But you should pre-order it anyway!
Did you like Devil in the White City? Of course you did. Who doesn't? Chicago By Day and Night: The Pleasure Seeker's Guide to the Paris of America was a guidebook published for visitors to the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. Daniel Burnham might've picked it up, though he's never once mentioned (the book was written before we began to worship architects as artists). H. H. Holmes's hotel might've rated a mention, had it been built when the book was composed. If you're a DitWC fan, this book will complement your enjoyment of Larsen's.
CBDN guides potential visitors to "free and easy" shows, saloons, carousels, masquerades, and other fun things to do away from the Fair itself. It's a fascinating artifact of the late 19th Century, when any woman who flirted with a man on the street might be an "adventuress" who planned to take him for all he was worth, via blackmail, the badger game, or the panel room. A taste from that chapter, with our notes after the jump:
The term adventuress is applied to women of careless reputation who, being much too smart to endure the ignominious career of professional demi-mondaines, resort to various shrewd schemes to fleece the unwary. Some of their class work in concert with male partners, and in such cases the selected victim generally becomes an easy prey. The confidence man may be dangerous; the confidence woman, if she be well educated and bright, as well as pretty, is irresistible except with the most hardened and unsusceptible customers. The shrewdest old granger of them all, who steers safely through the shoals and traps set for him by male sharpers, will go down like the clover before the scythe under a roguish glance, as it were, from a “white wench’s black eye,” as Mercutio said.
There is no mortal man in this universe of ours, be he never so homely or ill-favored, who does not cherish in his heart of hearts the impression that there is a woman or two somewhere whom he could charm if he wished to. It is the spirit of masculine vanity that forms the material upon which the adventuress may work. With the art of an expert she sizes up the dimensions of her victim’s vanity the instant she has made his acquaintance and plays upon it to just the extent she deems expedient and profitable. If it were not for masculine vanity, the American adventuress could not exist.
Along with my colleague Paul Durica, I've introduced, edited and annotated this fascinating bit of history. Some key features you might like: lots of dirty jokes, along with serious economic history (the chapter on gambling, for instance, includes the Chicago Board of Trade as just another way to lose your shirt, along with back-alley craps games or faro banks in saloons). Reminders of how cities change, and how they stay the same. Very cool illustrations, and lots of double-entendres (watch for the "delicious lays").
But all in the service of scholarship. Pre-order! Use the code DURICA13 for a discount.
Former Arkansas Governor and gay-marriage opponent Mike Huckabee has called you “unnecessarily rude, vile, and angry.” Agree or disagree?
I think I’m necessarily rude, vile, and angry. Mike would be too if people were going around describing his marriage as an abomination and his love for his spouse as sick, sinful, and perverse. That would piss Mike Huckabee off. No one is saying that to Mike Huckabee, but Mike Huckabee is saying that to me.
Have you ever felt that being less...
Less pugnacious? Less of an asshole?
...might serve your cause better?
This is who I am, and this is how I speak and write and feel. I am, like a lot of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] people, past the point of feeling obligated to be flawlessly and faultlessly polite at all times to people who say that I am an abomination. Yeah, maybe I say it in a more vulgar fashion. A movement for social justice needs all types; if you want a kind, hand-wringing, polite response to a Mike Huckabee, that’s what Human Rights Campaign press releases are for.
America’s most in-your-face sex columnist and gay-rights activist comes out swinging in these pugnacious, hilarious essays. Savage (Savage Love) proffers more unvarnished and often sacrilegious bedroom and relationship advice, recommending, for example, that spouses try each other’s kinks on for size and, if sexual incompatibility proves insurmountable in an otherwise satisfying marriage, that they consider a little nookie on the side. He reserves his most pointed sex tips for detractors and ideological opponents, suggesting a number of lewd acts they could perform to cope with their upset over his forthright advocacy of marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples. (He widens his brief to include cogent soap-boxing on behalf of single-payer national health insurance, gun control, and physician-assisted suicide.) Savage is that rarity, a liberal—verging on radical—who defends his positions with steel-trap logic and scornful humor laced with profanity and stripped of politically correct cant. But in his own way he’s a champion of “family values,” which emerge in warm domestic scenes with his husband and son, in moving reflections on his mother’s death, and in his common-sense understanding of sexual fulfillment as an anchor for stable relationships. Underneath Savage’s scabrous, bomb-throwing exterior beats the heart of a softie.
Order a copy, why don't you?
