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8/7/17: STATE OF THE ART (OF THE STATE)
Aug 7th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Seattle’s big, annual arts-travaganzas have come and gone, with subjects of identity and resistance scattered throughout. We touch upon that in Monday’s missive, as well as the sad decline of the hydros; alleged “shaming” harassment at an officially “inclusive” fandom convention; a phony Starbucks “meme” graphic; and how much Nikkita Oliver may have already changed local politics.

6/23/17: PRIDE VS. PREJUDICE
Jun 23rd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

The Pride Parade and rally have a different mission this year, as you probably expect. Your big weekend MISCmedia MAIL briefly mentions this, and also touches on still more Charleena Lyles fallout; local reactions to the deliberate disaster that is the health-care repeal plan; the men from our state who helped the CIA craft its torture techniques; and who a Seattle mini-park near a “dump” should be named after (one guess).

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

 

THE MARCH OF (IT’S ABOUT) TIME
Jan 22nd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

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Well, that was certainly a relief.

It was exactly what we all needed.

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A massive, clear, emphatic statement of NO! to the authoritarian DC regime—that was also a YES! to a completely different way of looking at, and doing, things.

A way with real “family values”.

A way that values people, even if they’re not billionaire campaign contributors.

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Now comes the hard part: translating the Womxn’s Marches’ inclusive, positive alternative worldview into specific short- and long-term actions; in DC, in every state capital, in every Congressional and Legislative district. Nobody left behind.

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I’ve been particularly obsessing about one thing Madonna said at the DC rally: “Welcome to the revolution of love.”

Could Bikini Kill’s “Revolution Girl Style Now” be about to come true?

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MISCmedia MAIL FOR 1/10/17: ALL YESTERDAY’S TOMORROWS
Jan 9th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

We finally have something to look forward to this year! (Two things, if you count the possibility of a little snow on Tuesday.) Additional topics include a local eco-activist’s part of a global effort to keep once-futuristic electronic gadgets out of dumps and landfills; the just-started and already deadlocked Legislature; how urban growth affects plant/animal evolution; and Teatro ZinZanni’s site getting sold off.

MISCmedia MAIL for 7/5/16: NOT-QUITE-AMBER WAVES OF GRAIN
Jul 4th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Now that the last amateur drinking day’s over, we return to news-digestin’ with attempts to save the sockeye; an unsung city park’s anniversary; a troubled trove of regional history; a church offering drug-assisted enlightenment; and great news for all Thucking-Funder haters!

MISCmedia MAIL for 6/20/16: SWEEPS WEEK
Jun 19th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

The Fremont Solstice Parade (as mentioned on my main site) had an off year, but it did get in a dig at Mayor Murray’s plans to “sweep” homeless encampments. Also today: The women running high-end visual art here; the state Democratic Party (heart)s Sanders; way-overpaid CEOs (again); whether our current economy can support the previous economy’s infrastructure; and three local-sports-team losses and one tie.

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.

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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.

FROM SEATOWN TO O-TOWN, WITH LOVE
Jun 13th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

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As I’d promised in Monday morning’s MISCmedia MAIL newsletter, here are some images from Sunday evening’s celebration/vigil in Cal Anderson Park, following the hate-crime massacre at a gay bar in Orlando FL.

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As I wrote then:

The worst single civilian mass shooting on U.S. soil (if you don’t count old massacres against Blacks and Native Americans) took place in a once-minor town that for 46 years has been one of the globe’s top tourist destinations. It’s a place where the particular set of weirdnesses that is Florida co-mingles with every other culture from everywhere.

Specifically, the disaster occurred at a gay nightclub, a type of place where violence has been threatened in many cities (including at Seattle’s Neighbours). There was also an attempted shooting at an L.A. pride parade by a man who was caught just in time.

(As a HuffPo essay said, the massacre is an extreme example of “the dangers LGBT people live with every day.”)

Violent homophobes can be of any race or religion. They only have to believe they’re so Perfectly Good that they can do horrible things.

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As the UK Guardian said after the Umpqua College shooting in Oregon last fall, “Thoughts and prayers are not enough” to stop all the mass shootings—not as long as the Gun Lobby keeps Congress, and us all, in its grip.

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Among the speakers at the event: Mayor Ed Murray and Gov. Jay Inslee. Murray finished his short remarks with a paraphrased passage from Romeo and Juliet:

“And when they shall die,

Take them and cut them out in little stars,

And they will make the face of heaven so fine

That all the world will be in love with night

And pay no worship to the garish sun.”

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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 5/2/16: WAITING FOR THE END OF THE WORLD
May 1st, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

lineup at abercrombie copyMay Day Anarchy 2016 would seem like a farcical exercise, except that people got really hurt. We also explore the looming final (sorta) step in the Sonics Arena saga; the climate-change kids’  court victory; more backlash against the Nooksacks’ “disenrollments;” and a tech-connected print-book publisher folding.

MISCmedia MAIL for the Twentieth Day of April 2016
Apr 19th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

As the temps thankfully cool off (for now), our observant eyes observe the Bauhaus Coffee resurrection and its discontents; the sad end to the Ballard Locks whale story; a sort-of push against rental-housing discrimination; the Tacoma methanol plant plan’s death; and just one of Microsoft’s cash-stashing schemes.

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 MAIL for 3/28/16
Mar 28th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

We’re back to the post-holiday daze, waiting for the dry and warm weather that’s been predicted, and reading about the mess that’s been the massive Metro-bus morphing; Portland encouraging the homeless to leave town; the living-wage movement’s progress; racist vandalism; and the premise that wildfires can be good for the rural economy.

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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