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Published: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 00:00:01 -0700

Last Build Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 14:15:00 -0700

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The Lovers and the Despot Tells a Bizarre-but-True Story of Love, Kidnapping, and Kim Jong-il's Movie Obsession

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 13:24:50 -0700

by Kathleen Richards

(image)
Shin Sang-ok, Kim Jong-il, and Choi Eun-hee in The Lovers and the Despot, a Magnolia Pictures release. PHOTO COURTESY OF MAGNOLIA PICTURES

The documentary The Lovers and the Despot recounts one of the strangest chapters in the ongoing war between North and South Korea: the 1978 kidnapping of beloved South Korean actress Choi Eun-hee and her ex-husband filmmaker, Shin Sang-ok, by North Korean agents. The reason? To fulfill the movie-obsessed North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il's ambitions of creating Asia's best film studio.

Shin Sang-ok, Kim Jong-il, and Choi Eun-hee in The Lovers and the Despot, a Magnolia Pictures release.


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Another Ugly Side of Rape Shown in Local Sighting's Film The Tree Inside

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 12:45:00 -0700

by Charles Mudede A truly terrible thing happens in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Vancouver B.C.. The Tree InsideI want to think about a difficult scene in The Tree Inside, a movie that was shot in Vancouver, B.C. and screened at this year's Local Sightings film festival. (The festival is down to its last two days and tonight screens a must-see early feature by Kelly Reichardt, River of Grass.) The reason it is important to know that the star of The Tree Inside, Michelle Kim, is also its co-director and writer, is because it explains why the movie reveals a side of rape that is completely missed by the sex that dominates this art form. What happens is this: Myra (Michelle Kim), who can never stay in a relationship for too long, ends up meeting a man who has the intelligence, the manner, the face of a long-term commitment. Their relationship has lots of wine, lots of dinner parties, and lots of ups and downs—and the downs are all related to Myra's ambivalence. During one big downer, Myra leaves her lover in the dark, goes to a seedy bar, gets a little drunk, and ends up in an alley making out with a shifty character. Now, when I watched the scene, two things caught my attention. The first was, of course, the charm of Vancouver's alleys, which, unlike Seattle's, are ornamented with old-looking cedar and pine power poles, dusty distribution transformers, and networks of transmission lines. (The Tree Inside is also about the beauty of Vancouver—its dusky light, glass towers, green-blue trees, pretty parks, and so on.) The next thing was how the man making out with Myra unzipped his pants and entered her without checking if they were on the same page. By the look on Myra's face, it's clear she was not ready for, nor had she made a decision about, the unprotected sex. But once the man broke with the kissing, he stopped looking at her face and focused on his penis getting inside of her. This is a rape, but Myra bears it with a pained expression. She forces no word or a scream to pass her pressed lips. And when the bad business is done and the rapist is zipping up his pants, she stumbles down the alley, finds a dark spot behind a dumpster, and throws up. But why did she suffer the rape in silence? Why didn't she fight back? I think it is because if she had done any of those things, and he had entered her, the rape would have been named and, as a consequence, become public rather than private. And the reason someone might choose to avoid the public is because the public often blames the victim (she was drunk, she went into the alley with him, she kissed him) or makes justice too difficult, too painful to achieve. Winning a rape case is often a Pyrrhic victory. What this scene reveals is that a rape does not have to be named to be a rape. It is a crime that can happen wordlessly, and in some cases, within the boundaries of the law. And so, along with the rapes that finally reach the court of law, and the rapes that go unreported but were named, and the rape that can't be named because of the powerlessness of the victim (think of the rape scene in Blade Runner)... Raping a replicant is like raping a slave. Warner Bros....there are those that happen and are locked permanently by the self-imposed silence (non-naming) of the victim. I do think this kind rape (and there are many other kinds) made its first appearance on film in The Tree Inside. [ Comment on this story ] [ Subscribe to the comments on this story ] [...]A sad woman in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Vancouver B.C..


