MONDAY, JANUARY 15 Dear readers: As many of you already know, Strangercrombie is The Stranger's annual holiday gift auction benefiting the hunger-fighting do-gooders at Northwest Harvest. Among the many items that helped this year's Strangercrombie earn a record $40,000 were the pages of The Stranger itself, with the content of everything from the front cover to the back comic sold to the highest bidder. This week brings the publication of each and every Strangercrombie-related Stranger item, including this week's Last Days, which was purchased by Rich Green, a terrifically sweet man who also happens to be the founder—along with his brother Dave—of Noise for the Needy, the local nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money for charitable causes through live music. As the group's website (www.noisefortheneedy.org) says, "The group is made up of musicians, promoters, artists, and volunteers," and tonight Last Days had the pleasure of meeting Noise for the Needy's core group of doers over dinner at West Seattle's Blackbird Cafe (of which the aforementioned Rich Green is a co-owner). Noise for the Needy 101: Each year the organization produces a series of live-music shows with local bands at a variety of local clubs; past participants include Mon Frere, Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter, Hypatia Lake, the Turn-Ons, and Plan B. Best of all, proceeds from the shows go directly to the year's selected beneficiary, which for 2007 is Rise n' Shine, the group that's been helping kids and teens affected by AIDS since 1988, whose history and mission you can read all about on page 15. (Rich Green purchased the Strangercrombie one-page article, too.) After getting us up to speed on this year's music fest—scheduled for a variety of clubs from June 5–10—the Noise for the Needy folk crammed Last Days' dance card with a week's worth of dates, appointments, meetings, and shindigs, which you can read all about in the following column. For today, Last Days gives thanks to our accomplished and unflappable Blackbird waitperson (waiting on a co-owner and his increasingly tipsy cohorts must be a distinct treat) and to Noise for the Needy publicist Alyssa Rhodes, who wisely recommended we try Blackbird's macaroni and cheese, which, along with the legendary offerings at West 5, cements West Seattle's stature as the Northwest's mac 'n' cheese mecca.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 16 Nothing happened today, unless you count the offer of marriage extended by Noise for the Needy director Jeffrey Henry to that dreamy lady who works as a bar-back at Bus Stop. "She said no," said Jeffrey, who sounded both wistful and relieved. "We slow-danced instead. It was better that way."
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17 Today Last Days' week of stalking various people associated with Noise for the Needy kicked into high gear, as we tagged along to the obstetrician appointment of NFTN founder and Strangercrombie all-star Rich Green and his eight-months-pregnant wife, Amy. After meeting in the waiting room of Northwest Women's Health Care at Swedish Medical Center, the parents to be and their guest columnist were escorted into the office of Dr. Karen Bohmke, who inquired after Amy's weight and urine (up two pounds and showing trace protein, respectively) then gelled up Amy's belly for some stethoscope-enabled eavesdropping. The baby's heartbeat sounded like a brisk tromp through fresh snow, and the sight of Amy's artfully tattooed ankles hovering above the fluffy padded stirrups warmed our heart. Best of luck to the first-time parents to be, who seem exceptionally well suited to the task at hand and who are doing things old-school: Not only don't they know the gender of the forthcoming young'un (Lucy if it's a girl, Dashiell if it's a boy, and hooray for either, say the parents), Amy is aiming to deliver the child without the aid of drugs. As someone who doesn't go to the movies without the aid of drugs, Last Days salutes her.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 18 Speaking of dramatic happenings in a doctor's office: The week continues with a brutal knife to the crotch of Cookie Kwan, the 7-month-old toy fox terrier belonging to Noise for the Needy board member Megan Kagel, who provides details on the spay. "After her operation, she was unable to lie down, so she literally stood up for hours. She'd start to fall asleep and sway like she was going to fall over and then wake herself up and stand upright again. This went on all night. We started our day at 5:00 a.m. with Cookie's first pain pill of the day. For the next week, she's required to wear a cone collar—also known as an Elizabethan Collar or E Collar—and she is not happy about it. At noon, my boyfriend Bobby and I took Cookie back to the vet to have her sutures checked and her temperature taken. After a lesson on how to actually pick her up without hurting her and how best to get her to go to the bathroom, it was back home for a day of rest. I'm glad to report that she is doing well."
FRIDAY, JANUARY 19 As we mentioned, Noise for the Needy is devoted to bettering the world through live music, and tonight Last Days went out into the field with NFTN's talent coordinator Michelle Smith, AKA DJ Mamma Casserole, the invaluable music scenester who dragged us along to the Black Lips/Invisible Eyes/Tall Birds show at the Crocodile. All three bands were new to us, and all three were entertaining, especially Invisible Eyes, who have one hell of a singer AND a full-time tambourine player. "Three years ago, that whole band slept in my bed," said our hostess during the Black Lips, just as the lead singer hocked a loogie in the air and caught it in his mouth. Tender memories.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 20 Nothing happened today, so Last Days decided to bug Noise for the Needy's volunteer coordinator, Darlene Nordyke, an apostate librarian now working in web administration, who dutifully answered the one and only question we put to her: What kind of records do apostate librarians working in web administration like? "The stuff I've gotten most recently is Townes Van Zandt's Anthology 1968–1979, Regina Spektor's Begin to Hope, Wings' Wild Life, and the Avett Brothers' Four Thieves Gone," says Darlene, instantly revealing herself as countless lonely record-geek boys' dream girl.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 21 The week ends with a booze-soaked shriek of horror—AKA karaoke at Bus Stop, the little Capitol Hill club that could, whose Sunday karaoke is the stuff of legend. Hosted by local treasure Ade, tonight's karaoke bash was the destination of choice for Noise for the Needy director Jeffrey Henry, with whom Last Days wrapped up our week of Strangercrombie-related fraternizing. Fittingly, the week ended as all beautiful things end: With a large, scotch-soaked man and a lithe, gender-bending man singing a duet of Little Shop of Horrors' "Suddenly, Seymour." Thank you, Noise for the Needy.
Attention Oscar obsessives: I finally have an outlet for the hours of aggressive obsession I'm required to devote to each year's Academy Awards: Starting this week on The Stranger's website, AA Meeting will be a weekly podcast devoted to all things Oscar, from nominees' odds to winner predictions to all the rest of that meaningless award-show bullshit I'm physically incapable of ignoring. See www.thestranger.com/podcasts. (And send Hot Tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.)