UNTIL JUNE 15: "AHEAD OF THE CURVE" @ NORTHWEST FILM FORUM
I gasped when I found out how Frances "Franco" Stevens got the money to start lesbian magazine Curve in 1990. Banks wouldn't give her a loan because of homophobia, and it was long before the era of GoFundme. Instead, Franco maxed out several credit cards, took the money to the race track, and bet on horses. The money she won was enough to start the best-selling lesbian magazine and kick off a decades-long endeavor that united gay women across the country. How daring! How enterprising! How very queer!
Franco's charm and chutzpah fuels Ahead of the Curve, a documentary that serves as a portrait of Curve's publisher as well as lesbian culture from the '90s to now. Directed by Jen Rainin (Franco's wife), the film weaves together archival footage, interviews with prominent lesbians, and a modern-day Franco pondering the glossy magazine's future in a time when many queer women shirk the "lesbian" label.
The film works best when focused on the magazine's beginnings. The "modern day" portions, which wrestle with the place of lesbian media in the queer community today, feel a bit tepid but address Curve's lack of intersectionality. Still, Ahead of the Curve serves as an exciting glimpse into the representational politics of old—and makes me want to buy back issues on eBay. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Ahead of the Curve is available to stream via Northwest Film Forum from now until June 15. Get your tickets here.
WEDNESDAY: CIVIC COCKTAIL: ONE GUILTY VERDICT—WHAT'S NEXT?
You love Slog rants soooo much that you want to listen to Sloggers rant LIVE, yes, I know, which is why you’re tuning into Seattle CityClub’s monthly 45-minute “Civic Cocktail” this Wednesday because it features The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig, who will rant about a few things alongside the Seattle Times’s Naomi Ishisaka and New York Times’s Kurt Streeter. The three of them join regular host Joni Balter to get metaphorically drunk on civics. The show has recently focused on the state of our democracy, the state of our downtown, and this month, Balter & Co. check in on the state of justice. Jasmyne says they’ll discuss the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, our year of protest, CHOP, Black journalists’ mental health, and generally how “Seattle had a moment” in 2020. If you can’t take a moment to watch Civic Cocktail on Wednesday, the Seattle Channel will eventually make the forum available online. CHASE BURNS
Buy tickets here to participate in Wednesday's Civic Cocktail.
WEDNESDAY: “PRIDE COUTURE”-THEMED SKATE AT SOUTHGATE ROLLER RINK
The most fun I’ve ever had at a Seattle-area Pride wasn’t in Capitol Hill but in White Center. In 2019, the unincorporated King County neighborhood threw its first Pride. The diverse hub had been expanding its nightlife offerings, opening multiple gay bars on its short business strip in just a couple years. Their Pride was homespun and debaucherous—a stranger randomly rubbed my feet and I didn’t really mind—and a mix of ages and crowds, unlike the corporate Prides we’ve grown used to. And then COVID hit and shifted the center of gravity of everything. One of the new bars in White Center, The Swallow, shut down, although the vibey Boombox Bar has replaced it.
This week, White Center Pride attempts to come back to life. There aren’t as many events, but there is a “Pride Couture”-Themed Pride Skate at the Southgate Roller Rink, with a pre- and post-skate party at the very gay Lumberyard Bar. Don’t call White Center the new Capitol Hill— “I don’t want to see what happened in Capitol Hill happen [in White Center],” the owner of Boombox Bar told Seattle Met earlier this spring—but do celebrate the neighborhood. And tell JACK The Stranger sent you. CHASE BURNS
The skating begins around 8:30 pm. Follow White Center Pride on Instagram for more updates.
THURSDAY: HABITAT FOR HUMANITY HOSTS MATTHEW DESMOND
Because most of us know all about Matthew Desmond's Pulitzer Prize-winning and Obama-praised book on poverty and housing in urban black America, Evicted: Poverty and Prophet in the American City, I want to use the promotion of the Desmond event, which is hosted by Habitat for Humanity, to direct readers to another, and less celebrated book on the black American experience of housing, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor's Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership.
How can you forget Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor? She's the black Princeton professor who had to cancel her 2017 Seattle event because of the storm of threats that fell on her after white-loving America heard her call their god, Donald Trump, a “racist and sexist megalomaniac” on Fox News. Though Taylor's 2019 book Race for Profits was a 2020 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in History, it made nowhere near the same noise as Evicted. And yet Taylor's work is deeper and richer than Desmond's for one good reason: The Princeton professor is far more pessimistic (and therefore more realistic) about American capitalism. You will never hear a Bill Gates singing praises for Race for Profit. CHARLES MUDEDE
Tickets for the noontime Matthew Desmond talk can be obtained from Elliott Bay Book Company.
OPENING SATURDAY: SURFING & CHESS AT SOIL
At first glance, surfing and chess are polar opposite activities. One favors the well-coordinated, the other favors the mind. One requires relative proximity to a body of water, while the other can be bought at a game store. One opponent is the ever-changing ocean, while the other's opponent is just sitting opposite. In this collaborative show, artists Brooklynn Johnson and Rachel Thomander find the commonalities between these two activities to explore new, contradictory (and humorous) ways of being in the world. Approaching both surfing and chess as beginners, Johnson and Thomander said they hoped to challenge their understanding of both activities and their relationship to each other. Surfing and Chess is sure to be a fun, thoughtful show spanning several mediums—soft sculptures, paintings, textiles, and chess-inspired clothing.
