Then click play and explode with joy!
WINE LOVERS is the world's first WINE TASTING MUSICAL, a unique interactive experience in which the audience members enjoy a tasting of six delightful wines while watching a musical praising the joys of wine and love.
Thank you, Slog tipper Colonel Bacon.
But if you wanna stay out of the emergency room... you might wanna avoid Budweiser, Steel Reserve, Colt 45, Bud Ice and Bud Light. A boozer can't be too careful, right?
Talking points? I don't need no stinking talking points! Well, I don't need 'em most of the time...
I was on MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes last night. While I wouldn't normally work up a page of talking points before appearing on a cable news program—I usually don't have a problem running my big mouth—I just got back from two and a half weeks in Berlin and I'm pretty seriously jet lagged. (Check out the bags under my eyes.) So I thought it best to organize my thoughts before last night's showdown with Chris. I worked up these talking points about the vodka boycott with Matt Fikse-Verkerk and they cover a lot more ground than I was able to cover in the three minutes I had on All In. So I'm posting 'em here on Slog.
Why did you decide to do launch this boycott?
The boycott of Russian vodkas wasn't launched by me. A lot of people are involved and a lot of people are backing this effort. The boycott was spontaneous and got off the ground in a lot of places all at once—activists in NYC, SF, and Seattle all had the idea nearly at the same time to push this, and everyone got to work. Harvey Fierstein's NYT opinion piece was a real catalyst, but it was the constant drumbeat of horror stories coming out of Russia that kicked things into high gear. Every day we are hearing more and more about legal persecution, abuse, beatings, and worse—all sanctioned by the Russian government.
Why boycott Russian Vodka? Isn't that some frivolous gay cliche?
Boycotts are never the end of an issue, they are the start of an issue. And vodka is Russia's most iconic product—and the companies that make it and sell it have deep ties in Russia. The point of this boycott—the point of any boycott—is to 1) draw the world' s attention to the issue 2) get people motivated and engaged and doing something and then 3.) hopefully, and in time, make the situation better for LGBT people in Russia. This is just getting started and is only going to grow the more we hear about the daily horrors of life in Russia for LGBT people.
Has the boycott been successful?
The boycott has been a huge success. Media all over the world are now covering this topic for the first time, and the vodka boycott is what initially got the international media's attention. Organizations and analysts and activists agree on this. The vodka boycott worked and it is still working.
But isn't Stoli a Latvian vodka? That's what the company that makes Stoli—SPI—is claiming. Stoli is Latvian?
Steven Stone is a Boeing aerospace engineer who specializes in preventing "flutter" in planes, a deceptively adorable term for the event when a structure basically vibrates until it destroys itself. He is the founder of Sound Spirits Distillery, which holds the honor of being the first distillery to open in Washington State after Prohibition. In his stills in Interbay, he uses unusual ingredients and 18th-century distillation techniques to make spirits that are exceptionally smooth, complex, and unlikely to vibrate until they destroy themselves. You can stop by the distillery for samples and meet Steven's friendly cat, CHO, short for "Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen," the elements that make up ethyl alcohol.
How does being an engineer influence the way you run your distillery?
There are always problems that arise with production processes. I can use my skills as an engineer to troubleshoot. Fermentation and distillation are heavily influenced by basic chemistry.
What was the first liquor you made?
I started with vodka, because it's the base of so many other products. It's even the gateway to whiskey. Vodka comes out 190 proof. Whiskey is distilled to a lower proof, and that's where the flavor comes from. The spirit is drawn in and out of the wood [in the barrel], and a natural filtering takes place. Depending on the level of char on the barrel, you'll get different oaky flavors. One theory about the original use of charred barrels is they were reusing barrels that had contained something nasty.
If you didn't know that Joe Shlichta was a born painter—someone who's had a brush in his hand since he was a kid, through art schools in LA and Seattle, and through a decades-long art career that has spanned from New York to Seattle—you might simply think he was a born bartender. As a younger man, he thought becoming a book illustrator would be practical, so he moved to New York and made it there. But after four books, he discovered that he couldn't pretend being an illustrator was the same as being an artist. He gave up commercial art, and to support his fine-art work, he took up bartending—starting at the Olive Garden in Times Square.
