk—in airplanes, in stores, in coffee shops, in bedrooms—made the iPod the perfect gift. I’ve been walking around listening to it ever since. Right now I’m listening to the original cast recording of Let My People Come, which is just as hilariously awful as advertised. (If you’re too young to remember when oral sex was the height of kink, you need to listen to this musical and then thank your lucky stars you were born after 1975.) And, of course, Mika.
I don’t think Kruger’s legislation will be successful, but I have to admit that Kruger has a point. I’ve almost gotten myself killed three or four times in the last six weeks. Not by strolling out in front of cars—I look both ways even with my iPod on—but because I, uh, can’t really hear anything. And a person does take things in, and become aware of risks, with their eyes and their ears.
Your ears, in an urban environment, are the eyes in the back of your head. I haven’t walked out in front of any cars or buses, lost in iPod oblivion, but I haven’t been able to hear bikes and joggers and skateboarders and other pedestrians coming up fast behind me. And In one instance I’m pretty sure the person coming up behind me was thinking about mugging me.
Kruger’s advice for me?
“If you want to listen to your iPod, sit down and listen to it,” Kruger declared.
I doubt that even Steve Jobs can come up with commercial that makes that look like fun.
posted by February 7 at 8:40 AMon
Somehow I missed this in yesterday’s New York Times. Germany is experiencing a brain drain, with educated professionals leaving for Canada, Australia, and the United States. And why are they leaving?
In Mr. Thoma’s view, the root of the problem is deeper. Germany, he said, has a “blockage” in its society.
“Germans are so complacent,” he said, sitting at the dining table in his neat-as-a-pin home here. “They don’t want to change anything. Everything is discussed endlessly without ever reaching a solution.”
Mr. Thoma, who claims he suffers from high blood pressure as a result of all those endless discussions, is headed for Canada, not the United States—which means he won’t wind up in Seattle, which would certainly be bad for his blood pressure.
posted by February 7 at 8:16 AMon
Next culinary trend: Unlaid (aka embryonic) eggs. What will the pro-lifers think? (People used to eat these all the time before the dawn of the factory farm.)
What happened to Lisa Nowak? According to the NYT, NASA only tests for craziness at the beginning of an astronaut’s employment.
Another bird down in Iraq. It’s the fifth in about two weeks.
That’s all they’ve got? Bush approves halt on US bank transfers to Darfur government.
Old news: The Village Voice reports on Boeing’s connections to CIA torture. You won’t read much about it in the Times or the P-I.
More old news: Meth use is down. Ditto above.
posted by February 6 at 6:22 PMon
Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott plans to try to force an end to U.S. involvement in Iraq by attaching an amendment to an upcoming war-funding bill.
However, if McDermott’s new amendment follows the same trajectory as the 1970 amendment that it’s modeled after, it won’t get very far (see the jump).
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) announced today that he will introduce legislation aimed at bringing an end to U.S. involvement in the Iraq War patterned after the 1970 McGovern-Hatfield Amendment that marked the turning point in ending the Vietnam War.
“The lesson of history is clear and unmistakable,” McDermott said: “The President’s escalation of the Iraq War is no different than the escalation of the Vietnam War and the outcome will be the same, more American lives lost.” McDermott added, “It is time to begin the end of the Iraq War; the President won’t do it; Congress must.”
posted by February 6 at 5:20 PMon
Art panties have become bunched on Artdish.
My podcast last week with Anne Mathern and Chad Wentzel of Crawl Space ticked off M., founder of the now-defunct Visual Codec.
In particular, she objected to Mathern and Wentzel’s claim that there is no art “scene” in Seattle, and to my seeming endorsement of that claim in the description of the podcast, “Anne Mathern and Chad Wentzel on How Seattle Doesn’t Have an Art Scene.”
In an email, M. wrote to me,
i love your little corner of the web, but the title “How Seattle Doesn’t Have an Art Scene” just made me so sad…the role of press in making or breaking a scene can be a crucial one…if a tree falls in the woods and nobody’s there to report on it and so on…
i know we’ve lost a lot lately (conworks, carolyn zick’s longtime
notebook, vc, maybe coca…) but does that really mean that there is no visual arts scene in seattle? it’s always been there for me when i go looking for it…
So what’s the deal with me? Do I agree with Mathern and Wentzel? If not, why didn’t I rag all over them in the podcast or mock them in the headline?
I’ve actually been thinking about this since they said it. I shouldn’t have been surprised, since I invited them knowing they’d present a too-cool united front, but somehow their arrogance, free of the self-loathing that has come to be such a social lubricant, took my breath away. I just wanted to get it on tape, and send it out into the world to see what would happen. And now I see.
Does Seattle have a “scene”?
Well, if you mean, does anything worthwhile happen here, then hell, yes, it does. Otherwise I wouldn’t bother writing about it, and when I did, you wouldn’t bother reading about it. Come on. (Is Seattle’s scene better than it used to be? I don’t know for sure. I’m new. But I can always find something worth cheering for or complaining about.)
But if you mean does Seattle have a glamor-generating substrata based on an exclusionary social hierarchy that may or may not be tied to a series of artistic convictions, then hell, no, it doesn’t.
In fact, sometimes I think Seattle deliberately undercuts the prospect of such a thing. Scott Lawrimore may be trying to change that, but in a particularly Seattle—and a particularly self-conscious—sort of way.
For the closing party of the Genius Awards show at the Henry, Lawrimore rented a limo and drove his artists in high style to the museum. But from what I heard afterward, Lawrimore wasn’t intending to recreate the high-school prom or the setting for a West Coast-East Coast shootout. He’s riffing on those trappings, poking fun of them while taking part in them, and so are his artists.
The recent incarnation of a new, “fake” SuttonBeresCuller trio is another case of celebrityfication mocked. Greg Lundgren noticed that SuttonBeresCuller the artist trio had become SuttonBeresCuller the icon, and he decided to tweak the problem to the nth degree—proposing that fakers can do SBC works just as well. It’s funny, smart, aggressive, and it testifies to Seattle’s conflicted relationship with scenes and scenesterism, as a young, self-conscious, and underdog city only once in its history swept into the national “scene” by an artist who killed himself in a house by the lake.
posted by February 6 at 4:50 PMon
A neologism for you, dear Josh (can it be that no one has thought of this?):
(Courtesy of Rob “The Definer” Lightner)
posted by February 6 at 4:39 PMon
I’m about to run out the door but I wanted to link to this fucking infuriating story.
