Archive for October, 2009

Sounders FC Day

Photo by J. Kraemer, from our Flickr Pool

In recognition of the Seattle Sounders FC‘s first ever MLS cup semi-final match tonight (versus Houston, 7pm at Qwest Field), Mayor Greg Nickles has declared today Seattle Sounders FC day. “Sounders FC is now the franchise by which all others will be judged, and whose supporters are the envy of clubs everywhere,” Nickels says.

Starting at about…well, now, really, people who follow soccer tend to be a particularly passionate breed of sports fan, the Pioneer Square area will be overrun with green as Sounders fans gather to cheer on their team. The official march to the match starts 90 minutes before the game as fans gather in Occidental Park and march to Qwest Field while chanting, singing and raising their scarves.

If the Sounders win this series (game two is in Houston on November 8), they will next face Chivas USA, hosting that game one during the weekend of November 14. If not, Sounders will travel to LA to challenge the Galaxy.

August, Osage County at the Paramount

August3Violet Weston is not a nice woman. She’s a cantankerous, acid-tongued drug addict whose greatest joy in life seems to be destroying other people’s happiness. Confined by age and infirmity to that narrow world of her home in rural small town Oklahoma, Violet has a limited range of targets for her bile, but she makes the most of every opportunity she gets. Maybe that’s why her husband Beverly hires a young woman to be a live-in housekeeper, cook and aide – with someone else there to take care of her needs, he might be able to get some distance from her.

A short time later, he gets all the distance he needs as he first becomes a missing person and later a corpse. His disappearance and death give Violet a chance to broaden her scope of attack as these events bring all three of her daughters and their familes (a husband and a daughter for one, a fiance for another), as well as Violet’s sister, brother-in-law and nephew, to the house to first wait for news of Beverly and then to deal with the news once they get it.

What is it that makes Violet so black-hearted? One of the strengths of August: Osage County, now playing at the Paramount Theater through November 1, is that there’s really no reason for her venom, that’s just the way she is. Oh, sure, there’s a bit in the second act where she talks about the hardness of her childhood, but her sister Mattie Fae had just as bad and she’s not nearly as mean as Violet. (Then again, it might be easier for Mattie Fae to be more pleasant to more people since she saves all her ire for just one.) Violet’s simply just not a nice person. Throughout the play it is suggested that Beverly killed himself to get away from Violet and the only thing shocking about the idea is that he waited until becoming elderly to do it.

It would be easy for an actor to make Violet a charicature, but Estelle Parsons does a tremendous job of keeping her at a human level. She stumbles on the stairs, she stumbles over own tongue, but still she persists; always nasty but sometimes very funny and insightful, too. Violet may be emotionally stunted and frequently hazy (she’s taking enough drugs to stock her own pharmacy) but she’s nobody’s fool, except maybe her own. Although Tracy Letts’s script smartly avoids turning her into the secret softie who deep down really and truly loves those she wounds, Parsons’ strong performance keeps her from becoming a one note gorgon; you’ll never really like her, but you’ll never really disengage, either.

Her loss is the audience’s gain, however, as her slings and arrows are clever, witty and well-spoken, full of sardonic humor. All of the characters in August speak well–this is a play where the talking is always the main focus, the primary action–but Violet stands heads and shoulders above them all. Miss Parsons gives us a complex woman who is sometimes mystifying, often infuriating, and always, always interesting to watch.

With such a strong character as its focus, it stands to reason that the supporting characters won’t be quite as developed and here is August‘s first weakness. Since all roads lead to Violet, nearly all of the characters are presented just as they relate to her, but in its effort to give all of the supporting characters equal weight, August shortchanges all of them equally. Eldest daughter Barbara is the most developed of them all but that’s mostly because she’s the most like her mother. The rest are standard recognizable types – the self-sacrificing middle daughter who sticks around for her mother’s abuse because someone has to, the youngest daughter so desperately needy for emotional affirmation from a man that she willingly pretends not to notice how skeevy he is, the rebellious teenaged daughter who feigns a sophistication that she doesn’t really feel, the middle aged man who has left his wife for a younger woman but doesn’t understand why this angers his wife so, the Noble Other…and their secret truths are neither all that secret or all that shocking as they’re all stock soap opera subplots as well – the skeevy fiance is inappropriate with the not-as-grown-up-as-she-pretends teenager, the happily married couple aren’t actually happily married, the mother and father who’ve spent a lifetime treating their children badly didn’t really like them all that much – wait, that’s a secret? Perhaps the most frustrating of the multiple sub-plots that serve to spur the play forward is a secret love affair doomed to failure for one of the most cliched “twists” in all of literature. That the other characters seem genuinely surprised when Violet reveals that she knows all of this already is a credit to the skill of the actors portraying them because anyone else could see them coming a mile away.

