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Thursday, September 18, 2014

In Culture News: All Hail Vulvatron!

Posted by , , and on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Wow: The third national race and education conference is coming right up at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma September 25 through 27, with a stupendous lineup of speakers and workshops. The headlining speakers are Henry Louis Gates Jr., Angela Davis, Winona LaDuke, and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva. The artists who are speaking and/or performing are: pianist Awadagin Pratt, Marita Dingus, C. Rosalind Bell, Yazmin Monet Watkins, Carletta Carrington Wilson, and Antonio Davison-Gomez. Check it, check it, check it.

The Huffington Post Acknowledges Ellen Forney's Greatness: If you haven't read Stranger Genius of Literature Ellen Forney's brilliant memoir Marbles, the Huffington Post published an excerpt of it today under the headline "What Bipolar Disorder Really Feels Like," with additional commentary from Forney.

Cool Projects Up for Funding from Rhizome’s Internet Art Microgrants: A judge is making the final decision on who gets the five $500 grants, but it’s worth seeing the proposed art projects, ranging from Nous, a your-future-is-creepy project that’s “a comprehensive psychosocial monitoring service for mental health professionals,” where shrinks watch what you do online to track your changing emotional and psychological state; BANGED, "a platform for the women who have been on the receiving end of Roosh's dick”; and Kickended, a place where failed Kickstarter campaigns will live on in an archive of ideas that didn’t draw dollars. Ya gotta see all 20.

”No art, only labor”: Factory is the title of new director Scott Lawrimore’s first exhibition at the newly renovated Jacob Lawrence Gallery at UW, opening the night of October 14. From the press release: "Industry is the first Showroom program as part of Factory, a series of displays, labor demonstrations, motivational speeches, quality controls, and new product launches organized by the Jacob Lawrence Gallery to explore the question, 'Is a school a factory?’” The artist list includes El Anatsui, Lucian Freud, Mokarrameh Ghanbari, Katharina Grosse, Jonathan Ive, Jacob Lawrence, Julie Mehretu, Claude Monet, Griselda Pollock, Jackson Pollock, Augusta Savage, Paula Scher, Edward Steichen, Pablita Velarde, Peter Voulkos, Beatrice Wood, and many others. Part of the show is Factory Picnic, “a labor meeting open to the public held every Wednesday at noon at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery.” After this exhibition, part two of Factory, subtitled Idleness, opens November 19.

Raphaelle Peales 1814 still life.
  • Seattle Art Museum
  • Raphaelle Peale's 1814 still life.

New Old Stuff at SAM: Ruth J. Nutt was a really interesting woman; she was a nurse, she collected decorative arts, and she died in 2013. Now, part of her collection has come to Seattle Art Museum: 45 pieces of early American art, silver, furniture, and needlework. The headlining piece is a 12-by-19-inch oil painting on wood panel by Raphaelle Peale, made in 1814 and depicting “the exotic objects collected by Peale’s father, painter and naturalist Charles Willson Peale: a silver mounted ostrich egg from Africa, a Chinese export porcelain pitcher, a celadon bowl, a finely crafted silver spoon, and a gathering of strawberries cultivated on the family’s experimental farm.” There’s also a three-quart tankard, made circa 1685 by Jeremiah Dummer, which is unusually large and exceptionally decorated; a silver tankard by Tiffany and Company titled Son Chow, created for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893; and two pieces made by very early artists you might call African American. Those pieces are the Chatelaine Hook (ca. 1810), a piece of silver made by Peter Bentzon, the first silversmith of African descend working in America to be recognized by his maker’s mark, according to SAM, and a needlework sampler made in 1831 by a 10-year-old named Charlotte Turner, “a liberated African slave who was resettled to the Bathurst settlement in Sierra Leone. This is the only known example produced within this population.” The art isn’t on display or have an outing date yet, said spokeswoman Wendy Malloy.

The Best News We've Heard All Day: GWAR have a new frontwoman, and her name is Vulvatron.

There's a Line Between Tacky and Gross: And World of Wonder—producer of RuPaul's Drag Race—makes mincemeat of it by helping convicted murderer Michael Alig sell art he made in prison.

Hate Poor People? Why not join Netropolitan, the Facebook clone that costs $9000 to join?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

In Culture News: Jinkx Monsoon's New Video, Bechdel Passes Genius Test

Posted by and on Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Before You See Her Perform at Tonight's Genius Showcase at the Frye: Enjoy theater genius shortlister Jinkx Monsoon's brand-new music video (and yes, that is the one and only Fred Schneider rocking that shaker):

Lindy West Is Back in Print: The former Stranger writer is making the move from Jezebel to GQ, where she will be covering pop culture for the website and the magazine.

Dirty, Dirty Amazon: Grist says Amazon's booming cloud services mean more trouble for the environment.

Look at this genius. Just look at her.
  • Look at this genius. Just look at her.

Alison Bechdel Is a Certified Genius: The MacArthur Genius Awards were given out last night, and the one award-winner everyone on Facebook and Twitter is unanimously giddy about is Alison Bechdel, the Fun Home and Dykes to Watch Out For cartoonist. We love Bechdel, and we couldn't be happier to see her win this recognition.

Speaking of New MacArthur Geniuses: Huge congrats as well to winning playwright Samuel D. Hunter, whose play A Great Wilderness was produced earlier this year at Seattle Rep.

"The size of your hands, and your tolerance." Chris Plante has combined lines from some of the gushiest iPhone 6 reviews into a long erotic poem. You should read it.

How to Be a Writer: It's not just a depressing waste of a life—it's also a board game!

The Satanic Children's Big Book of Activities: Well, this is delightful.

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Photo of the Week: Name This Street Artist

Posted by on Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 12:16 PM

And the location of this new piece! And what you think the piece might be trying to communicate...

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  • Photo by Kelly O

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

In Culture News: We Love Hari Kondabolu, We Hate iHeartMedia

Posted by , , and on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Hari Kondabolu's Homecoming: One week from tonight, the terrific, formerly Seattle-based comic will start a two-night run of all new material at the Comedy Underground. In the meantime, here's a clip from Kondabolu's show earlier this year at the Neptune, concerning tolerance, gays, and Matthew McConaughey:

API Flying Bookshelf Coming to Capitol Hill: We at The Stranger are big fans of API Flying Bookshelf, a moving library devoted to works by Asian and Pacific Islander authors. After a successful launch at the Eastern Cafe, the Bookshelf is about to make its first move. On Facebook, Bookshelf founders announced that the next home for the library will be Cafe Argento on 12th and Olive. The Bookshelf moves in this weekend and will stay at Argento through mid-November.

Feel Better, Hilary Hahn: The Seattle Symphony announced today that violinist Hilary Hahn had to cancel her October 2 and 4 appearances on the advice of her physician, to “allow her to recover fully from a muscle strain.” This is a disappointment for sure, but she’ll be replaced by the immensely talented Philippe Quint. The show must go on, after all.

Seattle’s Classical Station’s Online New-Music Station Wins Award: Did you even know there was such a thing? You should check it out. It’s called Second Inversion.

