Embrace loud music, for it is the only thing that can bind us together as a community! We don't celebrate New Year's together, of course, because we'd get blown to bits by Algerians; we each watch our own Fourth of July fireworks, depending on whether we happen to be closer to Lake Union, Elliott Bay, or the Evergreen Speedway--where, incidentally, the patriotism that informed my last column was reborn exactly two years ago, immediately following the demolition derby, during a fireworks display set to patriotic hymns by Neil Diamond and Lee Greenwood.

Due to a trick of wind currents and acoustics, only a concert at Seattle Center's Memorial Stadium can truly join the city in harmonious union. We thus need events like the EMP opening weekend to bring us together as a culture. I will always remember that glorious Friday two weeks ago when I walked with friends in Volunteer Park, when the lawn north of the reservoir began to reverberate with the pulse of an 808 kick drum. I was thinking some rich kid's parents had gone out of town, and he was throwing a kegger in their ritzy house just west of the park, blasting Doggy Style--until I realized that a high-school kid would hardly be listening to a seven-year-old rap CD, which meant that the bass thump and Snoop Dogg's sublimely laconic rap style were in fact traveling great distances from the EMP-sponsored Snoop/Dr. Dre/Eminem performance at Seattle Center's Memorial Stadium. Soothed by the G Funk, the park luxuriated in the beginnings of summer, and I like to imagine a similar scene unfolding in parks and backyards across Seattle.

This feeling of universal goodwill prevailed all the way to the following afternoon, when, instead of Snoop getting funky on that ass like an old batch of collard greens, the insufferably pretentious (despite being avowedly middle-of-the-road) rock band Matchbox Twenty filled the late afternoon air with their whining. The previous day's fragile unity wafted away like so much stale pot smoke, not to return until the Blue Angels' early August reign of terror over the skies of Seattle reunites us, this time in fear and loathing.


And speaking of Neil Diamond, someone berated me for leaving his immigration-celebrating "(Coming to) America" out of last week's discussion of the lack of appropriate rock songs for Fourth of July festivities. It is true that "America" is a great patriotic hymn. But I must remind you that, as all movie buffs know, Neil Diamond is, in fact, a jazz singer.


Seattle does not have a true contemporary art museum, despite the sometime-ambitions to such a role by the Henry Art Gallery and the Center on Contemporary Art. In its place, we're getting the Seattle Public Library, whose downtown building project is becoming more and more reminiscent of an international arts festival: a mini Documenta or Venice Biennale in permanent, year-round form. There's Rem Koolhaas, designing the building; his crony Bruce Mau developing a new logo and other graphic elements for the institution. Petra Blaise, "soft architect" of curtains and pillows, is making highbrow comfort zones within the metal and glass enclosure. And the newest addition to this jet-set team is a curator from the Guggenheim, and another from the Euro-art-festival circuit. Nancy Spector and Hans-Ulrich Obrist have been selected over artists including Jorge Pardo and Do-Ho Suh to serve as arts planners for the new library. The pair's proposal included a lot of business about new media, which is important since the library is slated to have digitized floors and walls that will need material programmed for them. Spector and Obrist will have about $900,000 to spend on art for the library, which is approximately $900,000 more than the acquisition budgets of the Henry and CoCA put together.

Send gossip and complaints to eric@thestranger.com.