Local Sightings Highlights: VANISHING SEATTLE, THE WORLD IS BRIGHT

Four Don't-Miss Documentaries at Local Sightings Film Festival

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The World Is Bright follows two Chinese parents as they investigate the circumstances surrounding their son's alleged suicide in Canada. Courtesy of NWFF

This Friday marks the beginning of the 2020 Local Sightings Film Festival at Northwest Film Forum. The fest, which will run online thru September 27, highlights films and filmmakers from all over the Pacific Northwest. For the most part, all films will be available on demand, so you will be able to tune in whenever you want. Individual screening tickets grant access to Viewing Parties and Q&A Sessions.

The spread this year is diverse. CHS Blog spotlighted Danny Denial's CONDiTiONER, Willamette Week dug into Roland Dahwen's Borrufa, and the Tacoma News Tribune highlighted Tacoma filmmakers. For the Stranger's Local Sightings roundup, we decided to focus specifically on the fest's can't-miss documentaries. Check them out below:

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How Wildfire Smoke Is Wrecking the Chemical Composition of American Wine

Smoking or non? Haha just kidding its all smoking
"Smoking or non? Haha just kidding it's all smoking" EoNaYa / Getty Images

Not to be all “told you so,” but just one day after I predicted that 2020’s west-coast wine harvest would be cursed with a particularly smoky flavor, the Washington State Wine Commission is sounding the alarm about “smoke taint,” which is a very serious agricultural problem and also the name of my third-favorite sex position.

"Up until recently, it's been a near-perfect vintage and then the fire started," Steve Warner, president of the commission, told King5. Other produce harvests are disrupted as well—in part because farms have held back on putting workers in the fields right now. Overall, it’s looking like everything that used to be healthy (getting fresh air, eating fresh fruits and veggies, and getting wasted on box-wine) is now cursed.

But can’t grape-growers just, you know, wipe the smoke off the fruit? Or hose it down or something? Well, no—because the smoke has an unexpected impact not just on the outside of plants, but also on the insides.

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Watch the Trailer for SLAY: Our New Horror Film Fest Debuting Oct 15-31!

Screen_Shot_2020-09-17_at_1.02.39_PM.png
SLAY Film Festival

We're living through horrifying times... correct? Then what better time for SLAY—the horror film festival featuring short, deliciously TERRIFYING flicks? SLAY comes to you from the makers of HUMP! and SPLIFF, who asked artists, filmmakers, and generally bored people to make short, eight-minute-or-less horror flicks—and wow! Did you deliver! We received hundreds of submissions from all over the Northwest and the world, and have picked the best 32 of these entries for the debut of the SLAY film festival, premiering October 15-31, 2020.

In fact, we got so many great submissions we were able to break SLAY into two volumes—so you can watch just one, or if you really want to be scared witless, WATCH BOTH for a discount. Get your tickets now and here!

Need more fun? No problem. After watching SLAY you'll be able to vote on the best flicks in four categories: "Goriest," "Funniest," "Scariest," and "Best in Show." Plus all finalists will share the revenue from SLAY, which means you'll be helping support these talented artists and filmmakers!

So what can you expect from the debut of SLAY? All kinds of TERROR... from creepy, to hilarious, to sexy, to poop-your-pants horrifying! CHECK OUT THE TRAILER HERE! And don't miss the absolutely scare-tastic premiere of the funnest film festival of the season, SLAY! Get those tickets now!


The "Ave" Is Dying Again

This bar is beaten by none on the Ave...
This bar is beaten by none on the Ave... Charles Mudede
Today we're re-upping this story to highlight Charles Mudede's appearance on KUOW's Seattle Now podcast this morning. Give the piece a read, then listen to Charles talk about it and the future of the Ave with host Patricia Murphy right here. —Eds. Note

For the past 28 years, the best bar on the Ave has been Flowers Bar and Restaurant.

