The Stickiest Place in Seattle

Slog PM: New Light Rail Stations Open in Oct, Inslee Relaxes Reopening Metrics, and RIP DMX

......................................................god damn it
......................................................god damn it

A day after vowing not to change the reopening metrics, Governor Inslee changes the reopening metrics: Now counties need to fail to meet both state-approved hospitalization rate and case rate thresholds to automatically fall back a phase in Inslee's reopening plan, the Governor announced in an email Friday afternoon. The news comes after "more than a dozen" counties appeared at risk of failing to contain the virus to an acceptable degree ahead of the statewide check-in scheduled for Monday, and only a day after Inslee said during a press conference that changes to the metrics were not "a discretionary call by the governor."

Counties that are failing to meet both metrics include: "Adams, Asotin, Cowlitz, Douglas, Pend Oreille, Pierce*, Yakima," according to a tally from MyNorthwest. That asterisk next to Pierce County acknowledges a small difference between state and county data on case rates. King County currently meets both metrics, so we'll probably remain in Phase 3, but the trends are not looking great.

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Vivian Hua Is a Winner, Baby!

More unboxing videos from Vivian Hua, please.
More unboxing videos from Vivian Hua, please. Screenshot from NWFF's Instagram
At yesterday's SIFF opening night celebration, executive director Vivian Hua (華婷婷) and Northwest Film Forum received the 2021 Mayor’s Film Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film. Hua—a filmmaker, writer, and organizer in her own right—has been the executive director of NWFF since 2018. During her tenure, Hua and her crew expertly guided the theater on Capitol Hill through an ongoing pandemic that has fundamentally changed the film industry.

“As executive director of Northwest Film Forum, Vivian brings to her role a passion for preserving cultural space, centering work in equity and inclusivity, and finding ways to disrupt oppressive structures," said Durkan in a press release announcing the news.

Over phone, Hua told me she was happy to receive the award, especially as NWFF's first executive director of color. She emphasized the importance of hiring, mentoring, and uplifting people of color in all facets of the film industry. "I want and need to see change structurally," she told me. "Not just in terms of low wage positions, but actual positions of power."

In a fun "unboxing" video, Hua accepted the Dale Chihuly-designed award in front of the box stuffed with packing peanuts it came in. "As we're moving forward with really exciting things in Seattle's film industry... I hope we'll never forget who's always at the table. Who is telling the stories, who is greenlighting projects and why," she said.

Watch the rest of Hua's acceptance speech down below:


Seattle Public Utilities Wants to Turn Us All into Waterbenders

This is what it feels like to do urban planning.
This is what it feels like to do urban planning. Viktor Makhnov / Getty Images

Oooh hey hi, remember me, a droplet of water? You won’t believe where I’ve been lately: inside a pipe in the walls of your house, then you drank me and I spent some time circulating throughout your body, then we parted ways in a particularly undignified manner. Since then I’ve been splitting my time between local city sewer pipes, drifting up into the air and hanging out with my friends in a cloud, and then falling back onto your face and trickling down into your shoe to get your socks wet. (It’s nice to see your feet from the outside.)

We’ve been through a lot, haven’t we? Seems like we’re destined to be together. But get this — Seattle Public Utilities wants to come between us. They’re formulating a fifty-year plan to improve the city’s pipes and tubes, a plan that’s going to impact your life every single time you summon me by washing your hands, drinking from the tap, or taking a bath.

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SIFF 2021 Review: I'm Here for the Riz-Aissance of Riz Ahmed

Riz Ahmed in <em>Mogul Mowgli</em>.
Riz Ahmed in Mogul Mowgli. Courtesy of SIFF

Sound of Metal comparisons are inevitable with Mogul Mowgli—perhaps to the latter film's detriment. In both, British actor Riz Ahmed plays a strong-willed musician. In both, the characters experience a new health condition that swiftly changes their lives. In both, they must contend with a new reality and find new ways to survive.

While Sound of Metal is rooted in Ahmed's character's struggle with addiction, Mogul Mowgli pulls from Ahmed's experience of being a Pakistani Muslim raised in the United Kingdom. And though this project is obviously so personal for Ahmed (he co-wrote the film), it lacks the clarity of emotion presented in the other, very similar film. But that's not to say that Mogul Mowgli isn't an interesting exploration of identity, assimilation, and inherited trauma. Because it is. AND you get to hear the now Oscar-nominated Ahmed spit rhymes throughout the film, which is worth the price of admission.

