Ha, Ha, It's a Bomb

The Kubrickian prank wars continued this week when a bomb appeared on Kite Hill in Magnuson Park, the intended temporary site for the nine-foot monolith that has been appearing and disappearing since New Year's Day, courtesy of an artists' group known as Some People. The perpetrators of this counteroffer to the sleek, black Donald Judd-like statue call themselves Some Other People, and do not claim responsibility for the monolith's covert journey from Magnuson Park to Duck Island mid-Green Lake. The bomb, which appeared to bury itself nose first in the ground, invoked a new paradigm of a more slapstick nature--think of Slim Pickens' final wild ride--but was nonetheless not-so-covertly removed by the city the next day.

There's been some infighting among the groups responsible for the most exciting rumors since Elvis was sighted at a Dairy Queen, including some nasty name-calling re: who's establishment, and who's not. Some People initially bridled at being unveiled, but now seem to be talking to any press who will listen; even Seattle Times scab Nicole Brodeur is interested ["Tale of how city got its groove back," Seattle Times, Jan 9]. An open letter appeared at The Stranger offices from Some Other People decrying the whining of what they call Those Celebrities and calling for "a healthy exchange of ideas in the form of a massive public art explosion." We wonder what's next: perhaps a hedgerow maze in Discovery Park. EMILY HALL

Ticketmaster Gets More Impersonal

Rumor has it that a precipitous drop in phone sales is leading Ticketmaster to close most of its regional phone centers, including its Seattle branch. All phone sales will be routed through four huge call centers in Texas, Florida, West Virginia, and Louisiana. So even though you may be calling a local Seattle number, you'll be speaking to someone in Pharr, Texas. Sadly, for Eddie Vedder and other foes of the enormous corporation, the reduction in phone centers is due to the increase of sales over the Internet, not a sag in sales overall. BRET FETZER

Tell-Tale Stains

Controversy has been raging over whose fault it is that the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain--designed by EMP architect Frank Gehry--is dripping rust-brown stains. Gehry blames builders, who failed to seal the building correctly; the museum says the stains are caused by "air pollution containing silica particles." They offer as proof that "[t]he areas affected are those not exposed to rain." The building will be cleaned in the spring by mountaineers.

Fans of the EMP will be happy to know that its skin is not composed of the same materials as the Bilbao Guggenheim (titanium), but is instead a healthy combination of gold-, silver-, and purple-coated stainless steel and red- and blue-painted aluminum shingles. Take that, Spain! TRACI VOGEL

Tacoma: Where It's At

On January 25, Tacoma Mayor Mike Crowley presides over the groundbreaking for a new building for the Tacoma Art Museum. The new museum, which will have twice as much exhibition space as the old TAM building, has been designed by Albuquerque- and Los Angeles-based architect Antoine Predock, who has museums in Tempe, Arizona and Tampa, Florida under his belt and is currently building a stadium for the San Diego Padres. The new location (at Pacific Avenue and 16th Street in downtown Tacoma) is part of what the city hopes will be a new museum district, with the Washington State History Museum and the forthcoming International Glass Museum, opening July of 2002, both nearby. (TAM is slated to be finished early in 2003.) This is all very good news for TAM, which has shown up Seattle museums by bringing excellent contemporary work--Kim Dingle, Mike Kelley, and Takashi Murakami in Almost Warm and Fuzzy, as well as a full Art Guys exhibition--to the region. All this, and a mist-and-moss garden at the new building's center; still more reasons to move to Tacoma. EMILY HALL

Bombs, not monoliths! artsnews@thestranger.com