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Thursday, August 28, 2014

SPD Expands Critical Investigation Into Police Misconduct

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 4:32 PM

Chief Kathleen OToole says, I have questions about who knew what when, and why I wasn’t informed.
  • Photo via Seattle.gov.
  • Chief Kathleen O'Toole says, "I have questions about who knew what when, and why I wasn’t informed."

A Seattle Police Department investigation that began last month into an officer who wrote most of the city's marijuana tickets has expanded, The Stranger has learned, and now includes another officer while officials try to determine why key information about the tickets was omitted from a report to city officials and hidden from the police chief. The case serves as a test—not of pot tickets, so much, but of the city's ability to investigate a persistent scourge of officials covering up misconduct and protecting officers from punishment.

"The piece of the investigation that continues is about who knew what and when at headquarters, and why that report went over [to the Seattle City Council] without notifying me of these facts," Chief Kathleen O'Toole explained in an interview.

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Capitol Hill Venue Chop Suey Is for Sale

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Chop_Suey_Dragon.jpg
  • Kelly O

Chop Suey, long a home of adventurous music and comedy shows, as well as host for the Mo’-Wave Festival and Black Weirdo parties, is for sale. According to Zillow, the current price is $99,950. Monthly rent for the club on 14th Ave. and E. Madison St. runs a cool $13,000.

Chop Suey has been on the market since Aug. 3. The club’s talent buyer Jodi Ecklund, who’s consistently booked a diverse, interesting schedule there, said, “The most recent development is that the price was significantly dropped from the original asking price. The issue is the rent on the building is 13k; even with a thriving club like Chop Suey, that is not sustainable. I have heard there are some interested parties and I have been contacted by a few folks for more insight. My number one concern is that if Chop Suey is purchased, I hope it is by someone who values the local music scene.

“At this point I am just booking shows and it’s business as usual," she continued. "I hope that if someone is to take over, they would want me to stay on board. I’m just taking it as it comes and will figure out an alternate plan once I know more about the longevity.”

I've left a message for Chop Suey general manager Hisato Kawaminami.

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In Culture News: Your One-Stop Shop for Last-Minute Bumbershoot Schedule Changes

Posted by and on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Bumbershoot Announces a Few Music-Lineup Alterations: Here are some last-minute changes to the Bumbershoot musical lineup. First, guitarist Chris Brokaw (Come, Codeine) will replace Jessica Pratt Monday at the Pavilion Stage at 4:15 pm. Second, the ensemble that will interpret Big Star’s Third is expanding to include Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli, Dream Syndicate’s Steve Wynn, Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin, Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws, and Young Fresh Fellows/Minus 5/Baseball Project’s Scott McCaughey. They join original Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, R.E.M.’s Peter Buck and Mike Mills, Mitch Easter, Chris Stamey, and Mike McCready. Finally, James Brown/Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins has canceled his Bumbershoot Music Lounge set, but will still perform Sunday at 10 pm at the Fisher Green Stage.

The Stranger’s Bumbershoot coverage is here.

Wonkette Is Coming to Town! Everybody's favorite political blog is hosting a Seattle happy hour on Saturday, September 27th. They're trying to figure out where to have the happy hour; you can chime in on your favorite bar in the comments.

Your Staggering Fact of the Day: "More than 5 percent of the messages a woman receives online will be abusive or derogatory in nature, on average," Lyz Lenz writes at the Rumpus.

That Looks Like a Movie, All Right: Here's the trailer for Rosewater, the film that Jon Stewart took last summer off from the Daily Show to direct:

Shakespeare, with Drunks: Slog tipper Ryan says "this needs to happen here," and we tend to agree: ShakesBEER is a cross between a pub crawl and a Shakespeare festival, Drunk Shakespeare is a cross between Shakespeare and improv, and Shotspeare is a drinking game disguised as a Shakespeare production. Why not?

Who Can Write with All This Typing Going On? Slog tipper Greg sent along this NPR story: Seems that the Times of London is now broadcasting the sounds of clacking typewriters in the newsroom in an effort to increase productivity.

Boss Your Kids Around: Bruce Springsteen has apparently written a children's book.

Click the image to be transported to the page where you can buy Finger Hands, via internet magic.
  • Click the image to be transported to the page where you can buy Finger Hands, via internet magic.
Finally! Infinite Jest as David Foster Wallace Intended It! Brick Jest is a series of Lego retellings of important scenes from Infinite Jest. That's all we have to say about that.

Hands on the Tips of Your Fingers: Beloved local novelty institution Archie McPhee announced their newest product today. Finger hands are hands you put on the tips of your fingers, and they're really quite creepy. Hopefully, Archie McPhee will one day soon start selling finger hands to put on the fingers of your finger hands, so we can keep this party going.

