More public art updates: MoPOP unveiled a new Chris Cornell statue, made by artist Nick Marra and commissioned by the late musician's wife, Vicky Cornell. The life-size bronze statue "depicts Cornell in one of his typical poses with his signature boots, dog tag and long hair," reports KOMO.
Senior Nigerian government aide is a suspect in Washington state's $650 million unemployment fraud: Abidemi Rufai is accused of stealing more than $350,000 in the scheme by impersonating "more than 100 Washington residents" to file fraudulent jobless claims last year. The feds caught Rufai at JFK Airport in New York City before he slipped away to Nigeria, reports the Seattle Times. He has apparently been suspended from his government position in Ogun, Nigeria.
Break out your rainbow jockstraps, Pride is back this—ahem—October: The organizers behind Seattle Pride Parade and Seattle Pride have announced they are planning for an in-person "LGBTQIA+ event" this fall in light of Inslee lifting COVID restrictions by June 30, reports CHS Blog. Details are still "in development," but on October 9 & 10 in Capitol Hill, you can expect "a self-guided route with numerous stopping points featuring a wide variety of activities, performances and more, taking place in and around many of the community’s favorite LGBTQIA+ and ally-owned businesses" in honor of National Coming Out Day.
Charles Grodin is dead: The character actor who starred in films like The Heartbreak Kid, Midnight Run, and Beethoven; acted on stage in Same Time, Next Year; and hosted his own talk show died today in Wilton, Connecticut. He was 86. The Wrap rounded up all of their favorite talk show appearances of his, including one when he calls Sean Hannity a fascist.
Thunder, lightning & hail along the Snohomish-King County line! The Puget Sound Convergence Zone is extra fierce today, and this cell has been firmly rooted in roughly the same spot for nearly an hour. Tough commuting near Bothell, Snohomish, Maltby, Monroe & Woodinville. #WAwx pic.twitter.com/M46Lk9vOdC
— Shannon O'Donnell (@ShannonODKOMO) May 19, 2021
Seattle Department of Transportation needs help naming their protected bike lane sweeper: Since, y'know, "protected bike lane sweeper" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. They've chaotically decided to conduct this sweeper-naming poll via Twitter, so any user can participate in #NameThatSweeper. The "final four" poll will run on Thursday with the championship round going on Monday. I'm personally pulling for Sweepy McSweepface because I don't believe in God.
Today on this blog:
Chase and I highlight four more unstreamable films for our column, one of which features Alec Baldwin having awkward sexual chemistry with an elderly man. I explain where those banners that are hung all over the Central District came from. Nathalie starts to clear up the confusion on whether or not the Soderbergh production cleared homeless encampments. Mudede wrote about inflation, stimmy checks, and what the right gets wrong.
FBI investigating "massive scheme" to fund Maine Sen. Susan Collins' 2020 re-election campaign: Axios got their hands on unsealed search warrants for a Hawaii defense contractor whom the FBI believes "illegally funneled $150,000 to a pro-Collins super PAC and reimbursed donations to Collins' campaign." The outlet says there's no indication that Collins or her team knew about it.
The Giuliani family continues to spew more hacks: Rudy's son, Andrew, announced today that he would plague the people of New York with a run for governor. Among his credentials are his service as White House special assistant under Trump; a contributor role at hard-right media outlet, Newsmax; and an absolute cretin for a father. "I'm a politician out of the womb," Andrew said during his campaign announcement, a phrase as dumb as his run is sure to be.
Mount St. Helens erupted on this day 41 years ago: After a 5.1 earthquake shook the mountain and smoke plume reached 60,000 feet in the sky, leaving 57 people dead. When my family moved here from Kansas in 2000, I made my parents promise to N-E-V-E-R take me near this belching hunk of rock, convinced it would awake from its slumber and bury me in ash (I was a chill 6-year-old). If you're nostalgic for terror, relive the eruption with this Smithsonian video:
House passes bill aimed at stopping anti-Asian hate crimes: The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act would direct government agencies to work with "community-based organizations to issue guidance raising awareness of hate crimes during the pandemic," reports CNN. Significantly, the measure would also create a new role at the Department of Justice to "expedite review of potential Covid-19-related hate crimes and incidents reported at the federal, state or local level." The bill passed in the House 364-62 (everyone who voted against it is a Republican) and in the Senate last month, 94-1. It will now head to Biden's desk for his signature.
Public Health — Seattle & King County health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin is pulling a Valentina: And would like everyone keep their masks ON while indoors, despite the CDC relaxing their mask mandates for vaccinated people. He also urged businesses in King County to keep their mask policies in place as we try to get this disease under our heel.
I strongly encourage all KC residents (not just unvaccinated people) to continue wearing face masks when in indoor public spaces & strongly encourage KC businesses to continue their policies to ensure all customers & workers wear masks when in indoor public spaces. https://t.co/eQFiBWIXny
— Jeffrey Duchin, MD (@DocJeffD) May 17, 2021
Slouching toward Conglomerica: Amazon is reportedly in talks to buy vaunted film studio MGM for somewhere in the $9 billion range, reports the New York Times. If the deal went through, the online store could add more than 4,000 films to their (shitty and horrible to navigate) streaming library, including the James Bond, RoboCop, and Legally Blonde properties.
Bookmarking for later: Vulture rounded up 100 of the most "unhinged, unexplainable, and unforgettable" moments from the Real Housewives franchise. The fact that Grand Dame Karen Huger's wig sliding off her head did not crack the top ten is a travesty!
The Child Tax Credit is almost here: Starting July 15, eligible low- and middle-income families with kids under the ages of 17 will start receiving monthly payments of anywhere from $250-$300 per child from the federal government. The automatic payments will cover more than 65 million kids—or around 88% of all American children—reports CBS News. The tax credit is thanks to the Biden administration's American Rescue Plan passed in March and is projected to "lift more than five million children out of poverty this year."
Be on the lookout for bok choy, gai lan, mizuna, and more Asian vegetables at the Ballard Farmers Market: Former Stranger news editor Steven Hsieh and Elizabeth Whitman opened up Tian Tian Farm on Vashon Island, which specializes in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese veggies. Starting on May 23, they will bring their harvest to the Ballard Farmers Market and to Tacoma's Eastside Market in June. Seattle P.I. did a write-up on the venture here.
I officially feel old: After seeing the kids from School of Rock are fully adults, confronting the fact that we have now lived through two decades of Shrek makes me feel ancient. Today is the 20-year anniversary of the wide release featuring everyone's favorite ogre and donkey. Maybe take this day, smoke some weed, reflect on how we're all just like onions, and rewatch a CLASSIC. If you're feeling generous and spot a Shrek meme you think I'd enjoy, my DMs and inbox are wide open.