And if you've never been, maybe tonight's your night?
The special guests tonight are Tara Atkinson and Willie Fitzgerald, curators of the upcoming APRIL festival. (It stands for Authors, Publishers, and Readers of Independent Literature. Slightly confusingly, it happens the last week of March. Conflict-of-interest time: One of the people reading at it is yours truly. Other readers include Rebecca Brown [!], Matthew Simmons, Summer Robinson, Ryan Call, Chelsea Martin, and Jackie Hell [!!]. Full schedule here.) Special guests at the silent-reading party don't do a damned thing, of course, except sit there and read to themselves like everyone else.
The musician tonight is cellist Sam Anderson of the band Hey Marseilles. If it's been a while since you sat around reading while someone in the corner played the cello, well, you're in luck. He's really good! And the drink special is a $5 Manhattan. And the whole thing is free. And it happens in the Fireside Room at the Sorrento. It starts at 6 pm, but it's wise to get there early to get a great seat.
Now do you want to see some drawings from Aaron Bagley's sketchbook of people reading and drinking at the silent-reading party in December? Okay!
The most relaxing three hours of the month are almost upon us! With Kyle O'Quin at the piano and Maker's Mark Manhattans on special for $5. As mentioned yesterday, tonight's special guests are theater-makers David Schmader and Sarah Rudinoff. Schmader says he will be reading the New York Times Magazine and an oral history of MTV. Rudinoff says she will be reading the script for Keri Healey's new play Torso because she's trying to memorize her lines (the show opens next month at Theatre Off Jackson). Stranger news editor Dominic Holden just mentioned that he's going to be there tonight, probably reading the printed edition of today's New York Times. I will be finishing up The Gardens of Democracy by Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer, and then probably The New Yorker.
This month we're doing a theater theme, with special guests David Schmader and Sarah Rudinoff. As always, they will just sit there and read whatever they like, silently, to themselves, just like you, while Kyle O'Quin plays classical music on the piano.
Schmader is The Stranger's longtime Last Days columnist and a theater-maker whose new show, A Short-Term Solution to a Long-Term Problem, closes this weekend at Richard Hugo House (click here to get tickets). Rudinoff is a Genius Award-winning actress currently in rehearsals for a new thriller written by Keri Healey called Torso, which runs March 9-March 31 at Theatre Off Jackson.
Dan Savage says he will be reading Merle Miller's On Being Different and A Most Dangerous Book by Christopher Krebs. (Both at once? Or one and then the other? Come and spy and find out!) And Greg Lundgren says he's going to be finishing off A Confederacy of Dunces by John Toole, with William Gay's The Long Home as his backup.
Like you, the special guests don't read anything aloud. They just sit there and read silently and listen to the pretty music and drink. The music tomorrow will be provided by Kyle O'Quin (piano) and Sam Anderson (cello). Like always, it starts at 6 pm at the Sorrento Hotel, it's all ages, and it's free. More info here.
I'm bringing Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon—75 pages in, I'm kicking myself for not having read it sooner. And you? What will you be reading?
Mark ye calendars! At the next silent-reading party—Wednesday, January 4—the music accompanying your reading will once again be Kyle O'Quin on piano, and in an extra-special twist he'll be joined for one Beethoven sonata by cellist Sam Anderson. The special guests, who just sit and drink and read quietly to themselves like everyone else, will be Greg Lundgren (who won a Stranger Genius Award in 2003) and Dan Savage (who invented the Stranger Genius Awards).
The silent-reading party is the first Wednesday of every month (until summer) at the Sorrento Hotel, it starts at 6 pm, it's all ages, and it's free. It's been filling up fast lately, so get there before 6 for a good spot.
For the first time, city officials and nightlife advocates have a concrete sense of when the state will rule on extending bar hours.
On May 16, the LCB will consider whether to approve or reject Seattle's petition for later liquor service hours—specifically, to tweak state law so that local governments could ask the Board to grant extended alcohol service hours in local jurisdictions—according to a tentative timeline released by the agency today. If approved, the new rule would go into effect on September 19, meaning cities like Seattle could then start plying the LCB with specific petitions for extended service hours (state law currently prohibits liquor sales between 2:00 and 6:00 am).
But Aaron Pickus, a spokesman for Mayor Mike McGinn, says that even if approved by the LCB, a Seattle-specific proposal likely won't be ready in September the city doesn't have a specific date in mind for submitting a proposal.
