Local arts organization Seattle Arts & Lectures laid off three employees yesterday, Board President Mary Ingraham confirmed. "We are in the middle of reorganizing, and we are recrafting a strategic plan," Ingraham said over the phone a few minutes ago. "Right now, that means we need to downsize in order to create a healthy organization."
Ingraham, who notes that the layoffs were "in no way performance-based," said it came down to money: "Now, we're in a position to move forward." The layoffs weren't specifically in one department, not that SAL even has enough employees to warrant specific departments—"We're all one room," Ingraham said. She insists that SAL's many programs—their lecture series, their poetry series, and their wonderful Writers in the Schools program—will continue. These layoffs come less than one month after SAL Executive Director Linda Bowers left the organization, as Christopher Frizzelle reported here on Slog two weeks ago. These layoffs also come at a time when the organization is preparing for its next year. (SAL determines the next season of their popular readings series in January, February and March.) When asked about whether the programs will continue exactly as they have been, or if they'll face restructuring, Ingraham said "we haven’t gotten into the heft of that yet.”
SAL is currently producing its best programming in years. Recent speakers include Dean Young, Eileen Myles and Maggie Nelson, and Hari Kunzru. Upcoming readers include Miranda July, Nick Flynn, Joan Didion, and Susan Orlean. As Christopher noted, the organization has lately felt reinvigorated.
We'll continue to report on Seattle Arts & Lectures' future right here on Slog.
...aka a "drunk uncle"? Well, tell me all about it! The holidays aren't the same without one!
The City of Seattle has just posted a design package (PDF) proposing what the new Sonics arena could look like. The package is loaded with pretty pictures of what the proposed neighborhood looks like now, ways that the proposed site will interact with the existing neighborhood, and it features a few tentative sketches of the hotly contested new stadium. Here are some screenshots from the design package:
As you can see from the long, narrow second screenshot, this design proposal looks to have a smaller footprint than the other three stadiums. Like it? Loathe it? There will be a review meeting to discuss this proposal in two short weeks:
December 11, 6:00 PM
600 5th Ave map
Bertha Landes Room
All are welcome. Let the games begin!
As Slog readers know, earlier this week we launched the Slog vs. Kenny G Holiday Charity Challenge to raise money for the hungry this holiday season. We have a successful track record here at Slog of choosing some person/organization/thing and then challenging them to a fundraising-off without telling them. Last year, the Slog vs. Gawker Holiday Charity Challenge—which we did not tell Gawker about, and which Gawker maybe still doesn't know about—raised $29,327.21 for Northwest Harvest. Considering Northwest Harvest can feed a family of three for only 67 cents, that did a world of good for some of the neediest people in the Northwest.
So this year we were brainstorming about who to go toe-to-toe with for the holiday auction. The Seattle Times? Rob McKenna? Pit bulls? Then someone said "Kenny G?" And Kenny G it was! For no particular reason! Smooth-jazz hit maker! Haver of extra long hair! From the Northwest! Rumored to have been former Stranger managing editor Bradley Steinbacher's babysitter! Probably a total sweetheart! Music editor Emily Nokes drew a very lovely portrait of Kenny G for the charity-challenge artwork…
…and the Slog vs. Kenny G Holiday Charity Challenge was on!
Until Kenny G's manager caught whiff of it. Whoa, boy, Kenny G's manager is pissed. Lordy, he's mad. Or at least he said he was Kenny G's manager. Seemed like he was Kenny G's manager. He was so mad, we thought for a minute it was a radio-station prank. On Wednesday, he called and yelled at our managing editor Bethany Jean Clement, who is one of the calmest and most understanding people on Earth. He screamed at her that it is vitally important that everyone know that Kenny G is not now and was never involved in the Slog vs. Kenny G Holiday Charity Challenge. He yelled, "HOW DARE YOU!"
Bethany attempted to explain that it was just a stupid joke and that Sloggers have a sense of humor. Kenny G's manager shouted from his office in Los Angeles, "I HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR!" He called Bethany, Slog, and Northwest Harvest itself "DECEITFUL!" Did we mention Kenny G's manager sounded very angry? Bethany was not the only Stranger staffer Kenny G's manager reamed out over the phone.
