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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

SL Letter of the Day: For Better or Worse

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 4:38 PM

I have been married for 17 years. We have two young children. I am fun, friendly, and open. My husband is calm and passive. We used to have a good time together and I am still very attracted to him. I have always been GGG. He, conversely, has no sexual urges and never—NEVER—responds to me any more. We have vanilla sex every few months. He rarely finishes; I usually do because I know how to do so. There is no foreplay; he is not actively engaged. We don't even kiss deeply. It has become progressively worse with every passing year. He has escalated from being a heavy drinker when we met to a full-blown alcoholic now, which has intensified our other problems. He covers it up well in that he holds a job and is attentive to our children. He does not become abusive or violent but simply drinks until he passes out.

We are in counseling now but I can't break through. I asked him for a divorce; he declined. I have since told him that I will not initiate sex any more. I can't face his rejection anymore. I've taken over the family finances since he put us into crushing debt by avoiding creditors and the IRS. I am, ultimately, setting myself up to leave him and take the children with me.

I go to Al-Anon and have been secretly seeing another man. We met online; there are no strings and no future so it's casual and refreshing. The sex is very good—he's enthusiastic and grateful—and the conversation is even better. I know this makes me a CPOS but I am so desperate and lonely. He makes me feel strong and beautiful and worthy of love.

Dan, I just want your opinion. I made this bed—do I really have to lie in it? Does "for better or worse" mean that I have to stand by a selfish bastard of an alcoholic? Am I a hypocrite for attending counseling with him, knowing that, unless he has some enormous turnaround, I'm going to leave him?

To Have And To Hold

My response after the jump...

Continue reading »

In Culture News: Update on the Long-Jump Mat/Mural, Submit to SIFF, and Black Coffee Bids Good-Bye to "Capitol Hell"

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 4:01 PM

How far could the art dealer jump? As far as the farmers kids did?
  • How far could the art dealer jump? As far as the farmer's kids did?

So How Does a Painting Used as a Long-Jump Mat Hold Up?: Surprisingly well, Seattle dealer John Braseth said. He drove up to Skagit Valley yesterday to see the discovered William Cumming mural we wrote about yesterday, and said he was dreading seeing its condition. But "The mural is magnificent and is not in terrible shape," he emailed. "The colors are as bright as when it was finished in 1941... Bill was only 27 when he created the mural and he was under the influence of Callahan."

SIFF Calls for 2015 Entries: Do you think your film is worthy of a spot in the Seattle International Film Festival? The early bird deadline for next year's festival is October 6th. Find more information here.

"We will miss flying our Black Flags in the shadows of your sterile condos" Black Coffee Co-op is saying good-bye to "Capitol Hell." The collective is staying together, but they've got to move out of their current space on Pine Street by midnight of Halloween this year.

NFL Asks Superbowl Halftime Performers to Pay to Play the Superbowl: News that the NFL is asking musical acts to pay for the privilege of playing the Superbowl is not being warmly received.

Reggie Watts Asks You to Click Clean: Here's a video made by Reggie Watts and Greenpeace for Click Clean, an initiative to try to get internet giants like Twitter and Amazon to host the internet in a more environmentally responsible way.

Continue reading »


Beck's Sexting Days Are Behind Him, Plus Other Revelations in Our Interview With Him

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 3:14 PM

  • Autumn De Wilde

Beck has always thrived on his slower songs—the poised ones, rowing out composed. Beck's 12th album, Morning Phase, pulls from the same decelerated, meditative current he touched on for Mutations' "Nobody's Fault but My Own" and Sea Change. Sounds on Morning Phase's acoustic, folk-based songs are sedated, saturated, and lined with orchestrations arranged by his father, David Campbell. "Wave" is a procession of vocals and strings only, moving like a funeral ship across completely still water. In the six years since Modern Guilt, Beck has kept working. He recorded rock and country albums, but didn't release either of them. He produced albums for Stephen Malkmus and Charlotte Gainsbourg. He put out a series of cover albums called Record Club. And he released a collection of sheet music for others to perform called Song Reader. He also injured his back and endured a painful, lengthy recovery. Beck spoke from Los Angeles; it was morning.


And here's all our recommended music events—tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, and beyond!

St. Louis Police Shoot and Kill Knife-Wielding Man Four Miles from Ferguson

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 2:58 PM

A 23-year-old man allegedly stole two energy drinks and some pastries from a convenience store in north St. Louis. Brandie Piper at KSDK writes:

[St. Louis Police Chief Sam] Dotson says several witnesses, including a St. Louis alderman, watched as the suspect acted erratically. They told police he was armed with a knife, pacing up and down the street, and talking to himself.

When police arrived, they say the suspect walked toward them clutching his waistband. They say he then pulled out a knife and held it up in what Dotson described as an "overhand grip."

The officers, who were still in the patrol vehicle, say the suspect yelled, "Shoot me now, kill me now." The police officers yelled at the man to drop the knife, but Dotson says the suspect did not respond to verbal commands.

Both officers shot the man, who died on the scene. He has yet to be identified.