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Science News: CO2 Levels Clear Frightening Threshold. So Even if Trump Loses, We're Still Fucked

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 12:10:36 -0700

by Ethan Linck Earth looking a little like Solaris on September 27, 2016. NASAGlobal Mean Atmospheric CO2 Levels Clear 400ppm, Forever: The average concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere fluctuates annually, dropping during the northern hemisphere’s spring and summer and rising in the fall and winter. This pattern is a product of what ecologists refer to as the phenology of northern forests: the timing of key events in their life cycle. As deciduous trees grow new leaves in spring, they increase their capacity to store carbon dioxide and steadily remove it from the atmosphere. Then, as these leaves fall to the ground and decompose prior to the onset of winter, carbon dioxide is re-released, causing concentrations to spike. And so while we’ve exceeded concentrations of 400 parts per million in the recent past, levels have always dropped back down to a more comforting 350-399 ppm average during the September, the cycle’s annual nadir. No longer: for the first time in recorded history, CO2 concentrations remained above 400 ppm for the entire month—meaning they’re unlikely to ever fall below this symbolic milestone again. Climate Central has more. But That Doesn’t Mean We Will Warm The Earth 13 Degrees F: In a letter in the journal Nature this month, Stanford University’s Carol Snyder presents a highly detailed history of global average surface temperatures (or GAST) over the past two million years. Snyder’s reconstruction relies on computer simulations and temperature records from oceanic sediment cores, and has been widely accepted as a valuable contribution to our understanding of global climate history. But one of the most eye-popping conclusions in the paper — the prediction that even if we managed to cap fossil fuel emissions at their current level, the planet is doomed to a dramatic 13 degrees Fahrenheit increase in GAST—has come under scrutiny from other scientists, who claim this deduction isn’t supported by the data. As UW’s Eric Steig put it to National Geographic: "She's making a statement about the future, but I don't find anything in the paper that explains why she thinks she can do that." The Blob, Though, Continues To Haunt Us, Causing Unprecedented Algae Blooms: Last year, the northeastern Pacific Ocean was the site of both a persistent region of anomalously warm water (“The Blob”) and a massive toxic algae bloom. Now, researchers at University of Washington have linked the two events, publishing a paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that claims the Blob’s influence on ocean temperatures and local weather triggered the conditions necessary for high algae growth rates. Science Event of (Next) Week: On Saturday, October 8th, the Burke Museum will be hosting its annual “Bird at the Burke” event, featuring talks, games, and displays from the research division’s ornithology collections. I’ll be there all day, working with specimens — feel free to stop by and say hi. [ Comment on this story ] [ Subscribe to the comments on this story ] [...]Earth look a little like Solaris on September 27, 2016.


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Trump's Worst Week Ever

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 11:36:38 -0700

by Rich Smith Even Trump's aides have had it up to here with him. JStone / Shutterstock.com If the timestamps on this morning's tweetstorm are any indication, Trump didn't get much sleep last night. But it's hard to see how he managed to get any sleep at all this whole week. First he loses the presidential debate. Big time. Even the post-debate coverage on FOX News was like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (For more on exactly how and why and how awfully he lost, check out this week's Blabbermouth. Dan, Eli, and I pile on. ) THEN he looks bad losing—blaming the mics, blaming Lester Holt, blaming the biased media. But at some point it seems as if he realized that blaming others for a bad performance looks a lot like admitting defeat. So he launches a counter attack on Alicia Machado, the beauty queen he'd fat-shamed and humiliated after she gained some weight following her Miss Universe win. Tuesday he reaffirmed his position that her weight was "a problem," and in the wee hours of Friday morning he doubled down on that idea in a deranged stream of tweets. Earlier this week, in the midst of Trump's counterattack on Machado, the L.A. Times talked to former employees of Trump National Golf Club, who said that Trump wanted to fire employees who weren't sufficiently pretty, thus reinforcing mounting evidence of Trump's misogyny. Meanwhile, newspaper endorsements start rolling in. The Arizona Republic's editorial board is supporting the Democratic nominee for the first time in its history because Trump doesn't have "a cool head, and the ability to think carefully before acting." The USA Today's editorial board marks a historical first for itself by taking sides in a presidential contest, declaring Trump "unfit for the presidency." And THEN Newsweek digs up evidence that a Trump company broke the trade embargo with Cuba in 1998. Basically, Trump paid representatives to check out potential investments in Cuba, and then tried to cover it up by making look like a charity thing. Classic. Trump. And this only the a few months before Trump kicked off his first presidential run. And THEN his campaign manager looks Paula Faris in the eye on the View and doesn't deny that he broke the law. And just to rub it in: polls released today show Clinton pulling ahead in Michigan, Nevada, Florida, and New Hampshire—all important swing states. Trump has had many terrible, horrible, no good, very bad weeks. But this one comes at a key moment in the election cycle. The sound of the First Presidential Debate has supposedly awoken low information voters from their totally understandable national politics hibernation. If they're just now paying attention, they're learning that Trump is a corrupt, moody misogynist who doesn't know anything about running a country. But I'll tell you one thing that's NOT helping. According to the New York Times, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is behind on processing the citizenship requests of nearly half a million immigrants. If you need help filling out paperwork, immigration office, call me. I'll work nights! [ Comment on this story ] [ Subscribe to the comments on this story ] [...]Even Trump's aides have had it up to here with Trump.


