Rich Smith Went Down a Rabbit Hole of Fake Websites and Other Dubious Claims to Bring You This Incredible Story: About literary grifter John Smelcer, who claimed to be Native American even though he’s not, and has recently been nominated for a PEN Literary Award. It’s a very thoroughly researched, very strange tale of the lengths a person will go to achieve artistic success.
And Here’s Another Story Involving Artistic Integrity: About the lawsuit surrounding legendary Seattle artist Dale Chihuly from The New York Times. A former contractor has sued him for unpaid and uncredited work on a number of Chihuly paintings. The Chihulys have dismissed the claims as “an act of greed and jealousy,” and say that Chihuly’s “vision still defines and shapes all art that leaves his studio.”
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Spaces: The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (ARTS) has expanded their Cultural Facilities Fund by $1 million, which will support the city’s museums, galleries, theaters, live music venues, and arts spaces with funding for capital projects to improve their infrastructure. ARTS has also come up with 30 solid ideas for strengthening cultural spaces in Seattle, including working with developers to help preserve them.
Pivot Art + Culture is Officially, Actually Done This Time: Though we’ve known it was inevitable for some time and wondered when it would actually happen, Pivot’s website says the space is now being marketed for lease to another tenant. I have nothing but good memories of that space—the one-of-a-kind Figure in Process exhibit, the Murakami/Juxtapoz pop-up for last year’s art fair, which included artist Yuji Ueno's awesome (and dangerous-looking) performance balancing objects like luggage and couches on a car in the parking lot across the street from Pivot. It’s great that Paul Allen gave us an art fair, but there’s still room in Seattle for large-scale, robust contemporary art spaces that can serve the art-hungry public year round.
Sub Pop To Issue Exhaustive Anthology by Bruising Seattle Underground-Rockers the U-Men: On November 3, Sub Pop will release a 30-track anthology by the U-Men, which Dave Segal describes as “an exhilaratingly ornery” Seattle rock group that existed from 1980 to 1989. The compilation encompasses U-Men’s entire studio output, plus five previously unreleased tracks. Executive produced by studio wizard Jack Endino, U-Men also comes with a 16-page book of liner notes, photos, and band interviews.
Mark Arm enthuses: “The U-Men are one of the best bands I’ve ever seen. They were hypnotic, frenetic, powerful, and compelling. It was impossible to resist getting sucked into their weird, darkly absurd world. They effortlessly blended The Sonics, Link Wray, Pere Ubu, and Captain Beefheart… The U-Men had nothing to do with Grunge. They were their own unique thing. I loved them and I still miss them.” You can pre-order the U-Men's U Men—which is available on LP, CD, and download—here.
Jazz Guitarist John Abercrombie Has Died: The musician was 72 and played with the likes of with Gato Barbieri, Gil Evans, and Billy Cobham. Dave Segal says: “Over his long career, Abercrombie forged a style that combined crystalline contemplativeness with conflagratory passages which could strafe with the fury of fellow fusion luminaries such as Larry Coryell and Bill Frisell.”
To Read or Not To Read? Another Pitchfork “Best Of” List is Out: And Sean Nelson notes that, despite The Stranger's tendency to critique and correct them, best of lists are actually pretty ok because they can help you discover new albums (or albums you’ve been meaning to get to know better), and they encourage passionate conversation among fans and critics.
Also, Taylor Swift is Promoting Her New Album with a Social Media Blackout and Lo-Fi VHS-Looking Snake Videos: And our music intern Anna Kaplan wonders: Since when has music promotion gotten so weird?
Check Out the Pistil Books Annual Outdoor Sale: I love a good weekend book sale. Paperbacks are $1, hardbacks are $2, and I guarantee that, if you get there early enough, they will have some great contemporary novels that are barely a season-old. Pistil also carries a carefully curated set of oddly wonderful and wonderfully odd old timey books, so check those out as well. Plus, FREE LEMONADE.