charter construction via ronald holden, cornichon.org
Gosh, has it really been more than three weeks since I’ve done this? Time flies when you’re desperately looking for paying work (i.e., absolutely not “for the exposure”).
We have forgotten what this country once understood, that a society based on nothing but selfishness and greed is not a society at all, but a state of war of the strong against the weak.
satoshi kon's 'paprika' (2006); via film.com
It is the quintessential Northwest cafe—rustic industrial meets cozy 1950s Modern nostalgia in a beautiful, double-height corner space. It manages to feel warm, inviting, and communal all at once, even when the acres of windows are filled with oppressively gray Seattle skies.
imagined audio-book listeners on a train, 1894
Back in the early days of telephones and phonograph records (1894 to be precise), essayist Octave Uzanne claimed “The End of Books” would soon be at hand. Uzanne predicted people would much rather listen to storytellers (with what are now called audio books) than read:
Our eyes are made to see and reflect the beauties of nature, and not to wear themselves out in the reading of texts; they have been too long abused, and I like to fancy that some one will soon discover the need there is that they should be relieved by laying a greater burden upon our ears. This will be to establish an equitable compensation in our general physical economy.
Elsewhere in randomosity:
…(T)he madness of the GOP is the central issue of our time.
tacoma news tribune
erika j. schultz via twitter
I’ll have stuff to say about the big gay parade and the potential for NHL hockey in Seattle a little later this week. For now, some randomosis:
kenny johnson, the atlantic via io9.com
As you may know, Doctor Who fans are among the most rabid in all of scifi/fantasy fandom.
It was fans’ continued devotion to the original Who series (1963-89) that eventually persuaded the BBC to “reboot” the franchise, premiering in 2005.
And these fans have their own ongoing quest for their own Holy Grail—the episodes of the original DW series that the BBC destroyed (via erased tapes and rubbished film prints) back in the early 1970s, when old black-and-white entertainment shows were considered worthless.
Discoveries of old syndication prints in recent years have reduced the number of “Missing Episodes” down to 106. All of those are from 1964-69 and feature the show’s first two stars, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton.
Every so often, rumors would come up within fan circles and on DW online message boards, claiming more missing episodes had been unearthed. These rumors often crop up around April Fool’s Day. Fans have learned to routinely dismiss them, unless and until the BBC officially says something.
As DW‘s 50th anniversary approaches (it first premiered in Britain on the day after JFK was shot), the rumors of found episodes have resurfaced.
And they’re more grandiose than ever.
Instead of just a few individual episodes or story arcs being supposedly found, this time a whopping 90 episodes, comprising all or part of 23 story arcs, are supposed to now be on their way toward a DVD loading slot near you.
The same cache of off-air film prints supposedly also includes discarded installments of other BBC shows, and duplicate prints of some already extant DW episodes.
At least that’s what Rich Johnston, writing at the UK fan site Bleeding Cool, says he’s heard.
Mind you, Johnston isn’t claiming the rumors are true. He’s just spreading them.
Johnston’s also posted a quote from one professional film archivist, who’d been attached to the rumor, and who emphatically denies any involvement with or knowledge of any found DW episodes.
And Johnston’s reported an official BBC no-comment.
Over the decades, the missing episodes have engendered a global, volunteer fan industry.
Long before the Internet, the DW fan community exchanged information and documents about the episodes.
The soundtracks to all the lost episodes were found, having been recorded by young fans off of the original telecasts.
Some fans even had off-screen home movies of brief scenes.
As home-video equipment got cheaper and better, fans made “reconstructions” of missing episodes, using the soundtracks and existing (or digitally re-created) still photos.
There have even been fan-made animated versions of the episodes, made in styles ranging from amusing to creepy.
BBC Video made two of its own reconstructions for a few VHS and DVD releases of extant DW stories, and has commissioned professional animations of nine episodes.
Meanwhile, fans and film/video collectors (along with the BBC) have hunted down syndication prints originally rented out to broadcasters around the world.
What if all this were to suddenly (mostly) end?
What if almost all the black-and-white Doctor Whos did appear, ready for restoration and release?
