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KANADIAN KOOLNESS KORNER
Apr 21st, 2004 by Clark Humphrey

Amazing who you’ll find hangin’ out on Granville Street in Vancouver these days. Like Goldie Hawn and the Dalai Lama.

MISS CLEO EXPOSED
Jan 3rd, 2002 by Clark Humphrey

THIS ARTICLE claims to have the sad but not unexpected truth about the psychic hotlines shilled by the mysterious TV ads of Miss Cleo. It doesn’t mention that several acquaintances of mine claim to have known Youree Harris (Cleo’s apparent real name) as an itinerant budding actress who spent a couple years in Seattle learning her schtick.

9/11 PART 26
Sep 12th, 2001 by Clark Humphrey

BILL CAUGHEY WRITES with some suggestions for the media, and for the rest of us:

“1. No speculation, the pundits and so-called experts need to be quiet. ‘Just the facts…’

NO ONE SHOULD REPORT OR PUBLISH TV RATINGS FOR THIS PERIOD. That should stop future excesses by the networks!

Stop the replays of the crashes; one viewing of the planes hitting the buildings is enough!

Stop the journalistic posturing, the investigations will tell us ‘how could this have happened.’

Go back to commercials; we need to return to a sense of normalcy as soon as possible.

Quit looking for the ‘scoop;’ journalists are already getting in the way of investigators.

Remember that children watch TV too; enough of the hysteria and talk about war.

Stop showing the celebrations in in the mideast; no need to fan the flames, we know some people hate America.

2. FIND THE HEROES; we are not a nation of victims!

3. Respect for everyone; no scapegoats. Let the investigations run their course.

4. MORE prayers and blessings for those who suffer.

5. No mercy for the criminals and those who helped them in any way.

6. No politics; we rally behind the president and follow his lead.

7. God bless America and those who stand with us.”

9/11 PART 25
Sep 12th, 2001 by Clark Humphrey

MIKKEL URUP WRITES FROM DENMARK:

“It’s difficult to grasp the concept the amount of hatred and the brutal Nazi -like efficiency this one was carried out with.

The terrorist action in New York possibly killed 10,000 people but has depressed and scared a nation, even the world. I think the second accomplishment was their primary intent.

One feel depressed as one can do nothing; there is not even, as of now, a known target for retaliation.

But one can stop the terrorists in succeeding in their prime intent by flourishing and prospering, regardless of the onslaught!

By the way, I think it’s so much against our basic nature to destroy each other, that living with having done this at some level is a brutal punishment. I know it eventually will eat them up from the inside.

Take care everybody and: Flourish and prosper!”

WHEN A HEALER DIES
Jun 18th, 2001 by Clark Humphrey

The following is the “long version” of one of the short items to run in the Stranger obit column later this week:

Rev. Fred Beaver Chief Jameson, 46, was a member of the Lummi Nation, a spiritual leader, musician, and social activist, who worked among Seattle’s Native American community and also in the local art and music scenes.

He lectured across North America and Europe; he’d married a Swiss woman and was planning to move to Zurich. He was the Seattle School District’s Native American liaison in the ’70s. He led drum circles and made recordings of Northwest Coast Salish music, including the 1999 CD Red Cedar Medicine Circle Songs.

One of Jameson’s friends in the music community, Sky Cries Mary founder Roderick Romero, said he was “the most significant native of this area that I’ve encountered. His whole purpose was to bridge the indigenous culture and that of what he called ‘the settlers,’ and try to heal the pain. His dream was to have a children’s center where children could learn more about the indigenous people of this area…. He had a massive impact on Seattle, not just because he was a native but because he stepped out side of those boundaries.”

“He was open to every religion,” Romero added. “He didn’t alienate anyone; he was always open to what anyone had to say or was feelng. He married Anisa and I. He blessed our houses. When Anisa was going through cancer, he was there for her. He was one of the most significant people in my life.

“He was planning on moving to Switzerland with the woman from Zurich he’d married. He was so accepted into any culture, I thought he’d be such a great person to speak for the States. He always had something positive to say.”

In the local neo-pagan publication Widdershins, writer Amanda Silvers called Beaver Chief “a wise man, teacher, healer, singer, storyteller and all-around funny guy who is very serious about spirit.”

Jameson also wrote the book A Handbook For Human Beings, in which he said about himself: “I am a bridge. A bridge to help you understand our culture and combine it with your own… NOT to replace it, but to combine it.”

Jameson died of a sudden aneurysm on June 8 at the Queen Anne post office. Services were held last Wednesday at the Bonney Watson funeral home on Broadway, followed by a ritual burning of his belongings at the Swinomish Medicine House near La Conner.

SOUND CHOICES
Apr 26th, 1995 by Clark Humphrey

Welcome back to Misc., the column that just can’t get into that latest filmed-in-Seattle TV show, Under One Roof. If the James Earl Jones character’s supposed to be a veteran Seattle cop, howcum he never mentions whether or not he ever worked with Frasier’s dad?

GODDESS AND MAMMON DEPT.: You may already know how self-help, “new age” counseling and personal therapy have become big business. They’re so big now, the conglomerates are circling to take it over from the entrepreneurs that started it. The publishing conglomerates have muscled in on the new-age book scene, sometimes buying up titles originally issued by independent publishers. NBC’s got a (surprisingly good) new-age talk show, The Other Side. The major record labels are purportedly looking to start imprints for meditation tapes and light-instrumental CDs. And, according to the Wall St. Journal, none other than the Walt Disney Co. is getting into the seminar/ retreat game. The Disney Institute will open next year on a previously-undeveloped part of Disney World’s 50 or so square miles. It’ll offer speakers, artists-in-residence, cooking schools, sports and recreation programs, all for $700 for a three-day stay. I dunno if they’ll have any Wiccans showing up to promote alternatives to the stereotypes of witches in cartoon features, or if they’ll ever bring in the author of The Peter Pan Syndrome.

BB CUES: Last week I mourned the demise of the Western Coffee Shop. This week I’ve happier news: The Cave Man Kitchen barbecue stand, the single greatest thing about Kent, now has a somewhat more convenient branch in an ex-Taco Bell on Lake City Way.

LIVE AIR: One of this column’s running themes over the years has been the general suckiness of modern radio broadcasting (including much “public” radio) and various attempts to overcome it (activist groups like CURSE and the zine Radio Resistors Bulletin, pirate stations, micro-power stations, the cassette-trading underground). Now I’m happy to report a potential answer to crummy radio (at least at home or work) at last: Real-time Internet audio. The package of software programs to make this possible, called RealAudio, is now in beta testing by Progressive Networks, a Pioneer Square-based startup company started by Microsoft escapee Rob Glaser. The software to record RealAudio files will cost about $100; the playback software will be free. To record or receive RealAudio you’ve gotta have a computer powerful enough to run the software; but such machines can cost less than $1200 new and much less used. (The Western Washington U. station KUGS is already live on the Net, using a software system called CU-See Me that requires a more powerful workstation and a direct Internet hookup (instead of a modem and a phone line) to receive properly.)

