A favorite cover from 2017
A favorite cover from 2017
There was a lot to lament in 2017. In the thick of it, amid the flood of terrible news and terrible new "truths" shit out by our current president in stinking, diarrhetic Twitter chunks, the year felt long and treacherous, but also seemed to speed by so overwhelmingly fast that we hardly had a chance to catch our breaths and appreciate the things we love and the things that give us hope.

The good news is that shitstorms tend to be the source of fruitful creativity, and as the Stranger was reporting on all the stank (and shaking our heads at all the other fucked up splatters that happened that we didn't have time to report on), we were also putting out some truly fantastic writing. Lots of it. So much, in fact, that you might (probably) have missed some great stories.

Because we read each other as voraciously as we consume news delivered outside these offices, and we are each others' biggest cheerleaders and fans, this Best of List looks back at some of the Stranger staff's favorite stories to come out of 2017, which range in mood and tone but are consistent in the high standard of quality our readers have come to expect. It's both a way of remembering the year that passed via its stories and news, and a way of reminding ourselves that it wasn't all bad.

Our selections from January through April of 2017 are included below. We'll post Part II and Part III over the next few days. Stay tuned...


Searching for Richard Spencer: What I Found in a Small Montana Town at the Center of a White Nationalist Troll Storm
Eli Sanders examined how a small liberal community in Montana fought back against Richard Spencer and his troll army.

We Survived Trump’s Inauguration
Heidi Groover and Sydney Brownstone spent four days in the nation’s capital dodging tear gas, rabid misogyny, and casual racism during the Trump Inauguration. But they still found reasons to hope.

Saturday’s Global Women’s Marches Were Massive and Inspiring. What Comes Next Is Even More Important.
By Sydney Brownstone and Heidi Groover.

From "aPodments" to Luxury One-Bedrooms, We Scoured Seattle to Find Out What the Rental Market is Like
A staff compilation from the January New to Town issue, in which we visited six apartments in neighborhoods accessible by transit to see what was offered. The 2018 New to Town issue is coming in mid-February.


Is Your Band Sexist, or Are Womxn Just Annoying?
By Ciara Dolan and Kim Selling
A cheeky but surprisingly revealing look at how bands consisting of only cis men can be misogynistic and demeaning, whether or not it is intended.


Seattle DIY Promoters Talk Safety in the Wake of the Ghost Ship Fire

Dave Segal looked at the safety practices of some Seattle's DIY event organizers and how they were affected following the lethal fire at Oakland's Ghost Ship artist work/live space.

Can the Arts Address Seattle's Homelessness Crisis in a Meaningful Way? Seattle Symphony Is Trying.
By Rich Smith, about the Seattle Symphony's Simple Gifts project.

Why We Protest: What I Learned at Westlake Park
Sean Nelson gets introspective and discusses how his detached feelings about protesting have changed. "...the sensation of becoming one little cell in the larger organism of resistance to Donald Trump and the contemptibility he exemplifies has been a gift."

RETRACTION: Milo Yiannopoulos Is Not a White Nationalist
Rich Smith had to write a retraction, and it is probably the best retraction you will ever read.

The Mystery Behind a Creepy, Hilarious, Official-Looking Sign About a "Plague" That Appeared in Ballard Recently
In which Christopher Frizzelle unravels a rather comical homespun mystery that started with a few well-placed signs.

Republican Congressman Dave Reichert Is Hiding from His Constituents
Rich Smith spent the year reporting on the political activities (or lack thereof) performed by terrible 8th District congressman/bad cop Dave Reichert, and it started with this great piece.

Dan Savage Went To Austria to Escape the U.S., But It Was Still Trump Time, All the Time
Even though he was thousands of miles and nine time zones away... Dan Savage couldn't escape the news from home.

The Most Unforgettable Oscars in the History of the Human Race
A climactic mix-up leads to a well-deserved win, by Charles Mudede.


Looking to Understand the Mind of Steve Bannon? Watch His Documentaries.
A depthy, rather intriguing feature in which Sean Nelson watches all 16 of Steve Bannon's awful films and tries to glean some meaning from them (while also trying to understand the man).

“Moxie Parade, Emoji of the Future” cover by Ellen Forney with Jacob Fennell.
“Moxie Parade, Emoji of the Future” cover by Ellen Forney with Jacob Fennell.
Adventures in Microdosing
Some experts claim that taking small amounts of LSD or psychedelic mushrooms can decrease depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. Katie Herzog decided to give it a try, with one mis-measured dose along the way.

How Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson Fought Trump and Won America's Heart
A profile of the state's AG by Sydney Brownstone and Heidi Groover, done when his battles against Trump really started picking up heat.

For Decades, Granny Was the Leader of a Pack of Endangered Orcas. Then One Day, She Disappeared.
Christopher Frizzelle's rather poignant piece about a beloved local orca that went missing.

What Americans Can Learn from Badass Russian Dissident Reporter Victoria Lomasko
Rich Smith's cover piece on Lomasko. "For more than five years, Lomasko has been spearheading Russia's graphic journalism movement. Her new book, Other Russias, translated by Thomas Campbell, documents and illustrates the plight of marginalized groups across the motherland: residents of vanishing villages in rural areas, far-right grassroots movements, LGBT film festivals carried out despite bomb threats, teens languishing in prisons, among others. You know, what we're dealing with right now in Trump's America."

Patrick Neill Gundran Is the Busker Worth Removing Your Earbuds For
Dave Segal profiles a talented musician who spends much of his time busking in light rail stations around Seattle.

Meet the Bellevue Libertarians Who Are Fighting Seattle's Progressive Housing Laws
Heidi Groover reports on the Bellevue-based Pacific Legal Foundation, which "hates big government, loves landlords, and wants to see your city in court."

Facing Allegations of Child Sex Abuse, Mayor Ed Murray Vows to Stay in Office and Keep Running for Reelection
By Heidi Groover.

Radiohead Was So Goddamn Good on Saturday Night That Life Briefly Seemed Tolerable Again
A long and thoughtful review about the concert from an amazing, still-relevant band, by Sean Nelson.

"I'm Not Lying": One of Mayor Murray's Alleged Victims Tells His Story
From Heidi Groover: "The Seattle Times may have broken the Ed Murray story, but Sydney Brownstone produced the most moving portrait of one of Murray’s accusers, Jeff Simpson."

The Heart of Whiteness: Ijeoma Oluo Interviews Rachel Dolezal, the White Woman Who Identifies as Black
One of our most-read stories of 2017.