Anyway, the human ball of anger who identified himself as Kenny G's manager will not rest until we put a stop to the Slog vs. Kenny G Holiday Charity Challenge. After insisting we add a disclaimer that Kenny G was not and is not involved in the Slog vs. Kenny G Holiday Charity Challenge, he shouted: "DON'T DO IT AGAIN!" So, after four great days and more than $2,000 raised for hungry people in our state, the Slog vs. Kenny G Holiday Charity Challenge is over. Because we have a better idea now.
Effectively immediately, we are changing this year's fundraising drive to the Slog vs. People Who Are So Mad They Call Us Up to Shout at Us Holiday Charity Challenge! So the Kenny G art is going away (sad smooth-jazz trombone!!) and Emily has drawn a replacement image of what she imagines Kenny G's manager looked like when he was shouting at us:
You're not gonna keep us from raising money for Northwest Harvest, Kenny G's manager! Your anger is no match for the generosity of Slog. If you haven't given yet, now is the time! Click here to stick it to people who are so mad they call us up to shout at us, while also giving the homeless and the hungry a leg up this season. Forward us your receipt and your commenter handle and we'll tag all your comments with a SWASHBUCKLING HERO badge. If you've already donated something, consider giving a little more, just to let Kenny G's manager know where you stand.
So the charity challenge artwork has changed...
…and starting next week, Slog staffers will be regaling you with stories of past encounters with people who were so mad at us about something we wrote that they called us up to shout at us. THERE HAVE BEEN MANY. Also, if you've ever been screamed at by random people over the holidays, tell us the story in the comments. This is going to be the best holiday season on Slog yet.
Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains the biggest-name potential Democratic 2016 presidential hopeful who has yet to take a position in support of gay marriage, a source of discussion in Washington this week after the State Department hosted a major LGBT event.
Clinton, who was against gay marriage in her 2008 presidential run, spoke favorably about New York's gay marriage law when it passed in 2011, but has remained quiet on her position since, as other Cabinet members such as Arne Duncan, along with Vice President Joe Biden, have voiced support, and as marriage referenda passed in four states earlier this month.
But according to two sources, Clinton's aides have privately indicated to people that she will end up where her husband and daughter, Chelsea, have emerged on the issue - in favor of same-sex nuptials.
Her statement of support will probably come during an interview, presumably after she leaves the office of Secretary of State. You say you thought Hillary Clinton endorsed gay marriage already? She probably hasn't supported it yet because, as a source tells Politico, she feels "because of her role as the country's chief diplomat that it was appropriate for her to stay out of this."
Attention, all humans and GAYS IN LADY SUITS! Tonight is Tuck, which I would normally describe in a post promoting it, but I've never been. Because nobody has ever been. It's brand new. It's new like a baby's butt, fresh like a puppy's breath, gay like a drag queen's Pall Malls.
Basically, it appears to be the gayest extravaganza of gayness that's ever gayed a gay. Virtually every working drag queen in town is going to pack themselves into Chop Suey—and then, I endeavor, magical things will happen.
The Nation, in collaboration with the Food & Environment Reporting Network nonprofit, has a chilling story about early-warning signs of how fracking could seriously frack up the US food supply. Fracking, for those fuzzy on the details, involves "drilling thousands of feet into ancient seabeds, then repeatedly fracturing (or 'fracking') these wells with millions of gallons of highly pressurized, chemically laced water, which shatters the surrounding shale and releases fossil fuels."
Sounds healthful, doesn't it?
The story is ugly. Preliminary investigations of fracking areas show all kinds of mysterious problems in livestock, pets, and people—birth defects, deaths, rashes, overworked kidneys, urinating blood, limps, infections, crowns and fillings falling out of people's teeth, and the titular tails falling off.
The story also gets into why there isn't more outcry about this—in part, because people either aren't looking for it or have incentives to turn a blind eye. One rancher had her air and water tested after fracking wells opened three miles away, several of her cows mysteriously dropped dead, and she started to get sick. Tests showed lots of problematic stuff (acetone, acetone, selenium): "State health and agriculture officials acknowledged Schilke’s air and water tests but told her she had nothing to worry about. Her doctors, however, diagnosed her with neurotoxic damage and constricted airways."