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Watch the SPLIFF 2019 & 2020 Film Fests This Weekend FOR FREE!


It's Friday and we're ready for a bong hit and the weekend to start!

And starting RIGHT NOW, we're doing a flash giveaway for all SPLIFF fans. Watch SPLIFF 2019 or SPLIFF 2020 for FREE for the next 48 hours! Just select any ticket price, and plug in the promo code "STONER” during the checkout process. Your total will be reduced to $0, and you'll be able to watch the funnest, stoniest film fest ever FOR FREE!

For those just rolling out of bed, SPLIFF is the super fun film fest where filmmakers, artists, animators, and stoners share original film shorts that examine and/or celebrate cannabis and its liberating effects on our imaginations, appetites, libidos, and creative energies. At SPLIFF, you'll see films that will make you laugh, films that will make you think, and films that will make you ask, "What the fuck was that?!" SPLIFF is a film festival by stoners, for stoners.

And this FREE weekend long screening of SPLIFF 2019 or 2020 is just what you need to get PUMPED UP for the debut of SPLIFF 2021—debuting April 16 and playing though April 24! GET THEM TICKETS NOW AND HERE.

In the meantime, enjoy 48 hours of FREE screenings of SPLIFF 2019 and 2020. HURRAH! Now you know what you're doing this weekend!

Your Guide to a Socially Distanced Weekend in Seattle: Arab American Heritage Month, the Washington State Spring Fair, and More

The Washington State Spring Fair has returned, drive-thru style! Cruise to Puyallup to enjoy pig races, a Daffodil Parade, and more without breathing on strangers.
The Washington State Spring Fair has returned, drive-thru style! Cruise to Puyallup to enjoy pig races, a Daffodil Parade, and more without breathing on strangers. Washington State Fair

There's quite an eventful weekend ahead as far as national holidays are concerned, giving you an excuse to order takeout and books for the newly declared Arab American Heritage Month, go whale watching for Wildlife Week, stare at paintings for Slow Art Day, try new brews for Beer Day, and visit a dog-friendly patio for Pet Day. See those and more of our picks for COVID-compliant weekend activities and events below, like a Drive-Thru Spring Fair and places to get Euro-style happy hour (or "aperitivo hour" if you're at Il Nido). For even more options, read our guides to the best online events this week, the best movies to watch this week, and our complete guide to in-person things to do in Seattle.

Order takeout and books for Arab American Heritage Month, which was officially declared by the State Department on April 1! If you're looking for a way to honor the new designation, we suggest supporting some local Arab-owned restaurants, such as Mamnoon, Cedars of Lebanon, Damoori Kitchen, Cafe Munir, Tanoor, or Yalla. If you opt for takeout, bolster your tuck-in with a new book by an Arab American author, like Zaina Arafat's debut novel You Exist Too Much, which follows a queer Palestinian American through vignettes that toggle between the US and the Middle East; Olivia Abtahi's Perfectly Parvin, about a 14-year-old Iranian American girl seeking out a date to homecoming (approved by comedian Mitra Jourhari); or Laila Chatti's locally published collection Deluge, which explores themes of "shame, illness, grief, and gender, transmuting religious narratives through the lens of a young Arab American woman suffering a taboo female affliction." They're all available for purchase or pre-order from Elliott Bay and Third Place Books. Plus, if you're tuning into the Seattle International Film Festival this weekend, be sure to snag a ticket to Bassam Tariq's Mogul Mowgli, which stars Riz Ahmed (the first Muslim actor to be nominated for Best Actor) as a rapper forced to move back home to his traditional-minded Pakistani family after developing an autoimmune disorder.

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How to Grow Native Pacific Northwest Plants in a Tiny Apartment

This could be your living room.
This could be your living room. lolostock / getty images

Spring has sprung, the grass has ris, and anyone wondering where the birdies is should look no further than your local fern gully.

With the arrival of nice warm weather, it’s time to get yourself an attractive plant or two — preferably one that can be enjoyed by native pollinators and other PNW creatures. Washington's plants and animals have co-evolved to appreciate each other, and you can contribute to the wellbeing of our local ecosystem and your own nesting impulses with a potted plant or two.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. (On one trip to a chain store a few years ago, I asked for native plants; the bewildered clerk handed me some sort of vine and said, “Here you go, this one’s native to Florida.”)

