Take The Stranger's 2021 Reader Survey!

Slog PM: Pence Gets a Pacemaker, Video Shows Chicago Cop Shooting 13-Year-Old with Hands Up, WA Senate Votes to Resume Drug War

Hes got a pacemaker now.
He had a slow heart. WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY IMAGES

High school and middle school students in Seattle will start hybrid instruction next week: As COVID-19 case counts continue to remain high, "at least 10,000" youths will shuffle back into classrooms in the afternoon, the Seattle Times reports. The teachers union and the school district finalized a deal Wednesday evening, five days before the Governor's deadline.

A cop shot somebody in Buckley, WA: Despite a KIRO chopper in the air, details remain thin on the ground: "A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy used 'deadly force'" on someone, and that deputy walked away unscathed. No word yet on the status of the victim, nor the circumstances that caused the cop to execute the person.

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Take The Stranger's 2021 Reader Survey!

Anthony Keo

Hey, Sloggers!

When was the last time we checked in with each other? It's been too long. Let's fix that.

As you probably read already this week, we're asking our Slog readers a few essential questions, like:

  • How do you feel about comments on Slog posts?
  • Do you miss reading reviews of local bands?
  • Or do you come to Slog just for the sex talk?

    Those are some of the questions that come up in this year's reader survey—a survey we've made very easy for you to fill out. There are only ten straightforward questions, and you can browse them all right here, right beneath this paragraph. We're also offering free tickets to SPLIFF 2021 and HUMP's Greatest Hits as thanks for sending us your thoughts. (Are your thoughts too big for one survey? Then send us a letter at editor@thestranger.com.)

    And HEADS-UP: Everyone who contributes to The Stranger during April will get a first look at our 2021 Reader Survey takeaways. It doesn't matter if you contribute a few bucks or a thousand — we appreciate that you're keeping local journalism alive. Thank you so much for your support and participation.

    You've got until Monday, April 26 to take this survey. Let's get it started!

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  • What's God Got to Do With Michio Kaku's New Book, The God Equation?

    Physics refuses to leave God alone.
    Physics refuses to leave God alone. Yury Morozov/gettyimages.com

    The God Equation is a new and short book by the theoretical physicist and science popularizer Michio Kaku. It's not his best book, but it does raise an interesting question: Why is God in its title?

    The goal of the work is to explain to the general public where the search for a unified theory of the universe is now in the year 2021. The dream this theory dreams is the formulation of a simple mathematical equation that brings all of the known forces of the universe together. This is “the holy grail of physics;" it is believed that the all-together-moment can only be found very early in what is called the starting point of all there is. Kaku calls this final mathematical expression "the god equation."

    Now, before I explain why giving this equation the name of God is fraught with all sort of problems, most of which are metaphysical in nature, I want point out very quickly the features of this short book that make it weak.

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    SIFF 2021 Review: Strawberry Mansion Makes Auditing Look Fun

    I want a dream audit. Courtesy of SIFF

    It's been more than a year since I entered a movie theater. In that time, I perfected my home "theater" set-up, watching everything from Cassavetes to Godzilla vs. Kong on my laptop and not really missing the çīñêmå. Strawberry Mansion flipped all that for me.

    While viewing the very independent, very homegrown feature from co-writers and co-directors Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney, I longed for a serenely cool theater filled with other (probably very stoned) moviegoers. The film is gentle and kooky, set in a dystopic future that aesthetically borrows from the '80s. Demons, Nick Cave-like creatures, VHS tapes, buckets of fried chicken, and fedora hats populate the film that takes its time to unspool before you. It's a world I felt like would be best experienced communally, in the dark church of the theater.

    BUT! Strawberry Mansion makes delightful home viewing too. It follows James Preble (Audley), a lonely government "dream auditor" in 2035 tasked with going through other people's dreams and taxing them. We meet him in the middle of an uncomfortable dream of his own where he's trapped in a pink room and aggressively marketed fried chicken by an annoying dream visitor.

