Inslee Says Washington Will Fully Reopen by the End of June

Slog PM: Show Your Lips if You Got That Juice, Washington Reopens on June 30, BBQ Drama

Hey, youre vaccinated right?
Hey, you're vaccinated right? Svetikd/Getty Images
Pucker up: The CDC says you can regularly flash your face at strangers if you're vaccinated. In a major shift, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today that fully vaccinated Americans can go maskless and give up physical distancing in a majority of cases, both indoors and outdoors. In some places, like airplanes and health care settings, masks may continue to be required. Obviously, the key phrase here is fully vaccinated, and guidelines differ between states.

As for Washington state?

Inslee said Washington will also immediately implement the Centers for Disease Control's new mask guidance, which allows fully vaccinated people to go maskless outdoors and in most places indoors, excepting schools, hospitals, and public transit. Those who are fully vaccinated, for instance, can walk into grocery stores without wearing a mask. Business owners retain the right to maintain mask requirements, and they can require customers to show proof of immunization, though. Valid vax proofs include vaccination cards, or digital versions of those cards, which you can find at

Along with that announcement today, Inslee let the state know that...

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Should Mayor Jenny Durkan Resign Over Those Missing Texts?

Are we cool accepting that eight city officials lost a bunch of texts, or shall we don our tinfoil hats?
Are we cool accepting that eight city officials lost a bunch of texts, or shall we don our tinfoil hats? SCREENSHOT OF THE SEATTLE CHANNEL

Mayor Jenny Durkan's missing text messages scandal could serve as the fulfillment of a prophesy implied by that cursed Thelma and Louise comparison she made last summer. At the height of 2020's protests, Durkan joked that she and ex-Seattle Police Department Chief Carmen Best toyed with the idea of "having a Thelma and Louise moment" and resigning as a team, but they ultimately decided otherwise. Best resigned two months later.

A month short of a year since she made those comments, Durkan is now feeling the heat over months of missing text messages from her phone, some from around the time her Thelma and Louise joke was in vogue. The majority of candidates running for mayor called for an investigation into Durkan's and other city officials' missing text messages. (I guess we're calling it textgate?). Some even called for her resignation.

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Whim W’Him Launches WONDER BEYOND, Featuring New Dance Films by Joseph Hernadez and local choreography duo FLOCK

Whim W’Him’s all-digital Season 11 concludes with WONDER BEYOND, featuring new contemporary dance films by Joseph Hernandez and FLOCK. WONDER BEYOND launches on Thursday, May 27, 2021, with a free, behind-the-scenes Dance & Tell Facebook Live event at 6:00 p.m. PDT, followed immediately by the film release on Whim W’Him’s streaming service, IN-With-WHIM, at 7:00 p.m PDT. Access passes start at $5. Visit to learn more.

Washington Will Fully Reopen by June 30, Inslee Announces

In other news, get ready for some gift cards for the fully vaccinated!!! Its not a million dollars, but its something.
In other news, get ready for some gift cards for the fully vaccinated!!! It's not a million dollars, but it's something. LESTER BLACK

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that the state was "on track for a full reopening of our economy by June 30," according to prepared remarks.

Next Tuesday all counties will move into Phase 3 of the state's mercurial 'Healthy Washington' reopening plan, including those in Pierce County who have been suffering the indignities of mitigation efforts designed to reduce pain, sickness, and suffering. "Most indoor activities" will remain at 50% capacity statewide after that, but by the end of next month public spaces such as "restaurants, movie theaters, bowling alleys, you name it" will return to full capacity.

Those who are already fully vaccinated, however, can enjoy "additional activities with fewer restrictions" effective immediately, Inslee said. "Spectator events, such as indoor and outdoor sports, will no longer have limits on the number of vaccinated attendees. Small cruise ships with less than 250 passengers can sail if crew and 95% of passengers are vaccinated. This will apply to conferences and live performances, weddings and funeral receptions as well," he said.

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Lots of People Are Really Mad at Seattle for Being in the Top Ten BBQ Cities

According to ordinary America, Seattle is permitted to have a top BBQ joint. But it cannot be one of the top BBQ cities in the US. Why?
According to ordinary America, Seattle is permitted to have a top BBQ joint. But it cannot be one of the top BBQ cities in the US. Why? Charles Mudede

At the end of last month, a small business not far from my place in Columbia City, Lil Red’s Takeout & Catering, found itself in the pages of a new book, Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue, by Adrian Miller.

