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Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Year with Stage IV Cancer

Posted by on Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Susan Sontag in 1972, two years before being diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer.
  • Susan Sontag in 1972, two years before being diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer.

Whatever I thought I meant when I said, "Give it to me straight, doc," I wasn't prepared when the radiologist answered, "I thought we would be talking about saving your breast, but now we're looking at whether we can save your life."

Her pronouncement followed a brief mammogram and ultrasound. They were brief because I only have one breast left to examine. A new tumor had been found in it. The radiologist debated aloud whether my cancer was stage IV—sometimes called "advanced" cancer. There is no cure for it. She said they would need a full-body PET scan to make a diagnosis. The ultrasound had already shown that cancer had migrated into my axillary (underarm) lymph nodes, and in a recent upper-body MRI scan, suspicious spots, probably cancer, were visible on the top of my liver...

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The Top Five Things to Do With Your Sunday: Eat at the Kingfish Cafe for the Last Time, Prepare for the Super Bowl, and More

Posted on Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Farewell, sweet Kingfish.
  • Jennifer Richards
  • Farewell, sweet Kingfish.

EAT AT THE KINGFISH CAFE FOR THE LAST TIME
Sun Jan 25 from 4-9:30 p.m. at 602 19th Ave E
The beloved Central District restaurant is closing today, so this is your last chance* for buttermilk fried chicken, thick and sweet collard greens, and spicy and soft-fleshed catfish (they're serving from 4 pm to 9:30 pm, so don't be late, but also be prepared to wait.) (Hungry now? Here are all the places we recommend to get breakfast/brunch.)

CHECK OUT THE CHILDREN'S FILM FESTIVAL
Beginning at 11 a.m. at the Northwest Film Forum
There are 11 films screening today at the Northwest Film Forum, beginning at 11 am. Here's a preview:

SEE THE PLAY 'SPRAWL' AT THE NEW THEATER ON CAPITOL HILL
Sun Jan 25 at 7:30 p.m. at 12th Avenue Arts
Sprawl, a world premiere by Joshua Conkel (MilkMilkLemonade), is a loose, campy comedy that begins with vapid real-estate agents and ends with an insectoid invasion. Along the way, you get an inconvenient pregnancy, an addled pill-crusher-and-sniffer, a troubled gay couple called “the Williams,” and a monstrously self-important mayor’s wife (who everybody pretends to like) played by Waxie Moon. Sprawl’s main pleasures are the characters’ sharp little one-liners that prick and deflate each other’s egos.

Sprawl is the first theater production to open in the new 12th Avenue Arts building.
  • Sprawl is the first theater production to open in the new 12th Avenue Arts building.

WATCH FEEL-GOOD AND POGO-FRIENDLY PUNK ROCK
Sun Jan 25 at 9 pm at Blue Moon Tavern
Portland’s Woolen Men and Sacramento’s G. Green bring their propulsive power-pop chops to our fair city, while hometown shredders Mega Bog and Wimps contribute admirably skewed takes on sax-assisted art-rock and hyper-speed meathead bop, respectively.

DON'T WATCH THE PRO BOWL
You’re in that bye weekend before the Super Bowl, where you know there’s no football. You’re going to be aimlessly flipping around TV looking for football, and suddenly you’ll see something glimmering on ESPN. Professional football players? Playing football? It can’t be. And you’ll rub your eyes, and the football players will still be there. And you'll think to yourself, “whatever this is, I should watch it.” It’s the Pro Bowl. Don’t watch the Pro Bowl.

BUT! MAKE PLANS FOR YOUR SUPER BOWL SUNDAY
Where should you watch the game next weekend? Our handy Super Bowl guide will help you decide.

This is better than the Pro Bowl.

*Kingfish Cafe's owners say they are planning to open to-go places.

Literally a billion more options for what to do with your Sunday in The Stranger's Things to Do calendar.

The Best of Slog: We Would Like to Win at Football Again, Please

Posted by on Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 8:08 AM

SEAHAWKS SEAHAWKS SEAHAWKS: We won a football! We did it by beating another team! Here are photos of what it was like outside CenturyLink field. And here's an explanation of the deflated ball scandal that's plaguing the Patriots. Also, tell us about your Super Bowl party!

City Council Shakeups: Tom Rasmussen and Nick Licata are out. Mercedes Elizalde is in the running for District 5. This is an exciting time.

The State of the Union Is Stated: The Romney and Obama plans to fight poverty are very different. Here's the live-Slog for the State of the Union, the Republican response to the State of the Union, the Teabagger response to the response to the State of the Union, and Kshama Sawant's response to everybody. Here's what it all means. And here's a ridiculous Republican response to Obama's speech. Or the last five seconds of Obama's speech.

