Anniversary Issue

What Were We Thinking?!


point/ counterpoint


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Where are they now?

Oct. 20, 1937: Stranger founder and publisher Tim Keck is born in a rickety lean-to on the muddy plains of Kentucky.

Sept. 23, 1991: First issue of The Stranger hits the streets. Content includes the first ever Savage Love, with Savage responding to fake letters fabricated by the staff; a film review of Barton Fink by editor-in-chief Matt Cook, who uses most of his word count to describe taking a bloody guy to the hospital; an ode to the Reuben sandwich; and quite possibly the worst headline we've ever come up with (displayed prominently on the cover): "Our calendar of events: What's afoot in funky Seattle."

Nov. 18, 1991: Clark Humphrey's MISC., a weekly compendium of media critique, pop culture tidbits, and praise for new breakfast cereals, begins its seven-year run.

Jan. 27, 1992: The Stranger receives its first letter from a reader decrying the paper's "hipper than thou" attitude. Despite The Stranger's policy of hiring only self-hating geeks, this complaint will follow the paper throughout its history.

April 30, 1992: LAPD officers are acquitted of beating Rodney King like a rug; riots ensue.

June 29, 1992: Peri Pakroo takes over as editor-in-chief.

Aug. 10, 1992: Christine Wenc takes over as editor-in-chief.

Nov. 1992: Bill Clinton becomes first Democratic President in 12 years.

Feb. 18, 1993: First Stranger Personals baby born. (Parents met via "Girls Seeking Boys," fell in love, reproduced.)

March 11, 1993: The Stranger publishes its first words of praise for the monorail, with writer Edward Cosgrove championing its "luxurious alacrity" and gushing, "I wish it went everywhere."

April 1993: The Stranger hosts its first city-wide Treasure Hunt, leading willing participants through a variety of humiliations for fantabulous prizes. Two more Treasure Hunts follow, each bigger than the last. Among the highlights: a surprise, SM-tinged pie-eating contest; a parade through Broadway Market; a 15-minute group dance in UW's Red Square; a chicken vivisection; and our publisher, Tim Keck, running a race against a head of broccoli and losing.

April 9, 1993: The Stranger publishes an exclusive, in-depth interview with Allen Ginsberg, with an entire page devoted to one of the old Beat dude's long-ass poems. The following day, poetry is forever banned from The Stranger.

April 19, 1993: Compound in Waco goes boom.

June 7, 1993: The Stranger publishes its first and only Wedding Guide (it was a joke). Eight years later, our "groom" cover model, Barry Wright, makes a second appearance on the cover, this time wrapped entirely in bacon.

July 7, 1993: Beloved local rocker Mia Zapata is found raped and murdered in the Central District. Out of this senseless tragedy comes one great good: Home Alive, a visionary local non-profit devoted to helping women keep themselves safe, protected, and, yes, alive.

July 12, 1993: Women throughout Seattle call for Dan Savage's head after he writes that vaginas resemble "canned hams dropped from a great height." The next week, Savage evens the score by writing that penises resemble oily sausages. No one complains.

July 19, 1993: I Love Television™, written by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey, makes its Stranger debut. Within months, the terms "fawking," "diaper gravy," and "Humpy's hot honey-baked ham" are firmly entrenched in the public lexicon.

Oct. 1993: U.S. military action in Somalia goes horribly wrong.

Oct. 11, 1993: S. P. Miskowski takes over as editor-in-chief.

Dec. 12, 1993: To honor the great Wiccan tradition, The Stranger publishes "Yule Celebration for Would-be Witches," a collection of Wiccan holiday tips. The following day, every employee involved in the publication of the piece is fired.

Feb. 23, 1994: Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan face off at the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.

March 4, 1994: The World Trade Center is bombed for the first time.

April 1994: Local goofballs the Presidents of the United States of America release their self-titled debut on Pop Llama Records. Included on the record is a song called "Stranger," inspired by The Stranger's popular "I Saw U" section. A year after the record's initial release, Columbia Records picks up the band and re-releases the album, which sells a ton and makes the Presidents gazillionaires.

April 8, 1994: Kurt Cobain takes drugs, shoots himself. The world mourns.

Sept. 13, 1994: In a move the paper will forever regret, the Seattle Weekly runs a splashy, in-depth cover story on an up 'n' coming drag queen sex columnist named Dan Savage.

Nov. 1994: The great Republican take-over.

Nov. 8, 1994: The Stranger helps local insomniacs with the column "Can't Get to Sleep in Seattle? Let's See What's Happening in the Seattle Weekly!"--the first of countless mean and pointless attacks on our pseudo-rival.

Nov. 15, 1994: The Stranger publishes its first three-color cover.

March 8, 1995: Stranger writer George Howland Jr. writes an editorial urging citizens to vote for light rail. Six months later, The Stranger trades Howland to the Weekly for a $20 gift certificate to Office Depot.

April 5, 1995: Dan Savage holds a contest in which the high school student who composes the best essay about the Louisiana Purchase gets to take Savage to his or her senior prom. The winner is a young lesbian from Bellevue's Newport High, who impresses her friends and tortures her enemies by arriving at the prom in a limo with a seven-foot drag queen.

