American Vandal Is as Unsatisfying as Serial and Making a Murderer, Which Means It's a Success

Who drew the damn dicks?
Who drew the damn dicks? TYLER GOLDEN/NETFLIX

Netflix's new buzzy crime mockumentary, American Vandal, should be boring. The show, released on September 15, tests its audience's patience by stretching a basic dick joke across eight 30-minute episodes. But somehow it's...a time suck. I binged the whole season in one sitting and I don't even like dick jokes. Quick—watch the trailer:

After years of exaggerated praise, Netflix has released a slew of middling TV in 2017. Is American Vandal another mediocre streaming series? The show's recent press doesn't think so.

Headline round-up:
- American Vandal is the future of documentaries, not just dick jokes
- How to satirize true-crime series: With 'American Vandal,' school is in session
- Netflix’s American Vandal Is an Immature True-Crime Parody That’s … Almost Brilliant?

Lofty claims from lofty papers. But is it warranted? Well, if American Vandal teaches its viewers anything it's that the truth is elusive.

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Stronger Is Another Boston Marathon Bombing Movie


It's hard these days—when terrible things come at us so quickly, one after the other, without a break or a breath—to feel ready to memorialize anything. The Boston Marathon bombing happened only four years ago, and despite the fact that we’ve had several lifetimes of sadness between then and now, it feels like it just occurred. Are we ready for a movie about it?

What’s that? This is the SECOND movie about it? Patriot’s Day came out earlier this year? What? Why! Thankfully, Stronger isn’t another grubby Mark Wahlberg movie glossing up a real-life tragedy—instead, it’s a close study of a guy and a family who went through some shit. The guy, Jeff Bauman, became the face of the Boston Marathon bombing after a picture of his rescue from the scene landed on the front pages of newspapers across the world. He was hunched in a wheelchair and dazed, which is precisely how Jake Gyllenhaal portrays him in Stronger.

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Fremont Oktoberfest - Seattle’s Biggest Fall Beer Festival – returns with 100 beers on tap Friday, September 22 through Sunday, September 24

With 100 craft and German beers and ciders on tap, Fremont Oktoberfest is bigger than ever as beer lovers sip and sample their way through the streets of Fremont, September 22-24. New is a 10,000 square foot indoor sports bar with jumbo screens to watch the Hawks, Huskies, Cougs and more all weekend. Friday and Saturday are 21+ only, and Sunday welcomes the whole family as kids and dogs can attend with fun activities and games for all.

Get Tickets Here!

Seattle's "Nazi Ceramicist" Charles Krafft Is in the News Again

Hitler Idaho by Charles Krafft.
"Hitler Idaho" by Charles Krafft. FINE ARTS MUSEUMS OF SAN FRANCISCO

Patrik Hermansson, a "young, gay, anti-racist activist from Sweden," spent a year undercover in America's alt-right circles, which he writes about for Hope Not Hate. Part of his journey involved a trip to Seattle:

The day before the forum I’m invited to an exclusive barbecue in a suburb of Seattle at the house of Charles Krafft, the infamous Nazi ceramicist. His home is a temple to National Socialism. Swastikas cover the walls and Mein Kampf sits on the bookshelf, alongside works by Mussolini, Evola and WW2 paraphernalia.

Most of the people there are men between 17 and 25 and most carry guns. “We’re all about the 14 words” a guy called Kato tells me when I ask about Cascadia, referencing the infamous white supremacist slogan (“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”). “Whites are going to be a minority in this country by 2040,” he adds before telling me about the impending “race war."

There is much, much more.

Hermansson isn't the first person to expose Krafft's allegiance to the Nazis. In fact, that would be The Stranger's former art critic Jen Graves, who broke the story in 2013. It's a fascinating, disturbing tale, and you can read it here.