A lot of the advice for native gardeners presumes that you have a yard. “Obtain fifty cubic feet of mulch,” a guide might advise, or “rent an excavator so you can dig a hole for a mature maple.” Not helpful for those of us confined to tiny little urban apartments! But don’t worry — it’s still easy to grow local.

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Seattle Sticker Patrol: The Stickiest Place in Seattle

The Gum Wall is one of the most disgusting places in the city—and it’s prime sticker spotting territory.

In today’s video edition of Sticker Patrol, I bounce around Pike Place looking at stickers by Indecline, Sophia Wolf, Starhead Boy, Sad King, PigBomb, Mr. Goose Art, and many more...

Which neighborhood should I go to next?

Will the Bizarre Behavior of an Elementary Particle Finally Reveal the Secrets of the Universe?

How the universe began...
How the universe began... pidjoe/

The first big physics story of the year is not hard to understand if its two sides are appreciated. There is a particle called a muon, which is related to the electron but is much bigger and is highly unstable. The muon almost immediately (in human terms) decays into others of its kind, called leptons (a electron and two neutrinos).

That is one side of the story. The other is the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics. Physicists don't like this model so much because, though it works better than others, it is not mathematically beautiful or anywhere near complete. It is baggy, yet, among other successes, it did accurately necessitate the existence of the Higgs' Boson (which, regrettably, is famously called the God Particle—more on that in a moment) a half century before its confirmation in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN.

There has not been much action in physics since this confirmation, and CERN has failed to find a whole bunch of new particles predicted by competing and more elegant models of nature's constituents. This, I think, is the source of the excitement around the muon's misbehavior.

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Tell Us Something Good, Linda Derschang


For the latest installment of our "Tell Us Something Good" celebrity recommendation series, we talked to Linda Derschang, CEO of the Derschang Group and its beloved cafes, restaurants, and bars (think Oddfellows, King’s Hardware, and Linda’s Tavern). She shared her favorite reads from the past year, the best places to get takeout (like Dino’s Tomato Pie), some of the online events she recommends (like Quarantine Book Club), and more. 

What has it been like heading a hospitality business during COVID? 

Honestly, the first six months were hell. I don’t have business partners, so I had to make many hard decisions on my own, for my company and my personal finances. It left me feeling very alone, scared, and so, so stressed out. Laying off 90 people last spring was one of the worst days of my career. And then later, many people didn’t want to come back. I’m so, so grateful to those that stayed and the ones that returned. True stars. You really see who shines and has grit going through something like this. I feel blessed to have the people around me that are still with us. Also, I hope to never go through the legal issues with landlords and the money stresses the past year brought again. A couple of my landlords were generous and understanding, though. I’ll always be grateful for that.

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Slog AM: Seattle No Longer Crane Capital, WSDOT Stupidly Plans New Downtown I-5 Lane, Inslee Fixing to Push Some Counties Back to Phase 2

We already have everything, but we still want more of everything in the transportation budget.
We already have everything, but we still want more of everything in the transportation budget. Charles Mudede

What utterly useless and costly thing is the Washington State Department of Transportation planning to do next? Begin building a new lane on the section of I-5 that passes through downtown Seattle. The lane will open late next year. The lane will solve nothing because lanes are not the problem. Cars are the problem. Cars are the traffic. We have too many of these space-consuming machines in a dense area. This is why, MyNorthwest, "the morning I-5 drive into Seattle is one of the worst congestion spots in the state." It is not a lack of room. More lanes, more parking spots, more and more of what has never (and never will) work.

As for all of you bike obsessives, why the fuck aren't you happy with this bike parking squid/sea monster looking thing in Ballard? Just look at it. Can't you see it's a bleeding work of art?

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Slog PM: Biden Saves National Archives, #GOPPedoRing, and It's the First Night of SIFF 2021!

A peek at my first round of movies Im trying to get through for this years SIFF, which kicks off tonight!
A peek at the first round of films we're trying to get through for this year's SIFF, which kicks off digitally tonight! SIFF

West Seattle Blog has updates on the new, updated rules on who can drive on the West Seattle low bridge: SDOT dropped the new rules today, and they include changes to open-to-all traffic hours and who can apply to have special access to use the lower bridge. Specifics here. And here's the presentation on the traffic updates:

In case you somehow missed it: We've got a big broken bridge. We assume everyone knows about our big broken bridge—but who knows! Maybe you just moved here!

