Yes, There Are Black People in Portland

Will KEXP's NHL Collaboration Bring Krautrock to the Key Arena?

The NHL is coming to Seattle and KEXP is going to DJ every single game.
The NHL is coming to Seattle and KEXP is going to DJ every single game. Josh Powers

Music at professional sports stadiums is repetitive and dull, full of Guns N' Roses welcoming fans to the jungle followed by T.I. requesting that someone "bring them out." That might be different for Seattle's newest professional sports team, as KEXP announced this morning that they will be responsible for choosing the music for Seattle's new NHL team.

Kevin Cole, DJ of The Afternoon Show and the independent radio station's chief content officer, told me that the radio station is going to bring its signature mix of local, up and coming, and weird music to the Key Arena.

"At KEXP each DJ has the freedom to curate their own shows and really take the listener on an emotional journey. I think that same approach will be applied to games, where each game has its own emotional journey and we’ll be trying to enhance that or create the complimentary soundtrack," Cole said.

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Soundgarden's Surviving Members to Play Jan. 16 Reunion Show in LA; New Chris Cornell Box Set Already Sold Out

Good luck finding this!
Good luck finding this! UMG

The three remaining members of Soundgarden—guitarist Kim Thayil, drummer Matt Cameron, and bassist Ben Shepherd—will regroup to perform in Los Angeles at a tribute concert for Chris Cornell called "I Am The Highway" on January 16, 2019. This will be their first show together since May 17, 2017 in Detroit. Soundgarden's members plan to enlist guest singers for this special gig, including Zen Guerrilla's Marcus Durant, with whom Thayil and Cameron have played in MC50, the Wayne Kramer-led MC5 tribute act put together to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Kick Out the Jams.

In an interview with Steve Baltin published by Forbes, Thayil said when asked how the band will decide which songs to perform, "I think Matt [Cameron], Ben [Shepherd] and I will collectively decide which songs we'll throw our best fist forward. The lineup was put together by Vicky [Karayiannis, Cornell's widow], management and the booking agents all with our approval. The only people on the bill are people that Soundgarden members approved of."

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Great night with my dudes Ben and Kim! #soundgarden

A post shared by Matt Cameron (@themattcameron) on

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The Sex Is Great But the Flags Are Red


I live in a small town with slim BDSM pickings. I'm 25, and started dating a 33-year-old man last month. He's experienced in BDSM, but he's never dated anyone longer than a few months. The sex (which we are taking slow) is amazing so far, as our kinks overlap. He's sweet and respectful of my boundaries—but he's into teasing and orgasm denial, so I'm not sure if it's respect or just his kink. However...

He asked if he could call me his girlfriend at the end of our first date—I said it was too soon—and he calls me "love." He's almost exactly what I was looking for, but for the age gap, but I have this gut feeling that these are red flags. And maybe they are or maybe it's just my anxiety? I find myself vacillating between elation and suspicion. ("He's such a great guy and he's really into me! But there has to be something wrong, a guy this great can't exist, no one should be this into me this fast.") How do I tell if he is actually dangerous or just really sweet?

Cautious Kinkster

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New Savage Lovecast: Doggity Style!


Hey baby. Are you ready to get your freak on? Yeah, you are. We're gonna do something new tonight. It's called..."Doggity Style"??!! Listeners, please help us figure out if this call is fake or not. Also, cartoonist Erika Moen is on to talk about her new sex ed book: Drawn to Sex: The Basics.

A snippet:

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How to Win the War on Christmas

Ian Dyball/Getty

It is, perhaps, ironic that the people who bray on and on about the War on Christmas every winter tend to be Christian. Who else, after all, thinks that substituting the words "happy holidays" for "merry Christmas" could make the baby Jesus weep—and during his birthday month, no less?? Conservative Christian pundits foaming at the mouth over Starbucks cups or the re-litigating of old Christmas tunes is now almost as much an annual tradition as caroling. But the fact is, the first shots in the War on Christmas were actually fired by the Jesus set.

