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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).

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 3/15/17: DON’T LET RACER GET ERASED
Mar 14th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Café Racer, a vital part of many Seattle scenes and subcultures, is for sale and could go away without a buyer. Who’ll be the saving patron of such a key institution? While you search your bank accounts, read about the latest developments in the Daniel Ramirez case; a woman-friendly version of a “co-working space;” a crime survivor who doesn’t want to be the poster child for an anti-trans “bathroom bill;” and whether Gonzaga basketball’s singlehandedly keeping Spokane alive.

MISCmedia MAIL for 11/4/16:
Nov 3rd, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Café Racer, a longtime friend of MISCmedia and a pivotal aspect of multiple local communities, needs help to survive right now. The rest of our work this day concerns the centennial of the Northwest’s bloodiest worker-rights event; the overheated Vancouver real-estate market’s crash; the usual scads of weekend stuff-2-do; and a non-religious college finally sheds its “Missionaries” team name.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/2/13
Jun 2nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

joshua trujillo, seattlepi.com

  • There was a remembrance in Cowen Park marking one year since the Cafe Racer tragedy.
  • Unlike some of the “radicals” fighting against low wages at fast-food joints, I actually patronize fast-food joints. And I want the fine people who prepare my meals to be properly compensated for the fine work they do.
  • The FBI investigated the song “Louie Louie” for two whole years, only to find a simple love lyric made unintelligible.
  • Will legal pot in our society lead, invariably, to corporate pot?
  • To Microsoft’s regret, it just can’t get people to say “Let’s Bing it.”
  • Our ol’ pal Gillian Gaar reports the “Welcome to Aberdeen: Come As You Are” sign might come down.
  • Who, besides “out o’ sight, out o’ mind” NIMBYs, benefits from the suburbanization of poverty?
  • A Cheerios commercial features a nice interracial family. The usual dorks and trolls respond as you’d predict.
  • Lawrence Lessig would like a Democratic Party that’s less beholden to corporate funders.
  • Texas: future Democratic stronghold?
  • Some people will miss making fun of Michelle Bachmann. I won’t.
  • The Chicago Sun-Times, once billed as “Chicago’s Picture Newspaper,” is firing all its photographers.
  • No, Ms. magazine, the 10 most important things American women could not do before the 1970s wold probably really include more important things than “read Ms. magazine.”
  • Istanbul was Constantinople. Now it’s a battleground of democracy vs. shady dealmaking.
  • WikiLeaks dude Julian Assange sees today’s Google as an increasingly reactionary gang of government-butt kissers.
  • Let’s close with a haunting look at a run down (but still open!) tourist site, the Flintstones theme park in Arizona.

messynessychic.com

IT WAS ONE YEAR AGO TODAY
May 30th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

Most of you know about the horrors inflicted on May 30, 2012.

About the crazed disgruntled customer who strode into Café Racer and shot five people, four of them fatally.

Who then got on a bus to downtown, where he killed a woman to steal her car.

Who then drove to West Seattle, where he killed himself as police closed in on him.

For a lot of people around the Seattle music, art, and nightlife scenes, it was a day of shock and devastation.

For me, it was just the start of the worst two weeks of my life.

While all the mourning was going on around me, I had a little birthday, gave one of my semiannual Costco Vanishing Seattle book signings, and visited the Georgetown Carnival. Racer owner Kurt Geissel was at the latter, essentially showing concerned friends that he was surviving.

It was there that I got the cell call from my brother.

My mother had gone into the hospital, for what would be the last time.

Two buses and two hours later, I was in Everett.

She had stayed un-sedated long enough for me to arrive and pay my respects, along with seven or eight of her closest friends.

An hour after that, she agreed to take the morphine.

She passed on 54 hours later.

She had always been there for me.

Now I was truly on my own.

It was, and continues to be, a struggle.

Only now am I beginning to get something of a life back together, thanks to the help of many of the same people who kept one another together after the Racer tragedy.

RACING BACK, WITH LOVE
Jul 25th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

Cafe Racer was first opened by Kurt Geissel and then business partner Staci Dinehart in 2003, originally as the Lucky Dog Espresso.

First with Dinehart and then with longtime manager Ben Dean, Geissel built it into a place that was everything to many people—a coffeehouse, diner, bar, dual art-exhibition space (both permanent and rotating exhibits), eclectic live music venue, and gathering place for both Ravenna/Roosevelt area locals and for several citywide subcultures.

Geissel kept his outside day job all that time, pouring everything the cafe made back into it. It made the front page of the Sunday New York Times arts section for its Sunday all-ages improv-music shows, the “Racer Sessions.”

Some of the other people most responsible for Racer’s rise have included:

  • Marlow Harris and Jo David (longtime arts-scene figures who curate the permanent exhibit of unfortunate amateur painting, the Official Bad Art Museum of Art),
  • Jim Woodring (creator of the acclaimed graphic-novel series Frank; he led drawing classes at the cafe and cofounded its cartoonists’ peer group Friends of the Nib),
  • Andrew Swanson (cofounder of the Racer Sessions),
  • Leonard Meuse (the cafe’s chef, who kept a varied comfort food menu going in a too-small kitchen space), and
  • Drew Keriakedes, aka Shmootzi the Clod (the round-earringed veteran of the local alt-circus and performance art scenes; he booked most of the musical acts at the cafe, and led its Thursday house band God’s Favorite Beefcake).

As you all know, Meuse and Keriakedes were at the cafe the morning of May 30, when a mentally unstable former customer came in and started shooting. He killed Keriakedes and three other people, and shot Meuse. He fled, shot and killed a woman outside Town Hall, took her car, and was finally found by police in West Seattle, where he fatally shot himself.