It is the cast that really makes August: Osage County; most of the characters might be somewhat less than fully three dimensional but their lines are filled with depth and delivery is very, very important. While Estelle Parsons is definitely the star of the show, the whole cast deserves recognition for doing the best they can with what’s handed to them, particularly Shannon Cochran as eldest daughter Barbara.

August: Osage County continues through November 1 at the Paramount.

Another foot found

The World at His Feet by NW Sunshine [flickr] via our group pool [#].

In the ongoing severed feet saga to our north, a seventh foot has washed up in British Columbia, according to the Vancouver Sun (#). Of the seven feet (over half a soccer team, as Wesa pointed out), only one has been postively identified, though a couple of the feet have been matched.

To date, none of the feet appear to show signs of foul play… most have just naturally separated from the bodies and floated to the beaches because of the buoyancy of the shoes’ material. Nothing like a decomposed foot to set the right tone for Halloween, huh?

Boeing off to South Carolina

Everyone’s been wondering which way Boeing was going to jump with their new 787 line for ages, and now they’re officially jumping clear across the country: “Boeing’s board has voted unanimously to build a second 787 final assembly plant in Charleston, according to a highly placed official of the Machinists union.

South Carolina offered the company $170 million in upfront grants for startup costs, plus multiple tax breaks that would be worth tens of millions of dollars more[Times].”

Talks between the local union and the company fell apart, while the workers at the plant in Charleston voted to remove the union [PI].

Photo post: salmon


Thanks to everyone who keeps our Flickr pool full – it’s great to see so many brilliant photographs.

Today I’m particularly digging Don Bennett‘s Coho photos. (Shown here is just one of them.) Salmon are great. I know, I know, some of you would add: “…in my belly” to that, but I really don’t like the taste of salmon very much and seldom eat them. They’re amazing animals just to watch, though, and it’s always an awesome in the literal sense experience to watch them on their spawing runs.

Viaduct collapses on video

If you don’t already read Seattle Transportation Watch, you really should. It’s a great resource for keeping up to date on traffic concerns in Seattle. From it I’ve learned that WSDOT has released a video, available on its website and on You Tube that depicts what would happen to the Alaskan Way Viaduct in the event of another earthquake like the Nisqually only just a hair more severe.

If you’re like me and already find the viaduct creepy, this video won’t do anything to discourage that feeling, but it’s definitely interesting and worth a look.

King County Flood Warning Center Opens with heavy rains

2006 Snoqualmie flooding by <a href="">T Sayles</a>
2006 Snoqualmie flooding by T Sayles

The King County Flood Warning Center opened this morning at 8:30 am to keep an eye on rising flows in on the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers due to heavy rainful.

Per the County’s press release, at 9 am the sum of the forks of the Snoqualmie River was 13,428 cubic feet per second (cfs), which is above the threshold for a Phase II flood alert level. This means that minor flooding might affect the agricultural areas in the Snoqualmie Valley.

The Tolt River was flowing at 2,920 cfs at 9 a.m., which is a Phase II flood alert level. Some slight flooding could happen in low-lying areas along the Tolt River.

Flood warning staff monitor the river levels until threat of flooding has passed: for real time river levels, check out their flood page.

U2 comes to Seattle

U2 is going on tour in the summer of 2010, news that excites many a U2 fan around the globe. If you happen to be a U2 fan who lives in Seattle, you’ll be glad to know that they plan to come here, playing a show at Qwest Field on June 20, 2010.