Don't Be Fooled: ClearChannel, the shitty conglomerate that destroyed commercial radio by buying every station and replacing all the human beings with robots, has changed its name to iHeartMedia. They still suck. Fuck them.

”The ‘death of adulthood’ is really just capitalism at work”: Andrew O’Hehir on Salon responds to A.O. Scott’s "borderline-reactionary cultural jeremiad" on the disappearance of white dudes like Don Draper in today’s world. O’Hehir: “[T]he death of adulthood is just another name for the fabled “crisis of masculinity” we’ve been hearing about for 30 years or longer, in which men often feel that their power has been undermined by ball-busting feminists when what’s really happening is that their economic role has changed and they don’t know what the hell to do about it.”

Plagiarist Finds Work: Wonkette notes that Benny Johnson, who was only recently fired from BuzzFeed for dozens of instances of plagiarism, has found a new home writing at the conservative National Review. National Review founder William F. Buckley could not be reached for comment, because he is dead.

Continue reading »

Monday, September 15, 2014

What Are You Doing This Week?

Posted by on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 4:45 PM

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  • Kelly O
  • IF YOU'VE NEVER SEEN JINKX CLOSE UP, this is your chance

Christopher Frizzelle: "Jinkx Monsoon is performing at the showcase at the Frye on Wednesday."

Dan Savage: "I'm going to the hear the Seattle Symphony play Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Dvorak Symphony No. 7 on Thursday night and I'm going to see the homos at DICKSLAP on Friday night."

Katie Allison: "Playing more Destiny. It's ridiculously addictive. And also, OBVIOUSLY, going to see the cinematic treasure Trollhunter at Central Cinema."

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  • University Book Store
  • QUITE THE KICKER

Paul Constant: "I'm going to go see This Is Where I Leave You, the all-star movie based on a best-selling, critically acclaimed comic novel. What could possibly go wrong? (Don't answer that.) I'm also torn between a bunch of neat-sounding readings later this week, including Caitlin Doughty (of Ask a Mortician fame) at University Book Store, or Robert Pinsky at Town Hall on Thursday; and Charles Burns at Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery or the Backseats and Bedrooms themed reading at Hugo House featuring authors like Dorothea Lasky and Mona Simpson on Friday. Fall always brings too many readings choices; this is a wonderful problem to have."

Dave Segal: "Tuesday I’m going to Benaroya Hall to gasp in amazement at Brazilian Tropicália legend Caetano Veloso. Thursday Chicago’s Hieroglyphic Being (Jamal Moss) plays Kremwerk for the excellent MOTOR monthly of mutant dance music. Hieroglyphic Being is one of the most innovative and exciting electronic musicians working today. If you missed his life-changing performance at 2013’s Debacle Fest, now’s your chance to make amends."

GOOD OLD VITOS
  • Kelly O
  • VITO'S IS OLD AND GOOD, and there's a gigantic stuffed cougar in the back room, but you already knew that.

Kelly O: "I feel like I should go have at least one last drink at the 2-Bit Saloon, as this week is its final, and it's closing it's doors forever—maybe on Wednesday for something weird called 'Punk Rock Tits at the 2-Bit'. On a higher brow bar note, Vito's celebrates it's 60 years (and going strong) anniversary this Saturday night. Table reservations recommended!"

Krishanu Ray: "If you see me strolling, I might be strolling through the MadArt installation on UW's Campus. Ain't nothin' like a stroll. Oh and the Egyptian is reopening this week, as SIFF Cinema Egyptian—the opening night film is Lynne Shelton's newest, Laggies."

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  • Courtesy of SIFF

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In Culture News: Fly Moon Royalty Announces Tour Dates, Lindy West Hosts Teeny Awards

Posted by and on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 4:01 PM

The Teen Tix Teeny Awards and Fundraising Dinner Is Saturday: You've heard us praising Teen Tix—a nonprofit that partners with nearly every other culture nonprofit in the city to provide $5 tickets to teenagers—for approximately five years, since we realized that while some arts types mope about the graying and dying of its audiences, Teen Tix is actually doing something about it. Instead of telling teenagers what to see, it opens the doors to the city's cultural feast and lets them order for themselves—and, as a corollary, allows them to sit in big rooms with other groups of people, thinking about ideas and images in a setting that is not a school and not a church. This Saturday is the second annual Teeny Awards: A teen-driven awards ceremony and fundraising dinner at the EMP hosted by Lindy West and featuring speakers Carlo Scandiuzzi of ACT and Virginia Anderson, former executive director of Seattle Center. Buy tickets (or just donate) here.

Click to enlarge.
  • Click to enlarge.
Fly Moon Royalty Is Going on Tour: Megan Seling is in love with their new track, and the rest of the country will soon be falling in love with Fly Moon Royalty, too. The duo tweeted out their sweet new tour poster today. Pass it on to your friends who don't live in Seattle; they'll thank you for it later.

Scarecrow Needs Your Money: Less than one day before Scarecrow Video's Kickstarter concludes. They've already beaten their goal, but you should still contribute. Once the Kickstarter is through, Seattle will be home to the world's largest non-profit video store, which is at the very least a nifty experiment and at the most an exciting new model for a video library system. If you're on the fence about donating, Zack Carlson's video for The Scarecrow Project is a passionate explanation of why the Kickstarter is so important. It's hyperbolic, sure, but it's not without its charms:

Short Run Needs Your Money: Speaking of fundraisers, the wonderful Short Run small press and comics festival is trying to raise $1500 to ensure that this year's festival remains free to the public. It may not be the end of the world for you or I if Short Run had to charge a few bucks at the door for admission, but this festival is very popular with teenagers, many of whom only have a limited amount of money to spend on books at the show. Let's not force them to spend their zine-buying cash on a door fee, okay? Donate for the kids!

FU, Too: Local comics publisher Fantagraphics Books has announced their new micro-publishing imprint, Fantagraphics Underground Press. FU Press will publish books that may not aspire to as huge an audience as, say the Hernandez Brothers, but that still deserve to be seen. Print runs will be in the hundreds, not the thousands. This is a nice call-back to Fantagraphics' early days, and a forward-thinking move for a publisher; not every goddamned book needs to be a four-quadrant hit, and it's nice to see Fantagraphics being intelligent about reaching a smaller market.

Proof That Performance Art Does Matter: A Columbia student's performance has blossomed into a full-fledged protest.

Hate U2? Good news! Apple has bowed to pressure and is allowing you to delete that fucking U2 album from your iTunes account using "a simple three-step process."

Fire Up Your Popcorn-Delivery Elbow: You can find the full trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 after the jump. It certainly looks like they're widening the scope of the film series in this outing. Many readers thought Mockingjay was a mess; this might be a rare case of a movie being better than the book it's adapted from.

Continue reading »

Is There Something a Little Distasteful About the New Report Claiming That "Classical Music" in Public Places is the Key to a "Calm Public"?

Posted by on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 12:02 PM

What's bothering me about this short story in the Independent claiming that playing "classical music" in public places "could improve people’s behaviour... as it creates 'a calming effect by releasing pleasure-inducing dopamine and inhibiting the release of stress hormones'"?