Bartending became his entirely unintentional second career. He even worked as a bartender at a chic restaurant in Buenos Aires when he was stranded there without money during one of his extended traveling interludes. In Seattle, he's been at various establishments, including Ileen's Sports Bar (now Julia's) when it was the only place on Capitol Hill serving hard liquor, and the swank Waterfront Seafood Grill (now AQUA by El Gaucho) on sparkling Pier 70. He's kept his two lives at a healthy remove from each other, showing his dreamy, atmospheric paintings at Seattle's Fetherston Gallery while, nowadays, manning the bar at Ristorante Machiavelli. (Another Seattle artist who is a prominent bartender: Sean M. Johnson, at Tommy Gun.)
Get in while the rates are still low. Train station is to be complete in 2016. Highline Bar & Castle are both vacating. 10,085 Sq. Ft with balcony along Broadway! Capitol Hill is the densely populated neighborhood in Seattle!
Tell me about the history of beer-making in your family.
That picture on the wall is from a family reunion. My grandmother is sitting on the keg there. My great grandmother was a brewer. My uncles were brewers who made bathtub gin during Prohibition.
What's the most unusual beer you have on tap?
Most of mine are classic styles. Our seasonal blonde ale is only available in-house, not even to take out in growlers. It's made with gin-spent juniper berries. When I took a distilling class at Batch 206 Distillery, I asked for a bag of juniper berries they had used to make gin, and they said, "Well, you can have them, but not the bag." [Laughs] I said I could use my own bag.
So there are Senate hearings going on this week on whether or not the London Metal Exchange and other banks worked behind the scenes to hold aluminum supplies, driving up costs. Big banks allegedly behaving in underhanded ways—what is this, 2008?
Says MSN Money:
Tim Weiner, a global risk manager at MillerCoors, told the committee Tuesday that banks including Goldman Sachs (GS +0.01%), JP Morgan Chase (JPM +0.19%) and others gave warehouse owners approval to sit on huge stockpiles of aluminum, create artificial shortages and leave prices "inflated relative to the massive oversupply and record production."
MillerCoors, a U.S. joint venture between SABMiller (SAB) and MolsonCoors (TAP -0.63%), puts about 36 million barrels of the 59 million barrels of beer it produces each year into cans. As overhead goes, Weiner says, metal is the company's riskiest investment.
According to the article, "the cost of a six-pack jumped from $3.92 to $5.05 between 2001 and 2011, the last year for which information is available." Canned-beer drinkers, rise up! The affordability of your television-side digestif is at stake!
The Boss is a bar next to Jumbo Seafood Restaurant & Lounge, which in turn is next to a business that sells jewelry and furniture, all of which are contained in a building, Rainier Mall, that's painted the color of white flesh and has near its entrance impressive statues of roaring lions and ancient and curvy Greek women dancing in a way that would excite and wet the dreams of a 19th-century German philosopher.
Have the French gone crazy? Following close on the heels of Winestar's French wine in a can — and not just plonk, but vintage red, white and rosé from such prestigious appellations as Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhone Valley — a French producer is introducing cola-flavored wine.
I suppose it makes sense. Now that mankind has perfected cake-batter-flavored vodka, there's nowhere else to go but wine.
Today, science estimates some of the human damage done by years of coal burning in China, studies how certain mammals are able to choose the gender of their offspring, gets acquainted with a new atomic clock, and catches a glimpse of an underwater forest.
Pollution in northern China may have reduced life expectancy for many by about 5.5 years
A study published Monday indicates that lifelong exposure to air pollution may have shortened the lives of 500 million Chinese. The effects of air pollution (most of which in China is from coal burning) on lifespan are hard to measure because people tend to move to different places, and therefore experience varying levels of exposure. This, along with other factors like lifestyle and healthcare availability can further confound studies. In a “quasi-experimental empirical approach,” researchers attempted to get a clearer picture of the situation by comparing the health of families who lived on either side of the Huai River.
From 1950-1980, socialist policy provided free coal to families and companies on the north side of the river, but not the south, due to budget constraints. This provided an ideal condition for the study, as most other factors remained the same between the northern and southern groups. The result? Life expectancies were found to be lower (by more than five years) north of the Huai, where pollution concentrations are higher.
Mammals can choose the gender of their offspring, study says
A Stanford study analyzed 90 years of breeding records from the San Diego Zoo, and concluded that, through some unknown mechanism largely controlled by females, mammals are able to choose the sex of their offspring. This builds on a theory first proposed in the early 70s by the famous American sociobiologist Robert Trivers, that certain species would produce sons if the conditions were ideal for sons, and daughters if the conditions were ideal for daughters.
