seattle dept. of transportation
…historically the stingiest, most fiscally conservative, most technologically resistant and investment-averse people ever, with the highest percentage of luddites per capita.
Earlier this year, KUOW and MOHAI came up with a list of 25 “objects that tell Seattle’s story.”
They range from the obvious (a Boeing B-17, a poster announcing the Japanese-American internment, a Starbucks coffee cup) to the more obscure (an ancient, giant ground sloth).
A little more recently, SeattlePI.com ran a list of “25 things we miss in Seattle.”
These also ranged from the truly famous (the Lusty Lady sign, Frederick & Nelson’s window displays) to the lesser known (the Woodland Park Zoo’s nocturnal-creatures exhibit).
I’ve got my own list of Seattle pop culture icons. All of them are things I’ve personally seen or owned.
And yes, there are 25 of them. (Why break a routine that works?)
In no particular order, they are:
via jerry beck at indiewire.com
This did not have to happen.
In a more epathetic world it would not happen.
In a world that was less overrun by sociopaths and their media/political enablers, it would not happen.
famousfoto.com, via mooreslore.corante.com
It seems like just yesterday that I was complaining about KOMO firing its pundits Bryan Johnson and Ken Schram, and about its parent company bringing hate talk back to KVI-AM.
We’ve got a bigger problem now.
Fisher Broadcasting, the only owner KOMO-TV and Radio has ever had, is being sold.
That would be bad enough. Fisher was the last locally-owned major commercial broadcaster around here, and its loss would complete the capture of the Puget Sound’s airwaves by big out-of-state station groups.
But this particular out-of-state station group is far, far worse than most.
It’s Sinclair Broadcasting.
More than any other station group (even Fox’s company-owned broadcast stations), Sinclair imposes right-wing propaganda content on its properties.
In 2003, Sinclair ordered ABC affiliates it owned not to run a Nightline episode about Gulf War combat deaths.
In 2004, Sinclair ordered all its stations to run, in prime time, a propaganda film by the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth,” spreading false allegations about John Kerry’s service record in Vietnam.
In 2010, Sinclair ordered six of its stations to run, in prime time, an even less-true GOP propaganda film branding Obama as an anti-democracy extremist and an ally of mideast terrorists.
Oh—and like so many other companies in so many industries, it’s been severely hiking executive pay packages while severely cutting workers’ wages.
Margaret Thatcher’s recent death has sprung off a veritable gusher of reaction, much of it vitriolic.
This is to be expected in regard to the woman who oversaw the brutal decimation of the UK’s “welfare state” and the destruction of its once-mighty industrial base.
The woman who so firmly delivered that nation into the hands of financiers that even the opposition felt it had to conform (becoming the anti-working-class “New Labour”).
The precursor (and intellectual superior) to Reagan (whose regime, as you recall, was also run by “a strong woman”) and an inspirer/co-conspirator in the crimes of Reaganism, crimes whose long term effects still plague this country today.
The friend of despots and state terrorists who never met a dictator she didn’t like (so long as said dictator professed to be anti-Communist).
The inspirer of a wealth of deservedly angry protest music, which helped to transform punk and “postpunk” from an aesthetic niche into a sociopolitical movement, at least in the British Isles.
In her day, and since, some have argued that Thatcher should at least be respected as “a strong woman,” and even as a feminist of sorts.
I would argue that she helped disprove one of the most easily disproven tenets promoted by some feminists, that “Women” are innately the Moral Sex.
And Thatcher helped prove another tenet, that a woman is capable of doing anything. Including very, very bad things.
Thatcher, of course, didn’t do all she did by herself.
She was an active frontwoman for a group of movements with different but similar goals—to defund the poor, to smash organized labor, to redistribute wealth into fewer and fewer hands, to turn the state into the tool of financial speculation, to prop up even more brutal regimes from Chile to South Africa.
And Britain, and the world, are still feeling the ills from them.
via seattle bike blog
So much has been written already about the beloved film critic, TV host, author, Russ Meyer screenwriter, champion of obscure good films, vilifier of stinkeroos, and stoic survivor of one of the worst cancers anybody ever had.
I can only repeat what’s already been said—that Ebert was admirably both a film-lore geek and a populist, a man of aesthetic standards who wasn’t above enjoying (and helping make) down-n’-dirty exploitation, and a great wit.
Here are two pieces of his that have been rediscovered of late.
In the first piece from 2010, he looks back at his post-adolescence, in an era when college administrations still actively attempted to prevent students from having sex.
Then in his 2011 memoir Life Itself, he discusses his completely grody cancer and says, “I do not fear death.” And he explains his political stance:
“Kindness” covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world.
Here are reminiscences of Ebert by two Seattleite members of his longtime blogging team, Jeff Shannon and my ol’ UW Daily staffmate Jim Emerson.
As I’ve written here before (see category tag “books”), the book industry is not, repeat NOT, dying.
(That’s the newspaper industry, the music industry, and the non-cable TV industry.)
Book sales have held their own in this one-two punch era of economic blecch and Internet “disruption” better than most any other “old media” business, with the possible exception of movie theaters.
And the percentage of book sales held by indie bookstores has also held about even. Online and e-book sales ate disproportionately into the revenues of big chain bookstores, leading directly to Borders’ collapse.
For a more thorough look at the book biz—past, present, and future—check out “What Is the Business of Literature?,” an essay by Richard Nash for the Virginia Quarterly Review.