American Journalist Beheaded in Iraq

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 2:30 PM

  • Nicole Tung/Courtesy of the Foley family
  • JAMES FOLEY Pictured in July 2012 in Aleppo, Syria.

The Wire:

A video posted by ISIL terrorists in Iraq purports to the show the beheading of an American photojournalist who has been missing since 2012. The group claims the beheading is a message to President Obama to end the American intervention in Iraq.

James Foley is a photojournalist who has worked for several news organizations. According to a website set up in his honor, he went missing while covering the conflict in Syria in 2012.

ISIL has also indicated that their next victim will be Steven Joel Sotloff, a journalist who worked for TIME, The National Interest and Media Line, unless the U.S. stops its attacks on them.

The video's been removed from YouTube.


Last Night's Polite But Necessary Discussion at the Seattle Rep About Race, Theater, and the Mikado Controversy

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Valerie Curtis-Newton in last nights onstage panel.
  • Jenny Crooks
  • Valerie Curtis-Newton speaking in last night's onstage panel on "artistic freedom versus artistic responsibility"—which was really a panel on race and theater in Seattle.

Last night, over 400 people crowded into the Seattle Repertory Theatre for a conversation that was billed as being about "artistic freedom versus artistic responsibility," but was really about theater and race in Seattle. It was a packed house, full of actors, playwrights, and arts administrators from all the larger theaters and many of the smaller and mid-sized across in the city.

They'd gathered because this summer, Seattle has seen an unusual number of high-profile public discussions about race and theater (unusual because the number typically hovers around zero), including one about an all-white production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado that went national after Seattle Times columnist Sharon Pian Chan called it "yellowface." (Chan's subsequent interview with KIRO talk-show host Dave Ross, who was in the production and got blustery and defensive about it, fed the fire.)

In the lobby before the discussion, Randy Engstrom from the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture—which helped organize the event, under the leadership of actor, director, and playwright Kathy Hsieh—said they'd expected 40 or 50 people to show up and had to change the venue at the last minute to accommodate the crowds. The Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society, he said, has produced The Mikado half a dozen times over the past decades and people have talked about diversity in the arts for at least 20 years. So what's different now?

"It's the time, more than the show," Engstrom said. "We're having national discussions about income inequality, disproportionality of discipline in schools, racial profiling by police, unarmed young black men being shot by white police officers..."

For all the heat of the surrounding issues, the two-hour conversation at the Rep was pretty polite—maybe a little too polite. As director Valerie Curtis-Newton, who was part of the onstage panel, said at the end of the discussion: "What makes this time different? Because we do this really well—a community event, everybody feels good about everybody else's opinion... but I'm a double Virgo, and I want to know what happens next."

Then she announced: "Because I'm not coming up here [for this kind of panel] again—I'm just not." (These quotes may not be 100 percent verbatim—I was taking rush notes—but they should be pretty close. A full list of the members of the on-stage panel is at the end of this post.)

As one theater-maker sitting nearby wrote in a note passed to me (referring to some raucous theater-community discussions called Shitstorm that I used to co-organize with a bunch of folks):

  • bk

Regardless—the fact that the conversation even happened in such a large and diverse room was important, and some of the things people said were revelatory. As Jim Kelly of 4Culture said in the lobby, "I've never seen anything like this in my lifetime." These kinds of conversations happen among small groups of people, he said, but never in such a big, public room.

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A Fascinating Look at One Amateur Geneticist in the Age of Google MDs

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 2:18 PM

If you're looking for a leisurely afternoon read, check out this article on a woman who taught herself genetics to understand two rare diseases she'd been diagnosed with, and then used her newfound knowledge to link the two:

Kim was convinced that she had found the cause of her two diseases, but the only way to know for sure was to get the DNA of her LMNA gene sequenced to see if she had a mutation. First, she had to convince scientists that she was right. She started with Grogan, presenting her with the findings of her research. Grogan was impressed, but pragmatic. Even if Kim was right, it would not change her fate. Her implant was keeping her heart problems under control, and her Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease was incurable. He didn’t see a point. But Kim did. “I wanted to know,” she says. “Even if you have a terrible prognosis, the act of knowing assuages anxiety. There’s a sense of empowerment.”

In November 2010 Kim presented her case to Ralitza Gavrilova, a medical geneticist at the Mayo Clinic. She got a frosty reception. Gavrilova told Kim that her odds of being right were slim. “I got this sense that she thought I’d made an unfounded shot in the dark,” says Kim. “That I didn’t understand the complexity of the genome. That I had been reading the internet, and they come up with all sorts of things there.”

The story continues down an interesting rabbit hole of how the internet has empowered those suffering from rare diseases and genetic conditions to do their homework—how curiosity and tenacity and Google can occasionally accomplish the same results as the country's best geneticists. Of course, there's this:

But for every Kim, there are others who research their own conditions and come up with wrong answers. In one study four non-specialist volunteers tried to diagnose 26 cases from the New England Journal of Medicine by Googling the symptoms. They got less than a quarter right. Genetic diseases arguably lend themselves to confusion and misinformation. They are often both debilitating and enigmatic, and getting sequenced can offer little comfort beyond a diagnosis. If mainstream science has no easy answers to offer, many patients will follow any lead, no matter how weak. “There’s a tendency for people to spin very convoluted stories on tenuous threads of evidence. Even scientists do that,” says MacArthur. “I have heard of a lot of rare-disease patients who come up with hypotheses about their disease, and very few turn out to be correct.”