More dopamine and fewer stress hormones sounds nice—but the idea as a whole makes me a little itchy. It recalls the various downtown businesses—from McDonald's to condos—playing opera and country music to "reduce crime." The implication is as clear as a bell: White-dominated music (and, in the case of classical, "civilized, white-dominated music") will chase away the violence, chaos, and crime. If a passer-by can't enjoy our notion of what music should sound like, she's probably a threat of some kind.

Maybe it's just because I've spent the morning reading Terra Nullius by Sven Lindqvist, in which he charts the hideous way Australian Aborigines were mentally exterminated by Europeans long before they broke out the guns and infections—because whites couldn't see anything they recognized, or anything they considered civilized, they considered the land empty. Terra nullius.

"This solid wall of white incomprehension ends with a death sentence couches in a tone of forced jocularity." Lindqvist writes. "'They'll soon be gone.'" Whether "gone" meant chased away or cut down didn't particularly matter—as long as they were out of sight, the colonizers were satisfied.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Poster of the Week

Posted by on Sun, Sep 14, 2014 at 3:35 PM

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Tom Eykemans channels Art Chantry in this eye-catching, old-school poster design. It was actually made by cutting, pasting, and photocopying things, which deserves some recognition in and of itself. See more at automatondesign.com and monocol.com.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

Posted by on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 4:30 PM

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  • Courtesy of ACT

Brendan Kiley: "I actually saw this last night, but I'd urge everybody to see The Invisible Hand at ACT—a new play by Ayad Akhtar about a financial whiz kidnapped by Islamists in Pakistan and forced to raise $10 million of his own ransom money by playing the markets. It's like a terrorist-kidnapping action movie crossed with a Wall Street thriller but it all happens in a single room. (Well, two, technically—but never mind that.) Akhtar's writing his a cinematic urgency but with the complicated moral investigation of a great playwright. And the fact that this terrorism-and-capitalism play is ambiguous—there are captors and captives, but no clear 'good guys'—coupled with the fact that ACT opened it on 9/11 is gutsy. Non-theatergoers often ask me: 'What's playing now that's good? What should I see?' Sometimes I don't have an answer for them. But my answer for the next few weeks is The Invisible Hand."

Kevin McCarthy’s super-reflective robot dog Sentinel
  • JG
  • Kevin McCarthy’s super-reflective robot dog Sentinel

Jen Graves: "Continuing reading James Baldwin’s Another Country for the second time, for the Easter eggs. Looking at pictures of strangers touching each other, and hearing the artist, Richard Renaldi, explain why. Going to MadArt at UW at night to see Piper O’Neill’s giant inflatable oldtimey cowboy The Lone Stranger, Kevin McCarthy’s super-reflective robot dog Sentinel, and a work of neon lights in the dark grove next to the women’s building: Lux Sit by Julia Chamberlain."

Christopher Frizzelle: "Eating at Lark, seeing Waiting for Godot, maybe finally checking out Mimosas with Mama at the Narwhal."

Katie Allison: "I am barely embarrassed to admit that I'll be spending the entire weekend playing a much-hyped new video game called Destiny. If I decide to go outside at all, I'll be seeking out some delicious cider while Washington Cider Week is still happening! My life is awesome."

Ansel Herz: "I have missed every Blue Scholars—the OGs of Seattle hip hop—show since I came back to Seattle a few years ago. But when I was away in Texas and Haiti, nothing but intermittent phone calls with friends and Blue Scholars songs kept me feeling connected to my city. I am extreme-fanboy-level excited to be going to their show at Showbox tonight. The rest of the weekend? Maybe hiking with a former Stranger intern on Saturday and brunch with a practitioner of authentic journalism (Google it) on Sunday."

Gillian Andersen: "I'm going to go to Guemes Island to look at the northern lights (Aurora borealis) because sun flares are going to affect the magnetic poles and bring the lights farther south than usual."

Charles Mudede: "This weekend I'm watching Dwayne Kennedy, an excellent black comedian who was a regular on Totally Biased, a show whose cancellation is still sad and baffling to me. The sharp and flawless Kennedy plays tonight and tomorrow at Comedy Underground. A taste of what I will see tonight was once on Late Show With David Letterman..."


Thursday, September 11, 2014

In Culture News: Stevie Wonder in Seattle, Ralph Pugay Wins, Koons Poetry, and Pynchon on Watts

Posted by on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 1:09 PM

RALPH PUGAY Performance, 2013. The artist will be showing at SAM starting October 16.
  • Courtesy of the artist
  • RALPH PUGAY Performance, 2013. The artist will be showing at SAM starting October 16.

Ralph Pugay Wins the Betty Bowen: The disturbo-pop Portland painter gets $15,000 and an exhibition at Seattle Art Museum opening October 16. Winners of the Special Recognition Awards ($2,500 each) are Gretchen Frances Bennett and Klara Glosova.

Songs in the Key of OHMYGOD: Stevie Wonder is doing a series of concerts in which he'll perform Songs in the Key of Life in its entirety in fewer than a dozen American cities and Seattle is one of them.

Black Up: For those who do not know, Alexander Weheliye ‏is a talented theorist of black culture, the Associate Professor of African American Studies at Northwestern University, and the author of Phonographies: Grooves in Sonic Afro-Modernity. For those who do not know, The Black Scholar journal, which has its roots in the Bay Area, and is one of the most respected "journals of black culture and political thought in the United States," is currently run by a University of Washington professor, Laura Chrisman, who is also the daughter of its founding editor, Robert Chrisman. For those who may not know, Weheliye is the guest editor of the current issue of The Black Scholar, which examines black studies in the context of a society that has failed to become post-racial. The feeling is that black studies, like black life, is not taken seriously. The issue, as you can see, is timely.

Have You Read Carolina Miranda's Koons Poem?: It's made of phrases from the reviews of the Jeff Koons retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art this summer. Take these lines:

Silliness, shininess, filled with flops,
with waxed chest and having anal sex

Thomas Pynchon on Watts in 1966: This knockout piece by the author of Gravity's Rainbow and V has been making the rounds since Ferguson, but in case you missed it, you should really read it. Pynchon is narrating Watts a year after the riots, when the do-gooding social workers have moved in—"innocent, optimistic child-bureacrats"—but can't seem to figure out why everything's not just getting all better.

John Updike Was Not "A Penis With A Thesaurus"! He Wasn't!: New Republic writer William Deresiewicz defends a book that defends one of the most popular and critical novelists of the 20th century. Rescue poor John Updike from the iron grip of identity politics! (The penis descriptor is always wrongly attributed to David Foster Wallace.)

New Money Available from the Rauschenberg Foundation: Robert Rauschenberg is giving grants to artists and artist-activists from the grave. It's just the kind of guy he is.

Cherdonna Was Not Photoshopped Falling into That Swimming Pool—She Really Fell In!

Posted by on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Have you seen Cherdonna on the cover of the latest issue of A&P, our art and performance quarterly? Did you know Cherdonna really fell, fully dressed, into a swimming pool? Here's Christopher's essay all about her, with four of the photos from our photo shoot (including her spraying her hair with Aqua Net in the hair-products aisle at a grocery store), but that doesn't begin to cover the photos we took.