Nash believes, as do I, that the literary biz has been a hidebound, inefficient beast, and that the sooner it gets dragged kicken’-n’-screamin’ into the modern age, the better:
Book culture is in far less peril than many choose to assume, for the notion of an imperiled book culture assumes that book culture is a beast far more refined, rarified, and fragile than it actually is. By defining books as against technology, we deny our true selves, we deny the power of the book. Let’s restore to publishing its true reputation—not as a hedge against the future, not as a bulwark against radical change, not as a citadel amidst the barbarians, but rather as the future at hand, as the radical agent of change, as the barbarian. The business of literature is blowing shit up.
The setting: KeyArena, 2:20 on a Wednesday afternoon. The place is filled with 15,000 middle- and high-school students and their adult chaperones. I’m in a staff lounge, preparing to start working on the tear-down crew at the end of this event, watching the on-stage action from a video feed.
From the elaborate stage, event hosts Craig and Marc Kielburger tease an already hyped-up crowd with the promise of a final surprise guest. Then they introduce said guest.
This is followed by the screechingly loudest human noise imaginable, as the young crowd screams in unison.
It is only due to the miracle of modern amplification that local hereos Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (with their full live band) can be heard.
Thus ended the first non-sporting event I’d been to in KeyArena since presidential candidate Barack Obama’s visit in the spring of 2008. That event, like this, was a rousing call to action.
But the Obama rally was a mere toe-tapper compared to the rafters-shaking experience that was We Day, a five-hour celebration of kids getting involved in their communities and in the larger world.
We Day has been staged in cities across Canada for the past six years. This was the first one held south of the border.
Its parent organization, Free the Children, was started by the Kielburger brothers when Craig Kielburger was age 12. Their original intent was to crusade against forced child labor in Pakistan.
Since then, the organization has grown and evolved. It supports activities in 45 countries from Ecuador to India. These include schools, clean-water projects, and cottage industries making craft products. These projects’ overall goal is to “adopt” whole villages, helping create a sustainable infrastructure of education, health, and livelihood.
On the home front, Free the Children works to get kids involved in social change. It encourages kids to raise money and volunteer their time for overseas projects. And it empowers kids to work in their own communities against hunger, abuse, bullying, and dropping out of school.
Every part of Free the Children’s outreach to North American students is about positive empowerment. Burnout, or “compassion fatigue,” has no place in this outfit’s mindset. Everything’s about getting up, getting involved, doing things, speaking out (or, in the case of its forthcoming Day of Silence project, deliberately NOT speaking).
We Day is both a call to action and a celebration for those who’ve already been active. Kids got to go to it by having volunteered for both local and global causes.
In return, they got to spend a day out from school among kids bused in from all over the state. They got gift bags containing motion-powered light up plastic wristbands (donated by Microsoft, one of the event’s local sponsors). They got to partake of an extravaganza of entertainment and exhortation, of high-energy rally speeches alternating with live music and video segments of kids making a difference.
I worked on a part of the setup and teardown crew, and found a highly efficient organization behind it. Perhaps no recent event at the Key had needed so much stuff placed in so many places throughout the building. Besides the huge main stage (with two video walls) on the arena’s south end, a secondary stage with a video floor was set up on the north end. A gift bag was placed on every seat in the auditorium. Booths selling T-shirts and giving away promotional flyers were set up along all the concourses. Some lounges and luxury suites were reconfigured to welcome event staff, volunteers, adult supporters, and sponsors. Ground-floor dressing rooms had to be spiffed up at least a little for all the celebrity guests.
Those guests included Sonics legend Gary Payton, Mia Farrow (Payton Place meets Peyton Place!), Martin Sheen (delivering a rousing secular sermon about making a difference), MC Hammer, Martin Luther King III, Nelly Furtado, and local breakdance stars the Massive Monkees.
The most enthusiastically-received of the announced guests, “Dreamgirls” star Jennifer Hudson, performed two high-energy song and dance numbers.
But even Hudson couldn’t raise louder screams than Macklemore, wearing a replica Sonics jersey embossed with the slogan BRING ‘EM BACK. (A men’s pro basketball team bearing that name may indeed show up in KeyArena later this year.)
But this day was not about sports fandom, despite the presence of Payton, Magic Johnson, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and several of his star players including Russell Wilson.
What We Day was all about was getting involved in things bigger than sports, things bigger than yourself.
And having a raucously good time while doing so.
(Cross-posted with City Living.)
david rosen, west seattle herald
The legendary B-filmmaker helmed “at least 199″ films (not counting re-edited and retitled versions) in a six-decade career, many of which he also wrote, photographed, edited, scored the music for, and acted in.
He disguised his massive productivity in part by taking a variety of pseudonyms, including the names of some of his favorite jazz musicians. He always worked on time and in budget (both usually minimal). Among his tricks to achieve this was reusing locations and even entire shots in different films.
He worked in numerous genres but usually dealt in varying proportions of horror and sex (up to and including hardcore).
His best known works include Vampyros Lesbos and She Killed In Ecstasy (both with the ultra-stunning Soledad Miranda), the James Darren version of Venus in Furs, 99 Women, The Awful Dr. Orloff, Succubus, Eugenie: the Story of Her Journey Into Perversion, and The Blood of Fu Manchu.
Even when his financing dried up, he kept working, making shot-on-video features on even tinier budgets. He released three of these last year.
He was preceded in death by his wife, muse, and most frequent star Lina Romay (who was appearing in his productions, and still doing nude scenes, well into the 1990s).
Here’s a company that had a four-year head start to reinvent its model, its journalism, and its overall mission. And here’s what the business side has apparently been doing the whole time — figuring out new ways to run advertising on top of advertising on top of advertising… It shows how bereft of ideas the business side is for making money from journalism on the Internet.
washington dept. of natural resources via kxly-tv spokane