Which is why I have created my own hybrid of Google MDing and consulting qualified medical professionals: Whenever I discover a new mole or physical irregularity I take a picture of it in a restaurant bathroom (the lighting is fantastic!) and text it to all my medical friends with, "IS THIS FATAL YES/NO?" The practice has kept me alive and well to this day.

Tonight in Music: A Punky, Grungy Evening at the Dragon Lounge, Plus Black Kids

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 2:10 PM


(Chop Suey) Chop Suey’s Dragon Lounge is being taken over by a bunch of local greats for a new theme night called #1 Badasses, starring So Pitted, Dogjaw, and Party Girls. So Pitted’s sludgy storm of swirling feedback will take you back to Seattle circa 1987, when grunge was big but still too weird to be marketable in the pages of Seventeen magazine. Tonight will also feature the first performance from Party Girls. The band features members of Pony Time and Lisa Prank so they’ll probably be fun and danceable. (Speaking of, have you heard Lisa Prank’s lo-fi ’80s pop cassette Crush on the World? Go to to do that right now!) Olympia’s Dogjaw will be there, too, and DJ Stacy Peck will be spinning between sets. The most badass part: The cover is only $5! You might not be able to afford rent on Capitol Hill, but at least you can still afford to get into a hell of a party. MEGAN SELING
See event info »


(Barboza) Florida’s Black Kids appeared on the national radar in 2007 with “I’m Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You,” a witty, winsome jangle-pop number that even included a quaint bit of gender-bending. So far, so twee, so good. Riding a modest hype wave following that first EP, the band released their debut album, Partie Traumatic, a rather tepid collection of songs that all come off as lesser, vaguely emo versions of their adored first single. What happened in the interim between these two releases? Studio meddling? Lack of inspiration? Tough to tell, but given the length of time between that album and now (nearly seven years!) my bet is on the latter. Nonetheless, Kids' leader Reggie Youngblood says they're back in the studio and at it again, so perhaps the spark is back. Fingers crossed. KYLE FLECK
See event info »

And here's all our recommended music events—tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, and beyond!


Why You Should Be Drinking the Hell Out of Rosé Immediately (If Not Sooner)

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 2:02 PM


Remember how I wrote that column a while back about chilled reds, and how if you're butch, like me, you don't drink rosé before Bastille Day? Well, guess what? That was all bullshit! I was drinking rosé before July 14, and I'm not butch, and I hope none of you actually listened to me. It was just a lead-in to get you to consider drinking some light, chilled red wines! I hope you've been drinking the fuck out of rosé!

The rosé question I get most often is: "Is it sweet?" What what WHAT? Listen, just because it's pink doesn't mean it's sweet. All of the rosés pictured here are dry dry DRY! Flavor profiles range from evisceratingly mouthwatering acidity, to velvet-melon-dances-across-your-tongue, to dancing-elf-pudding-coating-your-palate…


David Schmader’s Mind-Blowing Solo Show

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 1:09 PM

In 2012, David Schmader debuted his latest solo play with a sold-out run at Hugo House, blowing people away with his story of budding romance against a backdrop of personal and national crises. The crises are some of the major ones...

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The Crazy History of Fremont Bluebird's Beautiful New Soda Fountain

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 1:00 PM

  • kelly o

The story of Bluebird's beautiful antique soda fountain starts with stomachaches. Newly installed in the ice cream shop's Fremont branch, the varnished wood, huge mirrors, and polished white marble counters originally graced the G.O. Guy pharmacy in Pioneer Square at the turn of the last century. Soda fountains started, the un-uniformed but well-informed soda jerk at Bluebird told me one hot afternoon last week, because pharmacists of yore would prescribe soda water for upset stomach—here she winningly rubbed her tummy—but people didn't like the taste. So they added sugary-sweet flavorings, and voilà: The drugstore soda fountain was born. It would, of course, fall out of fashion and pretty much die later, but not before helping to birth a national obesity epidemic, after pop delivery became an inexpensive two-liter bottle or 64-ounce plastic cup, administered several times daily... but that's another story.



Amazon Is Very Good at Blurring Lines with Its "Buy It Now" Button

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Yesterday, Mashable reported that the Washington Post accidentally inserted Amazon's "Buy It Now" buttons into the text of news stories, like so:

The Washington Post says this was a mistake. Though the company has had Amazon "Buy It Now" buttons alongside their articles for five years, a Washington Post spokesperson says the new article formatting accidentally drew the buttons into the article text.

