Archive for June, 2008

New laws

Stop

Driving and chatting on your cell phone can net you a $124 ticket starting Tuesday if you are not using a hands-free device. This is a secondary offense, meaning you’ll be pulled over only if you are also breaking another law at the same time. The new law takes effect immediately, no grace period and likely no warnings if you are caught.

Condo developers could likely have to pay apartment renters even more to move if a proposed law is approved by Mayor Nickels. City Council voted 8-0 in favor of increasing the amount of relocation assistance that developers pay from $500 to three times the monthly rent, for tenants making 80 percent of local median income or less.

Also starting Tuesday, Washington joins 18 other states in requiring online vendors to collect sales tax, shifting e-commerce from an origin-based to destination-based tax system.

The toll to cross the Tacoma Narrows Bridge will increase $1 to a total of $4 per car, or $2.75 for those who belong to the “Good To Go” program.

As if we weren’t paying enough at the pump, the gas tax is also increasing 1.5 cents per gallon.

Drink plenty of water

Pooch
It’s hot out. (photo by Archie McPhee)

Robots!

Robots
Robot Wars by Erik98122

I saw an ad on Metro today for EMP’s robot collection on display through October 26th. The EMP website reads:

Robots: A Designer’s Collection of Miniature Mechanical Marvels celebrates our long fascination with humankind’s technological version of itself. This exhibition draws from a one-of-a-kind assemblage of toy robots, which noted designer Tom Geismar has been collecting for decades. Inspired by antique tin and wooden toys, samurai warriors and mid-20th century Japanese film characters, these intricately detailed and beautifully designed miniatures are set against EMP|SFM’s backdrop of life-sized robots, androids and cyborgs from the world of science fiction film and television.

I wish I had known that this was running sooner, but it’s not too late! It’s one of the rare worthwhile excuses to step into EMP.

Speak your piece to shape Seattle’s future today

According to a news release from the Seattle City Council, the South Lake Union Streetcar surpassed the original estimated ridership levels envisioned for it during its first six months of running. Now it’s time for the city to look at additional routes, so the city is holding a series of public forums to discuss proposed streetcar lines connecting Fremont, Ballard, Eastlake, the U District and Central District.

The first meeting is Wednesday, July 8, at Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Ave, Bertha Knight Landes Room, First Floor, 4-6 pm to discuss the proposed central line.

The meeting Tuesday, July 8th, 4-6 pm, is about the proposed Ballard/Fremont Line at Nordic Heritage Museum, 3014 NW 67th St.

The First Hill Line is the focus for the meeting at Yesler Community Center, 917 E. Yesler Way, 4-6 pm, on Tuesday, July 15th.

Not into streetcars? How about grocery bags? The Seattle City Council Environment, Emergency Management and Utilities Committee is seeking comments from the public on a proposed ban of the use of “certain uses” of expanded polystyrene (EPS) that would include imposing a 20 cent fee on disposable shopping bags at Seattle’s convenience, drug, and grocery stores. That meeting is July 8, starting at 7 pm in the Seattle City Council chambers Second Floor, City Hall, 600 4th Ave, Seattle.

Seattle From a Visitor’s Perspective

About 10 days ago, two dear friends came to visit for the weekend. Both avid photographers, they ended up with well over 300 shots apiece of our fair city. I thought it would be interesting to share some of the photos they took to give you a perspective on what visitors to Seattle (at least two of them) find interesting. Most of the photos are after the jump, but here’s one of two bald eagles perched on an anchored ship.

Bald Eagles

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Bobcat Goldthwait, Hal Ashby at NWFF

Northwest Film Forum is having a Hal Ashby film series this summer. Even if you don’t recognize his name, you’ve probably seen one of his movie as he was responsible for some of the most iconic movies made in the 1970’s, including Harold and Maude, Shampoo, Coming Home and Being There. All of those films (plus The Landlord, The Last Detail, and Bound for Glory will be screened during the series, which runs from July 1 through August 20.