Showgirls 2: Penny's from Heaven—the would-be sequel to Paul Verhoeven's legendary Showgirls, written and directed by Rena Riffel, who also stars, produces, and edits—was released straight to DVD on December 28, 2011. As a diehard Showgirls fan, I figured I'd watch it someday. Then a year passed. What was it about Showgirls 2: Penny's from Heaven that made it so easy to avoid watching?* My two best reasons:
1. The appeal of "a sequel to Showgirls" is not the continuation of any character's story arc but the dream of another film with the perfect balance of hubris, talent, surrealism, and hilarious failure that makes the original Showgirls one of the great cinematic experiences of the 20th century. However, lightning rarely strikes the same place twice, and if there ever is "another Showgirls," it's unlikely to revolve around scantily clad women, and much more likely to involve the race for a vaccine or something.
2. It's going to be awful.
But exactly how awful will it be? And what flavor of awful? These are the questions we will seek to answer on Thursday March 7, when I'll be hosting a screening of (and providing intermittent commentary throughout) Showgirls 2: Penny's from Heaven at Central Cinema.
In advance of this screening, I've been watching the film. It is 143 minutes long, features numerous castmembers from the original Showgirls, and is astoundingly bad. "How bad do you want it?" teases the Showgirls 2 poster. This is not an event for Showgirls novices. If you haven't seen the original Showgirls at least ten times, you'll be so baffled and bored by Showgirls 2 you'll weep. But for those ready to take the 143-minute plunge, it's going to be epic, perhaps cleansing, maybe even cathartic. Full info here.
(Special assignment for forthcoming viewers of Showgirls 2: Watch/re-watch David Lynch's Mulholland Dr. Not just the Rena Riffel part, the whole thing.)
*-This is perhaps my favorite sentence I've ever written.
If you want more celebrity bullshit posts, post 'em. And please note that the two Seahawks posts were by regular actual employees of The Stranger, and one of them was so disdainful as to actually constitute a Golden Globes post.
And the Seahawks game was more important: There's a Golden Globes every year. The Seahawks do not make the post-season every year.
This book threatens to take the very fabric of society and turn it into a pair of sensible, but stylish trousers or hot pants #blurbsavage
— you can call me Al (@lovelysqualor) January 10, 2013
I haaaaaaate writing blurbs for books—I hate being asked to write blurbs—so I'm not asking any writers I know to blurb my new book. (You can preorder that shit now.) I've decided to be the change I want to see in the publishing world while we still have a publishing world to change. But when I tweeted that I wasn't asking for blurbs—because I can't bring myself to do it—my followers started blurbing my new book anyway. Without reading it first. Now, most people who blurb books have the decency to read the book; failing that, most have the decency to at least pretend that they've read the book. But there have been times when writers have blurbed books they didn't even read.
Not me, of course, because I'm too Catholic for that shit. Also, what if you blurb a book you didn't read and the author announces in the last chapter that he's a white supremacist or something?
But now I'm thinking about using blurbs for my new book—available for preorder now—from people who haven't read it. So blurb my new book, Sloggers, in the comments or blurb me on Twitter using the #blurbsavage hashtag. Maybe your blurb will wind up on my dust jacket—you too, "Danny" troll!
Dom—and Slog—make a quick appearance at the 0:46 mark.
Tomorrow night at Town Hall, four writers are divulging their secrets:
"The Woman in 606"—a Stranger feature published in August—that didn't make the final cut. It involves the almost completely redacted police report I received the first time I requested documents about the incident (it was so redacted it almost appeared SPD was trying to hide something, even though, in the end, they weren't; an unredacted copy came later). It includes a furious SPD officer yelling at me and hanging up in the middle of an interview. And it describes a mistake I made as a witness to the event—something I thought I saw that I did not in fact see, and how this error almost made its way into the piece.
Writers talk of “killing your darlings”—the ruthless side of writing, where we need to excise whole sentences or paragraphs or even pages but find it excruciatingly hard to do because we’re in love with them. Is this more than mere narcissism? Why do we find it so hard to let go of our darlings? And do we ever really kill them, or do they haunt us, living on in a kind of a half-life as disjecta membra, the “disjected” fragments of our minds and lives?
The other three writers confessing their mistakes and showing off their discarded material are Rebecca Brown, Lesley Hazleton, and Aham Oluo. This takes place downstairs at Town Hall (enter on Eighth Avenue), 7:30 pm, $5. I'm told it will be informal. No one standing at a podium blathering on. A salon of sorts.
Speaking of gay people bossing other people around, here is a comic about how to talk to people about marriage quality. (Text by me, illustrations by David Lasky.)