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    Weekly Watch List: SIFF, SPLIFF, Drive-Ins, and More

    The popular BECU Drive-in Movies at Marymoor Park is back for weekly screenings on Tuesday-Thursday nights through the end of April. While this Tuesdays slot for Back to the Future is sold out (you can always stream it on VOD), tickets are still available for later screenings, so dont sleep on booking a spot!
    The popular BECU Drive-in Movies at Marymoor Park is back for weekly screenings on Tuesday-Thursday nights through the end of April. While this Tuesday's slot for Back to the Future is sold out (you can always stream it on VOD), tickets are still available for later screenings, so don't sleep on booking a spot! Amblin Entertainment/Universal Pictures/Kobal/Shutterstock

    The Seattle International Film Festival is heading into its final weekend just as Cadence, SPLIFF, and the Seattle Black Film Festival are joining the digital stage, rounded out by other streaming newcomers like Danny Madden's indie drama Beast Beast and the Kate Winslet-helmed HBO series Mare of Easttown. See them all below, and find even more options on our on-demand calendar or our guide to other streaming events this week

    Newly Streaming: Local Connection
    Beast Beast
    Writer-director Danny Madden's portrait of teenhood in a Southern town intersects the stories of three Zoomers: Krista, a suburban theater geek; Nito, a skater scraping by with little support from his negligent dad; and Adam, a recent high school grad obsessed with guns and his fledgling target-shooting YouTube channel. While they come from disparate backgrounds, each character shares a desire to be seen and accepted in their alienated world, and when they do finally meet, the tone shifts from introspective to chaotic as the trio plots for viral fame on social media.
    Grand Illusion
    Starting Friday

    Read on EverOut »


    Human Composting Is Disrupting the Death Industry

    Return Home CEO Micah Truman opening up a bag of terramated compost.
    Return Home CEO Micah Truman opening up a bag of terramated compost. Nathalie Graham

    When I arrived at the nondescript warehouse in Auburn, a team of construction workers was transforming the wide, empty space into a way station between this life and the next. This place was Return Home, the world's second-ever human composting facility. Once Return Home opens later this month, it will also be the largest.

    In 2019, Gov. Jay Inslee greenlit legislation to allow people a third after-death option for their bodies. Instead of settling for being interred in a box or becoming charred dust in the wind, Washingtonians can now opt to be "terramated." That is, they can pack their corpses into sci-fi-like vessels filled to the brim with organic materials, and through a sped-up decomposition process become a truckload of fresh, tillable compost.

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    Police Misconduct Soared in 2020, but Olympia Just Imposed New Accountability Measures

    If only a database had been there to prevent all this
    If only a database had been there to prevent all this luoman / Getty Images

    Congratulations are in order to the Seattle Police Department, which managed to rack up an impressive 1,880 allegations of policy violations in 2020, a 58% increase over the previous year and a 170% increase in use-of-force allegations alone. Wow! That can’t have been easy!

    Those numbers are according to the Office of Police Accountability, which is still in the process of reviewing many of last year's complaints and estimates that they’ll be finished sometime this summer. In their annual report, released this week, they noted that in 2020 there were 432 complaints that warranted further investigation, a 31% increase over previous years; and they have so far sustained findings against 68 employees.

    Last year, to be fair, was a particularly busy time for gun-carrying civil servants, what with all the protests. And what was it that people were protesting, again? Oh, right, police violence. Cops getting aggressive at BLM protests is like arriving late to a disciplinary meeting about always being late to things … or at least, it would be, if being late to things caused innocent people to die.

    Anyway, while it’s very nice that OPA is churning through those complaints as fast as they can, not every town in Washington has a granular attention to the nitty-gritty of smashy cops. But soon that may change, thanks to a law just passed by the Legislature and awaiting Jay Inslee’s signature.

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    SIFF 2021: Checking in with All Sorts, a Yakima-Made Surrealist Office Comedy

    Totally chill.
    Totally chill. All Sorts/SIFF 2021

    The 2021 Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is underway, showcasing 92 feature films in its first-ever virtual festival, which runs until this Sunday, April 18. One of those films is All Sorts, a sentimental and surrealist comedy unlike anything else I've seen at the festival. It's the brainchild of J. Rick Castañeda, a writer, director, and producer originally from Granger, Washington.

