Archive for the ‘characters’ Category

Happy Anniversary, Big Ol’ Jet Airliners

A 747-400 flies over the ocean in a photo by Aaron Escobar, used via Creative Commons.

This week Boeing’s jets reach a trifecta of anniversaries: The maiden flight of the Boeing 247 was on February 8, 1933, and today marks the anniversaries of the maiden flights of the 727 Trijet (February 9, 1963) and the 747 Jumbo Jet on February 9, 1969.

One of the most distinct memories of my childhood was making the long-trek across the Atlantic Ocean coming home from Europe to the USA in a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet that carried us all the way from London to New York City in what felt like days instead of hours. Fun days/hours, though; as young children there were few things my brothers and I loved more than going somewhere on a plane. Back when the 747 Jumbo was still a new model, taking a flight was still a pretty big deal for most people. I remember that people used to dress for their flights the way they used to dress to go to the theater or church or a business meeting. While I am perfectly happy to live in a much more informal society, I do wish that taking a plane ride was still the thrill it was then.

Oh well, it’s not Boeing’s fault: they continue to build bigger and/or better planes all the time, including the new Boeing 747-8 Freighter which yesterday had its first flight up in Everett in front of more than 5,000 employees, customers, suppliers and community leaders. According to their press release here which has some nifty photos of the plane both on the ground and in the air (the 747-8 is rather an attractive plane, I think), Boeing’s Freighter 747s carry over half the world’s air freight. Pretty impressive.

staying cool, dunk tank style at the capitol hill block party

mad rad, inviting softballs. from my chbp photoset [flickr]

The summer weather must have made dunk tank duty a whole lot more desirable. To raise money, the Vera Project sold chances to send local celebrities into a giant bucket provided your aim was good or your determination to break the rules was strong enough. Sound on the Sound pals captured some choice moments of Murder City Devils’ Spencer Moody taking a dunk for the kids [sots]. Above, Mad Rad invites pitchers; after the jump, a real live juggalo and the Stranger’s nightlife photographer Matt Hickey take the plunge.

Abide With ‘The Dude’ on Us — Lebowski Fest 2009 Ticket Giveaway

via M.V. Janzten and the Seattle Metblogs Flickr pool

via M.V. Janzten and the Seattle Metblogs Flickr pool

Dust off the old bowling shoes and get some face time with a mirror to practice your best “Nobody fucks with the Jesus,” because you’ve got less than two weeks before Lebowski Fest 2009, a two-night celebration of the Coen brothers cinematic masterpiece, rolls into town.

From their website:

Lebowski Fest returns to Seattle on July 20th & 21st! The Fest kicks off with the Movie Party at the Fremont Outdoor Cinema with a performance by Har Mar Superstar, Jeff Dowd and white russian flavored popcorn on July 20th. The next night is the Bowling Party at ACME Bowl with bowling, beverages, costumes and what-have-you on July 21st.

Tickets are on sale now for Lebowski Fest Seattle. The last Lebowski Fest Seattle sold out in advance so please get your tickets soon.

For those of you that are unaware, Jeff Dowd was not only a member of the famed Seattle Seven, but he also served as inspiration for the character of Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski.  It’s not certain whether there will actually be a performance of some kind from him, or if he’s simply acting as emcee and pillar of cult movie awesomeness, but no doubt Lebowski Fest would be missing something without him there.

Seattle Metblogs wants to ensure that our local die-hard Lebowski fans get a chance to attend, regardless of ticket and/or ticket money availability, which is why we’re giving away TWO pairs of tickets to BOTH of this year’s events.  But first you’ve got to prove your love for Lebowski to us.  To be eligible to win one of the two prize packs (each consists of two tickets to both the movie and bowling party) available, all you have to do is submit your best (and original) The Big Lebowski-inspired photo to us by midnight on Wednesday, July 15th.  We’ll pick the best two and post them on Friday the 17th when the winners are announced.

