The calm before the storm.
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  • The calm before the storm.
This afternoon, City Hall will fill with adoring crowds there to witness the coronation inauguration of our new mayor, Ed Murray, city attorney Pete Holmes, and any newly elected or reelected council members, including Kshama Sawant. (They were all technically sworn in before December 31, but this is the one with music and cake and news cameras.)

Obviously, the spotlight's on Murray and Sawant, and the real fun part will be watching their two crowds mingle. I keep saying "crowds" because we're talking hundreds of people, perhaps more than a thousand, and the building's been buzzing with anticipation for days. The capacity of City Hall's lobby, where the ceremony was moved to accommodate a larger-than-usual audience, is 800 people, with overflow rooms set up nearby for 400 more. There are plenty of balconies around for gawkers to hang off of, too, but as outgoing council president Sally Clark said in the briefing this morning, the fire department will be watching like a hawk for the building to fill to capacity, so they're also ready to pipe the audio of the ceremony out onto the City Hall steps. According to the legislative department organizing the shindig, they'd already gotten more than 850 RSVPs as of last week.

But Sawant and Murray supporters don't tend to be the same people. Remember that postelection precinct-level analysis by consultant Benjamin Anderstone, who wrote that "Murray and Conlin shared nearly identical bases"? So this afternoon, expect City Hall to fill with scruffy Sawant supporters bearing signs and slogan T-shirts, while Murray's people will eventually leave the ceremony to head over to Benaroya Hall, where he's having an evening celebratory event. The excitement around his inauguration is a bit more complicated—it's a celebration of both the first gay mayor and the return of the establishment's candidate to the seat of power. And of course, both of them have drawn national attention, especially on the minimum wage issue, so the media frenzy is likely to be livelier than usual, too.

If you want to watch the ceremony from afar, you can do so right here, starting at 3:30 p.m.