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Thursday, October 16, 2008

More About Michael Hussein Gregory

posted by on October 16 at 11:40 AM

He's a kid. Can't be more than 20. He seems to be from Boone, North Carolina:

Population 14,000, named for Daniel Boone, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Here's a video of Gregory and friends singing about Jimmy Smith Park in Boone (Boone also has a Jimmy Smith Wastewater Treatment Plant):

Here's a song about space people from the future:

According to his MySpace page, he now lives in Brooklyn. He's equal parts Chris Crocker and Tracy + the Plastics.

His videos aren't all brilliant (his third prez debate video isn't nearly as good as the previous ones), but he's generative, gutsy, and a little screwy in the head.

(He is a new media hero. Forget art in the age of mechanical reproduction. This is art in the age of infinite extension—there are no copies of these artworks, each one is the original. Benjamin's aura is everywhere. Not only is God "a circle of which the center is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere." So are artworks in the age of YouTube. So is the character known as Michael Hussein Gregory.)

And, one more time, his video of the second prez debate—his finest work so far:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Laura Miller on David Foster Wallace

posted by on September 15 at 11:38 AM

From Salon:

He talked about how difficult it was to be a novelist in a world seething with advertisements and entertainment and knee-jerk knowingness and facile irony. He wrote about the maddening impossibility of scrutinizing yourself without also scrutinizing yourself scrutinizing yourself and so on, ad infinitum, a vertiginous spiral of narcissism--because not even the most merciless self-examination can ignore the probability that you are simultaneously congratulating yourself for your soul-searching, that you are posing. He tried so hard to be sincere and to attend to the world around him because he was excruciatingly aware of how often we are merely "sincere" and "attentive" and all too willing to leave it at that. He spoke of the discipline and of the abrading, daily labor such efforts require because the one imperative that runs throughout all of his work is the intimate connection between humility and wisdom.

Like a lot of us at The Stranger, I found out in the aged grandeur of the Moore's lobby, at the Genius Awards party on Saturday night, when someone handed me an iPhone with a news story on it. It seemed impossible that the pixels on the screen were actually shaped into these letters, spelling out this news. David Foster Wallace? Hanged? Wife found him? Wha--? There were things to celebrate on Saturday, but gravity had just shifted, the lights had just flickered, and it was with a lot of stomach sadness that we went on celebrating.

Here is Laura Miller talking about stomach sadness with DFW in 1996, right after Infinite Jest was published. (The whole interview is fascinating--click on the link at the bottom of that first page to keep going.) And here is DFW's most recent--generous, intrepid, unlikely--short story for The New Yorker. (Representative sentence: "The appointment was for afternoon, but when the doorbell had rung so early and his mother’d called to him up the stairs, he had known, and a terrible kind of blankness had commenced falling through him.")

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Last Night

posted by on September 14 at 5:35 PM

The stage:


The crowd:


The rap:


The winners:






The memories:


Thanks to Kelly O and our readers' Flickr pool. Slide show coming soon.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Come to the Genius Party Tonight!

posted by on September 13 at 5:27 PM


The Moore is one of the most beautiful theaters in the city, with its marble and crenellations, its nooks and crannies, and air of decaying opulence. It is a decadent space for a decadent age, and tonight it will be teeming with writers and artists, actors and hiphop-heads, filmmakers and a man who casts headstones out of glass.

The stars: Sherman Alexie, Paul Mullin, Wynne Greenwood, Lynn Shelton, and Implied Violence.

The music: Dyme Def, Daedalus, and motherfucking James Pants on the main stage, with the Emerald City Soul Club spinning soul all night in the Moore's subterranean bar.

It shouldn't be free. But it is. Because we love our city.

It starts at 9 pm.

Friday, September 12, 2008

To Our Genius Award Winners

posted by on September 12 at 5:02 PM

Don't use up all of your genius power right away, lest you end up like this:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Genius of the Day: Paul Mullin

posted by on September 11 at 12:55 PM


Some reactions when I told Seattle theater people that Paul Mullin had won this year's Genius Award for theater:

Paul is a genius.
Paul's a blowhard.
Paul's a punk.
Paul is brilliant, passionate, and always itching for a fight.

Which is part of what makes him a genius—he's a tough, polarizing, no-quarter kind of guy. From my profile of Mullin in this week's paper:

... his anger is focused and generative, an anger that makes things happen: "We're all going to be dead soon," he says as night falls in his backyard. "And we're never going to feel properly compensated for it. So just do the work. Just do it." He finishes his bourbon. "Want another?"