This location was once a flower shop that ultimately ran out of business and remained empty for a few years. Then, in 1992, Fadi Hamade transformed the abandoned space into a mirage of Lebanese cosmopolitanism that served cheap drinks and featured a Mediterranean menu. Hamade wisely kept the sign and part of the name of the former business. The sign is now an Ave icon, and it functions as a kind of gateway to what some call Little Lebanon. Here, Hamade's Flowers shares a little street with Cedars of Lebanon, and Samir's Mediterranean Grill Lebanese Cuisine. The former opened in 1975 and the latter in 2005. Flowers is also great for indoor and outdoor people-watching. And in the mid-90s it was something of a court for an obscure Pakistani poet named Wajahat Malik. He left town after 9/11.

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Coming Soon to Seattle: Weird-Looking Semi-Flying Boats

A rendering of the weird machines that could soon be whizzing over our waves.
A splashy rendering of the weird machines that could soon be whizzing over our waves. Glosten

We could all be zipping around Puget Sound on futuristic foil-based ferries soon, thanks to a federal grant that will help Kitsap County develop some truly weird-looking boats that look like (but are not actually) machines that fly above the water held aloft by telephone poles.

Hydrofoils, as the vessels are called, are a decades-old technology that basically balances the boat on airplane-wing-shaped structures that help them lift higher in the water. There’ve been some recent advances that make them more economically feasible and environmentally friendly, which is why the Federal Transit Administration just awarded the oddly specific amount of $372,910 for the county to create a new generation of 150-passenger vessels that could get you from Seattle to the islands and beyond as soon as 2023.

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Where to Celebrate Rosh Hashanah 2020 in Seattle

Usher in the Jewish new year with Dacha Diners comforting matzo ball soup.
Usher in the Jewish new year with Dacha Diner's comforting matzo ball soup. @annie_eatsfood via Dacha Diner on Instagram

Religious or not, Rosh Hashanah is as good an opportunity as any to 1) experience fun Jewish cultural traditions and 2) get a fresh start on this dumpster fire of a year. In addition to a roundup of Jewish new year specials available at local restaurants, we've compiled some virtual and socially distant in-person events to help you celebrate the High Holidays across the Northwest, in both Seattle and Portland. See them all below. 

Keep in mind that in-person events may be canceled due to poor air quality

SEATTLE
FOOD & DRINK SPECIALS
Dacha Diner
The Capitol Hill spot known for its craveable Eastern-European fare will serve steaming bowls of matzo ball soup for the occasion, with a choice of chicken or vegetable broth.
Capitol Hill
Pickup

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NewsCopsSlog AM/PM

Slog AM: Two Found Dead in Cal Anderson, Barr Explored Charging Durkan for CHOP, Obama to Drop New Memoir

Whos got two thumbs, was the former president of the United States, and has a tome of a memoir coming out? This guy!
Who's got two thumbs, was the former president of the United States, and has a tome of a memoir coming out? This guy! Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty
Welcome to Slog AM, where get into the morning's biggest headlines. Up first...

Group behind Hyatt hoax said the move was meant to pressure the hotel to put up homeless, protect them from wildfire smoke: Anna Humphreys, one of the creators of a fake press release claiming the hotel planned to put up 30 homeless people, said the group was frustrated that the city and county have only opened one 100-bed shelter for refuge, reports the Seattle Times. The Hyatt was targeted because they lit up a side of the building with "BLM" in supposed solidarity with the protests happening earlier this summer.

University of Washington grad student files class action lawsuit against the university: Demanding repayment of tuition and other fees, reports KIRO. A press release from Hagen Berman, the law firm representing the student, stated that despite sending students home and transitioning to online classes, UW "continued to charge for tuition and/or fees as if nothing changed, continuing to reap the financial benefit of millions of dollars from students.”

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Slog PM: Sally Thrashes Pensacola; Trump Says a Vaccine Is Coming in October, CDC Disagrees

Doc Redfield has some news for us. Trump thinks its fake.
Doc Redfield has some news for us. Trump thinks it's fake. ANDREW HARNIK / GETTY NEWS

The director of the CDC told lawmakers today that a vaccine probably won't be available until mid-to-late 2021: "I think there will be vaccine that will initially be available some time between November and December, but very limited supply, and it will have to be prioritized," said CDC Director Robert Redfield. "If you're asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we're probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021."

Trump said this was a "mistake": “I think he made a mistake when he said that. It’s just incorrect information,” Trump said during his presser today. “That is incorrect information,” he repeated. Trump thinks vaccines could be ready as soon as next month. Experts, and top experts, appear to disagree.