No Words Left: Hiphop's Silence or Fury on Ferguson

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 3:52 PM

KILLER MIKE
  • KILLER MIKE

"At the bottom of our news tonight, there's been a new animal aimed at falling off the face of our Earth. Yes—young black teenagers are reported to be the oldest, and the newest, creatures added to the Endangered Species List. As of now, no efforts have been made to preserve the blacks—when asked why, a top top law official adds, 'Because they make good game.'" —Ice Cube, "Endangered Species" (1990)

According to USA Today, during a seven-year period ending in 2012, a white police officer killed a black citizen nearly twice a week in the United States. What's funny are those comment sections of articles like this—or about the Mike Brown shooting, or the murders of other blacks at the hands of the police—frothing over with people asking, "What about black-on-white murders, or even black-on-black murders?" While you'd think "Well, what about four centuries of chattel slavery followed by two centuries of socioeconomic warfare and literal state-funded terrorism?" would be a decent comeback, you'd be wrong. Do not engage. Just put your hands up like a victim, and hope this nonviolent gesture of supplication will save you when it's your turn. If not, well, maybe someone will get it all on camera, and that cop's ass will surely land in hot water then. Right?

"I have searched all night and day for new and better words that could express my feelings and fear for the people of this country. I found no new words. I have no hope-filled insight to deliver. I only have this warning to all Americans: Whatever this country is willing to do to the least of us, it will one day do to us all." —Killer Mike...

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What Do You Think of President Obama's Khaki Suit?

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 3:26 PM


My Twitter feed this afternoon was full of outrage over President Obama's sartorial choices. At a press conference today, Obama wore a suit that has alternately been described as khaki, taupe, tan, brown, and beige. The reason it's getting a lot of attention is that until now Obama has worn black or blue suits exclusively.

I'm certainly not above making fun of an ugly suit, but today's Twitter storm is pretty silly, especially since I couldn't tell from my Twitter feed what the president of the United States was saying during his press conference because everybody was too busy making fun of his suit. (If you care about non-clothing-related issues of global importance, Obama identified Russia as being "responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine," promised action on ISIS, announced that he was sending Secretary of State John Kerry to the Middle East, and took a moment to celebrate the surprising 4.2 percent growth rate the country enjoyed last quarter.) But nobody cares about the country potentially going to war, right? Let's focus on the important stuff!

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Ivar's Versus Ethan Stowell: The Fish 'n' Chips Face-Off

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 3:14 PM

OLD-SCHOOL VERSUS NEW BALLARD Ivar’s, the Seattle classic, above.
  • Kelly O
  • OLD-SCHOOL VERSUS NEW BALLARD Ivar’s, the Seattle classic, above.

Ethan Stowell has a new fish 'n' chips place in Ballard called Chippy's. Fish 'n' chips there cost—GASP OH MY GOD I KNOW!!!—$14 to $18. But when's the last time you went to Ivar's? The aggressive seagulls at the one on the waterfront are more gigantic and terrifying and awesome than ever, and even Ivar's rings in at $9.29 to $13.99 for fish 'n' chips these days.

I went to both to compare. The things I do for you! Here's the full Ivar's versus Chippy's report.

Hillary Clinton Issues Statement on Ferguson

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 2:43 PM

"Imagine what we would feel and what we would do if white drivers were three times as likely to be searched by police during a traffic stop as black drivers, instead of the other way around," Hillary Clinton said at a (presumably very white) tech conference in San Francisco today. Clinton, who has been under fire for ducking the issue of Ferguson, made a statement against the militarization of police and the institutional racism of America's criminal justice system. She also strongly supported President Obama's decision to send Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson. The phrasing of race in the speech was unfortunate—she kept referring to "us" and "we" when talking about white people, which sucks—but the words were said with passion. I can't speak for how the citizens of Ferguson will receive this speech, obviously, but as a political move, this feels like a fairly strong albeit typically cautious, statement from Clinton.

Hey! Is That a Huge Richard Serra Sculpture at Paul Allen's Private Peninsula Lair?

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 2:32 PM

'WELL, THAT'S A LOT OF INTERESTING QUESTIONS THERE' As one Seattle bike rider pointed out, that rusty-colored sculpture on the left sure looks like a steel installation by the artist whose Wake is a centerpiece of Olympic Sculpture Park.
  • 'WELL, THAT'S A LOT OF INTERESTING QUESTIONS THERE' That rusty-colored sculpture on the left sure looks like a steel installation by the artist whose Wake is a centerpiece of Olympic Sculpture Park.

People on Lopez Island talk about Paul Allen; he just comes up in conversation. If you're a visitor and you stop at the cute little Lopez Island Historical Society & Museum, the docent might just mention that the billionaire owns a peninsula on the southern side of the island. His peninsula is Sperry Peninsula (map), and he bought it back in 1996, when he owned yet another island in the San Juans. (That one was Allan Island—no relation—and, preferring Sperry for the vacation getaway he planned to build, he finally unloaded Allan Island in 2013 for $5 million after it sat on the market for eight years with an original asking price of $25 million. Private-island real estate just isn't what it used to be.)

