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Archives for 01/12/2006 - 01/12/2006

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Killing Hobos is Funny

Posted by on January 12 at 11:05 PM

Um… John Stewert just killed a hobo on The Daily Show.

The bit was filmed, no doubt, before these guys killed a hobo in Florida earlier tonight.

But all was quickly forgiven, thanks to an Ed Helms joke about Mrs. Alito being forced, as the result of a tragic laundry accident, to wear her grandmother’s couch to the hearings. Hee-haw.

UPDATE: Wait just a fucking minute! Rob Corddry just used the phrase “guy with pie,” a phrase that I introduced in a recent Savage Love! So the writers at The Daily Show will rip off my column but they won’t have me on the show when I’m promoting a book! They’ve referenced Savage Love before—they told their viewers to Google “Santorum” when reached #1 on Google! Geez, fuck those guys!

Hit Making Homos

Posted by on January 12 at 9:45 PM

I still don’t know what to make of this. Gay ghettoization or glamorous sign of progress?

Nice Place to Visit

Posted by on January 12 at 9:36 PM

I think this pretty much speaks for itself…

NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 12 - President Bush made his first trip here in three months on Thursday and declared that New Orleans was “a heck of a place to bring your family” and that it had “some of the greatest food in the world and some wonderful fun.”

Mr. Bush spent his brief visit in a meeting with political and business leaders on the edge of the Garden District, the grand neighborhood largely untouched by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina, and saw little devastation.

“It may be hard for you to see, but from when I first came here to today, New Orleans is reminding me of the city I used to come to visit,” the president told the local leaders at the Convention and Visitors Bureau…
Mr. Bush added that “for folks around the country who are looking for a great place to have a convention, or a great place to visit, I’d suggest coming here to the great New Orleans.”

Something Must Be Done

Posted by on January 12 at 8:00 PM

It has come to my attention that today is the 26th consecutive day of rain. Yahoo! Weather predicts rain tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday — no rain Thursday! — then rain Friday…

We are on our way to a record.

It is time we do something. It is time to think big. It is time to think like Tesla, like Edison, like Goodyear or Marconi or Salk. You want a city council position platform? You want to know what I stand for? I’ll tell you what I stand for.

What I stand for is simple: contiguous awnings.

Think about it. The awnings in this town are bullshit. They’re everywhere, but none of them connect to the next, and everyone who’s ever walked down the sidewalk in the rain knows that the space between awnings is what gets you every time. You’re dry, you’re dry, you’re dry, the rain is beautiful, the day is good, and then — wooop! A huge motherfucking drop slides off the edge of one awning just as you’re about to duck under the next and lands, thick and cold, right in the center of your head, sending a shiver down your spine, and then it dribbles in a dirty, thick line past your hair follicles, across your crown, and down your forehead. This is not civilization. This is not something we citizens of the twenty-first century should tolerate. We can split atoms. We can put men on the moon. We can immunize ourselves from smallpox — we did that 300 years ago. The least we can do is build contiguous awnings.

There are some details to work out, but basically my proposal is: a contiguous awning on every block with commercial zoning. Someone please take this to the city council. Who’s with me? I have a dream today!

My 12

Posted by on January 12 at 6:34 PM

People I found impressive today, in no particular order:

1) Juan Jose Bocanegra
2) Peter S. Holmes
3) Joann H. Frances
4) Ed Pottharst
5) Harriett Walden
6) Sally Clark
7) Sue Donaldson
8) Jack Whisner
9) David Bloom
10) Roger Valdez
11) Venus Velazquez
12) Denise “Cookie” Bouldin

My 12

Posted by on January 12 at 6:19 PM

The room has emptied out. Council President Jan Drago called for a half hour recess. At that time, they’ll see if any of the 15 candidates who haven’t shown up yet, show up for their 3 minutes of fame.

Here are the 12 I liked based on today’s parade.

1. Juan Jose Bocanegra
2. Peter Holmes
3. Darryl Smith
4. Javier Valdez
5. Ed Pottharst
6. Sue Donaldson
7. Jack Whisner
8. Alon Bassok
9. Roger Valdez
10. Denise “Cookie” Bouldin
11. Harriett Walden
12. Sally Clark

The Council will name their 12 on Tuesday.