I still can't believe Cherdonna was willing to fall backwards into the water like this!

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  • Christopher Frizzelle

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  • Christopher Frizzelle

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  • Christopher Frizzelle

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  • Christopher Frizzelle
  • Thanks to the Gaslight Inn for letting us use their pool!

Did you know we also asked Cherdonna to run around a Safeway, borrow a leaf blower's leaf blower, hold up a giant piece of wood we found in a trash pile, and take a shovel into a cemetery?

Check out all the EXTRA PHOTOS below!!

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In Culture News: Superstar Hollis, A New Art Library for Seattle, Keira Knightley's Feelings, What Stonehenge Used to Be

Posted by and on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 12:11 PM

THIS DRAWING IS CALLED EVERY1 IS OK Samantha Scherer found her disaster images from news and crime shows; her titles are slogans scrawled across actual buildings. At G. Gibson with Chris Crites.
  • Courtesy of the artist and G. Gibson Gallery
  • THIS DRAWING IS CALLED EVERY1 IS OK Samantha Scherer found her disaster images from news and crime shows; her titles are slogans scrawled across actual buildings. At G. Gibson with Chris Crites.

Go Hollis: The spectacular Seattle musician, writer, and activist Hollis Wong-Wear gets a big profile on NBC.com.

Have You Read Charles Mudede's Piece About the Big Difference Between Saturday Night Fever and Flashdance?: You must.

Lynn Shelton's New Laggies Hits the Toronto International Film Festival: And here's video of star Keira Knightley talking about the film and her character, from the New York Times:

Make $15 An Hour Creating an Art Library!: The New Foundation Seattle is taking applications for a Research and Library Intern. Remember back before museum stores were full of upscale design and carried art mags and rags instead? Art periodicals can be hard to find these days, hence the New Foundation's Periodicals library, which will be free and open to the public, located in the foundation's offices in Pioneer Square. The intern will "assist in the conception and implementation," "manage the library and its systems," and "engage the public." Eight to 16 hours a week, 9-month gig with an option to renew. To apply, email a resume and cover letter describing interest and qualifications.

Continue reading »

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

In Culture News: Miami Beach Excess, a Police Officer Assailed by Cups, and Brad Pitt's War

Posted by and on Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 12:18 PM

STORM OF CUPS AND CONTROVERSY Nicholas and Jerrod Galanin installed the piece that was supposed to be at Bumbershoot at the Frye Art Museum instead.
  • Photo by Carlos Cruz/Courtesy Frye Art Museum
  • STORM OF CUPS AND CONTROVERSY Nicholas and Jerrod Galanin installed the piece that was supposed to be at Bumbershoot at the Frye Art Museum instead.

'It was never about the blood': It was about being treated with respect by the hosting institution, Nicholas Galanin said. The Galanin brothers—Nicholas and Jerrod—said they were done wrong at Bumbershoot, so they found another home for their installation Modicum. It'll be on display at the Frye Art Museum through September 21. The figure of a cop in riot gear is assailed by a hail of cardboard coffee cups, each inscribed with the name of a man of color shot extrajudicially by a police officer. Blood rains down through the cups in the form of red paint. At first the cop seems overtaken. But the title, Modicum, seems to refer to the fact that the crouching officer is dramatically defending himself from nothing more than a bunch of empty cardboard coffee cups.

The Genius of Erik Blood, Industrial Revelation, and a Drink on Us: Do not forget that tomorrow night is the Music Genius Showcase at the Frye, hosted by the wonderful Emily Nokes and Charles Mudede. Hey, it's also the best way to see Modicum—and the best and final time to take in the big show Your Feast Has Ended, including Galanin, Nep Sidhu, and Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes.

Kevin Smith Harnesses the Promotional Power of Pot: For his forthcoming horror-fantasia film Tusk. As the NYT reports:

[T]he indie film company A24 has struck a deal with a Los Angeles medical-marijuana dispensary to sell two new cannabis strains under brands associated with Kevin Smith’s outré horror flick, “Tusk." The film, about a guy who is slowly turning into a walrus, is set for a world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday night.

The Trailer's Out: For the big ol' Brad Pitt World War II flick Fury.

Continue reading »

Susan Robb Is Going from Mexico to Canada Like No Artist Has Gone Before

Posted by on Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 11:38 AM

SUSAN ROBB takes pictures on the trail constantly.
  • On her five-month walk along the Pacific Crest Trail, Susan Robb is Instagramming nature, replicating rocks, and Facebooking the sublime. Why on earth would someone go out into the wild to blog?

The morning walk was sunny. Shorts weather. But during lunch in a pine clearing, clouds showed up, and the temperature got so cold so quickly that snowflakes appeared on Susan Robb's arm. The first thing she did was laugh.

It wasn't funny, it was unthinkable.

Two days earlier, Robb and her crew had been walking in 102-degree heat. Now it was 25 degrees. They all looked up to the sky. No joke. It was coming down. They pulled out their maps and tried to figure out what to do. Robb was somewhere in the middle of the San Bernardino Mountains, in the wilds of Southern California—she's an artist who lives in Seattle, so she was in unfamiliar territory. She was about 40 days into a five-and-a-half-month trek from Mexico to Canada on foot, following the Pacific Crest Trail. The trek isn't just for health or adventure, it's a highly coordinated art project called Wild Times...

KEEP READING >>

Monday, September 8, 2014

What Are You Doing This Week? Stranger Critics Answer the Question

Posted by on Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 5:15 PM

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  • Kelly O
  • MAN ATTEMPTS TO REMOVE SHIRT WHILE SINGING, becomes sloth.

Kelly O: "I'm gonna go see queercore punk band Sashay tear up Chop Suey's Dragon Room on Wednesday at 9 pm, at their cassette-only release party for
their new album America's Next Top Bottom."

Jen Graves: "I’m thinking about zombie theory and checking out Daniel Joseph Martinez’s new show at James Harris, getting a preview of MadCampus, the outdoor group sculptcha show opening this weekend at UW, and going to all the galleries that opened shows last Friday that I missed. First up are G. Gibson, Punch, and 4Culture."

Emily Nokes: "On Wednesday, Charles and I are hosting the Music Genius Showcase at the Frye! You definitely must come! We're talking to the 2014 Genius nominees Erik Blood, Amber Kai Morgan and Garret Kelly, and Industrial Revelation—some of the best music people in the entire city! Plus, have you SEEN the Your Feast Has Ended art exhibition that is inside of the Frye right now? If you haven't, you should—it's only there until Sunday."

David Schmader: "Stranger Genius Music Showcase at the Frye!"

Christopher Frizzelle: "I'm going to the Genius showcase in music on Wednesday night at the Frye. And A Chorus Line at the 5th Avenue on Thursday (my birthday—perfect). And I'm seeing Waiting for Godot at ACT Theatre on Saturday. Plus I wanna try to see BenDeLaCreme's Terminally Delightful; the three-night run sold out, but they just added a Saturday at 10:30 pm show."