This has started a big discussion in the office. Some Stranger staffers think the inclusion of the "Buy It Now" button into the text of the article crosses a line. Someone else in the office says this is no problem at all. I think the Post already crossed that line into advertorial five years ago when it included the "Buy It Now" buttons on their site in the first place. The Post was already directing its readers to Amazon, and they were already taking a cut on those purchases. How can you fully trust a book review when you know the newspaper publishing the review will directly profit if you buy the book?

You could argue that any periodical taking ads is corrupt. The Stranger runs ads from movie theaters, after all, and movie theaters are obviously more likely to buy ads if they're selling tickets. Isn't that just one step removed from the "Buy It Now" deal? Well, maybe. But it's a fairly large step. And it doesn't tie any one review directly to the selling of a product, the way Amazon's automated system does.

What do you think?

Where Did the Missing "Jesus Festival" Money Go?

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 12:38 PM


No idea. But this seems as a good place as any to start looking for it.

Steve Ballmer Quits Microsoft Board

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 11:46 AM

Except for a disgusting amount of stock, Microsoft is now officially Ballmer-free.

In a public exchange of letters, the former Microsoft CEO announced that he is stepping down from the software company’s board, effective immediately. Current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella thanked Ballmer for his service to the firm, and for his “support” during his early days as CEO.

The Ballmer era is over.

The shambling bellow-beast™ seems to be saving all his enthusiasm for the Clippers these days:

Ballmer says he's going to devote his time to "the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study." Let's hope that his contributions to the Clippers are less weird than his contributions to Lakeside School, as reported in this jaw-dropping story in the Seattle Times.

Want to Help Ferguson? Get Behind Reparations

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 11:44 AM

Last Thursday, Paul asked what we can do help protesters in Ferguson and answered it: there were vigils and demonstrations in Seattle to attend that day. But with protests still going strong and reports today of another police shooting in the area, what can we do over the long term?

In May, Ta-Nehisi Coates made waves with a powerful case for reparations, which he said we need to begin to address the systemic racism written into the DNA of the United States. And yesterday, he wrote a post called "Reparations for Ferguson."

Here is a snippet:

We are being told that Michael Brown attacked an armed man and tried to take his gun. The people who are telling us this hail from that universe where choke-holds are warm-fuzzies, where boys discard their skittles yelling, "You're gonna die tonight," and possess the power to summon and banish shotguns from the ether. These are the necessary myths of our country, and without them we are subject to the awful specter of history, and that is just too much for us to bear.

"There has always been another way," Coates concludes, linking to the NAACP's page on a Congressional bill to study reparations.

More white people need to read writers like Coates:

Photos from Portland's 2014 MusicFest NW

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Musicfest NW
  • MusicFest NW

In previous years, Portland, Oregon's MusicFest NW was a citywide treasure hunt. A relatively cheap wristband granted access to hundreds of bands playing shows in venues big and small all across town over five days. For visitors, the eclectic schedule provided terrific motivation to explore the city and take chances, even if it occasionally meant facing lines or missing bands. However, I can imagine that for some locals, it might have felt less like a festival and more like a widely dispersed series of hassles.

In his last year at the helm, Trevor Solomon flipped the festival's format completely. One site, two days, no overlapping bands. Where the previous installations invited rigorous strategizing, this time, Portlanders needed only to decide when to show up at a dusty stretch along the Willamette River and how long to stay. During the day, each band got approximately 55 minutes onstage. As soon as they finished, attendees had a few minutes to comfortably shuffle to the other side of the park to see the next band playing on the other stage. The herd moved in this pendulous fashion throughout the day; if a particular hour of the schedule didn't appeal, options included grabbing a pair of noise-canceling headphones for a session with dueling DJs in the silent disco, perusing the exceptional collection of food carts for an artisanal snack, or hunting for a place in the shade. After the day's events concluded (at a very civilized 10 p.m.!), a few aftershows had been booked by the festival and sponsors, for which separate tickets were generally required.

Although it lacked some of the potential for overstimulation that has been a major part of the explosion in music-festival popularity (a bubble that might be on the verge of bursting), the reconfigured MusicFest NW felt much more like a community gathering—a reason to spend a sunny weekend by the river listening to music—which may have been the point all along.

Pictures from the weekend after the jump.

Continue reading »

Oregon Does Great Thing, Rejects Coal Terminal

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 10:52 AM

COAL TRAINS: Killers of canaries, delayers of traffic
  • COAL TRAINS: Killer of canaries, delayer of traffic

Yesterday, state regulators in Oregon denied a permit to build a coal terminal along the Columbia River that would export eight million metric tons of coal annually to Asian markets. This decision is very significant in the Northwest, where environmentalists have been battling six coal terminal proposals in Oregon and Washington over the last four years: It's the first time a state agency in either state has rejected a permit for these terminals. (Three other proposals were shelved when companies pulled their plans or lease agreements expired.)

Via the Seattle Times:

In denying an important permit, the Department of State Lands said Monday the terminal would interfere with what regulators called “a small but important and longstanding fishery in the state’s waters.”

The department said the applicant, Ambre Energy, presented some possible options to mitigate the effect on fishing, but failed to commit to any specific action. It also said Ambre hadn’t properly investigated alternatives that would avoid construction of a new dock.