Plan B for Bertha: Guys, maybe we ought to at least have a plan in case this tunnel thing doesn't work out? WSDOT says we'll figure something out if our contractor walks out on the job.

The Seattle Crimes: On Monday of last week, Seattle finally had something resembling a politically intelligent daily newspaper. Ansel Herz covered all the MLK Day protests; here's his wrap-up. Here's video of police pepper-spraying protesters. And here are photos of the City Hall walkout for police accountability.

Do the Seattle Port Commissioners Understand That Climate Change Is a Problem? Sure doesn't seem like it.

Food Troubles: Elysian brewery was sold to Anheuser-Busch, and the best south Indian restaurant in the city might be in trouble. And have you seen Kelly O's pictures of people waiting in line for the last night at the Kingfish Cafe?

Bumbershoot Programmer Let Go: Chris Porter worked on Bumbershoot for 18 years.

Seattle Goes Un-represented at Sundance for the First Time in Ages: Who's to blame for our lack of film production last year?

Let's Talk About Patti Smith: Emily Nokes has some thoughts about Smith's use of that word.

The Biggest Movie on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Weekend Was About a Sniper: Charles Mudede points out an uncomfortable fact.

Jeb and Mitt: I wrote a short one-act play.

Hooray for Central Co-Op! They raised their minimum wage to $15 an hour way before the city of Seattle.

Police Reports Illustrated: Women not impressed when man shows them his gun.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cake: Jennifer Aniston’s Best Film Performance Since The Good Girl

Posted by on Sat, Jan 24, 2015 at 3:10 PM

cake2.jpg

When we first meet Claire (Jennifer Aniston), she’s mocking a woman’s suicide during a support group for sufferers of chronic pain. It’s one of those classic indie-film opening scenes, an over-the-top warning to viewers that the protagonist is going to be highly unlikable, at least for a while. As Claire digs into the lurid details of Nina’s (Anna Kendrick) suicide, her expression is almost hidden from the camera by a thick curtain of hair. We can see her face is nearly encircled by long scars. Her mouth is a scowl, and the trapezoidal shape of her jawline only makes her look more like a bully. Aniston, you realize, is going for it. She’s setting vanity aside to paint a portrait of a loathsome woman…

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Send Us Your Valentines!

Posted on Sat, Jan 24, 2015 at 2:15 PM

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Song One: A Contemplative, Heart-on-Its-Sleeve Affair

Posted by on Sat, Jan 24, 2015 at 11:00 AM

songone.jpg

Kate Barker-Froyland’s directorial debut is a contemplative, heart-on-its-sleeve affair, marking a change of pace for Anne Hathaway after Les Misérables and Interstellar. Though the film is filled with music, Hathaway’s Franny is more of a listener than a musician. After her brother, Henry, a subway busker, ends up in a coma, she returns to Brooklyn from Morocco, where she’s been working on her doctorate in anthropology.

In going through his belongings, she notices the name of British troubadour James Forester (Johnny Flynn, a Michael Pitt look-alike with Miles Teller scars), so she introduces herself after a show. He turns up at Henry’s hospital room afterward, though it’s hard to tell if he’s more interested in the unconscious young man or his vulnerable sister…

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The Top Five Things to Do in Seattle Today: W. Kamau Bell, The Vaselines, 'It's Gonna Blow' Screening, 'A Streetcar Named Desire,' and More

Posted on Sat, Jan 24, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Comedian W. Kamau Bell is recording his Seattle gigs for a new album.
  • Comedian W. Kamau Bell is recording his Seattle gigs for a new album.

W. KAMAU BELL
Sat Jan 24 at 7 and 9 pm at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute
Back in 2005, the marvelously prickly comedian W. Kamau Bell became the first to tell an Obama joke on Comedy Central. “That dude is cool,” Bell said, but his name is “too black” for America. “Who’s running for president? …Black Osama?!” Bell was just signed to Kill Rock Stars, which will record his Seattle gigs for a new album. From Ferguson to Selma, America’s conversation about race is spiking. Few comedians are better poised to make sense of it all than W. Kamau Bell.

IT’S GONNA BLOW: SAN DIEGO’S MUSIC UNDERGROUND 1986–1996 SCREENING
Sat Jan 24, 8:30 pm, at the Grand Illusion
A feature-length documentary that explores the scene rumored to become “the next Seattle” and birthed cult acts like Drive Like Jehu, the Locust, Rocket from the Crypt, Clikatat Ikatowi, and No Knife. Following a Q&A with director Bill Perrine, chill math-rockers Physics will inundate the space with their sweeping, electronically infused post-rock sagas. With influences ranging from the Melvins to Tangerine Dream, Physics fuse elements of krautrock, drone, and math rock.

