By now, most of us have heard about the 2010 study by software technology company Intuit, which holds that 40 percent of our workforce will be contingent, i.e. freelance, contract, self-employed, temp, etc., by 2020, and that traditional, full-time, full-benefit jobs will be harder to find. It's not hard to see that trend developing, whether it's Lyft and Uber offering tacos and bonuses in lieu of actual benefits; the rise of services like Elance, Fiver, Leapforce, and Taskrabbit (among many, many others); or the current contractor changes at Microsoft.
From the letter a contractor wrote to Brendan after last week's shakeup:
What's fascinating to me, in a very macabre way, is that many of my young co-workers don't know that there are actually jobs that provide good benefits. They have never experienced that so far and that says a great deal about what it's like to work in the US now.
People will say "why don't you get another job?" If only it were that easy. I'm in my mid-50s, MBA, 30+ years of international business experience and I can't find a decent job anywhere. I attribute this in part to very real ageism but I'll leave that for another day. The bottom line is that good-paying jobs are not plentiful any longer. The trend in business (especially in the tech world) is toward the use of contractors and paying them significantly less than they would a full-time employee. And they get away with it. It's truly a race to the bottom.
The trend raises several questions when we take just the briefest look under the hood. What happens when a significant percentage of our workforce becomes a demographic of independent agents who don't have legal backing from the companies they contract with, access to quality healthcare, no equity, and no safety net beyond the tatters of what was once available to them? What is the role of government regulation here? Will we see the return of collective bargaining, which business and globalization have spent the last few decades stamping out? Rand Paul blithely thinks technology will solve all of our problems, at least when he's standing in front of young and eager technology workers. What do you think?
(Barboza) When a folk-oriented acoustic guitarist records for Tompkins Square Records, it means he/she’s basically arrived. That label’s imprimatur implies excellence in this style, as releases by Daniel Bachman, James Blackshaw, Shawn McMillen, Mark Fosson, and many others have proved. Add Chicago-based Ryley Walker to this esteemed legacy. His 2014 album All Kinds of You is a gorgeous collection of serpentine, spangly instrumentals and soulful, Pentangle-esque ballads sung in Walker’s deeply felt, vibrantly grave tones. Calling him an American Bert Jansch might give Walker a big head, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. DAVE SEGAL
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(Crocodile) Rapper/singer Phonte (formerly of celebrated supergroup Little Brother) and Dutch producer Nicolay didn’t meet in person until after the release of their first album, Connected (hence their name), an instant classic based on its backstory and breezy indie-rap sound. All of the results since the two finally met and collaborated in person—including last year’s Love in Flying Colors—have taken a much more grown-n-sexy R&B approach than their debut, with Phonte almost completely abandoning rapping for singing, which he fortunately does well. Though fans of their initial head-nodding, backpacker-friendly stuff might be turned off by this, the Foreign Exchange’s music is pretty well-suited for a live environment, especially if it’s on a date night. MIKE RAMOS
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When Satya Nadella was named CEO of Microsoft earlier this year, I received an excited phone call from my parents.
“Did you hear the news? And he’s not just an Indian. He’s from Hyderabad,” my mother squawked, referring to the city in South India where she and my father are from.
Every time an Indian appears in a prominent position on the global stage, my parents join their fellow Indians in muffled cheers of pride and solidarity. Boasting does not come naturally to most Indians, who prefer others to recognize and advertise their merits. Yet when global society rewards one of their own by placing him in a position of power and prestige, many Indians’ modest veneer disintegrates into brazen self-satisfaction.
Over the years, the occasions for pride have multiplied as more Indians have assumed leadership positions in major multinational corporations. The CEOs of PepsiCo, MasterCard, Deutsche Bank, and Adobe Systems are all Indians. While the success of these Indians might frighten members of the far right, who worry that immigrants are poised to take over the world, many members of the business and academic communities celebrate Indians’ corporate ascent. Recent studies have found that Indian executives exhibit more humility as leaders and are more future-oriented than their Western counterparts. Perhaps capital in the 21st century is an Indian’s game.