Initial press reports tout the RealAudio technology as a way for established broadcasters, record companies, and the like to disseminate their works or promotional materials. The company’s website includes NPR and ABC Radio newscasts, O.J. updates, and some oldtime radio comedy segments. Company PR touts out-of-town sportscasts, music promotion and on-demand traffic reports as possible future applications.

But the company’s name is indicative of the revolutionary opportunities of this invention. It can essentially turn any Internet connection into a virtual radio station, allowing AM-quality reception of radio-refused music and information from almost anywhere to almost anywhere. The firm’s core staff includes Maria Cantwell, one of the Demo Congresspeople defeated in last November’s talk-radio sleaze assault. In addition, the company’s biggest single financial patron is Mitch Kapor, the ex-Lotus Software mogul who started the Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of the loudest public voices for cyberspace freedom and against government eavesdropping on and censorship of computer communication.

Appropriately, the company’s World Wide Web site (http://www.realaudio.com) will soon include a page called “What’s New in Activism Online,” billed in company PR as an information and volunteer-opportunities exchange “aimed at bringing the power of the Web and the Internet to bear on social and political issues.”

KIRK KERKORIAN WANTS TO BUY CHRYSLER: If the notorious Las Vegas financier does for the automaker what he did for Western Airlines and MGM, expect the Big Three to become the Big Two by the end of the decade.

VIACOMMIES
Feb 14th, 1995 by Clark Humphrey

Here at Misc. we’re anxiously counting down the days (25 on the day this ish comes out) until KSTW starts running CBS shows. Since That Trial will probably still be going on, the big network switch means starting March 13 you won’t see Young & Restless on channel 11 instead of not seeing it on channel 7.

LOCAL PUBLICATION OF THE WEEK: Seattle Volunteer is a handy four-page newsletter run by Andrew Stewart and Laurie Roth, alerting readers to some of the myriad ways they can invest time-n’-sweat to build a better community. It offers free 50-word notices every other month for arts, AIDS, environment, health, education, and political groups that could use your help. The third issue should be out for free next week at some of the same places this paper’s at; or you can subscribe by sending a donation ($25 or more preferred) to P.O. Box 70402, Seattle 98107.

WHICH AD D’YA READ?: Molson Ice beer ad, 1995: “Don’t worry. Your tongue won’t stick.” Rainier Ice ad, 1994: “Warning: Keep tongue off billboard.”

NORTH OF THE BORDER: The fanning out of Hollywood bigshots across the western states continues. I’m told the most recently “discovered” homesite for frequent-flier showbiz commuters is the outer exurbs of Boise. As you’ve seen from the Little Hollywoods in New Mexico, Montana, Colorado and the San Juans, when the L.A. types show up three things tend to happen: 1) real estate prices soar so locals can’t afford to live there anymore; 2) these millionaires who proudly live half a gas tank from the closest supermarket and 100 gallons of jet fuel from their jobs start preaching to the locals about eco-consciousness; and 3) they bring in their favorite L.A. chefs to invent a “traditional regional cuisine” for the area. It’ll be fun to find out what the “traditional regional cuisine” becomes for a state whose very license plates promote “Famous Potatoes,” whose only movie-based association with dining came from Steve Martin’s cameo in The Muppet Movie, as a waiter offering “Sparkling Muscatel by Fine Wines of Idaho.”

NOT IN THE CARDS: Our Pike St. pals at Edge of the Circle Books submitted an ad to KNDD that began as follows: “Magick, Witchcraft, Paganism; words once whispered are now spoken boldly. Though they cut down the sacred groves, burned our religious texts, and tortured and killed people beyond counting for the `crime’ of witchcraft, our numbers have grown so large that they cannot stop us.” The ad that ran for one day before the station banned it after receiving 25 complaining phone calls. The Viacom-owned station (which had run other ads from the store for three years) first asked the store to submit a “less offensive” spot, then agreed to refund its money.

BEAMING: Viacom boss Sumner Redstone has spoken of one of his new acquisitions, Star Trek, as a “global branded identity.” Several analysts over the years have seen the United Federation of Planets as a metaphor for an cold-war-era American self-image, an image of the benevolent colonist bringing order and commerce while allowing at least on-paper autonomy to its “partners.” A case could now be made for the Federation reflecting Hollywood’s self image of a culture empire enveloping the universe, either smothering local arts and customs or using them to its ends. Redstone wants to have everybody on at least this planet viewing, reading and listening to the same things. This is the polar opposite of what many of the acts now on KNDD believe or originally believed.

As further example, note the Week in Rock segment on MTV (another Viacom property) about indie labels–it gave most of its camera time to those “indies” that have alliances with or are part of the Big Six record giants; it talked about the likes of Sub Pop not as patrons of marginal voices but as generators of future major-label stars; and it was peppered with ex-indie singers who unanimously assured viewers that an act could get screwed by an indie just like by a major.

Mind you, there’s plenty that Big Entertainment has given us (I’ve been heard to compare modern American politics to the ST episode with the Evil Kirk vs. the Ineffectual Kirk). But it’s time to put a new concept to work. Instead of global identities, we need to promote and empower the whole motley world at home and abroad. Make it so.

10/92 MISC NEWSLETTER
Oct 1st, 1992 by Clark Humphrey

10/92 Misc. Newsletter

(incorporating four Stranger columns and four newsletter-only items)

Here Comes Moshpit Tourism!

OK OK OK, Misc. is now ready to admit that the “Seattle Sound” is dead. The evidence: not Singles, but the 9/13 travel page of the Sunday newspaper insert USA Weekend (stuffed into the Bellevue Journal-American and dozens of other papers around the country), right after the Haband ad for mail order men’s slacks. The headline: “Get Set for the Seattle Sound: Next weekend’s rockin’ movie Singles puts the limelight on this musical metropolis.” As Jim Kelton writes, “Just as Memphis has the blues, Chicago and New Orleans have Jazz, and Nashville owns country, Seattle now has its own hard-driving sound, dubbed ‘grunge rock,’ giving travelers another reason to visit the city…Visitors will find entertaining and fiercely outspoken music in nearly every corner of this sprawling city. But first-timers should note that the best spots to hear its sounds aren’t always upscale. You can take in the sights during the day, then fill the nights with the fresh Seattle sound.” The page gave prospective grunge-tourists listings of five clubs, two costly hotels (including the Meany Tower, inaccurately described as being close to many important grunge venues), the youth hostel, and two eateries: 13 Coins and the Dog House (“the ‘in’ place for musicians and music fans”).