And unless animals are visibly melting from chemical poisoning, the USDA isn't interested:
Veterinarians don’t know how long the chemicals may remain in animals, and the Food Safety Inspection Service, part of the US Department of Agriculture, isn’t looking for them in carcasses. Inspectors in slaughterhouses examine organs only if they look diseased. “It’s gross appearance, not microscopic,” Bamberger says of the inspections—which means that animals either tainted or sickened by those chemicals could enter the food chain undetected.
King County Elections (KCE) certified its results earlier this week (pending one automatic recount in the 47th LD), and despite the annual editorial whining about slow ballot counts, KCE set new records for speed and efficiency, while enhancing voter access and convenience. (I'd mention accuracy too, but there's zero evidence that KCE's ballot tallies have ever been anything but accurate.)
Thanks to streamlined procedures at its new Renton facility, and a voter outreach program that succeeded in encouraging more voters to vote early, KCE counted a record 556,083 ballots on election night—more than twice the election night count from 2010, and significantly more than any election night count even from before the county switched to all vote by mail. Despite its reputation for lagging behind the rest of the state, KCE's election night report equalled 57 percent of its total ballots counted, not far off the 61 percent election night mark for the state as a whole. Not too shabby considering that KCE handles more mail-in ballots than any other jurisdiction in the nation.
Yet another sign of KCE's successful voter education efforts, the county also hit new post-all-vote-by-mail lows for the percentage of ballots rejected due to missing/mismatched signatures and late postmarks. The percentage of voters forgetting to sign their ballots was down 39 percent from 2010, the percentage of ballots that arrived with late postmarks was down 79 percent. Of the county's 22,137 challenged ballots, almost 60 percent were eventually "cured," up from a more typical 50 percent rate. Almost 98.5 percent of the 993,908 ballots received were ultimately verified and counted.
And finally, at 83.58 percent of ballots counted to registered voters, King County had one of the highest turnout rates in the state. Statewide, the average was just 81.25 percent; 80.26 percent outside of King County.
KCE generated tons of unflattering headlines back in 2004 when a statistical tie in the governor's race uncovered numerous procedural errors. Since then we've moved to all vote-by-mail, a new, expanded elections center, and all new elections procedures. And voters have heard little about these improvements, I suppose because "King County Elections Counted Ballots Much as It Should've" doesn't make for much of a sexy headline. But that's pretty much the story from this election.
Elections operations here are faster, more efficient, and more responsive than ever before. And they are getting more so every year.
TONIGHT: David Blatner reads at Town Hall. His book Spectrums is a beautiful look at all the different spectrums that affect our universe, including light, sound, and time, as well as an attempt to relay how huge those spectrums are. It's largely about how much of the universe we can't sense by any traditional means. And at the Royal Room in Columbia City, it's time again for Bushwick Book Club, in which local musicians create new work based on literature. This time, they're doing something a little different: The musicians are working with literature published in The Jack Straw Writers Anthology 2012, which is a book written by local authors that you can buy at Elliott Bay Book Company or download as a free PDF right here.
SATURDAY NIGHT: If you don't know PageBoy magazine yet, here's your big chance. Local authors Sierra Nelson, William Carty, Jeremy Springsteed, Sarah Galvin, Alex Bleecker, and Paul Nelson will read at Kaleidoscope Vision to celebrate the new issue of the very good local literary journal, along with music (by The We Don't Know Yets) and photographs (by George Ciardi) and free wine (presumably by Carlo Rossi or one of his other low-budget pals). Meanwhile, over at Vermillion, it's An Evening of Confessional Poetry. Vanessa Place, who, according to someone on Twitter "killed poetry," will read some sort of confessional poetry with local poet Doug Nufer. I am told that confessional poets will find this evening to be controversial, which means this reading by two very interesting, very experimental poets could eventually inspire some very bad confessional poems.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON: The biggest event on Sunday is at Blindfold Gallery at two in the afternoon, and it's called "Afternoon Poetry II." The readers for this one include Jeanine Walker, Corinna Rosendahl, Luke Johnson and Sarah Galvin (yep, again).
But that's just the stuff I suggest! There's other stuff that you might find more noteworthy in our readings calendar. Go see for yourself.
