A Seattleite's Guide to Surviving Winter with Weed

A Stoner's Guide to Orbeez, the Magical Toy Taking Over the World

Dipping my hand into a pool of macromolecules, aka superabsorbent polymers, aka the swimming pool I briefly installed in my apartment.
Dipping my hand into a pool of macromolecules, aka superabsorbent polymers, aka the swimming pool I briefly installed in my apartment. THE STRANGER

I always wanted to have a pool. But I live in an apartment on the fifth floor. And I don't have any money.

Then I saw a film called Team Hurricane, which played at the Seattle International Film Festival and featured a bunch of young women swimming in a kiddie pool full of brightly colored little balls. These balls go by many names—water jellies, water beads, water gems—but they really only have one name on the internet: Orbeez. They're insanely popular, especially with kids, stoners, and YouTube content creators.

The women in Team Hurricane squished the Orbeez between their toes, submerged themselves entirely in Orbeez and spun their bodies around, and opened their bras to free Orbeez that had gotten stuck in between their breasts.

I needed these balls. They would clearly be fun to relax in after a long day. Or maybe I could use them in a drag performance. If nothing else, it would be fun to touch them while I smoked weed.

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Inbox Jukebox Track of the Day: "Isolation Dub" by Jäh Division Is Exactly What You Think It Is—But Better

Novelty or atrocity exhibition?
Novelty or atrocity exhibition? Ernest Jenning Record Co.

Jäh Division, "Isolation Dub" (Ernest Jenning Record Co.)

The original "Isolation" off of Joy Division's Closer is perhaps British post-punk icons' most club-friendly and uptempo track. (Dig the paradox.) It hinted at the direction New Order would take after their 1981 debut LP, Movement, with Peter Hook's staunchly throbbing bass and Bernard Sumner's icy yet extroverted synth motif launching "Isolation" into anomalous, blatantly danceable territory for Joy Division.

As you can tell by their puntastic name, Brooklyn's Jäh Division began as a joke; they exist mainly to render Joy Division songs into dub versions that bear only an abstract resemblance to their templates. (Jäh Division also tackle tunes by Jackie Mittoo and Desmond Dekker, which appear on the bonus 7-inch of Dub Will Tear Us Apart...Again, a reissue of the group's 2004 debut album, which comes out January 25.) However, the musicians—Brad Truax (Home, Interpol), Chris Millstein (Home), Kid Millions (Oneida, Man Forever), and Barry London—are no joke. They do some wonderfully weird things in "Isolation Dub," slowing the tempo and conjuring a disorienting constellation of Space Echo'd synth zaps and radically dispersed and crashing beats to Ian Curtis, Sumner, Hook, and Stephen Morris's 1980 opus. It'll make you feel irie and eerie. Your cries of "sacrilege!" fall on deaf ears in Stranger HQ.


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A Seattleite's Guide to Surviving Winter with Weed

We're only a few weeks into winter. Yes, it's true—it feels like it's been winter forever. But it's only just begun. Many of us at The Stranger battle the monocloud with regular infusions of dopamine—by way of THC—into our bloodstreams. There are so many different ways to use weed to survive winter that we've created this whole issue just to talk about it.

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Google Banned Political Ads in Washington State, Then Kept on Selling Them

The company has not responded to questions, nor has it explained how its implementing its local ad ban.
"If Google wasn't accepting ads," asked one local campaign treasurer, "why did they accept ours?" Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Washington state is a national leader in bringing transparency to the dark world of online political advertising.

The law here is so tough, in fact, that Google announced in June 2018 that it would no longer sell political ads for local races in Washington state because it's not currently able to meet this state's disclosure requirements. About two weeks ago, Facebook followed suit.

But Google's political ad ban, official for six months now, has turned out to be rather porous. Public records show the company continued to sell ads to Washington state campaigns long after it announced its ban in June 2018, receiving payments for more than $13,000 in Google advertising services that targeted local races and ballot measures through the November 2018 election.

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Slog AM: Presidential Tax Returns May Become Mandatory, YouTube Is Tired of Dangerous Pranks

Tax returns, shmax returns.
Tax returns, shmax returns. GETTY IMAGES

Bank actually does something nice for once: Washington Federal will be providing interest-free loans to furloughed federal workers affected by the shutdown in Washington and the seven other states where they operate. They can get up to six months' worth of paychecks, but they have to pay it back by June 2022. I’ll admit, when I read this, I thought, “What’s the catch?” But it seems CEO Brent Beardall actually just wants to do something nice. I mean, I guess you do have to open up a checking account with them to get the loan. Oh, and it’s only interest-free for the first 90 days. Maybe it’s a little selfish after all.

How much money are federal workers owed? Some data wizard at the New York Times put together this visualization so you (I) don’t have to. The average worker has missed $5,000 so far during this shutdown. And while shutdowns usually end with employees receiving back pay, there is no guarantee they will this time. On an unrelated note, I’m now going to apply for a job at the Security and Exchange Commission (and get that bread).