NOW LET’S GET THIS STRAIGHT: The article encourages tourists to come here to see live gigs by the very bands that got into making records in the mid-’80s because they couldn’t get live gigs. The music that was rejected by so many clubs for so many years might now become a boon to the state’s hospitality industry. Maybe we should just replace Seattle Center with a Grungeland theme park. Flannel-shirted costume characters could sneeringly blow Export A smoke into the eager eyes of affluent American families, on their way to enjoy hourly indoor and outdoor performances in between stops at a Jimmy the Geek house of thrills, senior citizen moshing lessons, an all-vegan food circus, bumper cars that look like beat-up Datsuns, wandering Iggy impersonators, beer-can crushing competitions, a detox clinic fantasy ride, (for the gents) a contest to become L7‘s chaste bondage slaves, and (for the ladies) an all-scrawny, all-longhair male strip show.

CRIMES AGAINST CULTURE?: The city wanted to collect 3% admissions tax on the “suggested donation at the door” for the Two Bells Tavern’s Chicken Soup Brigade musical benefit. On Sept. 23, city official Dale Tiffany sided with the tavern and withdrew the tax bill, noting in a letter that “you made a quite persuasive case”…. Meanwhile, COCA ran afoul of the police dept.’s crusade to shut down all-ages musical events. Its non-alcoholic rave party was shut down in August over a few creative interpretations of technical ordinances and the infamous “Teen Dance Ordinance,” a law ramrodded through the city council a few years back intended to ban all-ages events under the guise of regulating them.

ON DISPLAY: I saw COCA’s Native American political art exhibit, which uses images of pre-Columbian daily life as symbols of defiance, in the context of what if our entire way of life were similarly suppressed. After thinking some more about it, I couldn’t think of many aspects of mainstream U.S. culture that that weren’t already symbols of our past conquests. What music do we have that isn’t Black- or immigrant-rooted? What fashions have we got that aren’t based on street or folk dress? Through ethnic art (often designed for white consumption) and its equivalents in literature and music, armchair lefties like me get to anoint ourselves with the vicarious righteousness of pretending to be what some white ideologists call “The Other.” It’s a change from most American cultural experiences, which are typically fantasies of conquering something or someone. The only American genres to discuss what being conquered might feel like are science fiction and Red-baiting propaganda, usually as a pretext for heroic action. But imagine: What if our entire way of life was suppressed as North America’s indigenous cultures were? What practices would be kept underground? What pieces of everyday life that you take for granted would turn into symbols of rebellion? What things that you care about would be turned into jokes and stereotypes by the conquerors?

CAN’T I GET LIBERATED TOO?: The (Ero) Writes/Rights panel at Bumbershoot was mostly the usual inconclusive porn-vs.-erotica debate. But one woman made a good point about “censorship of the spirit and the intellect,” something too many of us do to ourselves. The alternative literary scene would attract more people if it weren’t always so grim and staid, if it expressed the whole range of human thoughts and feelings in our big wide world. In many ways, small press literature is the most aesthetically conservative art form this side of barbershop quartet singing (and a hell of a lot less fun). You’re not gonna get young people involved in advanced prose if it offers nothing more than Montana travelogues and ’60s nostalgia. I long for a literature of compassion, of participation. A good place to start is erotica, by its nature a genre that mustn’t be self-centered. Like Jae Carrlson and Kirby Olson in Reflex, I believe the answer to bad porn is better porn, that gleefully celebrates human connection in all its varieties.

OTHER B-SHOOT NOTES: Loved Book-It, the troupe that dramatizes short stories verbatim. Much more literate than most of the “literary” events….

Missed They Might Be Giants, who filled up the Opera House an hour and a half before they went on. In the line, two suburban kids joked about how this show should’ve been in the Coliseum instead of Queen Latifah (this year’s token non-’60s black act), because “nobody’s going to shoot anybody at this show.” I wished to hell I’d had a Walkman so I could’ve made them listen to TMBG’s song “Your Racist Friend.” The Latifah show was, by all accounts, a sedate affair full of perky White Negro wannabes….

The $25 Quick Access Pass was an elitist scam, going against B-Shoot’s one-big-crowd tradition, and should not be repeated….

Michelle Shocked had a great line at the Interview Stage comparing most rock music to “a blackface minstrel show” without the makeup — affluent whites acting out a simplistic persona of blacks as sexy savages….

EXCUSE ME WHILE I KISS THIS GUY: I can’t wait for the Jimi Hendrix museum to open, even if it doesn’t display the uncensored Are You Experienced? cover art or Suzie Plastercaster‘s famous life-cast of his masculinity. Well-heeled local backers are looking at at least two potential sites, including the ex-Seattle Art Museum annex in Seattle Center. The guy deserves a proper public memorial. (KZOK tried a few years ago to get a memorial in a city park, but the Parks Dept. wouldn’t go along; the station settled for a pile of “hot rocks” at the African savannah exhibit of the zoo.) Besides, these days it’d be good to remind people of a guy who joined the Army just to get out of Seattle, his only hope of making it in music.

THE MAILBAG: Charles Kiblinger writes, “Perhaps you might be able to enlighten us as to what exactly is the deal with this baseball cap display on the rear dashboard thing?” Would you please be more specific? What are these items, and what do you wish to learn about them?

JUNK FOODS OF THE MONTH: Husky Dawgs, in bright wrappers bearing official UW football logos, are really repackaged Canadian Jumbo Hot Dogs (the expiration date sticker says both “Meilleur Avant” and “Best Before”). As all good Seattle barflies know about Jumbos, they’re hearty if underseasoned tube steaks that can be steamed, boiled, or grilled, and are virtually impervious to decay even after rotating under a heat lamp all day….

As my budget and diet allow, I’m planning to try all of the faux Frangos being offered around town: Nordstrom Best Mints, Ala Bons, Boehm’s Encore, Seattle Chocolate Co.’s Milt Chocolate, etc. The Times sez that Nordstrom uses a higher grade of chocolate, no salt and no tropical oils. The Seattle Chocolate Co. makes the Nordstrom candy (mint flavor only), and also makes its own brand with a slightly different recipe (in three flavors). Ala Bons, the first faux Frango, are smaller and flatter, not as fully whipped. Boehms, in gold foil boxes, only have six ounces for $6.95 (Frangos and most of the imitators have eight ounces)…

MANGO TANG UPDATE: Mark Campos claims to have tried the stuff, obtained from relatives through an Oregon food warehouse outlet. “The mad chemists at the Tang labs were nowhere hear a mango flavor consensus…no matter how much I stirred, a majority of the stuff marched to the bottom of the glass and stayed there. Also, it’s the most unappealingly colored stuff. Like Mountain Dew, it should not be put into clear glasses for consumption.”

1-900-FAILURE: Megaquest, the Queen Anne-based parent company of some 50 phone talk services (many, but not all, sex-related) in a half-dozen countries, is close to bankruptcy, after earning a net income of $14 million in 1990. According to a great story in the Sept. 4 Puget Sound Business Journal, original partners Arthur Joel Eisenberg and Betsy Superfon (apparently her real name) are battling in court over control of the companies, whose revenues have tumbled as government agencies and phone companies crack down against the rights of those unimaginative Americans who can’t even abuse themselves without coaching.

