Jan 24th, 2006 by Clark Humphrey

I’d watched the NFC championship game at the Two Bells, which brought in a TV solely for the occasion. I was there with my Belltown Messenger colleagues Alex Mayer and Ronald Holden.

(I’d already stopped by Sport, Seattle’s poshest and Belltown’s only sports bar, for some pregame fan pix.)

After the Seahawks’ lopsided triumph, Alex suggested we all walk down to Pioneer Square to see the after-game celebrations. I’m glad I did. It was a festive, yet family-friendly, all-night party. It eventually extended all the way up First Avenue into Belltown, though by then my camera batteries were shot (memo to self: get fresh battery).

The next game, the game for all the proverbial marbles, will be held, as it is every year, on neutral turf. Even without a home-field stadium audience to spark the party, expect an even bigger celebration with a Hawks victory.

Also expect a huge party outside Sport, where KOMO-TV will stage a postgame show.

Jan 23rd, 2006 by Clark Humphrey

Herewith, some screen snaps of highlights (as if you’ve not already seen them) from the Seahawks’ incredible demolition of the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, winning the team its first-ever trip to the Sooper Bowl.

It was easily the most important single sporting event ever held in Seattle. (The Sonics’ 1979 championship was won on the road. So, of course, were all the UW football team’s bowl-game victories. The Mariners’ 1995 and 2001 triumphs were really the accumulations of many single-game victories.)

And, of course, it led to the biggest outdoor party Seattle’s seen since the riotous Fat Tuesday of 2001. This time, though, all went apparently smoothly in the ol’ P-Square. Good raucous fun was had by all. (More on this in my next post.)

P-I sportswriter Art Thiel claims this year’s Hawks, and particularly Sunday’s victory, represent a new era in Seattle history. Thiel posits the city’s onetime reputation for “the Scandahoovian trait of reticence,” modest casual fashion, tree-hugging, grunge’s ironic self-deprecation, and rain jokes has now and forever been superceded by a new confidence, an assertive new swagger, an instinct for unhinged joy.

I, as you might expect, am not so sure.

Seattle’s always been defined by great dreams and big schemes. That’s why it became the PNW’s dominant city, even though Portland had a head start and Tacoma had the railroad barons’ blessing. Boeing and Microsoft established their respective world dominations through slick deal-making and aggressive business tactics. Seattle’s infamous “politeness” is, at its best, a quiet businesslike confidence. And that’s exactly what the Seahawks have shown on the field this season.

The Hawks played like a smooth, well-choreographed troupe. And at its greatest moment of triumph to date, the team merely responded with the joy of boyish innocence. That’s what makes these guys so loveable.

More on this later.

Jan 21st, 2006 by Clark Humphrey

Even many jaded Seattle bohemians, the kind of guys who snootily disdain all pro team sports in America (especially football), are tonight expressing joyous anticipation over the Seahawks’ potential Super Bowl-qualifying game Sunday afternoon. Bars that never show sports are bringing in TVs to show this game.

In the larger scheme of things, a pro sports championship doesn’t mean much. The Hawks’ success thus far has meant an upturn in ratings for KCPQ and KIRO-AM, and an upturn in revenue for many of the local bars that had been facing uncertain post-smoking futures.

But there’s something less tangible at work here.

Amid a miserably wet winter, in a city that’s been battered by economic stagnation, in a nation still withering under the iron thumb of a frat-bully junta, the Hawks’ spectacular game play and (with a few exceptions) great sportsmanship have brought at least symbolic hope to thousands. Yes: We can succeed, even triumph, against all odds and despite all the naysayers. With talent and teamwork and attitude, we can get it done.