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Slog PM: Former Mexican President Took Bribes From El Chapo; Seattle Has the Most Cranes in America, Baby!

They are majestic, fragile creatures.
They are majestic, fragile creatures. SERGEI DUBROVSKII / GETTY IMAGES

Gov. Inslee and the State of the State: It sounds like a fun situational comedy but it's just a political speech! You knew that. I'm not funny. Get me fired, I dare you. Inslee addressed the Legislature on Tuesday and urged lawmakers to take action on climate change. There are three policies that will go before the Legislature this session. Inslee, as a prospective 2020 presidential candidate, needs to make this session count if he wants to prove to the country that he can get implement his vision. He also talked mental health and orcas. The holy trinity.

Seattle Squeeze chaos averted: There were four Interstate 5 crashes and stalls today, the second day of the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure in the 2019th year of our Lord. Quick responses from the Washington State Department of Transportation's incident response teams (there are 27 deployed per day during the Squeeze!) allowed us to avoid crippling traffic. Overall, traffic was a little slower today than normal. It will get worse with rain on Thursday.

Exhibit A:

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Brexit Collapses Catastrophically—Not Good News for Trump

Before Trump, there was Brexit. The two are cut from the same cloth. Indeed, New Yorker described Brexit as a "petri dish for Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign." If that is so, then the rise of Brexit might have been good news for Trump, and its catastrophic collapse today in the House of Parliament is equally bad news for Trump. Both projects are based on racism as a solution to the decline of the welfare state. This began in the 1970s. By the 1990s, Bill Clinton (US) and Tony Blair (UK), brought, in their respective countries, the socialist projects of the leading leftist parties to an end. The market was the only name of the game (TINA). This exposed the working classes to a capitalism it had not experienced since the era of the Great Depression. White working-class voters on both sides of the Atlantic turned to racism as a response to the crisis on the left. This is your Brexit and your Trump.

Today, the Brexit deal constructed by Prime Minister Theresa May was voted/laughed out of parliament by a 230 margin (432 against; 202 for). That is not just a defeat. It is an Icarian fall. All of this comes down to the fact that Brexit is a stupid idea in a complex world.

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Kshama Sawant Is Officially in the Race for District 3

Shes running.
She's running. KELLY O

Last Thursday it looked like Kshama Sawant's team had softly launched her candidacy in a description of a Facebook event called Socialists Into City Hall—Building the Mvmt in the 2019 Election, which, much to the chagrin of a former MTV video jockey, celebrates the candidacies of three people running for council who fall along the socialist spectrum. Both Tammy Morales and Shaun Scott are members of the Democratic Socialist of America, while Sawant is a member of the Socialist Alternative.

But on Monday Councilmember Sawant registered with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Committee, making her campaign that much more official. She could still, of course, jump out before the filing deadline in May, but that would be an unlikely move for an incumbent.

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I Guess We Might as Well Watch Both Fyre Festival Documentaries

Twist my arm
Twist my arm adagr/Getty Images

Fyre Festival was a beautiful disaster. It captivated the internet in 2017. Now, Netflix and Hulu are nearly-simultaneously releasing two competing documentaries to capitalize on all of our rubbernecking.

Both are about the same April 2017 luxury music festival. It was supposed to be the height of luxury, an elite experience in the Bahamas marketed to the wealthy for the wealthy. People paid as little as $12,000 and as much as $250,000 for a ticket. Except that nothing came together. Sure, Fyre Festival was in the Bahamas, but instead of white sandy beaches, there was a rubble-strewn lot. Music acts canceled, companies pulled out, the luxury villas weren't villas but soggy FEMA tents.

Netflix announced their documentary, Fyre, in January. It's slated for release this coming Friday. Quietly, Hulu released their own documentary, Fyre Fraud, ahead of Netflix on Monday morning.

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Carol Channing Is Dead

Carol Channing at the 27th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival in 2016
Carol Channing at the 27th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival in 2016 Vivien Killilea / Getty

I first encountered Broadway legend Carol Channing through a teenage homosexual, which seems apt, because she really killed with the gays. I was in a dressing room at my arts high school, and this gay was doing a spot-on Carol Channing impersonation: the huge, gaping smile; the alarmingly-lit eyes; the raspy voice with incomprehensible phrasing. I'd never encountered a person like this before. What's wrong with her, I thought, and how can I be wrong like that, too?

"I've met Carol," he said. "She's incredible. Did you see that video of her after she was robbed at gunpoint?"

He showed me:

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Washington Lawmakers May Ban Plastic Straws. They Should Not.


Now that state lawmakers are back in Olympia, they can start making some serious and important changes around here. The legislative agenda this session includes, for instance, legalizing home grows, addressing the state's failing mental health care system, passing a budget, and banning plastic straws across Washington state.

