Arts Re: The First-Ever De-Suggests
posted by April 16 at 17:41 PMon
First of all, one reason we bothered to De-Suggest the Clear Cut event was because this nice person was wondering how it went:
It’d be great if all of the Stranger Suggests authors could give a respective recap. Like The Gong Show this week definitely got lots of props for sure, but I’m wondering about last night’s suggestions. I actually went to the Frye but now I’m thinking I should have gone to the Clear Cut Happening. The Frye was a stuffy socialite scene, even though the Leipzig exhibit is hands down off the wall badass creepy marvelous. Still, the Clear Cut thing sounds really intriguing. Anyone go?
Yes, I went, and yes, Matt Briggs, I circulated among the crowd. I talked to Matt McCormick, who’s always the nicest person in the world. I’d like to write more about Future So Bright sometime, but this is not the right post. I talked to Greg Lundgren to place a bid (hey, did I win?) on one of the three good Michael Brophy paintings there. I even aimed some words at Eric F., but I think he’s still mad at me for reporting a certain story a million years ago. However, the crowd was not particularly atmospheric.
At my section of the table: a six-and-a-half-year-old girl who—I swear to god!—flirted with my boyfriend; the sixty-something father of a prominent local gallery curator, who lives in Tuscon but had been visiting long enough to admire the Seattle Weekly’s ridiculous Real Change story and observe that The Stranger contains “no articles” and is filled entirely with sex ads; an employee of One Pot who did, bless her heart, inform me that “these events usually don’t cost that much”; and, way down the table, a fellow English major alumna of the University of Virginia who recently wrote a book.
But who cares about the atmosphere? I do care that I paid $35 for—it must be said—a small portion of food (and I don’t eat that much). I do care that it was freezing cold and there was, as far as I could tell, only a single space heater. I care that the $35 didn’t include wine.
Furthermore, I care deeply about the “announcement” by Clear Cut, which was arrogant, rambling, and downright insulting, most of all to the people who had been invited to provide the aforementioned atmosphere. The heart of it was this: Matthew Stadler, a writer and editor whom we all respect, was passing the Clear Cut baton to Rich Jensen, a former record business exec who claimed not to have read very many books. Stadler lectured us about how subscribing to Clear Cut was like surrendering your taste and discernment to better-informed people. In other words, my tastes, my preferences, my opinions don’t matter. Maybe there were some rich ignoramuses who felt comforted by these words, but I sincerely doubt it. Nobody likes being told their tastes are irrelevant. And surely Stadler noticed that the audience was composed in large part of people who make their livings exercising taste and discernment. The curator kitty-corner to me. Me. Matt McCormick, who runs his own video distribution business and used to curate an experimental film festival. The other Stranger writers. Eric Fredericksen, for gosh sakes. How many of you want to surrender your taste and discernment to Rich Jensen? I subscribed to the last series, but Friday I saw no evidence that Clear Cut was still an interesting, challenging enterprise. I did observe that Clear Cut would accept my money if I held it out.
(I do still want that Brophy painting.)