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63 October Events in Seattle to Buy Tickets For Now

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 11:28:00 -0700

Man of La Mancha, The Tequila and Taco Fest, Hannibal Buress, And More Options For Having The Best Month Ever by Stranger Things To Do Staff The beginning of October may mean it's time to start looking for a Halloween costume, but it also means plenty of fall art events, performances, and festivals. Many of these events will sell out, so you're strongly encouraged to buy tickets now for the events below, including the 9e2 festival, the 5th Avenue Theatre's season opener Man of La Mancha, the Tequila and Taco Fest, and a talk featuring the author of the funniest book ever written about Seattle, Maria Semple. If you want even more options this month, make sure to check out our complete Things To Do calendar. OCTOBER 1-8 Rhinoceros You're probably going to spend a lot of time while watching Strawberry Theatre Workshop's production of Eugène Ionesco's classic absurdist play thinking, "Okay, but do the rhinoceroses stampeding all over this French town represent Trump supporters, or do they represent Bernie Bros, or do they represent Hillbots perfectly enacting the Democratic nominee's vagenda of manocide?" And then once you figure that out, you're going to be thinking, "All right, well, is this funny and pointed parable about the rise of the 20th century's worst -isms a critique of the idea of the state of political discourse, or a critique of incrementalism, or…?" By the end of the show, you'll think Rhinoceros is either EXACTLY the play we need to be seeing right now or EXACTLY the play we don't need to be seeing right now. RICH SMITH OCTOBER 1-9 Against the Grain/MEN IN DANCE 2016 Festival This festival offers diverse dance styles including modern, contemporary, ballet, circus acts, and Early Renaissance sword dancing, with a different roster of performers highlighted over each of the two weekends. The Royale Marco Ramirez (Sons of Anarchy and Orange is the New Black) loosely bases this show on the life of Jack Johnson, the first black man to become the World Heavyweight champ in boxing. The play dives inside the mind of Jay Jackson, whose single-minded desire to win clashes with the Jim Crow era's attempt to control the bodies of black people in the south. If Jackson can beat a retired heavyweight champion, who's a white guy, then he'll become a symbol of black excellence. But he also risks inflaming racial violence. That tension drives the play, as does lyrical language and highly physical choreography. RICH SMITH OCTOBER 1-10 Revolt. She said. Revolt again. This Washington Ensemble Theatre production will be the West Coast premiere of Revolt. She said. Revolt again., which is supposed to be a powerful, absurd-funny, polyvocal, multimedia, fiercely feminist call for revolt. Revolt draws its title from a Julia Kristeva book about "revolt" as a mode of being (hi, grad school) and also highlights the way language shapes our perceptions and expectations of women. RICH SMITH OCTOBER 1-23 Ghosts Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts was considered scandalous when it was first performed in 1892, and still shocks some with themes including sexually transmitted disease, euthanasia, and incest. Follow the story of widow Helene Alving in this new adaptation by director Richard Eyre. OCTOBER 1-30 A Raisin in the Sun A Raisin in the Sun is one of the earliest examples of black realism on the American stage. Housing discrimination, race, class, family, the complexities of right action in America, all of it wrapped up in one of the greatest plays ever written. RICH SMITH OCTOBER 1-31 Harvest This adults-only, immersive Halloween theater experience requires that you sign a waiver before entering, so you know it's going to be freaky. Conceived and directed by Ali el-Gasseir and designed by Paul Thomas. OCTOBER 3 Patti Smith The punk-rock queen and author of Just Kids, for which she won the National Book Award in 2010, presents her 2015 book,[...]



Masterminds Offers Disappointing Jokes and a Very Memorable Floppy Pageboy Haircut

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 11:24:18 -0700

by Julia Raban

(image)

The title characters in Masterminds do not have an elaborate scheme that they spent hours upon hours perfecting. They barely have a plan. David (Zach Galifianakis) and Kelly (Kristen Wiig) are drivers for an armored car company, who—inspired by another theft—realize there's basically nothing standing between them and millions of dollars. It's a slapstick take on the real 1997 Loomis Fargo robbery and was apparently made with the help of actual vault supervisor/"mastermind" David Ghantt—although you'd never guess it, because the central joke is "look, these must be the most idiotic criminals of all time."