The chatty museum docent is how one Seattle resident, who asked to remain nameless because he doesn't want to make Paul Allen angry, found himself riding his bike full of curiosity about Sperry Peninsula on a recent visit to Lopez. Sure enough, from the public road, he could just look across the water and see Allen's compound. He took the photograph above because he couldn't help but notice the giant art on the lawn. To him, it looked for all the world like a significant work by super-sculptor Richard Serra.

AT THE OLYMPIC SCULPTURE PARK Seattle Art Museum acquired Richard Serras 2004 work Wake for its downtown park. It is probably the heaviest work of art in Seattle.
  • PHOTO BY Benjamin Benschneider
  • AT THE OLYMPIC SCULPTURE PARK Seattle Art Museum acquired Richard Serra's 2004 work Wake for its downtown park. It is probably the heaviest work of art in Seattle.

So is the mysterious sculpture a Serra?

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Tonight in Music: Little Dragon, Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks and A Whole Lot More!

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 2:06 PM

THE EVOLUTION OF LITTLE DRAGON'S ELECTRONIC POP

(Showbox at the Market) Little Dragon began as a classily louche, luxuriously low-key electro-lounge act, with singer Yukimi Nagano's breathy voice cooing sweet anythings over retro-futurist triphop beats. They've since started to explore a more diverse range of influences, with 2011's Ritual Union embracing bleep techno and abstracted exotica, as Nagano stepped aside for long stretches and let the swirling soundscape speak for itself. Though I've yet to hear the group's most recent album, Nabuma Rubberband, reports indicate it’s even more sonically out-there and all-encompassing, which bodes well for the longevity of Little Dragon beyond their blog-hyped peers. Pop music's like a shark: It needs to keep moving to stay alive. With Dam-Funk. KYLE FLECK
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LISA PRANK: SEATTLE'S NEWEST POP-PUNK IMPORT

(Barboza) There are four great reasons to attend this show: 1) NighTrain are a badass rock foursome who sing songs about how being a girl band and not giving a fuck what you think. 2) Austin’s Tele Novella play slinky and cool ’60s-inspired psych pop that Quentin Tarantino should probably use in his next film. 3) Pony Time are a buzzy garage-rock duo with a sonic love letter to Kathleen Hanna. But the reason that has me most excited is because 4) Lisa Prank, the one-woman new-wave pop-punk dance party, is opening. If someone handed me Prank’s Crush on the World cassette and whispered, “This is Belinda Carlisle's first Go-Go’s demo, shhhhh!” I’d believe them and then wonder how the fuck the lo-fi pop jam “Why Can’t We (Just Dance)” was never turned into a gold-selling single. I want to write Lisa Prank’s name on my binder and doodle hearts and paisley all around it. MEGAN SELING
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A Celebration of the End of Summer, with Music, Food, and Art

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 1:47 PM

At the end of a Seattle summer, nobody requires a reason to walk outdoors, so what I’m about to recommend is all a bonus. Tonight I’d join the free tour through the sculpture park...

KEEP READING > >

Seattle Police Deny Having or Using "Stingray" Cell Phone Data Sucking Device

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 1:22 PM

This is a stingray, the animal after which the surveillance device under fire from civil liberties advcoates is named.
  • Matt9122/Shutterstock
  • STINGRAY The animal after which a surveillance device used by Tacoma police, now under fire from civil liberties advocates, is named.

It took many by surprise that civilian police at protests in Ferguson, Missouri, outfitted in camouflage and carrying assault rifles, looked like stormtroopers. Here in Seattle, in 2012, the public was surprised and dismayed by the Seattle Police Department's quiet acquisition of two drones through a Homeland Security grant. After an outcry, the department decommissioned the drones and, earlier this year, sent them to Los Angeles police.

Here's another surprise (woohoo!) from police in Tacoma: They've been using a suitcase-sized device called a Stingray that pretends to be a cell phone tower and sucks up data from surrounding cell phones.

In a June exposé, USA Today explained what the hell a Stingray does and called its use "a method from the NSA's playbook."

Did Tacoma police decide that the public deserves more transparency? Did they disclose their use of this technology voluntarily? Haha. Good one! No—instead, Phil Mocek, a co-founder of the Seattle Privacy Coalition, filed a slew of Freedom of Information Act requests and obtained documents earlier this month, some of which are redacted, showing that the department acquired the device in 2009 and has used it 179 times since then.

Tacoma's City Council, much like our own city council's experience with SPD's drones, had no clue, according to the Tacoma News Tribune.

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Does Ron Paul's Free Market Libertarianism Extend to Buying Political Endorsements?

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 1:21 PM

In 2012, then-Iowa Republican State Senator Kent Sorenson switched his support from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul just before the Iowa caucuses. Yesterday, Sorenson pled guilty on charges that someone paid him $73,000 in laundered money for his endorsement of Ron Paul, and on charges that Sorenson lied about the money when asked by an ethics commission. NPR's Peter Overby says a sentencing date has not yet been set.