McDonald's Corp. said its profit slipped in the second quarter as sales in the U.S. continued to flag.
The world's biggest hamburger chain has been struggling to boost sales in its flagship market amid intensifying competition, changing eating habits and the persistent financial struggles of its lower-income customers.
In the U.S., sales at established locations fell 1.5 percent for the period fewer customers came into its restaurants. The company, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, hasn't managed to raise the figure since October.
Executives also said they don't expect to see those numbers turn around anytime soon. I am unnaturally excited by the idea that Americans might finally be sick of eating McDonald's.
A self-proclaimed "very difficult man," Shaw was married eight times: Jane Cairns (1932–33, annulled); Margaret Allen (1934–37, divorced); actress Lana Turner (1940, divorced); Betty Kern, the daughter of songwriter Jerome Kern (1942–43, divorced); actress Ava Gardner (1945–46, divorced); Forever Amber author Kathleen Winsor (1946–48, annulled); actress Doris Dowling (1952–56, divorced); and actress Evelyn Keyes (1957–85, divorced). He had one son, Steven Kern, with Betty Kern, and another son, Jonathan Shaw, with Doris Dowling. Both Lana Turner and Ava Gardner later described Shaw as being extremely emotionally abusive. His controlling nature and incessant verbal abuse in fact drove Turner to have a nervous breakdown, soon after which she divorced him. Shaw also briefly dated actress Judy Garland in 1939.
Photo: retrogasm: Ava Gardner Style Icons are around us for eternity! http://t.co/Lj1Vs1wgOX
— Fogal~ Fan~ Annie (@AnneConnolly13) July 20, 2014
I doubt that anyone who's not already a nerd about local parks funding really got what the SECB was talking about in the opening of our endorsement on Proposition 1:
Jesus H. Christ, when was the last time the phrase "public park funding" got this controversial in Seattle? People are muttering about dark conspiracies and unelected this-and-that, and it all revolves around this wonky proposition concerning a new way to pay the taxes that fund our parks.
But remember: This is about taxes and control over a local resource, so there's sure to be some drama. Y'know, the kind of drama that a scrappy little "no" campaign run mostly by retirees might pitch—some homemade signs, maybe an angry community council meeting or two. Or, you know, maybe a co-chair of the parks campaign getting into a shoving match with bar owner Dave Meinert—OH WAIT, WHAAAAT?
YUP. Don Harper, co-chair of the anti-Prop-1 campaign, got into a physical scuffle with Meinert at the door of a pro-Prop-1 press conference yesterday.
It was even caught on tape:
The scuffle is right at the beginning there, about the first 10 seconds. Harper is the guy with gray hair and greenish blazer, Meinert is the darker-haired guy in the doorway. Initial reports of the interaction were along the lines of "Whoa, some guy just assaulted another guy at a parks rally!" Meinert and Harper, as you'd imagine, each characterize their interaction differently.
"This guy, who was a pretty big dude," Meinert said after the incident, "just literally grabbed me and shoved me out of the way."
The National Review is all over this most pressing of stories:
In his new book Clinton, Inc., which hits bookshelves today, [Daniel] Halper quotes a friend and law-school classmate of the former first lady and New York senator who says: “I think she’s acknowledged it, and if she hasn’t acknowledged it everybody else will tell you: She was an enthusiastic pot user.”
The commenters on the story at The Corner are outraged that a human being may have smoked marijuana:
Drunk or high. Both are indicators of someone that should not be trusted with the destiny of our country and the futures of our children.
1st we had Obama & his Choom antics...Do we really want Hillary's Chooma presidency next?....
Sure she smoked pot. Most democrats are drug users of sort of other.
Democrats have contributed much to our culture these last 50 years.
Abortion on demand. Rampant gay sex. Unlimited drug use. Aids.