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Messages Seattleites Sent to the Mayor's Office About Ed Murray's Child Sex Abuse Allegations

A handful of people identifying as sex abuse survivors wrote in to ask the mayor to step down.
A few people identifying as sex abuse survivors wrote in to ask the mayor to step down. Karen Ducey/Getty Images

On Monday, we published excerpts from the e-mails city employees sent to Mayor Ed Murray's office after he was accused of sexually abusing four men as teenagers. With the exception of one note, all supported the mayor, and several expressed doubt about the trustworthiness of the accusers.

Between April 6, the day the Seattle Times first broke the news that the mayor had been accused of child sex abuse, and July 31, after which the same paper had published excerpts from an Oregon Child Protective Services report concluding Murray had abused his foster son, the Mayor's Office received about 400 constituent messages about the allegations. Seventy-three of these messages explicitly asked the mayor to resign, some on the first day of the news, and at least 52 offered support for Murray.

Plenty of messages contained invectives for the mayor, some linking his stance on other issues—gay rights, sanctuary cities, safe injection sites—to the allegations against him. We're not going to publish those. And we're not going to publish any that contain homophobic rhetoric. (The story got significant coverage on right-wing national media sites, which may have motivated some of that.)

Instead, here are excerpts from a sample of messages the Mayor's Office received, some from supporters, some from self-identified survivors of sexual abuse, some from people who minimized the allegations, and some from those who asked him to step down. As with the emails from city employees, we are not publishing the names of senders (with one exception: a message from Andy Rheaume, the Mayor of Bothell.)

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Save 20% on tickets to Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Jewels – all dressed up in glorious new tutus, tiaras & scenery at McCaw Hall.

Emeralds, Rubies and Diamonds grace the stage in Jewels, a mid-century homage to ballet in France, USA, and Russia with music by Faure, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. Created as a showcase for Balanchine’s favorite ballerinas, three distinct ballet styles are performed to perfection by PNB’s star dancers. Dressed up in new costumes and scenery by Jerome Kaplan of Don Quixote and Giselle fame. The Stranger readers save 20% on tickets.

Get Tickets Here!

Downtown Boys Discuss Labor and Liberation

DOWNTOWN BOYS is playing at the Vera Project TONIGHT at 7 pm, $10-$13. FARRAH SKEIKY

Downtown Boys aren’t interested in freedom unless everyone’s invited. Since the Providence, Rhode Island, punk band formed in 2011, they’ve made it their mission to challenge capitalist entities, including the music industry. True to form, their new album, Cost of Living, fearlessly critiques complacency as well as political and economic systems that only value excess.

Downtown Boys’ music moves you, both physically and emotionally. Across 12 tracks, lead vocalist Victoria Ruiz chants powerfully over feverish riffs and snappy saxophone. Cost of Living sounds raw but clean, thanks to spotless production from Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto. Bruce Springsteen’s influence is also apparent—the band even covered “Dancing in the Dark” on their last album, 2015’s Full Communism.

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Blabbermouth Podcast: Trump at the UN, Zombie Obamacare Is Back, and More!

Huge Elton John fan.

Dan Savage, Rich Smith, and Eli Sanders talk about Trump’s loopy and worrisome appearance at the United Nations (where he seemed to quote Elton John) and then they dive into the return of the Zombie Obamacare Repeal effort and what everyone needs to do about it.

After that, the joke police rule on whether Stephen Colbert went too far by letting Sean Spicer appear with him on the Emmy stage.

And finally, a question that got even more attention than usual this week: Is Donald Trump a white supremacist?


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Savage Love Letter of the Day: Always the Rando, Never the Boyfriend


I am a 27-year-old gay male living in Seattle. I have been in the hookup scene basically since I was 18 years old. At that time I was hooking up with multiple partners never using a condom. In the year 2016 I decided to keep track of the number of different sexual partners I had, that number at the end of 2016 was 172 different sexual partners only using a condom once or twice. I contacted Gonorrhea and Chlamydia during that time. I used various sources to hook up, Grindr, Scruff, and BBRTS, BBRTS is a website that is for gay men that like BB sex. This year I decided not to keep track and found another website called Sniffies that is also for more of the public scene, however most men on there don’t use condoms.