The big question, Overby writes, is where the money came from: "Since Sorenson says he was paid $73,000 by the Paul campaign, somebody presumably was paying him. Is the Justice Department investigating?" This is important, because the Rand Paul political machine is mostly made up of tired old parts of the Ron Paul machine. Did the Ron Paul campaign pay Sorenson to switch sides? If so, did they pay anyone else for their endorsement? And if someone in the Paul campaign did pay off Sorenson, where does that person work now? We know that Rand Paul worked with white supremacists; is it possible that he works with money-laundering endorsement-buyers, too?

Harry Bailey Was a Horrible Police Chief

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 12:40 PM

I was on vacation the last three weeks—life is hard (see: Exhibit A below)—so I missed all sorts of awful news: Michael Brown, James Foley, Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall.

But I also missed one piece of excellent news.

Harry Bailey—the interim police chief appointed by Mayor Ed Murray who played a role in fucking up the SPD harder than any one person has fucked up the SPD in contemporary times while sending reform backwards by years, making statements that appeared to misrepresent the facts, and exonerating officers for misconduct while also making a mockery of the department's accountability program and scandalizing City Hall officials responsible for him—has officially retired. (See Exhibit B.)

Chief Kathleen O'Toole announced Bailey retirement in a warm, fuzzy blog post. But Seattle should not have warm and fuzzy memories.

Bailey was a civic embarrassment. Full stop. It's nice to return to a city that's better than when I left.

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Here's What You Missed if You Weren't at the 2014 Literature Genius Showcase

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 12:09 PM

g-lit-1.jpg
  • Kelly O
  • AND THE NOMINEES ARE... Left to right: Shin Yu Pai, G. Willow Wilson, and Gary Groth.
It is always nice to drink at a museum—or an aquarium, or a house of religion, or really any large space intended for a specific purpose and where you are usually instructed not to carry a beer around willy nilly. Wandering a nice museum carrying a beer and some cookies feels like a minor subversive act, and since the Frye has shown a particular fondness for subversive acts (both major and minor), it makes a fitting spot for these slightly tipsy parties thrown to celebrate artists across genres.

Last night was the literature showcase, and if you have not yet familiarized yourself with the literature genius nominees, I will say: I know of at least two people who left the party to go directly to Elliott Bay Book Company and purchase the work of these shortlisters. To catch up, you can also read short profiles of poet Shin Yu Pai, comics critic and publisher Gary Groth, and author G. Willow Wilson in the summer issue of A&P.

In the Frye's cool gray auditorium, the three sat down to chat with the audience, each other, and books editor Paul Constant, who called books "the greatest engines of empathy humanity has ever devised" and said Seattle is "in the process of becoming the literary capital of the United States," because he is basically a 'roided-out WWE announcer for literature.

g-lit-3.jpg
  • Kelly O
  • Ralph Steadman drew for Hunter S. Thompson and once wrote an autobiography of god.
Gary Groth, who founded and still runs venerable local comics publisher Fantagraphics, read a piece of criticism on Ralph Steadman, the longtime visual collaborator of Hunter S. Thompson. His piece was so dense with history and analysis that if you were in that room and didn't learn something new about Steadman, Thompson, or comics and illustration, it could only be because your name is Gary Groth. Next, Shin Yu Pai read poems from vastly different series; her work shifts in tone and shape and style from one project to the next. Topics that were covered in her poems: Sheep. Art. Kielbasa. Farting. Prisoners. Walmart. Then G. Willow Wilson told us that the novel she read an excerpt from, Alif the Unseen, was her most autobiographical work—even though she's actually written a memoir—because she finally stopped "worrying about my target audience" and just "wrote what I wanted to write," hoping that an audience might be out there.

g-lit-2.jpg
  • Kelly O
  • The audience was out there.
There was a great gauntlet throwdown from Wilson, who told the room that "writers of comic books have to work harder than writers of novels do."

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Can You Spot the Historical Inaccuracy In the Preview for Ridley Scott's New Biblical Epic?

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 11:50 AM

There isn't an airplane flying through a shot or a boom mic floating over an actor's head or one character wearing a Sixth Dynasty headdress standing next to a character wearing an Eleventh Dynasty headdress. Give up? The answer is after the jump...

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Man Tased, Arrested for Crime of Being Black in St. Paul, Minnesota

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 11:31 AM

A man was sitting in a public place waiting to pick his kids up from school. He wasn't breaking any laws. A shop owner asked him to move—which the shop owner had no right to do—and the man got up and moved. He was then stopped by a cop who asked him his name. He refused to give his name. "I know my rights," the man said to the cop. And he did know his rights: he was under no obligation to identify himself to her. "Minnesota does not currently have a 'stop and identify' statute in place" that would give police the right to arrest someone for [not] identifying himself," RawStory points out. The cop, unfortunately, didn't know his rights. When the cop tells the man that she's asking his name in an effort to figure out what the problem was—why the shopkeeper asked him to move—the man responds: "The problem is I'm black."

Another cop shows up:

"I've got to go get my kids," the man says to both officers. The male officer attempts to grab the man's arm. The man pulls away. "Please don't touch me," he says.

"You're going to go to jail, then."

"I'm not doing anything wrong," the man replies.

Both officers grab the man.