Brendan Kiley: "For me, it's the opening weekend of The Invisible Hand at ACT, about an American financial whiz who's been kidnapped by militant Islamists in Pakistan and told to raise his own $10 million ransom by playing the markets. I also hope to interview Caitlin Doughty of Ask a Mortician (she's got a new book out). And if the weather holds I hope to do some kayaking this weekend. Last time I went, a couple of seals seemed to be playing hide-and-seek around the boat."

Dave Segal: "Tuesday I’m checking out Tobacco at Neumos; his dusted, distorted instrumental hiphop is about a billion times better than cigarettes. Wednesday is The Stranger’s Music Genius showcase at the Frye; even if you hate the concept of genius, it’s going to be amazing to witness the talents of Erik Blood, Industrial Revelation, and Hollow Earth Radio’s directors. Following that important event, I plan to see the owners from the excellent reissue label Numero Group DJ a bunch of records that each costs in the three-figure range."

Charles Mudede: "I'm preparing to interview Erik Blood and Industrial Revelation at the Frye this Wednesday. Blood and Revelation are nominated for a Genius Award in music. There is no good reason to miss this event. I'm also reading a bunch of urban-related books for the class I'm teaching at Hugo House called Writing the City."

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  • Kelly O

BenDeLaCreme's Terminally Delightful Sold Out, So They've Added Another Show

Posted by on Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 1:16 PM

You love her, you really love her.
  • You love her, you really love her.

As you know if you've already read Schmader's interview with BenDeLaCreme, the RuPaul's Drag Race Star is coming home (WE ARE HOME!) to do a run of shows this weekend. As sometimes happens when you're a really good performer and you've just been on national TV, BenDeLaCreme's show has sold out. But don't cry about it. DeLaRue Presents have just added a fourth performance on Saturday night at 10:30 pm—just for you! Get the fuck on it!

Friday, September 5, 2014

What Are You Doing This Weekend? Stranger Critics Answer the Question

Posted by on Fri, Sep 5, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Its the anthropomorphism you never knew you needed to experience
  • YOU'VE PLAYED THE GAME, now experience the unauthorized drag anthropomorphism.

David Schmader: "Tonight I am going to see Ms. Pak-Man at Re-bar, tomorrow I'm going to On the Board's big season kickoff extravanga party Super Night Shot with the amazing Gob Squad (tix still available!), and Sunday, I'm going to the Puyallup Fair to behold Hobby Hall's collection of collections and ride scary rides. (And if I had a cloning system, I'd also go see part two of Angels in America at Intiman and the big Fall Kick Off at Velocity Dance Center.)"

Dan Savage: "I'm attending the premiere of the new documentary Do I Sound Gay? at the Toronto International Film Festival and doing a Q&A with the filmmaker David Thorpe after the screening. Then I'm going to a strip club."

Jen Graves: "Wall-to-wall leg moving in the name of art. Pioneer Square art walk tonight. NEPO tomorrow. Sunday feet up."

Kelly O: "I probably won't be able to help myself, and I'll have to stop by the "Hot Crossed Buns and Drag Car Wash" in front of The Cuff on Sunday.
Mostly naked dudes and awesomely over-dressed drag queens will get your car or truck all soaking wet for $10 (and the proceeds go to the Imperial Court of Seattle's Scholarship Fund)."

Christopher Frizzelle: "Seeing part two of Angels in America. I can't fucking wait."

Katie Allison: "Well, I was going to go to the Seattle SlutWalk, but it got canceled! Terrible! So I guess I'll just spend the weekend trying to combat victim-blaming and slut-shaming in smaller ways, such as not shaming any sluts. And watching the new season of Trailer Park Boys that just came out on Netflix."

Dave Segal: "Tonight I’m going to Lo-Fi to attend the farewell party of DUG resident DJ Jon François and hear some way-above-average funk and soul cuts. Saturday is going to be 90º, so I’ll probably go for a long run and then a bike ride during the hottest part of the day, because suffering and sweating build character. Sunday I’m heading to Seattle University with other heads for Dream Cargo, an evening of live experimental music created by Raica, Garek Druss, Tiny Vipers, and LIMITS in a beautiful outdoor setting."

Kyle Fleck: "Nerding out on the following music: HOLOVR's Needle Exchange mix of smeared pastel house music, whatever weirdo rapper iLoveMakonnen I can get my grubby hands on, and any and all bits or bobs emerging from those sacred Aphex Twin listening parties going down in the more happening, cosmopolitan cities of our fine earth. All in the peace and pastoral quiet of a cabin in the middle of nothing"

Anna Minard: "Going to another wedding in the forest. (The second half of my twenties has been approximately 47% weddings.) But still, YAY LOVE! If I were in town, I'd be going to Cider Fest, especially visiting Schilling Cider's sweet new place in Fremont, since they make the best fucking cider in town."

Ansel Herz: "Playing futsal, taking photos of pretty sports cars I see on the street, collecting rays of sun for safekeeping through winter. Watching Zankyou No Terror, and I might go see Guardians of the Galaxy a second time—it was that much fun."

Poster of the Week Is Actually an Album Cover This Week

Posted by on Fri, Sep 5, 2014 at 3:01 PM

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Is it a cop-out to use album art as a poster? Most of the time I would say yes, but this is definitely an exception. I think the eye-catching minimalism works really well in this case, and the watercolor-ish texture gives it some unexpected depth.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

In Culture News: Black Constellation, Jinkx Monsoon, and Lyndon Johnson Are Back!

Posted by , , and on Thu, Sep 4, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Erik Blood: Delivering 4 meditative grooves to you, just because hes a nice guy.
  • Kelly O
  • Erik Blood: Delivering "4 meditative grooves" to you, just because he's a nice guy.
The Black Constellation Is in Full Effect This Week: But first, what is the Black Constellation? It's a loose affiliation of local lights that includes OC Notes, THEESatisfaction, Shabazz Palaces, and Erik Blood. Tomorrow, the part of this constellation that goes by the name Shabazz Palaces will perform at the Frye Art Museum. Those who have not heard or got their hands on SB's new album Lese Majesty need to get their heads checked. Today, Erik Blood, a producer and musician who is one of the nominees for the 2014 Music Genius Award, dropped some new and moody beats that you can download here. Blood's words:
This is a collection of 4 meditative grooves meant for solo listening. Canon 2 features vocals by Andrew Prinz of Mahogany and Canon 3 features Palaceer Lazaro and Fly Guy Dai of Shabazz Palaces.

I decided to release it today because of the chill growing in the air that tells us autumn is upon us and it's time for introspection.


It's yours for free!

Move Over, "Coffee & Wine": There's a new Jinkx Monsoon video coming to town (and it features a B-52!):

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Seattle Rep Announces Casting for All the Way and The Great Society: Robert Schenkkan’s diptych about LBJ will star Jack Willis as Johnson (he played the part in the recent Oregon Shakespeare Festival production), Kenajuan Bentley as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (ditto), and some Seattle regulars including Reginald André Jackson, Michael Patten, and Michael Winters. Tickets are on sale now.