AD OF THE MONTH (newspaper ad for Nationwide Warehouse and Storage Furniture): “The Chastity 4-Piece Bedroom Set, $198.” Runner-up: the Wm. Diericx Co.’s radio ad for office supplies, selling paper shredders endorsed by Fawn Hall.

“DIS” INFORMATION: Still still more proof that hip-hop culture can’t be successfully whitened comes from the Suzuki 4 x 4’s fall ad campaign, “Fear of a Flat Planet” (a notably lame exploitation of Public Enemy‘s Fear of a Black Planet).

A DAY WITHOUT SUNSHINE: The Florida state tourism dept. rushed out some newspaper ads insisting that their state was still open for business. The state had to produce the ads at their own Tallahassee office, because it couldn’t complete a phone call to its Miami ad agency.

CATHODE CORNER: Alert home satellite dish owners know about the supplemental feeds of network football games, with the field pictures and sound but no announcers or commercials. I saw part of a Seahawks game this way; you can tell all the important aspects of the game, and don’t have to hear any dumb anecdotes.

DUDS: One piece of good news in the Generra bankruptcy came in a Times story noting that the company, like many in the sportswear biz, is starting to get clothes made in the U.S., after years of only using overseas sweatshops where workers make as little as $1.03 a day. Seems that it takes too long to ship stuff from over there. By the time a fad item gets here, the fad can be over.

“DON’T WALK” THIS WAY: Bellevue officials are promising to make their town “more pedestrian friendly” — by beefing up citations against people walking against the Don’t Walk lights. If they really wanted to help walkers, they’d change the lights on some intersections that allow walking for only three seconds every three minutes, so you have to jaywalk to get anywhere on time.

LOCAL PUBLICATIONS OF THE MONTH: Tiny, King of the Roadside Vendors is an affectionate tribute by Sharon Graves Hall to her late brother, Richard “Tiny” Graves, the girthy and jovial operator of Tiny’s Fruit Stand in Cashmere (one of Washington’s few authentic “roadside attractions”, with ad signs attracting tourists along U.S. highways throughout the west). For just $12.95, the book’s more fun than a case of Aplets and Cotlets….

Meet Me at the Center is Seattle Center’s authorized history, written by ex-Times guy Don Duncan. It’s chock full of World’s Fair camp images (which I can’t ever get enough of). It’s also essential reading for all of you who don’t know what Seattle was like in the era prior to Starbucks and PCC, when a small remote city was trying desperately to join the “jet set” its machines had made possible….

Journeys of the Muse is a 12-page quarterly newsletter by Pamela Reno of Naches, Yakima County. Topics include “The power of thought to influence the sun: A turning point for humanity?”

FUN WITH WORDS: Husbands and Wives stands a chance of becoming the biggest audience-participation movie since Rocky Horror. Here’s how it works: go with all your feminist friends, and hiss whenever Woody says something that turns out to have been eerily lifelike… Another great new cussing site is the downtown library, specifically at the terminals of the new computer card catalog. On any given afternoon you may find retired schoolmarms, Mormon ancestor-researchers and valedictorian wannabes struggling to cope with the confusing software and the mistake-ridden data, talking back to the VDT’s with words not found in the bowdlerized dictionaries.

INDECISION ’92: A requiem is in order for failed gubernatorial primary candidate “You Must Be” Joe King. He’s actually been a pretty good state House speaker, fighting to keep the Wm. Spafford murals up in the Capitol and to support a lot of good legislation. But for his first statewide campaign, he let image consultants package him as something just this side of a Reagan Democrat; an unlikely recipe for success this year….

Campaign commercials used to feature a big red “NO!” crashing down on the face of the sponsoring candidate’s opponent. This time, at least one candidate used “NOT!” instead.

‘TIL NEXT TIME, pick up some great bargains at Blowout Video on 1st (the video equivalent of a remainder book outlet) and the Evergreen State Store in the Center House (your one-stop tourist trinket shop), watch the Japanese soap The 101st Proposal Sat. mornings on KTZZ, and heed the words of Thomas Hobbes (the philosopher, not the cartoon character): “Fear and I were born twins.”

PASSAGE

John Kricfalusi, the cartoonist-director-actor who made Ren & Stimpy into the cult sensation of the year (and just got fired for his trouble by Viacom bureaucrats), quoted in Film Threat before his dismissal: “Everybody’s ugly in real life. You just have to look close. Look inside anybody’s nose. Look in — who’s the big actress today? Look inside her nose and then think about porkin’ her.”

WORD-O-MONTH

“Funambulist”

STOP THIS WEATHER CHITCHAT ALREADY.

WE’VE GOT ABOUT THE DULLEST WEATHER IN THE WORLD.

2/90 MISC NEWSLETTER
Feb 1st, 1990 by Clark Humphrey

2/90 Misc. Newsletter

LATIN DEBATE: IS THIS YEAR “MCMXC” OR “MCMLXL”?

Return with us now to Misc., the monthly information source that hopes one day to earn the phrase a Wall St. Journal headline (1/16) gave to Boeing’s Pentagon spy, “Loyal to Seattle to the End.”

More Than Meets the Eye?: We love to study the mysteries of the world, the unexplained phenomena that some discount as mere coincidence. One such mystery occurred with Ranger Charlie, the jovial host of KSTW’s morning cartoons for the past year. Sometime in December, he disappeared from the screen, leaving his puppet raccoon friend Roscoe in charge. Finally, in January, Roscoe again had Ranger Charlie to banter with — only the beloved ranger had become shorter, younger, and female. Now, that’s something you don’t see in cartoons, not even on The Transformers.

The Fine Print (from a P-I ad insert): “Safeway’s 1/4-inch trim is trimmed to 1/4-inch external fat excluding natural depressions in the contour of the underlying meat.”

The Not-So-Fine Print: A Crown Books in-store poster touts a discount dictionary as the “best in it’s class.” Never buy a dictionary from people who can’t spell. The book in question is a reprint of the ’83 version (since supplanted) of theRandom House Dictionary, inherited via a series of Random House subsidiaries by “Portland House, New York,” successor to the Oregon computer-book house dilithium press.

Local Publication of the Month: The Way of the Lover, a self-help book of sorts by West Vancouver, B.C. spiritualist Robert Agustus Masters. You might not immediately buy into the mythological or meditative content, but you’ve gotta love such chapter titles as “Releasing Sex (and Everything Else) from the Obligation to Make Us Feel Better.”… The Weekly-ization of the local press continues, as local media hype Hawaii tourism this winter as never before. The Times andWashington magazine even ran “editorial” sections trying to find local-angle stories about a place thousands of miles away…. Caverns, a “collaborative novel” by Ken Kesey’s Univ. of Oregon writing class, is a plain piece of commercial storytelling, recommended only for those interested in how it was made (like me) and Kesey completists (unlike me).