The movie opens with what appears to be security footage of attempted robberies gone wrong: would-be thieves shooting themselves in the foot and staggering around with cumbersome disguises. Most of the movie revolves around how dumb the robbers are, but it's also set in North Carolina, so you get plenty of jokes about Southern hicks, including a truck with a door made from a sheet of plywood.

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Queen of Katwe Tells the Story of a Scrappy Tween Chess Whiz, with No White Savior in Sight

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 10:50:30 -0700

by Elinor Jones

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QUEEN OF KATWE A movie about that crazy newfangled game all the kids are playing.

There's a not insignificant legacy of terrible movies about poor brown kids being taught out of poverty by godly white people like Sandra Bullock. Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe isn’t one of those movies. The lack of a white savior spares this Disney family film from being a schmaltzy embarrassment. Is that faint praise? Yeah, maybe.

Queen of Katwe’s protagonist—a Ugandan tween named Phiona—dominates at chess with the help of a teacher, yes, but that teacher is a black, Ugandan one, Robert (David Oyelowo). Robert teaches the slum kids chess because these kids are fighters, and chess is a game for fighters. The scrappiest, fightiest of them all is Phiona (Madina Nalwanga), who quickly demonstrates that just because you can’t read, that doesn’t mean you can’t slay all day on the chess board. It’s based on a true story, BTW. Awesome!

QUEEN OF KATWE A movie about that crazy newfangled game all the kids are playing.


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Bellevue Arts Museum Is Struggling Again

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 10:21:29 -0700

by Jen Graves Will BAM be able to bring shows like this anymore? This Givenchy gown by Alexander McQueen was featured in the recent exhibition Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair. Courtesy of BAM Eleven years after Bellevue Arts Museum was reborn in a previous crisis, it’s in upheaval again. In memos to supporters and docents, the museum is asking for money and describing “difficult decisions” to come. Stefano Catalani, its former Director of Art, Craft, & Design, who had been at the museum for 11 years and led successful exhibitions that drew critical and audience appreciation, left a month ago for another job in Seattle. His second-in-command, Curator of Craft Jennifer Navva Milliken, resigned last week for undisclosed reasons. This week two more people on staff resigned, and at least one major donor couple, longtime supporters Norma and Leonard Klorfine, backed away from the museum recently. In memos sent to docents and supporters in July and this month, BAM Executive Director Linda Pawson referred to the museum’s goal of “reducing costs that are not directly tied to producing results” and “looking at every line item.” “I am not unconcerned,” Pawson told me in a phone conversation Thursday. “I think BAM has a lot of challenges. I think we have our eyes open. I think we are looking at ways to address all of them.” Catalani, who is now Executive Director at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle, and Navva Milliken declined to comment for this story. Reached by phone, Norma Klorfine confirmed that after serving on BAM’s board for 12 years until a couple months ago, and giving public gifts up to $500,000 as recently as 2015, she and her husband are no longer supporting BAM. She declined to say why, only that “A lot of us worked very hard to build that back up.” Michael Monroe, the former director of the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian in D.C., was also one of the major forces in rebuilding BAM. He became Director of BAM in 2005, Director Emeritus in 2010, and he, too, declined to comment for this story. Pawson said the museum’s first concern is hiring a new Director of Art, Craft, & Design. “I would expect the job to be listed in the next several weeks,” she said. But “we have not determined if the positions will be filled exactly as they have been stated in the past,” Pawson said. The Curator of Craft position may not survive the cuts. Pawson wouldn’t say whether a replacement would be hired in Navva Milliken’s role. BAM’s programming, balancing art, craft, and design locally, regionally, and nationally, has been ambitious and broad within its field in the last decade. BAM has mounted solo surveys for important artists including Dan Webb and Patti Warashina. Historical shows have ranged from African American fashion through the 20th century to Louis Kahn's architectural designs to art and craft made by Japanese Americans imprisoned in internment camps. BAM grew out of the Bellevue summer arts and crafts fair, which the museum still runs, and which just had its 70th year. It hasn’t been easy to turn a suburban crafts fair into a full-blown art, craft, and design museum, and BAM is unusual in that it does not have a permanent collection, meaning it does not have storage and conservation costs, but also meaning that it has to bring in all of the art, and that donors have to be persuaded by the exhibitions and the management, not simply by the fact that a lot of art in the basement is at stake in the survival of the institution. But after a rocky start as a contemporary art and education center when it moved into its new building by architect Steven Holl—a willful building easily blamed for everything that was wrong with BAM, despite more intractable difficulties with the Eastside institution’s identit[...]