Cohabitation. Alcohol abuse. Gambling addiction. Subsidized government free handouts. Oppressive taxation. Redistribution just to name a few.
No wonder they are called progressives.
probably gotta chunk of THC the size of a charcoal briquette lodged in her brain.
When asked about pot use on her book tour, Clinton replied: “I didn’t do it when I was young, I’m not going to start now." I don't claim to have any knowledge of what Clinton did or did not do as a young person, but I do know that I am looking forward to the day when politicians don't have to waste anyone's time with an accounting of their youthful marijuana use.
Hey, Capitol Hill. Know what? You look really good. Nearly half of you are in your 20s and 30s, according to census data. And on an average summer day, y’all look fly as fuck. Sure, there are cranes and outlandishly expensive new buildings sprouting up everywhere on Capitol Hill, but median income here is about $40k annually, meaning this is still a relatively working class—and yet colorful and stylish—neighborhood.
Sixty-one-year-old Frank Chopp embodies everything that Capitol Hill is not, but the SECB gave him a milquetoast endorsement anyway, perpetuating the myth that good Democrats can't sacrifice lazy incumbents in exchange for exciting young candidates with progressive values. We can think of plenty of reasons why you should vote for Jess Spear—and we'll get to those in a minute—but here's why you should vote against Chopp.
For one thing, Chopp doesn’t have a Twitter page, and when he came to the SECB, he said he didn’t have Twitter or Facebook accounts or even a real campaign website. (Turns out, his campaign created a Facebook page in April and now, it has a website.) It’s as if he was determined to hide in the background—actually, he told us this is his goal—and avoid connecting with or inspiring people.
And he’s totally clueless on pot. When the SECB asked Chopp about a bill from his own caucus that would have gutted the state’s protections for medical marijuana patients, he admitted he didn’t read it but moved the bill towards becoming law anyway and delegated another legislator to call one of our reporters to tell him what to do. (Real solid research and legislation there, buddy! Not that we aren’t flattered to be asked, but still. If a last-minute call to one of us stoners is the extent of the Speaker of the House’s engagement with one of the most high-stakes political issues in the state—and the country—these days… well, that’s not exactly a confidence builder in the wisdom and engagement of a politician who describes himself as an indispensable leader in state politics.)
This is in theory the second most powerful man in all of Washington. But at a time when the state is unconstitutionally failing to fund its own schools, Chopp refuses to use his prestige and platform do much of anything about it. Under his rule, Washington has developed the most regressive tax structure in the country. Perhaps that’s why Chopp’s campaign cash comes from the likes of the Washington Restaurant Association, Microsoft, and the likes of Boeing—which he showered with almost $9 billion in corporate tax breaks in return for a loophole-ridden promise to keep some jobs in the state. Would you have voted for that?
Bottom line: Chopp is bereft of the panache or the risk-taking style we see on the Hill every day. He makes promises, but he never comes through with the real deal.
Socialist Jess Spear is a serious challenger.
The Poet, the Preacher, the Bravest Man in the Universe—Bobby Womack was an elemental wizard of soul. Most of the greats, at their best, always seemed to exist in their own pure, lofty dimension—but Womack's gruff soul proved to be incredibly earthy, immediate, and relatable, while his falsetto tapped the heavens with a strident spirituality born in the church. Like all the rest, his best work came from pain, and he had his fair share—just as much as he had triumphs—over the course of a career that was incredibly diverse and enduring.
