»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
6/19/17: THE MADNESS CONTINUES
Jun 19th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Another week, another police shooting of an innocent African-American. This time, it was a pregnant mother shot in her home, in front of the children. And somebody thought a “mammy” mascot costume would be perfect for the Solstice Parade. In less horrific news, Amazon dives deep into “brick and mortar” retail; electric conservation leads to higher rates; and a Pioneer Square rebuild gets stalled.

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

solstice 2017 j stormtrooper and cleopatra

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

solstice 2017 u man standing on seat

solstice 2017 w legs up

solstice 2017 cc oil derrick
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.

solstice 2017 aa butt kicking
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.

solstice 2017 y gold

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.

solstice 2017 z blackface

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)

 

6/2/17: GREENERS SO WHITE
Jun 2nd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

The unspecified “clear threat” reported by Evergreen State College brass is, at least partly, the fallout from a heated email exchange about race and the limits of white “progressivism.” Your weekend MISCmedia MAIL also mentions local officials refusing to go backwards on climate change; another reason why encampment sweeps put people in danger; a guy who says he can build affordable housing units at half price; and a guy who wants to break up Amazon.

5/11/17: HOW UP WAS MY STREAM
May 10th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Thursday’s MISCmedia MAIL ponders the viability of events like the Upstream Music Fest; examines what Ed Murray might be able to do in his remaining eight months; notes outrage over racist/sexist characterizations in a play’s audition notice (and perhaps also in the play itself); and finds sex-worker prosecutions on the rise despite an official change in city policy.

5/5/17: LIGHTNING’S STRIKING AGAIN
May 4th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

In MISCmedia MAIL: Yep, we had some weather Thursday. Like really big weather. Other things also occurred, including Dave Reichert’s meaningless “no” vote on decimating health care; a reprimand and fine against Ed Murray’s accuser’s attorney; and a bill to more easily arrest/prosecute “johns”. And we’ve got tons of weekend things-2-do.

MISCmedia MAIL FOR 3/3/17: BATTERY CHARGE?
Mar 2nd, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

As car-free humans get a chance to walk through the Battery Street Tunnel, we wonder what will become of the ol’ thing. We also think about Girl Scout cookie-inspired apparel; the truth of that supposedly “Hawaiian” beer; more fears of a post-ACA nation; and the human failing behind Amazon Web Service’s temporary meltdown.

MISCmedia MAIL for 10/13/16: HERE COMES THE RAIN AGAIN
Oct 12th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

As well as more reports of icky behavior by you-know-who, we also consider the maybe-coming storm; what’s to be done with Steinbrueck Park; a minister’s account of police (non-)accountability; local screenwriters who’ve found an unexpected market for their work; a vintage video-game champ; and how the one percent flies. Oh, and also my (not really) secret past.

MISACmedia MAIL for 7/15/17: THE ‘NEW NORMAL’
Jul 15th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

No, we (not even the whites among us) can or should stop the discussion about race, fear, and inequality. Also today: Police run a fake massage parlor in the U District; ex-teens remember a now-dying shopping mall; KPLU needs a new name (that some other station isn’t using); how much “getting big money out of politics” costs; and the usual scads of weekend things and stuff.

IS SOLSTICE IN ITS AUTUMN?
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.

MISCmedia MAIL for 12/31/15
Dec 30th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

As we slide inevitably into the (hopefully) Sweet ’16, MISCmedia MAIL discusses a Mercedes commercial shot where the Mercedes dealership used to be; a dead orca and minor earthquake in B.C.; an Aurora streetwalker’s life (exactly as rough as you’d expect); a message to “targeted” young black males from Seattle’s “Youth Poet Laureate;” and a gazillion New Year’s options.

MISCmedia MAIL for 11/27/15
Nov 26th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

MISCmedia MAIL is back to accompany you while shopping and/or protesting today. We’ve got tons of weekend activities; Bernie Sanders as a symbol of global awakening; the truth behind Oregon’s greatest invention; and a meat vending machine.

GAYS GONE WILD OR GAYS GONE MILD?
Jun 29th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

'for my birthday the supreme court gave me rights'

Another late June, another Pride Parade.

This time, it had the special, one-time-only, added attraction of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling to celebrate. Same-sex marriage is now the law of the land from approximately coast to coast.

murray at gay marriage rally

Mayor Murray spoke at a hastily-arranged rally Friday afternoon outside the Federal Courthouse, thanking the high court’s majority for coming down on the side of respect, dignity, and legal rights for all couples and families.

facebook 2

Thus, the weekend’s pride parades in Seattle and elsewhere took on an extra air of triumph.