Wrapping Up

Posted by on January 12 at 6:15 PM

The council is taking a short break to allow no-show council candidates time to show, but the meeting is all but over, hours earlier than expected. In the words of council member Nick Licata, “See? Sometimes government can function efficiently!”

Tomorrow, the council will start whittling down the list of 90-something candidates to 12 semifinalists. The council will vote to choose their top contenders on Tuesday, January 17. The council will then split into two groups and interview the candidates on Thursday, January 19. The following Monday, January 23, they’ll announce the list of finalists. Finally, on Friday, January 27, they’ll vote; if they don’t come to a consensus, they’ll have to vote again every day until they do.

Hour Five

Posted by on January 12 at 5:52 PM

As today’s city council hearing pushes into its fifth straight hour and the last few stragglers take their three minutes at the mic, the six council members who are here are starting to look noticeably weary. In the next week, the council will pick its top 12 contenders; I doubt we’ll see many (if any) unfamiliar names on that list. While it’s nice to see so many outsiders interested in public service, it’s a bit of a mystery to me what compels people to apply for a job they have no chance of winning. They can’t all be megalomaniacs, after all. Slog readers: Any thoughts?

Who Do You Represent?

Posted by on January 12 at 5:46 PM

Lefty Alice Woldt, Candidate #87, just identified the following prerequisite for the job: “Someone from the N.W. quadrant of the city.”

This whole “Compton Seat” vacancy highlights the fact that no one knows what this seat represents. (Without districts, the 9 council seats lack real democratic meaning.)

By bringing up geography—a geography that’s unrepresented by the current makeup of the council—Woldt hit on exactly what’s so maddening about all of this.

1) No one even noticed how absent Compton had been for the last two years, except a few of his colleagues, who—off-the-record—were not at all surprised at his resignation. The public didn’t notice because, well, he didn’t have a constituency. He didn’t represent anyone.

2) There are no real requirements for his replacement other than “from Seattle” and “18-years-old.”

Compton’s resignation, this vague vacancy, highlights that we should go to a district system.

I’m glad Woldt hit on geography as a prerequisite.

Model Candidate

Posted by on January 12 at 5:25 PM

Maybe it’s because she was a professional model in the mid-70s, but I want to say Candidate #91, Denise “Cookie” Bouldin, is another surprise hit who should make the cut. She’s worked for the SPD since 1981, and judging from her three minutes, the view of Seattle she’s gotten working the beat has politicized her in a badass way. She laid it down: density, mass transit, low-income housing.

A lot of people today have talked that game, but her SPD status gave her a gravitas that this lightweight council could use.


Posted by on January 12 at 5:03 PM

Candidate #77, Laura McAlister, portrayed herself as the “Why Not” candidate, as she put it. “Why not me?”

She then, unwittingly, answered her own question. “I have no one in my camp. I have no preset ideas.”


Thank You for Allowing Me to Waste Your Time

Posted by on January 12 at 4:57 PM

By way of introduction, Laura McAlister, candidate #77, just told council members: “Basically, I’m a ‘why not?’ candidate. Why not me? I’m not running for this position, but I can hold it. I don’t have anybody in my court. I don’t have preset ideas on issues… I can hold this place if you give me an opportunity to hold this place.”

Hmm, let’s see… No ideas, no support, no interest in or qualifications for the position. Why not, indeed?


Posted by on January 12 at 4:56 PM

Candidate #54, a white woman named Charlotte Marie-Grace Carroll began her three minutes saying, “I don’t look like you”—waxing about her status as a Joe-Public outsider.

She went on to tell us her African name… a word I’m not going to try and spell here…

Her rhetoric was annoying, and I was overjoyed that the candidate who went afer her was actually a black woman. A union organizer named Verlene Jones.

An interesting point

Posted by on January 12 at 4:51 PM

Sam Sperry, candidate # 76, just vowed that, as a council member, he would “not be… an initiator of major policy. I believe that is the role of duly elected, fully franchised council members.”

Right on, Sam.

Pop Smear Preview on KEXP

Posted by on January 12 at 4:47 PM

Tonight (or at 1:30 a.m., to be precise), KEXP disc jockey Greg J will be hyping an event we’re hyping in Stranger Suggests (that’s some major synergy, y’all). Please read Greg’s press release after the jump and then chase your dinner with lots of caffeine (or follow Party Crasher’s stringent routine).