If, like me, you woke up this morning to the alarming news that a couple of activist judges basically curb-stomped Obamacare to death, you might want to read this ThinkProgress post, which explains the thinking behind the ruling:
The two Republicans’ decision rests on a glorified typo in the Affordable Care Act itself. Obamacare gives states a choice. They can either run their own health insurance exchange where their residents may buy health insurance, and receive subsidies to help them pay for that insurance if they qualify, or they can allow the federal government to run that exchange for them. Yet the plaintiffs’ in this case uncovered a drafting error in the statute where it appears to limit the subsidies to individuals who obtain insurance through “an Exchange established by the State.” Randolph and Griffith’s opinion concludes that this drafting error is the only thing that matters. In their words, “a federal Exchange is not an ‘Exchange established by the State,’” and that’s it. The upshot of this opinion is that 6.5 million Americans will lose their ability to afford health insurance, according to one estimate.
But now the news has changed again. We're basically in the middle of a court-fight:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a federal regulations that implemented subsidies that are vital to President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, in direct conflict with another ruling on the issue handed down earlier on Tuesday.
As the New York Times points out, there are more rulings from other courts on the way, too. It's the legal equivalent of a roller coaster! Keep your arms and legs inside the moving car at all times, because you may or may not have health insurance if your limbs are accidentally ripped off.
I am on vacation for all of July. But I've invited Mistress Matisse to handle the Savage Love letters of the day. Mistress Matisse is a writer, a dominatrix and a sex worker’s rights activist. She has a blog here and twitter here. The archive of her Stranger column, Control Tower, is here. Mistress Matisse will be answering your questions all week.
I'm a 27-year-old gay guy living in a medium-sized city, happily single. Over the last few years, I've had this recurring fantasy more and more: to watch a straight couple having sex. I started watching straight porn, and then I've ended up going to a few swingers clubs, where sometimes I end up being able to watch something hot and sometimes I don't, but I can never be really close up for reasons of etiquette. I've posted a couple of ads on CL, but those have never panned out to anything real, mostly because I'm not looking for a relationship, or to have sex with the woman... and also, perhaps, because there are lots of CL flakes.
I'm going on a business trip to a larger city next month, and it occurs to me that I could fulfill my fantasy in an ethical way by hiring sex workers. I've never paid for any sexual services before, but I have no moral qualm with it. However, no matter how much I Google, I can't figure out how I would find two escorts that would be willing to come together (pun intended). I can't find an individual escort who discusses the issue on his/her site and I can't find a discussion board or forum that mentions it. What should I do?
Wanna Watch Straight Sex
Mistress Matisse's response after the jump...
When I roll up to the Urban Buggy for an interview with owner Dennis Comer, he's taking out the trash. But tossing garbage bags is a picnic compared to what Comer did in the army. He served in the Gulf War in 1990–91, stationed in Doha, Qatar, and King Khalid Military City, Saudi Arabia. In 1993, he saw action in Somalia during the Black Hawk Down days and also did a combat tour in Bosnia. As a logistics officer and research analyst, he was in charge of making sure people and cargo got where they needed to go as safely and efficiently as possible, but he puts it like this: "I did 20 years in the military, pretty much doing what the military does: destroying the earth."
These days, Comer's dedicated to the healthier pursuit of bringing unpretentious vegan food to the Central District—a neighborhood largely devoid of such stuff—and farming his own produce as a member of Seattle Tilth. Open since March, his tiny Urban Buggy is mainly a carryout lunch deli that also offers gluten-free vegan pastries and cookies made by Comer's wife, Lillian Hill, who runs Brown Sugar Baking Company—conveniently located right next to the Urban Buggy on a residential stretch of 22nd Avenue South.
• Fires in Washington State Not Expected to Be Out Anytime Soon: Watch the haunting video of some of the devastation above.
• China Meat Scandal Hits Starbucks, Burger King: Gross, gross, GROSS.
A Shanghai broadcaster, Dragon TV, reported Sunday that Husi repackaged old beef and chicken and put new expiration dates on them. It said they were sold to McDonald's, KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants.
The company in question, Shanghai's Husi Food Co., has had its food processing plant "sealed." It is owned by OSI Group of Aurora, Illinois. Starbucks, Burger King, Papa John’s, McDonald’s, KFC, and Pizza Hut were all using meat from Husi. They all say they've stopped. Husi, for its part, is "appalled" by the report about its own meat. Globalization and factory farming lead to these global factory nightmares.