We here at the office prefer to refer to him as "Gay Jesus," but Mark Oppenheimer's take on Salon (and in an e-book) is all right:
Dan Savage is a public-radio personality, a leading anti-bullying activist, a star of MTV and a prominent tormentor of Republicans. But in the beginning he was a sex columnist. His column “Savage Love” made its debut in the first issue of the Stranger, the Seattle alt-weekly, on Sept. 23, 1991, and soon would change the world of sex advice—a world dominated, at the time, by the relatively timid Dr. Ruth and the once-popular “Ask Isadora.” Now that “Savage Love” is over 20 years old, it’s worth looking back at what the self-described “faggot from Seattle” has wrought.
“At the beginning, it was going to be a joke,” Savage tells me...
Yes, indeed, it's Dan Savage and Lindy West, plus a couple other people, doing a slide show to celebrate Our Great Nation and our book, How to Be a Person: The Stranger's Guide to College, Sex, Intoxicants, Tacos, and Life Itself!
It's tomorrow, that is, Saturday, at 7 p.m. at the Leo K. Theater at Seattle Rep (aka the Words & Ideas stage) at good ol' Bumbershoot.
The slide show/discussion, entitled "The Stranger's Guide to America," is loosely based on chapter 4 of the book, written by Lindy West, which is extremely hilarious. To be discussed: moose wrangling, clogged arteries, Tom Hanks, earthquakes, glue-huffers, Oprah Winfrey's most recent movements, more, more more!
Also, bonus material: We made some mistakes in the book—here are the ones we've found so far. THEY ARE ALL DAN SAVAGE'S FAULT!
Thanks for all the good tips, reverse blegs, and PAX wisdom in the comments of yesterday's PAX post—if you're going to PAX, read up there for further edification.
Whether or not you're going to PAX, join us for an impromptu SLOGPAX Nerd Meetup tonight at the Stumbling Monk, from 6 to 9 pm—for board and card games, and (of course) Belgian beer–drinking. And drink up, in thanks to Rob at Stumbling Monk for hosting us in his small space!
We'll have special guest stars Mary Traverse and her deck-slinging TSARY Magic gang, Rob Heinsoo (former lead designer for D&D and creator of the upcoming, STD-playtested 13th Age RPG) teaching his also-great Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre card game, and Devin Low (former head developer for Magic) showing off a development version of his upcoming Marvel deck-building game Legendary.
Man, that sounds like fun. Why don't we do this sort of thing more often?
Also, importantly: the public preview of Gamma Ray Games' excitedly anticipated Gamma Lounge on Pine is also tonight, from 6 to 10—so let's head there after Stumbling Monk, or earlier if things started getting crowded. (Thanks for the tip, Enigma! And thanks to Gamma Ray for being awesome and selling us a long overdue copy of Fiasco.)
The Stranger Testing Department is Rob Lightner and Paul Hughes.
The party at Elliott Bay Book Company is from 8 pm to 10 pm (not a formal reading in that room downstairs but an informal party upstairs in the main part of the store, with free beer and tacos for anyone who buys a book!), and the after-party is at Linda's on the back patio from 10 pm onward. Linda's is offering a drink special called How to Be a Less Sober Person—a can of Hamm's and a shot of Maker's Mark for $5! Part of the reason the celebrating goes so late is that the Stranger Election Control Board is simultaneously covering the results of the primary (have you voted?!), but politics writers like to party, too. Come celebrate with us tonight and you will be able to:
· Meet/harass/make out with your favorite Stranger writers
· Yell at the Stranger writers who annoy you the most
· Get your book signed/doodled in/spilled upon
· Drink beer (FREE) and eat tacos (FREE with book purchase)
· Flirt with sexy Elliott Bay staffers (they like to read!) and sexy Linda's staffers (they're in a band!)
· Buy Dominic Holden (who oversees the Stranger Election Control Board) infinity drinks
· Pitch your column idea to the Stranger editor of your choice
· Get Dan Savage's cell phone number (we'll give it out to anyone who buys 250 copies or more of the book)
· Hear about the two mistakes we've already discovered in the book (AAAAARRRRGHHHH)
· Point out mistakes we haven't discovered yet and watch us cry
· And more!
Be there or be etc.!
What's that? You not so good at reading? No sweat, friend! The publisher of the new Stranger collection called How to Be a Person (it "drops" next week!!) is making four video excerpts of the listen-or-you-might-die type advice in the book. The first one just went up on YouTube, like, four seconds ago. Hurry, look:
The book launch party is this Tuesday. Buy a copy and you get free beer and tacos! And then you can throw up on the Stranger writer of your choice!!
Pro tip: If you're planning to go to one of these colleges this fall, you might want to reconsider.
(Also, everybody: Come to our party!)