The Trailer for the 2014 Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival Is Here!: Created by the one and only Clyde Petersen, and very nice:

Changes at Amazon: Shelf Awareness reports that Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak is retiring in 2015, and Amazon books editor Kevin Nguyen is moving from Amazon to weird Netflix-for-e-books service Oyster.

Holy Shit, More Murakami? Not only is there a bonus novella by Haruki Murakami coming out this year, next year will see the release of new English translations of two of Murakami's earliest novels, Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973. This is a golden age to be a Murakami fan.

Wait, Books Aren't Fact-Checked? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha NOPE.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

In Culture News: Staff Changes at Mars Hill Church, USA Today, and Neverland

Posted by on Wed, Sep 3, 2014 at 4:01 PM

More Turbulence at Mars Hill: Another elder, director of worship Dustin Kensrue, has resigned. Warren Throckmorton says he is the fourth of nine elders who asked Pastor Mark Driscoll to submit to an "elder-directed restoration process" to step down. Kensrue, who was also the leader of the band Thrice, warns current church members in his resignation letter: "Your pastors, who are on the ground with you, who know you, who care for you, who pray with you, and in whom you trust – these men have essentially no voice and no vote in what happens with your church as a whole, and the leadership is actively trying to limit the voice that they do have." Stay tuned for more fallout from Pastor Driscoll's rough year. There's surely more to come.

Washington State Book Awards Finalists Announced: The Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library has issued a list of the 2014 finalists for the Washington State Book Awards. The list includes Stranger favorites Jess Walter, Rebecca Hoogs, Sherman Alexie, Nicole Hardy, Peter Bagge, Jonathan Raban, and Steven Arntson. You can find a full list after the jump. The awards will be given out at the downtown library on Friday, October 10, at 7 p,m.

Want to Work in Books? Ballard's wonderful Secret Garden Books is now hiring a part-time bookseller.

Want to Work in Newspapers? Tough. USA Today laid off 60 to 70 employees today. Romanesko was told about half the layoffs were in the newsroom.

Poet Observes Bill Clinton's Leaves of Grass Habit: Local poet (and 2014 Washington State Book Award finalist) Ed Skoog has published two new poems at fruitapulp. One of the poems is about politics and the Macarena; the other one is titled "Adam and Eve Fight About Money."

Burning Man Is Galt's Gulch, Apparently: Grover Norquist went to Burning Man and he thought it was a solid example of libertarian thought.

News Anchor Fathers Peter Pan: Oh, hey, here's a thing: It's the first press photo of Allison Williams as Peter Pan in NBC's upcoming live musical production.


It's a Weird World: Here are Thomas Pynchon's handwritten edits on the script of his Simpsons cameo.

"There are amateur pornos made at a higher quality. There are Chihuahuas wearing better, more believable wigs.”: Lifetime's forthcoming Brittany Murphy biopic sounds awesome!

Continue reading »

What Should I Do Tonight, Go to the Reading Party or the Genius Showcase at the Frye?

Posted by on Wed, Sep 3, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Gah! Decisions, decisions. It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for the silent-reading party at the Sorrento, and I have tons of reading to do and it's so much easier to do it silently, AND tonight the reading party will be accompanied by two hours of live piano playing by Paul Matthew Moore. He's a great pianist, but this will be his first reading party. If you're at all inclined, you should go.

But! There's another thing a couple blocks away that is also a must-see. Have you ever seen Jen Graves talk about art? Like, with slides? It's amazing. Listening to Jen Graves talk about art does things to my brain I can't describe. And tonight she's showing slides and talking about the art of the Genius Award finalists in visual art: C. Davida Ingram, Emily Gherard, and Glenn Rudolph. It's hard to think of three artists who are more different than these three are from each other.

Sooooo... even though no one likes the reading party more than I do, I'm going to the Frye. And you should too—everyone who's waited in stand-by at the Frye for these Genius Showcases so far has gotten in. (You show up by 5:30, put yourself on a list, join everyone for drinks in the lobby, and the show starts at 6:15.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

In Culture News: Here's What You'll Be Watching at the Egyptian Next Month

Posted by , and on Tue, Sep 2, 2014 at 4:01 PM

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SIFF Cinema Announces Egyptian Programming: From October 3rd to October 5th, SIFF will celebrate the grand re-opening of the Egyptian Theatre with a mini-film festival of some of the Egyptian's greatest hits. Films that played extended runs at the theater, including Amelie, Pan's Labyrinth, My Neighbor Totoro, O Brother Where Art Thou?, and Risky Business will play at the theater all weekend long. Tickets will be $5, or free if you bring in a receipt from any Capitol Hill business. You can read the full schedule at SIFF's site. In addition, SIFF announced the midnight movie slate at the Egyptian, with films ranging from recent hits (Cabin in the Woods, Slither) to classics (Zombie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show). Here's the page with the first full month of midnight movies, taking us up through Halloween.

The Whitey McWhiterson (Betty Bowen) Awards: Over the weekend, fed up with last Friday’s announcement of the five Betty Bowen Award finalists, Seattle artist Laura Castellanos sent a letter to the Betty Bowen Committee asking: “How many African-American or Latino/a artists have been granted either a Betty Bowen Grand Prize or Special Recognition award since its inception in 1979?” She was protesting that four of the five finalists are white, and, she said, that all but one of the selection panelists was white. The committee hasn’t answered yet, but we’ve sent an email also requesting responses to both the committee and Seattle Art Museum’s PR department. (SAM administers the prize.)

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NighTraiN Reaches End of the Line? Awesome local punk band NighTraiN announced on Facebook that they are taking "an indefinite hiatus." They're playing two more shows in October, and then the group is dissolving. Go read the post and make your October plans accordingly.

"I Had a Mexican Star Trek-Themed Wedding and It the Best Thing Ever": Seattle comedian and Wine Shots creator Elicia Sanchez writes the amazing story for Jezebel.

From the Department of Thought Crime: If you missed this story over the weekend, it deserves your attention:

Members of the Dorchester Sheriff’s Office, the Cambridge Police Department and the Dorchester County Public School board have removed Mace’s Lane Middle School teacher Patrick McLaw for allegedly penning two books under the alias, “Dr. K.S. Voltaer.” One of the books, “The Insurrectionist,” depicts “the largest school massacre” in history, WBOC-TV reports. A second book from 2013, “Lilith’s Heir,” is also available on Amazon and is described as a sequel penned by “K Voltaer.”

A teacher writes a sci-fi novel featuring what is referred to as "a futuristic school shooting" and then he's put on a leave of absence by school officials pending an investigation. Police even swept the school for weapons and bombs the day McLaw was removed from the premises. They didn't find any weapons, futuristic or otherwise. Does this sound like the plot of a particularly hammy novel to you?

New Murakami (Yes, Again) In case Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage wasn't enough Haruki Murakami for you, publisher Alfred A. Knopf announced that 2014 will see the publication of a new novella by Murakami, too. The Strange Library was published in Japan in 2008, but it's going to be translated into English in December of this year.

Defending Amazon: Neal Pollock says we should leave Amazon alone.

This Is a Special Kind of Genius: Some art students have incorporated Google Ads into the text of Bret Easton Ellis's brand-obsessed classic American Psycho.

