While it's nothing on the grunge years, Seattle is once again looming large on the pop-culture radar. The national media machines are starting their renewed buzzing about a Northwest music resurgence thanks to indie-pop darlings Death Cab for Cutie taking the number four Billboard slot with their latest release, Plans. (The sentimentalist in me loves the single "Soul Meets Body"—Ben Gibbard is a clever romantic.) Then there is the spread on "cool" indie kids from the Northwest in Nylon Guys (the newest version of the culture rag for the unshaven demographic) featuring members of current Seattle acts (the Bats of Belfry, the Vells, Band of Horses, Moon Rats) and musicians who used to call this berg home (Sam Jayne, Spencer Moody). If that weren't enough, one of Seattle's most notorious bars, the Cha Cha, will soon have a second home in Los Angeles. Multi-talented artist Kevin Willis recently made the move down south and he's taking a piece of the watering hole with him, opening the Silverlake Cha Cha Lounge in November. (In other bar news, Marcus Charles's newest drinking establishment, Spitfire, will open in the old Sit & Spin space in mid-Ctober.
For those who want to take it back to the roots of Seattle's more unwashed and unkempt days (but still want to maintain a healthy mind, body, and spirit, of course), Punk Rock Yoga classes are kicking off on Capitol Hill this October. The newest academy of anarchy and ass firming begins October 2 and will run Sundays from 6:30–8:00 p.m. at the Northwest Actors Studio (1100 E Pike St, hit www.punkrockyoga.com for more info). Or you can work out in a speedier aerobic fashion to Anna Oxygen, when the now-Portland-based electro-pop lady performs with the Blow and Yacht at the Seattle Art Museum. They'll energize the museum's entranceway from 5:30–7:30 pm on Thursday, September 22. Oxygen e-mailed me about the event with promises of a "laptop blowout with dancing and owl heads and spinning rainbows and stuff"; the show should also help promote her new single on Kill Rock Stars.
The Hurricane Katrina victim benefits just keep coming together. Aside from the generous donations from clubs and musicians performing for charities, locals are getting increasingly creative in their money-raising efforts. Powerhouse photographer Charles Peterson sold 85 prints from his renowned Nirvana series to donors whose money went to charity—raising over $17,000 overall. The Eagle gave its regular "Bareback Thursdays" a very special twist by auctioning the shirts off local luminaries' backs (bands, promoters, scenesters) that took in $1,000. The intrepid Mamma Casserole (AKA Michelle Smith) is planning another sort of auction for the New Orleans Musician Relief Fund Saturday, October 1, at Re-bar. Along with DJs Whiplash, Girth, and Casserole, the event will feature performances by the Turn-Ons, New Fangs, Tourist, and Bullfighter. Anyone wishing to donate goods or services for this good cause (they're looking for everything from massages to meals to mechanics to music to be auctioned) should e-mail Mamma at firstname.lastname@example.org.