April 19, 1995: Timothy McVeigh blows up the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, killing hundreds. Also today, The Stranger publishes its first cigarette ad.

June 14, 1995: In response to a state initiative filed by Christian fundamentalists outlawing adoption by homosexuals, Wm.™ Steven Humphrey files an initiative to outlaw adoption by Christian fundamentalists.

June 21, 1995: Goophus & Gallante, our Highlights for Children-inspired etiquette guide starring Wm.™ Steven Humphrey and Bradley Steinbacher, makes its debut with "Heterosexual Etiquette for Homosexual Establishments."

July 1995: founded. In May 1997, the company goes public. In 1999, founder Jeff Bezos is named Time's Person of the Year. In 2002, the company turns a profit. Sorta.

July 26, 1995: Emily White takes over as editor-in-chief.

Aug. 16, 1995: In a splashy exposé, writer Matthew Richter exposes the cell of white supremacists who have taken over Capitol Hill's Oddfellows Hall. Two weeks later, his body is found in a ravine in Burien.

Sept. 6, 1995: The Stranger publishes its graffiti issue, in which the editors scribble and doodle all over the pages, saving readers countless hours they would've spent writing all over The Stranger themselves.

Oct. 3, 1995: O. J. Simpson is acquitted of butchering his ex-wife and her boyfriend.

Nov. 1995: Seattle Commons proposal defeated by voters.

Nov. 8, 1995: After years of gouging the public with a 75¢ cover price, the Seattle Weekly goes free, placing itself alongside The Stranger at countless cafés and newsstands. The Stranger welcomes its new neighbor with its now-classic "I'm With Stupid" cover. (··PROD: Please include a pic of the "I'm With Stupid" cover, to make this joke work.)

Nov. 15, 1995: Danny Housman, the first music editor anyone at The Stranger can remember, bids Seattle adieu.

Nov. 22, 1995: Kathleen Wilson takes over as music editor, and The Stranger never has to worry about filling its letters page again.

April 17, 1996: Last Days debuts. The column is written by committee (and compiled by Rebecca Pellman) until Sean Nelson takes over in 1997. When Sean leaves to be a rock star, David Schmader takes over and refuses to let go.

May 8, 1996: Riz Rollins' column Paradise begins its glorious three-year run.

Sept. 23, 1996: In the Seattle Weekly's annual Best of Seattle poll, Dan Savage is voted best non-daily newspaper reporter, best columnist, and second-best radio personality. Savage also receives mentions in seven other categories, including Best Candidate for Governor and Most Admired Seattleite. To keep from repeating the humiliation, the next year the Weekly eliminates every category that Savage could feasibly be eligible for.

Oct. 1996: Unsatisfied with the usual Seattle Halloween happenings, The Stranger hosts its own haunted house in the vast basement of Moe (which would later become, etc.). Among the horrifying spectacles: the Hallway of Junkies, the Folk Singer Room, and a peephole through which attendees witness a drunken clown watching porn and masturbating.

Nov. 1996: Seattle Commons proposal is again defeated by voters; Bill Clinton becomes first Democratic President to serve two terms since Franklin Roosevelt.

April 23, 1997: James Cameron's crappy Titanic wins a zillion Oscars.

May 1997: The Stranger calls upon all brainiacs to woo us with their scientific knowledge at our first Science Fair, held at Moe. Some of the winning exhibits: a glowing pickle, a carbonated jetpack, and a sock monkey autopsy.

Aug. 21, 1997: The Stranger publishes its first celebrity-penned column, What's My Gripe? By Michael Stipe, which is quickly followed by What the Fuck? By Peter Buck, and Pay Those Bills With Mike Mills.

Aug. 31, 1997: Princess Diana dies.

Nov. 1997: Proposition 1, the monorail initiative, passes, and Nick Licata is elected to Seattle City Council.

Nov. 11, 1997: TTS, a gossip column penned by senior citizen Shirley Rodell-Szyzmyjec, debuts in The Stranger. Local newscasters quiver in fear.

Dec. 26, 1997: JonBenet Ramsey murdered.

Feb. 19, 1998: Turning the tables on MTV's Real World invasion of Seattle, The Stranger sponsors a contest to see which of our readers can capture the best footage of the Real World crew in action. No one can remember who won.

Aug. 1998: Everett True arrives from England, usurping Kathleen Wilson's position as music editor (she becomes a staff writer), as well as her title as the most maligned writer in Seattle.

Oct. 11, 1998: Charles Mudede's Police Beat makes its debut.

Dec. 1998: Needing someone to bring him coffee and clean up his vomit, Everett True hires an unpaid intern named Min Liao. Within 18 months, she rises to the position of managing editor.

Dec. 19, 1998: Bill Clinton is impeached.

Dec. 31, 1998: The Stranger publishes its "Best of 1998" issue, widely acknowledged as our lamest issue ever. On the cover is an ugly baby, later revealed to be a three-month-old David Schmader.