And here's Biden's take: "I trust vaccines. I trust the scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump. At this point, the American people can’t either," said Uncle Joe in Delaware today.

Your smoke forecast: Unhealthy. For the hard-to-see foreseeable future. I'm sad about it, too.

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NewsCity

Sawant Will Appeal Judge's Decision to Certify Recall Petition

On the hot seat.
On the hot seat. KELLY O

King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers certified four out of six complaints in the recall petition against Councilmember Kshama Sawant. Sawant indicated she will appeal the decision.

A recall certification does not amount to a judgement on the truth of the allegations leveled against Sawant. Rogers based his determination on whether the nature of the complaints, factually and legally speaking, involve an official committing malfeasance, misfeasance, or a violation of their oath of office. If a recall is ultimately certified, and if the campaign gathers 10,000 signatures by early 2021, voters will ultimately decide on the veracity of the allegations.

In a virtual hearing today plagued by audio issues, Rogers heard arguments outlining the complaints in the petition to recall Sawant.

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The Old Fear of a Black Planet Will Cause Many White Women to Vote for Trump

The question this post wants to answer is why does racism produce for many white Americans such sheer sensations of pleasure?
The question this post wants to answer is why does racism produce for many white Americans such sheer sensations of pleasure? Stephanie Keith

On Monday CNN published an op-ed from the novelist Andrea Portes titled, "Dear White women, let's not fall for Trump's racist bet on us." Portes put her whole heart into the piece, but, sadly, it amounts only to a song directed at a choir of white women like her. The white women who feel her are already made of the stuff that can vaporize Trump's attraction before it reaches in and grasps the core from which the white-power passions are excited.

Portes:

Polling shows White women favored Trump in 2016, but that enough of them turned out to help Democrats win the House two years later. Quite simply, Trump, trailing among all women in the polls for the moment, cannot win a second time without them.

I'm a White woman, and the truth is I'm moderate—a Democrat, but fairly moderate. I understand that it can seem like much of the Democratic left is overly concerned with who is the most politically correct. I'm annoyed by elements of cancel culture, too. And I'm probably not that woke. At least, not woke enough for some.

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A Sign of the Times? Another Museum Sells Objects from Its Collection

Lucas Cranach the Elders Lucretia is one of twelve works from the Brooklyn Museum being deaccessioned.
Lucas Cranach the Elder's "Lucretia" is one of twelve works from the Brooklyn Museum being deaccessioned. Christie's Images Ltd.
Deaccessioning—the practice of museums selling off objects from their collection—has long been a controversial but highly controlled system. That was until the pandemic hit, with museums suffering severe losses in revenue due to reduced attendance and the costs of keeping up extensive collections.

So in April, the Association of Art Museum Directors announced that they would loosen regulations around deaccessioning until April 2022 to allow more financial flexibility for cultural institutions during this time. They are permitting member museums to "use the proceeds from deaccessioned art to pay for expenses associated with the direct care of collections."

Last week, the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse announced they would hawk off an early drip painting by Jackson Pollock to make room for a more diverse collection (estimated to sell for a cool $12-$18 million). That move received criticism, particularly from 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner Christopher Knight at the LA Times.

Echoing a frightening prediction I made on Tuesday, today a much larger cultural institution, the Brooklyn Museum, announced that they would be auctioning off not one, but twelve works next month at Christie's. More from Robin Pogrebin at the New York Times:

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Dawn Cerny Is Seattle Art Museum's 2020 Betty Bowen Award Winner

2020 Betty Bowen Award winner Dawn Cernys Screen from Leisure Activity Area at Eden Lake.
2020 Betty Bowen Award winner Dawn Cerny's "Screen from Leisure Activity Area at Eden Lake." Courtesy of the Artist
This morning, the Seattle Art Museum announced that Seattle-based multidisciplinary artist Dawn Cerny won their 2020 Betty Bowen Award. Each year, the juried award honors a Northwest artist for their work and includes $15,000 of unrestricted fund$ for the artist to do with as she pleases as well as a solo exhibition at the SAM in 2021.

