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.

Jun 19th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

silver f walker 48

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

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

sweet relish m bicyclist 57

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.

'no sweeps' 2 copy

'no sweeps' 1

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.

rainbow flag m and f 52

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.

brass band 1

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.

Jun 13th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

orlando vigil 1 copy

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.

'orlando strong'


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.

orlando vigil 2


religious rainbow icons

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.

'our love > your hate'

'i am pulse'

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.”

murray and inslee copy

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.”

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.

MISCmedia MAIl for 3/1/16
Feb 29th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Sooper Toosday finds us blathering about a racketeering suit against Mars Hill Church’s top brass; how to properly describe an alleged adult-woman/teenage-boy relationship; just how hard Russell Wilson’s “Good Man” clothes will be to find; and that ridiculously big container ship.

Jan 1st, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

new years 2016 z

Would you believe, this is the thirtieth MISCmedia In/Out List? Well, it is.

As we prepare to begin the pearl-anniversary year of this adventure in punditry, we present yet another edition of the most trusted (and only accurate) list of its kind in this and all other known media.

As always, this list compiles what will become sizzling and soggy in the coming year, not necessarily what’s sizzling and soggy now. If you believe everything hot now will just keep getting hotter, I’ve got some Sears stock to sell you.

Saving KPLU Saving the Seattle Times
Turquoise Mauve
Spinach Kale
Hollow Earth Radio/KHUH KIRO-FM
“Black Lives Matter” Macho anarchists
Empathy Superiority
Gents Bros
Stopping Trumpism Treating Trump as a joke
Taking back Congress Merely keeping the White House
Ta-Nehisi Coates David Brooks
Storytelling “Branding”
Mismatched plaid separates Striped socks
High-speed rail Hoverboards
Fewer cars “Greener” cars
Fiat (still) VW
We Bare Bears Teen Titans Go!
Juxtapoz Erotica Censored Playboy
Hillman City Ballard (alas)
Lalaloopsy Minions
Searching for solutions together “You figure that part out, I’m just sayin'”
Issa Rae Zooey Deschanel
Michael Fassbender Will Farrell
“Genderqueer” movement “Men’s rights activists”
Exciting machines Boring machines
Real virtue Virtual Reality
Granny shoes Skinny jeans
Justin Trudeau Justin Bieber (duh)
Sia Zac Brown
Light rail to Husky Stadium Parking downtown
Hydrox cookies comeback Crystal Pepsi comeback
Monkey Shoulder Wild Turkey
Milk stout Bud-owned microbrews
“Homey” “Artisinal”
Citizens “Stakeholders”
Uniqlo Gap
Bellingham Bellevue
Back-yard cottages “Tiny homes” in the far countryside
Millennials as defiant activists Millennials as selfish slackers
El Borracho Chipotle (duh)
Guy Maddin J.J. Abrams
Permanent progressive movements Only showing up in election years
Wisdom Data
“Snap!” “YOLO”
Moving the world forward “Taking America back”
Dec 8th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

eitel ruins

tiffany von arnim

In Tuesday’s e-missive: a visit to the beautifully decrepit Eitel Building before it gets “restored”; a rural school district may be charter schools’ legal savior; Comcast offers Seattle a slightly better franchise deal; and a brief thought about the John Lennon shooting’s anniversary.

Oct 8th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

ex bill's off bway construx

In December 2013, I wrote in this space about Bill’s Off Broadway, the legendary Capitol Hill pizza joint and bar.

It had just closed earlier that month. Its building at Harvard and East Pine was going to be replaced by a fancy new mixed-use development.

Now, Bill’s is back.

It’s got the same owners, much of the same staff, and the same menus.

It’s got the same interior color scheme.

It’s at the same corner.

But it’s not the same place; and it’s not in the same space.

Only the street-facing outer brick walls remain from the old building. Everything else, including the Bill’s interior, is all-new. Above the brick front, modern steel and glass construction rises six stories up.

exterior 1b

This sort of thing is going on all over Pike, Pine, and Union streets on Capitol Hill. Everything from printing plants to luxury-car dealerships has been removed except for the skins. A few blocks away, even the beloved Harvard Exit Theater is being razed-and-rebuilt like this.

It’s going on all over South Lake Union. The massive Troy Laundry building has already been hollowed out. The former Seattle Times building, its interior recently defaced by squatters, will probably also vanish except for its art-deco frontage.

In these and other places around town, you can see forlorn exterior walls of brick and terra cotta, artificially braced up, standing in front of nothing but construction holes.

In the frontier towns of the Old West (including pioneer Seattle), main streets were full of “false front” architecture. Grand, pompous storefronts stood proudly as signs of civic ambition, drawing people into the little one- or two-story stick structures hiding behind them.

Today’s “façadism” (yes, that’s a term some people use for this phenomenon) attempts an opposite aesthetic goal.

It seeks to mask the harsh, brutal, hyper-efficient modernity of a structure by offering a make-believe connection to the funky old building it replaced. Long-time residents can drive past it and imagine that the historic old building is still there, as long as they don’t look too closely.

But that’s about all it does.

It doesn’t preserve the spaces within, or their diverse uses.

Eugenia Woo, a local historic-preservation advocate and current director of preservation for Historic Seattle, writes about “What Price Façadism?” in the latest issue of Arcade, the local architectural/design journal.

Woo decries the practice, as an aesthetic travesty that fails to preserve the old buildings’ “authenticity”:

Stripped of everything but its facade, a building loses its integrity and significance, rendering it an architectural ornament with no relation to its history, function, use, construction method or cultural heritage. With only its primary facades saved, the original structure is gone, including the roof, interior features and volume of space.… Further, the scale and massing of the new building change the rhythm and feel of a block and neighborhood.”

Crosscut.com’s Knute Berger recently noted that property owners have sometimes manipulated the façades they’re supposedly preserving.

Berger writes that preservation advocates “have accused developers of damaging the historic integrity of building exteriors to ensure their building won’t be made a landmark, yet preserving the building’s skin as a ploy to win approval for more height for a new project. In other words, façade protections could actually be undercutting true preservation.”

Berger also notes that, at least in the Pike/Pine Corridor, current regulations have the effect of encouraging façadism instead of true preservation: “If an old building’s exterior is deemed to have architectural and contextual character, a developer can get additional height for a new structure in exchange for saving the façade. In other words, extra density and square-footage is dangled as an incentive to save an original exterior.”

The current tech-office boom, a legacy of city officials promoting urban development at almost any price (except in “single family” zones), and popular trends that see urban life as more attractive than suburban life have combined to create a “perfect storm” of development fever. This has put pressure on  the continued existence of old commercial and industrial buildings, throughout Seattle.

Growth, say pro-development “urbanists,” is inevitable.

But façadism needn’t be.

There are other ways to keep Seattle’s built history alive, while accommodating new residents and new uses.

Instead of false façades, Woo would rather see a form of “smart planning” that either preserves historic buildings whole or replaces them whole with “new projects that are well designed, perhaps the landmarks of tomorrow, cohesively knitted into the streetscape.”

ex bauhaus facadism

(Cross-posted with City Living Seattle.)

Sep 3rd, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

postcard 11a

Here, at long last, is my draft design for a postcard/flyer promoting our MISCmedia MAIL morning newsletter. Lemme know what you think of it.

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