Continue reading "Pop Smear Preview on KEXP" »


Posted by on January 12 at 4:43 PM

Seattle-King County Health Guy Roger Valdez (he just lost Richard McIver’s vote for being “I’m the guy who brought you the smoking ban” ….) just used the day’s first prop.

Hyping himself as an advocate of density and planning, Valdez (candidate #58) pulled out a map showing where growth is going to happen in our region…

He went on to criticize our city as the 29th densest (less dense than Phoenix, he said and about as dense as Albuquerque, a sprawling city in the southwest…) “Unacceptable,” he added.

Again: Someone with an agenda. Valdez should make the cut.

The Halfway Mark

Posted by on January 12 at 4:31 PM

We’re now through just over half the candidates. So far, nearly every candidate has expressed an interest in working on transportation, planning and land use, fiscal responsibility, education, affordable housing, economic development, accessibility and livability. It’s an ambitious list. Too bad whoever gets the one-year appointment will be saddled with the low-profile utilities committee, which Compton headed and which no one else on the council wants.


Posted by on January 12 at 4:16 PM

Candidate #43, Alon Bassok, an egghead academic (a transportation planning PhD candidate at UW) just stole the show!

Speaking in a monotone drawl, and at first not speaking into the microphone, he proceeded in his 3 minutes to tell homey anecdotes (years ago he almost ran over his prof at music school eliciting the quip from his instructor: you drive a car like you walk a bass) and then made his political agenda clear: low-income housing and transportation.

Crisp and concise. The council should let this unknown advance to the interview round.

Another Good One

Posted by on January 12 at 3:55 PM

Candidate #38, Jack Edson Whisner—a transit planner for King Couny Metro—laid out some specific reforms: changing zoning in the neighborhoods to increase density, waiving parking requirements to increase density and challenge auto dependency, and toll roads…

I liked him.

A Familiar Face

Posted by on January 12 at 3:54 PM

Contender # 45 is Robert Rosencrantz, a two-time candidate who was once considered a strong contender against council incumbent Richard McIver, who won reelection last November. (Rosencrantz lost in the primary; he also ran against Judy Nicastro in 2003.) “A couple of campaign losses,” he told council members, “haven’t diminished in any way my commitment to join you.”

Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? You lose an election (or several elections) and move on with your life? Rosencrantz has never even made it through a primary. There’s something sad, and a little icky, about standing in front of the council and asking for a job the public has twice declined to give you.

Another Smart Idea

Posted by on January 12 at 3:48 PM

From candidate # 38, Jack Whisner, a transit planner at King County Metro: Dynamic tolling on Seattle’s limited-access highways, in which the amount drivers pay to access roads would change according to the level of traffic and hour of the day. Whisner also advocated legalizing mother-in-law (or “granny”) flats in single-family zones, and levying a tax on commercial parking, something Peter Steinbrueck has supported, unsuccessfully, for years.

Finally Someone Says Something

Posted by on January 12 at 3:48 PM

Candidate #37, Sue Donaldson, a former city council member, just brought up the idea that the city should take a more active role in managing the schools… (hinting at taking ‘em over)….
It was the first real idea I’ve heard all day.

Two Bears in a Zoo

Posted by on January 12 at 3:38 PM

Articles like this make my day. It was published in the English version of China Daily, and attempts to make a case for the importance of philosophy. Philosophy, as Zizek points out in the new documentary ZIZEK!, which opens today at NWFF, has no real or immediate importance; it’s only good for reading.

What Every Candidate Agrees On

Posted by on January 12 at 3:37 PM

1) Diversity is good.
2) Transportation should be accessible to everyone.
3) We should increase density in Seattle while preserving our unique neighborhoods.
4) Passion is important.
5) Government should work with the private sector.
6) The city should work to preserve the environment.
7) Transportation is a vital issue on many levels.
8) Our parks are jewels.
9) Housing should be affordable and available to everyone.
10) Homelessness is a problem we should all care about.
11) Public safety is vital.
12) Education is the key to our children’s future.

Three hours to go.

It’s Getting Weird

Posted by on January 12 at 3:30 PM

Candidate #31, Howard Monta, just endorsed Candidate #11, John Manning.


Posted by on January 12 at 3:21 PM

The council chambers, which hold a couple hundred people, are, at the moment, virtually empty, with only a handful of non-candidates (most of them city staffers and press) in the room.

If a candidate speaks for three minutes and no one is there to hear him, did he make a sound?