Cathode Corner: KING’s first ads after the flood-day (1/9) 11 pm news were two of those awful Infiniti spots wherein you don’t see the car, just a lot of water; followed by a spot with the opening line “drowning in a sea of high bills?”…. Ted Turner, who expects to lose millions on the Seattle Goodwill Games, tried to make a little of it back by colorizing Jailhouse Rock, a film made in ’57 (well into the Eastmancolor era) with a major star, at a time when the only major black and white films were done deliberately that way…. The Mary Tyler Moore Show was almost set in Seattle, instead of Minneapolis. According to a new book about the show, its producers felt that a show filmed before a live audience would need to be set in a town where people spent lots of their time in small indoor rooms. (As you recall, MTM went on in ’70, a year before All in the Family and after several years of sitcoms with outdoor scenes and canned laughter.) As the show coalesced, they decided Minnesota was more indoorsy than Seattle. Instead of Hüsker Du remaking the MTM theme (by old Buddy Holly sideman Sonny Curtis), it could’ve been Capping Day or even Pure Joy.

A Classic Tragedy: Cable’s American Movie Classics channel seldom lives up to its name (most of its flicks are dated Don Ameche vehicles); but on 1/14 it ran one of the weirdest pieces of video ever shot: the Frances Farmer episode of This Is Your Life. The 1958 live telecast, made at the start of Farmer’s return to public life after her lobotomy, shows the Seattle-born actress staring into space while greasy-haired host Ralph Edwards (who also created Truth or Consequences) rattled off a summary of her sad life story. During her turns to speak, she looked offstage (possibly to a prompter). In an elegant but slurred voice, she slowly explained that “I did not believe and still do not believe that I was truly ill.” At the end, she was rewarded for her bravery with a new Edsel.

Junk Food of the Month: Hostess Lite! Thicker snack cakes, slightly less sweet, for “grown-ups.” Most of the reduction in calories is due to a reduction in size from the regular Hostess product…. Burger King announced new oat bran buns for its burgers, just before the gov’t. announced that the oat bran craze had been based on exaggerated claims…. Chateau Ste. Michelle has brought out a special bottling of ’86 Chenin Blanc to honor the UW’s 125th Anniversary. It would have been a more appropriate tribute if it had been a wine more UW people drink: cheap Chablis in a box. But then again, this grad can’t imagine what a UW frat was doing with a sheep during induction week, except perhaps to show it off as a role model.

Praying for a Space: Chicago’s Catholics are faced with declining attendance and a priest shortage, but one downtown parish is investing in a new church building, to be financed by a 20-story parking garage to be built above the sanctuary. They’re just following the lead of my childhood denomination: Chicago Methodists already have a downtown church-office tower and a neighborhood church with a Fotomat booth in its front yard.

The Severed Arm of the Law: A North Carolina firm’s selling a “lawyer doll,” the heads and limbs of which are attached with Velcro for easy mangling, apparently to place curses on lawyers for the other side of your case. Or, you could leave it headless to resemble your own attorney. Such quasi-voodoo rituals didn’t help Noriega, but who says they won’t work for you?

Reach Out and Severely Inconvenience Someone: The AT&T system crash, in which about half of the long-distance network simply refused to put calls through, shows that even the ex-Ma Bell is no longer a paragon of American technological supremacy. The big glitch was blamed on faulty software; just the admission they’d like to make while AT&T’s computer unit tries to wrestle control of its UNIX computer system software back from various licensees.

What’s With Utne These Days?: Utne Reader, the bimonthly digest of the alternative press, now has its very own Publishers’ Clearing House stamp, right between Stamps and Time. When you win your $10 million in the sweepstakes, you can read how to put the dough into socially responsible investments.

Those Phunny Phoreigners: This sign in a Northwest Trek-style wildlife park in Nara, Japan, is noted in the book Gems of Japanized English by Miranda Kendrick: “CAUTION: Everybody: Take care of Hind! It is the season Fawn is born about this time. It may be case if you approach him, his mother deer being full of maternal love gives you a kick by her forefeet.”

We’re Only In It for the Freedom: The first U.S. private citizen to meet with new Czech president Vaclav Havel wasn’t an industrialist or banker but Frank Zappa. Havel, it turns out, is a longtime Zappa fan; during his years as a banned playwright, he let banned musicians, such as the Zappa-influenced Plastic People of the Universe, record tapes in his country house. Zappa may use his friendship with this anti-authoritarian hero to bolster his fight against rock censorship. Zappa would probably be upset by managers of the new Yakima domed arena, who wouldn’t let the B-52s bring the Greenpeace info booth the band has had outside every tour date. The arena bosses claimed it would “set a bad precedent.”

Tomorrow Ain’t What It Usta Be: The Futurist magazine has published some wild ‘n’ wacky predictions for the ’90s. Among them: Flight from the Greenhouse Effect may make Canada more populous than the U.S. Cash money will become illegal for all but very small transactions. Computers with automatic language translation and voice synthesis will enable people to speak in one language that listeners will hear translated into another language. Computer chips will be in everything from houses to clothing. Household robots may be as common as refrigerators. Almost one-fourth of the world’s population will be Moslem. Self-propelled, computerized lawn mowers will be able to “see” where the grass needs to be cut and to avoid trees. Remember, these may be the same seers who said we’d now have home helicopters but not home computers.

‘Til March, you might as well abandon the Sonics this year and root for the Seattle-owned Portland TrailBlazers, thank the nondenominational dieties that there will be no Robert Fulghum sitcom (which would have starred John Denver), and review these words by author/educator John Gardner: “More people fail at becoming successful businessmen than fail at becoming artists.”

PASSAGE

Julio Cortazar in the “Love 77” chapter of A Certain Lucas (1979):

“And after doing everything they do, they get up, they bathe, they powder themselves, they perfume themselves, they comb their hair, they get dressed, and so, progressively, they go about going back to being what they aren’t.”

OFFER

Tell your friends about Misc., the one piece of monthly first-class mail they’ll be glad to get. New subscribers will receive the humorous essay “God as I Understand Him” and first word on future Fait Divers products (the computer novel The Perfect Couple, special mini-posters).

WORD OF THE MONTH

“Descry”

4/89 MISC COLUMN FOR ARTSFOCUS
Apr 1st, 1989 by Clark Humphrey

4/89 ArtsFocus Misc.

THIS MONTH: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT THE FINAL FOUR

Here at Misc., the slickest column around, we think Exxon ought to go back to one of its former names, Humble (though a name with a double cross in the middle is also somewhat appropriate).

