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RANDOM LINKS FOR 10/22/13
Oct 22nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

I mourn the Comet Tavern for what it had been. The un-upscaled hippie hangout; the dive that remained a dive when most of the other dives in town cleaned up their acts. I don’t mourn what it had become—a hangout ruled by an oft-violent aggro gang called Hate City. (A good friend, a petite female, was once roughed up by bouncers there, badly.) Could any new owners make it an inviting place again?

  • My ol’ pal Steven Shaviro uses a lot of highly obscure intellectual-left lingo in this essay about the futility of “transgressive” art/film/music in today’s world. I believe he’s saying you can’t be a “rebel punk” anymore, because the hyper-corporate society you’re rebelling against is “punker” (more offensive, aggressive, destructive) than you’ll ever be.
  • David Byrne has stopped pretending not to be white, long enough to notice one-percenter real estate speculation and Internet “disruption” (i.e., not paying content creators) as twin menaces to the arts and creativity.
  • Meanwhile, our ol’ pal Tom Frank claims pundits who talk about “the creative class” are really just talking about corporate players who like to imagine themselves as “creative.”
  • The e-book revolution has become a surprising boon to traditional big publishers. But it’s a hassle to libraries, which often have to pay more to provide e-books than physical books.
  • A husband-and-wife music duo in Arizona came to a sudden end. The wife died in a hospital; the husband then killed himself—after posting each death to the wife’s Facebook page under her name.
  • America’s biggest export to China was recycled plastic. But not anymore.
  • Gay men don’t have the right to grope women without consent either.
  • A British historian claims Jesus was a made-up character, invented by the Romans in an attempt to encourage conquered Jews to become more passive. Needless to say, there are many who disagree with this premise.
  • Is Cinemax really discontinuing its late-night softcore shows, unofficially nicknamed “Skinemax”? From the sound of this story, it’s more likely the cable channel’s just preferring to promote its primetime originals, in which sex takes a decided back seat to violence.
  • Andrew Fischer at GeneralForum.com has two lists (with a third promised) of “Really Annoying Facebook Friends We All Have.” Not included (yet): the one who posting vaguely-worded links to vaguely-headlined articles, attracting all vaguely-worded responses.
  • Elsewhere in snarkland, there’s a blog entry all about ridiculous traveler complaints:

We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 10/20/13
Oct 20th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

charter construction via ronald holden, cornichon.org

Gosh, has it really been more than three weeks since I’ve done this? Time flies when you’re desperately looking for paying work (i.e., absolutely not “for the exposure”).

Anyhow:

  • The prefab apartment units (above) recently craned into place next to Dan’s Belltown Grocery on Third are not really “apodments.” They’re from a different developer than the company that owns that name. And they’re about 425 square feet each, a “regular apartment” size that’s much larger than those micro-apts.
  • Meanwhile, the residents (many of them elderly) of a Ballard apartment complex are standing their ground and refusing to be evicted from their longtime homes in the name of upscaling.
  • Use It Or Lose It Dept.: The current owners of Scarecrow Video say they’re in desperate fiscal straits. If enough former loyal customers don’t resume renting/buying “physical media” at the U District institution, “the world’s largest collection of movies” will go away forever.
  • Tom Foley, 1929-2013: The Spokane liberal (yes, there really are such) and former U.S. House Speaker thrived in a disappeared age of gentler, more cooperative politics (i.e., two-way backroom dealmaking). The end of that era was the end of his political career; he was ousted by a corporate Republican who promised to limit his own terms of office, then promptly forgot that promise.
  • As another baseball season reaches its last round, Steve Rudman claims the Mariners’ bosses don’t even know how clueless they are.
  • Stop the coal trains! (Besides, I always liked Thelonius Monk better.)
  • Great moments in market segmentation: Rave dancers now have a bottled water “made” just for them.
  • Of course, Sean Hannity’s “victims of Obamacare” were all fake. But you knew that.
  • Charles Simic at the NY Review o’ Books has harsh words for inequality deniers and other right-wing goons:

We have forgotten what this country once understood, that a society based on nothing but selfishness and greed is not a society at all, but a state of war of the strong against the weak.