Today in the Derek Chauvin murder trial, medical experts took the stand to reiterate what everyone except the defense seems to understand: George Floyd died of asphyxiation from Chauvin kneeling on his neck for nearly nine-and-a-half minutes, rather than the result of any health issues or drug use.

The pal of creepy-creep Rep. Matt Gaetz and wildly corrupt former Florida tax collector, Joel Greenberg, is expected to plead guilty to charges of sex trafficking and wire fraud: Aaaaaand who wants to bet that he'll happily flip on Gaetz to shave years off his prison time? (Hee, hee, heeeeeee.)

And I—


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Don't Be Absurd Is an Unnerving Investigation of Isolation

Go to the Frye to spend some time with Alice. Courtesy of the Frye

"Stick to the plan, Alice, stick to the plan."

The phrase is repeated over and over in (Don't Be Absurd) Alice in Parts, an exhibition by Seattle-based poet, performer, and artist Anastacia-Reneé that's up at the Frye Art Museum until April 25. "Alice" is Alice Metropolis, a character created, written, and performed by Anastacia-Reneé. Alice is a character who embodies and blurts out the thornier parts of existence.

The immersive Don't Be Absurd tracks Alice's struggle to be heard and acknowledged by her community as breast cancer and gentrification threaten to swallow her whole. The only route forward to survival is to "stick to the plan"—a.k.a. to quietly endure, as generations of Black women have before her, no matter the cost to their bodily health.

“Alice is your sister, your mother, yourself, your friend. Alice is an amalgamation of many, many Black women, and even BIPOC women,” Anastacia-Reneé told me in a recent phone interview. “From my point of view, there's a bit of Alice in all of us.”

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Want a Nice Park on Top of I-5? Too Bad, Democrats From the Suburbs Could Block It

We could literally be living in one of those society if memes
We could literally be living in one of those "society if" memes Lid I-5

Come, visit beautiful Washington state! Marvel at the gorgeous asphalt! Thrill to the sight of traffic-clogged arterials! DELIGHT in the majesty of Interstate Five, Seattle’s grand gash, a trench of sorrows where you can enjoy the quadruple-ecstasies of being stuck in traffic, churning out toxic pollution, contributing to oil wars, and taking up space that could have instead been used to relieve the burden on our woefully inadequate housing supply! Highways, is there any downside???

Maybe someday Seattle will unburden itself from the curse that is I-5. But until then, we can at least do the next best thing, and bury it underground like a dead skunk festering in a backyard. For years, planners have been campaigning for a lid on top of I-5, covering the scar with housing, parks, and useful space not unlike what already exists near the Convention Center, over a short span of I-90, and on a blip’s-worth of Mercer Island.

Wouldn’t that be nice? Yes, yes it would be lovely. So why are Democrats in Olympia trying to stop it?

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Weekend Watch List: SIFF 2021, The Man Who Sold His Skin, and More

In addition to its virtual program, the Seattle International Film Festival will host drive-in screenings of films from its Indigenous Showcase—including Fruits of Labor, which follows a Chicanx teenagers navigation of family life, farm life, and her dreams for the future—this weekend and next.
In addition to its virtual program, the Seattle International Film Festival will host drive-in screenings of films from its Indigenous Showcase—including Fruits of Labor, which follows a Chicanx teenager's navigation of family life, farm life, and her dreams for the future—this weekend and next. Fruits of Labor via Facebook

The 47th annual Seattle International Film Festival is the star of the show this week, bringing over 90 features and even more short films to your computer screen (and to the Skyline Drive-In on Friday and Saturday) from now to April 18. (Read reviews and recs from Stranger staffers here if you need help planning a watch list.) Beyond that, you've got the international Oscar nom The Man Who Sold His Skin streaming through Grand Illusion and Grand Cinema, the Melissa McCarthy- and Octavia Spencer-helmed superhero buddy comedy Thunder Force on Netflix, and more. See them all below, and find even more options on our on-demand calendar

Newly Streaming: Local Connection
The Man Who Sold His Skin
After fleeing the war in his country and landing in Lebanon, a Syrian man lets an artist turn his back into a piece of tattooed art in order to travel with him to an exhibition in Europe, where he plans to reunite with his girlfriend. Kaouther Ben Hania's film is up for an Oscar for Best International Feature.
Grand Illusion & Grand Cinema
Starting Friday

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