• Can a Veggie Burger Be as Good as a Meat-Burger?: The New York Times says yes. Related: Local veggie heroes Field Roast are at last making burgers. Anybody had one yet?
• President Obama Visits Seattle This Afternoon: His route, as usual, is secret; the fundraisers will cost up to $25,000 per plate. But the only reason you should really care seems to be traffic. Don't drive your car today. However, commuters found ways to get around yesterday despite I-90 closures. Let's throw in the towel on the tunnel already! I like Trent Moorman's idea to convert it to a multiuse dinner-theater arena with a paintball maze, a sheep-petting zoo, and 30 brand-new Skee-Ball machines—WITH a sports-book gambling quadrant and nine miles of electronic track for slot car racing. But, meanwhile...
• Federal Appeals Court Deals Setback to Obama's Health Care Law: No, no, NOOOOOOOOO.
• The Bodies from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Have Been Moved, or So It Seems: As the EU discusses sanctions... here's more live coverage from The Guardian.
• JetBlue Pilot Faces Heroin Charge: Not good.
• 11 Parents of Nigeria's Abducted Girls Die: The horror.
• Tour de France!: [redacted] wins the 16th stage, which looks like it had some pointy mountains.
• This One's for Kathleen: While the New Yorker has its archives open for summertime, everybody has to read this story about Keith Moon, whether you care about drumming or not. It's from 2010, and I unearthed the paper copy of the magazine when I was cleaning off my desk and read it again, and it is just a great piece of writing—truly great.
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas on Monday ordered 1,000 National Guard troops to the border with Mexico, seizing on a get-tough immigration message that foreshadows the approach to the current crisis by his party in Congress and that could position him in another bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Mr. Perry announced the move at the Texas Capitol, but many of the intended recipients were far away from here: members of Congress in Washington, including those who are fighting with President Obama; potential migrants in Central America who are contemplating a dangerous journey to the United States; and presidential caucus voters in Iowa, where Mr. Perry visited again over the weekend.
But let's get real and return to a story, "For Medicare, Immigrants Offer Surplus, Study Finds," that appeared in the NYT a year ago:
The study, led by researchers at Harvard Medical School, measured immigrants’ contributions to the part of Medicare that pays for hospital care, a trust fund that accounts for nearly half of the federal program’s revenue. It found that immigrants generated surpluses totaling $115 billion from 2002 to 2009. In comparison, the American-born population incurred a deficit of $28 billion over the same period.The reason for this is simply immigrants as a whole are younger and so do not take more out of the health system than they put in to it. The median age of Hispanics, the largest immigrant group in the US, is 27. The median age for standard white Americans is 42. In short: Deporting those kids in Texas is actually an act of national madness. And those who are holding long-term Treasury bonds need to assess the real future value of those assets against the current rate of deportations. Each young person who is deported equals a person who will not be around in the future to pay the ballooning medical expenses of an aging and retiring white population that spent a hella time doing nothing but sitting in cars.
Luckily, I don't often have days of a single, torturous song stuck in my head. I dunno why, but an earworm for me is a rare thing. Maybe it's because I'm constantly listening to music and nothing can get stuck on a loop? However, it does occasionally happen; sometimes it's good and some times it's, uh, slightly inappropriate. Right, today I woke up with Mingus' "II B.S." as my worm.
If you see me today, most likely you'll hear me whistling the horn bits. I CAN'T STOP! But, it IS Mingus, so I kinda don't wanna.