All right, you asked for it, Capitol Hill Seattle blog. You wanted a challenge. You dared us to launch Slog's arsenal of canines. Well... yesterday was just a warm up. Slog has so many awesome dog submissions that we couldn't even stuff all the dogs in this post because this one post already FILLS UP THE ENTIRE INTERNET WITH DOGS. We also had to create an entire Stranger Dog Department, staffed by dog-section interns Al Jacobs and Chelsea Kellogg, to curate the world's cutest dogs.
Of course, CHS knew this was coming, and they're feebly trying to move the goal post. They're trying to make this about cats. This was never a challenge about cats, remember?!!!? Cats are timid and stupid. Dogs are awesome and vapid, just like the guys I like. We could slaughter CHS on cats, too, but we won't.
BECAUSE THIS IS A DOG WAR, BITCHES!!
Please to meet Yogi and Bambi, two infant long-haired Dachshunds. Slog-reader Dan lives with them live near Volunteer Park. Jesus, what is even going here?
Gamma is a 14-month-old vizsla from Reno, NV. Shay says, "He looks more like a chupacabra than a dog":
From Sweden's The Local:
A woman in western Sweden who was arrested after police found skeletons in her apartment has now been charged for using the bones as sex toys, a hobby she claimed was motivated by an interest in history.
Beware the horny history buff. Full story here.
Just yesterday, conservative blogger Erick Erickson was uncovering the shocking fact that rich white men run the Republican Party. Today, he's announced that the run against Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss that he's been publicly flirting with is a no-go. And he could've totally won, you guys, because he's a real Republican, unlike that RINO Chambliss, but he just doesn't want to win:
“Were I to run for the Senate, it would be a terribly nasty campaign,” the well-known conservative blogger wrote on RedState. “It’d actually be really awesome, but it’d be really nasty. I have a seven year old, a soon to be four year old, and a wife who does not like being anywhere near a stage. I’m not putting my family through that when the best outcome would mean a sizable pay cut in pay and being away from my kids and wife all the time huddled in a pit vipers often surrounded by too many who viewed me as a useful instrument to their own advancement.”
Uh-huh. Because it always works out well when a conservative sideline-sitter is forced to live up to his words. But he totally could've won! But he's worried about his faaaaaaamily. Also, I bet Erickson's old relationship with his totally hot girlfriend in Canada would have become an issue during the race, too, and that would've been a real distraction. ("Shut up, guys! She totally exists! We have long conversations about Ayn Rand and then we totally do it. She's just never around when you're around, is all. I know it's weird, but if you want me to prove it, I have a picture of her in my wallet...hey, who stole the picture of Shanessa that I always keep in my wallet?") Oh, well. I guess we'll just have to enjoy Erickson's in-depth, journalistic reports on how much the puppeteers behind the Republican Party love money instead.
The statement was in response to a question Robertson fielded Tuesday from a viewer on his Christian Broadcasting Network show "The 700 Club.” In a submitted question, the viewer wrote that one of her biggest fears was that her children and husband would not go to heaven “because they question why the Bible could not explain the existence of dinosaurs.”
“You go back in time, you've got radiocarbon dating. You got all these things, and you've got the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas,” Robertson said. “They're out there. So, there was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth, and it was before the time of the Bible. So, don't try and cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years. That's not the Bible.”
Before answering the question, Robertson acknowledged the statement was controversial by saying, “I know that people will probably try to lynch me when I say this.”
Holy shit. You guys, maybe the world is ending on December 21.
Fatty-fatty chow chow!
Did you see that previous teaser trailer for the second season of HBO's Girls? SO... ANNOYING. However, here's the first full length trailer for Girls season two (debuting Sunday, January 13)... and.... NOT... ANNOYING. In fact, thanks to the inclusion of potentially murderous Adam, not a lot of boring Jessa, lots more hilarious Shoshanna, and a mesh shirt, this season could end up being pretty OKAY.
Check it out.
I'm not even going to put this up for a vote: Hashtag is the worst baby name of 2012. But it turns out, ol' Hash had a lot of competition. BabyCenter has released their list of the most popular baby names of the year, and it's a carnival of pain. Speaking of pain: Did you know that some people are naming their babies Anastasia, after the heroine of 50 Shades of Grey? Here are some other egregious examples:
It seems space was a huge naming inspiration for parents this year: Sky, Star, Luna, Skylar, Heaven, Stella, and Mars all flew higher than last year.