rocketnews24.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/27/13
Sep 27th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

seattleglobalist.com

  • The thorough folks at Seattle Globalist traced UW-licensed apparel items back to the places where they were made, to the people who made them, and to how much more the people who made them would need to earn to meet the local cost of living.
  • Speaking of apparel, BuzzFeed’s got some sorry evidence of pathetic attempts to turn punk rock nostalgia into mere fashion-fad fodder.
  • Still speaking of apparel, Sesame Street really doesn’t like unauthorized “Sexy Big Bird” Halloween costumes. (You can still get the “Pho King Hot” waitress costume, though.)
  • Why is Storyville Coffee, a single espresso and pastry boutique in the Pike Place Market, spending so much on lavish pre-opening marketing (including a month of free food and drinks for invited guests)? Because (1) it’s the first unit of a planned chain, and (2) it’s got the zillionaire behind a for-profit college backing it. (And as an aside, the owners also have ties to the “hip” but reactionary Mars Hill Church.) (And as another aside, do they even know they’ve named it after New Orleans’ old red-light district?)
  • Can the scenic, low-density office “park” that is the ex-Battelle Research campus in Laurelhurst be saved? And should it?
  • Eric Stevick at the Everett Herald has the sad life story of a woman who basically never got a break her entire life, and then died in the Snohomish County jail because they wouldn’t send for medical help.
  • Bumper salmon runs! Yay! Just, you know, keep ’em away from the dogs.
  • Pasta-and-pride dept.: Barilla’s CEO doesn’t care much for the gays, but Bertolli (hearts) the gays. Or something like that.
  • Bono wants a more equitable tax system in Ireland, but will still keep his own millions stashed away in offshore trust accounts.
  • Could Google’s latest search-ranking changes finally kill off that bane to humanity that is “Search Engine Optimization”?
  • Ted Cruz apparently didn’t understand that Green Eggs and Ham is a liberal allegory about open mindedness. But he’s yesterday’s news. Today’s news is the conservatives’ next showdown target, the debt ceiling.
  • Do they serve Hello Kitty beer on the Hello Kitty plane?
  • Let’s leave you today with some visual inspiration, of sorts, in the form of “Terrible Real Estate Agent Photos.”

terriblerealestateagentphotos.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/26/13
Sep 26th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

pelican bay foundation via capitolhillseattle.com

First, another “sorry folks” for not getting something up to the site lately. I know some of you enjoy these li’l linx, even when I don’t have a major essay about something.

For now, back to Randomosity:

  • The mural at the Kingfish Cafe’s building on east Capitol Hill (see above) dates back to the ’70s and to a noble experiment in cooperatively-run artist housing. Read the comments to learn how it collapsed.
  • A Bloomberg commentator decries Amazon’s South Lake Union “geek zone” as a swath of real estate “cursed by dullness.”
  • Amazon’s newest Kindle Fire tablet has one “killer app” selling point: live, human, tech support!
  • Getting the Rainier Beer “R” logo back up on the ex-brewery building will be nice. It would be even nicer if the brand’s current owners would make it here again, instead of at the Miller plant in the L.A. exurbs. There’s gotta be enough excess microbrewery capacity in Washington to make that possible.
  • (Rhetorical) question of the day: Would the local Caucasian model who donned black body paint for a fashion shoot make a good (rhetorical) question for the blog Yo, Is This Racist?
  • As discussed earlier this year at EMP, the likes of Miley Cyrus are, no matter how superficially “transgressive,” still the product of a star-maker machine that subjects female pop singers to a “packaging process.”
  • When it comes to regressive taxation against the poor, we’re (still) number one! (But Washington’s still a “progressive” state because we love gays and pot, right?)
  • A local grocery strike looks more likely.
  • An “adjunct professor” in Pittsburgh died a horrid death, without savings or health insurance. This is a facet of the status quo the Obamacare-bashing right wingers so desperately want to preserve. (Another facet: the cuts to mental health services that leave the dangerously untreated on the streets.)
  • No, Huffington Post,“Generation Y” folks don’t particularly feel “special” or “entitled.” Poverty-stricken and opportunity-deprived, yes.
  • Could “Internet workers” be subject to minimum wage laws? I sure hope so. And the same goes for other freelance and “for the exposure” workers, who are workers indeed.
  • I don’t need to view condom-free porn videos because, unlike apparently a lot of self-describing “straight” men, I’m indifferent toward the sight of other men’s parts.
  • And to help you politely refute specious “comment trolls” online and in “real” life, here’s a handy li’l Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments.