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
Thurs-Sat at 7:30 pm, Sun at 2 pm. Jan 2 through 25 at New City Theater
There is one big flaw in the Civic Rep production of A Streetcar Named Desire, and a train car of virtues. The guy who plays Stanley is not good. Other than that, there are only things to love: the spare and perfectly claustrophobic set, the timelessness of Tennessee Williams’s textual torture devices (the dialogue, stripped of Southern dialects for this production, is more devastating than you remember), and phenomenal performances by Robin Jones (as Blanche DuBois) and Kelli Mohrbacher (as Stella).

THE VASELINES AND LOCH LOMOND
Sat Jan 24 at 8 pm at Neumos
The Vaselines had already made their name before Sub Pop came calling—one listen to 1987’s “Son of a Gun” and it was clear they were contenders—but the label helped them to reach a wider audience (famous fans like Kurt Cobain didn’t hurt). Then, just as new listeners were discovering their fuzz-pop gems, Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee broke up. After they reunited, Sub Pop released their second full-length, Sex with an X. Not long afterward, band and label quietly parted ways. Did they jump or were they pushed? No matter. The Vaselines are back with a new album (V for Vaselines) and a label (Rosary Music) of their own. Better yet, these foulmouthed John Waters devotees don’t sound as if they’ve aged a day.

TACOS!
Sat Jan 24 at 7 pm at Barboza
Originally coined by a writer for Beastie Boys’ short-lived Grand Royal magazine, a taco riff is a riff so meaty and crunchy that, to quote MetalSucks contributor Justin Foley, “the Taco Riff does not need the rest of the song… the rest of the song is usually just window dressing.” With that in mind, Tacos! actually have the perfect moniker. There isn’t a single song on their self-titled album that isn’t a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade of taco riffs—the cataclysmic crescendo of “Sexy Nap,” the relentless pounding of “Wood Elf,” the bottom-feeder lurch of “Loopsss.” Even the exclamation point is well deserved—taco riffs!

Why are you still catching up on Orange Is the New Black? There's so much more out there. Check out The Stranger's Things to Do calendar for all of Saturday's recommended events.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Transit Advocates Dance on the Grave of Tom Rasmussen

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 5:50 PM

Council Member Tom Rasmussen has a mixed record as chair of the transportation committee.
  • WSDOT
  • Council Member Tom Rasmussen has a mixed record as chair of the transportation committee.

“Halle-fucking-lujah.”

That’s just one of the words I heard today while asking around about Council Member Tom Rasmussen’s decision not to seek re-election.

It came from Roger Valdez, the director of Smart Growth Seattle, who in recent years has lobbied the council in favor of micro-housing.

“He is the worst council member there is,” Valdez says. “He is willfully defiant against rationality and logic when it comes to virtually everything. He is bad on development, bad on parking, bad on transportation. I am overjoyed that he will be departing.”

Rasmussen has a peculiar reputation. He’s always sort of acted like he only represented West Seattle—remember when he tried to snag some money away from pedestrian projects in North Seattle for a project on Fauntleroy Way SW?—which made him well-suited for the new district model, sources at City Hall tell me. But he’s been known to introduce last-minute amendments to bills that can significantly change them, and despite being in his sixth year as chair of the council’s transportation committee, some people say he hasn’t actually done that much good work on transportation.

“As chair of the transportation committee, he hasn’t done anything remotely interesting,” says local transit advocate Ben Schiendelman. “Almost all the interesting positive action on transportation has not come from the person who’s supposed to be doing it.”

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Chop Suey to Retain Talent Buyer Jodi Ecklund and Remain a Music Venue

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 5:33 PM

Jodi Ecklund, left, will keep on bookin for Chop Suey.
  • Jodi Ecklund, left, will keep on bookin' for Chop Suey.

Chop Suey's new owners and popular talent buyer Jodi Ecklund have come to an agreement to keep her on staff, and the club will remain committed, as Ecklund put it in an e-mail to The Stranger, to being "a live music venue with a heavy focus on continuing to foster the local music community." Chop Suey's last show was on January 20; its schedule is currently empty, as Ecklund was instructed to cease booking beyond that date.

I've contacted new Chop Suey co-owner Brianna Rettig for comment about the Capitol Hill venue's future direction and re-opening date and will update this post when/if she responds.

SL Letter of the Day: Wonderful Fiancé Turns Out To Be Total Shit Stain

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 5:28 PM

Female and 26. My wonderful boyfriend (now fiancé) asked me to marry him at Christmas. I said yes without hesitation. Super love him and totally want to be with him forever. Dreams do come true, right? Nope.