Optical lattice clocks lose just one second every 300 million years
These new clocks are three times as accurate as current atomic clocks. Our current system exposes clouds of caesium atoms to microwaves, but these new clocks use laser beams to excite strontium atoms. Because these laser beams oscillate much faster than microwave radiation, the timing is more precise.
There’s an underwater Cypress forest off the Alabama coast
The story of this forest that's sixty feet underwater? It was buried under ocean sediments, preserved in an oxygen-free environment for more than 50,000 years, and most likely uncovered by hurricane Katrina. Cypress stumps, which cover an areas of at least half a square mile, are so fresh that they smell like sap when cut. There are already fish and wildlife making a home of it, and it will likely be destroyed in just a few years, so have a look:
Picture of an unaltered order of whiskey in Canada:
Seattle's Scarecrow Video is one of the most beloved video stores on earth, and tomorrow night, they commence what I hope will become a new tradition: On-site movie screenings complete with on-site beer. From the official press release:
[W]e cleared about 18,500 VHS tapes out of a back room and knocked down a wall to open it to the rest of the store. Then we turned to our Roosevelt neighbors at Definitive Audio for advice. With their help, we outfitted the room with a large HD television and top-notch sound equipment and transformed it into a comfortable space to sit and watch a movie. At show time we’ll pull heavy curtains over the windows, press play, and commune with fellow fans of cinema.
The premiere offering: Michael Bay's notorious Bad Boys II, which will be introduced by Scarecrow employees/filmy smartypants Matt Lynch and Kevin Clarke. The official word:
The inaugural event speaks to our love of passionate film discussion (and sometimes contentious debate) coupled with the summer movie season’s apparent joy in blowing up as much stuff as possible. We're showing the pinnacle of action movie monstrosities, Michael Bay's Bad Boys II—a film loaded with guns, explosions, and nasty violence with a casual disregard for human life and a world view that might charitably be called sociopathic. Hosts Matt Lynch and Kevin Clarke will discuss just what's so appealing about 25 years of bad vibes from action cinema rolled up into one big fat ball and hurled straight at the audience, and how something so silly and mean-spirited could also be so much fun.
Bad Boys II screens tomorrow night at 8 pm at Scarecrow Video, 5030 Roosevelt Way NE.
Lyss, the former owner of Seattle Pie Company, showed me the pipe she designed to carry the aroma of pie from the bar's oven to the street and the doorbell a neighbor installed in their pie pickup window. "We've both worked as general contractors," she told me. "We did Pie Bar's build-out ourselves. Check out the bathroom!" (Indeed, the bathroom is impressive—the smallest I have ever seen containing a chandelier.) I watched the bar's flat-screen TV after Lyss told me she likes to play a mixture of baseball and Mr. Bean, but seeing only baseball, I accepted with some disappointment that she meant she alternates between the two.
Click the photo to answer one of life's most burning questions, especially in Seattle in the summertime...
A New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control investigation has found that 29 bars and restaurants, including 13 TGI Fridays, allegedly substituted cheap booze (or worse!) while charging for premium drinks:
At one bar, a mixture that included rubbing alcohol and caramel coloring was sold as scotch. In another, premium liquor bottles were refilled with water — and apparently not even clean water at that.
In January and February, investigators went to 63 establishments they suspected were scamming liquor customers. They ordered drinks neat — that is, without ice or mixers — and then covertly took samples for testing.
Of 150 samples collected, 30 were not the brand as which they were being sold.
Why can't government regulators leave the market to sort this out for itself? Nanny-statism at its worst!
After reading about this NYC speakeasy hidden in a water tower...
Mr. Austin located a suitable water tower by scouring Buildings Department records for violations with egregious scaffold fines. That can indicate a neglectful landlord, he said, which meant it might be a vacant building ripe for adopting as one’s own.
One Saturday night last month, 12 guests squeezed through the trap door into the space. “The great thing about the upright bass is how it got up here,” said Dirby Luongo, one of Mr. Austin’s collaborators who played the doorman. “It’s like a ship in a bottle.”
... the first thing I thought of was Bigger Thomas using a water tower for shelter in Native Son. Whether your situation is as frivolous as a speakeasy or as dire as a fugitive, the water towers of American cities can be a shelter—but only temporarily.