Diamonds are Forever

Posted by on January 12 at 3:11 PM

Here are my notes from Dr. Edward Song’s speech:

great american novel…everyone walked on their diamond road…walk with me on the diamond road

On the Bright Side

Posted by on January 12 at 3:10 PM

Several candidates with whom I wasn’t especially familiar, including Joann Francis, Harriet Walden, and Robert Sondheim, have made impressive speeches that demonstrate both community experience and commitment to public service. It’s encouraging that so many people are willing to take time out of their lives to apply for a long-shot job like this.

Unfortunately, most people at city hall appear to think the “short list” of candidates is already more or less determined. I hope the council will be open to the possibility of including an unknown candidate on the 12-person “short list” that will be interviewed on Monday, January 23.

What I’m for.

Posted by on January 12 at 3:07 PM

Turns out, I never said anything I was for…

Well, I’m all for making fun of the band Fall Out Boy.

If you also love laughing at them, check out these homemade videos some kids did for two of their “hit” songs that currently plague the radio…

“Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down Swinging”

“Dance Dance”

You Be Trimpin!

Posted by on January 12 at 3:07 PM

Tonight at Jack Straw Studios the astounding Trimpin will be giving a talk on his work. Jack Straw is currently showing an exhibit of some of Trimpin’s early work as part of a year-long, multi-venue celebration of his 25 years of blowing minds in Seattle. Trimpin is a composer/sound artist/engineer/god and truly a civic treasure. Do yourself a favor.

Jack Straw New Media Gallery
4261 Roosevelt Way, NE

Re: “That’s exactly what’s wrong with this town.”

Posted by on January 12 at 2:58 PM

Exactly. Later in his speech, O’Neill had this to say: “You’ll probably notice that my resume does not include any elected office or work on any political campaigns. I am not a member of the so-called political class. I believe that I can contribute a viewpoint that is unique because I would enter the city council as simply a citizen.”

Bullshit. Lack of experience in politics is not a qualification for serving in politics.

Instead of Quoting Dr. Edward Song, Applicant # 22, Directly

Posted by on January 12 at 2:57 PM

Allow me to quote his letter of interest verbatim:

I must admit, that I grew up duringthe age of disco, and loved ABBA. Now a concerned citizen I say as Fernando fought for liberty by crossing that fearful Rio Grande, I cross my river of anxiety to fight for community principles. … So, who am I? I once was full of social anxiety. In kindergarten, long before I had heard of the pop group ABBA, I wouild always sit alone in the corner and would tremble when I had to say “here” during roll call. But just as Fernando crossed the Rio Grande long ago on a starry night, I crossed my river of social anxiety to knock on thousands of doors to help clean up toxic waste in America… But now I hear the distant drums. The sounds of bugle calls are coming from afar. I hear the battle cry, “It’s time to cross another river and fight for our liberties without compromising our security from terrorists.” If elected, across this river, I will fight to expand mass transit, attract neww business to Seattle, and fight homelessness… Now I ask you to help me cross the river to City Hall.

Quote of the Hearing…so far

Posted by on January 12 at 2:57 PM

Candidate #13, Orin O’Neill, whose resume is overtly apoliticalďż˝ “Freelance Automotive writer” and lists his relevant skills as HTML, Javascript, FrontPage 2000, and familiarity with AP style ďż˝offered up this claim in his 3-minute speech: “I have no personal agenda.’

That’s exactly what’s wrong with this town.

Orin, if you don’t have an agenda, don’t run for office.

My faves so far, after 14 or so speakers: Peter Holmes (OPA reveiw board), and Javier Valdez (who, said what his priority is: Increasing economic opportunity for minorities in Seattle. It’s not so much that I agree with Javier, but seriously, he’s the only one so far who’s stated what’s important to him in a tangible way.

Candidate Number 15

Posted by on January 12 at 2:48 PM

According to Jan Drago, “was a person who didn’t live in Seattle but loved the city so much she thought she should apply.”

The city charter prohibits non-Seattle residents from serving on the City Council.

“That Weird Guy in the Front Row.”

Posted by on January 12 at 2:33 PM

Douglas Mays, a perennial candidate whose resume cites his elementary-school experience and high-school state soccer championship victory, just spoke. He told the council, “We are many individuals existing congruently in the oneness of our city. This is what I seek to represent. I look forward to expand my vision of the city. Otherwise I’ll attend every public hearing and be that weird guy in the front row.” Then he thanked council members “for playing along.”

