Posts Tagged ‘seattle’

Simian Mobile Disco, Nordic Soul @ Neumo’s March 13

Simian Mobile Disco brought their synth-heavy dance party to a sold-out Neumo’s on March 13 and were welcomed by a boisterous and enthusiastic crowd of dance-crazed fans.

SMD’s Jameses (Ford and Shaw) twiddled and tweaked knobs on a stack of vintage synths and analog drum machines.

Simian Mobile Disco at Neumo's

The duo’s live rig was a messy maze of midi cables, digital effects and obscure gear that looked like it would require an advanced degree from MIT to assemble.

Visually stunning to watch? Hardly, but the music made up for it and the crowd was there to dance–or jump in place amidst a sweaty mass of people packed in the club.

Surrounded by towers of pulsing strobe lights the duo remixed many of their best songs (“It’s the Beat” and “Tits and Acid”) while adding flourishes of sequenced arpeggios and phased-out string parts.

The sweat-drenched crowd was having all of it and some.

Tasting: Wines from Oregon and California

The Fremont Wine Warehouse (#) is a veritable wine-lover’s paradise that’s tucked in the old Red Apple Market space in the heart of Fremont.

Owner Michael Cawdrey, former owner of the Red Apple Market and Wine Bar, hosts weekly wine tasting events featuring wines by local vintners along with top-notch imports from around the world.

I popped in last Saturday and was warmly welcomed by Cawdrey, who had invited two importers to showcase wines imported from France and Argentina in a sort of head-to-head competition.

The space, which is sparsely decorated and brightly lit, is focused on offering quality wines at an affordable price. Cawdrey seems as passionate about bringing fine wines to the neighborhood as he does about offering them at discount prices.  No bottle is more than $25.

2006 Malbec by Henry Lagarde

2006 Malbec by Henry Lagarde

I chose the 2006 Malbec by Henry Lagarde from Argentinia over one of the French wines I sampled. The Malbec was priced at $10.96 and sells for $12.99 at most other stores. It was amazing and according to Cawdry the top seller for the weekend. The six wines featured ranged in price from $7.97 to $16.

For this Saturday’s tasting Cawdry has invited Dave Marks of Cascade Trade to present wines that are new to our region from Oregon and California.

Cawdry keeps a log of customers purchases to cross reference in case you enjoyed a particular wine in the past, but forgot the name. He also sends out weekly email blasts to update customers on each week’s coming event.  Included in his emails are tasting tips that make it fun and interesting for aficionados and novices alike.

The Fremont Wine Warehouse, located at 3601 Fremont Ave. N. Ste 212, hosts wine tastings every Saturday from 3-6 p.m. For more information, call 206-632-1110.

Help Me Understand

Every time I walk downtown and pass by this (…searching for a euphemism…) public art installation I am a little puzzled about its purpose:

Is it supposed to signal to you that you are now entering downtown Seattle, where top hats, spatulas, scarves, martini glasses, combs, and engagement rings are available for purchase?

(That reminds me; I sure could use a new spatula. Damn! That’s powerful art.)

Even Mr. Mohawk Knows…

…that you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit. The Seahawks have gorged themselves on their beyond mediocre division for the last four years, but now even beating the 49ers at home (after a humiliating loss to open the season on the road) turned out to be a pipe dream. Coaching, talent, teamwork, and luck win in the NFL and I’m not sure where the Seahawks are distinguishing themselves in any or all of these categories when it matters.

Seahawks fans, it’s time to stop going nuts over opponent false start penalties; Mike Holmgren’s swan song looks headed for a 4-12 season. On the plus side, that might be enough (when you factor in the tie breaker) to win the division.

PAX 2008: Friday

Jonathan Coulton, courtesy of Takomabibelot

My first night at PAX was full of surprises, not the least of which was getting to meet the brilliant Jonathan Coulton while having dinner at Six Arms. I made an idiot of myself, of course, but that didn’t negate the fact that I actually got to shake hands with the man responsible for the Portal theme song that never fails to get stuck in my head. Of course, his brilliant “Code Monkey” song is great, too (#).

Beyond that, and the shock at finding a 30,000 person convention where there was no line at the women’s restroom, I was also surprised by Ken Levine’s keynote speech. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but Levine started by describing his descent into comics (a “geeky gateway drug”) during his childhood, and subsequent involvement in D&D.


Exploring Seattle: Asteroid Cafe is Tasty

As a semi-recent transplant, I’m always looking for new places to try and things to do around Seattle. I thought I would share my findings with you from time to time if they’re particularly noteworthy. And Asteroid Cafe is definitely noteworthy.

For some reason, I had expected Asteroid Cafe to be a sandwich and soup place with a retro feel. Instead, it’s a rather upscale Italian restaurant nestled behind Dad Watson’s on Fremont Ave. I joined a couple of friends for a small birthday dinner tonight, which started off with some amazing foraged morel mushrooms sauteed with olive oil, greens and sea salt. Not only can I remember all of that, but so could our waiter, who rattled off the three specials flawlessly and then proceeded to describe half a dozen wine flavors to one of my dinner companions.

Actually, Asteroid’s staff is half of the fun- one friend, who had been there before, regaled us with stories of heated political discussions he’d had with Asteroid’s owner. As I mentioned, our waiter was brimming with knowledge on the food and drink, and towards the end of the night, the kitchen staff broke into a slightly off-key rendition of Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Under the Bridge.”

The food was fantastic- antipasto plates full of olives and almonds and pears and cheese; artichoke and marscapone ravioli; peppercorn-encrusted tuna; and last, but not least, the most amazing tiramisu I’ve ever had. Their mojito and ferrari cocktails were also yummy.