"Come on, brother," the man says. "This is assault."

"I'm not your brother," the male officer replies. "Put your hands behind your back; otherwise it's going to get ugly."

A struggle ensues, the man drops his cellphone and the video is lost. The audio continues to record, and what can be heard is disturbing. The man yells, "I haven't done anything wrong! Can somebody help me?! That's my kids, right there! My kids are right there!" ... Noises from the Taser being charged can be heard, and then the man screams.

Says Stephen A. Crockett Jr. at The Root: "It isn't the footage so much as the screams."

If the cops in your community aren't equipped with badge cams—or if they refuse to wear cameras, or if there's a chance they could disable them—then it's a good idea for citizens, particularly black citizens, to carry their own video cameras wherever they go.

Both these cops are going to get fired, right? And there will be a big demonstration outside that shop, right?

UPDATE: It's also a good idea for young gay people with homophobic family members to keep a camera handy.

Republicans Know They Have a Woman Problem, but They Can't Stop Saying Sexist Things

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 11:26 AM

A Republican-sponsored poll has confirmed what everyone knows: The Republican Party has a serious woman problem.

A detailed report commissioned by two major Republican groups — including one backed by Karl Rove — paints a dismal picture for Republicans, concluding female voters view the party as “intolerant,” “lacking in compassion” and “stuck in the past.”

Women are “barely receptive” to Republicans’ policies, and the party does “especially poorly” with women in the Northeast and Midwest, according to an internal Crossroads GPS and American Action Network report obtained by POLITICO.

Just before Politico broke this story, a July interview with Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett surfaced in which Corbett said he wanted to amend his state's liquor laws in order to make it easier for women to cook dinner:

And you know who's leading the Republican presidential polls in Iowa and New Hampshire these days? Good ol' Mitt "Binders Full of Women" Romney. After giving an interview in which he stated that he was not actively running for president but that "circumstances can change," Romney now leads in Iowa at 35 percent, leaving every other potential presidential candidate with less than 10 percent of the remaining vote. This sure doesn't sound like a party that's trying to shake off its past to me.

Joan Rivers Has a Heart?

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 11:05 AM

She does! And apparently it stopped this morning:

Joan Rivers was rushed to a New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital this morning when she stopped breathing during throat surgery. Rivers was rushed to the hospital shortly after 9:30 AM ET in cardiac arrest. She had stopped breathing during throat surgery at a clinic on the Upper East Side.

Kathya Alexander is Reading Tonight in Madison Park; You Should Go Hear Her

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Kathya Alexander Beacon
  • Kathya Alexander Beacon
I heard Kathya Alexander tell a story about dying a few months ago, and it froze the room to silence and pin drops. The sound of her voice has been imprinted on my brain ever since. A voice from the gut, riding slowly and austere over the slopes of her words. Alexander was basically dead. True story. In 2006 she experienced Sudden Cardiac Death, and her heart stopped for 37 minutes. During this 37 minutes, an EMT arrived and helped revive her. The EMT, a woman dressed in white, never left Alexander’s side. Alexander described her as efficient. This woman in white wouldn't give up, even though the other EMTs were urging her to stop, because Alexander's brain had gone without oxygen for so long. The woman was the last EMT to arrive. A year later, Alexander wanted to thank her, so she went to the fire station on 23rd Ave. where she was based. But no EMT or fire department employee matching the woman’s description worked there. They didn’t know who the woman was. No EMT at any of the stations, hospitals, or ambulance companies matched the description. Alexander didn’t have her name. No one had ever seen this person before. Alexander never spoke to or saw her again. Alexander said she goes to the fire station every year on the anniversary and takes them a gift of gratitude. She calls it her Resurrection Day.

Alexander is working on a novel about five generations of women who have been visited by an angel during the most difficult times in their lives. A North Little Rock, Arkansas native, Alexander now lives in Seattle. She has been awarded Freehold Theater’s Diversity Scholarship, a Writer In Residence at Hedgebrook, and last year she received a CityArtist Award from the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.

* Alexander is reading tonight for Auntmama's Story Table at the Madison Park Starbucks. You must see and hear her, she’s a beacon. It's FREE. 7 PM to 8:15. Presented in conjunction with Seattle Storytellers Guild. Katherine Gee Peron, Olubayo, and Auntmama are also reading. 4000 E. Madison St.

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Financially Strapped African Country to Allow Rich People to Shoot Their Wild Animals

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 9:18 AM

Inhabitat:

Wild animals are now once again fair game in Zambia, as the African country recently lifted a 20-month ban on safari hunting. According to Phys.org, the ban was put into place in January, 2013 due to allegations of corruption in the awarding of government hunting concessions, along with fears over the future of the country’s big cat population. But it seems holding off on the hunt has been too much for Zambia’s government coffers to bear, as the government says its revenue is suffering. “We lost too much revenue following the ban on hunting and the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) had a lot of financial problems,” Zambian Tourism Minister, Jean Kapata told AFP.
If there is a market for killing these animals, and the market is what the IMF believes is the best development path for poor African countries, then lifting the ban is the logical thing to do. Indeed, implanting the ban was an act of insanity, considering the circumstances. If the West imposes policies that essentially cripple a state and make it dependent on market forces, then it must not act shocked or upset when many of the outcomes of those very polices are more destructive than productive. To play on an old ad for a Japanese automaker: You asked for it, you got it...
"Blood sport is more beneficial to this country than game viewing," said Gavin Robinson of the Professional Hunters Association.
"People from Europe and America wish to hunt here but they will now move elsewhere, meaning all the clients will leave Zambia," he added.
The market has spoken.