Three-alarm fire burns Greenwood

This morning I planned to make a post telling you that one of the best ways you could spend this dreary weathered weekend was by heading to the Taproot Theater for the final weekend of their charming production of Enchanted April, a play in which they yet again do magic by transforming a simple stage into a sun-soaked Italian castle.

And then I got a notice from the theater that they’re looking for an alternate venue to stage these shows. A fire struck Greenwood early this morning and due to related damaged, they can’t use their own stage this weekend. Local theaters and troupes: contact the theater if you have a venue available for their use.

**Edit: The Seattle Children’s Theater has generously offered to host the final performances of Enchanted April. Tonight’s show has been cancelled, but Saturday’s shows will take place at SCT at 2 and 4 pm. Taproot will be calling patrons to let them know about the change, so if you’ve already got tickets, no worries – they’ll work things out with you. There will be a limited number of new seats available at the box office, cash or check only, and I highly recommend heading down to the Center and checking it out if you can. Enchanted April has been yet another of Taproot’s successes in transporting audiences out of their own worlds and into another; it’s well acted, well staged and thoroughly enjoyable.

Per the reports at KING 5 and Phinneywood (the local blog that does an excellent job of covering Phinney Ridge and Greenwood), one hundred Seattle firefighters were sent out to battle the massive blaze which began early this morning at 208 N. 85th St, at either Pho Tic Tac or the Green Bean Coffeehouse. Both businesses were destroyed, as were Szechuan Bistro and C.C. Teriyaki.

A dozen apartments were evacuated and firefighters managed to rescue the cats in the PAWS Cat City Adoption Center.

Cause of the fire is as yet unknown.

For continuing coverage, head over to Phinneywood.

Condolences to everyone affected by the fire.

Weekend Film Agenda October 23

The 2009 Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival continues at various venues around town. Featured this weekend: Handsome Harry stars Jamey Sheridan in the title role as a man whose life is thrown into turmoil when a former Navy buddy, played by Steve Buscemi, calls him from his deathbed and begs him to seek forgiveness on his behalf for the harm they caused a former friend. Hannah Free stars Sharon Gless in the title role. A lesbian woman barred from seeing her true love just a few floors away in the nursing home where they’re both confined, Hannah reflects back on their many long years of friendship and love.

SIFF Cinema presents the Nordic Lights Film Festival, sponsored by the Nordic Heritage Museum. Featuring contemporary and award-winning films from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, the festival includes such films as Nazi zombie gorefest Dead Snow, a movie about three Sami women for whom reindeer herding isn’t just a job, it’s an integral part of their life and culture, and festival opener Everlasting Moments which tells a story of how a young Swedish woman’s life is permanently changed when she wins a camera in a lottery.

NWFF presents a look at the disparity between the upper and working classes in The Headless Woman, an eerie film in which a dentist strikes something with her car–an object? a dog? one of the street kids playing as she drives by?–but doesn’t stop. Even after driving away she can’t shake her feelings of guilt and unease.

Also at NWFF: This Is Not a Show, a documentary film of REM’s “working rehearsal” at Dublin’s Olympia Theater back in July 2007.

Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard star in 1939’s The Cat and the Canary, a spooky and suspenseful tale of the six potential heirs to the fortune of a millionaire trapped in his mansion on a night when the spirit world warns that one of them will die and a guard from the local prison lets them know a homicidal maniac has escaped and is on the loose. The Grand Illusion screens a brand new print of this classic thriller. It’s paired with another spooky Bob Hope movie: 1940’s The Ghost Breakers stars Hope as a radio broadcaster who accompanies Mary Carter (Paulette Goddard again) as she attempts to take possession of her family’s ancestral home–an allegedly haunted castle–on an island off of Cuba. Are death threats and zombies enough to keep her from succeeding?

Midnight at The Egyptian: Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon in one of the sexiest vampire films ever: The Hunger.

Hilary Swank plays the title role in Amelia, a look back at legendary aviation pioneer Amelia Earhardt, who thrilled the world as the first woman to pilot a plane across the Atlantic and became a celebrity and inspirational figure before mysteriously disappearing in the midst of a solo flight around the world. At the Guild 45th.

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