Then all these people, who learned (or taught themselves) all these skills, can use them to create their own stories.
Then the original DW could become just another beloved old TV show, which people would view and admire but not necessarily feel a part of.
Nah. That couldn’t happen, not in all of time.
A lot of Seattleites, especially on Capitol Hill, have things to be happy about this week.
The gay marriage cause, for which a lot of people here worked very hard this past year, received a big boost from the U.S. Supreme Court—just in time for Pride Weekend.
But folks on the Hill, and all over town, still have a sad occasion today.
The Egyptian Theater closes after 33 years of screenings, including most of SIFF’s main shows.
A little history:
The Seattle Masonic Temple opened in 1915. By the 1970s, its big auditorium was regularly used for pro wrestling events.
In late 1975, Daryl McDonald and Dan Ireland leased the Moore Theatre downtown, and renamed it the “Moore Egyptian.” (There had been a previous Egyptian Theater in the U District, which has nothing to do with our story.)
That’s where McDonald and Ireland started SIFF in May 1976, with a short program of 18 screenings.
Four years later, McDonald and Ireland leased the Masonic auditorium and re-christened it the new Egyptian. New management returned the Moore to hosting live concerts and stage shows. SIFF used both rooms for a couple of years, then made the Egyptian its permanent annual home base.
The Masons sold the building to Seattle Central Community College in the mid-1980s. SCCC used the building’s non-auditorium areas for its (also now-ended) film and video program and for assorted offices.
After a few years, the Egyptian came into the Seven Gables chain, founded by local art-house tycoon Randy Finley. He sold his theaters in the mid-’80s. They later went into the national Landmark chain, which in turn was eventually bought by Dallas entrepreneur Mark Cuban. SIFF continued to rent out the Egyptian as its main venue for three and a half weeks each year.
(Cuban also owns the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. In 2008, he was the only NBA owner besides Seattle’s own Paul Allen (representing the Portland TrailBlazers) to vote against moving the Supersonics to Oklahoma.)
Meanwhile, the economics of motion-picture exhibition got steadily sourer.
The Internet, that great Disruptor of All Media, played a part.
So did the consolidation of the big studios and the big theater chains, making things tougher for relatively little guys like Landmark. (Cuban reportedly tried to sell Landmark a couple years ago, but got no takers.)
While the Egyptian was usually full or near-full during SIFF screenings, its 600 seats steadily became harder to fill during the other 48 weeks.
Once this year’s SIFF ended, Landmark quietly told SCCC it wouldn’t keep leasing the space.
The building’s not going away, unlike so many other Pike/Pine landmarks in recent years.
SCCC has fielded applicants to take over the auditorium, but hasn’t announced any new tenant.
SIFF has recently returned to running its own year-round theaters. Would, or could, SIFF add the Egyptian back into its full-time fold?
If SIFF or anyone else wanted to use it for movies, they’d have to get one of those costly digital-cinema projection setups the Hollywood distributors now require, and which have been the focus of “save our theater” fund drives here (Central Cinema, Northwest Film Forum) and elsewhere. Landmark already said it would remove the Egyptian’s digital setup, for re-installation at one of its other properties.
Alternately, the space could become (at least in non-SIFF months) a concert venue or lecture hall. (The stage is too shallow for much live-theater work.)
But, pending any revival as a single-screen cinema, it’s safe to say the Egyptian tradition ends today.
It’s not the last link to Seattle’s 1970s funky art-house aesthetic (the Harvard Exit, Grand Illusion, Guild 45th, and Seven Gables are still with us). But it’s still a loss.
The Fastbacks, the “Seattle Scene’s” most enduring band (and one of its most loveable), recorded lots of great cover songs (originally by the Raspberries, the Sweet, and even Sesame Street!) in addition to their many originals. Some of these were buried on “tribute” compilation CDs. Here’s a list of 17 such tunes, and a slightly longer but still incomplete list.
There is no such thing as a private language. We speak in order to be heard, we write in order to be read. But words also speak through us and, sometimes, are as much a dissolution as an assertion of our identity.
ebay photos, via thestir.cafemom.com