In case you missed or want to see again the first movie I made with Rob Devor, Police Beat, it screens tomorrow (Wed, July 25) at West of Lenin.
Bodies have a way of turning up with alarming regularity in "Police Beat," a delicately funny tale about everyday surrealism. Directed by Robinson Devor and written with Charles Tonderai Mudede, the episodically structured film traces the ups and downs, sometimes literally, of an African transplant, Z (Pape Sidy Niang), who has, rather bewilderingly, found work as a Seattle bicycle cop. As he rides along the city's emptied streets, pulling the dead out of the water and the living out of trouble, this stranger in a strange land throws a mirror up to a world that alternately looks everything and nothing like our own.
If you can't make it (or if—gasp!—you don't like baked goods) you can still donate at caferacerlove.org.
See more of this weekend's food-related fun in our chow calendar!
Gee, maybe it has something to do with crap like this. (We need a term like "slut shaming" that applies in cases like this—e.g., when it's normal and healthy male sexuality and sexual expression that is being stigmatized and pathologized.)
UPDATE: And we may already have a winner:
Also Dan, it's easy: "Smut shaming"
Yesterday, Steve Barker interviewed me for his Ordinary Madness podcast, in which he talks with local folks doing interesting things in arts and entertainment. We talked about awards (of the Pulitzer and the Genius varieties) and presidential politics and movies (of the summer blockbuster and SIFF varieties). Today, that podcast is available for your streaming or downloadable pleasure.
However! I was rambly and tired and I fear that I was a bloviating mess. Luckily! Ordinary Madness has been around for a year, and so there's a great backlog of interviews that are all available for free. I would instead direct you to these other Ordinary Madness podcasts in the archives, with people who are actually doing interesting work and not just fucking up The Stranger's blog all the time:
If you're willing to dig a bit, there are all kinds of interesting folks further back in the archives: Ryan Boudinot, the folks behind Hoarse magazine, John Osebold, and Katie Kate, among others. Thanks to Steve for asking me to be on the show, and congratulations on a great first year.
Um, yeah, I'm against presidents drawing up top-secret "kill lists" and having the sole authority to order the execution of American citizens deemed to be national security threats. My opposition can be summed up in two words: "President Santorum."
All you have to do is come to the CakeSpy shop on Pine between 2 pm and 5 pm with some new socks (or cash) to donate to the wonderful Teen Feed organization. You hand over the socks, I hand over a cupcake. Easy!
On Monday the Seattle Times gave former Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro precious space on its op/ed page to advocate for online voting:
HAVING served as Washington's chief elections official for 20 years, I am impressed by those advocating our state move to online voting.
While there still are security issues to resolve before we implement true online voting, I strongly encourage more elections officials to embrace available technologies that utilize the power of the Internet to make our elections more accessible and efficient, without compromising the security of a voter's ballot.
Okay. Fair enough. I'm a technologist at heart and don't entirely dismiss the notion that online voting could someday be made accessible, efficient, and secure. But in talking about something as central to democracy as the integrity of our voting system, you'd think both Munro and the Seattle Times might have bothered to disclose to readers that in addition to being a former secretary of state, Munro is also a current director and former longtime chairman of Dategrity Corporation (formerly VoteHere), a for-profit company selling online voting technology.
This strikes me as a pretty ginormous conflict of interest.
That Munro is "impressed by those advocating our state move to online voting" shouldn't come as much of a surprise to the handful of us election integrity wonks familiar with Munro's decade-long leadership of VoteHere/Dategrity. But the fact that the Seattle Times didn't see fit to mention this to their readers is simply mind-fuckingly irresponsible.
Munro is a "former Washington Secretary of State," the paper tells us. He "served as Washington's election chief for 20 years." That makes him sound awfully damn credible. But while I don't doubt that he genuinely believes in online voting, the fact that Munro stands to make more than few bucks should it be widely adopted is something he and the editors had an ethical obligation to disclose. You know, context and all that.
Makes me wonder how much of the rest of their op/ed page is similarly filled with advertorials?
We interrupt Slog silence to let you know that Brendan Kiley will be on Weekday on KUOW shortly to discuss the implications of vandalism—or, as some call it, violence—as a political tactic yesterday and in general.
Here's where you can listen live to KUOW.
And nepotism, that's why!
Anyway, Today in Baseball History is very Chicago-centric:
1916 In Chicago, the Cubs play their first game at Weeghman Park beating the Reds in 11 innings, 7-6. The ballpark will be renamed Wrigley Field in 1926.
