Amazon wants to build a triple-globe shaped, five story thing, variously called a “biodome” and a “greenhouse,” as part of its three-block skyscraper project. It would be on Lenora Street east of Sixth Avenue.
Any architectural thang with three segments, in which the two smaller segments are spherical, is bound to lead to a lifetime of snickering jokes.
Arrangements of one or more spherical objects at the bottom of a 50-story tower will engender the same responses.
Amazon’s either being brave, or clueless, or devil-may-care bombastic, or some combo of the above.
Second, slightly more serious, comment:
As gargantuan New Seattle monuments to world-class-osity go (and I wish a couple of them would go), this one looks at least somewhat friendlier than the planned central waterfront makeover, kitschier (in a good way) than the Sculpture Park, and not nearly as brutalistic as Chihuly Garden & Glass.
Depending on how it works out, and how tolerant its staff is toward civilian activity within, it could be a welcome addition to the cityscape. Or at least a place in which to hide out from the rain for a bit.
seattle dept. of transportation
…historically the stingiest, most fiscally conservative, most technologically resistant and investment-averse people ever, with the highest percentage of luddites per capita.
For sale: One herd of cows (ceramic, plywood, fabric, paint, etc.). Comes with a supply of warm, gooey cinnamon rolls and a classic cafe.
After 25 years, Jeanne Mae Barwick is retiring from Mae’s Phinney Ridge Cafe in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood. She’s put the place up for sale, and threatens to close it in March or April if an appropriate buyer isn’t found.
There’s been a cafe at this location since the 1920s. But when Barwick took it over in 1988, she transformed it from a neighborhood destination into a city institution.
Michael Stern at Roadfood.com describes it as “a multi-room cafe decorated everywhere with pictures, statues, blow-up dolls and every sort of nick-nack imaginable, all depicting cows (an ode to the proprietor’s Wisconsin roots).”
On weekend mornings, it can take as long as an hour to get seated. Besides the cinnamon rolls (baked in-house), it offers large portions of your basic American breakfast and lunch fare, plus such specialties as trout and eggs.
It closes at 3 p.m. daily; in offering the business for sale, Barwick notes a new owner could make more money by opening for dinner and offering alcohol.
In an email sent to customers, Barwick says she may hold an “open house and garage sale” at the cafe in March. Depending on what items a new owner may want to keep, the sale could include the cafe’s cow-shaped salt and pepper shakers “and other miscellaneous moo-morabilia.”
Barwick also says she’ll continue to host her popular “Karaoke Bingo” once a month at the Greenwood Senior Center.
(Cross-posted with Unusual Life.)
the aurora kmart in 2002
via huffington post
No, and there’s supposedly some potential legal maneuver by some Sacramento Kings minority owners that could potentially disrupt the deal, supposedly.
Sports Illustrated, meanwhile, has some classic photos of the classic Sonics (see above), as we await what could be the team’s return.
And Knute Burger believes the latest potential Sonics arena design looks like a Jell-O mold. Hey: Let’s get some of the designers and artists who lived at Seattle’s original Jell-O mold building (the S.C.U.D. artist apartments on Western, where the original Cyclops restaurant was), to help design the new arena. That place housed the likes of Art Chantry (designer of countless band posters and my book Loser), Louie Raffloer (Black Dog Forge), Ashleigh Talbot (Madame Talbot’s Victorian Lowbrow), and several more.
(NOTE: For reasons unknown to me, the first version of this post completely disappeared from the site. I’m rewriting it as best as I can remember.)
I have always called Seattle’s Dexter Avenue “Dextrose Avenue.”
That’s in honor of one of its major attractions, the Hostess Bakery.
Since some time in the 1930s, it has been a mainstay of the originally industrial, now posh-ified Cascade (now “South Lake Union”) neighborhood.
It had its logos built in to its concrete-block architecture.
Day and night, it enveloped the surrounding environs with the glorious smells of sugar, flour, egg whites, chocolate, etc. being poured, mixed, baked, and packaged.
At one time, they separated eggs and re-ground flour by hand; before the treats fully became the automated factory products they’d always appeared to be.
As a child during the early years of kids’ TV, I remember the live local kids’ hosts performing commercials, with the big cutaway props of Hostess Cup Cakes, Twinkies, Tiger Tails, etc.
(My favorites were always the Sno Balls. Even at a tender age, two side by side pink hemispheres meant something to me.)
Later on, after the FCC stopped local kids’ hosts from appearing in commercials (a move that essentially killed most of those shows), Hostess created animated talking versions of its goodies—Twinkie the Kid, Captain Cup Cake, Fruit Pie the Magician. (Unlike Will Vinton’s later M&M’s spots, these ads never addressed the implications of these “baked” toons inviting you to eat their relatives.)
Hostess treats will still be sold here (see below).
But they won’t be made here anymore.