There was a friend of mine that he took issue with. He'd been my friend for almost a decade. I slept with him in the not-so-distant past, but it was the past and it hadn't amounted to anything. We maintained a friendly, non-sexual, relationship. My fiancé insisted I cut off all contact with him. Bad feeling about him. If I loved him I would do this. Whatever. I didn't. Didn't want to be that lady that cut ties with people because man said so. My fiancé and I got into it. I left. I wasn't wearing the ring. I saw this guy at the local watering hole. He asked why I wasn't wearing the ring. I told him, honestly and stupidly, that fiancé and I had had a fight. Went outside to smoke a cigarette and dude followed me. This resulted in dude forcibly grabbing my tits and ass and trying to make out with me while I said "no no no what are you doing stop no no no" and eventually pushing him off of me and running—literally running—away.

I know this is long. I'm sorry.

I didn't tell my fiancé about this for weeks. I was raped when I was 18 and everyone I told refused to believe me. I was molested when I was five and no one believed me. Moral of the story; if you are sexually assaulted, you're lying. Fiancé knows about all of that. When I finally did tell him... he freaked the fuck out and said I cheated on him. Since then (it's been months) our relationship has deteriorated to the point that there is no conversation about anything other than me cheating on him. He said I'm like every other shitty cheater he's been with and called me a filthy slut.

I mean, it took me way too long, but I'm going to DTMFA. Or am I the motherfucker that needs to be dumped? He says my lack of resistance equals acceptance. I did resist. I didn't resist to his liking, is the issue. I also need to confront this person directly, with fiancé present, or go to the police. Those seem like unreasonable terms to me.

Waiting To Forfeit

My response after the jump...

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How to Make It Through a Weekend Devoid of Seahawks Football, Plus a Team Update

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 5:15 PM

Youre better off not watching football this weekend.
  • Ken Durden/Shutterstock
  • You're better off not watching football this weekend.

For those of you newly insufferably hooked on football, I have a dire warning:

You’re in that bye weekend before the Super Bowl, where you know there’s no football. You’re going to be aimlessly flipping around TV looking for football, and suddenly you’ll see something glimmering on ESPN. Professional football players? Playing football? It can’t be. And you’ll rub your eyes, and the football players will still be there. And you'll think to yourself, “whatever this is, I should watch it.”

It’s the Pro Bowl.

Don’t watch the Pro Bowl.

Seriously. Whatever you do, don’t watch the Pro Bowl.

The Pro Bowl is the NFL’s All-Star game, featuring whoever is healthy and willing to show up, playing a game just hard enough for people to get hurt, but not hard enough to be entertaining. It stands for nothing, except for filling the dead air between the playoffs and the Super Bowl. In the past they at least sent players to Hawaii. Now they send them to the same site as the Super Bowl. Which means that this year the reward for being great at football, but not good enough to be in the Super Bowl, is a trip to Phoenix. Who wants to go to Phoenix?* Probably no one.

The only good thing about the Pro Bowl is that for two straight years, no Seahawk has had to participate in it.

Now let’s run down the late week Seahawks Super Bowl news:

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Rape Jokes Aren't Edgy, but W. Kamau Bell Is

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 4:31 PM

Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell throws down tomorrow at Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center.

First of all, did you know that W. Kamau Bell has an entire podcast about Denzel Washington? HE HAS AN ENTIRE PODCAST ABOUT DENZEL WASHINGTON. An entire podcast. About Denzel Washington. Feel free to ignore everything else I'm about to write and just think about that.

And second of all, I don't know if people understand how special and inspiring Bell's erstwhile TV show Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell really was. (Full disclosure: I was on it once. It was amazing.) The nighttime talk and satirical news show ran for two seasons on FX and FXX, taking bold, progressive stances on issues like street harassment and stop and frisk—issues I wasn't used to hearing about on cable television at all, let alone handled with gutting humor and righteous anger, the way I talk about those things with my friends. And that's because the writing staff of Totally Biased actually resembled my friend group, my community, more than any other show on TV. The Totally Biased writers room was full of women, people of color, LGBT writers—voices that are usually tokenized, sidelined, hired in ones and twos, if they're hired at all. At Totally Biased, they were the majority. Whatever your opinion on the final product, the fact that the show existed at all is still enough to choke me up a bit.

And then there's Kamau himself. Comedians love to market themselves as "edgy" and "raw" for telling casually racist jokes, jokes about rape victims, jokes that skewer the oversensitive and "humorless." But the reality is that none of that shit is "edgy." You know who loves racism, hates women, and rails against political correctness 24/7? Rush Limbaugh. Ann Coulter. Your drunkest, shittiest grandpa. Comedy that targets marginalized groups isn't daring, brave, or groundbreaking—it is conservative.

What Kamau does—mocking the powerful, disemboweling racist hypocrisy, establishing iron-clad ethical lines and defending them with disarming but steely good humor—is what "edgy" really means. He's at the edge, pushing boundaries, but he pushes them forward, not back. Comedy is powerful, and Kamau doesn't waste it.