Jan 2nd, 2006 by Clark Humphrey

  • 1. Thank goodness for Saturday banking.For various reasons I won’t elaborate here, I was out of cash on NYE afternoon and didn’t have a debit card. But the Washington Mutual branch in the Harvard Market complex was open until 4. Hence, I was able to attain my required potluck-dinner contributions.
  • 2. Be careful what you wish for.With a little time to kill between the bank’s closing and the potluck’s start, I found myself at one of the Pike/Pine Corridor’s newly smokeless bars. Among the few patrons was a local guy who’d moved to New York three years ago to pursue an acting career. He admitted to having been one of those Capitol Hillers who’d snootily despised everything about Seattle that wasn’t sufficiently New York-esque. “I used to hate the way Seattle drivers were so timid and cautious when I lived here. Then on my first day back, I was walking across the street and almost got sideswiped… Something’s definitely different about Seattle these days.”
  • 3. Am I getting old or what?The potluck took place in a beautifully restored duplex on east Capitol Hill overlooking the Arboretum. The other guests included musicians, painters, arts promoters, grad students, and public-school teachers.

    In prior years, this gang’s range of conversation topics would have included aesthetic theory, global politics, unfair state budget cuts, and whether the local economy would become any less pathetic in the coming year.

    This time, the group (including myself) was pretty much obsessed with such more mundane subject matter as real estate investment, career schmoozing, and the best private schools to ship their own kids to.

    When I was a young adult in the 1980s, I’d scoffed at the characters in the movie The Big Chill as examples of what I would never, ever become. Am I becoming more like that anyway?

  • 4. New Year’s resolution number one: Don’t become a Big Chill person.
  • 5. New Year’s resolution number two: Be kind to Big Chill people.The coming year might, just might mind you, bring a long-overdue opportunity for political change in this nation. If it’s to occur, it’ll have to be from the ground up, not from the politicians down. That means we’ve got to build an all-inclusive popular movement. And that means we left-O-center types have got to reach out to the widest possible swath of potential compatriots. And THAT means sacrificing one’s own sense of subcultural superiority.

    In other words, treat people who are different from you as your equals. Yes, I mean “those” people too.

    Even people who watch television, drive cars, and eat meat.

    Even straight white males.

    Even football fans.

    Even people who live in less funky neighborhoods.

    Even people who don’t want to have sex with you.

    Even your co-workers.

    Even timid drivers.

    Even people who like to talk about real estate at New Year’s parties.

    I don’t say it’ll be easy, just necessary.

  • 6. Expect a lot of strangeness in the coming year.The path of history isn’t always linear. There are reverses, backlashes, and unexpected developments out of nowhere. Twenty-ought-six might be one of those turning-point times. This nation’s long march toward censorship, bigotry, war, greed, and inequality could get at least partly turned around.

    But even if that happens, it might not be pretty.

    Many innocent people could be caught up in political and corporate scandals. More soldiers and civilians will die in meaningless wars. Whole sectors of the economy could get wrenched, particularly if oil prices go back up or if the so-called housing “bubble” goes boom.

    But you know the old curse, “May you live in interesting times.”

Sep 8th, 2005 by Clark Humphrey

…another Bumbershoot. Seattle’s own all-you-can-eat arts buffet turned 35 this year, and seemed at times to show its age.

This year’s fest had an unspoken theme of punk nostalgia, with such headline acts as Elvis Costello, the New York Dolls, and Iggy Pop with (some of) his original Stooges–not to mention two different displays of pomo concert-poster art (the all-comers Flatstock and the invite-only “Art of Modern Rock”). Fourteen years after KNDD’s first “Resurrection Jukebox” show, it’s still weird for me to see the musical idols of my own young-adulthood marketed as golden oldies.

Not a nostalgia act, not really a “comeback” either ’cause they never really went away, the Posies wowed ’em with a new organ-enhanced sound and Ken Stringfellow’s still-youthful physique.

Aug 16th, 2005 by Clark Humphrey

…of the first moi-edited issue of the Belltown Messenger, here are some pix I took last Thursday at the second annual Fashion 1st Boutique Fashion Show. Some 100 models showed off the wares of 16 area boutiques, most of them in Belltown.