Friday, August 29, 2014

What Are You Doing This Weekend? Stranger Critics Answer the Question

Posted by on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 4:40 PM


Dave Segal: "Spending Saturday through Monday at a little festival known as Bumbershoot. Saturday, while you’re practicing your Wu-Tang Clan 'W's, I’ll be trying to finagle my way backstage to hang with legendary soul/gospel singer Mavis Staples, who’s still a dynamo at 75. Sunday is crammed with greatness (the Dream Syndicate, Luscious Jackson, Negativland, Mission of Burma, Big Star’s Third, Bootsy Collins), so if you can only go one day, make it that one. Monday I’m looking forward to Jonathan Richman and Dutch psych-pop magus Jacco Gardner."

Christopher Frizzelle: "I got tickets to go to Wild Waves, because I've never been to Wild Waves, but now it's supposed to rain. So I'll probably go see George Meyer at Bumbershoot."

Dan Savage: "Nothing."

David Schmader: "Tomorrow I'm a judge at the Literary Death Match at Bumbershoot, on Sunday I'm telling a story in Jennifer Jasper's Family Affair at Bumbershoot, and on Monday I'm doing whatever I want."

Kelly O: "I will probably not do much of anything else except take a million photos at this Seattle thing whose name rhymes with 'Lumber-Flute'."

Anna Minard: "Staying home and sleeping, until I emerge on Monday evening to interview nine writers and editors from the Onion onstage at Bumbershoot. I have taken some advice and decided not to use any onion puns in my introduction, so you should definitely come. Also: Please, if I have something in my teeth, let me know."

Katie Allison: "I'm going to spend the weekend carefully avoiding Bumbershoot and the whole Seattle Center area, because huge crowds of people are invariably the worst."

Paul Constant: "It's been a shitty summer and I'm happy to bury it in the backyard. I think I might celebrate by seeing Boyhood again—it was a movie that helped make my summer a little better. I'm also going to Bellingham for a day, and I'll be listening to Cassorla a whole lot all weekend long, because I'm currently in love with Cassorla."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

In Culture News: Your One-Stop Shop for Last-Minute Bumbershoot Schedule Changes

Posted by and on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Bumbershoot Announces a Few Music-Lineup Alterations: Here are some last-minute changes to the Bumbershoot musical lineup. First, guitarist Chris Brokaw (Come, Codeine) will replace Jessica Pratt Monday at the Pavilion Stage at 4:15 pm. Second, the ensemble that will interpret Big Star’s Third is expanding to include Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli, Dream Syndicate’s Steve Wynn, Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin, Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws, and Young Fresh Fellows/Minus 5/Baseball Project’s Scott McCaughey. They join original Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Mike Mills, Mitch Easter, Chris Stamey, and Mike McCready. Finally, James Brown/Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins has canceled his Bumbershoot Music Lounge set, but will still perform Sunday at 10 pm at the Fisher Green Stage.

The Stranger’s Bumbershoot coverage is here.

Wonkette Is Coming to Town! Everybody's favorite political blog is hosting a Seattle happy hour on Saturday, September 27th. They're trying to figure out where to have the happy hour; you can chime in on your favorite bar in the comments.

Your Staggering Fact of the Day: "More than 5 percent of the messages a woman receives online will be abusive or derogatory in nature, on average," Lyz Lenz writes at the Rumpus.

That Looks Like a Movie, All Right: Here's the trailer for Rosewater, the film that Jon Stewart took last summer off from the Daily Show to direct:

Shakespeare, with Drunks: Slog tipper Ryan says "this needs to happen here," and we tend to agree: ShakesBEER is a cross between a pub crawl and a Shakespeare festival, Drunk Shakespeare is a cross between Shakespeare and improv, and Shotspeare is a drinking game disguised as a Shakespeare production. Why not?

Who Can Write with All This Typing Going On? Slog tipper Greg sent along this NPR story: Seems that the Times of London is now broadcasting the sounds of clacking typewriters in the newsroom in an effort to increase productivity.

Boss Your Kids Around: Bruce Springsteen has apparently written a children's book.

Click the image to be transported to the page where you can buy Finger Hands, via internet magic.
  • Click the image to be transported to the page where you can buy Finger Hands, via internet magic.
Finally! Infinite Jest as David Foster Wallace Intended It! Brick Jest is a series of Lego retellings of important scenes from Infinite Jest. That's all we have to say about that.

Hands on the Tips of Your Fingers: Beloved local novelty institution Archie McPhee announced their newest product today. Finger hands are hands you put on the tips of your fingers, and they're really quite creepy. Hopefully, Archie McPhee will one day soon start selling finger hands to put on the fingers of your finger hands, so we can keep this party going.

Here's What You Missed if You Weren't at the 2014 Literature Genius Showcase

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 12:09 PM

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  • Kelly O
  • AND THE NOMINEES ARE... Left to right: Shin Yu Pai, G. Willow Wilson, and Gary Groth.
It is always nice to drink at a museum—or an aquarium, or a house of religion, or really any large space intended for a specific purpose and where you are usually instructed not to carry a beer around willy nilly. Wandering a nice museum carrying a beer and some cookies feels like a minor subversive act, and since the Frye has shown a particular fondness for subversive acts (both major and minor), it makes a fitting spot for these slightly tipsy parties thrown to celebrate artists across genres.

Last night was the literature showcase, and if you have not yet familiarized yourself with the literature genius nominees, I will say: I know of at least two people who left the party to go directly to Elliott Bay Book Company and purchase the work of these shortlisters. To catch up, you can also read short profiles of poet Shin Yu Pai, comics critic and publisher Gary Groth, and author G. Willow Wilson in the summer issue of A&P.

In the Frye's cool gray auditorium, the three sat down to chat with the audience, each other, and books editor Paul Constant, who called books "the greatest engines of empathy humanity has ever devised" and said Seattle is "in the process of becoming the literary capital of the United States," because he is basically a 'roided-out WWE announcer for literature.

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  • Kelly O
  • Ralph Steadman drew for Hunter S. Thompson and once wrote an autobiography of god.
Gary Groth, who founded and still runs venerable local comics publisher Fantagraphics, read a piece of criticism on Ralph Steadman, the longtime visual collaborator of Hunter S. Thompson. His piece was so dense with history and analysis that if you were in that room and didn't learn something new about Steadman, Thompson, or comics and illustration, it could only be because your name is Gary Groth. Next, Shin Yu Pai read poems from vastly different series; her work shifts in tone and shape and style from one project to the next. Topics that were covered in her poems: Sheep. Art. Kielbasa. Farting. Prisoners. Walmart. Then G. Willow Wilson told us that the novel she read an excerpt from, Alif the Unseen, was her most autobiographical work—even though she's actually written a memoir—because she finally stopped "worrying about my target audience" and just "wrote what I wanted to write," hoping that an audience might be out there.

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  • Kelly O
  • The audience was out there.
There was a great gauntlet throwdown from Wilson, who told the room that "writers of comic books have to work harder than writers of novels do."