W. Kamau Bell performs his stand-up this Saturday at the Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center, 7 and 9 pm. Tickets $15. Come sit by me.

Borrowed Love: S.O.S. Band's Mary Davis Sings About Matters of the Heart

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 4:30 PM

S.O.S. Band: Mary Davis and her colleagues, taking their sweet, sweet time.
  • S.O.S. Band: Mary Davis and her colleagues, taking their sweet, sweet time.

The beginning of S.O.S. Band's "Just Be Good to Me," off their 1983 album On the Rise, is just incredible. There is a cry from what sounds like the urban wilderness. It is the cry of a woman. She seems to be suffering in the worst way. What kind of trouble is she in? We know that whatever it is, it is unrelated to war, or work, or politics. "Just Be Good to Me" is an '80s R&B tune (produced by the legendary Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis—see Janet Jackson for more information), so we can be certain that the matter has something to do with love, with the heart, with the state of a sexual relationship. That cry is followed by a blast of synthesizers. The chords move with the thickness of a giant walking out of the sea, across the beach, and into the city; the melodies swirl like leaves in the wind. The suspense is terrific. What is the singer going to tell us? What is on her mind? We must wait for more than a minute before she, Mary Davis (the original and defining voice of S.O.S. Band), opens up and tells all. Can you imagine a tune in our day spending more than a minute just preparing us for a confession? We are no longer that kind of animal…

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OMG One-Thousand-Foot Water Slide Coming to Seattle in July! I Hope!

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 4:20 PM

Could this possibly be real?
  • Slide the City
  • Could this possibly be real?

I saw this last night in a NyQuil stupor and assumed it was fake because if it's not then THIS IS THE BIGGEST NEWS EVER! Forget the Super Bowl, a company called Slide the City has chosen Seattle as a location to set up a 1,000-foot Slip 'N Slide (okay, remember the Super Bowl again—that's over three football fields long, apparently) party to which attendees are encouraged to bring "water buckets, floaties, and water guns (non-realistic of course), to squirt, spray, splash, and get all attending soaked." Slide the City does not know where in Seattle they're going to put it yet (fingers crossed it's Denny Way! Ahh!), and the website only indicates this will happen "July 2015," but tickets to ride are already priced at $15-60 and all ages are welcome.

There's still something weird about this. I mean, how is this not a slick-vinyl-on-asphalt liability waiting to happen? Where is all this water coming from? And who are these people? The first Slide the City was in Salt Lake City, which is where the company is based, which makes me skeptical that this might not just be plain old secular fun... But their website does seems legit (they have over 100 cities as "coming soon" stops), so I'll just have to have faith in something I can't quite picture, but want to believe in so badly.

Drunk of the Week: Have You Ever Laughed So Hard You Peed Your Pants?

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 4:05 PM

For the record, the two sisters in this photo DID NOT PEE IN THEIR PANTS. Because they're sisters, though, this photo reminds me of the time my own sister, with a pair of pantyhose pulled over her face, told me a joke that was so frickin' funny (or maybe it was funny because she looked so insane telling it, with her smooshed up hose-face) that "tears" just started rolling down my legs. I could not stop. Has this ever happened to you? Tell me over here! >>>

UPDATE: One More Hour To Win a Pair of Tickets to See Our Town at 12th Avenue Arts TONIGHT

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 4:04 PM

Win a pair of tickets for tonights show!
  • Win a pair of tickets for tonight's show!

Stranger Genius-winning theater company Strawberry Theatre Workshop wants to send some lucky Slog reader on a high octane thrillercoaster ride to the extreme edge of sanity, which is to say, to the humble hamlet of Grover's Corners, NH, setting of one of one of the most durable innovations in the history of the legitimate stage, Thornton Wilder's Our Town. Behind the quaint architecture of the play's milieu rests a devastating metaphysic on the nature of time, death, and ritual. It's one of those works that people tell you is great all your life, so you're never prepared for the power of just how great it is until you see it for yourself.

Our review of STW's inaugural production at the gorgeous new 12th Avenue Arts spacestarring 2007 Stranger Genius of acting Amy Thone as the Stage Manager—will appear soon, but YOU (and A DATE) can be ahead of the curve.

All you have to do is send an email to gimme@thestranger.com with the subject line "Nice play. Y'know what I mean?" with a brief explanation of why you and your date deserve to see this show for free, along with your name and phone number in the body of the message.

The deadline for emails is 5pm, and obviously, you know, be in Seattle. We'll notify the winner shortly after 5.

Perhaps while you're trying to think of a good reason, you may enjoy watching the late, great Spalding Gray's description of his experience playing the Stage Manager at Lincoln Center in the '80s, from his monologue Monster in a Box. The Our Town segment runs from 1:14:14 - 1:25:45. The video is embedded after the jump. Good luck!