All contest entries should be submitted by adding them to the Seattle Metblogs Flickr pool, along with a link to it in the comments section below.  Please note that Metblogs, its affiliates, sponsors, and writers will not be held responsible for any damaged rugs and/or severed pinky toes that result from the creation of your entry.

Muppets 101

The Original A. Birch Steens

The Original A. Birch Steen Muppets

Back when the Muppets were huge (and they really were huge) everyone had their favorite character: the one they identified with completely and forever. For the average 70’s teenager, Henson offered the psychedelic, totally out-of-it Muppet on shrooms who wore sequins and stared at goldfish tanks all day long. And the grandpa in your family could find commiseration with the the old men in the balcony. 

There were, of course, also plenty of fantastical, bizarre puppets in the early days of the Muppets, like the puppets of Planet Koozbane who mated by running towards each other and exploding in a plumb of smoke, and the slinky-like puppets made of plastic tubing who were there to “just dance,” as the song goes. But even these puppets were meant to appeal to a select niche of the audience: the eggheads like you and me who just want to watch things to try to understand the symbolism of everything. Too much wacky, too much egghead, too much satire, and the family wouldn’t be able to watch the whole show together gathered ’round the sole television. 

Jim Henson didn’t initially get in the game of puppeteering to ‘comment on society’. He just wanted to get on the teevee. His advantage as a puppeteer was that he didn’t know the rules, and didn’t know how many of them he was breaking. He cut the fabric for Kermit from an old coat his mom used to wear and it just so happened that Kermit’s head was the ideal shape for exploring hand movements; Henson could fiddle his fingers to make Kermit look perplexed, and he could also scrunch ’em up to make Kermit’s grimace like he was sucking on sour grapes (Kermit often sucked on sour grapes as he was always ‘ever the diplomat’, picking up the mess of those around him). 

The Muppets ‘101’ lecture at EMP/SFM was a lot of fun, and not just because all of this Muppet history has been downloaded into my ‘noggin forever (Craig Shemin, staff writer for the Muppets since 1988, is a charming and memorable speaker with the familiar, guttural voice of a Muppet ). No, no, no: the reason why it was so exceptionally, incredibly fun was because the crowd was in such a Muppet luvy-duvy mood that I found myself watching old clips with a renewed interest, like I was the psychedelic Muppet staring at a goldfish tank and thinking “wow…fish”. I started thinking all these academic thoughts, trying to figure out why it was I was so drawn to Muppets and why puppets allow us to criticize culture while wearing a mask and what does parody mean and what does satire mean and what do all the puppets symbolize??? (I’ve since erased that portion of this essay due to…uhm…space constraints). But seriously: there was/ is something about that show that’s totally beguiling. 

You know what? Let’s just let the pictures do the ‘splainin. 





Angry / Happy

Angry / Happy




The Q/A portion of the show was equally entertaining. Question: “What is the official Henson stance on ‘Avenue Q’?” Answer: “We’re trying to distance ourselves from the character of Trekkie Monster, since we, well, we also produce Sesame Street. Henson doesn’t want to damage its goodwill with parents.” 

(Trekkie Monster, for those of you who despise / ignore / don’t care about musical theatre, sings a song in the Broadway musical Avenue Q about how he spends all night hugging his horn to “porn! porn! porn!” Trekkie Monster was created by the Henson company, along with the rest of the cast of Avenue Q. In fact, the creators of Avenue Q initially intended on creating a Muppet movie called “Kermit: Prince of Denmark.” Then they created Avenue Q instead. Which was probably a good call.)

Question: “How do y’all feel about Elmo hogging the spotlight?” Answer: “We’re happy for him, but we hope other puppets get their time in the spotlight, too.”