    All Sorts follows a protagonist named Diego, played by Eli Vargas, who is desperately in need of work (relatable). He manages to catch a break, getting a position at a dreary yet peculiar business called Data-Mart. Trapped in the confines of a bland office, Diego meets June (Greena Park). The two form a bond, and then they quickly get involved in an underground speed filing competition where they begin to make their way up the ranks. It's wonderfully absurd and silly.

    Castañeda shot the locally produced film around Yakima in 2018, taking around a month and getting a big assist from a successful Kickstarter campaign. Castañeda's first feature film, Cement Suitcase, was shot in and around the Tri-Cities, as well as Yakima. Castañeda now goes back and forth to Los Angeles, though he says he's always enjoyed coming back to Washington to cast people from the area.

    "We were able to cast from Granger and not because that was more convenient; those were the best actors," Castañeda recounts to me over a video call. "Maybe because this is such an ensemble piece with just really different kinds of characters, I think that character shines through from real people."

    The cast making up that ensemble had similarly gone out to try to make it elsewhere, but the Pacific Northwest ended up being their tether.

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    The House Wants to Lift the Eviction Moratorium Before Tenant Protections Kick into Gear

    Tenant advocates threaten to evict lawmakers who dont prioritize renters well-being.
    On Wednesday morning, tenant advocates threatened to evict lawmakers who don't "prioritize renters' well-being." Washington Community Action Network

    A few years ago Washington had some of the worst protections for renters in the country. While the state has made progress, its laws still overwhelmingly tip the balance of power toward landlords. Outside of Seattle, Auburn, Federal Way, and Burien, for instance, landlords can boot month-to-month tenants for no reason with only 20 days notice. And even within Seattle, landlords can kick you out at the end of any lease without giving a reason (for now).

    But if all goes well this year with HB 1236 and SB 5160, then the state will offer some of the strongest blanket protections around. The former bill would require landlords to give a good reason before kicking a tenant to the curb, and the latter would give the state's poorest tenants an attorney once they're out there.

    At this point in the life of those two bills, however, all is not exactly going well.

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    Slog AM: Happy Vax Day, Washington; U.S. Hits Russia with Sanctions; It's Gonna Get WARM

    STICK IT IN ME!!!!!!!!!!!
    STICK IT IN ME!!!!!!!!!!! Morsa Images/Getty

    Today is the motherfucking DAY: Every person over the age of 16 in Washington state is now eligible to get that sweet, sweet vaccine. That said, have patience. With distribution of Johnson & Johnson put on pause and limitations to the vaccine supply, you may not be able to schedule your vaccine appointment immediately. But rest assured, there are definitely two syringes with your name on it that some kind-eyed volunteer will inject into your soft arm. We made it, now start your vaccine hunt.

    On that tip: King County Executive Dow Constantine announced that 50% of adults in King County have gotten at least one dose of a vaccine. I am not allowing myself to feel too much joy, but it is slowly creeping up my spine. The possibility that we can all be licking doorknobs by July is unfathomable. Wear your mask and be chill in the meantime though!

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    Slog PM: Daunte Wright's Killer Booked and Charged, BLM Should Consider Boycotting Cars, Petty Republican from Pasco Plans to Run Against Sen. Patty Murray

    Tomorrow, Thursday, April 15, COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opens to all Washingtonians over the age of 16.
    Tomorrow, Thursday, April 15, COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opens to all Washingtonians over the age of 16. Look for a vaccine here. CM

    The white cop who shot the black man during a traffic stop has been arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter. Her name is Kim Potter, and the name of the black man she shot and killed this weekend is Daunte Wright. According to, CNN, "Potter was arrested late Wednesday morning by agents with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the bureau said. She was booked into the Hennepin County Jail, online records show. "

    The Black Lives Matter movement might consider organizing a nationwide black boycott of the automobile. It would be something like: No black driving until significant police reforms are imposed on our nation's roads. It wouldn't be easy to coordinate, for sure; we are a car-dependent society. But recall the effectiveness of the Montgomery bus boycott in the mid-century civil rights moment. Surely, something like this action is needed in an age when racism in transportation is now concentrated on automobiles, rather than trains and buses.