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Want the New Hugo House to Have a Theater? You Gotta Tell 'Em

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 4:03 PM

Brett Love, performance binge-watcher who sat through 270 shows in 2014 and all-round spirit animal of the Seattle theater scene—especially the fringier, world-premierier part of it—is rallying the troops on Facebook.

As you're probably aware, Hugo House is going to be torn down and rebuilt on the same piece of Capitol Hill property, but bigger and hopefully better.

The House is currently looking for input on what the rest of us would like to see in the new space—performance-world folks would like to see some variation on the current 87-seat theater in the building. (If you're feeling technical: You can actually get more seats in there with different configurations, but most productions seem to go for the 87-seat version.)

Like any small theater where artists can afford to experiment, some good has come out of that room (it's where Strawberry Theater Workshop got its start before winning a Stranger Genius Award), as well as some bad and a lot of mediocre.

But worse than my worst memories in that room—typically involving very sincere, very well-meaning people who just couldn't get their production off the ground and into the air where electrifying theater belongs—would be Capitol Hill without it, or some version of it.

If we want gusty, inventive, great new companies, we need a place where people can fuck around and fail.

While we're on the subject: You know what we need even more desperately? A gritty bar-theater to house the real wackos, like Re-bar used to back in the late '90s (before my time) and the late '00s (right when I got here).

Somehow I doubt Hugo House is going to build a bar that's held together with gaff tape and false eyelashes from the bottom of a drag queen's purse—but as long as we're wishing for things, that's what I really want to see.

In the meantime, tell Hugo House what you think.

William S. Burroughs Was Better as a Movie Star Than as a Writer

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 3:30 PM

William S. Burroughs: “Okay, now just put the apple on your head, dear.”
  • William S. Burroughs: “Okay, now just put the apple on your head, dear.”

There are two Burroughses. One is fascinating, the other one not so much. One is like a creature from another world; the other has the originality of an artist who finds middle-class values to be suffocating and dadaism to be liberating. The first Burroughs can do something as basic as walking down a street, or as empty as staring at you with those bleary and old eyes, or as banal as singing a popular tune from back in the day while doing some chore or other in a small apartment, and yet he never for a moment loses his grip on your attention. The other Burroughs is the one we find in the pages of his books (of which there are too many), and also his readings—desk on a stage, lamp over papers, flat words flowing out of a mouth whose lips barely part. The sad truth (for some) is that Burroughs is just far more fascinating as a person—as a body, as clothes on that body, as a being at rest or in motion—than as a writer…

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The Hypocrisy of Tim Burgess on Progressive Taxation

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 3:16 PM

Seattle.gov
  • Seattle.gov
  • Alternate picture here.
Last week, Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess published a blog post bemoaning "Our State's Regressive Tax Structure."

We need more progressive taxation! Hear hear! This is something we've been braying about at The Stranger for years. It's wonderful to hear that Burgess is on the same page!

But Tim Burgess is a hypocrite, because while he wants the state legislature to raise taxes on the wealthy and ease the burden on working families, he won't support progressive taxation measures in Seattle—an increasingly expensive city where he's the city council president.

In fact, Burgess has lobbied against progressive taxes at the city level. In 2007, amidst the recession, Burgess campaigned for office on a promise to eliminate the employee head tax. He delivered on that promise in 2009, with the Seattle Chamber of Commerce rallying behind him. More on how that tax works in a second.

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Tangerine Dream Keyboardist/Ambient-Music Icon Edgar Froese, 1944-2015

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 2:41 PM

Edgar Froese—founding member of the vastly influential German band Tangerine Dream and a remarkable soundtrack composer and ambient musician—passed away January 20 in Vienna from a pulmonary embolism. He was 70.

As keyboardist for Tangerine Dream, Froese helped to establish them as innovators of an infernal brand of kosmische rock on early albums like Electronic Meditation, Alpha Centauri, Zeit, and Atem. The group gradually evolved into more of a spacious, synthesizer-heavy project, but they retained their capacity to create extremely deep and unsettling soundscapes on LPs like Phaedra, Rubycon, Ricochet, and Stratosfear. Froese also played a key role in Tangerine Dream's soundtrack success, contributing to the outstanding scores Thief, Sorcerer, and Risky Business.

During his prolific solo career, Froese remained the master of the arpeggio that connoted both menace and bliss and a conjuror of exceptionally tactile and elementally evocative synth tones, which set the bar high for thousands of ambient and new-age producers who followed in his wake, as exemplified by Aqua, Epsilon in Malaysian Pale, Macula Transfer, Ages, and The Stuntman. RIP, Edgar Froese.