Why do people like Mays have the right to show up and waste the council’s and the public’s time? Because literally anyone - anyone, that is, who’s 18 or older and a citizen of Seattle, requirements that have disqualified at least two potential candidates - can apply. It’s a little hard to take the process seriously when everyone in the city is eligible.

Snowball’s Chance: Angel

Posted by on January 12 at 2:24 PM

Two-time candidate Angel Bolanos, who challenged Compton in 2003, just spoke. His pitch: “I want your appointment so together we can be part of this beautiful experience.”

A long-shot candidate who ought to be taken seriously

Posted by on January 12 at 2:18 PM

Peter Holmes, head of the Office of Police Accountability Review Board, who went head-to-head with City Attorney Tom Carr over the issue of indemnity for OPARB members, who are volunteers, from lawsuits.

Two Other Vacancies

Posted by on January 12 at 2:14 PM

Two of the current city council members—Tom Rasmussen & Richard Conlin—aren’t even going to attend the hearing. “Pre-existing commitments.”

The first “bridge” metaphor of the afternoon…

Posted by on January 12 at 2:12 PM

Comes courtesy of candidate # 1, Norman Zigler, an executive search firm partner: “My approach to service will be building bridges and tearing down walls.”

I expect we’ll also be hearing a lot about mass transit, quality of life, and access to government for all as the afternoon wears on.

It’s On

Posted by on January 12 at 2:07 PM

The public hearing for candidates interested in filling Jim Compton’s position just started. Each candidate gets three minutes to speak. There are nearly 100 candidates.

As council president Jan Drago just explained, “There will be no breaks during what may be a seven- to-eight-hour meeting.”

God help us.

Last Call on Pluto

Posted by on January 12 at 12:42 PM

If you were thinking about seeing Neil Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto, but didn’t yet, haul ass over to The Big Picture before it leaves town. I caught it yesterday and can’t fathom why critics have been so ho-hum. Granted, as our own Annie Wagner noted in her recent review, this flimsy film doesn’t pack the punch of Jordan’s The Crying Game nor his previous collaboration with Pluto author Patrick McCabe, The Butcher Boy. But it does a fantastic job of capturing an essential skill that saves many a young fag, dyke, or crossdresser - the ability to not only create one’s own universe, but even strongarm “the real world” into accommodating the rebellious individual, rather than vice versa. Plus, it boasts an amazing ’70s soundtrack (out Jan. 24 on Milan Records), and former Virgin Prunes frontman Gavin Friday is adorable as C-list glam rocker Billy Hatcher; the scene where he slow dances with Kitten in front of a pub had me cooing. Watch for the knockout cameo by Bryan Ferry, too.

“I have a dreamy distance with reality”

Posted by on January 12 at 11:57 AM

The Film Comment website has an uncut version of an interview (by Gavin Smith) with Claire Denis, my favorite director in the world. It’s very good. L’Intrus, the film they’re talking about at the end of the interview, hasn’t made it to Seattle yet. I am impatient.

Tune in at 2:00…

Posted by on January 12 at 11:46 AM

When Josh and Erica will be live-slogging today’s council hearing, at which all 99 contenders for City Council Position #9 (formerly Jim Compton’s seat) will get their three minutes at the mic.

We’ll hear from folks like Dr. Ed Song, who, according to his cover letter, was once “full of social anxiety” but now “hear[s] the distant drums” and the “battle cry, ‘it’s time to cross another river and fight for our liberties without compromising our security from terrorists”; Guy Burneko, who “understand[s] by experience and by certificated training how to work noncercively for consensus and concurrence”; and Evan Sutton, whose “relevant experience” includes being “a fast and efficient bartender” and who has worked “in food service settings ranging from fine dining to hip-hop nightclubs.”

Stay tuned.

My Smobriety, Day Five: Mood (Enhancer) Swings

Posted by on January 12 at 11:43 AM

Smobriety Charticle Five

Weight: 173 pounds

Pulse Rate: 68 beats per minute

Song Stuck In Head: “Open Arms,” Journey

Horniness Decrease, Since Yesterday: - 73%

Risk of Smoking Resumption: Candy Apple Red
(Author intends to place self in high-risk situation tonight)

Special Notes: Five days is the generally-accepted point where all major concentrations of nicotine have supposedly left the system; the next really significant hurdle is at the three-week mark, where, supposedly, the habits of smoking cessation have changed to the point where they `stick.’

