TO BLOCK PARTY ORGANIZERS: I hate to say it, but I think I've attended my last Capitol Hill Block Party. What was once a celebration of local music with the occasional touring headliner thrown in has become Bumbershoot light. This year, there were so many people in such a confined space that I was tempted to call the fire department halfway through Friday. If there had been any kind of panic around the main stage, a lot of kids would have died. There was no way out, no way to get around, completely atrocious planning.
And... the sound sucked. Really, really bad.
I have a lot of great memories from Block Party over the years. And though it's lost me as an attendee, I implore the powers that be to fix the following three things for the kids who will keep going no matter what you do:
1. Downsize draw power. Les Savy Fav and the Hold Steady are plenty big to fill this place (Hold Steady verges on too big).
2. Fix the sound. It was unbelievably bad around the main stage.
3. Crowd flow. Before something terrible happens. Please.
Hope ya'll get it together.
TO DAN SAVAGE: I am an avid fan of your fantastic and important podcast [Savage Lovecast, online only]. I just this instant heard you mention that my favorite book is also your favorite book, and I want you to know that I, too, have read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich about 10 times cover to cover—unabridged—only I'm WAYYYY too slow a reader to read that thing even ONCE in my lifetime, which is why like six years ago I got the BOOK ON TAPE (it was I think like 47 90-minute cassettes) from the Santa Barbara Public Library. I paid tons of fines on it because I listened to it over and over again when I would drive back and forth from L.A. to Santa Barbara. It's two HUGE volumes that come separately. Don't get just one—it's so frustrating! It's read by someone excellent, and for the life of me I can't remember who it was. Could it have been BY THE AUTHOR? I think not. But maybe. Is Shirer even still living?
Anyway, just thought you might like to know. Probably the most fun thing I can imagine listening to on my iPod while walking my dog every day, other than your show, of course.
Take care and keep up the wonderful work.
RAZING THE BAR
DEAR DOMINIC HOLDEN: I am disappointed by the lack of fact gathering you did for your story ["Cut Off," July 24].
A simple public disclosure request at DPD will fill you in on some important details. The subjects of your story have been to the city for intake of their project twice, once in March and again in July. They did not show cocktails on their menu, only beer and wine. Their building is part of a town-house project. The entrance is not off of Union Street, but off of the more residential 25th Avenue.
"DPD's decision to oppose a neighborhood-friendly restaurant in the Central District conflicts with the department's recent support for mixed-use density and street life in other neighborhoods." This quote is a misrepresentation of the facts. A restaurant would be allowed in the proposed space; a bar has to go through a different process before the city can determine whether or not it would be allowed.
I thought journalism's first obligation was to the truth. What happened to it in your story?
Please, go the city, get your facts straight, and then rewrite the story.
Citizen of Seattle
DOMINIC HOLDEN RESPONDS: While the city could have called Tryst a restaurant, it decided instead it was a bar—a designation that would have required a permit the owners couldn't afford.
The ruling was based on the hours of food service, the layout of the establishment, and the fact that the restaurant would be restricted most days to patrons 21 and over. However, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Liquor Control Board said Tryst may have been slated to be 21 and over (except for a weekend brunch) because it was too small to include an all-ages section. Tryst had planned to serve a full menu, unlike many bars. In the end, the city's decision was arbitrary, and it conflicted with the wishes of the neighborhood. City rules allow food and alcohol service on that block. Restaurants like Tryst are good for neighborhoods. And the fact is, the city could have allowed it.