ali almossawi

    RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/17/13
    Sep 17th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    via washingtonpost.com

    • Our ol’ pal Lynda Barry reveals “The 20 Stages of Reading.”
    • Knute Berger sez the real issue in recent local violent crimes isn’t political “leadership,” it’s the sorry state of mental-health care.
    • We now know where Bauhaus Coffee is going, temporarily, while its building gets knocked down and replaced. It’s moving into the about-to-close Capitol Club’s space, just two blocks up East Pine.
    • Chick-Fil-A, the fast food chain with the cow commercials and the homophobic CEO, is coming to Northgate.
    • A micro-apartment developer wants Amazon to put up its short-stay employees, vendors, etc. at his buildings instead of hotels. So much for the argument that “we’re just trying to make affordable housing pencil out businesswise” etc.
    • In case you care, Bill Gates is the richest guy in the country again.
    • A Nation of Change essay comparing Libertarians’ ideological justifications for selfishness to “comic book writing” is an insult to comic book writers everywhere (yes, even at Marvel).
    • Bob Woodward describes the GOP standard operating procedure these days as “extortion and blackmail.”
    • My fellow Stranger refugee S.P. Miskowski now writes horror stories, and she’s looking for good examples of “bad woman” characters. Not daring rebel women who were really good but just called bad, mind you. She wants real (fictional) female baddies.
    • Playboy’s latest, er, re-vamp in search of lost circulation and ad bucks: “natural” glamour, instead of bleach and silicone. Also, 1 percent-y lifestyle articles.
    RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/2/13
    Sep 1st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    sprudge.com

    • Coffee blogger Alex Bernson serves up some kind words, and a little design history, toward Capitol Hill’s soon-to-close Bauhaus Kaffee & Kunst:

    It is the quintessential Northwest cafe—rustic industrial meets cozy 1950s Modern nostalgia in a beautiful, double-height corner space. It manages to feel warm, inviting, and communal all at once, even when the acres of windows are filled with oppressively gray Seattle skies.

    • Timothy Harris of Real Change has some icononoclastic, and caustic, words about the eviction of the “Nicklesville” homeless encampment.
    • Seattle’s Cinerama’s getting the snazziest, brightest digital cinema projecter ever.
    • Texas Gov. Rick Parry might finally face prosecution for alleged abuse of power.
    • A “banker-turned-writer” who predicted the financial floposity of ’08 now says the U.S. is at the verge of a “new economic boom.”
    • A new smartphone app encourages bicyclists on group rides to break away and race against the clock on their own. A bike blog calls this an invitation to antisocial behavior.
    • Computer chips could stop getting ever-smaller and more powerful every year, not due to physical limitations but to economic ones.
    • In modern (or postmodern or neomodern) fiction, is there such a thing as “The New Weird”? Or has this particular brand of weird always been with us?
    • A lesser-talked-about aspect of Miley Cyrus’s “twerking” performance: It was another in the centuries-old tradition of white performers paying “tribute” to black culture by stereotyping blacks as sexy savages.
    • (By the way, there’s apparently a Twitter meme called “solidarity is for white women,” dissing white feminists who imagine affluent white women’s issues as comprising the sum total of all women’s issues.)
    • (By the by-the-way, I’m still not sure what “twerking” is, but I’m not completely against it.)
    • (By the by-the-by-the-way, some guy wrote an advice essay on “How to Talk With Your Sons About Robin Thicke.” Unfortunately, the advice had only to do with the “Blurred Lines” video and its depictions of women. It’s also vital to address common stereotypes of men as dumb, dick-obsessed dorks.)
    RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/31/13
    Aug 31st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    soundersfc.com