Confessions of a Critic: In December, I wrote a Times book review of Marianne Wiggins’s stunning novel John Dollar. I couldn’t have known that her husband would be marked for death for writing a book that questioned mindless obedience to (any) authority. When the review appeared, the Times thankfully didn’t add a lead calling Wiggins Mrs. Rushdie. It may have been the last time Wiggins was discussed for her own work (recently displayed at a Crown Books with the handwritten sign, “It’s By HIS Wife”).

Astral Plane: Twice a year, enlightenment comes to a warehouse-like space in a lonely Kent industrial park, next to the Domino’s Pizza plant. It’s the Boeing Activity Center, home of the Boeing Employees’ Parapsychology Club Psychic Fair. A bazaar of merchants offered tarot decks, crystals, astrological charts, and motivational tapes on everything from attracting a soul-mate to improving your vocabulary (sample affirmation: “The dictionary is my friend”). Local company Loving Spoonful (not the ’60s band) sold a kids’ success tape with cartoon squirrels promoting the fun of obeying your parents. A guy who channels information from dolphins cancelled a scheduled appearance, but over 60 psychics and palm readers gave 10-minute consultations. The big room was crowded with eager true believers — the opposite of the stuffed-shirt image outsiders have of Boeing. To find engineering types, you had to see the UW Computer Fair earlier in March. With the PC now commonplace, the fair’s mainly returned to industrial-design applications — except for the Seattle software company peddling a program called Bowling League Secretary. Now that’s personal productivity.

Mixed Media: The Time-Warner merger is only possible because the US antitrust dept. is acting less like Warner’s DC Comics heroes and more like Warner’s Police Academy cops. Meanwhile, Italian financier Giancarlo Parretti’s assembling Cannon, New World, DeLaurentiis and France’s once-mighty Pathé (the United Optical building on 3rd was originally a Pathé distribution office). Parretti’s move may save London’s historic EMI-Elstree Studios, which Cannon bought then threatened to turn into an office park. It’s also an epitaph for the boomtown ’80s film biz, which made hundreds of unwatchable films believing home video’d eat up anything with a halfway exploitable theme…. Tim Matheson liked National Lampoon so much, he bought the company. After a long takeover food fight and a Fundamentalist-led ad boycott, Matheson may need spunk and resourcefulness to bring the Lampoon back — a small challenge for the original voice of Jonny Quest.

Cathode Corner: Bainbridge author Aaron Elkins created the Gideon Oliver character in books without imagining he’d be played on TV by Lou Gossett (finally, TV cast a black actor in a role that didn’t specifically call for one). The show’s marred by clumsy post-writers’-strike scripts, but is better than Sable, the last series from a local writer (Mike Grell)…. The Coca-Cola Co. pledged to pull ads from Married… With Children. Since Coke’s the biggest shareholder in the show’s producer, Columbia Pictures, it may be the first conglomerate to boycott itself.

Smell of Liberation: Debbie Gibson has signed with Revlon to market an Electric Youth fragrance. Where I’m from, many gals were forbidden to wear perfume at her age.

That Drafty Gust: The “voluntary” youth service program proposed by Sen. Sam Nunn is really a scheme to keep working-class kids out of college, at least temporarily. Federal student loans would be available only to those who put in two years of low-pay, low-skill labor, perhaps far from home. This quasi civilian draft would leave less school and job-ladder competition for affluent kids, while leaving the country even less prepared for a future of global hi-tech competition.

News Item of the Month (NPR, 3/9): “The measure would raise the minimum drinking age to $4.61 an hour by 1990.” Runner-up (NY Times, 3/28, on the worldwide spandex shortage): “The market is very tight.”

Local Publications of the Month: Continuum, a slick arts quarterly from KidsProject at Metrocenter YMCA, has a kid’s own true pot story, a woman who imitates Patrick Nagle’s art, and an insightful comment on Royer’s KidsPlace hype. Get it at Bulldog now before a complex funding dispute kills it…. Northwest Extra is Olympia’s low-budget answer to the Clinton St. Quarterly. It’s mostly compiled from syndicated material, but the April ish has a magnificent Peter Bagge graphic on the Reagan legacy…. Geek Love, from Portland novelist Katherine Dunn, is a tale of people genetically bred to be circus freaks. It’s the perfect antidote for the Reagan/Teutonic image of “The” Family.

Unconstructive Criticism: Martin Selig, like many natural-born hustlers, has little sympathy for anyone who isn’t. At a recent City Club forum, Selig scoffed at the homeless problem his developments helped create, saying the poor just weren’t being productive. He seemed to sincerely not understand people born without his privileges or advantages. People like him should NOT be allowed to control the destiny of the city.

‘Til next month’s lovely 3rd anniversary edition, see Manifesto and Baron Munchausen, and ponder these telling words from everybody’s role model Pete Rose: “I’m a great father. I bought my daughter a new Mercedes Benz last year.”

2/89 MISC COLUMN FOR ARTSFOCUS
Feb 27th, 1989 by Clark Humphrey

2/89 ArtsFocus Misc.

EVEN WITHOUT 3D GLASSES,

THIS COLUMN IS AS SHARP AND CLEAR AS EVER

Here at Misc., we’re still wondering how soon a Mercury Scorpio is going to crash into a Ford Taurus and a Dodge Aries because the driver didn’t read his signs.

Goodtime Charley’s Got the Blues: Royer chose to quit rather than face a re-election referendum on his move from neighborhoods’ champion to developers’ patsy. Instead of dwelling on it, let’s just remember what his sister-in-law Jennifer James might say: that we must “cut the losses” from relationships that have become unworkable, acknowledge the pain of betrayal, and then move on.

No No-Host Bar: Alcoholics Anonymous’ world convention is coming to Seattle next year, but the best news is the appropriate name of AA’s site-selection consultant: Slack, Inc.

21 Luscious Shades of Red Ink: Revlon CEO Ronald Perelman, after buying a string of bankrupt savings and loans, just added Marvel Comics as a “cash cow” to support the S&Ls. Will America’s financial security be ruined if kids don’t buy enough copies ofShe-Hulk one month? Will folks get handsome Ultima II tote bags with every $10,000 deposit?

Holds Up Longer Than You Do: The Seattle-based Program for Appropriate Technology and Health’s received a major federal grant to study the shelf life of condoms exposed to heat, cold, humidity, light, and air pollution. It could be another case of a package that’s more durable than the contents.

Junk Food of the Month: Seattle’s Hilton Seafoods is trying to develop the world’s first sexless clam, which presumably would be larger and/or better tasting. But would it still be an aphrodisiac?