If you do happen to check out this show, make sure to take a peek into the back gallery. Ko Kirk Yamahira—one of my favorite artists working in the Pacific Northwest—will be showing new works in his second solo show at SOIL. His deconstructed and reconstructed canvases are a marvel to look at and should not be missed. JASMYNE KEIMIG
OPENING SATURDAY: THE ART OF THE DISNEY COSTUME @ MOPOP
You do not have to be a fashion-person to enjoy this new exhibit at MoPOP, which features a selection of costumes worn by heroes and villains of Disney films spanning several decades. I have literally zero knowledge about clothing (as I write this I’m wearing gym shorts that don’t fit me and a 14-year-old t-shirt from a trivia night) but the finely-dressed mannequins cast a Disney-spell over me, and I soon found myself leaning in close to inspect the stitching as if I knew anything about what the hell I was looking at.
It’s the fine craft of the art that’s intriguing, the minute details and impressive fiddly attention to character notes that the camera never lingered upon: the aggressive '70s pattern on the dress Bette Davis wore in Return from Witch Mountain, the subtle sparkles on Winifred Sanderson’s sleeves, the leathery ridges on Maleficent’s hips. It’s a real treat to see the two Mary Poppins outfits next to each other (imagine the conversation they’d have) and though you may not have as much emotional investment in the more modern films like A Wrinkle in Time or Tomorrowland, seeing the outfits up close invites a tickle of imagination that feels as pure and delightful as watching the best Disney classics. Cosplayers, do not miss this exhibit; the same goes for any fan of the timeless battle between good and evil. MATT BAUME
This exhibit opens this Saturday and runs through April 17, 2022. Find more info here.
SATURDAY: CANCEL THE RENT RALLY
rally & march @ Othello Park on 6/5, 12pm. Cancel the Rent Coalition formed in response to the urgent housing crisis emergency for many King County residents.#Seattle #HousingForAll #HousingCrisis pic.twitter.com/Ab52QCADB0
— Cancel the Rent Coalition (@CanceltheRent) May 31, 2021
Making rent during COVID-19 has been nearly impossible for many Seattle-area renters. When the eviction moratorium expires on June 30, Seattle renters who haven't been able to pay their dues could start losing their housing. This Saturday the Cancel the Rent Housing Coalition will host the "Cancel the Rent Community Rally & March" to demand bold housing solutions such as extending the eviction moratorium and implementing rent control, new progressive taxation, and mortgage and debt relief to keep people housed.
The march starts in Othello Park at 12 pm and will bring those demands to the steps of City Hall. The Seattle City Council currently has two eviction protection bills churning through its bureaucratic machine—one bill to stop evictions for children, families, and teachers during the school year, and a bill to provide a COVID-19 legal defense for evictions. The council is scheduled to vote on those bills next Monday. Saturday's march will have speakers, vendors, and music. How else would you spend the weekend other than advocating for housing protections to keep more Seattleites from ending up on the street? NATHALIE GRAHAM
SATURDAY: HIKE WITH PRIDE!
As everyone knows, nature is queer. Trees? Gay. Birds? Extemely gay. The moon is a lesbian, water is aro/ace, and precious gems are trans. Celebrate the queerness of the great outdoors this Saturday with QPOC Hikers and Seattle Pride, who are leading a hike around Hamlin Park just north of the city. This three-hour jaunt runs about two miles and has minimal hills, so it’s fairly accessible for beginner hikers; dogs are allowed on-leash; and masks are required regardless of vaccination status. And even if you can’t make it to this particular outing, you may still wish to connect with the organizers; QPOC Hikers connects queer people of color with the great outdoors through regular events, and has another hike scheduled for June 19, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more appear on the calendar throughout the summer. Enjoy a little escape from the city, and don't let the straight people find out that all queer people have the power to talk to animals. MATT BAUME
Hike with Pride happens this Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm, with more info here.
MONDAY: A SOCIAL AND PERSONAL HISTORY OF THE HYPHEN
Pardis Mahdavi with @richsssmith (livestream) A Social and Personal History of the Hyphen. Monday, June 7 at 7:30PM pt. https://t.co/mkFOv2zmdK @BloomsburyAcad
— Town Hall Seattle (@THSEA) May 29, 2021
I'm a sucker for books that go long on some arcane bit of history, particularly when that bit of history relates to language, and so of course I fell hard for Hyphen, Pardis Mahdavi's contribution to Bloomsbury's Object Lessons series, which seeks to "uncover the hidden lives of ordinary things." Mahdavi's treatment of the subject delivers the goods on that score, starting with the mark's invention in the first century BC and following its path from a little bow-shaped symbol below the line right on up to the bold dash we all sort of know how to use today sometimes. As a hyphenated Iranian-American herself, and as the dean of Social Sciences at Arizona State University, Mahdavi couldn't help but take a sociologist's approach. In-between the engrossing and surprisingly touching history of the punctuation mark, which writers paradoxically use both to separate and to conjoin, she weaves in the tragic and triumphant stories of those who struggle to express hyphenated identities in a world obsessed with binaries. The life of the hyphen and the lives of the hyphenated, it turns out, have much more in common than you may have guessed. RICH SMITH