Kevin-Douglas Olive and Russell Groff were in a committed, loving relationship for 6 years. The two were united in a Quaker wedding ceremony and pledged to spend the rest of their lives together. Sadly, Russell became sick as a result of HIV; Kevin-Douglas was by his partner’s side during every minute of this painful illness…. Part of getting their affairs in order included preparing a will to ensure that Russell’s wishes would be followed at the time of his death. Kevin-Douglas and Russell purchased the gravesite near their childhood homes, and Russell’s body was buried there after his death. The two bought the gravesite with the intention that Kevin-Douglas would be buried next to Russell.
Russell’s parents, who never accepted their son as he was, decided to challenge Russell’s will in the Maryland court system. They want to have their son’s body moved to the family cemetery, a Baptist cemetery.
When you argue for same-sex marriage rights, some people—people like George W. Bush—tell us to just go get wills and powers of attorney and everything will be alright. Do we really need the 1100 rights that come with legal marriage? Do we have to be so unreasonable? Can’t we just get by with a lawyer and some privately drawn-up contracts?
But a legal marriage, unlike a will, can’t be challenged in court. The homophobic parents of Kevin-Douglas’ late partner lost their initial lawsuit—but they’re appealing. And Kevin-Douglas is now broke, and his late partner’s family may win the right to violate his partner’s dying wish and desecrate his remains.
If Kevin-Douglas had been legally married this would not be happening.
posted by February 6 at 4:33 PMon
First, an unrelated open letter to the editors of the P-I: Why, for the love of God, do virtually ALL your blogs by female writers have asinine, jaw-droppingly condescending names (TV Gal, Girl About Town, Mariner Housewife, etc.)? Do you think people wouldn’t read a blog by an actual, bona fide grown woman? Are you just trying to annoy me specifically?
On to my point: As the P-I’s Bus Chick reports, Metro buses are now being equipped with three bike racks instead of two, which anyone who’s ever been forced to wait for the next bus in the rain because both racks were full will recognize is a very good thing.
posted by February 6 at 4:13 PMon
The Friends of Seattle kickoff party, from 6 to 8 tonight at Twist, 2313 First Ave. in Belltown. Friends of Seattle is a new group that promotes the kind of progressive urbanist vision that the 52-year-old arts and urban planning advocacy group Allied Arts used to champion. (They lost that crown when they supported the mayor’s 13-block cut-and-cover tunnel on the waterfront.) From FoS’s vision statement:
Our principles are inspired in part by the New Urbanism movement and the Ahwahnee Principles for Resource Efficient Communities.
• Embrace progress, growth, and development, provided that these forces are properly harnessed to meet the needs and aspirations of the public.
• Make waste reduction, energy conservation, and minimization of global warming-causing emissions central goals of community design.
• Value and promote neighborhoods where people of mixed backgrounds are able to live together, as defined by income, profession, ethnicity, culture, age, and other qualities.
• Establish zoning rules that permit enough housing to be developed to accommodate population growth.
• Design communities so that the location of buildings and the way they relate to the street encourage pedestrian activity throughout the day.
• Make public transit, not highways, the core transportation infrastructure for managing the region’s growth and development.
• Develop enough parks so that any resident can easily walk to a park or public gathering space.
I have absolutely no clue what the Ahwahnee Principles for Resource Efficient Communities are, but I do know FoS is the first local political group to really embrace this kind of truly green, urbanist vision in a long, long time. (They’re also for the surface/transit option). The party’s free, but 10 bucks gets you a FoS membership and an “exciting free FoS cocktail.” We’re going. You should too.
posted by February 6 at 3:40 PMon
We’ve been following the case of the diaper-clad, hammer-totin’ lady astronaut pretty closely here on Slog. In the comments on my original post today, TSM writes…
I say that drugs were involved, perhaps meth. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that they give astronauts the stuff to keep them going, and she kept up the habit.
Meth would explain the sheer, maniacal determination the lady astronaut displayed. She drove 950 miles in diapers so that she wouldn’t have to stop along the way to use the toilet—that’s methy. It also might explain the before-and-after pictures of astronaut Lisa “Diapers” Nowak currently up on the Drudge Report. On the left, she’s a healthy looking lady astronaut. On the right, she’s an alleged first-degree attempted murderess. Note the weight loss, thinner hair, and papery skin…
Unfortunately we can’t see her teeth, which are usually the dead giveway. But that looks like the face of meth to me. How long until Nowak announces that she’s entering rehab?
posted by February 6 at 3:25 PMon
This is a part of black history:
The man in the image is Pat Harrington, Jr. He plays the janitor in the TV show One Day At Time. The show no longer exists but was popular at around the time I was 10 (1978-1982). At around this time I, a black boy, and my sister, a black girl, met Pat Harrington, Jr. in Salisbury, Maryland. We met him in a community center and spent the afternoon discovering his comic greatness. He was hyper in attitude and no line existed between the Pat Harrington, Jr we saw on TV and Pat Harrington, Jr we saw in real life. He could only act like himself. And the food we ate for lunch was not at all bad. I recall lots of chips, hot dogs, and a big salad. At around four of that fine day in black history, that sunny Saturday afternoon we spent in the glow of Pat’s stardom, the TV janitor shook my hand, hugged my sister, and said goodbye to the small community center, to Salisbury (which is near Ocean City), to the world of hard things and happy black children, and he returned to the TV for two more seasons. We will never forget you and your mustache.
posted by February 6 at 3:18 PMon
… you should really read it in the New York Times. The Gray Lady still refers to people by their titles, you see, and the image of “Captain” X wearing diapers and toting a BB gun on her way to kidnap and/or murder “Captain” Y to punish her for the affections of “Commander” Z is something from the space age. If only she had a ray gun.
posted by February 6 at 3:10 PMon
Move Over, Mike Patton: Scissor Sisters Cut Into the Lucrative Soap Opera Market.
Auer’s Rock: Jon Auer Gets Ready To Go Down Under.
Dancing With Signifiers: M.I.A. Represents The Third World.
Her Satanic Majesty: Diamanda Galas’ Valentine’s Day Massacre.
Fooling With Signifiers: Blackblack Represents Blackness.
Neumos is Not a Cold, Dead Place: Explosions in the Sky Almost Sold Out?
Don’t Leave My Head Alone Brain: Henrik Schwarz’s DJ Kicks.