Sleater-Kinney’s No Cities to Love Is Great Because We Need Them More Than They Need Us

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 2:15 PM

Sleater-Kinney (L-R): Janet Weiss, Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein… ’cause they understood.
  • BRIGITTE SIRE
  • Sleater-Kinney (L-R): Janet Weiss, Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein… ’cause they understood.

You think it’s over now/But we’ve only just begun.”

So goes the priceless, invigorating taunt that Elvis Costello and the Attractions used to commence 1986’s we’re-back-and-ready-to-wreck-shop classic Blood & Chocolate.

That same spirit of exhilarating defiance infuses every last note of Sleater-Kinney’s tough-minded, soul-bearing return from exile, No Cities to Love. A brilliantly forceful, funny, and catchy set of songs, the record seamlessly picks up the thread from 10-year-old would-be career closer The Woods and promptly reimagines all that this great band can be. It’s worth noting that during the long and demoralizing history of rock-and-roll reunions, a fully unqualified success of this magnitude is practically unheard of.

“They broke up 10 years ago and then got back together! And this may be their best record!” Those particular words have been spoken approximately never. Until now…

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Anyone Tried Out the Pono Music Player?

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 1:40 PM

I dunno if y'all remember last year's hype over this thing, the Pono—a new digital music player that is supposed to deliver major sound improvement over all the other current music/sound delivery devices/services. Celeb musician involvement notwithstanding (Neil Young is the "founder and CEO" of Pono), its promise of fidelity WAS encouraging. However, after waiting patiently for a year, The Stranger did NOT get a Pono demo unit to test, even though Megan "Ding Dong" Seling wrote about the thing last March. GAH!! I collected, like, hella WAV files in anticipation.

NOW that Pono is available* for retail purchase, has anyone taken a Pono punt? And if so, DOES IT DELIVER? Does it sound as amazing as Mr. Young had hoped? Or were you bummed your headphones couldn't handle the expanse of uncompressed sound?!

* The Pono website is currently only taking pre-orders, but I've found them for sale otherwise on eBay and Fry's."

Old Dogs Need Love Too

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 1:30 PM

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This Sunday, Ardeth De Vries will read from her book Old Dog Haven: Every Old Dog Has a Story to Tell. This event is copresented by Old Dog Haven, a local organization that rescues senior dogs (which are less likely to be adopted) from shelters and finds them loving homes to live out their lives. This group does wonderful work. I love seeing their posts on Facebook, the pictures and stories of the sweet pups they bail out of the clink are so fulfilling and heartwarming.

Ardeth De Vries reads Sunday, January 25, at Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, 3 pm, free.

We Asked 12 People Waiting In Line Outside the Kingfish Cafe: Whatcha Gonna Order?

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 1:30 PM

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  • Kelly O
Nya, "All I want is chocolate cake! That's it!" Nya's Aunt Tanya, "I hope they have the crab cakes."

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  • Kelly O
Sel, "I've never been, but I think I'll order the catfish." Lynn, "I want the sweet tea pork chop!" Mike, "It's gonna be hard to decide between their fried chicken and the catfish."

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Films That Are Better Than the Books They're Adapted From

Posted by , and on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 1:00 PM

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Mortdecai opens on Friday, January 23. Evidence—the absence of a preview screening, the fact that Johnny Depp is the star—indicates that David Koepp's film is unlikely to do justice to Kyril Bonfiglioli's brilliant P. G. Wodehouse–meets–Elmore Leonard novels, from which it is adapted. But there's always hope. Or maybe there never is. Regardless, some film adaptations wind up being better than the novels that inspired them. Just like some lists are better than full articles, don't you find?

The Color Purple: The poetry entirely missing in the epistolary novel The Color Purple by Alice Walker is found in Steven Spielberg's masterful adaptation, which stars Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, and Oprah Winfrey. In fact, it's fair to place the film in the canon of serious black cinema—up there with To Sleep with Anger and Daughters of the Dust. The novel cannot be compared with the great works of black American literatureAnother Country, Song of Solomon, and so on. Walker writes with hands not made of flesh and bone (that's James Baldwin) but of solid rock. Nietzsche once described the bite of conscience as a dog biting into a stone. One can imagine a dog biting Alice Walker's fingers and getting nowhere. In the movie, her moral heaviness is gently lifted, and what we see and feel is a beautiful and bluesy pastoral. (CHARLES MUDEDE)

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The Top Five Things to Do in Seattle Today: Miranda July, Elvis Invitationals, Beacon and Lord Raja, Naked Lunch, and More

Posted on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 12:36 PM

Weirdo-turned-author Miranda July.
  • Todd Cole
  • Weirdo-turned-author Miranda July.

MIRANDA JULY
Fri Jan 23 at 7:30 pm at the Neptune
You've seen her films The Future and Me and You and Everyone We Know, now hear her read from her debut novel, entitled The First Bad Man.