POTUSes from the past are proving much more popular than the ones of today. The name Reagan increased a whopping 46 percent, and fellow past presidents Kennedy, Carter, Lincoln, and Nixon all jumped in the rankings.
The smart phone may just be the best parenting tool since diapers, and some moms and dads are paying homage to industry leader Apple in their choice of baby names. The moniker Apple, though still an unusual choice, rose 15 percent for girls, vaulting a whopping 585 spots. For boys, the name Mac jumped 12 percent. And parents sure like the sound of Siri: The company's voice-enabled personal assistant climbed 5 percent on the list of girl names.
Some of those are okay, but others are the equivalent of naming your son "Pet Rock" in 1975. So who will be the number two to Hashtag's number one? (Note: Due to space constraints, I had to leave some of the more "common" examples, like Kennedy, Carter, Skyler, and Lincoln, off the list.)
There is a new exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery that includes the image above, in which the artist performs a partial (paradoxical) disappearing act for the camera, and that includes the image below, in which the artist announces that his work of art can only function while his physical body is living. What, exactly, is this somewhat-more-ineffable-than-the-usual exhibition about? (Hint: It is not about GETTING YOUR WOMAN ON!) I review it in this week's paper, starting with this introduction:
Vodka is the only thing you are spoon-fed in the group exhibition Now Here Is Also Nowhere at the Henry Art Gallery. You are literally spoon-fed vodka. If you want it. Up to you.
Seattle's very own, Stranger Genius Award-winning drag magician Dina Martina is in the running for AfterElton's Drag Queen of the Year! You can vote once an hour until Dec 7! Go nuts!
(And don't miss Dina Martina's Christmas Show, running at Re-bar from now till the end of the year.)
And, Christ on a leash, you have a lot of them. A team of trained puppy professionals is processing your photos now. Stand by for stacks of puppies.
I'm currently rereading You Were Never In Chicago, Neil Steinberg's terrific new memoir. (I read the book in MS form, a year ago, to blurb it—and, hey, full disclosure: someone named "Chicagofan" edited the book.) Steinberg, a columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times, was a night reporter at the second city's second daily for many years and covered many a zoning board meeting. Gotta love this:
Covering fires and murders or bumbling into brothels were the exceptions. Many more night shifts were spent at public meetings—though to be honest, the participants at zoning board hearings offer a dimmer view of human nature than murderers and whores do. At least people kill each other out of uncontrolled passion, or naked greed, or gross inebriation, or some other extreme form of human emotion or behavior. Prostitutes are invariably drug addicts feeding a habit; they aren't acting out of the finely calibrated selfishness that prompts sober citizens to line up behind a microphone in a well-lighted room at a zoning board meeting. You can't hope to jam a stick in the ground without all its potential neighbors jostling each other to be the first to explain exactly how the stick will destroy the quality of their lives; how, while playing, their children will stumble against the stick and be abraded, giving rise to fatal infections, or how the stick will eventually start to lean, undermining property values. At such hearings, the distinction between city and suburbs is effectively nil. In the suburbs, every new structure more complex than a mailbox is portrayed as the emotional equivalent of a pit lined with spikes and covered with a grass mat. In the city it's no better: the prospect of a new high-rise condo downtown draws every resident from every surrounding, nearly-identical high-rise constructed within the past ten or fifteen years, people who testify with straight faces that Chicago is full—the city reached its point of maximum human saturation, alas, with the arrival of themselves, and now the addition of even one more person to their neighborhood would, it pains them to report, mark the advent of a nightmarish dystopian world of overload, gridlock, and social breakdown. Oh, and the views from their apartments would be ruined.
Neil's book is terrific. You Were Never In Chicago isn't just for Chicagoans. His take on what a city is—the people that create a city, what it means to live in a city, whether it's possible to love a city (and whether a city ever loves you back)—is for anyone who's interested in urban issues and urban life. (Or, for that matter, what it was like to work at a daily newspaper during the decline and fall of the industry.) Get it here.