"Right now, we're committed to seeing this part of the process through, so I don't think we have a timeline for that piece of it," he says, adding that the mayor wanted to solicit neighborhood concerns and community feedback on where extended liquor hours make sense. "I don't think we're there yet," he says.
Meanwhile, the LCB is busy scheduling public meetings to get resident input on the proposed rule change in Seattle and other major cities—including Tacoma, Spokane, Everett, Bellingham, and Olympia—starting March 5. (I'll post when Seattle's specific date(s) are confirmed.)
But barring that, people are free to submit comments and/or their unwavering support for the petition HERE.
A pack of artists and nightlife folks are throwing a Cafe (Un)American-themed party to defray the legal costs Pan racked up during his staring contest with the King County Prosecutor's Office.* The prosecutors dropped their gambling charges against Pan on December 1, but legal brinkmanship ain't cheap. Ergo, party.
The tickets are $100 apiece, which includes food (provided by chef Cormac Mahoney of the Madison Park Conservatory) and booze (donated by local liquor-makers Sound Spirits). Other captains of the party include artist and impresario Greg Lundgren, theatermaker Jen Zeyl, artist NKO of the Free Sheep Foundation (which, in the course of the investigation, was described by the Seattle police department as a "front"), and others.
There will also be variety acts, burlesque, live music, cocktails, and (ahem) games. Perfectly legal games that may resemble games you played back at the old Cafe (Un)American, which is where all that crazy, years-long trouble with the SPD and the FBI and the "domestic terrorism" investigation started.
Looks relaxing, huh? If you've never come to the silent-reading party before, you ought to try it. It's my favorite night of the month. And it's perfect for a gloomy December night. (Or maybe it just seems gloomy because a bearded soloist is playing a saxophone out on the sidewalk under my office window as I type this.)
That's right! The Genius Award-winning author Lesley Hazleton, the artist Aaron Bagley, and the art critic Jen Graves will be in attendance at tomorrow night's silent-reading party. That means they will be sitting there in comfy chairs at the Sorrento Hotel's Fireside Room drinking and reading to themselves whatever they feel like reading while everyone else does the same.
Because a bunch of people reading in public is so much more fun than reading at home alone.
Other delights of the silent-reading party: an actual fire, a $5 Manhattan drink special (made with Woodford Reserve), and the musician Kyle O'Quin playing classical piano. In honor of tomorrow being the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Kyle's promised to play some gloomy tunes, including Chopin's funeral march.
Fun! As always: 900 Madison Street, 6 pm, all ages, free.
Neighborhood blog Central District News is running an anti-nightlife editorial criticizing the city's plan to petition the state for later liquor serving hours. The only problem is, whoever authored the piece (it's attributed to the "East Precinct Advisory Council," which is a nebulous group of neighbors who regularly share their crime and neighborhood concerns with the Seattle Police department) doesn't seem to know what the skinny fuck they're talking about.
Let's read a highlight together, shall we?
There are those who believe that the trouble that occurs when nightclubs close at 2:00 a.m. can be avoided by staggering closing hours. However, the negative residual issues that could occur with this proposed plan far outweigh any benefits. The extended hours plan will mainly increase liquor revenues to nightclubs—not improve public safety or create a socially responsible drinking environment—or 'a more vibrant nightlife’. It serves the few in the private, special interest (nightclubs) category, not the many residents who would be impacted by noise, DUIs and alcohol-fueled violence.
Really, East Precinct Advisory Council? Police Chief John Diaz (and his command staff) all agree would help alleviate the public brawls and other public safety issues associated with our current system. Furthermore, contrary to the author's hysteria, "[Later bar hours] would be a privilege that's earned by being a good neighbor and model business," says Sgt. Sean Whitcomb, a spokesman for SPD, "not by people engaging in reckless business practices, who have received noise complaints or are associated with violence or over-serving. That wouldn't make sense."
The special guests will be Slog favorites Cienna Madrid and Paul Constant, but just like you they'll be sitting there silently reading whatever they feel like reading while Kaia Chessen plays cello.
It must be noted: the silent-reading party Manhattan drink special is now $5, but you'll get a better Manhattan for your buck: They'll be made with Woodford Reserve. Starts at 6 pm, happens in the Fireside Room at the Sorrento, it's all ages, and it's free. More details here.