As you can probably gather from the food descriptions, Asteroid Cafe is, well, upscale. Not incredibly expensive (Tulio, I’m looking at you), but edging towards it. Then again, I still think everything in Seattle is expensive, so perhaps you should check Asteroid’s menu for yourself. But this hidden gem in Fremont has a good atmosphere, good food, and a good staff, certainly enough to convince me to return for a romantic date in the future.

Is traffic better?

Illustrated traffic violations in Seattle
(Illustrated Traffic Violations from Seattle Municipal Archives. Everyone in the Seattle MB Flickrpool!)

When I was walking from the parking deck to my office the other day, I ran into a co-worker who had also just commuted in. He noted that it only took him 10 minutes to come down I-5 from north Seattle. In a normal morning rush hour, it’s usually 20-40 minutes, maybe more. I noted the same thing too — the traffic on I-5 has been a lot lighter the last few months, almost like it’s the vacation season in August, not the middle of a cold, rainy spring.

Meanwhile, the long-route buses are overcrowded.

Are we finally seeing the seeing the effects of gas approaching $4/gallon here? Are people changing their habits? Or am I imagining it?

Further dispatches from comic land

A few additions to Jeffrey’s comic convention coverage:

A shy, middle-aged woman walked up to me with her partner as I was standing in a long line waiting for an autograph. “Excuse me, can I ask a question?” she said in a near-whisper.

Sure, I said.

She looked around for a moment before she spoke again. “Who is Wil Wheaton?”

Well, I said, he’s an actor who played a very annoying character on a Star Trek show, but later got into blogging. Turns out he’s an amazing writer and a very nice guy.

“Oh,” she said. “Thanks very much.”

I didn’t add: also, his patience is legendary. I’m sure today wasn’t the first time somebody else has walked up, looked over the line, and yelled loudly WESLEY CRUSHER? WHAT THE HELL IS WITH WESLEY CRUSHER? THAT GUY QUIT STAR TREK EARLY, THE WIMP!

“The thing about comics these days,” somebody said, “is that the comics industry used to assume that they’d get complete turnover in a few years. The teenagers would grow up, they’d stop buying comics, new kids would start. You could run the same storylines every five years or so and it wouldn’t matter. Now you have people like me who have been following comics for twenty or thirty years, and they remember Amazing Spider-Man #121 or whatever. I think the industry is still trying to catch up.”

More and more web comics people are showing up at the comic conventions. The Penny Arcade guys are local, of course, but there were many others: Scott Kurtz (PVP), Jeph Jacques (Questionable Content), David Malki (Wondermark), Sam Logan (Sam and Fuzzy), and many more.

(Jeph, by the way, is one of the sweetest guys in the world. Say hi. Just don’t ask him about his bird tattoos.)

The cos-players — people in full costume — weren’t as plentiful or imaginative as they are for Sakuracon or Norwescon, but they were around. Several stormtroopers, a few Princess Leia-wannabes. One really good Mara Jade. One really bad Hitler-mustached Imperial admiral.

For the most part, though, it was a relief: unlike some other cons I’ve been to, nobody looked at you funny if you wore a normal shirt and jeans.

J. Michael Straczynski is giving a talk tomorrow. You might want to go see it if you can. Geeks know him as the creator/writer of the TV series Babylon 5 and a writer of comic books for Marvel, but the rest of you are about to hear a lot about this guy: he wrote a movie called Changeling. Clint Eastwood directed it; it’s up for the Palm d’Or at Cannes this year, coming soon to a theater near you. Since then he’s sold movies with directors like Ron Howard, Wolfgang Petersen, the Wachowski Brothers, and quite a few more.

How they talked him into coming to this convention, I have no idea. For fans and people interested in writing, it’s an opportunity not to be missed.

Emerald City Comic Convention :: day 1


What follows after the jump may include some inside baseball, and if you’re not into comic books you might not catch all of it. What is important though is that today was the first day of this year’s Emerald City Comic Convention. Comic creators, fans and press gathered in the Washington State Convention & Trade Center to celebrate this thing we call comics books.

The first thing that a non-comics person would notice when stepping onto the convention floor is the complete range of totally inappropriate style choices for facial hair. We are not as a people a fashionable lot, and while I think most everyone can agree that a t-shirt and jeans is a fine casual clothing option when you start replacing that with a pair of too small shorts and shirt that barely covers the belly button then there are issues, at least when that’s on a guy.

This is not for the faint of heart, I’m glad that I left my fiancee at home, she can deal with me enjoying comics as a hobby, but I don’t know if she could deal with the full force of comic fandom. Can you?


The hotel bar


After much delay at the border I arrived in Seattle just as the last of the rush hour traffic was dying off. Driving via memorized Google guidance, I leave the I5 in search of my hotel The Roosevelt. As I’m checking in I get upgraded from a single room to a queen, which upon inspection seems to simply mean that my bed is larger because the room itself is tiny.

I debate phoning down to the front desk to inquire as to which Roosevelt the hotel is named after, I need to know these things if I’m going to dress appropriately for the evening since Franklin and Theodore are very different styles. A Google search lets me know that it is Theodore, so I don’t bother unpacking my monocle.

My friend, also named Jeff, meets me about an hour later. We’re friends from high school, and he’s one of the few of my friends who’ve made a move to the United States and managed to make it stick. He works in Redmond, but lives in Seattle so I trust him with our evening plans.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have, we end up at Von’s a fake New York style bar that’s attached to the hotel. Yes, my local Seattle Sherpa had guided me to the hotel bar.


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