Symptoms: Insomnia, lack of concentration, agitation, weird sticky sweats, paranoia, manic giggling, sudden lack of interest in any celebrities whatsoever except for a sudden bile-filled burst of anger at Matt LeBlanc, anxiety, back pain.

It’s pretty amazing—my opinions on the Happy Pills have managed to do a complete 180 in twenty-four hours. All of a sudden, I’m feeling vaguely speedy all the time, and for something in the drug class “antidepressant,” it’s certainly kicking up some strange emotional reactions. One moment, I’m tittering like a schoolgirl, the next I’m unbelievably anxious, on the verge of tears and needy for attention. And the insomnia seems to be getting worse: a few more nights of this and I’ll be a candidate for heavy Botox treatments. I’m considering weaning myself off the Happy Pills entirely within the next week.
And as for the cigarettes? The work part wasn’t as difficult as I thought—so few of my co-workers smoke that it’s certainly not as much of a “me-too” issue that I thought it would be. The only thing that I can really do to test myself in those regards, since the Bupe makes drinking a seizure risk, is to place myself in an environment where tons of people are smoking. I intend to do that tonight.
(Cue dramatic music..)

Sometimes I Wish I Lived in the 19th Century

Posted by on January 12 at 11:05 AM

From Reuters:

“There are partially fluorescent green pigs elsewhere, but ours are the only ones in the world that are green from inside out. Even their hearts and internal organs are green,” Wu said on Thursday.


In 2003, a Taiwan company began selling the world’s first genetically engineered fish, sparking protests by environmentalists who said the fluorescent green fish posed a threat to the earth’s ecosystem.

Throwing Stones

Posted by on January 12 at 11:01 AM

I’m sorry, this is funny.

re: Odetta

Posted by on January 12 at 10:53 AM

I too heard Greg Vandy’s interview last night….I agree that it was excellent…and in general Vandy is one of the best DJs at KEXP. I look forward to his show every week, with or without the interviews…there’s nothing else like it on the radio (a mix of old soul, folk, and blues). But later in the evening DJ Riz was also rockin’ it. Riz’s set was the most tripped out mix I’ve heard on the station, a lunatic blend of dialog from Apocalypse Now and Jennifer Gentle songs. It was all in celebration of the anniversary of the discovery of LSD (I believe, correct me if I’m wrong….it could also have been the anniversary of Timothy Leary’s death. I can’t remember), and it made me wish I was back in the blacklight days of college….

For Josh

Posted by on January 12 at 10:33 AM

A great new reason to let dogs sniff your crotch in restaurants: They can smell cancer.
What is there not to love?

Odetta! (Update)

Posted by on January 12 at 10:31 AM

Via the comments, Kerri Harrop announces that the KEXP show I blogged about earlier (“Martin Luther King and the Songs of Freedom - How Gospel Music Inspired a Movement”) is now up online at Listen to it.

10:17 am and the show is now available on KEXP’s streaming archive at their website.

Greg Vandy is a local treasure. After blowing everyone’s mind with last night’s “Roadhouse,” he then played records with Scott Giampino at the Viceroy. You shoulda been there, it was a blast.

She just gets better and better

Posted by on January 12 at 10:29 AM


The Weepy Missus

Posted by on January 12 at 10:28 AM

So they do murder boards for the Supreme Court nominee. But it seems to me that a really wily administration would do acting lessons for the spouse and family as well. If you can cry on command and then delicately retreat into an antechamber, like Ms. Alito did yesterday, you would buy all sorts of smushy positive press for your husband.

Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch

Posted by on January 12 at 10:28 AM

Whoops—I didn’t post a SSWW last week, so this week we’ve got a double header…

For the week of January 4-11, 2006:

Seattle Weekly: 72 pages.
The Stranger: 76 pages.

For the week of January 12-18:

Seattle Weekly: 76 pages.
The Stranger: 80 pages.

Regulating Bathhouses

Posted by on January 12 at 10:18 AM

If public health officials could trace a single outbreak of a single communicable disease to, say, a single Denny’s, they would close the place faster than it takes grease to appear on the surface of a freshly poured cup of Denny’s coffee. (Meaning, you know, fast.) But when it comes to the never-ending outbreaks of numerous diseases that can be traced to gay bathhouses, health officials—cowed by “health educators” at AIDS orgs who do all they can to make STI epidemics worse—claim they can’t do anything because 1. they don’t want to drive the problem underground and 2. the baths are a place where they can reach out to the very community that most needs to hear health messages.