"When I found out I was completely in shock," Cerny wrote to me about her win. "I am still in shock. Like, comically dim-witted and wildly humbled and then shocked again."

A 2015 Stranger Genius Award nominee (former Stranger art critic Jen Graves described her work as "messy, pulpy, direct, and poetically profound"), Cerny creates sculptures from inexpensive and readily available materials like wood, wire, and cardboard, often using them to intervene on luxurious-looking glass vessels. The results are colorful and delightfully weird objects that could furnish a fantastical domestic space.

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A Double Feature of Dread

Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (of Canadas Drag Race fame) stars in Spiral, available on Shudder on September 17.
Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (of Canada's Drag Race fame) stars in Spiral, available on Shudder on September 17. SPIRAL / SHUDDER
A well-curated double feature can be just what the doctor ordered to fill the long hours of being inside to avoid a global pandemic or a world currently on fire.

Two new films that pair well together, Spiral and Alone, are both set in motion by people trying to move and escape a troubled past. The results are equally terrible as they follow their respective character on uniquely perilous journeys.

SPIRAL

Spiral stars Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman as Malik in an unsettling and surprisingly affecting story of small-town horror. Malik is a writer moving to a new place with his partner Aaron. He's looking for a fresh start. Aaron's daughter is also in tow. Chill, right? Maybe? No. Malik will soon wish he'd never set foot there.

I told you, this is a double feature of dread.

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Rep. Jayapal Leads Call for DHS to Investigate "Uterus Collector" Complaint

Jayapal sat down with some attorneys representing the detainees and says there may be at minimum 17 to 18 women who were subjected to unnecessary medical gynecological procedures.
Jayapal sat down with some attorneys representing the detainees and said there "may be at minimum 17 to 18 women who were subjected to unnecessary medical gynecological procedures." JOHN BOAL

On Tuesday Seattle Rep. Pramila Jayapal (and a couple other reps from California and New York) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari demanding he investigate this "uterus collector" complaint coming out of an ICE detention facility down in Georgia. The letter, which was signed by 173 other members of Congress, came on the day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also called for an investigation.

In the complaint, a human rights group called Project South said a detainee told them a doctor performed five hysterectomies on other detainees last year. Dawn Wooten, one of the whistleblowers in the complaint, said, "We’ve questioned among ourselves, like, 'Goodness he’s taking everybody’s stuff out'…That’s his specialty, he’s the uterus collector. I know that’s ugly…is he collecting these things or something...Everybody he sees, he’s taking all their uteruses out or he’s taken their tubes out."

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The Main Stream: Crypticon

Its spooky season, baby! Tune into Crypticon this weekend for a wide variety of scary short film options.
It's spooky season, baby! Tune into Crypticon this weekend for a wide variety of scary short film options. Robert A. Buchta

Thanks to the inevitable conclusion of 2020’s The Summer That Wasn’t, we are now bumpily cruising into fall, and thereby Halloween season. You may be saying to yourself: “Hey asshole, I didn’t even get to waggle around in my favorite shit swamp, Lake Washington, this year.” So I’ll respond in kind: Listen up, fucko. The Pacific Northwest was made for fall. This is our fucking season. We thrive in darkness, solitude, and moisture. Spiders are literally birthing en masse right this second so that our porches and car mirrors may be dressed in their best webs as the sun turns down earlier and earlier. This is our time to patiently sit through this uncontrollable wildfire smog, then don our best comfy sweater and pick out our favorite seat on the couch for three days’ worth of creepy-crawly movies that can lead us into the season that is our birthright.

Doing that festive labor for us this year is Crypticon, the annual horror film festival that is now online thanks to insert-2020-extenuating-circumstance-here. This weekend fest, now in its 14th year, serves up the full horror spectrum in a series of shorts (plus one feature film) that run the gamut from gross to gory and eerie to electrifying. If your favorite season of American Horror Story was 1984, I highly recommend the “In the Woods” film block. Have a nasty fantasy about boning Viggo Mortensen in The Road? Then buy a ticket to “Traveling Fears & More!” Or go right ahead and buy a weekend pass to get access to each delicious morsel of sick, twisted, pre-Halloween action.

Since you can't technically go outside right now, we hope you’ll stay in and join us for a weekend of thrills right here on StreamLocal.