As the SECB tried to remember why we were doing this again, Smith conceded: "That's one thing we can agree on. I'm bald." Okay! Um. Anyway, guys, from what we can figure out, Rivers thinks Smith isn't doing his job, shouldn't represent the recently re-drawn Ninth District, and is "incompetent of culture" (which sounds like a racist dog whistle aimed at a white politician in a district that has a majority population of racial minorities). Yeesh. CONTINUE READING --->
Next EMP Pop Conference Set for April 16-19, 2015 in Seattle: Organizer Eric Weisbard recently announced on Twitter that next year’s EMP Pop Conference will happen in Seattle's EMP museum April 16-19. Inquiries about this academic gathering at which music critics, authors, thinkers, and enthusiasts deliver presentations about an overarching music-world concept should be directed to PopConference@EMPmuseum.org.
Kang Gets Downbeat? We just heard a rumor that Eyvind Kang, a local musician and composer, who with Jessika Kenney won the Genius Award for music in 2013, has won an award from the prestigious jazz journal Downbeat. Though Kang has some roots in jazz, he has a reputation for making some of the most otherworldly and eclectic music in the Pacific Northwest.
Office of Arts & Culture Wins NEA Grant: This e-mail arrived in our press-release hole today:
The City of Seattle is pleased to announce that the National Endowment for the Arts has selected the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture for an Our Town grant to support cultural space work in 2015 and 2016. The $50,000 grant will be applied to creating a Cultural Space Toolkit, which will be available to neighborhoods across the city by end of 2014. The grant was one of only 66 the NEA awarded this year.
Congratulations to the Office of Arts & Culture. Let's get some more cultural spaces in town, stat.
RIP Thomas Berger: News broke today that the prolific novelist died earlier this month at the age of 89. Stranger books editor Paul Constant suggests the following Berger books for people who'd like to give him a try: Little Big Man, Neighbors, The House Guest, and Adventures of the Artificial Woman.
Good News, Magazine Fans: As part of their brand-new redesign, the New Yorker has made their archives back to 2007 free for everyone. And wonderful magazine The Baffler just released 25 years' worth of archives available to the reading public for free, too. That oughta keep you busy for a while.
San Diego Comic-Con Is This Week: The Nerd High Holy Days are upon us, which is probably why Marvel Studios announced their next five years' worth of superhero movie release dates. Here's a queer guide to Comic-Con.
Get Your Cumberbatch On: After the jump, find a trailer for The Imitation Game, a movie coming out this fall starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing.
It, of course, is a story from Florida.
Salon's Scott Timberg has a piece about the grim financial straits in which many jazz and classical musicians find themselves due to poor payouts from streaming services like Spotify and Pandora. Man, is it depressing.
But between low royalties, opaque payout rates, declining record sales and suspicion that the major labels have cut deals with the streamers that leave musicians out of the equation, anger from the music business’s artier edges is slowing growing. It’s further proof of the lie of the “long tail.” The shift to digital is also helping to isolate these already marginalized genres: It has a decisive effect on what listeners can find, and on whether or not an artist can earn a living from his work. (Music streaming, in all genres, is up 42 percent for the first half of this year, according to Nielsen SoundScan, against the first half of 2013. Over the same period, CD sales fell 19.6 percent, and downloads, the industry’s previous savior, were down 11.6 percent.)...
[Indie labels] have been largely left out of the sweet deals struck with the streamers. Most of those deals are opaque; the informed speculation says that these arrangement are not good for musicians, especially those not on the few remaining majors.
Jazz historian Ted Gioia offers one possible solution to this seemingly hopeless situation. He says labels, in conjunction with their artists, need "to control their own streaming.... They need to work together with a new model, to control distribution and not rely on Apple, Amazon and everyone else. The music industry has always hated technology—they hated radio when it came out—and have always dragged their feet. They need to embrace technology and do it better.”
Do any jazz and classical musicians out in Slogland have any anecdotes to relate re: your own streaming payments?
Kelly O: "I wanna smoke some purple kush (that I bought legally last week, at a real legal weed store!) and then go see 'This is Your VCR on Drugs' at the Grand Illusion on Thursday."
Christopher Frizzelle: "I can't wait to see Richard Linklater's Boyhood, opening on Friday at the Harvard Exit."