Geissel has said he was actually making more money with Racer closed, thanks to insurance. But friends and loyal customers pretty much demanded he reopen. After take a couple of weeks off to get his own head together, he and a crew of volunteers cleaned up and repainted the place and installed a new bar.

Reopening day was all hugs and smiles and closure. There seemed to be a collective sense, not of “normalcy” but of triumph. Meuse was working. Woodring was on hand.

So was Geissel, hauling in fresh supplies of hamburger buns and Tater Tots.

He’s said that not reopening would be letting “the bad” win. Bringing Cafe Racer back, he’s also said, was a process fed by “the tremendous love” expressed by everyone who’s frequented it.

(Cross-posted with City Living.)

THE BEST NEWS ALL MONTH (IF NOT LONGER)
Jul 18th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

cafe racer, june 20, 2012

Cafe Racer reopens this Friday.

Here’s the press release by owner Kurt Geissel:

A note from Cafe Racer’s owner:

“No one needs to be reminded of what happened at Café Racer on May 30, 2012.

Each day the grief of losing our loved ones lessens, but not our love for them or the love they brought into our lives. Drew, Joe, Kim, Don and Gloria were people who gave more of themselves than they ever received. This is why the community was so devastated by their loss. This is also why that community of which they were a part of will carry on.

The outpouring of love and support from this community was astounding to me. Not only for the loss of our loved ones, but for the love and concern for Café Racer itself. It became clear to me that the café is more than just a place to pick up a coffee, food or have a drink, but it is a part of the community. The love didn’t just come from the ones we lost, it comes from everyone.

This is the main reason that I’ve decided to keep the cafe open, to forge ahead with the vision that is Café Racer by providing a place for diverse people and groups to come together and have a loving, safe place to gather. There may be some physical changes to the cafe, the main ingredient which makes Café Racer unique will remain the same, Love.

There is no way I can express my thanks to the hundreds of people who gave me, and everyone who is involved with the café, their love and support.

YOU make Cafe Racer what it is.” – Kurt Geissel Owner, Café Racer

Friday July 20th –Seattle: Café Racer will be re-opening its doors to the public

RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/12/12
Jul 11th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

comicsbronzeage.com

Just Sayin’ Dept: Here’s something that hasn’t been publicized much in the World’s Fair 50th anniversary celebrations.

  • Could the Almost Live! cast (or a key portion of it) be reuniting in a new project? A site called The206.tv is being coy n’ teasing about it, at least for now.
  • Cafe Racer will reopen. And it’ll look better than ever.
  • Seattle’s own Ezell’s has the nation’s greatest fried chicken, according to a highly manipulable Esquire online poll.
  • Danny Westneat sees the Sonics Arena plan as a much better deal than the one that was used to rebuild Husky Stadium.
  • No, there won’t be a zip line in West Seattle’s Lincoln Park.
  • No, there won’t be an Airbus factory in Wash. state. But Gov. Gregoire would really like Airbus to buy parts and services from some of the same local subcontractors and suppliers that service Boeing.
  • Just as Rush Limbaugh has his paid phony callers, Mitt Romney buses and flies in loyalist rooters to his campaign speeches. Even to the NAACP!
  • It’s the 20th anniversary of the first photo ever posted to a Web site. It was a plug for a retro-cabaret combo comprising “administrative assistants and significant others of scientists” at CERN, the Swiss lab where both the WWW was invented and the Higgs-Boson Particle was discovered. The hereby-linked article includes some of their science-nerd-chic novelty repertoire.
  • No, online-meme followers, Bill Gates did not speak at some random unidentified high school and tell the kids, “Life is not fair. Get used to it.” That whole text comes from a newspaper op-ed column dating back to 1996.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/7/12
Jun 6th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

  • Missed the transit of Venus? Fret not! You can still catch The Myrtle of Venus!
  • The lovely graphic at the left of this site’s “sidebar” column, inviting donations for the Cafe Racer shooting victims, was done by our ol’ pal Nick Vroman, an ex-Seattleite now in Japan. He’s also got a lovely site reviewing Japanese cult films.
  • With the arrival of Wednesday came The Stranger’s package of Cafe Racer shooting and mourning articles.
  • Joel Connelly calls the “war on drugs” America’s “second lost war of the half century.”
  • Contemporary art, product logos, graphic design, even web page design—all these fields and more are frequently invaded by rank copycats, whose thievery can be caught red-handed at the site You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice.
  • Health Scare O’ the Week: the allegedly imminent arrival of drug-resistant gonorrhea.
  • The next frontier in confronting idiot misogyny: Multiplayer gaming.
  • Cell phone users are using their cell phones as phones a lot less. Companies plan to respond by raising rates. Huh?
  • Our heroine Amanda Palmer wanted to raise $100,000 from a Kickstarter campaign, to release and promote her next record. She ended up raking in a cool million.
  • Social-economy guru Richard Florida offers up some theories behind the revival of downtown retail around the country.
DEFIANT TOGETHERNESS
Jun 4th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

I’m still having trouble finding words to say about the Cafe Racer tragedy.

At least I can give you pictures of just a little bit of the near-citywide outpouring of grief, condolence, and mutual support.

The above images are from last Thursday afternoon.

The following are from Sunday evening, when the weekly jazz jam session went ahead as scheduled—in the alley between the cafe and the Trading Musician music store.

For up-to-date word about memorial and benefit shows for the victims’ families and the one shooting survivor (taking place all around town, just about every day), go to caferacerlove.org.

Owner Kurt Geissel (who was not on the premises at the time of the shootings) has said he will reopen. Just when, he hasn’t decided yet.

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© Copyright 2015 Clark Humphrey (clark (at) miscmedia (dotcom)).