“From reading more than 20,000 public comments to carefully analyzing technical documents and plans, this application has been scrutinized for months,” agency director Mary Abrams said. “We believe our decision is the right one.”

This is great news for Oregon, and it gives hope to Washington residents who've been battling two much larger proposals—Gateway Pacific's Cherry Point Terminal outside of Bellingham, which would export 48 million metric tons annually, and Millennium Bulk's Terminal, which would export 44 million in Longview—for years now. As Kimberly Larson, a spokesperson for Power Past Coal, explains: "In making their decision, Oregon state regulators were looking at navigation of the waterways, what the impacts to fishing would be, the impacts to water rights. Obviously, you can't just extrapolate Oregon law versus Washington, but in reviewing whether to ship eight million tons of coal down the Columbia, they decided the impacts weren't worth it."

Environmentalists are hopeful that Washington State regulators will come to the same conclusion when examining what 48 and 44 million tons would do to Puget Sound waterways. The state Department of Ecology has already committed to studying a broad and damning array of environmental impacts before granting permits for the Cherry Point Terminal, including impacts to human health, greenhouse gases, and extensive analysis of the projects’ nearby impacts on wetlands, shorelines, water and air quality, cultural and archeological resources, fish and wildlife, even noise and vibration impacts.

But we've still got a wait on our hands: The state isn't expected to release a draft environmental impact statement until sometime next year, at the earliest.

Mars Hill Church Raised a Lot of Money to Throw a "Jesus Festival" That Never Happened

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Jesus is sad that he never got his Festival.
  • Hadrian/Shutterstock
  • Jesus is sad that he never got his Festival.

Warren Throckmorton says Mars Hill Church raised an extra $2 million from its members at the end of 2013 to fund a list of endeavors. Here's one of the items on the list:


In the summer of 2014, Mars Hill will be hosting an evangelistic, outdoor outreach, aptly titled The Jesus Festival, at Marymoor Park in Seattle. This will be a family friendly event with activities for the kids, music, and amazing gospel preachers. This will be a great opportunity for outreach in the community and to build unity among the Bible-teaching churches in the Seattle area.

According to the church's promises, the Jesus Festival was supposed to be free and open to the public on August 22—this Friday. It's not happening—the Mars Hill URL that ends with "save-the-date-for-the-jesus-festival" now leads to a 404 page—but the church apparently never publicly announced the cancelation of the Jesus Festival.

On his blog, Throckmorton lists all the promises Mars Hill made for that extra two million dollars and tries to figure out what happened to them. If I donated to Mars Hill, I'd be pretty upset about all these unmet promises.

Fidelity to the Dead: The Holocaust Survivor Who Was Arrested in Ferguson

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 9:53 AM

The French philosopher Alain Badiou speaks about the fidelity to an event. An event, according to him, is a truth the breaks with and is distinct from an old way of thinking and existing. Think of Galileo's discovery of the moons of Jupiter and the implication of that discovery—the earth is not the center of the universe. After an event, there is no going back.

I like to think of an event in less dramatic terms. For me it is simply a truth, and it can break from or be continuous with the past or an old custom. Such a simple truth is that a human life must never be reduced to a bare life. A human life must always be politicized, even without official/state representation. Politics precedes the state. The Nazis reduced humans to a bare life. The dead black teen in Ferguson was also reduced to a bare life, as are thousands of others in the United States. Fidelity to the event is the rejection of this illusion of life wherever it appears in the world...

The Morning News: Drive-By Shooting in West Seattle Nearly Hits a Girl

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 9:09 AM

In West Seattle last night, 15 to 20 shots were fired from a red car near 23rd Avenue SW and SW Juneau Street.
  • West Seattle/Shutterstock
  • In West Seattle last night, 15 to 20 shots were fired from a red car near 23rd Avenue Southwest and Southwest Juneau Street.

Drive-By Shooting in West Seattle: A drive-by shooting last night in West Seattle narrowly missed a little girl, reports KIRO. Police are hunting for the gunmen who fired from a car just before 8 p.m. near 23rd Avenue SW and SW Juneau Street. Neighbors say they heard 15 to 20 shots; the bullets hit two cars but no one was injured.

Ticket-Happy Cop Back on Patrol: The Seattle police officer who issued 80 percent of the city’s tickets for smoking pot in public—which were disproportionately handed out to low-income folks and people of color—is back on the streets bike-patrolling, reports KOMO News. Randy Jokela is still under investigation by the Office of Professional Accountability for his prolific writing of marijuana citations, but is no longer confined to desk duty. According to police chief Kathleen O’Toole, Jokela’s citations included notes reflecting his disdain for legalization, referring to Seattle City Attorney (and weed-buyer) Pete Holmes as “Petey Holmes” and calling Washington State’s new marijuana laws “silly.”

Pugel Gets a New Job: King County Sheriff John Urquhart has hired former interim chief of police Jim Pugel to be his chief deputy, it was announced yesterday. Stranger blogger Cienna Madrid called this fantastic news, as Pugel was one of the most progressive officers in the department and a strong advocate for police reform.