The author, as Seattle Times' Bethany Clement pointed out, is a "James Beard Book Award winner and certified Kansas City Barbeque Society judge"; and so his determination that Lil Red’s was one of the top black-owned barbecue joints in the US put it on the map. Suddenly, something appeared at this small restaurant that I've never seen in the entire time I've known of its existence (2 years): a line to the counter. Indeed, the business was so busy during Mother's Day weekend that it even ran out of food to cook and sell.

A text from a friend:

Lil Red's got a national write up of the top 20 black owned businesses in the United States and now you can't even get in there. People are lining up outside that place; [my husband] tried to get me some jerk chicken for Mother's Day, he waited in line outside for like 15 minutes, and didn't get anything because they ran out of food!

Selecting Lil Red’s as one of the top US BBQ spots was not controversial. It seemed plausible that Seattle could have at least one such business deserving of that honor. The feeling of plausibility, however, instantly evaporated when today, May 13, the website Chef’s Pencil, a "resource for professional chef recipes, professional cooking advice, and news from the culinary industry," placed Seattle in the seventh position for top BBQ cities in the US.

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Weekly Watch List: The Underground Railroad, There Is No Evil, and More

A Barry Jenkins adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Underground Railroad comes to Amazon Prime on Friday.
A Barry Jenkins adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Underground Railroad comes to Amazon Prime on Friday. Kyle Kaplan / Amazon Studios

If variety is the spice of life, local theaters are heading into a very spicy week. Read on for the latest batch of streaming options (like a 4K restoration of the classic Melvin Van Peebles film The Story of a Three-Day Pass via Grand Illusion), as well as in-person screenings (like Ben Sharrock's Limbo at Regal Meridian and Tacoma's Grand Cinema) and other new releases hitting nationwide platforms (like Barry Jenkins's The Underground Railroad on Amazon Prime). Plus, if you're feeling spooky, the 2020 edition of The Stranger's horror short-film festival SLAY is now on-demand, and the next iteration is accepting submissions through September 15! For more options, check out our on-demand calendar or our guides to drive-in movies and other streaming events this week

Newly Streaming: Local Connection
Los Hermanos/The Brothers
Two Cuban-born brothers live on opposite sides of the geopolitical chasm that separates their birth country from the U.S., but their shared love of music (and their exceptional gift for playing it) keeps them connected and eventually reunites them. Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider's doc follows the brothers' parallel lives in New York and Havana while examining the changing relationship between the two countries. 
Northwest Film Forum
Starting Friday

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Chief Diaz Refuses to Discipline Cop Who Started a Riot Over a Pink Umbrella, and His Reasoning Is Fucking Ahistorical

The cop who ordered other cops to gas a neighborhood will face no accountability for violating SPD policy.
The cop who ordered other cops to gas a neighborhood on this day will face no discipline from his superiors. RS

In a letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan and Council President Lorena Gonzalez, interim Seattle Police chief Adrian Diaz said he declined the Office of Police Accountability recommendation to discipline the East Precinct commander who ordered cops to launch tear gas and blast balls at a largely peaceful crowd after a tussle over a pink umbrella.

That "pink umbrella" incident established 11th and Pine as the primary protest zone in Seattle last summer, and transformed the anger about racist police brutality in the US more broadly into anger about the Seattle Police Department's racist brutality in particular, a grievance that carries on to this day both in the streets and in City Hall.

If you don't remember what that moment looked like, then allow the Wall Street Journal to break it down for you:

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Portland Also Isn't Dying


This rant was originally published on our sister paper The Portland Mercury's blog, Blogtown. Get updates from the Rose City over here.

Citizens and lovers of Portland: I regret to inform you that the internet has given birth to yet another tiring, thoughtless “Portland is dying” think piece—this one courtesy of KOIN news.

I can’t imagine that viewers were clamoring for such a story, since it’s been done (so terribly) before, but KOIN’s recent article “From Wonderful to War Zone: Portland’s Reputation Transformation”—posing the unasked-for question, “Is Portland Over?”—takes the trope to new and dizzying heights.

While each paragraph of “From Wonderful to War Zone” contains at least one problematic phrase—that title for starters!—I’m a busy guy, and I’ve got more important things to do than constantly swatting down wildly inaccurate opinion pieces from every uninformed ding-dong that comes down the pike. But to give you a quick idea of the pro-business slant this article takes, the story contains quotes from 14 people, 7 of whom are business owners (!!), four out-of-towners, two misinformed people, and one local mayor—whether he knows what he's talking about is for you to decide. Interestingly not a single local homeless or social justice advocate was interviewed, even though the story hinges on homeless and social justice issues.