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Clark County Will Pay $250,000 for Trashing Homeless People's Belongings in Sweeps

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 09:46:25 -0700

by Heidi Groover "The ruling is an important reminder that people who are homeless do have constitutional rights," says the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington's Doug Honig. Ansel Herz Seattle isn't the only place in Washington State where homeless people are having their encampments cleared and their belongings trashed. After a federal court ruling this month, six homeless people affected by sweeps in Clark County will receive a total of $85,000 in damages and the county is pledging to change the way it handles homeless encampments. Earlier this month the federal court judge, Robert J. Bryan, ruled in Tacoma that Clark County violated the six people's rights when county workers swept their camps between 2012 and 2014 and threw out their belongings. Among the trashed items, according to the Associated Press, were tents, stoves, medication, documents, and photographs. This week, the Clark County Council approved a settlement agreement that includes $165,000 for attorneys' fees and $85,000 for the six homeless people, who were the plaintiffs in the suit, The Columbian reports. The settlement will also require the county to change the way it handles homeless people's belongings. Past Clark County policy "allowed work crews to clean abandoned camps immediately or else give residents an hour’s notice," according to The Columbian. "That didn’t always happen, however, with some plaintiffs reporting they’d only briefly left their belongings and returned to find work crews throwing them out." (Sound familiar?) County council members haven now proposed stricter limits, including requiring 48 hours' notice and storage of belongings marked with a person's name. Those new rules now have to be approved by a district court judge. Doug Honig, a spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, told The Stranger earlier this month that the ruling in this case should send a message to Seattle officials that "government agencies cannot simply assume that homeless people’s property in places they are camping is 'abandoned.'" "The government can’t summarily seize and dispose of the property," Honig said. "That violates the 4th Amendment because it is an unreasonable seizure of property, and it violates 14th Amendment’s right to due process because it deprives people of property without notice or opportunity to be heard before the property is destroyed." While the City of Seattle says it offers people advance notice of encampment sweeps and stores certain belongings, the process has proven deeply flawed. Local advocates including the ACLU of Washington and Columbia Legal Services are now working with Seattle City Council members on legislation that would significantly limit the cases in which homeless people can be forced to leave where they are camping or their belongings can be taken. That legislation includes a $250 fine paid to the affected person any time the city violates the law. (The council has not yet approved the legislation but continues to discuss and tweak it, over objections from Mayor Ed Murray.) "The ruling is an important reminder that people who are homeless do have constitutional rights," Honig said, "and that Seattle or any other city can get sued when it violates their rights." [ Comment on this story ] [ Subscribe to the comments on this story ] [...]"The ruling is an important reminder that people who are homeless do have constitutional rights," says the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington's Doug Honig.


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Serial Co-Creators Are Coming to Seattle Next Spring—Buy Your Tickets Now

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 09:45:03 -0700

by Stranger Things To Do Staff

(image)
Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder will be at the Paramount on March 18. Courtesy of Seattle Theatre Group

Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder, co-creators of the viral podcast Serial, are coming to speak at the Paramount in March 2017. Tickets go on sale today at 10 am, and, given Serial's immense popularity, you'd better go buy them now. Press materials for the live presentation promise a behind-the-scenes look at the "ups and downs of creating a new form of modern storytelling." (Read more about that in Matt Baume's 2015 feature, A Storytelling Renaissance Is Happening Right Under Your Thumb). VIP tickets include a pre-show meet and greet reception.

Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder will be at the Paramount on March 18.


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Jim Jarmusch's Stooges Documentary Gimme Danger Gets Loose October 28

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 09:31:03 -0700

by Dave Segal

(image)
Aw, look out!

