Archive for September, 2007

What Might Have Been

RockiesSince I went to school in Boulder in the early 90s and grew up in a baseball family, the coming of major league baseball to Denver was a big deal in my life. When the Rockies finally debuted in 1993, I found myself on Opening Day sitting in the south end zone of Mile High Stadium with 80,000 other people. The Rockies became my team.

But then I moved to Seattle in 1995, and I sat in that mausoleum that passed for a ball park as Luis Sojo squirted home the insurance runs against the Angels. Suddenly, Seattle was a baseball town, and Refuse To Lose was the catchphrase.

Still, I resisted converting my allegiances from the Rockies to the Mariners. It probably wasn’t until 2001 or so, when the M’s won 116 games while the ownership in Denver was rapidly converting the team into the doormat of the National League, that I finally filed my Form 27 (Application To Change Team Allegiances) with MLB.

And now, it’s 2007. While the M’s spent the last six weeks squandering a 3 game lead in the AL Wild Card behind piss-poor managing and highly questionable personnel moves (Rick White? Really?), the young, rebuilt Rockies hung in the National League race, then went on a 13-1 tear the last two plus weeks. They play the San Diego Padres tomorrow afternoon for a playoff berth.

And as I watch the Mariners waste Adam Jones’ talent, start Horacio “7.16 ERA with more walks than strikeouts” Ramirez twenty times, and run Rick White(?!) out of the bullpen to blow it in crucial game situations, I ask myself why I even bothered to change team allegiances.

Let this be a lesson to those of you freshly arrived from elsewhere thinking of converting to the way of the Mariner: Don’t. It’s not worth the pain.

Cascade People’s Center in trouble

I’m out of town, so you’ll have to forgive me for only just getting to this, but the Cascade People’s Center is in big trouble–the city is planning to not renew their funding for 2008, and without it they’ll have to close in December.

Cascade People’s Center is in South Lake Union, and it has after school programs and language classes and provide family support, and it’s a terribly overlooked place.

The Cascade People’s Center is a truly a place for the people. Ten years ago, community members rallied to save the building from being torn down and to create a community center focused on family support and environmental sustainability, and also to create a p-patch and the Garden of Happiness. Today, we are stronger than ever with over 6,000 Center users and a over 70% of the work done by volunteers. We have an eco-renovation of our building in the works as well as a proposed community compost project, proposed farmer’s market, and amazing youth and family programs already flourishing. With the Cascade neighborhood drastically changing among the South Lake Union development, the Center is a place of consistency and familiarity for thousands of low income and transitioning families who are being pushed out of their neighborhood. Not only are we a family and community support center, but we also stand for social and environmental justice in a neighborhood where the underdogs are constantly being silenced.

Tomorrow from 6-9 there will be a community brainstorming session at CPC–they’ve got 10 days to appeal the decision, and after that they’ll have to find alternate funding to keep going.

Weekend film agenda

  • Fans of weak plots, cheesy dialogue, bad acting and full-front male nudity will want to get to the Egyptian this weekend for this weekend’s Midnight Movie: The Italian Stallion, Sylverster Stallone’s filmed in 1970 “adult” film
  • Central Cinema is showing The Hunger, the story of a three-way love affair involving a doctor played by Susan Sarandon and a stylish vampire couple played by David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve. Noted more for its darkly glamourous visual sense and elongated opening sequence scored by Bauhaus’ “Bela Legosi’s Dead” than its actual story, The Hunger has become a minor cult classic over the years despite a near universal panning by film critics.
  • At the Grand Illusion: Debakey, a documentary about a physician who helped found M.A.S.H. units, the VA Hospital system and Medicaid; locally produced feature Apart From That; and 80s horror flick The Power.
  • SIFF screens In Search of Mozart, a documentary about the composer’s lasting musical legacy.
  • Peter Greenaway’s work in on display at NWFF : A Zed and Two Noughts and The Draughtsman’s Contract. Also playing is “mumblecore” film Hannah Takes the Stairs .

Local Sightings 2007

Local Sightings is the name that the Northwest Film Forum gives its festival celebrating the best of made-in-the-NW film, including narrative features, documentaries, short films and various “hybrids”.