Sweet North America: Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Deep Canadian Interior.
Sludgy Mummies: Kylesea Recap.
Aural Sex: Let My People Come.
posted by February 6 at 2:59 PMon
This Thursday, February 8, Governor Gregoire is hosting a dinner at the Governor’s mansion for freshman state senators like former Rep. and now-Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Seattle) and his friends from the house who also recently joined the senate—Sen. Jenea Holmquist (R-13, Moses Lake) and Sen. Jim Clements (R-14, Yakima).
Both Holmquist and Clements are co-sponsors of the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment that Republicans are shopping in the legislature this session.
Here’s hoping Murray brings his longtime partner to the dinner and is seated next to his anti-family colleagues.
posted by February 6 at 2:41 PMon
New clothes—at least according to the ladies! Don’t believe me? Well, surely you’ll take the word of an impartial, altruistic consumer goods giant!
For most women, the choice between sex and a new wardrobe is simple—they go for the clothes.
Women on average say they would be willing to give up sex for 15 months for a closet full of new apparel, with 2 percent ready to abstain from sex for three years in exchange for new duds, according to a new survey of about 1,000 women in 10 U.S. cities.
Sixty-one percent of women polled said it would be worse to lose their favorite article of clothing than give up sex for a month…. Almost three-quarters of respondents, or 70 percent, also said they believed in love at first sight when it came to finding the perfect article of clothing, while only 54 percent of women were as confident in spotting the right man.
Nearly half of the women, or 48 percent, taking part in the survey by consumer products giant Unilever said their favorite article of clothing was more reliable than their man in giving them confidence and making them feel sexy.
The only person quoted in the story? That noted expert on women, Carson Kressley from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”
posted by February 6 at 2:11 PMon
So he fucked a woman on staff, a close friend’s wife… so he must be a drunk. Or something.
Just days after disclosing his affair with a staff member married to one of his top political aides, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom admitted Monday he has a drinking problem and said he would seek treatment for alcohol abuse.
During a regularly scheduled weekly meeting with department leaders in City Hall, Newsom said he has stopped drinking and that he is seeking professional help for his dependency.
Gosh. I’m old enough to remember when rehab was just for drug addicts and alcoholics—when was that? Eighteen or so months ago? Now we’ve got rehab for anti-semites (Mel Gibson), racists (Michael Richards), homophobes (Isaiah Washington), homos (Mark Foley & Ted Haggard), and guys who bang other guys wives (Gavin Newsom). I wish there was a rehab clinic for everything back in 2000, when I got in trouble with the state of Iowa for licking Gary Bauer’s doorknobs. I wish I could’ve called a press conference and said that I was so fucking drunk or high or angry or horny that I didn’t know what I was doing. (“shit, I thought I was licking the top of Bauer’s head, not his knobs.”) I could have saved myself and Salon a shitload of money. Ah, well.
UPDATE: Ari points out that there is rehab for knob licking—and Haggard just got out of it.
posted by February 6 at 1:58 PMon
Praise the lawd today:
Haggard now “completely heterosexual”Annie and Dan have already posted about this. But it really needs a third post. It’s that amazing. I really want to know what this “intensive counseling” involved. I hope, I pray, I suspect, listening to lots of Jim Reeves.
DENVER — One of four ministers who oversaw three weeks of intensive counseling for the Rev. Ted Haggard said the disgraced minister emerged convinced that he is “completely heterosexual.”
When the darkness appears
And the night draws near,
And the day is past and gone,
At the river I stand.
Guide my feet, hold my hand,
Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.
posted by February 6 at 12:47 PMon
In Bush’s $2.9 trillion the Defence Department (or War Department) is allocated $481.1 billion.
This is a 62 percent increase over 2001, Bush’s first year as president, and an increase of $49 billion over what Congress provided for this fiscal year. But the figure does not include more than $93 billion in supplemental money in this fiscal year and about $145 billion in the next fiscal year for the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns.What’s truly shocking is not the increase but the fact that United States’ military budget not only dwarfs China’s, which is second in such spending (an estimated $100 billion), but is larger than or equal to “the combined defense budgets for the rest of the world”:
The closest competitor is China, which spends somewhere between $70 billion and $100 billion annually on its armed forces, according to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s intelligence arm.
Russia comes in third at about $50 billion, followed by France at $45 billion, Japan at $44 billion and the United Kingdom at $42 billion, Germany at $35 billion and Italy at $28 billion.
Pentagon budgets have surged since the 2001 terrorist attacks.
We live in the teeth of hell.
posted by February 6 at 12:40 PMon
Today brings not one but two stories of former Stranger writers finding their ways onto various-sized screens.
Story #1 comes from Grant Cogswell, who’s in Los Angeles doing post-production work on Cthulhu and some hilarious moonlighting on the side. Writes Grant:
I signed up for being an extra with an agency, and my first job was to play a Seattle firefighter on Grey’s Anatomy. For three days, I ran back and forth across the sunny parking lot of the Santa Anita Raceway in Arcadia in a colossal scene of the ferry crashing into Colman Dock and fucking up a whole bunch of people. On either side of us (the six fire trucks, four ambulances, actors, crew and 200 extras) were two greenscreens mounted on stacks of railroad containers three high and five across. With the magic of special effects, one of those greenscreens will be the waterfront and skyline of Seattle, the other the burning ferryboat and Puget Sound. Next week I’m on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Weird for someone who hasn’t owned a TV since 1989.
Watch for part one of Grey’s Anatomy’s two-part ferry crash episode this Thursday at 9:00 pm on KOMO 4. (“I’m the firefighter without a tank on his back,” says Grant. “I take my hat off and put it back on a lot.”)
Story #2 also features Cogswell, whose 2001 run for the Seattle City Council is the subject of former Stranger writer Phil Campbell’s book Zioncheck for President. As Grant tells it, “Director Stephen Gyllenhaal just bought the rights to Phil’s book to make into a film. They’re trying to get Robert Downey Jr. to play me, which would be the most hilarious thing that has ever happened.”
God knows a gazillion things can go awry en route from book sale to film premiere, but huge congratulations to Phil Campbell, and Grant’s right: Seeing him and all the other players in the 2001 City Council election played by professional actors would be the most hilarious thing that has ever happened.
posted by February 6 at 12:23 PMon
The Christian mycological fungies are at it again with their insidious viral marketing campaign. Who will be able to resist this new wave of propaganda? Not I, that’s for sure.
posted by February 6 at 11:30 AMon
Yesterday, I posted a sneak peek at Gov. Gregoire’s “big deal” announcement (coming today?) about her intent to deal with the climate change crisis.
