Known for decades as a cranky reactionary political commentator, you might find it hard to believe he’d started as a Seattle Times art and theater reviewer.
There, and later as managing editor at the P-I, he regularly advocated for the “fine arts” as a civilizing force, a means toward furthering the region’s progress from frontier outpost to respectable conservative community.
When the Seattle World’s Fair ended, Guzzo famously editorialized that the fair grounds (to become Seattle Center) should be devoted entirely toward arts/cultural pursuits. He specifically did not want any amusement-park rides there. He lived to see them finally removed.
One of Guzzo’s closest allies in this education-and-uplifting ideology was Dixy Lee Ray, who ran the Pacific Science Center. He later worked for Ray at the Atomic Energy Commission and during her one term as Washington Governor.
After Ray was primaried out of a re-election bid in 1980, Guzzo became a regular commentator on KIRO-TV. That’s where, in 1986, he delivered a blistering attack against greasy-haired, anti-social punk rockers. (The motivation was the infamous Teen Dance Ordinance, which Guzzo supported.)
In response, a local hardcore combo called the Dehumanizers released a blistering attack on him, in the form of a 45 entitled “Kill Lou Guzzo” (which began with a sample of Guzzo’s original commentary). Guzzo sued the band and its record-label owner David Portnow. Portnow responded by pressing more copies.
After retiring from KIRO at the end of the 1980s, Guzzo started a “voice of reason” website and self-published several books.
I’ll have stuff to say about the big gay parade and the potential for NHL hockey in Seattle a little later this week. For now, some randomosis:
kenny johnson, the atlantic via io9.com
A lot of Seattleites, especially on Capitol Hill, have things to be happy about this week.
The gay marriage cause, for which a lot of people here worked very hard this past year, received a big boost from the U.S. Supreme Court—just in time for Pride Weekend.
But folks on the Hill, and all over town, still have a sad occasion today.
The Egyptian Theater closes after 33 years of screenings, including most of SIFF’s main shows.
A little history:
The Seattle Masonic Temple opened in 1915. By the 1970s, its big auditorium was regularly used for pro wrestling events.
In late 1975, Daryl McDonald and Dan Ireland leased the Moore Theatre downtown, and renamed it the “Moore Egyptian.” (There had been a previous Egyptian Theater in the U District, which has nothing to do with our story.)
That’s where McDonald and Ireland started SIFF in May 1976, with a short program of 18 screenings.
Four years later, McDonald and Ireland leased the Masonic auditorium and re-christened it the new Egyptian. New management returned the Moore to hosting live concerts and stage shows. SIFF used both rooms for a couple of years, then made the Egyptian its permanent annual home base.
The Masons sold the building to Seattle Central Community College in the mid-1980s. SCCC used the building’s non-auditorium areas for its (also now-ended) film and video program and for assorted offices.
After a few years, the Egyptian came into the Seven Gables chain, founded by local art-house tycoon Randy Finley. He sold his theaters in the mid-’80s. They later went into the national Landmark chain, which in turn was eventually bought by Dallas entrepreneur Mark Cuban. SIFF continued to rent out the Egyptian as its main venue for three and a half weeks each year.
(Cuban also owns the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. In 2008, he was the only NBA owner besides Seattle’s own Paul Allen (representing the Portland TrailBlazers) to vote against moving the Supersonics to Oklahoma.)
Meanwhile, the economics of motion-picture exhibition got steadily sourer.
The Internet, that great Disruptor of All Media, played a part.
So did the consolidation of the big studios and the big theater chains, making things tougher for relatively little guys like Landmark. (Cuban reportedly tried to sell Landmark a couple years ago, but got no takers.)
While the Egyptian was usually full or near-full during SIFF screenings, its 600 seats steadily became harder to fill during the other 48 weeks.
Once this year’s SIFF ended, Landmark quietly told SCCC it wouldn’t keep leasing the space.
The building’s not going away, unlike so many other Pike/Pine landmarks in recent years.
SCCC has fielded applicants to take over the auditorium, but hasn’t announced any new tenant.
SIFF has recently returned to running its own year-round theaters. Would, or could, SIFF add the Egyptian back into its full-time fold?
If SIFF or anyone else wanted to use it for movies, they’d have to get one of those costly digital-cinema projection setups the Hollywood distributors now require, and which have been the focus of “save our theater” fund drives here (Central Cinema, Northwest Film Forum) and elsewhere. Landmark already said it would remove the Egyptian’s digital setup, for re-installation at one of its other properties.
Alternately, the space could become (at least in non-SIFF months) a concert venue or lecture hall. (The stage is too shallow for much live-theater work.)
But, pending any revival as a single-screen cinema, it’s safe to say the Egyptian tradition ends today.
It’s not the last link to Seattle’s 1970s funky art-house aesthetic (the Harvard Exit, Grand Illusion, Guild 45th, and Seven Gables are still with us). But it’s still a loss.
wu ming, via daily kos
'every driver every time it ever rains ever'
neil hubbard via cousearem.wordpress.com
No, today’s princess is not about romance: it’s more about entitlement. I call it “girlz power” because when you see that “z” (as in Bratz, Moxie Girlz, Ty Girlz, Disney Girlz) you know you’ve got trouble. Girlz power sells self-absorption as the equivalent of self confidence and tells girls that female empowerment, identity, independence should be expressed through narcissism and commercialism.
