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IS SOLSTICE IN ITS AUTUMN?
Jun 19th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

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Once again, the Fremont Solstice parade has arrived and left.

This year, the threat of rain may have kept the audience smaller than previously.

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Not in short supply were the body-paint bicyclists (and more-or-less clothed bicyclists, and just plain nude bicyclists, and walkers, and skateboarders).

Much as the Seafair hydro races have become, to many fans, the sideshow to their own intermission act (the Blue Angels), the Solstice Parade has become, to many, merely the footnote to its unofficial and unorganized prelude.

purple prince boat

As the annual corps of paint people and their pals has grown, the parade itself has shrank. This year’s edition barely ran 45 minutes.

There were the usual ethnic and pseudo-ethnic dance troupes.

There were the usual floats and dancers celebrating summer, environmentalism, nature, and wholesome “quirkiness.”

There was a tribute to Prince with a purple-boat float.

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The main “political” statement at the parade was made by homeless advocates. They depicted Mayor Ed Murray with a broom, trying to literally “sweep” away a bunch of street people and car-dwellers; while marchers carried signs (conforming to the parade’s traditional rule against written words) exhorting people to call Murray to support housing and denounce sweeps of encampments.

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I’d hoped to, but didn’t, see anything in the parade expressing solidarity with the Orlando victims and families, and forthrightly expressing LGBTQ solidarity. Apparently that happened too soon for parade volunteers to build moving artwork and costumes.

The bike brigade did include several folk proudly sporting rainbow-flag paint. These two held barbells labeled LOVE.

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While other “alt” gatherings around town, such as Pride and Hempfest, remain big, Solstice this year seemed to be in decline.

Is it that Seattle’s finally getting done, after all these decades, with the cultural aesthetic of baby-boomer mellow? Or is it that Solstice has no specific, single “cause” behind it?

Parade organizers do plan to do something about it, starting next year.

They want the bicyclists to register as official participants, subject to official event rules.  They don’t specifically say they’ll order the bikers to cover up, but they’ll assert the right to make such decrees.

If Solstice does have a “cause,” it’s celebrating an extended family, a virtual “tribe,” built around creativity, joy, and personal freedom.

If its leaders try to rein in the event’s most basic (and most popular) expression of such freedom, its decline could get worse.

POSTSCRIPT: The Fremont Solstice Fair is much larger than the parade itself. There’s the big street fair. There’s the HONK! Fest West, a festival of alternative “street bands.” There’s the display of art cars. And there’s the live music, which this year was even more impressive than in past years. Even if the parade declines in interest, the rest of the fair still goes strong.

MISCmedia MAIL for 6/13/16
Jun 12th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Making sense of the senseless: I can’t even try. But I try anyway. I also look at the paucity of women on local corporate boards; more trouble for Western State Hospital; a worker walkout at a strawberry farm; and an attack of “Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison.”

MISCmedia MAIL for 5/30/16
May 29th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

In your Monday missive: The Mariners lose at home again; Central Washington’s wildfire season’s underway already, as seen by Sasquatch! festival-goers; Seattle’s black community’s increasingly a diaspora; a local high-school shooting becomes a streaming-TV-drama subplot; and who really sends the most anti-woman Tweets® and does it matter?

MISCmedia MAIL for 5/16/16
May 15th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

We’re all still Mariners fans after this past weekend, right? Also under review: High-school students take charge of trans-bathroom activism; oil protesters arrested on train tracks; how the KPLU/KUOW deal really went down; a new site for the Punk Rock Flea Market (replacing the previous new site); and Amazon’s threat to every mall and clothing store.

MISCmedia MAIL for 5/13/16
May 12th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Our Friday the 13th topics include the full-on start of local wildfire season; an attempt to adopt an income tax in (at least part of) Washington; school dress codes and their discontents; the death of a great Northwest novelist; and the decaying bones of drive-in theaters past.

MISCmedia MAIL for 5/6/16
May 5th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Sheila E. won’t let personal tragedy interfere with work for Seattle’s young musicians. Also noteworthy today: Big tech fails in SR520 tolling; coal and oil export-terminal plans proceed despite industry upheavals; tacky, potentially racist Cinco de Mayo apparel; Seattle (er, Kent) is posed for a hockey championship; and Paul Allen’s new twist on “cross-marketing synergy.”

MISCmedia MAIL for 5/5/16
May 4th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

It’s (a potentially four-day) Cinco de Mayo, just as America’s most prominent Hispanophobe inches closer to the highest office in the land. In other subjects, sales of a tech-office staple take a dive; the Lynnwood lawyer with the sexist Tweets® against the City Council is already in trouble; the City contracts out homeless-removal to a private company; and Seattle’s biggest obsolete piece of office equipment’s moving.

MISCmedia MAIL for 4/29/16
Apr 29th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Welcome to Viageddon! And to another potential May Day of window-bustin! We also view a City attempt to keep snooping into garbage; a potential partial breakthrough in the Sodo arena fracas; drones maybe getting too close to whales; and the usual gazillion weekend activities including Indie Bookstore Day.

MISCmedia MAIL for 4/26/16
Apr 25th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

The Mariners won at home! And we also peer at more folk who want more light rail and they don’t mean decades from now; the eco-cost of the new Arboretum trail; a Seattle/Mexico joint theater project; local delivery trucks with out-of-state plates; and the business case for a $15/hr. wage.

MISCmedia MAIL for 4/19/16
Apr 18th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

In the heat-O-the-night, we observe a West Seattle landmark restored; an important GLBTQ institution threatened; a Hanford waste tank leaking; car-share service in the south end lacking; and Nordstrom’s Seattle office staff shrinking.

MISCmedia for 4/12/16
Apr 11th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Things we wonder about: Could Boeing sell 747s in quantity again, if more of them looked like the one Iron Maiden’s touring with? Should the City buy up privately held, “affordable” apartments? Have we seen the last of the would-be Bellingham coal terminal? Does Microsoft’s proclaimed “gender pay parity” even matter when it’s got so few women higher-ups?

MISCmedia MAIL for 4/5/16
Apr 4th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Don’t write off the Mariners after one game. Wait at least a week. And while you’re waiting, read up on Alaska Airlines’ big purchase; Metro’s route changes changing again?; Burien’s crusade against “junk cars”; beautifying Greenwood’s boarded-up storefronts; and a rising singing star’s food concession at the new KEXP space.

MISCmedia MAIL for 3/24/16
Mar 23rd, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

The day before Good Friday finds Seattle without the #ManInTree (but not without the problems he epitomized). Also: a settlement in a longstanding abusive-priest case; a Nixon henchman’s admission from “beyond the grave;” an art gallery’s chance to survive redevelopment; and keeping Rx drugs out of the water supply.

MISCmedia MAIL for 3/22/16
Mar 21st, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

One UW basketball team’s season lives on; Clinton will appear to the local non-wealthy after all; women-in-tech career advice might not be “one size fits all”; maimed Bertha workers; body-spray stink. All that and more in our Toozday Nooze.

MISCmedia MAIL for 3/21/16
Mar 20th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Spring is here and so are we, with a NIMBY assailant playing the “victim” card; another potentially doomed movie palace; whether or not teachers really need more pay (spoiler: they do); crow brains; and the lovely new light-rail stations.

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