If he were still alive, Elvis would be 80 this year.
  • If he were still alive, Elvis would be 80 this year.

THE SEATTLE ELVIS INVITATIONALS
Fri Jan 23 at 8 pm at the Crocodile
Northwest’s premier Elvis impersonator event. Will people ever tire of paying homage to this American “King”? The answer is no. Twenty amateur “Elvii” will hit the stage, performing all eras of Presley’s career, backed by a live band. The people-watching, onstage and off, should be exceptional.





Beacon: 21st-century R&B with not a hair out of place
  • Beacon: 21st-century R&B with not a hair out of place

BEACON AND LORD RAJA
Fri Jan 23 at 7 pm at Barboza
Beacon and Lord RAJA are Ghostly International’s newest bright hopes. Beacon, the Brooklyn duo of Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett, play lush yet spare song-based electronic music with heart-on-sleeve vocals that seemingly come from a woman. New York producer Lord RAJA (aka Chester Raj Anand) makes tracks that are at once jittery and chill, a rare feat.






The movie version of Naked Lunch was much better than the book.
  • The movie version of Naked Lunch was much better than the book.

NAKED LUNCH
9 pm at the Grand Illusion
Directed by David Cronenberg, Naked Lunch (1991) was based on a novel of the same name by the father of the Beat movement, William Burroughs. The novel is nowhere near as good as the movie, which includes music by a saxophonist, Ornette Coleman, who is to modern jazz what Burroughs is to the mid-century American novel. The alien Mugwump and Peter Weller’s performance of an insect exterminator manage to out-Burroughs Burroughs.





Murder Vibes: zero irony.
  • Murder Vibes: zero irony.

MURDER VIBES AND GUESTS
Fri Jan 23 at 9 pm at Columbia City Theater
Seattle duo Murder Vibes—vocalist/rhythm guitarist Peter Hanks and multi-instrumentalist Jordan Evans—definitely have a goth-electro thing going on here. There’s zero irony here, and it comes off not as derivative, but as the exact type of music these dudes want to and should be playing. The production values are unclouded and swanky.



See all of today's top picks in The Stranger's Things to Do calendar. This weekend's recommended events after the jump.

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Attention Based Currency Could Help Artists Get Paid Fairly When Their Music's Streamed

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 12:05 PM

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Musicians' gripes about insultingly tiny payouts from streaming services like Spotify and YouTube have been widespread. Tess Gadwa, co-founder of Attention Based Currency and CEO of Yes Exactly, is planning to create a platform that will fairly compensate musicians for digital consumption of their work. She saw an entry into the market in the wake of Bitcoin's devaluation. Ergo, Attention Based Currency. "My motivation for ABC is to create a way to include the right brain in a potentially world-changing technology," Gadwa says in an email interview. "A cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is based on extremely powerful computers solving extremely difficult equations. Math has a lot of value, but music has equal value. ABC is designed to give artists and creators of every genre a boost, by providing an alternative way to monetize content online."

According to ABC's website, this patent-pending technology "lets listeners 'mine' currency by playing music from a streaming audio service. It creates a unique identifier/datestamp which is then linked to a traditional cryptocurrency. No specialized software is required. All listeners need is Internet access and time to listen."

The Attention Based Currency player will be based on the Ampache streaming application. Every time you listen to a song using this system, both you and the artist get currency. Musicians retain all rights to their music. Gadwa says that musicians will receive 50 percent of all currency mined. "This is a core bedrock principle of Attention Based Currency—and one of the ways in which it helps address the gap in online streaming music royalties for artists, as experienced in the music industry today."

Besides Gadwa—who says she's been an ardent music fan since her early teens—ABC is run by Erik Amlee, a musician and owner of Mandragora Records and founder of the Weirdsville Internet radio station. Gadwa explains that ABC has, "a number of other musicians, DJs, and record geeks involved in the project, in an official or unofficial capacity."

Gadwa projects that ABC will launch on June 25. The company will announce the list of participating bands, venues, and artists in early April. It is also looking for code contributors and collaborators, as well as beta testers. Interested musicians can upload songs at Million Song Mixtape.

Do You Have Any Cool Photos of the City Under Construction? Want to Be Published in The Stranger?

Posted by on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 11:55 AM

If only hed been taking photos.
  • If only he'd been taking photos.

We're looking for recent photos of the city under construction—cranes, half-built buildings, excavation sites, stuff like that. We're going to publish a bunch of photos like that in our next issue, including on our cover, and we're accepting submissions. If you've always wanted to have a photo on the cover of The Stranger, and you happen to be a crane operator with a bunch of photos you've taken on your smoke breaks (*not strictly necessary, but that would be awesome!!), now's your chance.

To be considered, we need to receive your photos before Monday. Good luck!

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