Feb. 25, 1999: Dan Savage drops the salutation "Hey Faggot" from Savage Love. Also today: To celebrate the weak, the ineffectual, and the downtrodden, The Stranger profiles Seattle's 37 Least Powerful People. Among the wusses are Dina Martina's stuffed-doll daughter Phoebe, King County Council Member Maggi Fimia, and local rabble-rouser Omari Tahir-Garrett, who two years later shakes off his "least powerful" label by hitting Paul Schell in the face with a megaphone.

March 1999: Jennifer Vogel takes over as editor-in-chief.

April 20, 1999: Massacre at Columbine High School.

July 16, 1999: John F. Kennedy Jr. dies in a self-piloted plane crash with his wife and sister-in-law.

July 22, 1999: The Stranger heads 100 miles north for our "Best of Nooksack" issue. Among the categories (and winners): Best Flower Butikk (Nilsen's Flower Butikk), Best Local Band (the Nooksack Valley Bluegrass Boys), and Best Place to Buy Sex Toys (the Whatcom Farmers Co-op's Country Store).

Nov. 1999: Judy Nicastro, beloved by The Stranger, is elected to the Seattle City Council.

Nov. 30, 1999: WTO riots in downtown Seattle make international headlines.

Dec. 1999: NATO bombs Kosovo.

Dec. 31, 1999: Falling prey to violent Y2K paranoia, The Stranger publishes its End of the World Issue, bidding adieu to everyone and everything.

Jan. 6, 2000: Refusing to acknowledge the failure of Y2K to destroy life as we know it, Stranger staff members refuse to touch their evil computers, resulting in our first entirely handwritten issue.

March 2000: In honor of the deliciousness of meat, The Stranger publishes its Meat Issue, instantly turning Seattle's love-and-let-love vegetarians into bloodthirsty mailers of death threats.

March 26, 2000: Kingdome goes boom.

May 2000: TTS columnist Shirley Rodell-Szyzmyjec passes her gossipy torch to Adrian Ryan, and It's All True (later called Celebrity I Saw U) is born.

May 11, 2000: To celebrate Seattle's talent-packed citizenry, The Stranger hosts Pizzazz!, our first annual, city-wide talent show. Hosted and curated by David Schmader, Pizzazz! features mind-blowing performances by the Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players, a 16-piece marimba band, and a man in a bunny suit who plays the Star Wars theme on a tuba.

June 1, 2000: Wm.™ Steven Humphrey hauls his honey-baked ham down to Portland to become editor-in-chief of The Stranger's new sister paper, The Portland Mercury.

June 23, 2000: Paul Allen's Experience Music Project opens at Seattle Center, with a weekend of shows from rock 'n' roll superstars. Two years later, most of the EMP staff is fired.

July 13, 2000: Tired of all the fucking around, The Stranger publishes its balls-out Monorail Issue, in which every argument against the monorail is handily refuted.

July 27, 2000: After a year of service, music editor Erin Franzman departs, and is replaced by a can of vegetarian haggis.

Aug. 2000: Jeff DeRoche takes over as music editor.

Aug. 1, 2000: To give the editorial staff a week off, The Stranger publishes its "Summer Fiction Issue," in which a novella by Monica Drake is run through every section of the paper. The tactic tickles some, infuriates others, and baffles many.

Nov. 8, 2000: I-53, the second monorail initiative, passes, and the city council looks like a bunch of idiots. Also, George W. Bush is elected President of the United States, kinda.

Jan 25, 2001: In response to Nicole Brodeur's scabby behavior during the daily newspaper strike, The Stranger instigates a war against the Seattle Times columnist, trashing her name and defiling her photo. A very good sport, Brodeur agrees to have lunch with our "Count the Nicole Brodeurs!" contest winner.

Feb. 23-24, 2001: Peep, The Stranger's first annual short film festival, is held at the Little Theatre.

Feb. 28, 2001: In the wee hours of the morning, Kristopher Kime is fatally attacked during a Mardi Gras riot in Pioneer Square. About eight hours later, Seattle is shaken by a magnitude 6.8 earthquake.

March 2001: After scoring a book deal, Jennifer Vogel departs, leaving David Schmader to preside as acting editor. After acting like an editor, Schmader impresses the staff by acting like a hobo walking against the wind.

Sept. 4, 2001: Boeing relocates its headquarters to Chicago.

Sept. 11, 2001: Islamic terrorists fly planes into the Pentagon, the towers of the World Trade Center, and a field in Pennsylvania, killing thousands of people and instigating the United States' "War on Terrorism."

Sept. 13, 2001: The Stranger publishes its first issue of the post-Sept. 11 age, featuring an stunningly beautiful cover by Sean Tejaratchi.

Nov. 2001: Mark Sidran loses the mayoral race to Greg Nickels. The Stranger nearly chokes on its own glee.

Nov. 29, 2001: The Stranger publishes its first annual Musicians Directory, an exhaustive catalog of local musical talent.

Dec. 2001: Dan Savage takes over as editor-in-chief.

April 11, 2000: After nearly a decade of loyal service, beloved film editor Andy Spletzer leaves The Stranger. Nation mourns, Frank Oz rejoices.