    • Turns out there’s a word for these massive fan-made visual displays at soccer matches. The word is “tifo.”
    • The NY Times notes that Amazon hasn’t asked for a dime in extra tax breaks for its big Seattle development schemes.
    • Meanwhile, could Amazon start its own wireless cell-phone network?
    • Even the rarified realm of Seattle sushi, there are problematic “bigot diners.”
    • After almost 50 years, the Francine Seders Gallery in Phinney Ridge closes this December.
    • After 22 years, the radio station known as “The Mountain” is leaving the air, sort of. An Internet feed and a digital sub-channel will continue the format (but will they have live DJs?).
    • The UW experiment in “mind control” won’t immediately lead to anything useful, like helping disabled people regain control of their limbs or anything.
    • “Celebrity architects” don’t always design monumental, scenery-dominating houses in the countryside for fat cat clients. Sometimes they do it for themselves.
    • In keeping with my occasional claims that we’re entering a long attention span generation, the Guardian claims that big epic novels “are back.”
    • It’s not just McDonald’s workers who are getting screwed over. Franchise operators allege the company’s been overcharging them with rent and fees.
    • Coca-Cola’s marketing a stevia-sweetened “Coca-Cola Life” drink, with vague claims of “healthiness,” but only in Argentina.
    • Could the building blocks of life on Earth have come here from Mars?
    • It turns out that Larry Summers, the onetime Harvard president who may be nominated to head the Federal Reserve, was involved in the World Trade Organization and its 1999 efforts to force big financial deregulation upon all its member countries. (You may remember a little protest when the outfit had its convention here.)
    RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/6/13
    Aug 6th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    via adweek

    • Insurance companies should not change their logos often, if ever. The branding “mystique” for insurance ought to be about stability, reassurance. Well, one company had the dumb idea to “modernize” its identity. Yep, it sucks.
    • The owners of Greenwood’s Couth Buzzard bookstore (where I had a lovely book presentation in ’11) have created an ongoing art and music project in memory of their daughter, who died from cancer at age 18.
    • The NY Times picked up the story of the local woman who wrote her own, lovely, Seattle Times paid obit.
    • The feud between Geoff Tate and the other original members of Queensryche: it’s gettin’ brutal. And not in a fun “shredding” sort of way.
    • Seattle Weekly’s got a keen piece about graffiti artists in the abandoned Fisher flour mill.
    • Folks in this state drink less beer than folks in most any other state.
    • Here’s how the Sounders got Clint “Don’t Call Me Patrick” Dempsey.
    • Sorry, Capt. Kirk: Teleportation is scientifically impossible, at least with living human subjects. The brain is just too complex to be instantly copied and re-built.
    • Meanwhile, the next star of Doctor Who is 55, the same age First Doctor William Hartnell was at the show’s start a half century ago.
    • A Miss Utah contestant was charged with throwing firebombs from a car.
    • 24/7 Wall St. lists once-mighty restaurant chains that are either mostly or wholly disappeared.
    • Books that are under copyright but out of print become part of a “hole in our collective memory.”
    RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/4/13
    Aug 4th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    daily mail

    …(T)he madness of the GOP is the central issue of our time.

    RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/28/13
    Jul 28th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    nextnature.net

    • While sorting my stuff for an upcoming move (more on that a little later), I’ve unearthed some pieces of almost Jurassic technology. Just the sort of things depicted in the art project “Modern Fossils.”
    • The Northwest Film Forum’s Bill Kennedy reminisces about repertory cinemas in Seattle in the 1980s (a couple of which I was involved with).
    • How to fix the Mariners fan experience (other than fielding a more competitive team)? Adjust or dump the “dynamic pricing;” put paper cups beneath the mustard dispensers; stop limiting T shirt giveaways to the first 5,000 through the gates.
    • Timothy B. Lee at the Wash. Post claims Microsoft “is doomed” in the tablet/smartphone age, but that it’ll still “make a ton of money” as Windows and Office enter their declining years.
    • A “scholarly publishing” industry analyst claims Amazon is “a great company with a bad character”—and excellent customer service.
    • We’ve already told you that many “basic cable” channels make more money off of pieces of people’s cable bills than they make from commercials. Now, industry analysts claim that if channels such as ESPN were “unbundled,” they’d have to charge $30 a month or more to those viewers who’d specifically want them.
    • Original Simpsons co-executive producer (and Playboy TV poker-show host) Sam Simon is dying of cancer, and will leave his fortune (including a hefty share of Simpsons royalties) to charity.
    • Female ex-Merrill Lynch workers claim the Wall St. giant issued them copies of a book on how to “stroke men’s egos,” and that the company reprimanded them for “not being ‘perky’ or ‘bubbly’ enough with customers and colleagues.”
    • A lawsuit claims “‘Occupy’ protesters in Minneapolis were used as ‘guinea pigs’ in a [state] government drug research program.”
    • Carl Gibson suggests “Nine Ways to Organize the Next Civil Rights Movement.” I’ve got #10: Don’t depend on, or cede control to, white alt-culture “radicals.”
    • Justifying, excusing, and even celebrating the lives of brutal homicidal dictators is a time-honored tradition. Today’s example: Robert Mugabe.
    • Great old hangouts aren’t just disappearing in Seattle. Today’s example: Tacoma’s 75-year-old Flying Boots Cafe.