Jim Pugel has a new job.
  • Jim Pugel has a new job.

Teen in a Tree: A teenager on Bainbridge Island has hoisted herself 70 feet off the ground to protest the removal of some 830 trees to make way for a new development. Nineteen-year-old Chiara D’Angelo has been in a tree since Monday at 4 a.m., and dozens of protestors have come out to support her cause. The tree-climbing teen, a student at Western Washington University, has been given until today at 4 p.m. to get down, but D’Angelo says she has food, bedding, books, a guitar, and plans to stay in the tree "as long as possible."

Continue reading »

"Five cops go drinking and shoot at a middle class black couple—whatever."

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 8:07 AM

The prologue of this 2002 episode of This American Life seems depressingly relevant in the wake of Ferguson:

Nothing has changed in the last 12 years—except maybe now the outrage is there.

What Is Your Favorite Fake Movie Band?

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 7:00 AM

I'm a terrible movie person. Like, I'm the jerk who sees a great movie, promptly forgets basic details like the plot/actors, and then ends up tryna retell the story like this: "I saw that movie, the one about the thing, with that lady who does stuff...she has brown hair? Oh, she's in another movie with a giant!" I know, I SUCK! Sooooooo, obviously, I'm not qualified to talk movies, much less compile a list of THE BEST fake movie bands. However, I can tell y'all who MY favorite fake movie band is—the Kelly Affair aka the Carrie Nations from Roger Ebert and Russ Meyer's 1970 film, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

I'm not EXACTLY sure who all played in the Kelly Affair/Carrie Nations studio group except for Ms. Lynn Carey; she was the singing voice for actor Kelly MacNamara. Carey, prior to BtVotD studio sessions, had fronted the heavy blues group C.K. Strong and, afterwards, she'd front another heavy blues group, Mama Lion (with Neil Merryweather).

Guest Editorial: Seniors Need Affordable Housing, Too

Posted by on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 at 6:00 AM

We were pleased to read Speaker Frank Chopp’s editorial regarding the need for affordable housing options in Seattle. Certainly the groups he mentions—homeless youth and families, individuals with disabilities and mental illness, workforce adults—are deserving of affordable housing within the City of Seattle. But we'd like to remind readers that an important group of people was not included in his article: seniors.

LeadingAge Washington represents several providers of low-income housing for seniors in Seattle and King County. For example, Capitol Hill's Council House has 163 units. They have a multiyear waiting list for a one bedroom, with an average rent of less than $650, and a yearlong waiting list for a studio, which has an average rent of less than $450. Another such group, the Senior Housing Assistance Group (SHAG), operates multiple apartments in Seattle/King County for low-income seniors. The average annual income of their residents is less than $19,000, and their average age is 75. The King County Housing Authority, which also provides housing to low-income seniors and disabled individuals, has an average tenant income just over $11,000, and average rent of about $215 per month. They have a waiting list between 48 and 60 months.

The population of the US over 65 is expected to double by 2030. Currently, in Washington State, 1 in 5 seniors lives solely on Social Security; the maximum social security amount for an individual in 2014 is $721 per month. According to the Economic Security Index, in King County, the average single elder who rents needs about $27,000 year, including just over $1,000 per month for rent.

These are sobering statistics, and we have work ahead of us to ensure that we can meet the needs for affordable housing for everyone, including seniors. Fortunately, promising research offers a good option—housing with services—that our state should invest in now to help increase affordable senior housing capacity for the future.

Continue reading »

Monday, August 18, 2014

SL Letter of the Day: Judgment Daze

Posted by on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 6:05 PM

I'm a 47-year-old heterosexual male, never married, no kids, and single for many years now. I've always appreciated your statements on the podcast that there isn't someone for everyone. I also agree with your statement it's impossible to give the undateable useful dating advice, and I'm not asking for such advice here.

I've never wanted kids, and over the last few years I've made peace with the fact I've been alone a long time, and will likely be alone for many more years. I have a good job, I have friends, hobbies, I go out and enjoy myself. I recognize my life is pretty good, and I'm grateful for what I have. I'm not shutting the door completely on love, but I'm working on not beating myself up over not being partnered.

So what's the problem? The opinion of everyone else in the world.

It comes across in many ways. A co-worker gets married, then has a child, and everyone talks how this is achievement—like marriage and children are items you accumulate. Someone mutters "He's X years old and unmarried—is he gay or a serial killer?" I was listening to another popular podcast where the host and guest discussed how many times they'd both been married and then the host suggests if you're over 40 and have never been married "something is wrong with you!" Well, I'm far from perfect but I see nothing wrong with me that isn't wrong with married folks with kids. My personal pet peeve is people who tell me I just haven't grown up. Excuse me? I'm a child because I don't have kids? I can give myself all the pep talks in the mirror, but society keeps telling me that being old and single indicates some horrific personality flaw that wipes out any positive qualities. I get it: People judge. We all judge. It's human nature. But having the value of my entire existence boiled down to whether I have a romantic partner or offspring just sticks in my craw.