Two weeks ago, we reported on a reported assault on a police officer—specifically, a marijuana pipe allegedly tossed at an officer's head.
This week brings another report of an inventive, alleged assault on an officer—perhaps the work of a copycat criminal? Last Tuesday afternoon, a humble police officer was driving past University Playground when he noticed a man carrying "a large can of beer in his left hand," according to a police report. Specifically, a 24-ounce can of Stack High Gravity Smooth Lager, a malt liquor celebrated for its "sugar covered dried apricots, cotton candy and green apple" flavor with "lively carbonation and a long, boozy finish."
The can was open, and since carrying around open cans of alcohol in public is decidedly not legal—not even on hot, beautiful sunny days, when all you crave is an orange-colored malt beverage with minimal head—the officer rolled down his passenger side window and instructed the suspect to pour out his beverage, the report states.
The suspect reportedly ignored the command and kept walking, so the officer "moved his patrol vehicle into the crosswalk to block his path," the report continues. Ordered once again to dump out the malt beverage, the suspect bent over—looking into the officer's passenger window—and began to comply. But when the can was about half empty, the suspect suddenly "threw the can through the open window." It was a direct hit, the report notes. The can struck the officer in the upper right arm and its contents "poured onto the right side of his uniform," probably causing the officer to reek of sweet citrus with a boozy finish. The officer immediately got out and arrested the suspect, whereupon the man "began professing that he was sorry and that throwing the beer was stupid," the report notes.
Once at the North Precinct, the suspect reportedly confessed to another officer that he had thrown the half-full can at the officer and that "he was sorry," the report reiterates. The officer did not require medical attention.
A note to Seattle police officers: Stay on your toes and watch out for flying paraphernalia. And to the residents of Seattle, a polite reminder: pot and booze are to be consumed and enjoyed, rather than flung at people.
Capitol Hill finally has a place to eat that is open all day and all night. After Basic Plumbing—the windowless, louche gay bathhouse on 10th and Pike—closed its clammy doors, David Meinert (5 Point/Big Mario's) and Jason Lajeunesse (Neumo's/Moe Bar/etc.) turned the space into 24-hour diner Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge (with an accidental, but hopefully cleansing, fire occurring during the process). They promise "the stiffest drinks on the Hill" (stiffest-er than the Crescent*?! Lord help us) and "no pretentious deconstructed anything, just real food for real people at great prices." The atmosphere is retro-Twin-Peaks-y, and we hear that the tuna melt is good, and there is pie.
*UPDATE: Or stiffest-er than C.C. Attle's, as commenter kittenalarm rightfully asks!?
The story, which is my column and set in San Francisco's airport, ends like this...
While walking to the airport's ground transportation area, the most amazing thing happens: I see Henry Louis Gates Jr. standing right there in front of me. The famous Harvard professor and literary critic is on a cell phone, having a deep conversation. But when he notices that I know who he is, he stops talking and greets me. I tell him it's such an honor to meet him. I tell him I love his books and essays. I do not, however, mention that incident with the dumb cop, or the drinks [the beer summit] he had with that dumb cop and our president... I ask if I can take a picture of him, and he allows me to do so. I take the image, thank him, shake his hand, and leave. Later, when checking the image as I approach the airport's exit, I realize that my drunkenness spoiled it. I did not hold the camera steady, and so now possess a blurred image of one of the most famous black American intellectuals in history.
...but sometimes I can't help myself. An ongoing email exchange:
Hope you get AIDS Fagget
Best illiterate than a cock sucker with AID. Hope you get AID fag.
Let me help you with that: "Better illiterate than a cocksucker [one word!] with AIDS. Hope you get AIDS, fag."—Dan
Here's an interview with longtime owner Tim Cannon, including when and why the Viking started selling fresh eggs by the dozen.
And here's an appreciation of both the Viking's barbecue and the place as a Seattle institution by Rachel Kessler from way back in 2001:
There is something about the Viking that reminds me of old Seattle: the lush and green and lonely Seattle of the 1970s, imbued with the infinite sadness of spent resources and industrialized, polluted, then abandoned riverbanks. In the old Seattle, there were weeds, and dogs without leashes. The paint peeled off houses and nobody bothered the city council about it. My grandpa, a lean man who sleeps with a gun under his pillow in his mossy rambler out in Preston, would drink at the Viking if he lived in Ballard. I imagine both my grandparents being very comfortable at the Viking, in fact, with their pair of Dobermans, Acey and Deucy, at attention next to several rib bones picked clean...
