I remember well my first conversation with Zac Pennington: an argument over which boy band was better, *NSYNC or Backstreet Boys. He, embarrassingly enough, was siding for Backstreet Boys, and I was the *NSYNC supporter.

Since that fateful day, I've been happy to claim Zac Pennington as one of my favorite friends. This was long before either of us worked at The Stranger, long before Zac cofounded both the Slender Means Society and Loss Leader, long before he decided to up and die on us.

Yes, that's right--it is with great sadness that I report that the man who left a definite creative mark on the all-ages community is leaving our city for greener grass in Portland.

So no, Zac Pennington isn't really dying, so to speak, but as far as his life here in Seattle goes, well, it's over. And he's taking the Slender Means Society, the two-year-strong all-ages art and music organization down with him.

SMS, if you aren't familiar, started in the fall of 2001, cofounded by both Pennington and Devin Welch. The idea was, as Zac explained, "to challenge artists and musicians to do something outside of their normal thing by forcing them to work within thematic parameters."

Hosting events with concepts like "The Relationship Show," and bringing in performers like Calvin Johnson, Miranda July, and the Typing Explosion, SMS would draw in modest but still impressive numbers of local kids not afraid to see music and art outside of a rock club setting. Since its inception, SMS has become a fixture in the all-ages community.

Only the good die young.

"I'm a person who's really obsessed with death," Pennington explained, "and I really like the idea of committing the ultimate vanity of attending my own funeral, a fantasy that I think most people have at least thought about.

"I know there's never gonna be another opportunity to do that, so at the funeral for Slender Means Society, I decided I would bite my vain bullet and just do it."

He grinned his infamous smart-ass grin, a grin that I've grown to love as much as loathe.

So this Saturday, November 29, at Luscious Studios, the Slender Means Society presents the Death Show--showcasing the death of the Slender Means Society, and, as far as Seattle is concerned, the death of Zac Pennington. (Yes, he's always been this dramatic.)

Many of the funeral's details are under wraps, but I can tell you that Zac's death has a bitchin' soundtrack. Musical guests at the show include Doomsday 1999, Ghost to Falco, the Badger King, Mount Eerie, Display, and Nikaidoh Kazumi.

The rest of the details, well, that's a surprise.

So to Zac, it's with a tear in my eye that I say to you: I'll miss our daily lunches, I'll miss you explaining your opinion of the entire Radiohead discography using baked Doritos as props, and I'll probably miss you bumming 60 cents off me every day for a stupid Mountain Dew.

And to Portland, you treat him well, because Zac Pennington has a posse. MEGAN SELING