As you can guess, there's A LOT of ridiculousness here—which is why I’m limiting this rebuttal to only 7 of the most egregiously stupid statements in KOIN's article (of which there are oh-so-many). Buckle up! It’s gonna be fun.

1) “Everywhere you look, the City of Roses has become the city of trash and filth.”

This is THE VERY FIRST SENTENCE. Now if this story was clearly labeled as an "opinion piece” from yet another know-nothing, white business dude shaking his fist at the clouds while cursing the rising cost of potatoes… who would care? We'd all roll our eyes and move on with our lives. But nope! KOIN's article is presented as actual “news,” which means they presumably believe that this wild first statement is solidly based in fact.

So let’s break it down, shall we?

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This Week in Seattle Event News: ZooTunes, Opera Performances, and More

ZooTunes will return to the Woodland Park Zoo this summer with sets from KEXP-curated bands, including Seattle indie-rockers Naked Giants.
ZooTunes will return to the Woodland Park Zoo this summer with sets from KEXP-curated bands, including Seattle indie-rockers Naked Giants. Naked Giants via Facebook

Seattle's arts, culture, and entertainment spheres aren't back to their pre-COVID ways just yet, but a few major players have exciting announcements lined up this week regarding their returns. Read on for details on ticket sales and other important info for Mariners games, ZooTunes, Sylvan Esso, and more.

The Mariners now have special seating sections and rewards for vaccinated fans. From now through June 2, spectators who are two weeks out from their second shot of Pfizer or Moderna (or their first shot of Johnson & Johnson) can snag $10 or $20 tickets in sections designed for parties of six or fewer. (Private suites are available for larger groups.) These sections don't require social distancing, but they do require masks when not actively eating or drinking. Vaxxed fans are also eligible for other rewards through May 19, including exclusive access to the T-Mobile Pen and Trident Deck, a limited-edition t-shirt, and a 20-percent discount on concessions and Mariners Team Store merch.

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Slog AM: SPD Cop Who Gave Orders in Pink Umbrella Incident Won't Be Disciplined, Get Vaxxed and Win a Million in Ohio, 100 Years of "Seattle Is Dying"

Would you accept $1 million from this man?
Would you accept $1 million from this man? Justin Merriman/Getty
Ohio governor launches lottery for the fully vaccinated: Gov. Mike DeWine announced that five Ohioans will win $1 million for receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, reports WKBN. Starting on May 26, one lucky winner—pulled from Ohio's voter database—will be announced every week for five weeks. He'll also randomly draw five winners for full, four-year scholarships to universities in Ohio for vaccinated Ohioans under 17. Nothing like a lottery to bribe people into getting vaxxed here in America!!!!

E.coli outbreak spreads to more counties in Washington: Seven cases among children in King County were reported last week, and now more cases have been confirmed in Snohomish, Benton, and Walla Walla County. The state health department and local health jurisdictions are working together to identify cases in the current outbreak, reports KOMO.

It's foggy out there: Drive slow!

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Slog PM: The Pipeline to Death Is Back at It, the Days of USPS's Darth Vader Look Numbered, Don't Pick Up Dying Bats

Helicopter pilot to the US: Baby whos that? Dont look now, theres a monkey on your back.
Helicopter pilot to the US: "Baby who's that? Don't look now, there's a monkey on your back." sarkophoto/

After a six-day halt caused by a cyberattack attributed to a gang of hackers called DarkSide, the fucking 5,500-mile long Colonial Pipeline is back up and running and pumping the substance that melting ice on the poles and diminishing the only kind of terrestrial environment that humans have ever known and flourished in. Everyday, Colonial Pipleline pumps 3 million barrels of this world-destroying stuff "between Texas and New York."

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This Week's Comics: Time-Traveling Crime, Crime After Death, and Cozy Crime


Look, sometimes I just like everything, all right?

I don’t want you to think I’m one of those critics who writes insincerely positive reviews because I get a kick out of seeing myself quoted on posters or covers. I can be harsh, too! Just not right now, because this is the first week that all three of my recommended comic books are of five-star quality.

There are really and truly some gems in this week’s releases, but I can understand if you’re skeptical of any review that’s like “everything is great!” For those skeptics I offer a bonus lightning-round review of Cyclopedia Exotica, a book of cute stories set in a world where humans and cyclopses live alongside each other. Well, kind of alongside each other; the book cleverly deploys one-eyedness as a metaphor onto which all manner of real-life minority classifications can be superimposed. It’s a neat exploration of otherness, observed from every possible angle — which is perhaps twice the number of angles it truly seems to warrant. Three stars out of five!