Almost every rock musician worth a damn over the last 45 years—and many who aren't—has claimed influence and/or inspiration from the Stooges. It seems odd that there aren't already a dozen documentaries about the Ann Arbor, Michigan group, with their nuclear-grade rock and charismatic, double-jointed übermensch frontman, Iggy Pop. But no. Jim Jarmusch's Gimme Danger is only the second one, and the trailer (view it after the jump) promises a real cool time. An especially entertaining part occurs when Iggy says, "When I was a little boy, the Ford Motor Company, they had a machine that engineered a drop [explosion sound], a mega-klang. I thought we should get some of that in our songs."

A huge fan of the Stooges, Jarmusch filmed eight hours of Iggy—who grew up in a trailer in Ypsilanti, Michigan—talking about the Stooges and himself. Gimme Danger also features some original, previously unheard music that Scott and Ron Asheton made, with Iggy putting vocals over it.

In one segment of the film, Iggy tells Dinah Shore (?!) on her TV show, "I think I helped wipe out the '60s," and anyone who's heard The Stooges, Fun House, and Raw Power can attest to the feeling that this music was ground zero for a new strain of rock rooted in savage lustiness, exhilarating nihilism, and an outrageous will to power. No band had more effectively laid down a mainline to the id than did the Stooges—and nobody's really equaled them in this regard since.

Gimme Danger premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May to a positive reception and it's also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film opens (up and bleeds) in New York and Detroit on October 28 and goes nationwide on November 4.

width="500" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6fgiW_S2Hgk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

width="500" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/f8csB2Tlkbw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

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The Morning News: Spaceship Crash-Lands on Comet, Mayor Held Up Work to Bring More Diversity to Seattle Police

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 11:03:53 -0700

by Ansel Herz


It seems like Gary Johnson is having a stressful time right now. Running for president is tough. And honestly, with at least one of his fellow candidates unable to form a complete sentence, is it really fair to expect Johnson to be semi-fluent in topics like foreign cities and world leaders?

So lay off old Gary, okay, media? Throw him a softball once in a while! Leave the hard stuff to Bill Weld, who can name at least one living world leader. Here are some suggested questions for Johnson's next media appearance:

• What did you have for breakfast this morning?
• Are you thirsty?
• How many fingers am I holding up?
• What are you up to this weekend?
• Does this smell weird to you?
What is Aleppo? (You know this!)
• Who are you wearing?
• How long did it take you to get ready for this?
• Who is your celebrity crush?
• Honestly, what did I just say?
• Can you hold this for a second?
• Is this cilantro or parsley, do you think?
• Do you think I'm going to need a jacket today?
Do you honestly think people should vote for you?
• What color is this orange?

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Activist Sonny Nguyen Is Not Buying that Millenials are Apathetic About Politics

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 10:25:42 -0700

by Heidi Groover Malcolm Smith In this week’s issue of The Stranger, Chinatown-International District organizer Sonny Nguyen talked about comic books and karaoke for our Person of Interest questionnaire. But we wanted tell you a bit more about Nguyen’s activist work, which includes feeding their community with the API Food Fight Club and engaging fellow millennials on the Washington Bus. You’re engagement coordinator at the Washington Bus. I’ve heard that millennials are sooooooo apathetic about politics. Why do you think that is? I actually don’t think millennials are apathetic about politics. I think politics are apathetic about millennials. The reason we saw this huge youth turnout for Bernie Sanders’ campaign was because he was willing to listen to and speak directly to young people. Other candidates, from local levels to the highest office in the land, are finally starting to realize we’re a formidable voting bloc. Until pretty recently, the things that young people care most about were considered fringe issues – debt-free college education, criminal justice reform, LGBTQ equity. One of the things that’s tripped up a lot of candidates is that young people are less likely to get invested in a party or a candidate and more likely to get invested in specific issues. I mean, look at the movement building around police accountability. That’s a largely youth-lead movement. We can’t look at all the young people, especially young Black people putting their lives on the line at demonstrations and say that young people don’t care about politics. API Food Fight Club works on social justice issues "using food as a common ground to build connections.” What role does food play in your work? Food is the best way to get people to show up somewhere. Our first large event was when we fed around 300 people at a memorial barbecue for our community hero Donnie Chin. [Chin, director of the International District Emergency Center, was fatally shot in July 2015.] We also host Eat Up Meet Ups, an opportunity for young API activists, artists, and nonprofit workers and our allies to try out new restaurants and get to know each other a little better. Food is this really interesting cultural touchstone. In a lot of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures, sharing a meal is one of the most important ways to bond as a community. It’s this universal joy, and the dominant industry of the CID. I also just eat a lot. Like a lot a lot. I eat probably more than 5,000 calories a day and I’m pretty much constantly eating so it made sense to center our meetings around it. It means I never have to stop eating. You recently gave a powerful testimony before the city council supporting an ordinance to reduce the number of encampment sweeps. Your message on that bill was the opposite of most of the comments we heard from Chinatown-ID advocates at that meeting. What has the response been to your comments?I spend a lot of time in the CID, and since the testimony, I’ve been stopped dozens of times. Everyone in the organizing scene in the neighborhood saw it and everyone has an opinion. A lot of young people have thanked me and really appreciate that someone is standing up and speaking out for progressive values. Everyone keeps making jokes about how brave I am to show my face in the neighborhood. The responses from elders in the community have ranged from disappointment and frustration to people I really respect and admire telling me that even though they disagree with me, they’re glad that young people are taking an interest in the future of the neighborhood and are working towards what we believe to be the right thing to do. In that t[...]


