NAF Studios, 6327 S Marginal Way SW, closed up shop in mid-October after a month of winding down its operations. Since the early '90s, the huge industrial structure on the shores of the Duwamish in West Seattle had provided practice spaces to over 50 bands (including several of those briefly famous "Seattle Scene" stars). It also served as a venue for giant all-ages (or 18-and-over) raves and concerts. The final public NAF event was "Organik" on September 14, an all-night blowout that featured some 36 DJs on four stages, along with the usual laser exhibitions, fashion shows, and Jones Soda promo displays. Shortly after that, NAF's practice-space tenants started to schlep their amps and instruments out of the building. NAF's owners have reportedly tried to find another practice-space site, which might or might not host shows, but nothing's a done deal yet.
Frank X. Kalberer, 93, founded Kalberer Hotel Supply and Kalberer Restaurant Supply in the early 1950s. The firm offered complete outfitting of indie eateries and hostelries. In 1996 Kalberer retired and sold off his Seattle operations to the Bargreen-Ellingson Company; family members still run the company's Portland operation, which is better known today for real-estate developments on its former warehouse sites. The original Seattle Kalberer warehouse complex--three buildings straddling the corner of Virginia Street and Terry Avenue-- became an artists' studio and musicians' practice space in the mid-'80s. One electronic-improv band that practiced there even called itself "Kalberer Hotel Supply." In 1999, dozens of anti-WTO protesters "squatted" in the Virginia Street Kalberer building, which has since been redeveloped for offices (but is now vacant). The Terry Avenue side of the Kalberer complex is currently being demolished for residential development. Frank Kalberer died October 16 in Seattle from unspecified causes.
Robert B. McMillen, 72, was the president and CEO of Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc. (TOTE) from 1977 to 1994. Shortly after McMillen took over the company, which ships cargo containers to and from Alaska, he announced plans for a big new terminal. This set off a bitter bidding war between the Port of Seattle and the Port of Tacoma (the latter ultimately submitted the low bid and won TOTE's business). The episode sparked a brief outcry in the local news media; politicians and pundits of the time decried the fact that, unlike the New York-New Jersey and Los Angeles-Long Beach port authorities, Puget Sound's seaports were separate entities whose competitive stances drove down prices for shippers but kept expenses high for taxpayers. (They still are, and still do.) McMillen was also a board member of the PONCHO arts-fundraising group, the Emerald Downs horseracing track, and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce. McMillen died October 12 of complications from kidney and heart disease.