Wheeghman Park had been home of the Chicago Whales of the Federal League, and I kind of wish the National League club had taken the Whales nickname when their owner bought the Cubs. It would be an accurate description of the size of so many sausage-chomping and beer-swilling Midwestern fans, not to mention players like Hack Wilson and Rick Reuschel, and would provide a connection to the fauna of the Pacific Northwest, somewhat justifying this post.
1946 The Cubs are shut out by Cardinal southpaw Harry Brecheen in their home opener at Wrigley Field, 2-0. The game is the first in the club's history be televised with 'Whispering' Joe Wilson doing the play-by-play on Chicago's WBKB.
1967 Rookie hurler Tom Seaver gets his first major-league win when the Mets beat the Cubs, 6-1. 'Tom Terrific' goes 7 2/3 innings giving up eight hits and one run.
1997 In the second game of a doubleheader, the Cubs stop their season-opening losing skid at 14 games beating the Mets, 4-3. By losing the opener, Chicago set a National League record (0-14) for the most consecutive losses to start a season and has the second-worst record behind the Baltimore Orioles who lost 21 decisions before winning a game in 1988.
Am listening to the Cubs blow a game to the Reds right now, already down 4 runs in the middle of the first. Reds have batted around. If they win today, it's the Cincinnati franchise's 10,000th win. Ah, History! Makes my upcoming colonoscopy seem all the more appropriate.
Here's an exclusive Savage U teaser/clip/taste just for Slog...
Think of it as 18 and Not Pregnant—that's how I think of it. A show about what your life can be like if you manage to get through high school without making a baby. You can go to college! You can have sex, if you haven't already, with protection! And with an eye on your future! A future that an unplanned pregnancy would really screw up! And one day some obnoxious gay dude will show up on campus and answer your sex questions!
I have the attention span of a goldfish, so the prospect of sitting still and silently through a play without an intermission makes me break out in hives. It's why I don't write theater reviews. Add to that the fact that David Schmader himself has said that it would be impossible for anyone at this paper to review this show, for obvious, nepotistic reasons. But holy cowfish. I've seen A Short-Term Solution to a Long-Term Problem, twice now, and Schmader is brilliant. He's as hilarious as you'd naturally expect, but, much more importantly, riveting from beginning to end. I strongly encourage you to get tickets before it ends on April 14. Or somebody might beat the crap out of you. Like, yourself.
Hot on the heels of a week in which solo performance became a viral internet topic on par with Kim Kardashian being doused with flour (thank you, Mike Daisey, for real; even before this hubbub, Daisey had done more to popularize the entertainment value of one person talking onstage than anyone since Spalding Gray), tonight I'm launching an encore run of my new solo play A Short-Term Solution to a Long-Term Problem at Hugo House.
Fair question in the wake o' Daiseygate: Is it true? Yes. This isn't always the case with my shows—here's an explanation of my show Straight's journey from page to stage—but this time it is. In fact, there are things mentioned in this show that I would pay a lot of money to have be not-true. But c'est la vie.
Also, not only am I Stranger staffer, the show has a couple chunks that explicitly reference my work at The Stranger, which means it's basically impossible for anyone at The Stranger to review this show. But here are write-ups from Seattlest, Culture Mob, the Seattle Times, and the SGN.
And did I mention Kim Kardashian was doused with flour??
Let's begin with Biomapping. It's is a "tool for visualizing people's reactions to the external world." It was invented by Christian Nold, a London-based artist, and inspired by psychogeography, a core situationist theory and practice. But psychogeography, the study of the relationship between emotions and features of urban space, never left the limits of fun and games. It was a great idea, and even a deep one, but it failed to produce a school of professionals or a unified body of serious research. Psychogeography never became more than a 20th century form of flaneurie.
Biomapping, on the other hand, has real political, academic, architectural, and commercial potential—indeed, Nold had to copyright the concept because marketers were too quick to exploit it. Information about how people internally experience or feel certain parts of the city is not just beautiful but very useful.
To learn more about these potential uses, listen to this lecture by Nold. I'm also teaching a class at Hugo House this April that will incorporate Nold's findings into (hopefully) a new thinking about writing and the urban experience.
I always get emotional when I see a train pulling out of Columbia City Station...
Hello! I am writing this from Florida, where I have just returned after a cruise of the Caribbean with my parents to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. (Everything that needs to be said about how I feel about my parents was said many years ago by Lefty Frizzell. And everything that needs to be said about cruise ship vacations was said a few years ago by David Foster Wallace.)
Anyway, soon I will be back, and in addition to resuming my Slog-n-Stranger chores, I'll be doing a four-week encore run of my solo play A Short-Term Solution to a Long-Term Problem at Hugo House. Shows run March 23-April 14, Friday and Saturday nights, eight performances total. Full info and tickets available here.