But of what?

Will gay men and lesbians settle into mainstream corporate-American culture, no longer threatening to the established order?

justice mary yu

Certainly some of the political figures and public officials who appeared in the parade are out for mainstream acceptance, for the gay/lesbian community and for their own careers.

sawant 2

One specific politician, of course, will have nothing to do with assimilation or “mainstreaming.”

crowd 4

And many at the parade, both in the crowds and marching/dancing/biking along the route, also displayed little interest in settling down into domestic boredom (or anything like it).

blonde rainbow flag marcher

shirtless man and tutu 2

bicyclist 1

peacock dancer

nude dudes 1

topless cage dancer 2

gothic pride 1

No matter how many images get issued of nice, wholesome, show-tunes-loving guy/guy couples in meticulously decorated homes, homosexuality and transsexuality are still about sexuality.

And even whole aspects of “typical” hetero sexuality are topics many Americans don’t like to discuss, or to be confronted with.

“Queerness,” therefore, will always have an element of “outlaw” status to it.

Even now that it’s protected (to an extent) by the law.

CORPORATE BEER STILL SUCKS. STILL.
Jan 24th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

There will still be four Elysian brewpubs in Seattle.

There will still be various Elysian beers on tap and in bottles at bars, restaurants, and stores in the region and beyond.

There will still (probably) be an Elysian Brewery on Airport Way South, not far from the old Rainier Brewery.

But they’ll all be owned now by AB InBev (doing business in this country as Anheuser-Busch).

The Belgian beer conglomerate that bought Budweiser (and commands 47 percent of the nation’s total beer sales) is now buying up craft brewers around the country. Just weeks ago, it snapped up Oregon’s 10 Barrel. It already owns 32 percent of the now-merged Redhook and Widmer Brothers.

And now, Elysian has joined the empire.

The craft brewers’ national trade group, the Brewers Association, automatically expels any member company that sells out to AB or MillerCoors. (However, the group altered its rules a few years back to allow Boston Beer (Sam Adams) to remain in the group.)

For almost 19 years now, starting with a single (albeit spacious) brewpub in the Pike/Pine Corridor, Elysian has steadily become a big fish in the no-longer-so-small pond of regional craft brewers. Its product line has included over 350 different brews over the years, many of them short-term and seasonal (like its annual pumpkin ales). Its products are distributed in 11 states and two Canadian provinces.

One of those products is Loser Ale, originally introduced as a promotional tie-in with Sub Pop’s 20th anniversary in 2008. Its slogan (based on Kurt Cobain’s hand scrawled T shirt on a Rolling Stone cover, which in turn was based on SST Records’ old slogan): “Corporate Beer Still Sucks.”

Many “craft beer” drinkers see their choice of drink as meaning a lot more than just a matter of quality product. They think of indie beer (just as many think of indie music) as a crusade of the Regular Folk fighting back against a bland, monolithic corporate culture.

But should they?

As Kendall Jones writes at the Washington Beer Blog:

The sky is not falling. This is not a sign that the end is near. There are still over 3,400 breweries in America that Anheuser-Busch does not own…. As craft beer lovers, we’ve been taught that Anheuser-Busch and the other big beer companies are our enemies. So what gives? Is Elysian now evil? Not in my mind, but that’s a decision you’ll have to make for yourself.

Another view on the Elysian sale comes from Jeff Alworth at the Canadian blog Beervana, who ties Elysian’s past success to its savvy local management:

It’s long been my favorite Washington brewery, and it’s always my first stop when I hit Seattle. It has always seemed the most Seattle of the Seattle breweries—an extemporaneous brewery that could be equal parts gritty and urbane and credibly support local sports teams or indie bands. Elysian always seemed to be right where Seattle was at the time….

Just because a brewery is local doesn’t mean it can channel the local mores, culture, and zeitgeist. Elysian could and did—which is a big part of why they were so good. Can they still do that as a division of AB? In the short term, almost certainly. But I fear we’ve lost a little bit of what made Seattle Seattle.