To kick off the series, NWFF has invited actor/comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, himself an Ashby fan, to introduce The Landlord on Tuesday, July 1. As an added bonus, Goldthwait fans are invited to have a private drink with Goldthwait as part of a small group who will meet at the Grey Gallery before heading over to the film. Tickets for the film will be available at the door, but admission to the special event is by advance ticket only at Brown Paper Tickets.

The Shock of the SLU

Tutta Bella South Lake Union

While enjoying the new Tutta Bella that’s just opened its doors in the 2200 Westlake building, the conversation turned to the surrounding neighborhood of South Lake Union. Vulcan’s towers are rising around what used to be the only tall building around, which will eventually turn a flat part of the city an interesting urban room.

South Lake Union will probably never be same kind of space as Columbus Circle in New York:

Columbus Circle, June 2005

But Westlake and Denny shares some characteristics with Central Park South and West: a crossroads outside the central business district, made up of both residential and office towers, near an open space engineered to transform part of the city. The media and communications companies that formed the core of Midtown Manhattan have, in Paul Allen’s eyes at least, their counterpart in the biotech researchers that will one day fill his offices.

And as Veer, Rollins and others near completion, what used to be a somewhat desolate area after 6pm holds the promise of becoming much more lively. The ding of the (nearly empty) streetcar as it passed by Tutta Bella’s patio every 15 minutes added to the feeling of urban potential, however as-yet-unrealized.

Yet that feeling of being in the midst of a transformation is what gives the neighborhood its peculiar energy: right now, what does exist feels tremendously over-engineered for the amount of use it’s getting. One person at our table, who works nearby, recounted how her (new) bank branch has the kind of personal service usually associated with small-town America: there just aren’t enough customers yet to create a feeling of impersonality. Our dinner itself, at 8pm on a Friday night, on one of Seattle’s rare warm and sunny June days, took place on an open patio with nary a care about a wait for a table. The future is a foreign country, into which one has deplaned just a little bit earlier than the throngs whom the pleasant hosts expect to welcome any minute now.

deli pride

deli pride
photo by joshc [flickr]

Happy Pride weekend from your favorite sign artists at City Market, channeling Jackie Hell.

Public art theft, or stupidity in action

The Friends of the Nib are a local art collective of considerable talent. Regular members include Jim Woodring, David Lasky, Bob Rini, Tom Dougherty, Mark Campos, Dalton Webb, Scott Faulkner, Kinoko, and Marianne Goldin. They do jams, hold benefit sales, and are generally cool people.

Not long ago they put together a spectacular mural on the closed-down Jack-in-the-Box on Broadway.

Which, of course, was almost immediately vandalized. Some human stole the section by Robert Rini.

One can only hope that karmic retribution will be swift and merciless.

Oh, and an open letter to the guy on LJ Seattle who claims that “it’s perfectly reasonable to assume this person just thought they were stealing pretty trash”: Wow, what great respect for an artist’s work. This was a mural, not some random piece of weird junk that somebody with talent can turn into a sculpture. The fact that it’s pretty does not automatically give you rights to decide it should decorate your apartment.

Hat tips to LJ users mr-sadhead and saavedra77.

Outdoor Summer Movies: a semi-comprehensive guide

Watching movies is fun. Being outside is fun. Watching movies and being outside at the same time? Super fun–and if you live in Seattle, very easy to do. There are a lot of outdoor movies this summer.

Last year I tried to create a complete directory of all the outdoor summer movie events around Seattle and discovered that it was a lot like trying to cut the heads off a Hydra. Every time I thought I had them all, I found that there were still more. Previous failure doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it yet another try–follow the jump to see what at least some of your outdoor movie watching opportunities are this season. If you plan it right, you could see Juno four times, The Goonies three times and still manage to fit in the midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Seattle Center, which is likely to be a very interesting screening indeed.

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