As I’ve been Slogging, and and columnizing, non-stop, this is the issue of this year’s legislature, and I’m concerned that the best idea, Rep. Maralyn Chase’s (D-32) bill for an emissions cap and trade system (something also proposed by the governor of … Oregon), is going to be abandoned.
Indeed, I’m afraid that rather than adding octane to Chase’s bill, Gregoire’s splashy announcement establishing a “strategic framework for action” (ugggghhh) will end up displacing good legislation like Chase’s.
Well, the senate Democrats just announced that they’ll be doing a press conference tomorrow at noon. Seattle-area Sen. Erik Poulsen (D-34) will be center stage at the press conference (I’ve heard) to hype his own war on C02 emissions.
Hopefully, Poulsen’s announcement will work in tandem with Chase’s cap and trade bill—although I’m not counting on it. I called Poulsen’s office yesterday. Haven’t heard back.
posted by February 6 at 10:50 AMon
From yesterday’s Seattle Times:
An Albany father used a 100,000-volt stun gun on his 18-month-old son, police said today. Rian Whittman, 23, has been accused of assault and criminal mistreatment.
Police said he used it “multiple times” over three weeks. A police spokesman said there were up to 10 instances. Police said Whittman’s wife, 21, who was not named, reported the abuse on Saturday.
posted by February 6 at 10:45 AMon
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Rhyme
(Poetry) Two years ago at Hugo House, a petulant lady asked Sherman Alexie a question about poetry and he tore the lady apart. Kicked her head in. It was awesome. The guy knows a lot about poetry. Tonight, he’s the star of “a roundtable discussion and reading of formal poetry”—you know, poetry that rhymes, the only kind that’s fun to hear aloud. Also on the panel are Chelsea Rathburn, Richard Wakefield, and Eric McHenry. No telling whose head Alexie will kick in this time. Therein lies the suspense. (Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, 322-7030. 7 pm, free.) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
posted by February 6 at 10:45 AMon
The Stranger Election Control Board’s endorsement in today’s mystery school levy election (original run date: January 24):
Last week, like us, you may have found yourself asking, “Why am I getting a ballot in the mail? It’s January, right? Have I entered some strange alternate universe where we vote in the winter and have Christmas in March? Is this somehow related to global warming?”
All good questions. Turns out we’re voting on two separate school-bond levies, both of which replace expiring property taxes. (The vote is always in February—who knew?) The first, a six-year, $490 million capital bond, will pay for capital projects including school-building renovations, seismic upgrades, fire alarms, and sprinkler systems. The second, a $397 million operations levy, will help fund school operations. Although we’re less than thrilled with being asked to fund basic services through property-tax levies (isn’t funding education the state legislature’s job?), sending a message to the legislature is less important than providing basic education for Seattle’s kids. Vote yes on both levies.
posted by February 6 at 9:52 AMon
The New York Post weighs in with what might be the most erotic jolt of gossip of the day—SCARLETT JOHANSSON grinding all up in JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE’S junk! As we all know Justin gave Cameron Diaz the old heave ho at the first of the year, and has since been spotted with JESSICA BIEL and ALYSSA MILANO. But those two have nothing on the world’s current alpha girl, Johansson. Sez the NYP…
Johansson met Timberlake at the Hennessey Super Bowl afterparty, where, spies say, “they were talking, dancing, holding hands all night - it was very cozy.
“Then, as they left through the back, Justin was leaning against the wall and Scarlett came up, leaned into him and did a sexy, little dance, grinding into his body.”
Right… I’m going to run to the bathroom for a minute.
Okay, I’m back (that didn’t take very long). Isn’t that hot?! And while it is the job of gossip columnists everywhere to break up any burgeoning Hollywood romance, I AM TOTALLY IN FAVOR OF THIS UNION. The world’s hottest guy deserves the world’s hottest girl, and currently, Johansson is that girl!
DO YOU AGREE WITH MY ASSERTION?
I thought you might.
posted by February 6 at 9:42 AMon
Well, that depends on your definition of “right stuff.”
A NASA astronaut who drove hundreds of miles to confront a romantic rival, wearing diapers on the journey so that she would not have to stop to use the restroom, appeared in court today facing charges that included attempted kidnapping, and was ordered released on $15,500 bond.
The astronaut, Lisa Nowak, 43, who flew on a shuttle mission last summer, mostly kept her head down during the preliminary appearance in an Orange County, Fla. court….
The Orlando police allege that Mrs. Nowak drove 950 miles from Houston to Orlando—wearing adult diapers—and disguised herself in a dark wig, glasses and trench coat to confront Ms. Shipman in the parking lot of Orlando International Airport, according to a police affidavit. Mrs. Nowak considered her a rival for the affections of a fellow astronaut, Bill Oefelein, according to the affidavit.
The Orlando police said that Mrs. Nowak followed Ms. Shipman to a parking lot at the airport, where Ms. Shipman entered her car. Mrs. Nowak approached the car window and tried to open the door. When Ms. Shipman would not open the door, Mrs. Nowak began to cry, the police said. Ms. Shipman cracked the window, and Mrs. Nowak sprayed pepper spray into the vehicle.
Sadly, the adult-diapers-wearing astronaut has three children and a husband back at home—good luck at school, kids—and her husband isn’t the man she peed her pants or pepper sprayed her rival over. What really gets me about this story, though, is the diaper detail. She drove almost a 1000 miles in adult diapers? Wouldn’t a long drive like that, particularly in a puddle of your own urine, give you some time to think things over? And come to your senses?
In addition to diapers and pepper spray, Nowak brought along a BB gun, a steel hammer, a 4-inch folding knife, rubber tubing, and rubber gloves. (Oh, and some love letters) All the right stuff, I guess, if Nowak was planning to reenact that scene from Apollo 13 where they build an air filtration system out of spare parts—perhaps using spare parts carved out of her rival?
On the bright side, Mrs. Nowak is definitely 100% heterosexual.
posted by February 6 at 8:55 AMon
Check out the No Tunnel Alliance blog. Look at who is pushing for the rebuild, and whose support they tout: Helen Sommers, Joni Balter (and the Seattle Times editorial page), Joel Connelly, the Washington State Alliance for Retired Americans, Nick Licata …
It is a veritable who’s who of Seattle oldsters.
