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7/6/17: THE KALAKALA LIVES! (SORT OF)
Jul 6th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Thursday’s MISCmedia MAIL starts with good news: Pieces of the ferry Kalakala were saved, and may come soon to an art installation near you. Also: cracks start appearing in the Legislature’s state-budget kludge; STD cases are on the rise; a tiki bar gets targeted by “cultural appropriation” charges; and one guy had a really dumb idea how to get the best view of the fireworks.

6/19/17: THE MADNESS CONTINUES
Jun 19th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Another week, another police shooting of an innocent African-American. This time, it was a pregnant mother shot in her home, in front of the children. And somebody thought a “mammy” mascot costume would be perfect for the Solstice Parade. In less horrific news, Amazon dives deep into “brick and mortar” retail; electric conservation leads to higher rates; and a Pioneer Square rebuild gets stalled.

THE NAKED TRUTH IS OUT THERE
Jun 18th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

solstice 2017 j stormtrooper and cleopatra

The Fremont Solstice Parade, even more than last year, was essentially an anticlimactic epilogue to the hundreds of body-paint bicyclists.

solstice 2017 u man standing on seat

solstice 2017 w legs up

solstice 2017 cc oil derrick
Even the arrival this year of “The Resistance,” a single overriding topic of protest in all its branches and aspects and sub-topics, as the right wing sleaze machine takes near complete control and rushes out an all-fronts attack against literally every good thing in our society (from government aid programs to social civility itself), failed to bring out more volunteer street-theater performers, marchers, musicians, etc.

solstice 2017 aa butt kicking
Last year, there was talk that parade organizers would crack down on the nudes in hopes of attracting more participants in the parade itself, participants who might not want to be part of the same spectacle as all the poons and peens on public pubic display.

solstice 2017 y gold

That didn’t happen. But the underlying issue remains.

The parade could fade out and die along with the original hippie generation out from which its aesthetic was formed.

solstice 2017 z blackface

Oh, and the parade got “trolled” by an entrant who showed up with a seven-foot costume puppet of a stereotype black “mammy” figure in a rasta hat.

According to some social-media commenters, the (apparently white) guy who performed in the costume was asked to leave the parade’s Friday-evening prep session. He then crashed the Saturday-afternoon event after it had already started, before again being shooed away.

Still, the Solstice Parade’s organizers have managed for almost three decades to keep motor vehicles, corporations, politicians, and even written signs out of the spectacle. But this thing looked just enough like a regular Solstice giant mascot costume that the guy got to strut it down a large segment of the parade route.

(After all, hippie graphic aesthetics used to include plenty of one-dimensional “ethnic characterizations.”)

Also troublesome for the parade’s future, it can’t store its floats and costumes in a city-owned warehouse space any more. (Slog) (PI.com)

 

6/9/17: FUN FLIES WHEN YOU’RE HAVING TIME
Jun 9th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

The third year of MISCmedia MAIL begins with a few random memories of my time on this earth. It goes on to discuss an historic big painting you’ve got to see; Boeing’s research into pilot-free planes; an Islamophobic rally moved from Portland to Seattle; and the usual zillion event listings.

6/6/17: POP GOES THE TAX BILL
Jun 6th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

MISCmedia MAIL raises a glass of Real Soda in Real Bottles to the enactment of the sugary-pop tax. Other observations view the incredibly shrinking Store Formerly Known as the Bon Marché; local corporate giants vowing to keep fighting climate change; big stuff coming to the Seattle Art Fair; and what you probably haven’t heard about the Evergreen State College controversies.

6/2/17: GREENERS SO WHITE
Jun 2nd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

The unspecified “clear threat” reported by Evergreen State College brass is, at least partly, the fallout from a heated email exchange about race and the limits of white “progressivism.” Your weekend MISCmedia MAIL also mentions local officials refusing to go backwards on climate change; another reason why encampment sweeps put people in danger; a guy who says he can build affordable housing units at half price; and a guy who wants to break up Amazon.

6/1/17: BRING ‘EM
May 31st, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

I think Seattle’s still a great tourist destination. Come for the fish throwing; stay for the political resistance organizing! Other stuff in our month-dawning MISCmedia MAIL includes more reaction to the outrage in Portland; why this year’s homeless count can’t really be compared to last year’s; a black author cancels her Seattle trip after death threats; and Folklife lives!

5/31/17: NOT SO ‘CRUDDY’
May 31st, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Wednesday’s MISCmedia MAIL starts with a great honor for one of my fave cartoonist/novelist/playwrights. It goes on to mention the “dirty” aspect of cleaning up Lake Washington; big-big plans for the UW; the apparent end to one of our era’s most famous couples; and five years after the Cafe Racer slayings (so many senseless slayings ago).

5/25/17: FORGING AHEAD?
May 24th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Could the Black Dog Forge’s Belltown building, and the legendary band-practice basement space within, be rescued from redevelopment by a crowdfunding campaign? In other MISCmedia MAIL topics today: Why people don’t listen to facts; ambitious plans for the state’s schools; Starbucks’ employee-motivation program backfiring; and preparing for our new computer overlords.

5/23/17: POLICING THE POLICE
May 22nd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

After more than four years, we’re close to a permanent police-oversight system. MISCmedia MAIL today also discusses the potential hypocrisy of taxing pop in Latte Land; rapid rehousing’s potential shortcomings; a Seahawk’s feud with a Seattle Times writer; and a word for Manchester (by the sea).