I am HIV- and been on Prep since March 2016 and I got in every three months to make sure that my kidney and liver functions are all okay and since I am there I get tested for everything else. I just recently tested positive for Chlamydia and gonorrhea again and I find myself sick to my stomach with it all. I take full responsibility for my actions but I just don’t know why I am constantly having multiple partners, and using my extra time all on these hookup apps. I feel like I am broken, I want a bf—never had one and never even been close, the only thing I am apparently good at is hooking up.

Please tell me what I should do or what I can do to make myself feel less broken? Is there something wrong with me? I would love some advice on this. Please.

Sick Of Losing Out

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The Tiger Hunter: Does Not Contain Tiger Hunting, but It Does Contain Other Stuff


The Tiger Hunter
is the fictional story of an Indian immigrant, Sami, who’s played by Community’s Danny Pudi and who does not, in fact, hunt tigers. But his dad did! We don’t really see any tiger hunting in this movie, which is fine with me. I like tigers, and that probably would have been sad. Anyway, Sami grows up in a small Indian town where his father—the actual tiger hunter—is a hero. Sami wants to be just like him, but somehow gets it into his head that Chicago is the place to make this happen. Oh, and all of this takes place in the 1970s, and Sami is also trying to prove to his childhood sweetheart that he’s a successful microwave engineer. Even excluding tigers, this movie has quite a bit going on.

The Tiger Hunter is like if a Bollywood romance and a Wes Anderson movie had a baby, then that baby grew up and had its own baby with My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It’s neither totally Indian, nor totally American. OR WAIT—maybe that’s exactly what it’s supposed to be? Like an immigrant, it’s both things, but neither—never wholly Indian nor American. The more I write about this, the more I realize this was pretty effectively done. Good job, movie!

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Win 2 Tickets to the Dream Syndicate's Sept. 30 Show at the Tractor, and Their New LP

The Dream Syndicate avoid midlife crisis on their great new comeback album.
The Dream Syndicate avoid midlife crisis on their great new comeback album. Chris Sikich

One of the better rock comebacks of the last decade has been that of the Dream Syndicate, catalysts in the short-lived but fertile Paisley Underground uprising in Southern California during the '80s. Extrapolating on the Velvet Underground's combustible combination of gorgeous melodies and artful noise sculpting, Steve Wynn and company created some of the most vital rock of the Reagan era with The Days of Wine and Roses (1982) and Medicine Show (1984).

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Shoreline Cat Murderer on the Loose

This is not the murdered cat.
This is not the murdered cat. Scott Olson/Getty Images

According to one of the darker press releases to ever cross my in-box, a cat was stolen from the Whisker City Cat Rescue in Shoreline Monday. The press release, which comes from Cindi West of the King County Sheriff’s Office of Media Relations, reads:

Yesterday around 12pm a volunteer with the Whisker City Cat Rescue, in the 1600 block of N183rd St, called police when she noticed an outside cat shelter had been broken into and the cat which had been housed inside was missing.

Shoreline Police responded and investigated the theft and burglary to the shelter. Inside the shelter police found a yellow blanket with green writing on it that said, “The homeless need a home… just not my backyard, not Richmond Beach.”

Just before 5pm the employee called police again and said she found the missing cat, dead in the facilities dumpster. The cat’s head had been crushed in.

King County Animal Control was advised and Shoreline Police returned to the scene. The cat’s body was eventually given to the owner who said she would take it to her vet for an examination. At this point there is no evidence that the cat was tortured prior to being killed.

Thank god for small blessings. And for Cindi West, who may have a career as a cat crime writer if the Sheriff's Department gig doesn't work out.

In any case, the mystery has been turned over the major crimes unit. No word yet on what kind of cat, but if you have information that could break this case, call the Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-3311.

Tickets On Sale NOW for The 13th Annual HUMP! Film Festival!