    I want to point out that I do not drive, and therefore my interactions with the police have been almost non-existent.

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    This Weekend: It's SPLIFF—the Fantastically Fun Film Fest by and for Stoners!


    Greetings, weed lovers! If you love or support everything cannabis, then you will not want to miss the upcoming third annual SPLIFF film festival (from the makers of HUMP! and SLAY), streaming right at your gorgeous face starting Friday April 16-Saturday April 24!

    SPLIFF is 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.

    Check out the new SPLIFF trailer for a sneaky-peek at the fun we have in store for ya!

    If all that looks fun... well, prepare for it to get even funner, because select screenings will include an optional live viewing party so you can enjoy this amazing lineup of stoner films with hilarious hosts as well as a live audience. Check out these great ticket options!

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    Meanwhile, in Portland: The Portland Police Union Headquarters in Flames on Second Night of Daunte Wright Protests

    Flames shoot from a side door of the PPA building Tuesday night.
    Flames shoot from a side door of the PPA building Tuesday night. Suzette Smith

    Want to know what's up in the Rose City? Read more missives from Portland on Blogtown, the blog published by our sister paper, The Portland Mercury.
    The second night of Portland protests against the police killing of Daunte Wright—a Black man fatally shot by a police officer in a Minneapolis suburb Sunday—ended in flames.

    The target was the North Lombard headquarters of the Portland Police Association (PPA), the union representing rank-and-file Portland officers. The building has been boarded up since the city's racial justice protests began in 2020, as it had become a popular target for protesters' ire.

    A group of 75 protesters marched from Kenton Park to the PPA building shortly before ten Tuesday, during which attendees lit fireworks and chanted rallying cries like “Every city, every town, burn the precincts to the ground,” and “Say his name!” “Daunte Wright!”

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    This Week’s Comics: The Sexy Side of Goo, Immigrants Fight Back, and Fables from the Pacific Islands


    Surely we all remember the strange hyperventilating horniness of the Tom Hardy Venom film back in 2018: What was meant to be an edgy superhero-ish action film lodged into the Internet’s collective libido as a gooey romance, against all odds. The premise, essentially, is that an alien ball of ooze has decided to co-inhabit the body of a journalist (oh, if only), and then the two of them go on extremely muscular skintight adventures.

    Why is this so sexy? Well, allow me to theorize, as someone who reports frequently on sexual subcultures and has asked that question about pups, furries, balloons, diapers, dragons, donkeyplay, pumpkins, hypnotists, tinglers, leather, clowns, and the lawyer whose camera made him look like a cat on a Zoom call.

    The Venom stories have two intersecting preoccupations, both of which are prime triggers for certain readers: Renouncing control over one’s body and mind, and also getting extremely sloppy. It’s no surprise that some people are delighted by goo — such scenarios are adjacent to bodily fluids — but body and mind control are elements that appear in virtually every kink I’ve ever reported on.

    It never fails (literally never) that when I’m reporting on a kink, and I scratch the surface of “why is this hot?” the answer is invariably fluctuations in power, control, and autonomy. (If you have theories on your own regarding the hotness of Venom and goo in general, please chime in on this Twitter thread.)

    I have also noticed that a person’s sexual preoccupations often (not always, but often) align with their personal anxieties, and Venom is, to be sure, quite scary. And on that topic, he’s the subject of a new body-horror comic out this week; and I would encourage you to get to know yourself better by paying attention to the nature of your reaction to the book, and your balance of fear to arousal.

    Thanks as always to Phoenix, who helped select this week’s top comics, and had no idea I was going to get so raunchy in my lede.

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    Seattle Sticker Patrol: I Do Not Want to Be in This Zoom Call

    Jess Stein

    "Catch Me in the Zoom Call..."
    Very me.
    Very me. JK
    Thanks Cat Frazier! Are there services that allow you to pay for someone to stand in for you during a Zoom call?

    I've been thinking a lot about this piece of video art that Rich Smith captured early on in the pandemic—this would definitely keep my attention:

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