Local Publications of the Month: For a major writing project, I’ve been researching local New Age papers. Preeminent is Seattle’s New Times, a monthly broadsheet with stories on everything from ethics for the ’90s to meditation helpers that you put on like goggles and that send pulses of light into your brain. The same publisher also does Spiritual Woman’s Times; other local journals include Olympia’s The Light (with the syndicated psychic-comic Swami Beyondananda), Bellevue’s Common Ground (items on a new locally-designed tarot deck and on “Love, Fear and Linear Thinking”), and Federal Way’s Universal Entity (the tabloid chronicle of “Zanzoona the Old Warrior” as channelled through Vancouver, WA’s MariJo Donais, who is also the reincarnated wife of Ulysses S. Grant)…. Elsewhere in the print world, the second Placebo, an occasional journal of downtown writers, has an extensive, fascinating interview with a mercenary-turned-cab-driver.

Cathode Corner: Matt Groening has made his first commercial, a Butterfinger ad with his Tracey Ullman Show characters. Too bad it wasn’t Abkar and Jeff for Doublemint…. Geraldo Rivera and Cheech Marin have gotten together to buy TV stations. I can just see their “Point-Counterpoint” segments on the nation’s drug menace.

Dead Air: KLSY now has a fax request line, so you can use the newest technology to hear the most archaic music of any non-oldies station. I was recently force-fed two hours of the station in a dentist’s chair and can define one version of hell as sitting under bright fluorescent with a stranger of the same sex in your mouth and George Michael on loud. (Even worse, I got gold put in me the same month I called gold “outski” for ’89.)

Boox & Bux: For too long, bibliophiles have overrated the written word as more honest than other media. That myth should be retired now that we have “product placements” in novels (Maserati paid to be mentioned in Power City by Beth Ann Herman). So that’s what all the brand-name-dropping in the Literary Brat Pack has been about. The book’s publisher, Bantam, is one of three US publishing giants now owned by Germany’s Bertlesmann, who also bought RCA/Arista Records (yes, Spike Jones’s classic song “In Der Fuhrer’s Face” is now owned by the Germans).

Graphic Details: The new Pogo is almost as good as the old. It’s even done what Doonesbury never really has: slam the newspaper biz (though its target was USA Today, considered the young hussy of the industry by the genteel journalism establishment)…. TheTimes has deservedly awarded Calvin and Hobbes the highest honor a comic strip can get: the top Sunday space, displacing Peanuts after more than 20 years.

Bend Over, Johnny Depp: A 25-year-old Dallas undercover cop, posing as a high school student, was spanked by an assistant principal for tardiness. (He could have alternately faced detention.)

Shifting Into “D”: The Democratic Party has finally done something smart in getting ready to pick ex-Jesse Jackson aide Ron Brown as its new national chair. Brown’s strategies for Jackson (healing rifts between races and interest groups, attracting previous nonvoters) are just what the party needs. The Demos’ve lost two presidential races with the “Lite Right” policy of shunning the party’s heritage and most faithful followers to aim slick marketing at some mythical conservative “swing voter.” That policy will not work with any future candidate, as some Demo bigwigs are figuring out at last.

Hershey’s Kisser: Barbara Hershey, for reasons explicable only by vanity and Hollywood trendiness, has had silicone implants put in her lips. This is the same person who, when she was married to one of the Carradine boys, was such a Natural Woman that she briefly changed her last name to Seagull.

`Til the March column (which may include a report from the First Annual Singles’ Festival and Trade Show), beware of films about the Black Struggle in which no black actor’s billed higher than fifth, read Dictionary of the Khazars, and ponder this appropriate-for-Valentine’s line from local writer Theodore Roethke: “I think the dead are tender. Shall we kiss?”

9/87 MISC COLUMN FOR ARTSFOCUS
Sep 1st, 1987 by Clark Humphrey

9/87 ArtsFocus Misc.

ArtsFocus is back and so’s Misc., Seattle’s only whole-grain rumor mill. Opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of ArtsFocus Associates, its advertisers, or Brian Bosworth.

Welcome to the summer of our discontent. Some complained this summer about the traffic, the leaky roof at the Bagley Wright, about paying $8 to see the hydros without being able to get drunk n’ crude, about paying $16.50 for Dana “Church Lady” Carvey in the rain at the Mural Amphitheater, about paying $2 more for Madonna than for the Dylan/Dead show in Eugene, about celeb sellouts like Lou Reed for American Express. Me: I’m not complaining that much, though I did wish we could have had a combined Contra hearing/Isuzu ad, so you could always know when they were lying.

FOR THE RECORD, it’s also been the summer when Seattle got its own overpaid sports legend-in-his-own mind, its own MTV VJ, its own near Presidential hit-and-run, and the start of its own Underground.

Hope y’all had an enlightening time during the Harmonic Convergence. Remember: Author Jose Arguelles sez 144,000 of you had to be meditating at local sunrise 8/16. If the world ends 25 years from now, I don’t want to hear you moaning, “Darn it, I knew I should’ve set my alarm early.”

Already some hopeful news has emerged from the heart of New Age country, on people finding the personal energy to influence the world around them. Port Townsend’s local teens are battling one of the most backward, reactionary social forces known to humanity, the Northwest Nature Poets, over the right to eat Big Macs without having to drive to Port Angeles. More karma to them.

Patrick McDonald has endorsed the Young Fresh Fellows as a local band bound to make it big. As McDonald’s pick-to-click has traditionally meant the Kiss of Death (anyone remember the Heats?), the Fellows should immediately renounce it, declaring that they have absolutely no intention of ever getting a national hit record.

JUNK FOOD OF THE MONTH: Flavored fortune cookies, as introduced at the Bite of Seattle. Seattle’s Rose Brand will soon market the treats in vanilla, mocha, strawberry, mint, raspberry, banana and bubblegum flavors. Every fortune has two happy-face symbols on it (you can also special-order cookies with custom fortunes).

Procter & Gamble’s announced multi-million losses from its Duncan Hines Soft Cookies. P&G expected a big hit due to a chemical emulsifier that made them soft, figuring it wouldn’t matter how poorly they tasted. They’re not giving up, though: Their next product will be diet cookies, made with a new “sucrose polyester” to be called Olestra.

PHILM PHUN: Japan’s Tampopo, easily the best comedy of the year, is also one of the few films anywhere to deal entirely with the preparation and consumption of food. The most that US films have come to discussing with this most pervasive of all human activities are Fatso, a few cannibalism pictures and some good Woody Woodpecker cartoons.

LOCAL PUBLICATION OF THE MONTH: The Seattle Design Association Newsletter. Issue 18 has die-cut finger holes in all 12 pages; 11 of those pages have extremely clever illustrations by Carl Smool, Linda Owens, Michael Dougan and other famed local artists, all supervised by (who else?) Art Chantry. A measly $1.50 at Peter Miller Books on 1st Ave.

CATHODE CORNER: The use of retro rock in TV ads gets ridiculous when Time magazine uses the Byrds’ “Turn, Turn, Turn,” a song originally made in part to protest the Vietnam War — a war that Time supported.