Both justifications are bullshit: the problem is already underground, and little to no outreach is actually done in bathhouses. A few posters may go up every once in a while, but you can spend a week in a bathhouse without ever running into one of Seattle’s useless HIV-prevention educators. (Unless, of course, they’re there having unsafe sex themselves.)

So I was thrilled to read this morning that Los Angeles now demands that LA’s bathhouses live up to the rationalizations that the excuse-makers and HIV-promotion activists at AIDS orgs make for them. From the Advocate:

New regulations passed Tuesday by the Los Angeles County board of supervisors bans unprotected sex in all county commercial sex venues (such as bathhouses and sex clubs) and requires them to pay $1,088 in annual licensing fees and undergo quarterly health inspections, the Los Angeles Times reports. All sex clubs and bathhouses will be required to display signs and posters stating that unprotected sex is prohibited by patrons, and they must provide free condoms, lubricant, and information on HIV prevention and safer sex. Owners of sex venues also are now required to prohibit entry to anyone appearing to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The measure, passed 3—0 by county supervisors, also requires commercial sex venues to offer HIV antibody testing and counseling. County health officials are expected to begin issuing permits in mid February. Sex clubs and bathhouses must begin offering at least 20 hours of HIV testing and counseling availability per week beginning March 1, according to the new rules. Venues that don’t comply with all new regulations can be shut down.

Good for LA.

Meanwhile in Seattle, our bathhouses are completely unregulated. It’s way past time that Seattle-King County Public Health get off its ass and regulate bathhouses here. LA’s new regulations are a good model, and should be adopted locally.

Seattle hiphop is where it’s at

Posted by on January 12 at 10:15 AM

After hitting the tail end of the Common Market show at Chop Suey last night (tail end meaning I missed all the other acts except CM), I have to say Seattle hiphop is on the next level right now, and the energy there is completely infectious. The makings of a powerful new musical force in a city comprises many different elements, but the way acts like Common Market, Cancer Rising, Blue Scholars and numerous other artists, DJs, producers, etc feed and fuel each other is downright inspiring. Common Market killed it once again last night, every song more powerful and positive than the last, giving an enthusiastic (packed) house songs with a message and the music to make you feel like everything’s just right in the world. For their finale, the duo pulled the opening acts on stage to come together on “Connect Four” (my personal favorite off their debut album) and members of Cancer Rising took the mic to freestyle between and after the song.

I should also note that Cancer Rising doesn’t get as much hype as they should in these pages, as our own My Philosophy columnist Larry Mizell is one third of the trio, but damn they’re so good. I bought a copy of their new disc last night, Search for the Cure and the beats blast hard as rock hits on some tracks and bring the slippery funk on others. They’re another important piece on our local hiphop scene for sure.

All this is to say who knows if 2006 will be the year for national recognition of the strength of Seattle’s hiphop scene, but I’ll say it now: It damn well should be.

Burn on Pastor Ken Hutcherson

Posted by on January 12 at 9:58 AM

As opposed to last year, when Microsoft bailed on the gay rights bill under pressure from Evangelical pastor Ken Hutcherson, this year they seem to know better.

This, Ken, is what we call a face job.

Speaking of Fierce

Posted by on January 12 at 9:48 AM

I’m in a hotel room this morning that offers a choice of two bathrobes: one beige with tiger stripes, the other golden with leopard spots.

I’m wearing the tiger.

Bob is good because he’s bad

Posted by on January 12 at 9:40 AM

Check it: The Art Exhibition of Our Picasso.

True, Robert Rauschenberg, 80, whose aesthetic queerness handily helped undermine the bloated macho heroism of abstract expressionism in the ’50s (“A New Jerusalem had been envisioned; a New Babylon emerged,” the Village Voice’s Jerry Saltz quipped), has never had a reputation problem.

But the chorus of critics referring now to Bob as the American Picasso aren’t just extending his respectability, they are focusing on his continuous, catholic and almost reckless production schedule, which has meant that many of his objects are crap. That’s most definitely the latent theme of this exhibition of combine paintings (they’re basically a combination of collage, assemblage, painting and sculpture), which I saw in LA last spring before it went to NY.