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There's a Chameleon Living at Gorditos in Greenwood

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 10:02:16 -0700

by Jen Graves This new mural on the Gorditos building in Greenwood pictures a Jackson's chameleon, common in Hawaii, where the artist, Oasis, lives in Hilo. The mural was made in collaboration with Graves33 of Seattle. Courtesy of the artist Nobody meant for it to be symbolic—they just liked the cool animal and its bright colors—but the 65-foot-long, 15-foot high Jackson's chameleon now painted on the side of Gorditos taqueria is a spectacular symbol that beauty can come out of even the worst kind of forced change. Gorditos was shuttered for almost half a year after a natural gas leak explosion that shocked the Greenwood neighborhood in March and destroyed parts of it. Other businesses weren't as lucky as Gorditos. In a cool move encouraging the ongoing rebuilding of the neighborhood, Gorditos owner Shannon Hall commissioned a huge mural. The artist is Oasis of Hilo, Hawaii, and he had an assist from Seattle artist Graves33. "I wanted to give him all the freedom in the world to do what he wanted," Hall said. The mural is intended to be permanent. Oasis showed his art at Lucy's, Gorditos' sister restaurant in Hilo, which is how Hall knew of Oasis's work. Oasis offered Hall multiple options for the wall, including a whale, a salmon, and an eagle killing a snake, Hall said, but he thought the chameleon would give Oasis the most artistic freedom. As for Oasis, he didn't mean anything symbolic by proposing the creature of change. He just likes Jackson's chameleons. He's had them as pets. They don't do much, he said. "In the jungle they just chill," and that's what they did when he fed them crickets and took care of them. His had bodies about six inches long, tails about five inches long, and tongues another six inches long. There wasn't enough room on the wall to do the tongue. In case you are new to this whole subject, Gorditos has good food, including burritos advertised as the size of babies. There are photographs on the walls of burritos next to babies to prove it. A few of those invaluable photographs were destroyed, but most of them, thankfully, are still on the walls inside. src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/184611120?color=ffffff&title=0&byline=0&portrait=0" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen>OASIS MURAL in SEATTLE from Mixed Plate Skateboarding on Vimeo. [...]This new mural on the Gordito's building in Greenwood pictures a Jackson's chameleon, common in Hawaii, where the artist, Oasis, lives in Hilo. The mural was made in collaboration with Graves33 of Seattle.


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The Mystery of Life Revealed in B Movie The Quiet Earth

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 10:00:00 -0700

by Charles Mudede

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Neil deGrasse Tyson calls The Quiet Earth one of the greatest science-fiction films ever made.

Why is there life to begin with? How did ordinary matter become the bizarre matter that dances into organisms that seem to have only one final purpose: to become more organisms? To get closer to the heart of these questions, it is better to watch a B movie like The Quiet Earth, which was made in 1985, than a serious art-house film like Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. Malick's film has a scene that shows the birth of the universe, the expansion or invention of space, the quantum ripples in whose grooves the galaxies were formed. We then see the formation of the earth, the development of life in its oceans, the arrival of land animals, the rise of the dinosaurs, and so on. This story of our earth actually has scientific validity.

Neil deGrasse Tyson calls The Quiet Earth one of the greatest science-fiction films ever made.