The Seattle plant, and two others, will be closed.
Management blamed an ongoing bakers’ strike. (However, the mayor of St. Louis, whose Hostess branch is also closing, says he’d been informed of the closings months before the strike.)
The strikers refused the company’s demands for wage cuts and big layoffs; after the company already erased pension accounts.
That was as part of a bankruptcy procedure, the company’s second in a decade.
Hostess Brands has been slowly dying for longer than that, under three different owners.
Too many parents in recent years have demanded only “healthy” foods for their kids.
In response, Hostess re-targeted its advertising at adults, with little success.
And there are so many, many newer snack product brands, local, regional, and national.
Also, let’s not forget the impact imposed on all consumer-products companies by Walmart. It regularly sets ever smaller wholesale payments, which companies dare not challenge.
The Hostess site will surely be redeveloped, probably as a posh condo project.
A lot of these places are named after the things they’d replaced.
In this case, we should all demand the condo be christened “Twinkie Towers.”
UPDATE: Hostess Brands’ next bankruptcy move might be a staged “liquidation.” That could take several paths, but probably would involve Hostess Brands disappearing (and taking many obligations and all labor contracts away with it), then transferring assets to a shell company that would start a nonunion “new” Hostess.
“Amidst the Everyday,” a project by photographers-artists Aaron Asis and Dan Hawkins, aims to reveal “elements of the unseen urban environment.” You go to places around town, scan QR codes (etched in wood!) at various buildings, and receive images of their hidden treasures. (Above, one of the unoccupied-for-decades upper floors of the Eitel Building at Second and Pike.)
Sound Transit has a bus from downtown Seattle to downtown Puyallup (via Federal Way, Auburn, and Sumner). It ends at the Puyallup Sounder commuter-rail station, right by a classic small-town downtown garnished with street-corner public art works.
Civic authorities have restored this brick-wall painted sign advertising the company that created both the Puyallup fair scone and KOMO-TV.
A brisk ten-block walk took me to the fairgrounds entrance, guarded over as always by the noble cow heads.
While marketed since 1978 as “The Puyallup Fair,” the event’s official title has always been the Western Washington Fair. A new name, “Washington State Fair,” was phased in starting this year. This will surely lead to confusion with the smaller Evergreen State Fair in Monroe.
But I, along with almost every local old-timer, will always think of the fair as “The Puyallup,” thanks to a TV/radio jingle that has been embedded in our minds for more than three decades.
Along with the revised name, fair officials showed off a plan for a revised fairgrounds. The master plan would rein in the commercial exhibits that have sprawled over more of the grounds, and install outdoor agricultural demonstration areas. The idea is to re-emphasize the fair’s roots as a showcase for people of “the land.”
Other exhibits included a mini “factory tour” honoring the 100th anniversary of a Tacoma legend, the Brown & Haley candy company. Booth ladies outside were selling special commemorative Almond Roca tins. I asked if any of them contained Bjork’s life savings. They didn’t get my reference to the film Dancer in the Dark, alas.
In the fair’s Hobby Building, someone installed a private collection of memorabilia relating to another Tacoma institution, Nalley’s Fine Foods. The diversified processed-foods giant had made everything from pickles to potato chips; it closed last year, after decades of mismanagement by various out-of-state owners.
As a pop-culture compulsive, you know I always adore the collection showcases at the Hobby Building. This year folks showed off their stuff relating to the Girl Scouts (above), Lego, Dr Pepper, Sailor Moon, the Seattle World’s Fair’s 50th anniversary, Starbucks gift cards, and the Happy Face symbol.
I’ll have some more of this lovely stuff in a future post; so stay tuned.
seattle chapter, american institute of architects via kplu.org
In a publication entitled City Living, you might expect words by and for people who love this city.
But there are also Seattle haters out there.
I know. I’ve seen them.
All the time I’ve been in Seattle (don’t ask), I’ve known two predominant kinds of Seattle haters:
1) White baby-boomers who rant that the city is too big, too loud, too tense, and too full of suspected “gang bangers” (i.e., nonwhite males younger than 40). These folk dream of having a McMansion-sized “cabin” on the Bainbridge shoreline, but would settle for a Skagit County farmhouse.
2) Men and women of prominent ego (of many races, though still usually white) who decree that this hick town doesn’t deserve their obvious greatness.
These denouncers almost always also rant that Seattle fails to sufficiently imitate New York, Los Angeles, and (especially) San Francisco, in criteria ranging from architecture to food.
These folk generally refuse the idea that people in cities other than NY/LA/SF can choose to run a city any differently. All which is not NY/LA/SF, by these folks’ definition, is automatically inferior.
Sometimes, these folk will expect me to casually agree with their putdowns. They’ll ask me what part of the East Coast I’m from. Then, before I can answer, they’ll tell me I obviously agree that this is just a cowtown full of hicks and don’t I want to get my butt back to the civilized world?