Yes, the Seattle Times editorial board and I agree about something tax related. They support federal legislation that would allow states to collect sales tax from out-of-state sellers, and I support such legislation. Though it's important to note that they make no mention about the potential burden on truly small businesses, because unlike me, they apparently don't give a shit about truly small businesses.
That said, don't notch their editorial as an endorsement for raising taxes. As the editors point out, this is about collecting a tax—the existing "use tax"—that in-state customers already owe on out-of-state purchases.
So now that we're in agreement on collecting the regressive sales tax that's already in place, perhaps the Seattle Times can join me in responsibly advocating for some progressive taxation?
I'm on hiatus while working on a manuscript for a new book. In the meantime, please enjoy these classic Savage Love letters pulled from previous columns. I will be back when the book is finished. —Dan
Originally published March 29, 2009:
I met this girl on an "adult" website. We exchanged a few e-mails, then we chatted over IM twice, just the basic small talk, before exchanging numbers. It was on the phone that she told me about her rape fantasy: She has always fantasized about being kidnapped by a stranger from a public place, held in a dark room over the weekend, and forced to do whatever her captor wants.
That sounds hot, but I wouldn't do it without at least meeting first. Safety first. So the idea now is to meet at a bar, have a drink, and then go back to my place and enact a date-rape scene. Not quite her ultimate fantasy, but it just so happens to be one of my all-time fantasies. We're both turned on by the idea that we will be near-strangers.
Now here comes the problem: What if she is some wacko who will call the cops on me/blackmail me and say it was actual rape? Can I protect myself from this somehow? We never talked about it over IM, just on the phone. This is one of the boxes I would like to check before I die, but I want to be safe about it. Help!
To Rape Or Not To Rape
“Triceratops” [is] by BJ Sunfire, one of my musical alter-egos of days of yore. BJ sprang from my days of baking bagels in the late nineties; I’ve always loved lusty, full-throated rock vocalists, and I’d compose little tunes about my coworkers, sung in this fashion. This song is basically a celebration of the unparalleled might of the most famous ceratopsian, turning mournful in the end, as odes to prehistoric beasts must.
Orr is also a designer, and you MUST check out his complete collection of Dinosaur Family Crests, all of which are available to wear as fashionable tee shirts.
The New Republic has a look at Mitt Romney's internal polls, and they're hilariously bad.
The first thing you notice is that New Hampshire and Colorado are pretty far off the mark. In New Hampshire, the final internal polling average has Romney up 3.5 points, whereas he lost by 5.6. In Colorado, the final internal polling average has Romney up 2.5 points; he lost by 5.4. “I’m not sure what the answer is,” Newhouse told me, explaining that his polls were a lot more accurate in most of the other swing states. “The only ones we had that really seemed to be off were Colorado—a state that even Obama’s people tweeted they thought it was going to be one of their closest states—and the New Hampshire numbers, which seemed to bounce a lot during the campaign.”
Huh. I wonder where they went wrong?
Broadly speaking, the people who showed up to vote on November 6 were younger and less white than Team Romney anticipated, and far more Democratic as a result. “The Colorado Latino vote was extraordinarily challenging,” Newhouse told me. “As it was in Florida.”
Oh, yeah. That. Well! Who could've predicted?
Dom—and Slog—make a quick appearance at the 0:46 mark.
This post is part of a series.
Julie Alpert's latest exhibition is a series of seductions and fantasies. Imagine if your kitchen looked like this. Imagine if you had this folding screen. Imagine if you lived inside this drawing. Imagine what the view would be like if you took a flashlight and disappeared under this painting as if it were your blanket. If you sent Roy McMakin's conceptual modernism into a pattern-and-decoration jungle, you'd come out with Alpert's sculptures and paintings and fabrics. I am completely enamored of the way she spills from one medium into another, the way the watercolor on a piece of notebook paper seems to bleed right into a dyed fabric as if they were made by one stroke, equalizing the mediums and tying together worlds.
A few views are below (and yes, unfortunately, today is the last day for the Gallery4Culture exhibition, but please visit Alpert's web site and know that the Seattle-based artist shows locally regularly). Also, please don't miss her 2012 series of "negative positive pattern paintings, a watercolor series inspired by fashion, '60s and '70s interior decorating, and patterns found in nature during my daily walks at Seward Park."