The first three are vital. The last one is not.

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Hilarious Middle-School Teacher/Comic Wilfred Padua on His Move to NYC, Not Escaping Bezos, and Other Shit

Im done making white people the scapegoat of all of societys problems. Since Ive lived [in NYC], my jokes have been about more personal things, like growing up with immigrant parents or fellatio.
"I'm done making white people the scapegoat of all of society's problems. Since I've lived [in NYC], my jokes have been about more personal things, like growing up with immigrant parents or fellatio." Quinn Russell Brown

Over the last five years, Wilfred Padua earned a rep as one of Seattle's funniest comics. Just as I was about to propose an A&P feature on the Filipino middle-school teacher—whose jokes about race, sex, Asian stereotypes, student interactions, and shitting one's pants rank among the most memorable of the last half decade—I found out he'd moved to New York City. Finally shaking off my feelings of dismay and betrayal, I decided to interview Padua on the occasion of him returning to perform at Laughs Comedy Club on Thursday, January 17. In addition to his frequent stand-up gigs, Padua co-hosts a podcast with Seattle comedy alumnus Andy Haynes called Miss Me With That. Make a note to check it and him out.

The Stranger: First, the most obvious question: Why did you leave Seattle and move to that comedy ghost town, New York? You mentioned in an e-mail that you never want to move back to Seattle. Is it Bezos?
Padua: There's no escaping Bezos. I mean, he's coming for New York, like a Japanese monster movie. But I left Seattle to see where I stand in the world of comedy, and because I want to continue being a part of how comedy at large evolves and changes. Seattle is too tucked away and removed to really be at the forefront of how this art form is evolving. So, I hope to never go back, because I want to be a part of this.

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95 Stranger (Than Usual) Things To Do in Seattle This Week: Jan 15-20, 2019

Head to Leavenworth this weekend for wintery activities like live ice carving and fireworks at the Bavarian Ice Fest.
Head to Leavenworth this weekend for wintery activities like live ice carving and fireworks at the Bavarian Ice Fest.

Our arts critics have already recommended 58 great things to do this week and our music critics have picked the 41 best music shows, but there are still hundreds more events happening. To prevent some of the quirkier and more extraordinary ones from slipping through the cracks, we've compiled them here—from the astrology-themed art show Star Crossed to an All4Doras' Tribute Boy Band Dance Class, and from the Pacific Northwest Reptile and Exotic Animal Show to the 45th Model Railroad Show. For even more options this week, check out our complete Things To Do calendar.

Stay in the know! Get all this and more on the free Stranger Things To Do mobile app (available for iOS and Android), or delivered to your inbox.


1. Accordion Bookmaking Workshop
Find out how to make a five-by-seven-inch accordion-style art book. All supplies are provided.

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After Spreading Reefer Madness, the New York Times Offers a Mea Culpa

The New York Times is slowly figuring out pot.
The New York Times is slowly figuring out pot. The Stranger

The New York Times published a mea culpa of sorts yesterday after they fanned the fires of Reefer Madness last week in a widely condemned editorial titled "What Advocates of Legalizing Pot Don’t Want You to Know."

Last week's editorial from Alex Berenson warned the Times's massive readership that pot legalization was creating dangerous ripple effects across the country. Berenson, who just released a book about what he perceives as the dangers of legalization, argued that legal pot was increasing mental illness rates, including driving people into schizophrenia and increasing violent crime. Berenson cites a number of different researchers in his editorial but many of those people almost immediately denounced his argument as distorting their work. Now the Times itself is picking apart his argument. Aaron E. Carroll, a contributor to the paper, dismantles Berenson's arguments (without directly naming him) in a blog post published yesterday.

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The "Oprah of the Underworld" Brings Horror and Burlesque to Northwest Film Forum

Isabella Price
Isabella Price Max Shaw

If you find yourself in a horror film, the last thing you should do is disrobe in any manner whatsoever—but especially not with brazen sexiness. Yet Cinebago’s new series at the Northwest Film Forum, hosted by “Oprah of the Underworld” Isabella L. Price, braves the tropes to pair burlesque and scary movies.

Like Price’s radio show, this series, which kicks off Thursday with an “embalming fluid”-spiked screening of Don Cascarelli’s bizarre mortuary zombie flick Phantasm, is dubbed Nocturnal Emissions. “I want people to come, hang out, get grossed out and hopefully scared, and have a good time,” says Price. “This isn't the kind of show for people who just want to sit quietly in their seats and watch a serious movie.”

Thanks to critical hits in the past years like Hereditary and Get Out, contemporary horror movies are increasingly recognized as “legitimate” explorations of racial, societal, and familial trauma, which is thrilling for devotees of the genre. But I’m with Price: Part of the beauty of horror is its willingness to experiment with the outrageous, gambling that startling imagery will provoke shivers instead of giggles. Whether it succeeds or not, that rich vein of the canon should still be cherished.

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