Then there were some boring technical questions I didn’t understand. Let’s skip to the last one, the one on everyone’s mind: “What’s next?” Aren’t the Muppets a dying franchise? Yes and no. They’re still getting gigs. For one, there’s an internet-only Muppet Cooking Show coming soon that will star everyone’s favorite Swedish chef and “an English speaking chef.” Also: Henson Alternative (“HA!”) is busy creating puppets for shows like Avenue Q…puppets who show their puppet boobs and talk about puppet porn. If you go to the ‘Henson Alternative’ page on the website, you can find a description of an upcoming show called “Tinseltown” about a gay puppet couple (one’s a pig, the other’s a bull). It looks bizarre and not funny.

Then there’s the contract with Disney, and Miss Piggy’s contract with places like “Anne Curry’s lap”, and, oh, yeah, Sesame Street…always and forever.  But here’s hoping the Hensons can find a way to entertain us the way the Muppets once did. Maybe it’ll involve more Muppet boobs, or songs about porn, maybe it won’t. Personally, I could watch old Youtubes of the balcony guys all day long and be perfectly content without Muppet boob. But that’s just me. 

There are 8 more Muppet-themed events at EMP/ SFM (through August 15th) and really, it sounds weird, but you should totally go. It was a lot of fun. Check out for dates and times and all that good stuff. 

seattle’s mayoral race is about to get a whole lot more embarrassing

Picture 1.png
announced today on the slog

Does a stunt candidacy by the editor of a weekly newspaper require any sort of journalistic recusal on the grounds of conflict of interest, or is that sort of the point of alt-weeklies? At least this should be marginally more entertaining and less consequential than Geoffrey Fieger’s disastrous run for governor of Michigan.

Mariners Flirt With Jr. (Again); B/W Are The Children Our Future?

The Mariners and Ken Griffey Jr. (aka the man who built Safeco Field) are thinking about getting back together. Griffey is one of the most likeable players in the game and one of the most prolific home run hitters in baseball history, but will Seattle’s love affair with him still be hot and heavy now that the 39-year-old ball player is returning after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee?

If the M’s are in a rebuilding mode, what does it say that they are investing in an aging and surgically-repaired player who is in the twilight of his career?

Bikes, Beers and Pirate-Themed Hijinks on Bainbridge

Seattle’s drinking club with a biking problem (.83) is hosting its 4th-annual “FUCKING HLLS RACE” Feb. 22  on Bainbridge Island.

This premier cycling event draws cyclists from all over the region to compete for cash and  liquid prizes as well as some decent biking gear donated by top-of-the line companies.

The course is a knee-crushing, 33-mile ride around Bainbridge Island, but there’s an all-you-can eat chili feed (vegan and meat) at the end so it’s totally worth it. The race is $7 and it will also cost you $8 to ride the ferry to the starting line. Meet at Alaskan and Washington under the Viaduct at 8:30 a.m. (look for riders sporting the home-made, Elvis-themed pirate bibs).

“It’s really about the spirit of cycling and promoting unity within the community,” lied an extremely belligerent and noticeably intoxicated Derrick Ito, FHR Organizer.

“The prize lists includes cash, booze and a ton of great bike schwag from our great sponsors,” Ito said, while trying hard to maintain his balance and hide the fact that he was slurring his words.

Ito has a an expanding prize list that includes a lap dance from a local stripper, liquid prizes from Cafe Metropolitan and a complete Hammerhead 7 bicycle from Dahon. The bicycle will be raffled off with proceeds to benefit a locally-owned bike company.

For more information, visit

Fuck the Hills Race Flyer

Fuck the Hills Race Flyer

tuesday agenda: Happy Birthday Linda’s

photo by joshc [flickr]. the dust on that buffalo is vintage.

Tonight marks the fifteenth birthday of Linda’s, Capitol Hill’s most favorite pseudo-Montana tavern. Really though, the thematic qualification is hardly needed: as the flagship in the increasingly wonderful fleet launched by Linda Derschang three-quarter score years ago, it’s practically the neighborhood’s living room and back patio.