The Morning News: Invasions, Infections, Intrusions

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Russia Has Already Invaded Ukraine: Rebel leader in Ukraine says there are between 3,000 and 4,000 Russians—mostly Russian soldiers—fighting alongside Ukrainian rebels in rebel-held areas. Rebel leaders insists that they weren't sent into Ukraine by the Kremlin; they're just volunteers who decided to spend their summer vacations fighting in Ukraine alongside rebels. The Ukrainian president has demanded a meeting of the UN Security Council—on which Russia sits, and has veto power.

20,000: That's the number of Ebola cases the current outbreak is expected to reach worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. More than 1,200 people are already dead. If you missed the heartbreaking story in the New York Times earlier this week about the African nurses who are risking their lives caring for the sick and dying, please take a moment to read it.

A Little Girl and Her Uzi: The owner of the gun range where a 9-year-old girl lost control of a fucking Uzi submachine gun and killed her 30-year-old instructor had this to say to the NYT: "We are all highly trained in firearms and safety.” Uh-huh. And yesterday, while this event was causing the whole world to recoil in horror, the NRA tweeted this out: "7 Ways Children Can Have Fun at the Shooting Range." The tweet is gone—deleted—but the NRA is sadly still with us.

“Who’s being harmed? Answer my question!” Slate's Mark Joseph Stern breaks down the best bits of this week's marriage equality oral arguments before the 7th Circuit Court—with audio!

Libertarians to Bangladeshis: "Hey, sure sucks to be you!"

Polygamists in Utah Celebrating: "A federal judge on Wednesday finalized a ruling that strikes down part of Utah's ban on polygamy," NPR reports. Antigay activists are blaming the gays—who greased up this slope?—but the ruling didn't legalize polygamous marriage. It merely tossed out the part of the law that prohibited "cohabitation between adults [who] are not legally married." The law made it a crime for a man to be legally married to one women, for example, while living with two. A clear violation of the First and 14th Amendments, says the court.

Anti-Rape Nail Polish: Not a big hit with "anti-rape advocates," says the BBC.

Brad and Angelina: The Hollywood power couple got married yesterday.

Required Viewing: Did you miss Jon Stewart's amazing, hilarious, and heartbreaking commentary about Ferguson? Watch it after the jump...

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Ms. Gwen McCrae's Most Amazing Grunt

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 7:26 AM

There are a LOT of grunts, whoops, and hollers in '50s/'60s R&B, but I think the BESTEST grunt of ALL the grunts ever grunted might be one of the most unexpected and subtle grunts as delivered by Ms. Gwen McCrae. Okay, dig her most magnificent grunt @ the 1:15 mark.

The song, obviously, doesn't need help to be a jam of the highest order, but her well-timed "uuh" kills me EVERY fucking time. McCrae is prolly best known for her '70s soul jams, but as far as I'm concerned, this 1970 take on one of Bobby Bland's killer deep ballads, "Lead Me On," is the alpha/omega of her catalog!

Anita Sarkeesian Threatened with Rape and Murder for Daring to Keep Critiquing Video Games

Posted by on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Anita Sarkeesian, the woman behind a fantastic web series critiquing misogyny in video games, released another video this week. Funded as a Kickstarter project, Sarkeesian's "Tropes vs. Women in Video Games" series is an accessible but scholarly look at video games through a feminist lens, in which Sarkeesian breaks down a bunch of common female stereotypes in games and explains how to spot them and why they're harmful, with tons of examples (including examples of games that do better).

This week's video: "Women as Background Decoration, Part 2." You should really check it out:


Part One, if you haven't seen it, is right here. You can find all the videos in the series on her website.

You may recall that when she first launched her Kickstarter project, which was wildly successful—she raised almost $160,000 after an initial ask of just $6,000 and has expanded the series based on that funding—she faced an onslaught of threats of rape and other violence from video gamers, who were apparently incensed that anyone could be critical of the medium. (Someone even created a a video game about beating her.) It seems like every time she releases a video, a wave of hateful commentary follows, often peppered with threats—that seems like the norm for her experience on the internet. But this Tuesday night, she tweeted that some "very scary threats" had been made against her and her family, threats scary enough that she said she'd contacted authorities. Then she updated that she was safe but staying with friends; apparently those threats were scary enough to drive her from her home.

