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Thursday, June 5, 2008

This Week in The Stranger

posted by on June 5 at 8:00 AM


Grant Cogswell on Drugs, Satanists, Tori Spelling, and the Making of Cthulhu
“I was the screenwriter, fundraiser, second-biggest investor, PR hack, extras coordinator, and a sometime producer of the largest, most expensive locally produced film ever made in Seattle. It took five years, it cost $1 million, and its extremely slow projected return may have broken the bank for local distribution-quality films for the foreseeable future. It ruined my health, driving me to the brink of suicide twice, and from sobriety back down into a drinking life (and, briefly, the cocaine life below that), and aggravating a chronic muscle condition that addicted me to painkillers. I started with $250,000 in assets and am now thousands of dollars in debt, making $15 an hour repainting a house near Sacramento. I own no more than what fills a backpack and am not homeless thanks only to the kindness of friends.”

Jonah Spangenthal-Lee Reports on Seattle’s Crackdown on Meals for Homeless
“In an April 23 letter to Food Not Bombs volunteers, the parks department claims FNB’s weekly dinner at Occidental Park is a health and safety hazard and says the city expects ‘all organizations’ to serve their meals at ‘the only approved city site,’ at Sixth and Columbia.”

Lindy West Braves the Buffet at Déjà Vu
“I wasn’t nervous at all about going to the lunch buffet at Lake City’s Déjà Vu Showgirls, until it was time to actually go to the lunch buffet at Lake City’s Déjà Vu Showgirls. Jokes about ‘fried clams’ and ‘thousands of beautiful tater tots and three ugly ones’ (thank you, thank you) are all well and good until the moment when you must physically leave the car, face the vaginas, and munch the tots.”

Casey Catherwood, The Stranger’s Underage Music Columnist, Turns 20
“This Japanther show just felt tired. I ended up leaving before they finished, dejected and disappointed with the whole experience. Was the band simply having an off night? Was my enthusiasm for life already fading just an hour after bidding farewell to my teenage years?”

Jen Graves on Dario Robleto: Part Artist, Part Innovator, Part Anthropologist
“He is an artist, but half his time is spent researching history and collecting its detritus. (A network of nerds helps him.) Once he gets the precious material, he changes it. He grinds bones to dust, pulverizes love letters, melts vinyl records and cassette tapes, makes casts of bitten bullets and DIY prosthetic limbs, and brews homemade remedies from plants and powders.”

ALSO DISCUSSED IN THIS ISSUE: Jerome Robbins was a dick; Truckasauras’s debut album; Darcy Burner’s Iraq miracle plan; the downward slide of Dungeons & Dragons’s popularity; Sherman Alexie’s foul mouth; a local hiphop music video maker branches out; how to build a nuclear reactor in your back yard; and much more.

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Grant deserves a power hug.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 5, 2008 9:06 AM

i like lindy's article. liberal mother superiors rule.

Posted by tiffany | June 5, 2008 9:15 AM

Anything with Cthulhu is a-ok with me - and Grant's a great guy.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 5, 2008 9:50 AM

brendan, Francia Russell and Kent Stowell did not ignore Jerome Robbins during their PNB tenure. they couldn't afford him. he charged high high prices for performance rights and even if you could afford him, he could still turn you down if your company didn't meet his professional standards. Francia told me that san francisco ballet had a very rich patron who wrote a big check every time they wanted a Robbins ballet. all PNB could afford was Fanfare, a corny kid's piece that didn't require much rehearsal or technique. i bet they still paid through the nose for it.

Posted by scary tyler moore | June 5, 2008 9:52 AM

The 'downward slide' of Dungeons & Dragons?!

Also in this issue: shark jumping-- a look back in slow motion.

Posted by Explorer | June 5, 2008 9:56 AM

Cogswell may be a good guy and he may be in a bad state but Cthulhu was a complete abortion. Some good scenes and a great male lead but almost totally unwatchable.

Posted by demo kid | June 5, 2008 10:21 AM


I agree. Minus the male lead.

Posted by Mr. Poe | June 5, 2008 10:28 AM

I commented elsewhere about it yesterday but I'll re-comment here, Lindy's article on the strip club buffet is wonderful, fabulous, awesome, hilarious, sad, knowing, oh geez I don't have enough words for it. I was laughing so hard I thought I'd barf.

Posted by PopTart | June 5, 2008 11:10 AM

Cthulhu: to be certain of its spelling, I had to cut and paste the title - a movie I almost saw @ last year's SIFF but probably saw "La Vien Rose" instead.

I googled "cthulhu" so that:

(1) I could learn how to pronounce it, and (2) I would understand the word's provenance.

I feel bad that Grant lost his ass on the project, but whenever your perceived audience cannot spell or pronounce the movie title, you're probably not standing at the clue busstop. Sorry.

Posted by 'KOYAANISQATSI' FAN | June 5, 2008 11:42 AM

That Cthulu piece is fan-freaking-tastic. Don't die, Grant.

Posted by mike | June 5, 2008 12:01 PM

Who wants to help me organize a trip down to Portland for Lindy and friends?

Posted by Greg | June 5, 2008 1:45 PM

With regards to the "Cthulu" piece; you've _got_ to be kidding.

With all due respect, "Cthulu" was a trainwreck of a production that produced a bad film. In short, a failure.

That in itself, is fine. Making films is hard, and perfectly worthy people fail for all sorts of reasons. But this article is a self-important collection of excuses.

But even as tiresome and trite as it is, it might pass without comment. But to punctuate the wallowing with slights against much better films and to declare that your failure has doomed all other efforts is really beyond the pale.

Posted by John Galt | June 5, 2008 2:37 PM

Shut up, John. I love you, Grant.

Posted by Paulus | June 5, 2008 6:29 PM

That's great. Love him all you want - he's still a tool.

I would offer an example, from the article in question, one of the first of the many excuses to follow. He was a "caretaker" of a property. A property at which he brags of hosting all-night parties. A property that was robbed. His response? The freeway noise drowned out the burglar alarm.

Wow, really? You mean to tell me that the background noise in that house was as loud as the burglar alarm? I find that hard to believe. It is much easier to believe that Grant just slept through whatever, due to the exhaustion, drugs or other excesses he makes a point of later in the article

The aside of his stint as a caretaker serves as a model for the rest of the article - everything is someone else's fault, and he deserves pity for being driven to take drugs and isn't he so noble, high, and poor.

But hey - he got a lot of people high and laid during a five-year party that he talked other people into paying for. Which is a real talent - nobody can take that away from him

He ends with "We want another chance. We want to live like that again." That's great. No self-awareness, no sense that he has any idea of the tragedy that he's responsible for. Just him wanting someone else to pay for this fantasy life of his.

Go ahead and love him - from the sound of the article he won't even remember who you are. But if that's your thing, have at it.

Posted by John Galt | June 6, 2008 2:27 PM

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