These Streets, the musical revue/play at ACT (running through March 10) about four women in the ’90s Seattle rock scene and two (mostly) supportive boyfriends, was constructed as a series of non-linear “moments.”
Scenes bounced between the past and present; the “past” storyline covers five years in the characters’ lives. Many of these short scenes and mini-monologues depicted single ideas or emotions.
In the show’s spirit, this piece is also a sequence of moments.
I mentioned in my 1995 book Loser how the national media’s false “grunge” stereotype included “no women in sight, not even as video models.”
But in the real Seattle scene, women were involved in leading roles from the start. Women were singers, instrumentalists, managers, promoters, venue owners, zine publishers, photographers, DJs, and record-label owners.
In keeping with the scene’s ethos, most of these women weren’t vying for fame and fortune. (The exception, Courtney Love, already had a record deal before she came here.)
But then a scene that, to many of its members, was an alternative to the major-label machine, became re-defined as fodder FOR the major-label machine.
The global music industry, at what turned out to be its peak of money and power, trawled Seattle fishing for superstars. The Gits were negotiating with a label when singer Mia Zapata was killed. Seven Year Bitch released one album on Atlantic, then broke up. But most of the scene’s women were ignored.
Over the years, “grunge nostalgia” books and documentaries (most made by out-of-towners) continued to ignore artists from the scene who hadn’t become big stars, including the women.
One of Harley and Rudinoff’s goals with the play was to remember this forgotten history.
These Streets, along with its concurrent poster-art and oral-history exhibit at the Project Room gallery on Capitol Hill, received massive coverage in local and national media.
The show includes parts of 18 vintage songs, originally recorded by 14 different female-fronted Seattle acts. Having four different characters singing the songs allowed the show’s makers to feature diverse musical material, from ballads (“power” and other) to straight-out punk blasts.
If any of those bands at the time had received a fraction of the publicity These Streets received, who knows what could have happened?
In keeping with the do-it-yourself spirit, These Streets was staged and produced by Gretta Harley and Sarah Rudinoff, who’d also written it (with Elizabeth Kenny).
Kenny and Rudinoff played the older versions of two of the characters. Harley sang and played guitar in the show’s tight backup band. Harley had been in the ’90s rock scene with the bands Maxi Badd, Danger Gens, and Eyefulls. She and Rudinoff currently perform as the duo We Are Golden.
ACT Theatre provided the auditorium space and various production services, under its “Central Heating Lab” program. (Carlo Scandiuzzi, ACT’s executive director, had promoted punk and new-wave gigs at the Showbox in the early 1980s.)
Harley, Rudinoff, and Kenny spent two years developing the script and score, based in part on interviews with some 40 Seattle-scene veterans. Twenty-three of these women were featured in historical graphics installed in the ACT lobby.
The show’s present-day storyline involves five of the six characters (yes, that’s a plot spoiler) reminiscing about their days of non-stardom, while surveying their later lives of houses, kids, divorces, and stints in rehab.
And they still have the urge to make music and art, to be on stage, to be loud and passionate in front of a crowd.
The world of their youth, the pre-dot-com Seattle of 1989-94, has largely vanished. The city isn’t the same and neither are they.
According to Harley, the present-day scenes refer to a time when “you’re in this stage of life and you look back and take ownership of it. But then you’re also looking forward for first time in a very particular way. I hope the show helps to illuminate that ownership of this time in our lives, and also look back and say, ‘Hey kid, you had a lot of guts to get up and do that.'”
Harley says the making of These Streets was “a great experience. People who lived it seem to really love it; they feel that it’s very authentic. A couple of people said it inspired them to pick up music again.”
While no further performances have been scheduled past its three-week run, “we’re taking it one step at a time at this point.”
(Cross-posted with City Living.)
haley young, via seattlemag.com
You really ought to see These Streets, the new play at ACT about five women in the ’90s local rock scene.
Its writers (Gretta Harley, Sarah Rudinoff, Elizabeth Kenny; pictured above) were there. They know of what they speak.
I mentioned in my book Loser how the national media’s false “grunge” stereotype included “no women in sight, not even as video models.”
But in the real Seattle scene, women were involved in leading roles from the start, on stage (Kim Warnick, Sue Ann Harkey, Barbara Ireland) and off (managers, venue owners, photographers, zine publishers, etc.).
Now, the truth may at last become better known.
ap via nwcn.com
beth dorenkamp via grindhouse theater tacoma
Onetime P-I cartoonist Ramon "Ray" Collins, to be featured in the documentary Bezango, WA
‘Tis election day. The most infuriatingly nervous day of the year, or in this case of the quadrennium. (I believe that’s a word.)
The polls, even the progressive leaning polls, predict a tighter race than I want. I want Obama across the board over Mr. Lying One-Percenter Tax Cheat Hypocrite in previously “red” states, and all victorious long before the Pacific Time Zone results show up. If I can’t get that, I at least want an Obama victory big enough that even the partisan-hack dirty tricks in Ohio and Florida (and even here) can’t threaten it.
Back to randomosity:
“Amidst the Everyday,” a project by photographers-artists Aaron Asis and Dan Hawkins, aims to reveal “elements of the unseen urban environment.” You go to places around town, scan QR codes (etched in wood!) at various buildings, and receive images of their hidden treasures. (Above, one of the unoccupied-for-decades upper floors of the Eitel Building at Second and Pike.)