There, I told you I could be critical. But now let’s focus on the titles that I can love more wholeheartedly, which is the case with three show-stealing issue #1s this week. Thanks as always to Phoenix for presenting me with too many good books!

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Where to Eat Seafood in Seattle Right Now

Indulge your extravagant side with an ice-cold seafood tower from Westward.
Indulge your extravagant side with an ice-cold seafood tower from Westward. Westward

Spring is in full swing, and while the season may first conjure thoughts of tulips and cherry blossoms, it's also a great time to indulge in the Northwest's bounty of seafood. We've rounded up some of the best seafood specials in town, including extravagant seafood towers at L'Oursin and Westward, delightfully messy seafood boils at Crawfish King, and luxurious Dungeness crab rolls at Local Tide. Read on to learn about all of those and more. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide.


Bar Harbor
Drawing its inspiration from the Atlantic Northeast, this sleek eatery with a nautical theme specializes in luxurious rolls made with freshly cracked lobster or Dungeness crab and split-top buns. Either crustacean comes in the dressing of your choice: "Maine" (mayonnaise), "Connecticut" (warmed in butter), or "classic New England" (mayonnaise, celery, and chive). Best of all, they're currently offering 10 percent off your bill through May when you flash your vaccination card.
South Lake Union
Pickup or outdoor seating

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Our Top Seven Recommendations Around Seattle This Week

This week, were looking forward to MoPOPs annual 21-and-under music showcase featuring Kiddus Fecto, some drive-in drag queens in Southcenter, and more art openings in Pioneer Square.
This week, we're looking forward to MoPOP's annual 21-and-under music showcase featuring Kiddus Fecto, some drive-in drag queens in Southcenter, and more art openings in Pioneer Square. Images courtesy of MoPOP/Kiddus Fecto, Voss Events, and Method.


For the next month and a half, Northwest Film Forum is streaming the 2021 Sundance Institute Indigenous Short Film tour. You can now watch the 85-minute program composed of seven shorts directed by Indigenous filmmakers from recent Sundance Film Festivals for COMPLETELY FREE on NWFF's website.

You'll be treated to Native Hawaiian filmmaker Ciara Lacy diving headlong into Native Hawaiian slam poet Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio's creative process and activism on Maunakea in This is the Way We Rise. And in Alisi Telengut's beautiful The Fourfold, the Canadian artist of Mongolian origin uses stop-motion, handcrafted animation to explore animism and shamanic rituals from Mongolia and Siberia. One of my favorites is Christopher Auchter's Now Is the Time. It's a documentary on renowned Haida carver Robert Davidson's push (with the help of his family) in 1969 to raise a totem pole on British Columbia's Haida Gwaii for the first time in nearly a century. It's an emotional look into a community rallying together after centuries of suppression and silencing by the Canadian government. JASMYNE KEIMIG

2021 Sundance Institute Indigenous Short Film Tour is free to watch. It's up on Northwest Film Forum's site until June 30.

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From Firefighter to Gourmet Chocolatier: The Story of Chef Michael Poole

The first time I pulled up to Chef Michael Poole's Hot Chocolat, I expected a boutique chocolaterie with dainty truffles displayed in neat tiers behind a glass window. The reality was something different. Parked in a cramped lot across from the YMCA on SW Snoqualmie St, I learn that the squat structure in front of me is, in fact, a commissary kitchen, which Poole explains after I call him from the front seat of my stuffy car.

Poole is easy to talk to over the phone. Conversation flows, despite us being total strangers. We chat for half an hour, covering a range of topics from our travels (him through France, me across Turkey), to the local Africatown project (I had discovered him on their Instagram page) to, of course, chocolate-making (he was testing out new flavors for Mother's Day). I ask him to sit for an interview; he invites me to come by the next day. We set our rendezvous and I veer off the hot asphalt towards nearby Lincoln Park, determined to make the most of my drive into Seattle's far West.

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Seattle Sticker Patrol: Let's Not Celebrate

Jesss Stein

"Let's Not Celebrate a Chance to Eat at a Shit Buffet"
On Capitol Hill.
On Capitol Hill. JK
It looks like the phrase came from Olympia-based band Xylitol's song "Shit Buffet." A good distillation of where my brain's at right now.

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