Indeed, it seems to me that only people who were alive when the Viaduct was first built support rebuilding it now. Of course, if we take their advice and rebuild this monstrosity, most of these folks won’t be around in 25 years to explain why the city made such a dumb mistake.
posted by February 6 at 8:19 AMon
In honor of Ted Haggard’s being 100% heterosexual…
Why Do All These Homosexuals Keep Sucking My Cock?
By Bruce Heffernan
Look, I’m not a hateful person or anything—I believe we should all live and let live. But lately, I’ve been having a real problem with these homosexuals. You see, just about wherever I go these days, one of them approaches me and starts sucking my cock.
Take last Sunday, for instance, when I casually struck up a conversation with this guy in the health-club locker room. Nothing fruity, just a couple of fellas talking about their workout routines while enjoying a nice hot shower. The guy looked like a real man’s man, too—big biceps, meaty thighs, thick neck. He didn’t seem the least bit gay. At least not until he started sucking my cock, that is.
Where does this queer get the nerve to suck my cock? Did I look gay to him? Was I wearing a pink feather boa without realizing it? I don’t recall the phrase, “Suck my cock” entering the conversation, and I don’t have a sign around my neck that reads, “Please, You Homosexuals, Suck My Cock.”
I’ve got nothing against homosexuals. Let them be free to do their gay thing in peace, I say. But when they start sucking my cock, I’ve got a real problem…
Things could be worse, I suppose. It could be women trying to suck my cock, which would be adultery and would make me feel tremendously guilty. As it is, I’m just angry and sickened. But, believe me, that’s enough. I don’t know what makes these homosexuals mistake me for a guy who wants his cock sucked, and, frankly, I don’t want to know. I just wish there were some way to get them to stop.
Read the whole thing by clicking here.
posted by February 6 at 8:19 AMon
Arf. Senator MoneyTree wants to throw the Sonics a $300 M bone.
Some People Just Suck: And Pharma hasn’t come up with a pill yet to fix it.
“We punish conduct, not race”: Police, school and city officials in Snohomish County defend arrests of Latino students.
Who needs ‘em? Getting the axe in the Bush budget: drug courts, prison rape prevention, community policing.
Ah ah ah. No not that: Judge narrows Watada defense.
Monkey Wrench: Republicans stall debate on Iraq.
Busted: NASA astronaut arrested for attempted kidnapping.
posted by February 6 at 7:21 AMon
posted by February 6 at 6:52 AMon
[Written by Stranger intern Sage Van Wing, who attended the court-martial of Lt. Ehren Watada yesterday.]
The Pursuit of Happyness. That’s the movie that was playing at the Fort Lewis cinema this afternoon as the defense lawyer was arguing for Lt. Ehren Watada’s right to pursue his freedom of speech. Today was the opening day of the court martial proceedings against Watada and the day was marked by protests both inside and outside the courtroom.
Several hundred people stood shivering outside the gates of the base holding signs in support of Watada and parading giant puppets like those used in the WTO rallies. I heard that Sean Penn was among the protesters, but, alas, I did not get to meet him as I was confined to the base all day. Luckily, though, I was one of the seven reporters who were actually allowed to be in the courtroom this morning. We had to draw marbles out of a bag to determine who would be allowed inside. Everyone else watched the proceedings on a TV screen in the overflow room. There were roughly 30 reporters and camerafolk there, about half of whom seemed to be foreign press. There were probably as many people from Japan as there were from the local Seattle area.
Inside the courtroom, Defense Attorney Eric Seitz, a bulky, balding man in a grey suit, began with all guns blazing this morning.
posted by February 6 at 12:10 AMon
State Sen. Dan Swecker (R-20), along with seven more Republican co-sponsors in the senate and three wayward Democratic state senators, have filed legislation calling for an amendment to the state constitution outlawing same-sex marriage.
The “Dems” are Sens. Tim Sheldon (D-35), Marilyn Rasmussen (D-2), and James Hargrove (D-24).
posted by February 5 at 5:53 PMon
I’ve been too busy to blog at all today, and so I wasn’t able to offer my two cents on the violently-homophobic-Superbowl-commercial-for-Snickers controversy. Well, it appears to be all over now.
John Aravosis took on Snickers—and John won. Read all about it at Americablog.
posted by February 5 at 4:58 PMon
A payday lending watchdog group has posted an interview with a man who’s made a mash-up of MySpace and payday loans. FYGO promises fair interest rates and the opportunity to borrow and lend among people you can trust: your friends! Eek! Sounds like a bad idea. Maybe instead we should borrow a page from Islamic financing, in which the risk, and the profits, are shared.
posted by February 5 at 4:19 PMon
Bruce Bawer’s review of Dinesh D’Souza’s book The Enemy at Home is up and worth the read. A taste of the critic’s fire:
As for “virtue”—well, D’Souza fumes for pages at length about the moral corruption of everything from Pulp Fiction and Jerry Springer to Britney Spears and Will and Grace, ardently contrasting all this vice and filth to the glorious uprightness of Muslim family values. Forget the sky-high rates of wife-beating and intrafamily rape in Muslim households; forget the stoning to death of gays and rape victims—D’Souza offers only scattered, rote, and understated acknowledgments that Muslim domestic culture might not be 100 percent morally pure (“There is, of course, no excuse for the abuses of patriarchy”). He ignores the Muslim schoolbooks and media that routinely depict Jews as subhumans who merit extinction; he winks at the current persecution of “traditional, family oriented” Christians (and Hindus) across the Muslim world; and he pretends that “most traditional Muslims” condemn honor killings. (On the contrary, when European Muslims slaughter their daughters, journalists struggle to find coreligionists who’ll criticize them for doing so.)
posted by February 5 at 4:04 PMon
As it does every year, the sex-ed bill mandating that all sex-ed lessons be medically accurate and also stipulating that no curriculum can include abstinence-only education without also incuding info on contraception—like condoms—passed out of the house health committee today.
It passed along party lines 8-4, with all the Democrats voting for it and all the Republicans voting against.
Next, as it always does, it will pass the whole house.