In the mid-17th century, the government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, one of the early Puritan settlements in what would become the United States, banned the celebration of Christmas. The Puritans, who had fled persecution by the Anglican majority in England, considered any feasts that had been established by the Anglican Church unholy, Jesus's alleged birthday included. They weren't crazy about the Pagan undertones either—Christmas is closely connected with the winter solstice—and so anyone caught celebrating Christmas, according to an early colony law book, could be subjected to a five-shilling fine.

The descendants of those Puritans now work at Fox News, where they spend every December trying to convince their viewers that Muslims, Jews, and atheists have put aside their differences to wage a holy battle against Christmas. It's a ludicrous supposition: Muslims, Jews, and atheists are far too busy arguing about the future of Israel on Twitter to actually fight in the War on Christmas. I, however, am not.

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89 Stranger (Than Usual) Things To Do in Seattle This Week: Dec 18-23, 2018

Join Fremont weirdos for a potluck dinner, art, and rituals on the first official night of winter at the Feast of the Winter Solstice.
Join Fremont weirdos for a potluck dinner, art, and rituals on the first official night of winter at the Feast of the Winter Solstice. Courtesy of Fremont Arts Council

Our arts critics have already recommended 63 great things to do this week and our music critics have picked the 31 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 a Drunk Santa Party to a Seinfeldian Traditional Festivus Celebration, and from Total Request Live Night: Ugly Christmas Sweater Edition to Latkepalooza. 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. The Cannabis Alliance Presents: The Gong Show
This comedy show inspired by That '70s Show invites stoned comics—Michael Claude, JoeyQ, the Blistering Pigeon, and Bad Mother Blunter—to show their most prized talents in front of a panel of judges. The winner earns a bong.

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Is Bellevue the Next Williamsburg?


Is Bellevue the next Williamsburg?

Wait, wait, wait—hear me out. It's true that right now Bellevue feels nothing like the hipster enclaves of New York City. Brooklyn is full of fashionable neighborhoods, and Bellevue is almost the opposite. But that might soon change.

In five years, downtown Seattle and downtown Bellevue will be separated by a 21-minute train ride. There will be stops for the Central District, Mercer Island, and a few other spots in between. When Sound Transit's East Link train opens in 2023, it will make getting into downtown Seattle from Bellevue an easier commute than some of Seattle's trendiest neighborhoods. Ballard and West Seattle probably won't get linked to light rail until 2035.

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Maybe Steven Spielberg Is to Blame for Alice Walker's Anti-Semitism

The Color Purple, the Movie
The Color Purple, the Movie

Many of us recently discovered that the famous black American novelist Alice Walker is anti-Semitic. We also learned that a lot of people have known this for a long time. The writer and professor Roxane Gay tweeted on December 17 that Walker "has been anti-Semitic for years" and she brings it up at all of the events she discusses her admiration for Walker's novel Possessing the Secret of Joy. What Gay knew, and what became widely known this weekend due to a New York Times Review interview with Walker ("Alice Walker: By the Book"), is that she is a huge fan of a British "professional" conspiracy theorist named David Icke.

According to Tablet Magazine, this character has "over 777,000 followers on Facebook." And of course the conspiracy theory that he cannot resist repeating is—despite its unoriginality, and its obvious nonsense—Jews secretly run the world; that the major events in the papers or in history can somehow be traced back to some "global Jewish cabal." Icke's books have made a huge impression on Walker. "In [his] books," Walker told NYTR, "there is the whole of existence on this planet and several others, to think about. A curious person’s dream come true." I have no idea what that means, but it certainly sounds like high praise.

Now that we know that Walker is anti-Semitic, we must next ask why this is so? What made this black American writer hate Jews so much that she even wrote a long and dreary and bone-dry poem called: “It Is Our (Frightful) Duty to Study the Talmud,” which was reproduced by Tablet Magazine. I propose we blame Steven Spielberg.