    tacoma news tribune

    RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/24/13
    Jul 23rd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    via capitolhillseattle.com

    • Bauhaus Kunst & Koffee, one of the many businesses being “disrupted” by Pike/Pine’s mega-development boom, has its official gallows-humor “wrecking ball” T shirt.
    • As we may have mentioned here before, our supposed “progressive” town has a worse gender pay gap than the nation as a whole.
    • Did Microsoft really waste nearly $1 billion on the Surface RT tablet, or should at least part of that be considered R&D/marketing expense to be carried over into future models?
    • Microsoft has also quietly shut down the product/service once known as WebTV.
    • Meanwhile, the end of Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color tablet shouldn’t be seen as foreboding the end of B&N as a whole.
    • A Calif. tax-planning firm put Seattle as the #2 city for startup companies.
    • And a Forbes.com “contributor” placed Seattle on a list of world cities with the most patent applications per population.
    • Pando Daily’s Sarah Lacy, quoting an anonymous publishing-biz source, insists Amazon is “going to kill” the traditional book industry. Lacy places the blame on book-biz malpractices, such as putting big bucks into celebrity titles instead of the sacred literary midlist that “book people” always whine about. Sorry but no. Snooki’s “memoir” will not kill publishing. Just as previous decades’ celebrity books didn’t. And neither will Amazon. It needs a variety of suppliers, just as all “media channels” do.
    • Seattle’s first dedicated bike lanes are now operational.
    • Are Seattleites “snobbish” when they talk about not wanting to have, or be around, children?
    • Our own Bill Nye made #16 on a list of the 22 “All Time Hottest Hunks of PBS.” Bob (Magic of Oil Painting) Ross didn’t even make the list.
    • Meanwhile, a PBS YouTube “channel” is home to a serious discussion on the supposedly radical “gender bending” aspects of BMO (pronounced “Beemo”), a character on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time. Here comes the “but-duh” part: BMO is an anthropomorphic talking computer, a machine. Machines don’t usually have genders.
    • Is Sears being driven into the ground by a CEO who likes Ayn Rand’s theories too much?
    RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/16/13
    Jul 15th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    • I’ll have my own comments about the big Sub Pop anniversary shindig in a bit. But here’s Charles Peterson’s definitive pic of the event.
    • The next local funky institution to fall victim to overdevelopment: the venerable downtown music club Noc Noc.
    • We already told you of the development scheme that would erase Wallingford’s beloved Chinese restaurant and dive bar Moon Temple. Now it turns out CVS, a pharmacy chain with little presence in this region heretofore, is anchoring the project. A petition has been started.
    • One of those Forbes.com “contributors” describes today’s Pearl Jam as a “mature lifestyle business.”
    • How do artists make it fiscally in today’s Seattle? With great difficulty.
    • The Pike Place Market’s “gum wall” is bigger than it’s supposed to be.
    • At Microsoft today, “radical” reorganizations are almost as frequent as they used to be at Apple. (By the way, here’s what Jean-Louis Gassée, who led Apple during some of that firm’s reorgs, had to say last year about MS’s callous way of picking people to fire.)
    • UW students are planting anti-human-trafficking messages with feminine napkins. The story doesn’t say how the students plan to get the products to the intended recipients.
    • Alaska Airlines doesn’t want the City of SeaTac to impose “living wage” requirements on airport-based workers.
    • Still need a tourist destination for the rest of this summer? Check out Pocatello ID’s “Museum of Clean.”
    • Some extremist nutjob tried to pass off footage of the 2011 Vancouver Canucks fan riot as if it were Miamians protesting the Zimmerman verdict, instead of depicting the peaceful, anti-violence protests here and elsewhere.
    • Mark Sumner at Daily Kos ponders whether humankind’s strive toward a greater future could just putter out.
    • Bob Moser at The American Prospect sees the south turning solidly progressive, but perhaps not for another decade.
    • Some YouTuber has edited all of Terry Gilliam’s animations from Monty Python’s Flying Circus together into four complilations.

    RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/11/13
    Jul 10th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    • Nostalgia Alert: M.J. McDermott, KCPQ’s morning weatherperson, was “Ronnie” on Roscoe and Ronnie, the last local kids’ show on commercial TV. It was axed in ’95, when KSTW’s out-of-state owners killed all that station’s local programming. Now she’s petitioning the FCC, to encourage shows like that to be brought back.
    • Roberta Byrd Barr, recently deceased at age 74, was Seattle’s first female high-school principal, and the first African-American to host local TV public-affairs shows.
    • Seattle without the original Ivar’s Acres of Clams? It could happen, for as long as nine months. It’s one of 15 waterfront businesses the City wants to pay to keep closed during tunnel construction.
    • Seattle Times Shrinkage Watch: Executive editor David Boardman’s quitting after 30 years, to work at Temple U in Philly.
    • Seattle Central Community College’s health-ed programs could move into part of the old Beacon Hill hospital tower that was once Amazon’s HQ.
    • Amazon’s getting into comix publishing, specializing (at least at first) in adaptations of Nerderati-favorite novelists.
    • Edward Snowden: Courageous whistleblower or right-Libertarian Obama-basher?
    • The Beats: Daring nonconformists or sexist dweebs?
    • UK publisher Felix Dennis sold the U.S. edition of Maxim and two other “lad mags” for $250 million. Six years later, Maxim is for sale again, for a mere $20 million.
    • A federal judge has ruled against Apple and the big book publishers in that e-book price-fixing suit.
    • Health Scare of the Week: Fish oil capsules could give men cancer.
    • Just because most people who believe themselves to be MSG- or gluten-intolerant probably aren’t, it doesn’t mean they don’t get real symptoms.
    • Take away the “hipster”-bashing headline and there’s still a potential real problem with people who decide they can’t run their backyard chicken coops anymore, and who just drop off the critters at animal shelters.
    • The Quebec oil-train disaster was caused by plain ol’ crude catching on fire, just like in the Gulf of Mexico.
    • The Next Big (Televised) Thing, according to the Norwegians: “Slow TV.” Long-attention-span (or simply hypnotic) umpteen-hour, real-time explorations of train trips, knitting demonstrations, and salmon fishing.
    • After 40 years as everybody’s favorite “obscure music” band, the Residents deserve better than for have Ke$ha’s backup dancers to steal their trademark eyeballs-and-tuxedos look.
    • Back in the mid-’90s, Penn and Teller set out to create the world’s dullest and most infuriating video game. They probably succeeded.

    the new yorker

    RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/2/13
    Jul 2nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    wallyhood.org

    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:

    • Seattle’s next potentially doomed institution: Wallingford’s infamous Chinese restaurant and un-“restored” dive bar, the Moon Temple.
    • By killing King County Metro’s chance to save itself, State Sen. Rodney Tom is not only a traitor to the Democratic Party but to the people of his own county.
    • Here’s Dan Ireland, co-founder of SIFF and the Egyptian Theater, commenting on that storied film venue’s recent demise.
    • Blistering Eastern Washington heat + booze + “rave drugs” mixed by who-knows-whom from who-knows-what = danger.
    • Seattle’s first civil-rights sit-in occurred 50 years ago this week at the old Municipal Building, protesting racial discrimination in housing and the City’s sluggish pace at doing anything about it. An anti-discrimination law still took five years after that to get enacted.
    • The NY Times (heart)s Macklemore.
    • Some guy’s list of the “100 Greatest Female Film Characters” is long on “costume” roles (such as Catwoman) from action blockbusters, crowding out more ambitious drama/comedy parts.
    • Kansas City’s all-underground office complex is only one of the “weirdest urban ecosystems on earth.”

    kenny johnson, the atlantic via io9.com

    THE FINAL REEL
    Jun 27th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    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.

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