Tonight beer prices drop to 1994 levels (perfect for the economic climate!) and the first people to show up to pay their respects get commemorative T-shirts; so it should be even more of a fun Tuesday night than usual.

related: On the occasion of the bar’s tenth birthday, the P-I profiled Linda [p-i]. Since then Viceroy is now Rob Roy and she’s opened Smith on 15th, King’s Hardware in Ballard, and Oddfellows in Capitol Hill, making it possible to find great comfortable drinking throughout the city limits.

Public Memorial for Tuba Man

There’s a public memorial this Wednesday for Edward McMichael (Tuba Man).

Where: Qwest Field Event Center (enter through entrance off Occidental Ave.)
When: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 6:30 pm (doors open at 5:30 pm)
Parking: Complimentary in the North Lot of Qwest Field starting at 5:30 pm
Donations: Fans can send donations to cover funeral expenses to the following address:
Edward ‘the Tuba Man’ McMichael Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 4985
Federal Way, WA 98063

Bus Stop 2.0

Seattle Metblogs visits with Gary Zinter, owner of the Bus Stop.

Bus Stop on Closing Night Before the Wrecking Ball

Bus Stop on Closing Night Before the Wrecking Ball

Bus Stop was one of the few real bars left on Capitol Hill. It wasn’t trying to be a club or a restaurant. It was just a bar: a dark, simple, small space where you could have a conversation with a total stranger and not get the heeb vibe from typical scene anxiety or desperation. The joyful combination of the uber-smart, friendly clientele comprised of an unpredictable variety of misfits and a ridiculously strong pour made the Bus Stop a home away from home for a host of regulars.

Gary Zinter was forced to close his bar at the Pine Street location in November 2007 after a hostile takeover by the Empiric Overlords of Seattle real estate.

Bus Stop is back. This fall you’ll find the bar 3 blocks north of its original location at the intersection of East Olive and East Denny Way.

What became of you and your staff after shutting down the original location of Bus Stop?

I went back to work in tech so I could afford to reopen the bar. Most of the staff went to work elsewhere but will be back! My boyfriend, Rodney Shrader, the manager of the bar, has been out of work and is now managing the build-in. Needless to say, he was a little bored till we got the go-ahead to start building in.

So when can we expect to cozy up to your bar again?

We are starting the build-in this week, actually! It should be about two months. Cross your fingers! We’ll probably do an official opening but not with a lot of hoopla. Gratefully, people are always asking when we’re re-opening, so we’ll be excited to see everyone in the place again.

Tell us about the new space? Is it near a bus stop?

We’re at 1552 E. Olive Way at Denny next door to where the Coffee Messiah used to be. Olive is turning into this new neighboorhood-y strip. Lots going on over there and not a lot of new building. The space is a great old store front, which I love. The actual bus stop is around the corner. I wanted to call it “Parking Lot” in honor of the situation with the old space. Hahaha. It was a nail salon. Some people want us to call it “Nails”.

Why was Bus Stop so successful so quickly?

We got folks coming in who weren’t part of the scenes in the other bars in the neighborhood. I think people were comfortable there!

What’s gonna be different with the new location?

Not a lot. Space is almost the same. A few design changes, but we weren’t too heavily designed last time. I hope it feels very much like the old place.

Gary Zinter, Owner

Gary Zinter, Owner

How long have you been in Seattle?

9 and a half years. Jeez!

What have you been doing all these years? Who IS Gary Zinter?

I keep reinventing myself. Like Madonna. Except with better taste later in my career. I do theater. Was an actor, then a producer, and now I’m directing more than anything else. Wish I had more time and money so I could spend more time doing it. The Bus Stop is sort of my retirement plan. Go to work at the bar and get out of the regular 9 to 5, you know?

What’s the best thing about making this bar your own business?

It really turned into a community for the regulars and the folks who helped build it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to reopen, but the closing was heartwarming, actually, and I really missed it when it was gone. I want it to be there for many, many years.
Photos by: Doug McLaughlin

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