Continue reading »

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In Culture News: Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter Share "A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment"

Posted by , and on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 4:00 PM

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  • Olivier D’hose
Local Writer Goes Head-First Into Rubble: Ansel Herz told you yesterday that Gazans have launched the "Rubble Bucket Challenge," a riff on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in which people dump rubble on their heads to raise awareness of the situation in Gaza. (Rubble is used because water is in short supply in Gaza, and refrigeration is impossible due to infrequent access to electricity.) Yesterday afternoon, Stranger Genius of Literature Lesley Hazleton took part in the Rubble Bucket Challenge and blogged about her experience. You can see photos of her challenge along the side of this post. Hazleton writes, "The rubble I used came, either ironically or appropriately, from a building site."

Send Lance Mercer Good Thoughts: Back in June, the photographer and musician Lance Mercer went public with the news that he has cancer, his daughter calling for fundraising help. An exhibition of his photographs of the pre-grunge period was to be shown at Bumbershoot this weekend, but it just turned out to be too much to do to juggle a big show and illness. So there’s a change to the lineup: Mercer’s photo show will not appear at Bumbershoot, and in its place will be rock-and-roll photographs by another Seattle classic, the wonderful Jini Dellaccio, who died July 3. The show, curated by Chuck Pennington and assisted by Larry Reid of Fantagraphics, celebrates the entire life and career of Dellaccio, best known for 1960s images of acts like The Sonics, The Wailers, Merrilee Rush, The Daily Flash, and many others.

Your New Favorite Podcast (Except for the Savage Lovecast, Of Course): Stranger Genius Sherman Alexie and very-intelligent Spokane novelist Jess Walter announced today that they've started a new podcast titled "A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment." Alexie and Walter, who both play basketball a whole lot, refer to the podcast as "the middle-aged writer fading jock show," and it will include interviews (about writing and pornography and politics) and readings and probably sports talk. We got in touch with Alexie, who told us new episodes of the podcast will go live every other Wednesday. The first two episodes are available for your listening pleasure right now.

Actor Vincent Kartheiser to Play Filmmaker Billy Wilder: In Billy & Ray at the Vineyard Theater in NYC. As the New York Times reports:

Written by Mike Bencivenga and directed by Garry Marshall (“Pretty Woman”), “Billy & Ray” captures the antagonistic relationship between Wilder and Chandler during the creation of the 1944 film “Double Indemnity.” The two locked horns early and often while facing strict censorship laws that constrained a plot rife with murder and adultery. Despite the challenges, the film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, with Wilder and Chandler sharing a nomination for their screenplay.

As for the rest of the cast: Raymond Chandler will be played by top-tier Law & Order-er Larry Pine and a supporting role will be played Bette Midler's daughter Sophie von Haselberg.

How Many Fire Phones Has Amazon Sold? Wow, that's a terrible number. Could that be true?

Do You Need a Smart Watch? Apple is reportedly announcing their smartwatch on September 9th. One commenter at Apple Insider writes, "I, for one, will be one of the FIRST to order my iWatch, no matter what it looks like or what it does."

Superheroes Are Serious Business, Guys: Does DC Comics have a "no jokes" policy in their superhero movies?

Poster of the Week

Posted by on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 3:33 PM

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In case you aren't aware, the fact that Slint are playing in Seattle is a pretty huge deal. Mike Klay has done this occasion justice with this impressive 25-by-9.5-inch two-color screen print (with metallic silver, no less!). See more of Mike's work at powerslidedesign.com.

Why Is Bumbershoot Better This Year Than Previous Years?

Posted by on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 3:23 PM

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  • MARK KAUFMAN

Something feels different about Bumbershoot this year. In the weeks after One Reel announced the lineup for this summer's festival, artists, musicians, critics, and friends began saying something I hadn't heard in years: "Wow, this year's Bumbershoot looks amazing."

People aren't talking so much about this year's classic marquee names (including The Replacements, Wu-Tang Clan, and Jonathan Richman, though even they seem like an improvement over the creakier nostalgia acts and radio superstars One Reel was programming just a few years ago) as they are about the smaller, mid-range, and quasi-underground acts: Gregory Porter, Mexican Institute of Sound, Negativland, Black Weirdo, Mission of Burma, Evan Flory-Barnes, ILLFIGHTYOU, and the Both.

Anecdotally, it feels like a better spread and a break from Bumbershoots past that seemed to spend a huge amount of money on superstars like Bob Dylan and leave the rest of the acts in relative neglect…

Keep Reading>>>

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

In Culture News: Charles Mudede and Larry Mizell Jr Talk About Ferguson Tonight

Posted by and on Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 4:01 PM

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  • Click to enlarge.
Talking About Ferguson at NAAM: Tonight, Stranger writers Charles Mudede and Larry Mizell Jr are joining other writers, critics, activists at the Northwest African American Museum for an event organized by Pecha Kucha Seattle and Seattle People of Color Salon. It's called PKN SEA vol. 56 #Ferguson and it concerns the state of things in America in the light of the young and unarmed black man, Michael Brown, who was shot six times by a white police officer on August 9. Ferguson is the LA riots of the 21st century.

Uber Assholes: In a bombshell post, The Verge accuses Uber of masterminding a "sophisticated effort to undermine Lyft and other competitors." The internal name of the program? "Operation SLOG." (I guess we should feel flattered?) In response to The Verge story, Uber is trying to explain away its creepy libertarian tactics as good old free-market capitalism at its finest.

Why Bother Leaving the House This Weekend? There's still time to register for the 3-Day Novel Contest! All you have to do is pay $50 dollars, enter online, write an entire novel over Labor Day weekend, and then submit your book for a chance to be selected as this year's winner. If you've ever wanted to write a book, this is a great way to jump-start the writing process; sure, what you come up with isn't going to be a polished piece of writing, but it will indisputably be a novel-shaped thing. As every published writer can tell you, actually finishing a first draft is more than half the battle. Do it.

Library Misses the Point of Libraries: The new Florida Polytechnic University library is a bookless library. Yeah, a library with no books in it.

John Stamos is one of the producers of the prospective Full House reboot.
  • s_bukley//Shutterstock
  • John Stamos is one of the producers of the prospective Full House reboot.
Is This Peak 90s Nostalgia? Apparently, producers are trying to reboot Full House.

This Idea Won't Be Controversial at All: Is it time to take the prices off books?

“I have felt for some time that taking the price off books would put bookselling in the same place as almost all other retail,” said American Booksellers Association president Steve Bercu, the owner of BookPeople in Austin, Tex., and an advocate for net pricing. “Allowing flexibility in pricing gives the retailer the possibility of sharing changes in wages, theft, and occupancy costs with the consumer. Almost all forms of retail have this possibility, but booksellers do not.” Bercu also cited an additional advantage of net pricing: it would make discounting difficult and would allow market conditions to dictate the price locally.

It's hard to imagine the publishing industry agreeing to do this in tandem; such a move would certainly make Amazon look like the good guys.

Free Physics: The Feynman Lectures on Physics are now available to read for free online. In addition to possibly being the smartest physicist in the world in his lifetime, Feynman was almost definitely the greatest physics teacher in the world, too. This is a great chance to learn at the feet of the master.

Monday, August 25, 2014

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