Then yesterday, she posted this:

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kid Comes Out, Family Disowns Him

Posted by on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 10:56 PM

What can we do to shame these fucking hateful inbreds? I know they think they are in the right, but how can we show them the cultural tide is leaving them behind? If they truly have gay friends like they say they do, then there must be SOME tolerance in their community that would and should shame them and ostracize them for the way they are trying to shame and ostracize this poor kid. Is it worth recruiting and unleashing the wrath and fury of 4chan to find these people and make their lives shit? Ugh. Makes me sick.

That was hard to listen to. Jesus. Fucking. Christ. My heart breaks for that poor, brave, tough kid. What the fuck is wrong with these people?

We could have a fundraiser up and running for this poor kid by morning—if we knew who he was and where he was.

Radical Church for Ferguson at Northwest African American Museum

Posted by on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 5:28 PM

Last night, Northwest African American Museum held an event called PKN SEA vol. 56 #Ferguson. It was organized a week before with Pecha Kucha Seattle and Seattle People of Color Salon, and concerned the young and unarmed man, Michael Brown, who was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, a predominantly black suburb of St. Louis. The event was a huge success. The lecture room was packed with people, and the line of those waiting, hoping to get into the overcapacity event ran all the way to the field nearby. There were 13 speakers (I was one of them), nearly all were black, and the audience was thoroughly mixed—Asian Americans, white Americans, black Africans, black Americans. The mood of the event was that of church. Many in the audience responded to the presentations—some by atheists, some by feminists, some by unrepentant punks—as if they were sermons. This was secular church, a church of the here and now, a church for believers and nonbelievers.

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  • CM

The success of this event represented the growing relevance of NAAM on the city’s shifting cultural landscape. Despite being a black American museum in a neighborhood that’s becoming less and less black and more and more white, it’s proving to be very much alive and not, as it could easily have become, a massive tombstone for a kind of neighborhood that will be no more in a matter of years. In this way, the main exhibits at NAAM, which, like Pitch Black, tend to be historical, work as an active background to the present. The dead are not done here. Their struggles extend to the new and changing struggles of our day. What happened in Ferguson has a context at NAAM. This is why people came to the event, to this place, at this time. The effect and impact would not have been the same if it happened at the Henry or even the Frye. The potential for church at Seattle Art Museum is nearly zero.

But NAAM could easily have been a tombstone. There is nothing really wrong with that. It’s safe. It’s not controversial. Pitch Black, which concerns black baseball history in Washington state, was after all sponsored by the Seattle Mariners, Boeing, Key Bank Safeco Insurance Foundation, Verizon Wireless, and Wells Fargo. These corporations would never have touched the Ferguson event with a pole that could reach the moon. Much of black history has lost its sting. It’s not unusual for a Republican to see Muhammad Ali as a national hero, or to say kind things about the March on Washington. But the present is risky and even explosive. Many of the speeches and slides that were presented at NAAM's #Ferguson were charged by the hot emotions. For example, Tyrone Brown, the artistic director of Brownbox Theater, said that Americans no longer believe in God but in the gun, and ended his talk with the blasphemous declaration: “Gun Bless America!” Lara Davis, Arts Education Manager at the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, played raw punk tunes over clips of people at the recent Afropunk festival in Brooklyn describing the US as place of institutionalized violence. Davida Ingram, a local artist and a 2014 nominee for the Genius Award in Art, explored the history and meaning of the expression “motherfucker” (white slave owners fucking black mothers). The people in the room needed this heat, this anger. They came here to share their shock and rage at the images the filled the screens on phones, TV, computers. Images of the dead black man on the street, a police department that was clearly being armed by the Pentagon, and an unresponsive president. How can you be black and not be pissed? An unarmed black youth is killed and instead of investigating the police officer, the department besieges the neighborhood like an occupying army.

The black population in the Central District might be dwindling, but NAAM appears to be an institution with a future.

SL Letter of the Day: Innocent Virgins

Posted by on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 5:08 PM

I'm a 21-year-old female college student and I've been dating my boyfriend for about a year now. It's a long-distance/online relationship. He's planning to come visit me for the first time in a few months. He lives in the UK and we Skype/video/voice chat every day. He's the light of my life despite what friends/family say about trying to find someone nearby. He's already sent me his flight details and everything but the one thing I'm concerned about is he's really into these somewhat odd fetishes. (But I have somewhat odd fetishes myself!) We're both virgins and so I really want us to start off slow—that's particularly important as I enjoy pseudo-nonconsensual situations. (I'm NOT saying non-consensual anything is okay! But it's something I'd like to roleplay in the bedroom.) He enjoys bondage/puppy play, mouthplay (having his mouth forced open), and scat/watersports. That's all a lot of heavy stuff!

We agreed to go slow and it's not like we're going to go through all those things on his first visit but I want to at least give it a try. I know there's some toys to help with the mouthplay and puppy play situation but I'm not sure I know enough to be a proper Dom in these situations and in other situations. Is there anything I can do to try and research up on these things to at least be more prepared when he visits? Also, my mother always seems to be trying to get me interested in other guys. I don't know if it's because my boyfriend is trans (male in a female's body) or if it's because of other factors but I'm continually telling her to stop. But she keeps doing it. Will the visit help kill that?