The ground upon which the Viking stands will become a development called the Ballard Lofts. Please join me now in a moment of silent hating of the world.
As of tomorrow at closing time, the neon lights at Ninth and Madison will be no more. After 34 years and some health troubles, the owner of Greek-American 1st Hill Bar and Grill has decided to sell. Marti Jonjak’s Happiest Hour love note doubles as an elegy for one of the last truly old-school Seattle restaurant-and-lounges:
The 1st Hill Bar & Grill is a deeply charming dive that's been around forever. Occupying the front space: a pleasant, ordinary diner with old men and mauve seashell-print upholstery and garlands of plastic ivy. But the back lounge blooms into a distinct and unexpected realm—vast and still, with glossy orange underlights and murals on every wall depicting famous Greek ruins.
Come say your goodbyes!
There's a silver lining to this story: The buyer is Ridgley Kuang, owner of the two Green Leaf locations—one serves the best Vietnamese food in Belltown (no contest) and the other serves arguably the best Vietnamese in the International District (we can fight about it in the comments). I go to the Belltown Green Leaf so often that the waitresses know how I like my iced coffee and sometimes send over free dessert.
Kuang isn’t opening another Green Leaf; he thinks two is enough. The new restaurant will be called Lotus Asian Kitchen and Lounge, following a few months of remodeling. Some Green Leaf dishes might migrate, but the menu will have more of an experimental, Asian-fusion vibe, plus a full bar.
And if you find yourself wandering First Hill, in need in of old-fashioned, homey ambience and cheap, serviceable souvlaki, there’s always Mediterranean Kitchen.
Literally the last paragraph of this KING 5 News story headlined "Some big name retailers caught selling liquor to minors" is:
[Liquor control board] officials say that compliance checks at spirits retailers show that 93 percent of them are following the law and denying sales to minors. That’s about the same compliance rate that liquor stores had when they were run by the state.
That is basically everything I wanted to know. All of the "news" preceding that—about liquor stings and how many citations each store has (the highest is Safeway, with nine citations)—doesn't seem super-relevant once you read the above paragraph. You can let your kids back out of the house now, folks! The streets are as safe (or unsafe) as they always were.
From this week's I, Anonymous:
Over the first 16 years of your life, I had four jobs and was fired from all of them. My evaluations would say things like "The poorest work habits I've ever seen." I felt entitled to cheat, lie, use people, and hurt people (ask your mom) out of what I called anger. But it wasn't anger. It was self-pity. And its fuel was alcohol. Sound familiar? Dude, it runs in families. Your mother and your sister and I all wish we could force you to get sober, but all of us know it doesn't work that way. All I can say is that when I finally dumped alcohol, everything fell into place for me. And you're like me. I only hope it doesn't take until you're fifty-fucking-five years old to snap to the fact, because this show is getting hard to watch.
And from this week's I, Anonymous comments:
How nice for you that you got sober AFTER your children were grown. Ruin their lives with your alcohol-fueled abusiveness, then find sobriety in time for you to be able to enjoy the rest of your life. You deserve the pain of watching your son be the train wreck you created. Choke on it.
Get in on the context-free judgment of anonymous people's lives here.
At a wet housing complex in downtown Seattle last Saturday, April 13, three "very intoxicated" men watching a Clint Eastwood movie were interrupted by a fourth "extremely intoxicated" man who insisted on changing the channel, according to a police report. A fight ensued, resulting in much spilled beer.
The "wet housing" complex is so named because it helps formerly homeless chronic alcoholics fight their addictions with the aid of social services, a bed, and roof overhead.
Staff kicked out a man with "impaired speech, balance and coordination" from the dining area around 7:30 p.m. for causing disturbances, reports Officer Christopher Myers. The man made his way to the TV room, where he tried to change the channel from a Clint Eastwood flick. When the movie's three viewers objected, the suspect allegedly grabbed one of Clint Eastwood-watchers "with both hands and applied pressure to strangle him," the report states.
The report fails to note which Clint Eastwood movie the suspect objected to—if we're talking about Trouble With the Curve, dude may have been justified.
The men grappled for a bit until the suspect "paused to put on both of his slippers, then without warning punched [the man] again in the face."
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