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Facebook and Google Pay $455K to Settle Political Ad Lawsuits in Washington State

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson brought the suits, which arose out of reporting by The Stranger.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson brought the lawsuits, which arose out of reporting by The Stranger. Stephen Brashear / Getty Images

Facing campaign finance lawsuits from Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, tech giants Facebook and Google today agreed to pay a collective $455,000 to avoid upcoming trials in cases that arose from Stranger reporting.

That reporting began in November 2017, amid ongoing revelations about how Facebook and Google were used for Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and as Congress was declining to take any steps that might bring regulation to the dark world of online political ads.

The Stranger, turning to a longstanding Washington state law, demonstrated that both Facebook and Google were failing to provide the public with details they're required to disclose concerning the precise funding and reach of local political messaging.

As a result, Ferguson filed lawsuits against both companies in June, alleging that Facebook and Google had ignored state disclosure requirements while selling millions of dollars in political ads aimed at Washington voters.

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The Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet Is Great. The 50th Anniversary Reissue? Not So Much.

It’s been a banner year for memorializing a banner year in music—specifically, 1968: The latter months of this particular year have seen a deluge of anniversary sets repackaging albums originally released 50 years ago. These have mostly been respectful and well-done archival efforts, so it’s a bit of a disappointment that one of that year’s most significant works—the Rolling Stones’ 1968 classic Beggars Banquet, which turns 50 this month—has been given a deluxe treatment that sadly doesn’t match up to its competitors.

It’s not for lack of good source material. Beggars Banquet is often thought of as the first in a series of four “classic” Stones albums, although I think this overlooks the best of their previous efforts, much of which is every bit the equal of what came at the end of the ’60s and the beginning of the ’70s. But whereas superlative new boxed sets from the Beatles and the Kinks have dredged up a dizzying array of fantastic archival material, the bonus material on the 50th anniversary of Beggars Banquet is downright skimpy. The two-disc release—on both vinyl and CD—includes the album itself (of course), a bonus mono mix of “Sympathy for the Devil” on a 12-inch all to itself, a flexidisc containing a nine-minute telephone interview with Mick Jagger, and… well, that’s it. This could be fine, but the deluxe sticker price is not in line with a mere 15 minutes of bonus material that’s of questionable necessity to begin with.

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Bumblebee Review: For the First Time in Over 30 Years, Playing with Transformers Is Fun


In the early 1980s, President Ronald Reagan lifted restrictions on advertising, making it possible for Madison Avenue to directly target millions of little kids through commercials. An entire generation of consumer—emotionally unformed and highly susceptible to suggestion—was suddenly and wholly available for the exploiting. Why settle for 30-second spots during "educational" children's programming when 30-minute ads can be the programming! Enter Transformers, a clever toy line that allowed kids to turn semi-trucks into homicidal robots—and in the process, secured a prime position in the all-devouring ouroboros of pop-culture nostalgia, where the battle between Autobots and Decepticons would be perpetually recycled via multiple generations eagerly regurgitating their store-bought "childhoods" all over the tabula rasa of their babies' brains.

Here's a question prompted by the last 30 years of Transformers movies: "Is it even possible to make a good movie out of this shit?" I only ask because it seems attaining "goodness" has never been the point of any prior film. In 1986, the point was to free up shelf space at the by clearing out two years' worth of overstock. No matter how hard men of a certain age might have cried after filmmakers literally turned their toybox into a fucking snuff film, Optimus Prime & Co. were never characters in Transformers: The Movie. They were clearance inventory.

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Zadie Smith Declines to Comment

A recent short story of hers takes place in a world that resembles “woke Twitter” come to life.
A recent short story of hers takes place in a world that resembles “woke Twitter” come to life. DOMINIQUE NABOKOV

This story is presented as part of The Stranger's Art + Performance Quarterly, Winter 2018-19 edition.

Zadie Smith, the famous novelist and essayist, politely (and wisely) declined to be interviewed for this article.

Who could blame her? When I e-mailed her requesting an interview, I made the terrible mistake of being honest. What I should have said was that I was interested in talking about her work in advance of her appearance in Seattle (Wednesday, February 27, at Benaroya Hall). Instead, I wrote that I was interested in talking with her about call-out culture and the purity politics of the American left.

