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MISCmedia MAIL FOR 4/14/17: THE BIG SOG
Apr 13th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

What comes after heavy winter precipitation? Heavy spring flooding, of course. We additionally view the spreading hunger strike at the immigration jail; transit fans against proposed ST3 funding cuts; Microsoft wanting to buy its own (mostly “renewable”) electricity; shout-outs against federal cuts to farms and cancer scientists; and the usual gazillion weekend events listings.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 3/30/17: LIFE IMITATES CGI
Mar 29th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

It’s just a coincidence that there’s a computer-animated feature out now called “The Boss Baby,” and that the title role is voiced by Alec Baldwin, and that ads show the baby in a suit and tie with orange-ish hair. Really. In more deliberate occurrences, we note Daniel Ramirez’s freedom (at least for now); neighbors who want more public amenities in the expanded Convention Center; Jeff Bezos’ even greater (on paper) wealth; and the little Belltown restaurant that got big.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 3/29/17: IN BLOOM
Mar 28th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

One of the top local Sure-Signs-O-Spring® is finally with us. Also with us this day are freedom for Daniel Ramirez (for now); KOMO employees vs. their right-wing parent co.; an attempt to preserve KeyArena and environs more-or-less as-is; and a completely sincere farewell to the First Hill McDonald’s.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 3/24/17: LOOKING ‘BACK’-WARD
Mar 24th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Seattle’s first big rap hit is 25 years old, gender-image issues and all. Our big weekend edition also explores just when an “anti-media-bias” message is itself a statement of bias; big growth at yet another (little-known) Amazon division; the complexities of running rail tracks on a floating bridge; and the usual scads of event listings.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 2/28/17: TRAFFIC AND WEATHER TOGETHER
Feb 27th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Combine freakishly weird weather and a single accident that snarls car traffic all over town all day long, and you get just the thing to convince folk not to move here. We also talk about more anti-Semitic scare tactics; Gov. Inslee’s less-than-satisfactory day in DC; the twists n’ turns of a real-estate deal; and a squatted motel getting erased.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 2/20/17: FARM-FRESH JUSTICE
Feb 19th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Another weekend of protests included a rally by the extended family that is the Pike Place Market, along with a commemoration of the WWII internments. Our Monday e-missive also delves into a plan to save part of the Ramps to Nowhere; small towns suffering under Tim Eyman’s tax limits; a tragedy in my ol’ hometown; and the snarky heroism of Mark Cuban.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 1/19/17: THE DAY BEFORE
Jan 18th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

One day to rest up, make plans, and enjoy the calm before the GOPocalypse. So read up today about those weird restaurant-inspection icons; a possible municipal lawsuit against OxyContin’s makers; politicians who want to ban wind farms; and a UW Muslim student on the activist front lines.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 1/18/17: THE LAST LEGGINGS
Jan 17th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

As American Apparel shuts down here and elsewhere, we look fashion-forward to discuss more attempts by GOP legislators to make the laws for (or rather, against) Seattle; a dispute among anti-inauguration marchers; diversifying Bellevue and its challenges; and a beloved local bar closes two years after it first said it would.

MISCmedia MAIL for 12/22/16: WE ARE EVERYWHERE
Dec 22nd, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

I still disagree with the longstanding lefty meme that everybody outside “our” subculture is a fascist. And, I still insist we have to drop that notion if anything good is to survive. In more news-y news, there’s a condo tower planned for the International District, a little real-estate paperwork fee that does a lot for housing; two teenage boys implicated in the Mt. Vernon cop shooting; and an idea to build more Space Needles! (But not necessarily more Chihuly galleries.)

MISCmedia MAIL for 10/31/16: DEATH OF A TALL COOL ONE
Oct 30th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

We say goodbye to John “Buck” Ormsby—a Fabulous Wailers member, a partner in a pioneering artist-owned record label, and one of the inventors of Northwest rock. We also speak of the end of the little cable-news channel that could; racists falsely claiming police support; a new deal for the Public Safety block; and Huskies and Sounders triumphing while Seahawks go pffft.

MISCmedia MAIL for 4/22/16
Apr 21st, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

You know we’re talking about yet another music/art/performance legend gone far, far too soon. Back in local stuff, there’s some funny and sobering Earth Day thoughts; an attempt to legalize sub-minimum wages; the new owners of I Can Has Cheezburger; a local nightlife mogul’s role in today’s hottest musical act; a century-old “City Beautiful” plan that didn’t make it; and the usual plethora of weekend things-2-do.

MISCmedia MAIL for 4/18/16
Apr 17th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Hot weather’s back, but we keep our cool whilst observing the KEXP Komplex’s public opening; KING’s continued shrinkage; the deaths of two pivotal local-arts pioneers; an outdoor film screening and/or public orgy scheduled for July; why the U District should stay cheap n’ kitschy.

THE IN AND THE OUTED FOR SWEET ’16
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.