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The Best Things To Do in Seattle This Fall

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 09:53:17 -0700

by Stranger Things To Do Staff

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This November, see seven new solos choreographed by Mary Sheldon Scott (including this from Michael Rioux) at the SOLO(s) project. Peter Mumford

Seattle Art and Performance, our quarterly guide to everything happening in Seattle this fall in the arts, is out on the streets now. In addition to the extensive calendars in the print copy, you can now also find lists of this fall's best events online, including:

the best theater, dance, and comedy, from Disney's The Little Mermaid to George Balanchine's The Nutcracker; the best readings and talks, from Maria Semple to David Sedaris; the best festivals, from Seattle Interactive to the Short Run Comix & Arts Festival; the best art shows and events, from Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker's last show at the Frye to E.T. Russian's Casting Shadows; the best classical music and opera, from Hansel and Gretel to Yo-Yo Ma; and the best film events, from Nosferatu with a live soundtrack to the HUMP! Film Festival; the best jazz concerts, from the Earshot Jazz Festival to McCoy Tyner.

As always, you can find everything happening in Seattle this spring on our Things To Do calendar.

This November, see seven new solos choreographed by Mary Sheldon Scott (including this from Michael Rioux) at the SOLO(s) project.


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Can Performance Art Fight Climate Change? Activist Ensemble Coltura Hopes It Can at Least Persuade You to Buy an Electric Car

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 09:30:28 -0700

by Rich Smith

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NO GASOLINE DAY: Look for them at the intersection of art and commerce. ALISON RAMER AND MATTHEW METZ

On October 2, a civic-minded performance group called Coltura is holding a funeral for gasoline. Actors outfitted in white leotards will play "gasoline ghosts," ethereal beings addicted to Texas tea. During performances, the ghosts haunt gas stations, waft smog into their nostrils, carry around gas nozzles with severed hoses, and otherwise clown around with carbon. They remind us that our love of oil lasts long after our own deaths. For the funeral, they'll carry a casket from the Space Needle all the way to downtown.

The troupe performed at the Seattle Design Festival earlier this month. They deployed a three-pronged art attack strategy (a performance, an art installation, and informational pamphlets) in an effort to convince people to trade in their gas-guzzlers for electric cars, which is their primary focus. Founder of the group and local lawyer, Matthew Metz, said the overall response was positive. "A lot of people said they were unable to give up their gas car, but a lot of people were sympathetic and they respected what we were trying to do," he said.

His wife, who is from Colombia, inspired the decision to use street performers when she told him about the success Antanas Mockus had as mayor of Bogotá. Mockus famously replaced traffic cops with 420 mimes that mocked drivers who disobeyed crosswalk rules, which contributed to the city's 50 percent reduction in traffic fatalities.

NO GASOLINE DAY: Look for them at the intersection of art and commerce.


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HUMP! 2016: THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 09:17:00 -0700

Your Entries Are Due THIS Friday, September 30, So Quit Fucking Around. Or START!

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ALL HUMP! 2016 SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE NO LATER THAN FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016, so quit fucking around. Or START!

HUMP! (aka the Northwest's best beloved homemade porn festival) once again invites amateur filmmakers, porn-star wannabes, hotties, kinksters, regular folks, and all other creative types to make short dirty films—five minutes max—for HUMP! 2016. Just like you, these quickie flicks run the sexual gamut: hardcore, softcore, live action, animated, kinky, vanilla, straight, gay, lez, bi, trans, genderqueer—anything goes at HUMP! (Well, almost anything: No poop, no animals, no minors—no foolin'!)


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Civilian Watchdog Opening Investigation of Seattle Police Over Social Media Monitoring

Thu, 29 Sep 2016 09:08:15 -0700

by Ansel Herz

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Police illegally purchased Geofeedia social media monitoring software two years ago, we reported yesterday. Twin Design / Shutterstock.com

Office of Professional Accountability Director Pierce Murphy—the SPD's semi-independent civilian watchdog—announced this morning:

On September 28, 2016 a news story published by The Stranger contained information indicating the Seattle Police Department (SPD) had purchased a software product called Geofeedia in direct violation of a provision of the Seattle Municipal Code requiring City Council approval before any City Department acquires surveillance equipment.

OPA has opened a preliminary investigation into this matter to address the acquisition of this product. OPA will also be considering allegations against one or more SPD employees who may have used this piece of surveillance software to violate the constitutional rights of community members.

At the conclusion of this 30-day preliminary investigation, the OPA Director will determine whether to launch a full investigation into these and any other allegations that may come to light during the preliminary investigation.

- Director Pierce Murphy

Read the story here.

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Police illegally purchased Geofeedia social media monitoring software two years ago, we reported yesterday.


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