Those of us who remember when the whole city throbbed in the thrill of grunge rock are having a somewhat unpleasant brush with mortality of late. Not only did September mark 20 years since the release of Nirvana’s epic album Nevermind, this year is the 20th birthday of a little band named Pearl Jam, whose debut record, Ten, came out in August 1991. Twenty years ago? But that would mean we’re…Nevermind, indeed.
Sunday marks the ten year anniversary of the September 11 tragedy. The impact was, of course, felt around the world. In Seattle that day, thousands gathered bewildered around Seattle Center's International Fountain, looking for answers and communal mourning.
Drinking locally is a long-held tradition, though it has gone in and out of vogue. Washington was a major supplier of hops for beer and grapes for wine long before Prohibition, and during it, we avidly smuggled booze from Canada. One prominent bootlegger, featured in the new Ken Burns documentary Prohibition, which airs this month on KCTS, was a Seattle police officer, Roy Olmstead, whose side business was managing a gang of booze smugglers.
It’s back-to-school week in Seattle. In that spirit, our editors have been reminiscing about "old school" lunchboxes we carried as kids. Compared to the futuristic bento boxes that are in vogue now, some of the rusty, metal classics of our school days seem sort of...odd. But, oh, did we love them then. Here’s what a few staff members were sporting in grade school, as well as a few @SeattleMag Twitter followers:
For many kids in Seattle, today or tomorrow marks the first day of school. Inspired by the collective groan I thought I heard echo across the city this morning, I want to share some wisdom gained from my school days. You may find it holds water for more than just text-book-burdened texters.
Our call for Big Ideas to fix Seattle yielded so many interesting, impassioned entries, we didn’t have room to put them in the print story. Here are another several dozen fascinating ideas, including many from Seattle City Council members.
Like most who live here, we’re fiercely in love with Seattle—but our love isn’t blind. Along with our singular natural vistas, thriving neighborhoods, leading-edge innovations and savvy, well-read locals, we have hideous transportation issues, under-performing schools and the all too common big-city heartbreakers: homelessness and hunger.
The news is like a siren’s call to fishermen: pink salmon, which surge into local waters for just a few weeks every two years, are here right now. Where pinks go, anglers are sure to follow, and they’re coming in droves; some even taking a road trip in from Oregon to target the fish in the most unlikely of fly-fishing spots: Seattle’s Elliott Bay. There are so many newbie fishers who want to get in on Seattle’s pink season—which runs from about early August to early September—that local fly-fishing club Northwest Fly Anglers is now offering a pink salmon “how to” mentoring outing.
Fall. It lands with a sudden, resounding clunk, causing a city-wide knee-jerk reaction: We lament the fact that summer was (way!) too short, and we begin the hunkering-down process, bracing ourselves for winter. But we’re here to suggest another response to the season: Rejoice in the fact that dance, film, music, theater and visual arts venues are overflowing with offerings to amuse and enchant (and sometimes confuse) you. It’s also when we present the Spotlight Awards—our picks for the city’s most exciting emerging artists.
Sitting on the living room floor of his modest Capitol Hill home, a cup of tea in hand and a large cat lounging nearby, Garrett Fisher hardly seems poised to upend opera as we know it. But he might just do so. The acclaimed composer has earned accolades nationwide for his fresh approach, blending ancient and contemporary elements in his intriguing musical productions. “I want to invigorate the opera form,” Fisher says, “by allowing it to evolve and develop in new directions.”
At Kyle Loven’s studio space in Belltown, the worktable is littered with ears—latex ears, which he’s been perfecting for his recent work, When You Point at the Moon. The spooky story is based on Chinese moon mythology that warns, “Don’t point at the moon, or the moon will cut your ears off.” Loven, a skilled puppeteer who uses film, transparency projections (seen at right) and live acting in his work, heard the phrase while performing in Taiwan. “I couldn’t get it out of my head,” he says.
Visual artist Troy Gua wants to be famous. His deadpan stare and signature slicked black topknot are unmistakable at local art gatherings—and often the subject of his own artwork. He’s hung large-scale photographs of himself, fashioned a small sculpture of himself urinating (after the famous “Manneken Pis” in Brussels), and even translated his face into a trademark emoticon: o(:-]}
“This is my eight-year-old dream come true,” says Mandy Greer, surveying her home studio, which her husband (artist Paul Margolis) recently built with a friend in a space adjoining the laundry room. Countless clear plastic tubs are packed to bursting with colorful fabrics. Sparkly garments hang from hooks, as does a furry wolf head and an elaborate headdress. Spools of thread and boxes of beads abound. The industrial window rolls open above a steep decline and onto high backyard branches.