T. Boone Pickens, who tried to conquer Boeing, has made a fortune attacking companies; some of them have surrendered to other overtakers rather than face his wrath. Unocal, Phillips 66, Gulf and Citgo got no government help against his assaults, but state and federal pols rushed to the side of our beloved big employer/big defense contractor. One of the govt’s fave companies was threatened, starting the end of unregulated company-poaching, one of the hallmarks of ’80s commerce….

In other big news, the Easterners who bought Seattle Trust claimed at the time to be impressed by the bank’s reputation and good name — so why’d they demolish it all, as soon as the takeover deal was cleared, by slapping on those ugly Key Bank signs?….

Microsoft’s illustrious reputation has finally gained a little tarnish. A major software program was released full of bugs; then the Redmond firm received undeserved criticism when IBM released new computers designed for an operating system that MS won’t have ready for another year.

Get those “Save the Turf” badges back out. A Contemporary Theater has replaced Intiman as the cultural villain in a plot to destroy one of Downtown’s last truly human spaces for yet another totally unneeded office project. Expect no intervention from the city, which has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the developers…. Give thanks that the Paramount Theater/KKFX empire was rescued from possible bankruptcy. With its prime Convention Center location, the grand ol’ Paramount just might have been bought and razed.

As the moths swarm around the Frederick Cadillac floodlights this hot August night, a final reminder to avoid the $.25 foil-pouch wine at the Liquor Stores, take the 911 Homes for Art tour, read the new bio of cartoonist Winsor McCay, watch Cruzin’ Northwest Sat. morns on KSTW, and come back here next month. ‘Til then, peace and flowers for all.

7/86 MISC COLUMN FOR ARTSFOCUS
Jul 2nd, 1986 by Clark Humphrey

7/86 ArtsFocus Misc.

Welcome back, cult following, to the second installment of Misc., the column that explores popular culture in and out of Seattle. (Unlike that national “arbiter of popular culture” Ian Shoales, I’m not a fictional character created by a comedian. To the best of my knowledge, I really exist.) The opinions herein are not necessarily those of the Lincoln Arts Association or anyone affiliated with it. This column is appointed to be read in churches.

A professional person recently asked me, “How would you define a positive attitude?” A reasonable question, deserving a reasonable answer. Increasingly, the phrase “positive attitude” is used in our society to encourage the worst sorts of behavior. To me, artificial perkiness is not a positive attitude. Conformity is not a positive attitude. Masochism is not a positive attitude. Blind, unquestioning loyalty to your company or your country is not a positive attitude. To be truly positive is to see the things that need changing and to commit to helping change them. It’s easier than it sounds; it just starts with a commitment to be a professional person.

The immediate vicinity of Lincoln Arts now has its own positive-thinking honorary mayor. Ann Nofsinger, actress-writer-Two Bells Tavern waitress, was the narrow victor in a week-long campaign which became far more serious than many people had expected, especially considering that the first Mayor of Belltown was a drag queen named Dominic. This time, the three candidates had official-sounding slogans and platforms on real issues. Suffice it to say not all the debate/balloting audience at the Two Bells was as serious as the candidates.

Interest is now bound to increase in Nofsinger’s acting role in “White Elephants,” a 20-minute video play by Debla Kaminsky and Kurt Geissel. Originally devised to accompany a gallery show of “white paintings,” the play includes over 90 visual and verbal references to the all-reflective color, ranging in obscurity from a sack of flour and a man named Clifford Dover to the patron saint of virginity. It’s all served up within a story of feisty-innocent Nofsinger trading innuendoes with braggart Earl Brooks as they’re painting her apartment all in — you guessed it.

Not to be in Belltown much longer is Display and Costume Supply, the wonderful store where slumming normal people stood outside in line every Oct. 30 to get Halloween office party costumes. The latest victim of the real estate boom is going out with a public auction July 22, when loyal customers can stock up on Conehead wigs, mirror balls, sequins, vampire teeth, party favors, trophies, styrofoam Statue of Liberty torches, lamé fabrics, and plastic hot dogs, croissants, and lobsters. It’ll all still be available, but you’ll have to go north of Northgate to get it.

Also joining the ranks of the disappeared is WorkShop Printers, home of high-quality, low-cost printing for posters, newsletters, flyers, etc. by cultural and political groups. WorkShop products have bee so pervasive in these circles that I always thought they’d been around forever, or at least since the late ’60s, when in fact it has only been in business since 1980.

The new Display and Costume Supply is in the same general area as the Oak Tree Cinemas, the state-of-the-art sixplex everybody’s raving about. I’ll give a full review of the place as soon as it shows something worth seeing or at least something better than Top Gun,that two-hour commercial for the Pentagon budget. The willingness of Rolling Stone to hype that film is the final proof that the magazine no longer cares about anything and probably never did.

AD SLOGAN OF THE MONTH: “Silo, Where People Have Fun With Electricity.”

LICENSE PLATE HOLDER OF THE MONTH: Seen on Capitol Hill, this white-on-black custom job with the middle blacked out with masking tape, DAVE ‘N’ 4-EVER.

FOOD FAD OF THE MONTH: Teriyaki fast food. Once the monopoly of the former Toshi’s stands at Queen Anne and Green Lake, they’re now popping up all over town, from Beacon Hill to a resurrected Toshi’s on Aurora. You can eat huge helpings of calrose rice, crisp greens and your choice of beef, pork or a half chicken, usually for under $3. It’s the Pacific Rim-inspired alternative for non-vegetarians who really like to eat.

LOCAL PUBLICATION OF THE MONTH: Wiggansnatch. James Leland Moore has been making this incredibly handsome “Alternative Realities Literary Magazine” for three years now, overseeing its growth into one of the Northwest’s most original, contemporary media of fiction and art. Faced with rising losses, he’s cut back on size and scope with the latest issue, dropping the astute news-briefs column and returning Wiggansnatch to its roots in stories based on pagan and mystic traditions. It’s still great reading for your $2 at Left Bank Books and other select spaces.

The Interstate 90 landscaping in the Rainier Valley has, with the hot weather, bloomed tall grasses along rolling slopes. It’s as if the unfinished freeway has already started making Eastern Washington closer to Seattle.

A Lincoln Arts tenant, the Youth Defense Campaign, has a page in the California-based punk magazine Maximum Rock n’ Roll. YCC’s David Stubbs writes about the group’s efforts to stop the official suppression of independent underage entertainment. The July issue also has the shocking story of LA police arresting and indicting Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, America’s premier political-punk band, on trumped-up charges of “distributing pornographic materials” — an explicit painting by Academy Award-winning graphic designer H.R. Geiger, printed on the fold-out inside cover to an album with a warning sticker on the front. To quote a DKs song. “California Uber Alles” indeed. It’s time to take a true positive attitude and, to quote Biafra’s girlfriend Suzanne Stefanac in the article, “defend your right to deviant behavior.”

That’s it for now. Don’t get overdrawn on your Linda Farris Gallery custom credit card before we meet again.

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