The real news will come when it gains traction in the senate. There is a senate version, but it doesn’t have a hearing yet.
posted by February 5 at 4:03 PMon
For Bradley Steinbacher:
Found on the massively entertaining blog of supercool NYC stage and screen actor James Urbaniak (best known as the co-star of Hal Hartley’s Henry Fool and of its forthcoming sequel, Fay Grim, but also rightfully beloved by some of us for being the voice of the Letters to Wendy’s audiobook).
posted by February 5 at 3:35 PMon
The Seattle Times caught Sean Penn outside the Fort Lewis gates, protesting and smoking:
And inside the courtroom is The Stranger’s Sage Van Wing, who tells me that the military judge has ruled all of Lt. Ehren Watada’s defense witnesses “irrelevant”—every single one of them, Sage says. Sounds like it will be a short defense, although Lt. Watada himself apparently plans to take the stand.
More from Sage later in the day.
posted by February 5 at 3:20 PMon
My Name Is: The former Mrs. Slim Shady speaks.
Kim Hayden Suggests: Kylesa at Chop Suey.
Justify Your Pod: Dan Savage defends Maureen McGovern.
Jon Auer in Australia: Searching for the ghosts of INXS.
Wayfaring Stranger: Burial, Woon, and bellies.
San Francisco Treats: DJs Pretty Titty and My!Gay!Husband! report from the road.
RJD2: Dave Segal was wrong about The Third Hand.
Sexy Time Soundtracks: What the Stranger Staff listens to
“during that time”.
posted by February 5 at 3:13 PMon
In particular I’ve been putting the spotlight on Rep. Maralyn Chase’s (D-32) emissions cap bill and, more importantly, on Gov. Gregoire. Ever since Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski came out for a cap and trade system two weeks ago, I’ve been waiting for Gov. Gregoire to act.
The Seattle Times picked up on on the jag with their own story in Sunday’s paper.
Well, I just got a sneak peek at Gov. Gregoire’s response to all this. Evidently, later this week, Gov. Gregoire will be releasing a policy brief on climate change. She says she wants to reduce emissions by 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2050 (which isn’t adequate, according to most environmentalists. Indeed, WASHPIRG has been pushing to reduce our current emissions by 80% by 2050.)
Meanwhile, the document is vague, stating only that Gregoire is asking the Dept. of Ecology and Community Trade and Economic Development to put together a Strategic framework for Action to reach her goals.
Strategic Framework for Action …. ?
Tired of my cynicism. The person who leaked me the document had this to say:
I have a friend who is doing some work with Gov. Gregoire’s office on Energy Issues. Apparently, they are releasing this document today and announcing her “seriousness” about climate change issues.
Seems pretty lame to me, actually. Nothing bold here.
The document I got is a bit weird. I’ve tried to link it below.
posted by February 5 at 2:28 PMon
According to the Vancouver Sun, the man accused of killing too many Canadian women, Robert Pickton, had a long conversation with a cop pretending to be his cellmate. Pickton has been in jail since 2002, the cop was planted in Pickton’s cell on the day his arrest, Feb. 22, 2002, and this is a small part of the long conversation that will be played on the second day of his long-awaited trail:
“I’m just a plain old pig farmer.” Pickton told his cellmate.
“Not anymore, my friend,” the cellmate pointed out.
“The whole world knows me now,” Pickton said.
“That’s right … like a legend,” the undercover officer said.
“Really I am now. Doesn’t matter where I go,” Pickton said. “Your life is over with, finished.”
For more about the “plain old pig farmer” .
posted by February 5 at 1:13 PMon
Not to look a gift house in the mouth…but…a dog skin rug? A Day-glow green bed?
WT proverbial F?
Jeannie Yandle and Aaron Starkey live in Seattle. Aaron plays in a band (called “Spanish for 100”), and Jeannie “works in radio” (she’s a news producer for KUOW). They were moving to a new house in Ballard. These factors combined to attract producers from the reality TV show “Move this House” on A&E, who pounced on them like a Parkinson’s patient on a pile of stem cells. The producers imagined that Jeannie and Aaron’s “careers in entertainment” (KUOW news, for God’s sake?) made the couple perfect candidates for their show—an “Extreme Home Makeover” concept with a glam rock twist. It seemed like a great idea at the time.
“We were moving, and I really just wanted to move our stuff for free,” admits Jeanie. Free interior design and free movers? Fabulous. But then, according to Jeannie and Aaron, everything went horribly wrong.
The reality show came. It saw. It kicked their ass. “Tragically. Aaron’s band’s not Poison circa ‘Look What the Cat Dragged In,’” as Jeanie puts it. In her own words:
“I kind of lost my shit when I saw the dog-carcass rug in the bedroom and the color they painted our bed.
They painted the living room and dining room in colors inspired by Hi-Liters. The living room was Kermit the Frog green, and the dining room bright yellow with a copper ceiling. They built this massive Asian-inspired looking shelving thing on the only open wall of our living room—I think it was supposed to be a bookshelf, but it didn’t actually have enough space to hold books. In our little (little!) dining nook, they crammed this big-ass dining room table. It barely fit the space—in fact, they couldn’t fit any chairs around the table. Isn’t design supposed to solve problems instead of compound them?
But that wasn’t the worst part. No, the worst part was the huge wall of mirrors they installed right next to our bed. Wait, maybe it was the fact that they painted our bed bright Hi-liter green. And it was only after the TV people left that we realized that they scratched the hell out of the hardwood floors we just refinished too. It looked like someone took an SOS pad to the floor to try and clean up paint spills…We’re supposed to get a copy of the show after it airs, so when we do, we’ll have a party and just keep playing the goddamn thing over and over. And the crew left us a ton of beer, which we really kind of needed after everything…”
Indeed. You can read the episode synopsis here.
Is Jeannie and Aaron’s reaction to the design make over justified? Is their new house really a so very wretched? Or are they some seriously ungrateful bitches? You decide. Pics here!
posted by February 5 at 12:55 PMon
Here’s the problem…
We go on witch hunts in the gay community…looking for “patient zero”.
When we hear about a new “upward trend” or “superstrain”, we respond with hysteria, and create a hollow “Manifesto“…whose purpose is to only shame and punish a community that’s been shamed and punished for decades.
I’m sorry, but this confused line of thinking needs to be knocked down. And it needs to be knocked down forcefully, “BD,” because it’s extremely harmful (never mind that it’s also a great example of what you describe in your comment as gay men being “their own worst enemies”).