The festival runs this year from October 4th through October 11th and includes a wide variety of films: some to look out for are Outpatient( Tuesday, Oct. 9, 9:30pm), a neo-noir thriller about a young writer navigating the boundaries between reality and hallucination; Acts of Imagination (Friday, Oct. 5, 7pm), the story of a young Ukrainian immigrant struggling to adapt to both her new surroundings in Vancouver, BC, and the differences between her perception of history and the outer world; and a whole host of short film events that give you the chance to get to know many different Northwest film creators at once.

Local sightings also offers forum discussions, a nightly festival lounge and a popular opening night party.

Visit the Local Sightings webpage for detailed info and schedule.

tickets : clap your hands say yeah + elvis perkins

Cyhsy Myspace 500Px
photo via clap your hands say yeah [myspace]

Good news for indie fans disallusioned with their favorite bands playing gigantic arenas. Because look who’s rolling into town for two nights at Neumo’s this weekend — it’s Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Elvis Perkins in Dearland. With far more fame and light shows that you’d typically expect from a band whose two albums have been self-released, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah reliably put on great shows. Even the less than infectious songs from this year’s Some Loud Thunder spring to life and benefit from the live treatment. (For a preview, check out last year’s show at the Black Cat [npr]). Just wait, when they play “the Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth”, you can close your eyes, dance crazily, and it will be the blissful summer of 2005 all over again.

Our pals at Neumo’s think that you should be there; so we’re helping by giving away a pair of tickets for each night. Send an e-mail to seattle.metblogs @ gmail.com and you’ll be entered to win. Sunday’s show is all-ages; so let me know if you’re under 21 and can only go that day.

We’ll pick a winner by Friday evening. Not willing to try your luck? Advance tickets are $15 [neumos (sat), neumos (sun)]

Ring around the moon, rain by noon

While sitting on my rooftop patio this evening, I noticed a large ring around the moon. Although it was quite a lovely site, the reasoning for it is not so lovely. According to Nasa:

The ring around the Moon is caused by the reflection of Moonlight from ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. The shape of the ice crystals results in a focusing of the light into a ring. Since the ice crystals typically have the same shape, namely a hexagonal shape, the Moon ring is always the same size.

More importantly, a ring around the moon is a sign of bad weather to come–rain or snow.

Some Web sites said the ring means the fairies are dancing, and others said the number of stars within the ring will predict the amount of days until bad weather.

I saw neither fairies nor stars, but I don’t have to be a scientist or a genius or a genius scientist to know rain is coming our way. Tomorrow. By at least noon. And for a minimum of 10 days, to be exact.

Welcome to fall, Seattle.

2007 Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

Seattle is home to a number of interesting film festivals; one of them is the Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival which runs from October 12 through October 21 this year.

There are always interesting films at the SLGFF; this year’s festival opens with The Walker starring Woody Harrelson and Lily Tomlin. During the course of its run, the festival also will show
over 150 narrative features, documentaries, local films and shorts at venues like the Cinerama Theatre, the Harvard Exit Theatre and Northwest Film Forum.

The wide variety of festival programming also includes presentations about gay television (including a premiere episode of the new Logo series Exes & Ohs), An Evening with Jane Lynch (The L Word, Best in Show, The 40 Year Old Virgin), and “Sing Along”–an audience participation event that this year features one of the best bad movies ever, Xanadu with its simultaneously too simple and yet too overly complicated plot, bad (even for the days) costuming and sometimes weak but always catchy songs.

The festival’s closing night film Itty Bitty Titty Committee, is directed by Jamie Babbit and features songs from Pacific Northwest favorites Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill and Le Tigre.

Festival passes and single event tickets are on now via ticketwindowonline.com, by phone at (206) 325-6500 and at all Ticket/Ticket outlets.

photos: LCD Soundsystem + Arcade Fire

Lcdsoundsystem Heced
lcd soundsystem / hec ed / 24 september 2007
(more photos [flickr])

Held as part of “Dawg Days”, the Gossip, LCD Soundsystem, and Arcade Fire helped to welcome UW students [back] to campus two nights before the start of the academic year. For those of us not headed off to class on Wednesday but who nonetheless headed over to the edge of campus, it served as the unofficial kickoff to the cool evenings of autumn and the beginning of a jam-packed season of more shows that we know what to do with.

Lcd Al
 
Lcd Pat
al doyle & pat mahoney of lcd soundsystem // more [flickr]

The kids, they start on time. When we arrived about an hour after the time printed on our tickets, the Gossip was long finished and LCD Soundsystem was already well into their set (I thought I heard them playing “Someone Great” while my bag was being checked). I don’t remember what I did a few days before my first undergraduate year began, but I’m certain that it wasn’t as momentous as humanist dance party under a giant glittering disco ball thrown by James Murphy followed immediately by a series triumph through despair, nostalgic, motivational speeches set to tempestous music by Arcade Fire.