What I love about this line of criticism is that it rewards failure as productive and compelling, instead of priggishly policing some strange pristine territory that quickly becomes an airless death chamber. Cool.

Spice Opera

Posted by on January 12 at 9:34 AM

Of all the dorky things in the dorkdom that is the Internet, this has to be the dorkiest.

Don’t Rape Her

Posted by on January 12 at 9:05 AM

There are blue posters up all over the Capitol Hill—and, I assume, up or going up in other neighborhoods—with some advice for men about rape: Don’t.

A lot has been said about how to prevent rape. Women should learn self-defense. Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark. Women shouldn’t have long hair and women shouldn’t wear short skirts. Women shouldn’t leave drinks unattended. Fuck, they shouldn’t get drunk at all.

Instead of that bullshit, how about:

if a woman is drunk, don’t rape her.
if a woman is walking alone at night, don’t rape her.
if a woman is drugged and unconscious, don’t rape her.
if a woman is wearing a short skirt, don’t rape her.
if a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don’t rape her.
if a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you’re still hung up on, don’t rape her.
if a woman is asleep in her bed, don’t rape her.
if a woman is asleep in your bed, don’t rape her.
if a woman is doing her laundry, don’t rape her.
if a woman is in a coma, don’t rape her.

(skipping ahead…)
don’t lecture your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape. don’t imply that she could have avoided it if she’d only done/not done x. don’t sympathize with the perpetrator. don’t imply that it was in any way her fault.

don’t like silence imply agreement when someone tells you he “got some” with the drunk girl.
don’t perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control or responsibility for your actions. You can, too, help yourself.


I expect the posters—wheat pasted outside a lot of clubs where women get drunk, meet men, and are well-advised not to leave their drinks unattended—will spark many conversations. I agree generally with the intentions of the authors/activists behind the posters: men shouldn’t rape women, period. And that point needs to be emphasized again and again. Rape: Wrong. Don’t do it, boys. Don’t rape drunk women, jogging women, short-skirted women, or comatose women. It shouldn’t have to be said, but as rape happens despite everyone aggreeing that it’s wrong it obviously needs to be said again and again. And, yes, men who rape are responsible for their actions—they should be arrested and locked up.

But there’s a problem with this poster’s message.

Men who commit rape—particularly the type of guys who rape comatose women, their step-daughters, or women they find in houses they’ve broken into—are not going to be dissuaded by little blue posters or the disapproval of their friends. (“John, you know that I respect you as a friend, but I have to say that I believe raping a comatose women when you’re breaking into a house is simply wrong.”) Consequently women have to be on their guard. Men shoudn’t rape, men who do should be prosecuted. But the fact that some men do rape—and some men, sadly, always will—means women do need to keep an eye on their drinks. We don’t shift the responsibility for rape to women when we urge women to take a self-defense class or avoid walking home from a club alone at 2:30 in the morning or think better of getting blind-drunk in at a frat house. It’s recognizing reality—sad, tragic, wish-it-weren’t-so reality.


Posted by on January 12 at 8:23 AM

I happened to be driving down to Portland yesterday evening just as an amazing show was getting going on KEXP: “Martin Luther King and the Songs of Freedom - How Gospel Music Inspired a Movement.” I listened until, somewhere south of Tacoma, and sometime after The Death of Emmett Till, the signal fizzled out.

My God. Someone give Greg Vandy a raise. Right now. The show isn’t up in podcast format or available for audio streaming yet (as far as I can tell) but as soon as it’s available online it’s your duty as an American to listen.

And can I just say again how much I love Odetta. Maybe this reveals me to be a music naif, but I’d never heard of her until I watched that Bob Dylan documentary on PBS a few months ago. In the documentary she was slapping her guitar with a thick, flat hand and letting out a primal wail in which one could hear the entire spectrum of anger and sadness that folk musicians like Dylan would later try to pick off in manageable chunks. Vandy played Odetta’s version of The Times They Are A-Changin and I felt like that thick hand was grabbing a fistful of my shirt and pulling me right in front of Odetta’s face so she could tell me how the song was supposed to be sung. It was one of those moments when all you can do is curse, it’s so good.

(A note to the gay boys: Odetta was fierce before fierce was fey.) ((And speaking of divas.))

KEXP: I demand a rebroadcast!