Tom Douglas’s Palace Ballroom banquet facility was packed to the walls with an almost all-female audience. The event’s advertised hours were 6 to 9. The first two of those hours were devoted to drinking and schmoozing, before the runway saw any action.

Once the models started a-struttin’, they continued at a brisk, businesslike pace.

This model is selling Ottica eyewear. (What else?)

And here’s the organizer of this year’s event, Joan Kelly, with a spokesman from the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, which got a percentage of the $40 ticket price and the $120 “trash belts” being sold in the lobby. The event was dedicated to its first-year organizer, Jared Seegmiller, who’d died earlier this year after a brief bout with a rare form of heart cancer.

Aug 7th, 2005 by Clark Humphrey

…for that glorious only-in-Seattle institution, the hydroplane races. (Other cities host the boats, but no other city loves ’em as much.)

As I’d predicted for several years now, the Miss Budweiser team’s dissolution has meant a far more level playing field for the other boats. Of the eleven official entrants, at least six had a reasonable chance of winning the whole thang. It’s so good to see a sport “dominated” by such sponsors as Llumar Window Film, Lakeridge Paving, and E-Lam Plus (whatever the heck that is).

And kudos to KIRO for airing the whole event in HD, or at least in upconverted widescreen.

Aug 3rd, 2005 by Clark Humphrey

MORE PIX TODAY from the Seafair parade, with the lamer-than-lame theme “Hooray for Hollywood.”

There are innumerable other potential parade themes, even considering the “family” criterion (i.e., nothing too involved with sex, death, violence, bodily functions, sectarian religion, or sectarian politics). Submit your own here.

Aug 2nd, 2005 by Clark Humphrey

…a parade theme than “Horray for Hollywood,” the theme of last week’s Seafair parade in downtown Seattle. If the organizers hope to stem the institution’s long slide into irrelevance, they’d better think of something more exciting than a couple of Darth Vader costumes.

Aug 2nd, 2005 by Clark Humphrey

Aug 2nd, 2005 by Clark Humphrey

Aug 2nd, 2005 by Clark Humphrey

Jul 29th, 2005 by Clark Humphrey

RANDOM PHOTO PHRIDAY returns after an absence of way too many months.

To begin, this recently-opened used car lot on Aurora takes its sign letters from a prior business further up the street, Sure-Fit Seat Covers. You can’t tell in this shot, but the “A” is an upside-down “U.”

I know I read somewhere what company this airship is advertising. But the article ran in a daily paper several days ago, and I’ve already forgotten it.

YES, EVEN upscale megamalls can experience the occasional identity crisis.

Jul 28th, 2005 by Clark Humphrey

BAT NIGHT returned to Safeco Field this past Tuesday. Thanks to that paradisical attitude sometimes derided as “Seattle Nice,” no fan-given bats were used to incite riots after the Ms snatched defeat from the jaws of victory yet again.

WE MUST SAY GOODBYE to Seattle Art Supply, most recently of Western Avenue, which had kept local image-makers outfitted with X-Acto blades, rubber cement, framing mattes, and paint brushes since 1892. It promises to resurface as an online-only retailer sometime later this year.

Jul 15th, 2005 by Clark Humphrey

…the anniversary of the original French Revolution, was celebrated on Thursday in Post Alley by the kind folk at Cafe Campagne.

Highlighting the spirited fate was a rousing cancan dance show by members of the Atomic Bombshells burlesque troupe. Their spirited, athletic performance totally belied a recent Stranger essay that defined neo-burlesque as primarily a tool for boosting the performers’ egos, not for entertaining audiences. These dancers are pure entertainers of the highest order.

Please remember two things about France:

  • They helped us in the Revolutionary War, and really tried to dissuade us from the mega-folly that is the current war-without-end;
  • They gained and lost democracy a couple of times. Let’s not let that happen here.
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