Not all shame is the same, “BD,” and not all shame is worth rejecting out of hand. Here’s how I dealt with your (all too common) brand of confusion in the piece that I’m working on now:
For a long time gay men have fought, correctly, to be free from shame for who we are sexually. But some gay men have gone further, conflating their morally-neutral identity with certain morally unjustifiable actions, and incorrectly asserting that they have some right to be free from shame no matter what sexual decisions they make as gay men, and no matter how adversely some of those decisions affect their own health or the health of their community. Woe to the writer who suggests that some gay men—particularly some “core group” members—should have a little more shame about their actions (not their identity), or at least be a little more ashamed about the unhealthiness their actions are perpetuating.
And here’s how I dealt with the same type of shame confusion back in 2003:
Joseph Sonnabend, a doctor treating people with AIDS at the beginning of the AIDS crisis, had this to say in 1982 about the gay men’s health leadership: “A desire to appear non-judgmental, a desire to remain untinged by moralism, fear of provoking ire, have all fostered a conspiracy of silence. For years no clear message about the danger of promiscuity has emanated from those in whom gay men have entrusted their well-being.”
Then, as now, the roots of the gay leadership’s reflexive refusal to be judgmental, or moralistic, or directive, are fairly obvious. Gay men have been persecuted by moralists, judged unfairly, blamed improperly, shamed unnecessarily, told the behaviors that define us are unnatural. It has harmed us tremendously, and continues to harm us. It keeps us in closets, it destroys our self-worth. But in response, many of us—including many gay men’s health leaders—seem to have completely rejected all morality, all forms of judgment, all blame, all shame, all suggestions of proper behavior. These people seem to think it is possible to build a healthy community without such things, though much of human history—not to mention the current state of the gay community—argues against this proposition. Theirs is an understandable, but unsophisticated, response to persecution. And it is also dangerous. It ends up giving license to the immoral minority; the people in our community who are harming themselves and others by doing things that are undeniably wrong, irresponsible, and shamelessly reckless.
Take your pick, “BD,” but I wish you would listen.
posted by February 5 at 12:22 PMon
Hello citizens of the Slogosphere. For those who don’t already know, Justify Your Pod is the Stranger podcast featuring writers, celebrities, and other interesting folks defending the most suspicious, incriminating, and bizarre songs on their iPods.
posted by February 5 at 11:41 AMon
Righteous Seattle liberals spend a lot of time harrumphing about how Seattle voters are hep to transit alternatives while voters in the suburbs all around us are pro-sprawl, fat, SUV-driving, CO2 emission-head, Wal-Mart road junkies.
Well, we may talk a good game, but here’s the reality check on our rhetoric. No matter which favored plan—the elevated or the tunnel—wins out in our viaduct debate, there is no progressive component on the table. That is: there’s no transit or even HOV lanes.
Yeah, HOV lanes aren’t mass transit, but they are something in the fight for sanity against America’s descent into California Uber Alles.
Well, the suburbs put us to shame when it comes to future planning. All the major suburban highways that, like the viaduct, are slated for reconstruction right now, feature HOV or HOT lanes. (A HOT lane allows commuters to pay for access to an HOV lane.)
167 (which connects Tacoma to Renton) is slated to get HOT lanes in the RTID package.
405 is slated for a $350 million HOV lane expansion.
520 includes an HOV lane in each direction in the 6-lane rebuild option.
509 (which runs through the aptly-named Marginal Way) has HOV lanes planned in Phase 2. HOV lanes were slated for the initial phase, but cost increases pushed them back. Nobody’s talking about HOV lanes for a Viaduct phase 2.
The point being: The suburbs are about 20 years ahead of us troglodytes in Seattle when it comes to dealing with our auto habitat.
(There are increased bus trips planned for the viaduct’s construction phase , but that is not a permanent plan.)
posted by February 5 at 11:16 AMon
As part of a larger poll on the 2008 presidential election, FOX News asked voters whether they thought divine intervention played a role in determining the winner of football games. Twenty-seven percent said yes; 66 percent said no. Asked which team God wanted to win the Super Bowl, 14 percent said the Bears, 11 percent said the Colts. (Sixteen percent said neither, and 33 percent thought God was “too busy.”) According to my sources, they were wrong.
posted by February 5 at 10:57 AMon
Cirque du Soleil, you are definitely not invited back to the Super Bowl next year.
posted by February 5 at 10:45 AMon
(Film) This amazing documentary uses miles of archival footage to tell the frightening story of an apparently progressive, racially integrated church that ended in the largest mass suicide in the history of the world. The rise of the Peoples Temple cult and the transformation of a kook with sunglasses into a barbiturate-addicted sadist mirror, almost too perfectly, the way the revolutionary fever of the 1960s morphed into the panic and decline of the ’70s. (Varsity, Search for Movie Times.) ANNIE WAGNER
posted by February 5 at 10:31 AMon
I guess I am having a good season in my city basketball league—7 ppg. But I never expected to get my own sneaker.
posted by February 5 at 10:17 AMon
I was more than happy not to be writing about gay men’s health anymore. I’ll explain why in a feature I’m working on for this week’s Stranger about… gay men’s health.
But here’s a hint. On Thursday, I posted about the new drug-resistant HIV strain that’s been reported in King County and the crystal meth users who had come down with it. I also suggested that gay men not use crystal meth in the first place, that they not have unprotected sex with meth-heads, and that they tell their friends there’s now one more compelling reason (as if one more compelling reason was needed) not to bareback with people whose HIV status they don’t know.
Pretty obvious stuff. From the comments:
Eli Sanders has an agenda and I don’t believe any of the stories he posts.
(And now, some good news.)
posted by February 5 at 9:59 AMon
It was a pretty underwhelming year for Super Bowl commercials in general—but here was one I LOVED. Anything that so successfully parodies homophobia during the most macho shithead game of the year is okay by me! (See any other commercials you liked or especially despised? Comment on them below, and we’ll post some more later!)
BTW! I’ve got a piece running online at MSNBC.com today where I take some pokes at the top ten Super Bowl commercials (and the washed up celebrities who could have made them better)! Check it out here!
posted by February 5 at 8:30 AMon
Last June, Army Lt. Ehren Watada of Fort Lewis became the first officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq. He called the war “manifestly illegal” and said that his Army oath and his conscience required him to resist the “illegal order” to board a plane with the rest of his unit.
Today Lt. Watada’s court-martial begins at Fort Lewis, just south of Tacoma. If convicted, he faces up to four years in military prison for disobeying the deployment order and making public statements about the war that Army officials now say amounted to misconduct.