My question then is simple: Is this constant feeling of being judged just something I have to live with? Do you have some thought or insight on this?

Single Not A Psycho

My response after the jump...

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Officer Responsible for 80 Percent of Seattle's Pot Tickets Resumes Downtown Patrol

Posted by on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 4:56 PM

Earlier today, KIRO's Brandi Kruse broke the news that Officer Randy Jokela, the Seattle police officer best known for issuing 80 percent of the city's tickets for smoking pot in public, was back on bike patrol after being initially benched on desk duty during an investigation of his questionable ticket writing practices by the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA).

The tickets, punishable by $55 in fines, were handed out disproportionally to poor people and people of color, according to a recently released city report.

While SPD spokesman Sean Whitcomb declined to name Jokela specifically, citing the OPA's ongoing investigation, he seemed to confirm that Jokela has reapplied his BodyGlide™ and resumed normal bike patrol duties in the West Precinct, which encompasses downtown and Pioneer Square.

"Chief O'Toole conferred with OPA director Pierce Murphy and together they decided that there wasn't anything to preclude this employee from resuming normal patrol duties while the OPA investigation continued," Whitcomb stated. (Another department source confirmed that Jokela is indeed back on patrol.)

OPA investigations generally take six months to complete.

What Are You Doing This Week? Stranger Critics Answer the Question

Posted by on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 4:44 PM

  • Tim Summers

David Schmader: "Doing a show on Tuesday, co-hosting the Stranger Film Genius showcase on Wednesday, and going to see Angels in America on Friday."

Bethany Jean Clement: "Tonight, I’m going to this, and maybe you should too":

Art, race and cultural representation forum: Artistic Freedom & Artistic Responsibility
Nearly 400 RSVP’d to date
Tonight, Seattle Repertory Theatre, 6:30 pm

WHAT: In the wake of controversy surrounding the production of The Mikado by the Gilbert and Sullivan Society last month, the Office of Arts & Culture and the Seattle Rep have come together to present Artistic Freedom & Artistic Responsibility, a curated forum featuring a diverse group of facilitators and respondents who will respond to attendees’ questions, while fostering respectful dialogue about art, race and cultural representation. Respondents will include Braden Abraham, Interim Artistic Director – Seattle Repertory Theatre; Royal Alley-Barnes, Executive Director – Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute; Valerie Curtis-Newton, Artistic Director – The Hansberry Project…

For tomorrow, there are still tickets available to the specially added 9 p.m. show of David Schmader’s A Short-Term Solution to a Long-Term Problem. You need to go to this—I saw it at Hugo House, and it is great. Wednesday, it’s the film showcase for Five Nights of Genius at the Frye! What is that, you ask? Well, the next five Wednesdays feature Stranger arts editors interviewing and sharing the work of this year’s Genius Award nominees. Wednesday is sold out—sorry!—but you can still get tickets to the literature showcase next week. If you hurry. Thursday, I’m going to the dentist. I may also be tasting some wines of Turkey, if the PR person ever gets back to me. This does not sound like a great combination, but there you go. And Friday, I’m seeing Angels in America at Intiman. I hope it will be very, very good."

Dan Savage: "I'm seeing David Schmader's play tomorrow night, and on Wednesday I'm recording a "Savage Lovecast" with Mary Martone, who co-hosted "Savage Love Live" a million years ago on KCMU."

Brendan Kiley: "I'm also going to tonight's (free) forum at the Seattle Rep about that production of The Mikado in yellowface that got lots of people real riled up. There have been over 400 RSVPs to the event so far (folks can RSVP here). It'll be interesting to see how deep and/or intense the conversation gets."

Paul Constant: "I'm excited to attend the Film Genius Showcase at the Frye Art Museum this Wednesday. It's always fun watching clips of Genius-worthy movies with the people who made them. (If I weren't going to the Showcase, I'd for sure be going to the APRIL Summer Blockbuster at Northwest Film Forum, which pairs a screening of Jurassic Park with a reading from Stacey Levine and Bill Carty.) I'm also going to be seeing Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, which opens this Friday. I have no idea how that's going to be. I remember not hating the original Sin City movie, I guess."

Charles Mudede: "This Thursday, I'm going to participate in a discussion at Northwest Film Forum called 'Capturing Violence.' It's about the horrible macing of a black youth, Raymond Wilford, at Westlake. The discussion begins at 7 p.m. and includes Christa Bell, Ijeoma Oluo, and Reverend Harriet G. Walden."

On the Popularity of John Oliver's Last Week Tonight and the Limits of Satire

Posted by on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 4:35 PM

This morning, Paul posted another John Oliver clip, as have many blogs on many mornings of late. Last Week Tonight has enjoyed an unmistakable traction since it premiered in late April of this year, and there are good reasons for that. Paul mentions a few of the big ones in this morning's post: "Oliver is funny, he's deeply engaged with the news he's sharing, and the commercial-free Tonight allows him to do a deep dive into the subjects that matter."