If, as Elysian’s owners publicly insist, joining the big boys was the only way to support the company’s continued growth and to fund further expansion, maybe there’s a natural business limit to how big a microbrewer can be and still remain independent (if no longer truly “micro”).

neonsign.com

In other news:

  • Chop Suey, the venerable live-music club located not far from the original Elysian brewpub, may remain open (or rather, reopen) after all.
  • Here’s how out-of-it (locally) I’ve been: Richard Hugo House, the city’s premier writing and literary-arts center, is getting demolished and rebuilt at the same site. Didn’t even know.
  • The Seattle City Council and City Attorney Pete Holmes apparently believe sex workers will be less abused by pimps and traffickers if we just create harsher penalties for sex-work customers. Uh, no; it doesn’t work that way. Try again. This time, try to work on the pimps and traffickers themselves (and on support services for the workers).
  • There’s still no real replacement for the still-mourned Fun Forest amusement area at Seattle Center. But we may be getting a 1,000-foot water slide this summer.
  • Our pal Lindy West remembers the cool stuff found in the now-bankrupt SkyMall catalog, and also ponders whether its fate is that of all that is fun and quirky.
  • Hershey, which owns all U.S. rights to Cadbury products, is moving to stop the grey-market imports of the British-made chocolate goodies.
  • Print books are bouncing back, according to recent sales figures. The “literature is doomed” crowd will, I’m sure, simply ignore these figures and continue its wailing-and-gnashing-of-teeth.
THINGS I COULD’VE WRITTEN ABOUT FOR 1/21/15
Jan 21st, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

via the hollywood reporter

Once again, I’ve fallen behind on my idealized blog posting rate. And not for any good reason. (Though I am working on a new (kinda-sorta) project, to be announced at a later date.)

It’s sure not for a lack of things to write about. Goodness knows, dudes n’ dudettes are always suggesting those.

Here are some of the topics I could have blogged about in recent days:

  • The First Hill Streetcar, already delayed, now won’t start running until midsummer at best.
  • Folks of all races and backgrounds came together for peaceful MLK Day rallies in Seattle. But the local media focused almost exclusively on the almost-all-white group that forcibly obstructed rush hour traffic.
  • Yep, Wash. state’s tax system is still the nation’s “most regressive.” Yep, nobody’s really gonna do a darn thing about it.
  • T-Mobile, the Bellevue-based US subsidiary of a German telecom giant, probably can’t afford to keep offering the cell-phone deals it now offers, and may still need to merge itself out of existence.
  • A Fortune.com headline stated, “Target says it will pull out of Canada after failed expansion.” A frustrated Canada could not be reached for comment.
  • The Sun, Rupert Murdoch’s UK tabloid daily, will apparently no longer include its famous bare breasted “Page 3 Girls®,” at least not in its print edition. (The Sun will still show the models in the paper; but now it’ll show the models with tops on, like the non-related Toronto Sun does.) The other big Euro paper with such a feature, Germany’s Bild Zeitung, had scrapped its own newsprint nudes in 2012. In both cases, the pictures ended up costing the papers more readers than they gained. (UPDATE: It was all a publicity stunt, wouldn’t you know. The lo-res breast pix are back in The Sun as of Wednesday.)
  • R.I.P. Don Harron. You all knew the “Canadian entertainment icon” (as per the CBC’s obit) as the hackneyed radio announcer on Hee Haw. But he was also a radio/TV talk show host, a theatrical producer, a Shakeapearean actor, the ex-hubby of the disembodied head from The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, and the dad of the director of American Psycho and The Notorious Bettie Page.

yep, she married the guy in the top picture.

THE MIRACLE ON FIELDTURF®
Jan 20th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

usa today chart listing the odds of a seahawk victory in the nfc championship game at one percent

Of course, I have to write about the Seahawks Miracle Win in Sunday’s NFC championship game.

Even if I don’t have much new to add about it.

You already know the story (or rather, the instant legend):

For most of the game, the Seahawks’ offense could no nothing right. (The team’s only score through three quarters had come from special teams, on a fake field goal executed for a surprise touchdown.)

Then with the clock inexorably winding down toward certain doom, Russell Wilson and co. suddenly could do everything right.

With impossible play after impossible play, they got a touchdown, a successful onside kick, another touchdown, and a two-point conversion, taking a three-point lead with less than a minute and a half left.

After the Packers re-tied it with a field goal in the last minute of regulation, the Seahawks won the coin toss for the first possession in overtime. Then they quickly scored a sudden-death touchdown to win it all, send the Seahawks to their second consecutive Super Bowl Game (the first time in more than a decade any team did that), and cause more jubilation all the way up First Avenue and throughout the region.

KOMO’s Eric Johnson calls it “not a game, but a metaphor for life.”

So what lessons could be learned from it? Perhaps these:

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa
© Copyright 2015 Clark Humphrey (clark (at) miscmedia (dotcom)).