Did you know that before glossies like this one took over, Seattle's streets were littered with "alternative weeklies"? These papers weren't glossy, list-based magazines that told you what to buy; they were pulpy, cynical screeds published on messy newsprint—and they were totally free! It's no wonder most of them are dead!

The Seattle concert scene apparently didn't used to be all James Taylor and John Mellencamp! Founded in 1979, The Rocket was a biweekly paper that covered what some called a "local music scene." That "scene" consisted of amateur performers who were not ready for major labels playing in tiny clubs interspersed among Seattle's nabes. Although The Rocket's writers mostly covered bands with names too obscene to print in a family publication, they would occasionally put musical acts with real talent—like Sir Mix-A-Lot and Queensrÿche!—on the cover. Eventually, all that obscurity proved to be just too obscure, and on October 18, 2000, The Rocket faded away, taking the "homemade music" fad along with it.

The same month that The Rocket died, Tablet was born. Created by publishers who hated how pessimistic other alt-weekly papers were, Tablet covered the haps with a sincere, optimistic style that eschewed constraints like quality or editorial direction. Later Tablet added a glossy cover and started to cover events in Portland, too, but it stretched itself too thin and went under in 2005.

The Seattle Scroll operated from 1983 until 1999. In those pre-YouTube years, wannabe Robert Frosts and Emily Dickinsons would meet in Starbucks, Tully's, or Seattle's Bests across the city to have poetry readings. Not content with reading the "Footprints" poem over and over again, though, they created and read their own poetry! The Scroll was a monthly record of what happened at each so-called "open microphone" reading, as well as a calendar of upcoming readings, and it featured interviews with poets and winners of a kind of weird Poetry Olympics called "slams." The Scroll staff, beleaguered by continual money woes and a veritable smorgasbord of STDs acquired from dozens of hypersexual poetry-reading afterparties, gave up the literary ghost with a legendary all-iambic pentameter issue composed by local renaissance man Tom Skerritt.

The longest running alternative weekly in Seattle's history was, duh, the Seattle Weekly. Founded in 1897 as Dirk Longleley's Gazette of Happenings in Olde Seattle-Town and a Compleat Listing of Prostitutes Abiding Therein, the "Weakly," as it quickly became known, was eventually purchased by a massive media conglomerate that owns three thousand alternative weeklies across the country and whose editorial policy consists of republishing articles from the 1970s under new headlines. The last Seattle Weekly published before the new policy went into effect featured a riveting cover story examining Mayor Nickels' love of smooth jazz, which won the Pulitzer Prize.

The one remaining alternative weekly in Seattle, The Stranger, seems to be some kind of a sex tabloid published by and for deviants. By all accounts, it hasn't been funny since 1998. Industry analysts predict it will be dead by next Halloween.