Dave Segal: "Tuesday, I’m going to bask in the special glow of young, great American folk guitarist/singer Ryley Walker at Barboza and then head to Chop Suey to see how much East Coast noise rockers Magik Markers have mellowed out and if that is a good or a bad thing. Thursday, Revolver Bar’s hosting my old crew of PROG DJs, so I’m going to make the two-minute walk and enjoy their deep selections of prog-rock gems and fill the room with banter about obscure musicians 99.8 percent of the world has never cared about, nor ever will."
Charles Mudede: "Tomorrow, I'm giving a talk at Vermillion about urban growth without economic growth. As for the rest of the week, I'm preparing a talk called 'Adventures with Thomas Piketty' for the Smoke Farm Symposium, which happens this Saturday."
David Schmader: "This week, I'm determined not to be a drag and to participate. I will enjoy clams on the half shell and roller skates, roller skates."
A group of activists from Standing Against Foreclosure and Eviction (SAFE) sat outside Mayor Ed Murray's office for four hours today, asking that he intervene to prevent the eviction of veteran and his wife from their West Seattle home, until the mayor and his chief of staff came out and met with them this afternoon.
According to SAFE organizer Josh Farris, Murray told them "the SPD is not coming" to evict Byron and Jean Barton, and that he'd let the activists know if anything changes.
As I reported on Friday, SAFE—joined by members of Socialist Alternative, including state house candidate Jess Spear—surrounded the Bartons' West Seattle bungalow when King County Sheriff deputies arrived that morning to enforce an eviction order, following the foreclosure and sale of their house. The deputies attempted to evict the couple by loading Byron, who uses a wheelchair to get around, into an ambulance.
Supporters of the Bartons lay down in the way of the ambulance, preventing it from leaving, and the authorities eventually gave up. It's now fallen to Seattle police to enforce trespassing laws.
But activists demanded that they hold off, and the mayor has agreed. "He's has asked SPD not to act until we’ve explored all options," confirms mayoral spokesperson Megan Coppersmith. "That means essentially standing by while the latest court proceedings unwind." (The Bartons are currently challenging the legality of their foreclosure in court.)
"This is a small victory," Farris says. "We punched capitalism in the nuts and we won a battle."
Like the old Classics Illustrated line, which adapted the classics of literature to comics form, Catherine Ingram's new "This Is..." line brings the world of high art to the comics medium. Unlike Classics Illustrated, Ingram's books (This Is Pollock, with illustrator Peter Arkle, along with This Is Dali and This Is Warhol, which are both illustrated by Andrew Rae) tell the life stories of some of the biggest artists of the 20th century, explaining and contextualizing their work for a new audience. Some might argue with my characterization of these books as comics; a good portion of the books are made up of plain, non-fiction prose, illustrated with reproductions of the artists' work. But more than half of the information in the books is relayed by the combination of prose and original illustrations; as far as I'm concerned, that makes them comics.
And these are excellent, informative biographical comics. Rather than using panels and narrative, the comics in these volumes consist more of double-page spreads explaining, say, what a day in the life of Warhol's Silver Factory was like, or the attendees of Dali's Dream Ball, or life at Pollock's farm. Each of the three artists' lives are presented with a lot of detail and a decent amount of historical and cultural context. Ingram explains why Pollock's drip-style of painting was so important, for example, and she does so in clear and patient language. Because of the subjects, a lot of these narratives involve the cautious navigation of ego and fame, for which Ingram demonstrates a strong aptitude. But they do feel a little too friendly to the subjects; while we are introduced to Dali's galaxy-sized ego, for instance, we are exposed to very little criticism of the man and his work.