My intern, Sage Van Wing, is down at Fort Lewis this morning and will file a Slog report after the opening day of the court-martial ends.
My August 2006 Stranger feature on the Watada case is here.
And here’s a preview of the court-martial that I wrote for TIME.com. My prediction:
It seems clear that the court-martial of Army Lieut. Ehren Watada, which begins Monday on a military base south of Seattle, is not going to turn out the way the officer and his supporters in the antiwar movement had originally hoped.
posted by February 5 at 8:08 AMon
Some big boys from Indianapolis win a big shiny football.
Violence in New Orleans: let’s blame no one.
All in the name of truth? Law enforcement gains new powers to collect DNA.
French women live the longest. Having worked for one, I still think they’re mean.
Baby pandas’ plight: Help! We have no names! (And we’re goofy cute.)
Don’t read this over breakfast: officials in Suffolk dispose of 159,000 turkeys that may have been infected by the bird flu.
In other bird news: American copters getting shot down in Iraq. Wheeee!
posted by February 5 at 8:07 AMon
And so it goes. The Christian Homophobes triumph in the rain.
No one really cares about game analysis—if you do, let me know and I’ll give some in the comments thread. But humor on a Hangover Monday is always appreciated:
Best lines heard: From the pre-game observations of Norman Chad, whose great column The Couch Slouch I cannot find online:
Cirque du Soleil takes the field for eight minutes. They remind of of the Bears offense—a bunch of odd folks running around and jumping around, but nowhere near the end zone.
Then, more Chad: “Grossman under center is starting to look like some sort of carnival concession.”
But the best line, from an apoplectic drunk fan on post-game sports talk radio, regarding Rex Grossman: “In the backfield, that clown did everything but make balloon animals.”
The circus is over, folks. The good news: pitchers and catchers report soon, the baseball season opens in 55 days. The Cubs games most to look forward to? A mid-week set against your Mariners June 12-14, and Monday August 20, when Mike from Mo should join me for a Red Line Double-header: Cubs v. Cardinals in the afternoon at Wrigley, White Sox v. Royals at 7:11 (and, yes, that starting time is brought to you by the convenience store chain, which sponsors it.)
posted by February 4 at 10:22 PMon
Please stop being so much fun to hang out with, so I can stop being so hung over. Really. It’s the least you can do.
posted by February 4 at 6:34 PMon
On Friday night, I received my new voice recognition software in the mail. I have had lots of arm problems, for a long time, and I’m finally trying to do something about it. So I spent the first evening reading my computer bedtime stories so it could learn how I speak, including Dracula. (Oh, Mina.)
These are the names of all of the newsroom staffers at The Stranger. Take a look at them and see whether you think my arms are going to get better.
(Let it also be known that the “the” in the first sentence of that last paragraph first came through as “Iran.”)
Dan savage = duh
Christopher for his oil = Christopher Frizzelle
Charles the band a = Charles Mudede
David Schroeder = David Schmader
Any Wagner = Annie Wagner
But then kindly = Brendan Kiley
That a ceiling = Megan Seling
Bradley spine Walker = Bradley Steinbacher
Eli Sanders = amazing!
Eric brandy = Eric Grandy
A week take Horne = Amy Kate Horn
For Jesse Barnett = Erica C. Barnett
Ala Valdez = Angela Valdez (so close)
Said earlier this = Jen Graves
Toss site = Josh Feit
Delayed Anderson = Gillian Anderson
Share fading = Kim Hayden
Shoddy also emeritus = Sean Nelson Emeritus
posted by February 4 at 6:19 PMon
Slate’s William Saletan on scientists studying gay rams…
You’d expect conservatives to demand that the government stop funding this research. But science is tricky. If you figure out how to make sheep gay, you can probably figure out how to make them straight. And maybe you can do the same to people….
Roselli offers lots of evidence that human homosexuality is linked to biological conditions, some of them genetic. If he figures out how to manipulate sexual orientation in sheep, will others try to manipulate it in humans? We already have. Doctors used to “treat” homosexuality with hormone injections. Some still do. This idea failed miserably in adults, but it might work in fetuses, since their brains are forming. And if we can’t engineer sexual orientation, maybe we can select it. Millions of Asians have used modern sex tests to identify and abort female fetuses. If we learn how to recognize gay brains in development, look out.
But killing is the horror scenario.
The headline for this chilling piece?
posted by February 4 at 5:28 PMon
You know what sucks? The super bowl is blasting away on the television in the bar I’m sitting in right now in Portland, Oregon. And you know else sucks? I’m in one of the bars I sit in all day when I sneak down to Portland to write, and one of the reasons I like this bar—where, yes, I sit all day but I waaaaaay overtip to thank the bartender, and I get the hell out if they start to fill up and need the table—is because it doesn’t have WiFi. I’ve become such a web addict that I have to seek out places without WiFi in order to get any work done. (I’m working on an essay for the upcoming This American Life tour.) But this bar has WiFi now. So I’m tossing up a post before I close my computer and get out of here.
And you know what sucks the most? You can still smoke in bars in Portland.
posted by February 4 at 12:16 PMon
posted by February 4 at 11:10 AMon
The secretary of state has approved a proposed ballot measure that would require married couples to have children within 3 years of marriage.
In response to last year’s state Supreme Court ruling, Andersen v. King County, which upheld the state’s Defense of Marriage Act on the grounds that the state leigislature had the right to see marriage as nothing more than a tool for procreation, I-957 was filed by the reclaim-your-oppression-named Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance. The initiative needs 224,800 signatures by July to make the November ballot.
According to WA-DOMA: “This initiative is the first of three that WA-DOMA has planned for upcoming years. The other two would prohibit divorce or separation when a married couple has children together, and make having a child together the equivalent of marriage.”
p.s. to Don McDonough, looks like someone beat you to it, my angry gay brother.
posted by February 4 at 10:45 AMon
(Solo Performance) Ex-local boy and perennial local favorite Mike Daisey returns for a one-night-only performance at CHAC. Like all of Daisey’s solo storytelling works, Stories from the Atlantic Night Cafe is created without a script. Unlike his other works, SFTANC involves a subject chosen by Daisey an hour before curtain, upon which he extemporaneously pontificates during that evening’s show. Every show is a world premiere, never to be repeated again. Go. (Capitol Hill Arts Center, 1621 12th Ave, www.brownpapertickets.com. 7pm, $20/$25.) DAVID SCHMADER