If you're wondering why there hasn't been a "Savage Love Letter of the Day" this week—or if you've seen me stumbling around Capitol Hill in a daze—it's because the HUMP! Jury met all day on Monday and Tuesday, watched and re-watched every one of this year's HUMP! submissions, and then locked ourselves in a conference room without food or water until we could finalize the list of films that will be featured at the 13th Annual HUMP! Film Festival.

It wasn't an easy task—there were so many great films to choose from this year! But the list has been finalized, the filmmakers have been notified (a big "hey, congrats!" to those whose films made it in, a sincere "maybe next year!" to those whose films didn't make it in), and the tickets to festival screenings in Seattle and Portland are on sale now! You can get your tickets by going to...


All the dirty details...

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Seattle Mystery Bookshop Will Close At the End of September

No more mysteries in Pioneer Square.
No more mysteries in Pioneer Square.

One of the few mystery bookshops around the world, and one of the dwindling number of bookstores in Pioneer Square, Seattle Mystery Bookshop will close up at the end of the day on September 30th. William D. Farley originally opened the store in 1990. When he retired in 1999, he handed off the business to the current shopkeep JB Dickey.

In January of 2016, a successful GoFundMe bought the store a year of life, but ultimately they were unable to find a buyer.

In a long and rather informative blogpost published Monday, Dickey offers an incisive and critical recent history of all the local, national, and international forces conspiring to screw over independent bookstores without sparing himself in the telling. It really is something. But ultimately, as he writes:

"We all fought hard to keep it going for years but the sharp bottom line is people have not been buying enough books from us to keep it working for a long time. Time to say goodbye."

WA Attorney General Sues Private Prison Company Over $1 Per Day Wages at Immigrant Jail

Protesters in solidarity with an inmate hunger strike at the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center.
Protesters in solidarity with an inmate hunger strike at the Tacoma Northwest Detention Center. NWDC RESISTANCE

After months of protests and hunger strikes at the Northwest Detention Center, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today his office is suing the detention center for its practice of paying inmates $1 a day or less for work inside the jail.

The lawsuit alleges both that GEO Group is violating state minimum wage laws and that it is unjustly profiting off of how little it’s paying inmates to do work for which it would otherwise have to pay employees the minimum wage. Ferguson said today he believes his is the first state attorney general’s office to ever bring “claims like this.”

Ferguson said an investigation by his office confirmed what inmates and advocates have said: Detainees at the private jail do janitorial, maintenance, and other work for $1 a day or commissary credits ("chips and candy," Ferguson said today).

State law exempts government facilities, including city, county, and state jails from paying the minimum wage. In a complaint filed today, the Attorney General's office argues that because the NWDC is a private facility, it is not covered by those exemptions. Those exemptions are "narrow and certainly don't apply to a for-profit corporation," Ferguson said today.

“Let’s be honest about what’s going on," Ferguson said. "GEO has a captive population of vulnerable individuals who cannot easily advocate for themselves. This corporation is exploiting those workers for their own profits."

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The New Stranger Debuts September 27


We're almost ready to show you what we've been working on. Debuting next Wednesday, September 27, the new biweekly Stranger will be more durable, beautiful, and longer-lasting. Jason Grube and Corianton Hale at Headquarters design studio have helped us update our look, and the new format allows more room for our award-winning work by Seattle's best writers.

Publisher/Overlord Tim Keck said it best:

We know this is a big deal, and this is why we’re doing it: Local media has to constantly evolve to stay relevant to readers and valuable to advertisers. We have to make sure that we’re delivering our journalism in a medium-appropriate way. And today’s Stranger readers use our website and mobile apps to find out the latest in news, arts, politics, food, and music—content they read in a hurry and on the go. They take our print publications home to read our features, often saving them and referring to them repeatedly, and using them to make longer-range entertainment plans.

Pick us up next Wednesday, Seattle.


Everett Area is Running Out of Needle Cleanup Kits

Washington State House Republicans/Flickr

Snohomish County, which includes Everett, is running out of needle cleanup kits, a sign of a heroin epidemic, officials say.

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