For an older teenage audience, or for novices interested in learning about some of the biggest names in modern art, the "This Is..." series is definitely appealing. You wouldn't be able to use these books to fake your way through an art history major, but they would at least set you down the right path to learning more about the artists in question. Hopefully, these books will sell well enough that Ingram can continue to document the lives of the artists. I'd love to see another three books in the series focusing on Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Diane Arbus, say, or another trio of artists who are not quite as ubiquitous as the men showcased in the first three volumes in the series.
Not only was it the hottest June on record, the month before that was the hottest May on record. Things are just hot in general.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month's average global temperature was 61.2 degrees, which is 1.3 degrees higher than the 20th century average. It beat 2010's old record by one-twentieth of a degree.
And that's only part of it. The world's oceans not only broke a monthly heat record at 62.7 degrees, but it was the hottest the oceans have been on record no matter what the month, Arndt said.
But, hey, remember when it snowed a couple years ago? So much for global warming!
• Satire king “Weird Al” Yankovic released a brand-new album last week—Mandatory Fun—with eight days of video releases expertly spoofing Iggy Azalea, Pharrell Williams, Charli XCX, Lorde, Robin Thicke, Crosby, Stills & Nash (?!), and more. Though his shtick is polarizing, we’re firmly planted in the “he’s a fucking genius and always has been” category. Stay weird!
• Sub Pop’s A&R squad hit up Chop Suey Saturday night to check out flamboyant LA prog-pop group Fever the Ghost. But one rep told us that he was more impressed with dynamic psych-rock openers Morgan Delt. “Their album’s fucking incredible,” the Sub Pop staffer said. He’s right. No offense to FTG, but we hope Sub Pop opts for Morgan Delt.
• Substrata 1.4 lived up to our high expectations. Rafael Anton Irisarri’s annual festival of experimental drone and ambient music featured nine acts July 17–19 at Wallingford’s beautiful Chapel Performance Space; all were compelling, and a few were sublime. Finnish producer Mika Vainio ruled, his set a shocking conflagration of extreme frequencies, tension-building pauses pregnant with danger, and sounds of otherworldly war. Mountains member Koen Holtkamp used his Eurorack module synthesizer to optimal effect, erecting radiant, oceanic drones and punching out manic, Subotnick-like passages that sounded like termites doing the cha-cha. Once again, Substrata gave us our highbrow musical highlight of the year.
Things must be terrible for Mars Hill Church right now. First, Pastor Mark Driscoll urged his flock to stay off the internet so they would avoid negative news about Mars Hill. Then they laid off staff, possibly due to fundraising difficulties.
And now it's gotten so bad that Mark Driscoll released a half-hour-long video on the Mars Hill website addressing this time as a "learning season" that he's calling an "overwhelming and a bit confusing" time in his church's life.
Driscoll referred to the times of organizational change during 2006-2007 and 2011-2012. He said those changes were made in response to church growth but added that he now believes that he could have handled those changes in a more “sympathetic” manner. He said the changes had some “adverse personal implications for the people and the leaders who were involved.” Some people “were hurt,” Driscoll said...Driscoll said that in the future the church would be using Bible based covenants with pastors and staff rather non-compete and non-disclosure agreements. While this sounds like a departure or improvement, without being able to see what is in the “covenants” it is hard to evaluate whether or not this is a sign of change.
Although Mars Hill has moved to remove fair use of their video materials from You Tube, Driscoll indicated that he was glad we live in a nation with freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
Ha ha ha ha. Generally, whenever someone has to say they're glad they live in a nation with freedom of speech, they're so deep in an avalanche of shit that they need a snorkel. You should watch the video; this is the closest to "humbled" I've ever seen Driscoll. And you should read Throckmorton's account of the video, too, because he explains all the topics that Driscoll purposefully avoids. This video isn't going to resolve any of Mars Hill's problems, but it is at least an admission that they have a problem, which definitely counts as progress. Two years ago, Mark Driscoll wouldn't have publicly admitted that ice cream melts in his mouth; now he's forced to talk about some of his many failings in public. This must be torture for him.
Spotted in the Beacon Hill Station:
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