Last week, Steve Almond took a deeper look at Tonight's popularity for Slate, and he successfully articulates some of the show's many appealing qualities in a way I hadn't yet considered. Among many points—Oliver's willingness to delve further toward the core nature of the injustices his show covers, to pay continued attention to the plight of the truly poor, or his insistence that the show often cover stories outside of the news cycle and outside of our country—here's the most revelatory:

But the crucial innovation of his show is that it dares to privilege education over entertainment. And as a viewer, therefore, I’m in a different headspace when I watch “Last Week Tonight.” I’m not constantly waiting to have my outrage lanced with a joke. I find myself more compelled by the ways in which Oliver serves as a cultural narrator rather than a court jester.

For the past two decades, as our civic institutions have become increasingly corrupt and decrepit, Americans, particularly on the left, have turned to our court jesters as a means of opiating our anger and helplessness. Morality gets served up, these days, with a mandatory laugh track.

Oliver and his staff seem to recognize that the vital ingredient isn’t the gags, but the capacity to tell large and disturbing truths about these broken institutions. In contrast to the fake news programs, he doesn’t much rely on punny graphics and rapid-fire video montages. In short: He appears to have evolved past the point of shtick.

And that's the poignant realization about shows like the The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. It's the reason those shows are the last thing I watch before I go to bed. There's always the fleeting sense that the sound bites they're skewering are taken out of context, that there's more to the story. But the segments justify our anger and then assuage it with a joke. It's the idea that there are limits to the effectiveness of satire, and that satire has a self-satisfying way of preaching to the choir. That's not to say there isn't a value to what Almond calls "fake news" shows, but it raises the ultimate question of their value to quality discourse. Are Colbert and Stewart more valuable to the debate than Fox News—which employs a similar method of justifying its viewers' outrage—just because I agree with them? I'd like to think so, but all this has spurred me to ask myself some questions.

In Culture News: Gob Squad Is Ready to Transform You, the Mural That Was Used as a Long-Jump Mat, and XKCD Wins a Hugo Award

Posted by on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 4:05 PM

Mural by William Cumming, 1941 (click to enlarge).
  • Mural by William Cumming, 1941 (click to enlarge).

Don't Throw That Mural Away!: The Skagit Valley Herald last week reported an amazing art find—and a Seattle dealer has identified it. The story is wild, according to dealer John Braseth, who today drove north to check on the painting's condition. The farmer who inherited it from his father but thought it was just a useless tarp used to let his daughters use it as a long-jump mat, Braseth said. The girls would gauge how far they'd gotten by the figures in the painting—to the berry patch, or to the dairy cows, or only just past the lumberjack. Yikes! Braseth identified the painting as a 1941 mural by William Cumming, but he doesn't know much more about it. He's hoping he will be able to raise money to restore it, and that it will land someplace where it can be widely viewed by the public; it's a WPA-era piece, perhaps created to be public? From the pictures Braseth sent, it looks like a beaut, the workers toiling away under a Pacific Northwestern sky that may as well be an ocean for all its waves. Stay tuned.

How's the Scarecrow Kickstarter Doing? With 28 days to go, The Scarecrow Project has nearly met its $100,000 goal. Just a couple thousand to go, more or less! But they could surely use whatever extra cash they earn; if you haven't donated to Scarecrow yet, you totally should. This is an interesting experiment to reimagine the video store in an era of video-on-demand, and anyone who wants to enjoy a larger diversity of movies than are currently available for rent on iTunes or in a Redbox should contribute to this.

In Gob Squads Super Night Shot, passersby become heroes, villiains, and extras—but in a totally non-obnoxious way.
  • Courtesy of OtB
  • In Gob Squad's Super Night Shot, passersby become heroes, villiains, and extras—but in a totally non-obnoxious way.

Tickets On Sale Soon for Gob Squad's Super Night Shot at On the Boards: That's not the world's most exciting headline, but let us explain—Gob Squad is a playful, international seven-piece performance group and the undisputed world champions of audience participation. Unlike other performers, who jab violently at the fourth wall, the Squad sweetly and seductively coaxes it down. When they're done, the entire audience is transformed. (At the end of their Kitchen, a riff on the Andy Warhol Factory days that Gob Squad brought to OtB in 2012, all the performers had exited the stage, leaving only audience members behind, comfortably performing the piece.) On Sept 6, the Squad will bring their Super Night Shot, a one-night-only event in which Gob Squad runs around the streets of a city, creating a Hollywood-style blockbuster from banal, everyday street life, then runs back to the theater, where the audience is having a "film premiere" party. (Pulling passersby into an art-film project sounds like it could be obnoxious, but remember—Gob Squad has built its career on developing techniques for non-obnoxious audience participation.) Tickets have been on sale to OtB subscribers and go on sale to the general public on Thurs, Aug 21. Word at OtB has it that there will be some left. Get them here.

Nerd Games: Usually the Nerd Nite reading series at the Lucid Lounge features lectures from nerds. To celebrate the lazy days of summer, though, they're hosting a bring-your-own-game night. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and it's totally free. Go and have fun.

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