Or are there other type of things we can do in the bedroom that aren't quite as extreme as some of our fetishes above? We're going to be pretty new to this whole intercourse thing and I'd love your advice. Any handy tips? He doesn't want me to touch him anywhere below the belt and that's okay with me. Is there any way I can still get him off without having to touch him in places he doesn't want to be touched? I'm scared I'll do something and make him not want to do anything bedroom-related with me again. Please help!

Gettin' Freaky The First Time

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In Culture News: Sherman Alexie and Jess Walter Share "A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment"

Posted by , and on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 4:00 PM

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  • Olivier D’hose
Local Writer Goes Head-First Into Rubble: Ansel Herz told you yesterday that Gazans have launched the "Rubble Bucket Challenge," a riff on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in which people dump rubble on their heads to raise awareness of the situation in Gaza. (Rubble is used because water is in short supply in Gaza, and refrigeration is impossible due to infrequent access to electricity.) Yesterday afternoon, Stranger Genius of Literature Lesley Hazleton took part in the Rubble Bucket Challenge and blogged about her experience. You can see photos of her challenge along the side of this post. Hazleton writes, "The rubble I used came, either ironically or appropriately, from a building site."

Send Lance Mercer Good Thoughts: Back in June, the photographer and musician Lance Mercer went public with the news that he has cancer, his daughter calling for fundraising help. An exhibition of his photographs of the pre-grunge period was to be shown at Bumbershoot this weekend, but it just turned out to be too much to do to juggle a big show and illness. So there’s a change to the lineup: Mercer’s photo show will not appear at Bumbershoot, and in its place will be rock-and-roll photographs by another Seattle classic, the wonderful Jini Dellaccio, who died July 3. The show, curated by Chuck Pennington and assisted by Larry Reid of Fantagraphics, celebrates the entire life and career of Dellaccio, best known for 1960s images of acts like The Sonics, The Wailers, Merrilee Rush, The Daily Flash, and many others.

Your New Favorite Podcast (Except for the Savage Lovecast, Of Course): Stranger Genius Sherman Alexie and very-intelligent Spokane novelist Jess Walter announced today that they've started a new podcast titled "A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment." Alexie and Walter, who both play basketball a whole lot, refer to the podcast as "the middle-aged writer fading jock show," and it will include interviews (about writing and pornography and politics) and readings and probably sports talk. We got in touch with Alexie, who told us new episodes of the podcast will go live every other Wednesday. The first two episodes are available for your listening pleasure right now.

Actor Vincent Kartheiser to Play Filmmaker Billy Wilder: In Billy & Ray at the Vineyard Theater in NYC. As the New York Times reports:

Written by Mike Bencivenga and directed by Garry Marshall (“Pretty Woman”), “Billy & Ray” captures the antagonistic relationship between Wilder and Chandler during the creation of the 1944 film “Double Indemnity.” The two locked horns early and often while facing strict censorship laws that constrained a plot rife with murder and adultery. Despite the challenges, the film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, with Wilder and Chandler sharing a nomination for their screenplay.

As for the rest of the cast: Raymond Chandler will be played by top-tier Law & Order-er Larry Pine and a supporting role will be played Bette Midler's daughter Sophie von Haselberg.

How Many Fire Phones Has Amazon Sold? Wow, that's a terrible number. Could that be true?

Do You Need a Smart Watch? Apple is reportedly announcing their smartwatch on September 9th. One commenter at Apple Insider writes, "I, for one, will be one of the FIRST to order my iWatch, no matter what it looks like or what it does."

Superheroes Are Serious Business, Guys: Does DC Comics have a "no jokes" policy in their superhero movies?

Poster of the Week

Posted by on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 3:33 PM

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In case you aren't aware, the fact that Slint are playing in Seattle is a pretty huge deal. Mike Klay has done this occasion justice with this impressive 25-by-9.5-inch two-color screen print (with metallic silver, no less!). See more of Mike's work at powerslidedesign.com.

Why Is Bumbershoot Better This Year Than Previous Years?

Posted by on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 3:23 PM

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  • MARK KAUFMAN

Something feels different about Bumbershoot this year. In the weeks after One Reel announced the lineup for this summer's festival, artists, musicians, critics, and friends began saying something I hadn't heard in years: "Wow, this year's Bumbershoot looks amazing."

People aren't talking so much about this year's classic marquee names (including The Replacements, Wu-Tang Clan, and Jonathan Richman, though even they seem like an improvement over the creakier nostalgia acts and radio superstars One Reel was programming just a few years ago) as they are about the smaller, mid-range, and quasi-underground acts: Gregory Porter, Mexican Institute of Sound, Negativland, Black Weirdo, Mission of Burma, Evan Flory-Barnes, ILLFIGHTYOU, and the Both.

Anecdotally, it feels like a better spread and a break from Bumbershoots past that seemed to spend a huge amount of money on superstars like Bob Dylan and leave the rest of the acts in relative neglect…

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