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Friday, July 11, 2008

This Week in The Stranger

posted by on July 11 at 12:40 PM


Cover art by Michael de Leon.*

A. Birch Steen Comments on Brad Steinbacher’s Departure
“Bradley Steinbacher, managing editor of this publication, has tendered his resignation. Unsurprisingly, it was immediately accepted. Word has it Steinbacher has found a more lucrative line of work and is getting out of journalism entirely—the best thing to happen to journalism in years.”

Adrian Ryan Returns to His Hometown in Montana to Watch Barack Obama Watch an Independence Day Parade
“Barack Obama is black. Science has confirmed this. Butte, Montana, on the other hand, is white. Lawn-art-and-RVs white. Extraordinarily white, absurdly white, 96 percent white! I was born and grew up in Butte, so I should know. Before age 14, I had never laid eyes on a bona fide black person who wasn’t a Cosby. Why did Barack Obama—in the mad heat of a presidential campaign—drag his entire family to celebrate America’s most American of holidays in a conservative backwoods with only three sad little electoral votes and almost no appreciable sway in the course of presidential doings?”

Erica C. Barnett on a 9,000-Word, Three-Part Editorial in Crosscut Decrying Light Rail
“The pieces prompted a rather overwrought bit of damage control by Sound Transit, which mistakenly issued, then withdrew, a response replete with phrases like ‘That’s naive,’ and ‘Hello?’ The agency issued a calmed-down version on July 2. Not that there isn’t plenty in MacDonald’s argument to criticize, starting with the utterly unsupported claim that people will love riding the bus if we just make them nicer. As the Seattle streetcar has demonstrated, what you’re riding matters—not just whether, as some have derisively claimed, the train or bus or streetcar is ‘cute,’ but whether you know where it’s going, whether you’re sure it’ll get there on time, and whether you’ll be surrounded by people for whom transit is a rolling homeless shelter. Rail offers certainty—and certainty means people use it as transit, not a convenient place to sleep or shoot up.”

Paul Constant on Dash Shaw and His 720-Page Comic Book Bottomless Belly Button
“Even to look at the thing, one can tell that it’s the sort of dense brick of a book that causes book critics to become insensate and throw around words like tour de force and magnum opus in a drunk-on-criticism daze. The feverishness will only get worse once the besotted literati fly through the thing. It’s enough to make a grown-up reviewer swoon.”

Jen Graves on the Art of Doing What You’re Told
“For the first few cranks, you absorb how the machine works. You watch the exposed gears turning beneath the little stage, puppeteering the papier-mâché figures. You take in the actions that repeat as you turn the crank: An Iraqi woman is raped, a hooded Iraqi prisoner is strung up by his arms, a college student is pushed down and Tasered. On one level, you know these are news events that you had nothing to do with. On another level, you’re the one standing there, turning the crank.”

Bethany Jean Clement on Spring Hill, West Seattle’s First Destination Restaurant
“Mr. Fuller and his staff move silently and smoothly around each other in choreographed harmony in the kitchen. Nary a word is spoken; pots do not clang. One man’s job is to stand still with his brow furrowed and his chin sunk to his chest, concentrating deeply on endless prep tasks. It’s professionalism incarnate, of the opposite sort from red-faced, plate-throwing TV chefs. The precision and intensity are presided over by shining ladles and tongs hanging in order of size, and it’s all reflected in a stripe of mirror along the opposite wall. Watching the lining-up of each stalk of asparagus on a plate makes a certain kind of person feel a little choked up.”

Lindy West Tries to See a Movie about Beavers at the IMAX (Ends Up Seeing a Movie about Car Racing)
“I didn’t want to see the stupid race-car movie. I wanted to see the movie about the beavers. I’d really been hyping up Beavers in my brain: thinking about beavers, talking about beavers, performing an original one-woman preenactment of Mr. Beaver and Mrs. Beaver talking to each other in British accents. ”Ello, Mrs. Beaver!’ ‘Good morning, ‘usband! Would you loik to chew on sticks and wood for breakfast?’ ‘Capital! Cheerio! Oi’ll do the ‘ishes!’ ‘Oi love living underwater with you as mammals, Mr. Beaver.’ Kersploosh!”

ALSO DISCUSSED IN THIS ISSUE: How the Vaselines feel about reuniting for Sub Pop’s festival this weekend; Sub Pop’s reasons for having the festival in Redmond; No Age getting flipped off and called “faggot queer” by a passing car while giving an interview from their minivan; the last surviving (but perhaps not for long) street newsstand in Seattle; more details about the Russian clown impostors; the difference between flashing and exhibitionism; and (say it ain’t so!) the last installment of Sonics Death Watch.

*A note about this cover. Brad Steinbacher has worked at The Stranger for 14 brutal years and done just about every job here at one time or another. He’s also written for almost every section. For years we’ve had this running idea that one week we’d all take the week off, Brad would write the whole paper, and we we’d call it The Steinbacher. That never came to pass, so for his last issue on staff we decided to finally change the name of the paper for a week. But we didn’t tell him. As managing editor, Brad sees all the pages right before they’re sent to the printer, but we wanted The Steinbacher to be a surprise, so our art department had to create a fake “final” cover for Brad’s approval. We also ended up changing another item of cover text in between creating the fake final cover for Brad and the actual final cover for the printer, and when Brad first looked at this week’s issue, he noticed that cover text had changed and wanted to know why. Meanwhile, he completely failed to notice that it said The Steinbacher in huge letters across the top.

RSS icon Comments



Personally, though, staff changes aside, I think the Montana event will prove to be far more significant in the long run.

We'll miss you, Amy Kate!

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 11, 2008 12:46 PM

Oh, I'm so glad you pulled off the cover stunt, and the story of him not noticing is delicious. That photograph is freakin' fantastic as well.

Posted by Fnarf | July 11, 2008 12:47 PM

You have a print edition?

Posted by elenchos | July 11, 2008 12:52 PM

Will ECB be in charge now? She can take the campaign against evil Zipcar to a whole new level.

Posted by let's hope | July 11, 2008 12:56 PM

Lindy West writes the best movie reviews EVER.

Posted by laterite | July 11, 2008 12:56 PM

Will H. Birch Steen be taking over as Managing Editor, or is he leaving too?

Posted by inkweary | July 11, 2008 1:00 PM

I'll tell you what should be Managing Editor of The enormous whozeewhatsit!!!

Posted by Christopher Frizzelle's Enormous Whozeewhatsit | July 11, 2008 1:05 PM

I thought I was going to hate Adrian Ryan's article. But I did not. It goes well with a fajita.

Posted by DOUG. | July 11, 2008 1:07 PM

I ruefully admit I didn't notice the cover change until you pointed it out to me just now...

I am so full of rue.

Posted by michael strangeways | July 11, 2008 1:12 PM

What's this all about? Print edition pimping? Let me guess: they're just piling up in the boxes and the distribution boys are complaining about all the haul-backs.

Posted by Keith | July 11, 2008 1:14 PM

They do a "This Week in The Stranger" every week, Keith.

Posted by Fnarf | July 11, 2008 1:23 PM

Adrian's article was really swell.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | July 11, 2008 1:27 PM

I can't believe I didn't notice the title change, either. That picture is just so awesome it must have completely distracted me.

Posted by Levislade | July 11, 2008 1:43 PM

@2 - and I have to also admit I didn't notice the title change either. Cool pic!

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 11, 2008 2:03 PM

Nice BJ on the cover.

Posted by wiseblood | July 11, 2008 2:59 PM

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