Arcadefire Win
arcade fire // hec ed // 24 september 2007
(more photos [flickr])

Although reactions were much grumpier from the stands (Hec Ed instituted a bracelet system, whereby the first 2,000 people were admitted to the floor and the rest were relegated to the nosebleeds), I couldn’t help thinking, as I always do when seeing the Arcade Fire, of Matthew Derbey’s “Not Enough Protection From the Song” [believer] and finding it ever more impossible to believe that the band ever played anything other than amphitheaters, vast showrooms, and basketball arenas. I have seen them at least a half-dozen times, and the effect has yet to wear off. By the end I am always trying not to sing along too loudly and screaming “Lies” along with the band during “Rebellion”.

Arcadefire Regine  Arcadefire Richard
arcade fire // more photos [flickr]

This time, with the occasion of students marching off to a new year, meeting what are likely to be lifelong friends, pumping fists enthusiastically, dancing in the crowd as Win dives among them, Will scales the scaffolding, Richard tries to destroy anything in reach of his drumsticks, Regine furiously rotates between Hurdy Gurdy, accordion, and sining duties, in the background violins, saxophones, french horns swell, and the image of Jeremy Gara happily drumming projected against the giant curtain, the show and lyrics like “is it a dream? is it a lie? i think i’ll let you deceide”, “hold your mistakes up”, “sleep is giving in”, and seem all the more momentous. Definitely more memorable than whatever they say at convocation.

Two Seattleites Awarded Genius Grants

The 2007 MacArthur Foundation Fellows [#] were announced this morning. Impressively, two Seattleites were among the recipients [p-i]. Along with high praise, much esteem, and not a small bit of jealous sniping, the winners receive a check for $500,000 to use however they please. Here are the lucky winners from Seattle (descriptions lifted from MacArthur Fellows website):

Yoky Matsuoka: A University of Washington Neuroroboticist devising complex prosthetic devices and rehabilitation strategies that hold life-changing potential for those suffering from brain injuries and manipulation disabilities.

Mark Roth: A Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Biomedical Scientist experimenting with new procedures for temporary reduction in metabolism that may one day extend the time available to surgeons to perform critical, live-saving procedures.

A hearty congratulations to the winners. I’m the wrong guy to comment about cancer research or neurorobotics so I’m afraid don’t have too much else to say. However, rest assured that if the MacArthur Foundation decides to award a grant to a local drunk, I’ll be all over it. For that, I’m an expert.

A full list of past winners can be found here.

Ride the SLUWT?

We’re pretty big fans of the water taxi to West Seattle around here–it’s a nice alternative to waiting for the bus in the summer, and we wish that they would run it year-round. And now, while everyone has been in a flap about the SLUT nearing completion in South Lake Union, a new water taxi has entered the lineup: the South Lake Union Water Taxi.

Although they haven’t really done much advertising yet, the SLUWT runs two lines, one between the Center for Wooden Boats and the University District, and the other from SLU to a dock under the Aurora Bridge. The east side trip takes about 30 minutes and the west run takes about 20 minutes. The SLUWT is $3 one way and $5 round trip. It’s running on a trial basis right now and will shut down on November 23 to re-open on May 1 [PI].

Now, I live in Eastlake, and have always wished there was a water taxi to get to Queen Anne or Fremont, which currently have to be reached by long circuitous Metro routes. And a water taxi isn’t going to change my commute at all, since I walk to work. But if I’m headed to Fremont and not in a hurry, would I rather take a ride on a heated electric boat instead of a steamy crowded bus? Maybe. Are people going to commute from the University District to South Lake Union by half-hour boat ride instead of by bus in half the time and for half the price? Maybe not.

I’d like to see Lake Union being used for commuting a bit more, since traffic is certainly not going to get better, and it’s not really fair to compare the Elliott Bay Water Taxi to a brand-new model. It’d be exciting if the new water taxi worked out. But I think that it will have to work with Metro in the same way the West Seattle version does, by accepting bus passes as fare and working out a shuttle to and from regular bus stops (or, you know, trolley stops). I’d love to love the SLUWT, but it needs to make our relationship a little bit more worthwhile.

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