Minutes ago, the state's Liquor Control Board agreed to change a state law to allow performers to drink alcohol on stage at venues. I'm told that the rule change, which will go into effect on November 26, will permit performers to drink in unlabeled containers only (i.e. glasses instead of Rainier cans).
Let me repeat that—after years of bitching in Seattle and elsewhere, MUSICIANS ARE NOW ALLOWED TO DRINK ON STAGE!
The quick back story: A state law older than fun itself had prohibited musicians, comedians, authors, monologists, and anyone else with a stage (or soapbox) from drinking while performing. The state's convoluted logic was that the performers were temporary employees of the bars, restaurants, and casinos they performed in, and as such, couldn't drink while on the clock.
Basically, this rule change puts us in step with the rest of the goddamn country. Hurrah for normalcy!
The tents are still up, last I saw. The police drove a cruiser into the plaza, turned on the flashers, then abandoned it. A few folks grabbed a boom box, put on some mid-90s hiphop, and danced around the car as if the cruiser flashers were disco lights. "Who's got the Dead Pres-idents?" somebody in the crowd shouted. "They were serious revolutionaries!"
Nobody seemed to have any Dead Prez in their backpacks. They danced anyway.
Just behind them, the lead actor of the recently feted MilkMilk Lemonade was hunkering down for the night, finding a friend's tent with a bedtime partner that he hadn't met yet, "but heard was really nice."
Also, I performed an impromptu marriage ceremony. (Thanks for the ordination, internet!) But it won't be official until they mail the paperwork from the state for me to sign. Here's the happy couple, plus a saxophonist who showed up just in time for the ceremony.
What some of us will be reading tonight. To ourselves. While you read whatever you want to yourself.
This is your friendly programming reminder that the silent-reading party starts up again in three hours. For the people who keep asking: the silent-reading party is the first Wednesday of the month, October thru May, at the Sorrento's Fireside Room. Starts at 6 pm. What's it like? It's like this. Plus, $4 Manhattans, on special. Plus, tonight, live cello by Samuel Anderson of the band Hey Marseilles.
Having trouble deciding what to read? Want ideas? Our special guests tonight (they just sit there and read to themselves like everyone else) are the artists D.K. Pan and Ryan Mitchell. Pan says he will be reading Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin (a novel about that French guy who tightroped between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in the '70s). Mitchell says, "I will be finishing up Funeral Rites by Genet."
I'm gonna read Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor by Brad Gooch.
Whatever happened to the silent reading party at the Sorrento? I was hoping it would come back last month, but heard nothing. Now we're coming up on the 1st Wednesday of October and it's not on SLOG, Line Out, or the Sorrento event cal. Is it gone forever?
No, no!! The silent reading party is back, starting this Wednesday—I've been meaning to crow this from the rooftops. We took a hiatus for the summer months, when it's so much nicer to just read outside, but summer is now long gone, as anyone who's been outside lately can tell you. This week, the special guests are two past Stranger Genius Award Winners: Ryan Mitchell (of Implied Violence and Saint Genet) and D.K. Pan, "Seattle's patron saint of collective art."
The musical guest on Wednesday will be Samuel Anderson of the band Hey Marseilles, playing cello.
Details: It starts at 6 pm, it happens in the Sorrento's Fireside Room, you bring whatever you feel like reading and sit there and read it to yourself while classical music plays, and the $4 Manhattan drink special is available until 9 pm. The silent reading party is a collaboration between The Stranger and Night School, curated by Michael Hebb. It's very relaxing. If you've never been, come.
Several nightclub owners in Ballard, Fremont, and Capitol Hill had every reason to believe their businesses were current on taxes. But within the last seven months, state auditors told at least three Seattle club owners that, in fact, they owed thousands of dollars in back taxes—up to $210,000 in one instance—due to a vaguely worded state code originally written to tax aerobics and jazzercise studios.
"This is the first time, in my experience, that they've applied this tax to music venues," says Seattle Office of Film + Music director James Keblas. "I'm worried about all our live music venues—even nonprofits—suddenly being audited and being told to pay or they'll be shut down."
The owner of one such bar, who asked to remain anonymous, concurs that unless the state waives the huge, unexpected bill, "I'll be shut down." And at this rate, the bar owner continues, the state is "going to shut down more businesses."
Read the whole thing, including the state Department of Revenue's explanation that "if there's a dance floor where you could dance—you don't have to dance but the opportunity is there—or if there's a microphone available for standup comedy or karaoke, there's a tax."