5/22/17: I SEE YOU’VE MET THE ‘TWIN’S
May 22nd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Twin Peaks is back. Or rather, something mostly new under that title and with several of the old show’s characters has arrived, and it’s a beaut.  Today’s MISCmedia MAIL also looks at more Chris Cornell reactions; the death of a major local lit n’ history figure; one person named Grant dissing another; and a major Belltown arts-creation space going away.

5/9/17: MAYOR MAY OR MAY NOT
May 8th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

In MISCmedia MAIL: We still don’t know for sure whether Ed Murray will end his re-election drive today; the feds try to stop a big local pro-immigrant legal group; KeyArena will have to be rebuilt with or without major pro sports; arrests at an anti-pipeline protest; and can the new Nordic Heritage Museum encourage America to become more like modern Scandinavia?

5/8/17: BLUE ON BLUE
May 7th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

In MISCmedia MAIL: Can there really be such a thing as a new color? Will Ed Murray drop his re-election bid? Can the arts relieve societal future shock? Will Yakima’s city government ever be responsive to its large Latinx population? Can we all move to France?

5/1/17: DO AS YOU ‘MAY’
Apr 30th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Another month, another MISCmedia MAIL, and another set of May Day protests. Let’s make this one inclusive instead of destructive, ‘K? We also discuss the recent Punk Rock Flea Market; the Folklife Fest’s serious fiscal woes; one thing that could halt Amazon’s big growth; and a “salmon cannon.”

JE T’AIME, SEATTLE!
Apr 9th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

madamefigaro

Stereotypically, the French (with a few exceptions, such as Alexis de Tocqueville) hate America, or at least much of America (with a few exceptions, such as jazz music and old B movies).

You can now add something else American that the French like. It’s li’l ol’ us.

And not the standard tourist-cliché Seattle of fish-throwin’ and whale-watchin’, either.

It’s the arts scene.

Yes, the Seattle visual-art world some of us oldsters remember as an intimate milieu of four or five museums, a couple dozen private galleries, some warehouse studio spaces, and CoCA.

This scene has now grown to finally become, as so many Seattle institutions aspire to become, “world class.”

At least, that’s what writer Paola Genone says, in Madame Figaro, a weekly magazine section of the major Paris daily Le Figaro.

The online version of her article is titled “Seattle, la nouvelle escale (“stopover”) arty américaine.”

The article’s print title is even more portentious, proclaiming Seattle to be a “Tete (head) de l’art.” (It’s a phrase with multiple historic meanings, which I don’t have room here to delineate. But it basically means something aesthetically significant.)

The story begins with a quick intro. Yes, it skims past many of your standard Seattle tourist/media reference points—Hendrix, Nirvana, Twin Peaks, Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, rain.

But Genone then quickly segues into her principal theme, Seattle as “a capital of artistic renewal that loves mixing genres” and as “the hub of a new contemporary art and music…. Cool, eco-friendly, rock and high-tech, Seattle is astonishing by its freedom and eclecticism.”

Genone’s verbal tour of the local scene starts with two legacies of “the great geek” Paul Allen, the Seattle Art Fair and the Museum of Popular Culture (née EMP).

But Genone doesn’t stay in the realm of billionaires for long. Instead, she next calls Seattle “the city of women,” for the female directors of so many local institutions (SAM, TAM, the Frye, the Henry).

That’s followed by short photo-profiles of six local art n’ music movers n’ shakers:

  • Martyr Space gallery owner Tariqa Waters (“La galeriste underground”). She creates self-portraits “with sharp colors, constantly transforming: aggressive, myserious, transgender, pop art.”
  • Tacocat singer Emily Nokes (“L’égérie (muse) pop punk”). She’s the “worthy heiress to the pop punk of Courtney Love,” fronting a band whose music combines the Beach Boys’ surf guitar with “the burning hymns of Bikini Kill.”
  • Collage artist Joe Rudko (“Le reveur aux ciseaux” (“the dreamer with scissors”)). His compositions, while “apparently abstract,” turn out to reveal “itineraries of thought, mysterious architectures, imaginary family albums,” and dreams of “an America open to diveristy and solidarity.”
  • Photographer and multimedia artist Jennifer Zwick (“La photographe de l’étrange’). Her images appear “comme le caustic The Stranger” and elsewhere; while her installations explore “a fantastic universe of children, books, and everyday objects hijacked: installations inspired as much by the writings of WIlliam Blake and Jorge Juis Borges as by the comics of ‘Calvin and Hobbes.'”
  • Hideout bar owner and Out of Sight festical curator Greg Lundgren (“Le Warhol de Seattle”). He’s called “a visionary at the head of utopian, committed, and large-scale projects,” which are all intended to support “galleries and artists of the city and to push them to flourish there. Successful bet.”
  • Frye Art Museum director Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker (“La directrice de musée qui ose…” (“who dares”)). She “gave a voice to the artists of Seattle and encouraged experimentation,” along with “a lively dialogue between creators of all disciplines bringing their vision to the stakes of the contemporary world. “

The article doesn’t mention the hyper-inflating rents currently driving many artists and small-scale galleries out of town. Nor does it discuss the local “new money” techies who aren’t collecting much art (yet); or the local “old money” collectors who, for the longest time, preferred to do their art buying out of town.

But face it: it’s hard to bring up the harsher realities of a place when you’re hyping it as a global Next Big Thing.

(Translations by Google. Cross-posted with City Living Seattle.)

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