Mullin's conversation is fast, passionate, and occasionally bruising—it is easy to imagine him as a Tammany Hall politician. "I know everyone and I forget nothing," he says, recalling a story of an actor who abandoned one of his fringe productions for a union job and who, years later, came asking to be in one of Mullin's plays. Mullin wouldn't even let him audition.

And he has written some ass-kicking plays about science, death, radiation sickness, sex, and amnesia:

Mullin's plays keep a delicate tension between the intellectual and the human—they are cerebral, but warm-blooded. His plays explore not just ideas but the effects of ideas. Mullin is, essentially, a gnostic playwright, drawing out the drama behind the discovery, the comedy behind the theory, and the knowledge behind the knowledge.

He'll be at the Genius Awards party this Saturday, at the Moore, along with the rest of the Geniuses, The Stranger's arts editors, and Dyme Def, Daedelus, James Pants, and the sweet, soulful sounds of The Emerald City Soul Club.

Plus: It's free! You really should join us.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Genius of the Day

posted by on September 10 at 3:08 PM

Today's 2008 Genius Award winner is our choice for Visual Arts, Wynne Greenwood. I was really happy and proud to vote for Greenwood this year because I'd seen her perform as Tracy + the Plastics many times and she is certainly some kind of mad genius:

Here is the beginning of Jen Graves's profile of Greenwood. I'm in love with these four paragraphs:

In March, Wynne Greenwood was helping her mother organize the family house in Everett when she came across a letter she wrote in the second grade. It was a simple letter, written in pencil, and it was furious. “If you would only let me keep it in my room,” she wrote. “That lunch box was like a sister to me.”

Her mother had thrown away her lunch box in order to transition her twin daughters into carrying paper bags to school. Greenwood doesn’t remember writing the letter or leaving it for her mother to find.

Looking back now, Greenwood sees it as a watershed event. “I think it started like that,” she says.

She’s talking about her life as an artist.

The Genius Awards issue should be materializing on the streets of Seattle right about now-ish, and you should read the rest of the piece. It's fascinating.

And you should also get ready for the Genius Awards Party, this Saturday at 9:00 p.m. in the Moore Theatre. It's free, Greenwood will be there, and there will also be musical performances by James Pants and Dyme Def and Daedelus and Emerald City Soul Club. There will be booze, too. More information is here.

I'll be at the Moore. Will you?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Win Tickets to the VIP Genius Party

posted by on September 8 at 12:25 PM

Free food, free booze, music by Emerald City Soul Club... click here to find out how to enter.

(For the record, the Genius Party is totally free starting at 9 pm--Dyme Def, Daedelus, and James Pants will be performing and it will be very awesome. All are invited to that. These tickets will be for the fancy pre-party that starts at 7 pm. Complete Genius details can be found here.)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mr. Pants, Geniuses and You

posted by on September 5 at 4:09 PM


This is just a reminder that next Saturday, the 13th, is the 2008 Stranger Genius Awards. This year it's at the Moore Theatre, from 9 pm until the apocalypse, and it's absolutely free.

There are many reasons to attend, not least of which would be to see the entire editorial staff of The Stranger drunkenly hand $5,000 and nifty awards to the newest batch of Geniuses. (In years past as a spectator, I took part in bets to determine which editor was on which controlled substance. This year, I will be participating in the awards ceremony, and if I were you, I'd put a lot of money down on paint-huffing.)

Our slate of Geniuses is amazing this year—I'm especially excited about Sherman Alexie, but then I'm biased that way. But playwright Paul Mullin and director Lynn Shelton have been doing fine work for a while now and it's exciting to see them finally get some recognition. I've been a fan of Wynne Greenwood's ever since I first saw Tracy and the Plastics, and Implied Violence has done a lot of great stuff this year, too.

But! But! The Geniuses are, paradoxically, not the only reason to attend the Genius Awards party. Dyme Def, who are fucking amazing, will be performing, along with Daedelus and the fantastic Emerald City Soul Club. Also: this guy: Pantsboy.jpg will be headlining the night. If you've never heard of James Pants, you should really read Kurt B. Reighley's great profile of him from a few months back. This is the first time the Awards have been held in a venue with a whole lot of seats, so it should be a great way to get your first taste of Pants action.

You should go.