I tend to respond that the only thing “eastern” I’m from is the eastern shore of Puget Sound; that Seattle is a fascinating place brimming with ideas and personalities; and that we can do things our own way.
If these folk are still listening, they usually tell me that I’m obviously just kidding. (Which I’m not.)
This is the combination of hubris and willful ignorance depicted in Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, the highly publicized new novel by local transplant (and former Hollywood sitcom writer) Maria Semple.
The title character is a tried and true Seattle hater. She’s also a former elite Los Angeles architect, with a Microsoftie hubby and an above-average teenage daughter (and an outsourced “virtual assistant” in India). She lives a life of wealth and privilege; the daughter goes to an elite private school. The family’s even planning a vacation getaway to Antarctica.
But even with everything money can by, Bernadette’s not happy. And, like many unhappy people, she blames her unhappiness on the world around her.
When Bernadette disappears, as the novel’s title implies, the daughter tries to figure out what happened by reading the mom’s old diaries, letters, and emails.
It’s in these documents that Bernadette says what she might have been too polite to say in public. Particularly among Seattle’s well documented cult of niceness.
Among her complaints: Too many Craftsman bulgalows. Too many Canadians. Too many slow drivers. Too many wild blackberry bushes. Too many neurotic moms. Too many self-congratulatory “progressives.” And way too much politeness.
Or for the short version, this is a city unfit for the presence of someone as obviously superior as Bernadette.
But, to Semple, this attitude is merely a symptom of a larger disorder. It’s a stage in the character becoming estranged from the world in general, then dropping out of sight from even her family.
But in a missive revealed at the novel’s end, she announces a change of heart. Bernadette really loves Seattle after all. She loves the gray-wash winter skies, which “felt like God had lowered a silk parachute over us.”
Semple herself, according to interviews, had also been a Seattle hater. But, like Bernadette, she’s since changed her mind.
Semple says she wouldn’t write Bernadette’s vitriolic Seattle putdowns these days. Semple now loves the place.
Or at least that’s what she says in public.
You know, to be polite.
(Cross-posted with City Living.)
As promised, here are my observations of Bumbershoot 2012, Seattle’s annual big culture buffet.
As others have noted, it was a sunny but not unbearably hot three-day weekend, bringing out strong-sized crowd despite the steeper than ever ticket prices. (It was either charge $50 a day, or go back to having no musical stars bigger than Hall & Oates.)
Behold, my first ever deep fried candy bar (a Snickers). Gooey. Messy. Yummy.
How are curly fries made? With good old American industrial knowhow, that’s how.
They may call it the Seattle Center Armory now, but to me it will always be the Center House and/or Food Circus.
In this post-record-industry age, live gigs are more important than ever to a band’s financial model. So are gig posters, as lovingly seen at the latest Flatstock exhibit.
The historic video games exhibit (still up) shows the young’uns what real entertainment was like, 8-bit style.
But amid all the fun there’s some deadly serious stuff. World Vision International would like you to know AIDS is still devastating much of Africa.
This “House of the Immediate Future” was named after a model home full of futuristic devices at the ’62 World’s Fair. The new one exemplifies affordable-housing designs that could be factory-built, then installed on small real-estate footprints.
A few inflatable rides are no substitute for the late, great Fun Forest.
The Toyota-sponsored “Whac-A Hipster” game. Hipster-bashing has become corporate,and therefore beyond passé.
The heart of the “Put the Needle on the Record” exhibit, a mini-recording studio where you can record your own music and/or voices for a time capsule, is this recording lathe that cuts real phonograph-record masters.
Today’s greatest ETA (“Elvis Tribute Artist”), El Vez, does his massive act with a massive in-house video production (like all the big music stages had this year).
An inflatable icon of the original Elvis stood over two exhibits.
To the right, the Record Store, a display of classic vinyl LPs with DJs and live small combos.
To the left, the Elvistravaganza. Marlow Harris and Jo David applied their kitsch curatorial touch to the World’s Fair’s most enduring celebrity visitor. I contributed my (quite modest) ETA talents at the all-day karaoke stage.
As I departed the Center grounds to the soothing strains of Hey Marseilles, I regretted the many acts I hadn’t seen but felt enlivened and revived by the ones I had seen.
Today’s historic-preservation outrage involves the Jefferson Park Golf Course clubhouse. It’s a magnificent structure, “homey” yet elegant, that’s served city residents for more than 75 years. The City wants to raze it to put up a new driving range. It’s rushing through a plan to deny landmark status to the building, in cahoots with the architects that are planning the redevelopment scheme.
the bon marche at northgate circa 1956, via mallsofamerica.blogspot.com
There aren’t many cities that would seriously consider turning their backs on an investment of nearly $300 million in private capital within their boundaries, particularly during trying economic times.