If you spend any time on social media, you know what I'm talking about with the term "call-out culture": a teenage girl wears a culturally appropriated prom dress, a cis actor gets cast to play a trans character, a white poet publishes a poem from the point of view of a person of color—and Twitter is set aflame with righteous indignation. The offender must be reeducated, immediately. The online left increasingly runs on outrage like this, and the reason I wanted to talk to Zadie Smith about the phenomenon is because she's written about it.

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Inbox Jukebox Track of the Day: The Chill Anti-Big-Oil Screed "Shell No" by Seattle Native Funk Group Khu.eex'

Khu.éex', "Shell No" (Cedar Plank Industries)

Led by Tlingit bassist/vocalist Preston Singletary, Khu.éex' are a mystical, Native American-dominated jazz-funk unit that featured the final studio and live performances by the late Funkadelic/Talking Heads keyboardist Bernie Worrell. They recorded a massive amount of music with Mr. Worrell (with producer Randall Dunn at the controls), and the latest installment from those sessions is the triple LP Héen ("water" in the Tlingit language). It's a sprawling concept album revolving around Earth's imperiled waters, corrupt, callous politicians, and the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

On "Shell No," Khu.éex' Singletary uses a patient, indignant spoken-word delivery to excoriate shale magnates and short-sighted corporations that put profit over the safety of the environment, as if they're going to be immune from its damage, while intoning plans to resist these evil machinations. Musically, "Shell No" is a mesmerizing, low-slung fusion bubbler not dissimilar to Gil Scott-Heron or Don Cherry in laid-back mode. Worrell's organ whorls with some soul-jazz pizzazz while Captain Raab's guitar speaks in weirdly distorted tongues and Skerik's saxophone goes from mellifluity to alarm over the course the track's nearly eight minutes. Singletary's urgent refrain "No more oil/We can't breathe/No more oil/The future can't breathe" won't penetrate the thick skulls of climate-change-denying GOP leaders, but perhaps future president Nancy Pelosi will heed the message.

Clarinet Virtuoso Kinan Azmeh Premieres a New Concerto with the Seattle Symphony

Kinan Azmeh performs Wednesday, February 6, at Benaroya Hall.performs Wednesday, February 6, at Benaroya Hall. ">
Kinan Azmeh performs Wednesday, February 6, at Benaroya Hall. CONNIE TSANG

This story is presented as part of The Stranger's Art + Performance Quarterly, Winter 2018-19 edition.

There is something captivating and mysterious about the timbre of a clarinet. It's like the gazelle of woodwinds, supple and graceful, its sonic quality more subdued than its brassy siblings, yet more rich and distinctive.

In the hands of Kinan Azmeh, the clarinet becomes even more hypnotic. The soloist and composer generally works within a classical, jazz, and Arabic musical framework, crossing and melding qualities, incorporating new elements and influences (like Indian rhythmic structures) as he goes.

He'd rather not be categorized, however, because he doesn't believe the lines between genres actually exist. "In all my work, I've tried to promote the idea that music is a continuum," he says. The vocabulary used to describe music varies from culture to culture, he explains, but at its heart, music is just a means of expressing ideas or emotions that are too complex to convey with words.

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It's Day 18 of 25 Days of Giveaways—Enter Now!


Each day this month until Christmas, we're giving away new and exciting prizes from local Seattle businesses as part of 25 Days of Giveaways. Everything from event tickets to restaurant and retail gift cards to unique experiences is up for grabs.

Today's prizes are:

  • The Museum of Flight: Admission for two to the museum, plus two tickets for the Space Shuttle Trainer Crew Compartment Tour
  • Northwest Film Forum: Pair of passes for all four films in the monthly Nocturnal Emissions series (Jan-April, 18+)

    Head over to our contest page to enter. You can also check out our full list of prizes to see what's coming up, or visit our winter holidays calendar for festive events happening in Seattle.

    Happy holidays!