INSVILLE OUTSKI
ABC AMC
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
NHL NBA
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”
AIRING IT OUT
Dec 10th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

john richards b

It’s been a long time since KEXP morning man John Richards regularly broadcast to Seattle from far-off New York, as part of a co-production deal with a station there.

On Wednesday morning at 9:03 a.m. (for 90.3 FM), he was front n’ center as he played the first song from the station’s ultra-deluxe new studios. (It was Robyn Hitchcock’s “Viva Sea-Tac.”)

gathering place a

The station now occupies 27,000 square feet of the Seattle Center Northwest Rooms. The facility includes a big open office done up in Late Dot-Com style (complete with indoor bike racks), a big “Live Room” performance space, multiple audio and video editing/mixing suites, a second DJ booth for future multiple online streams, showers, a laundry room, and a big open “Gathering Place” that will be partly subleased to a coffee house and record store.

The whole thing cost $15 million, most of which has already been raised.

A formal grand opening will occur at an unannounced future date.

As some of you know, I was a “new wave” DJ on KEXP’s precursor KCMU. It was a much wilder, more freeform outfit then, and it was all volunteer-run. It was based in a tiny space on the third floor of the UW’s Communications Building (whose code in campus documents was CMU); a DJ booth, a second booth for newscasts, and a classroom.

The early KCMU could reach amazing heights of aural beauty, and equally-amazing depths of unlistenability. But that was part of its charm.

But today’s KEXP is an empire. It’s got 40-50 regular employees plus volunteers and specialty-show DJs, and an ongoing annual budget around $6 million.

What has KEXP got that other “public” broadcast radio stations (such as the apparently doomed KPLU) haven’t? Several things, including:

1) Its own “brand.” By producing all its own programming, it’s not simply “the local NPR,” or, worse, as simply “NPR” with the local call letters (and local programming) ignored by listeners.

2) A global reach. KEXP’s both a local broadcaster and a global “streamer,” and raises donations from both audiences. So “Viva Sea-Tac,” with a Brit singer-songwriter fronting a band of Seattle music legends, is an even more appropriate choice for the first song played from the new studio.

Today’s KEXP is a big-time, ambitious operation. Its new space is a postmodern palace.

That’s even more of an achievement at a time when broadcast radio, like so many other “old media” institutions, suffers from shrinking audiences and revenues, leading to cuts and consolidations (cf. KPLU).

But damn, I still miss the old KCMU.

skin yard at kcmu benefit, 1986; posted to youtube by daniel house

skin yard at kcmu benefit, 1986; posted to youtube by daniel house

ROLON BERT GARNER, 1940-2015
Aug 18th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

rolon bert garner

photo by arthur s. aubry (who himself passed on earlier this year), via earl brooks

We all knew he was going.

He’d had chronic COPD for many years. At his last Seattle public appearance, in early 2013, he’d looked frail, and had trouble talking for long periods of time.

But it was still a total bitch to learn that he’d died this last Monday morning.

Like many people commonly grouped as “’60s generation kids,”Rolon Bert Garner was already past his teens before the Beatles came to our shores. He’d grown up in Eugene to parents from Oklahoma. In Portland he’d cofounded Artech (a long-running regional art-supply and framing chain) before he came here to work for the Seattle Art Museum, circa 1969.

He was one of the original instigators of Bumbershoot in 1971, and one of the creators of its visual-art component (then a much bigger part of the festival than it is now).

He was involved with the multi-disciplinary arts center and/or (1974-84).

He curated and designed exhibits, installations, and temporary “pop-up spaces.”

He installed exhibits (choosing which pieces went where) at the Frye Museum and many local galleries.

He helped produce private events, including fashion shows for Nordstrom.

With Virginia Inn owner Patrice Demombynes, Garner pioneered the idea of art exhibits in local bars. (He and Demombynes had their own gallery space on Dexter Avenue for a couple of years.)

He continued to curate art on barroom walls as a co-owner of the Two Bells Tavern (with wife Patricia Ryan, who passed in 2001). He’d been a bartender there before Ryan bought the place circa 1982, then married her in 1984. Under Ryan and Garner, the the rundown little bar on a low-foot-traffic stretch of Fourth Avenue became the virtual living room for the then-burgeoning Denny Regrade arts community. When Ryan’s cancer got too bad for her to continue running it, they sold it and retired to the country.

Garner was also an artist in his own right.

His last show of paintings, a career retrospective at the Virginia Inn two and a half years ago, was full of bright colors, underground-comix-esque lines and curves, and an old hippie’s lifelong interest in semi-abstracted nudes.

And he was a conceptual artist. With Ken Leback, he created the public-art piece Equality (a grid of Monopoly-style houses) on north Beacon Hill.

I’d been going to the VI since 1981, and to the Bells since at least 1985.

I knew Garner as a smart, soft spoken, often funny presence.

After I started MISC as a column in the old ArtsFocus paper, he supported and encouraged my work. (It took me years, though, to convince him I wasn’t just making up the things I wrote about in it.)

 He did so many things, in so many places, that it was hard to imagine a local arts scene without him.

And it still is.

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