This Week in Seattle Food News
Fresh Pasta, Mortadella, and Fried Chicken Galore by EverOut Staff The bird is the word this week, as fried chicken joints Dave's Hot Chicken and Mt. Joy both unveil locations on Capitol Hill. Plus, chef Brian Clevenger brings his signature fresh pasta and pizza to West Seattle, and the hearty sandwich shop Mammoth moves to Queen Anne. For more ideas, check out our food and drink guide. NEW OPENINGS AND RETURNS DaGu Rice NoodleThis spot recently took over the space of the Vietnamese dessert shop Bambū, serving up Yunnan-style rice noodle dishes with proteins like spicy beef ribs and fish.ChinatownPickup, delivery, dine-in
"We know that we're strong when we're together, and that we're going to keep fighting no matter what gets thrown at us.” by Hannah Krieg As University of Washington police pried a protesting student’s clasped hands apart and dragged them from their nine-hour-long sit-in in the Office of the Vice Provost, the surrounding pro-Palestinian student activists held onto each other tight, screaming “SPD, KKK, IDF, you’re all the same.” After hours of sit-in, cops pry pro Palestine protesters out of the office of the vice provost in Gerberding Hall, UW Seattle https://t.co/RhoYj8L2bM — Hannah Krieg (@hannahkrieg) December 8, 2023 By 9:30 pm Thursday, UWPD had “removed” 36 protesters one by one from their occupation in Gerberding Hall, which houses University President Ana Mari Cauce’s office. Even as the last protester emerged from the building, greeted by a heavy Seattle Police Department presence, the protester did not cower. She stood on the steps of Gerberding, wrapped in her keffiyeh, and yelled “Free, free Palestine… Within our lifetime!” Student activists at the University of Washington are not afraid to stand up for Palestinian liberation—or if they are, they can’t afford to show it. VIDEO: Footage of the final protester exiting the building. pic.twitter.com/O2AgfRCqSz — The Daily of the University of Washington (@thedaily) December 8, 2023 Throughout the two-month escalation of Israel’s reign of terror on Palestine, pro-Palestine advocates have faced doxxing, harassment, stalking, blacklisting, and state condemnation. Last month, a white man shot three Palestinian college students in Vermont in an alleged hate crime that left one student paralyzed from the chest down. But with support for the Palestinian cause growing in recent weeks, recent UW graduate and Students United for Palestinian Equality and Return (SUPER UW) Jonah Silverstein said advocates feel less and less afraid of Zionists' usual tactics of suppression. And so, on the steps of Gerberding Hall Thursday morning, a student wrapped in a keffiyeh told more than 100 student protesters that they needed to escalate. Israel’s bombardment has leveled more than half the homes in Gaza, displaced 1.8 million residents, and killed at least 17,000 Palestinians, which exceeds the carnage of the Nakba, or the “catastrophe,” in 1948. So far, marches and vigils, however moving, have not stopped Israel’s genocide, nor have they pressured UW to meet the student's demands: Divest from Israel, cut ties with Boeing, and stop suppressing pro-Palestinian sentiment from students and faculty. The speaker said, “[Our] power is useless if we only ever operate within the bounds of the university and the state allows us to operate.” The organizers laid out the risks of their sit-in. With the stated intention to stay in Gerberding until the cops kicked them out, the organizers said participants could face arrest. About 100 students joined SUPER UW and United Front for Palestinian Liberation in hunkering down in the Office of the Vice Provost. The protesters left a clear mark: hanging flags, sticking Post-its on the walls, even leaving notes in desks for a personal reminder that “while you’re working, bombs are dropping.” Throughout the action, Cauce’s Chief of Staff Margaret Shepherd and UWPD Police Chief Craig Wilson tried various tactics to break up the anti-genocide action. Protesters are met by @amcauce chief of staff who says she'll take a message, but the president is not available. She says police will enforce fire code. The students, after a pause, resumed chanting and chief of staff went in her office pic.twitter.com/VE3Fxj4Z7R — Hannah Krieg (@hannahkrieg) December 7, 2023 For her “good cop” part, Shepherd offered them a meeting with Cauce the following day if they left, calling it their “opportunity for an audience.” Organizers asked for a phone call that day. Later that afternoon, Shepherd said Cauce would call them if they left the building first. Not wanting to give up their post without any real concessions from the University, the students decided to stay put. For his “bad cop” part, Wilson and another officer attempted to remove and threatened to confiscate flags. One organizer said, “We have plenty of flags, we’ll just keep putting them back up.” “And we’ll just keep taking them down,” Wilson responded. A cop tries to take down their demands, organizers easily stop him, and put it back up. "UWPD, KKK, IDF, You're all the same!" They chant pic.twitter.com/e6dmfkZG5T — Hannah Krieg (@hannahkrieg) December 7, 2023 Most boldly, Wilson lifted a student while they sat in an office chair in an attempt to remove them. Students told The Stranger that Wilson has made a lot of enemies with student organizers, but they are not surprised. UWPD exists to crush student activism, one organizer said, noting the department originated in response to anti-war protesters during the Vietnam War. FORCIBLE REMOVAL: UWPD Chief Craig Wilson just tried to remove this protesters from their chair. They stuck it out for about 7 minutes. They did stand up eventually... to celebrate when the cop left. pic.twitter.com/8TEvInNQTK — Hannah Krieg (@hannahkrieg) December 7, 2023 While Wilson’s effort to remove the student failed, Shepard told the protestors that UWPD would “enforce fire code” and start citing participants for trespassing at 5:15 pm. Video from participants shows cops dragging protesters away from the action. Participants claim that the cops took their pictures one by one before escorting them out of the building. UW did not respond to my request for comment. Advocating against US-backed genocide can have real consequences as Silverstein told The Stranger before the sit-in Thursday. But the harassment, fear of doxxing, and threat of police have less “impact” on advocates in recent weeks, he said. Knowing they could be arrested for their action, participants told The Stranger, they “don’t care” if their whole face shows up on front page news. Organizers told The Stranger they still proudly put their affiliations with pro-Palestine groups on their job applications. One protester introduced himself to Chief Wilson by his full name, shook his hand, and immediately went back to yelling “Shame on you, shame on you,” inches from his face. Students brought signs, snacks, and their homework for the long-haul action. HANNAH KRIEG “They're grasping at straws to try and minimize our movement, to doubt our integrity,” Silverstein said. “But we know that we're strong when we're together, and that we're going to keep fighting no matter what gets thrown at us.”
Denny Blaine Is Saved
Yay! Denny Blaine will stay naked and queer! by Vivian McCall Denny Blaine is saved. Seattle has nixed its plan to build a mostly privately-funded children’s play area at the historically queer nude beach on Lake Washington. The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation announced the decision in a statement Friday morning after it held a packed community meeting Wednesday. Hundreds of LGBTQ advocates (and a few nudists and naturists) spoke out against the project. Losing Denny Blaine would mean losing one of the few public places in Seattle they felt safe and free, they said. At the meeting, Parks told the crowd they’d reach a decision about Denny Blaine in two weeks, but it only took two days. “While this area of our city still lacks accessible play equipment for kids and families, we understand the feedback that this particular park is not the best location, and we will evaluate other location alternatives,” wrote Parks spokesperson Christina Hirsch on the department’s blog. Sophie Amity Debs, an organizer with Save Denny Blaine, the grass-roots group that led the charge to do just that, said she can finally exhale for the first time in weeks. “We’re ecstatic—we’re so, so stoked,” she said. “Given the turnout, it felt like it would have been absurd for Parks to bulldoze ahead with the project with such overwhelming opposition.” That opposition came swiftly. Two weeks ago, park visitor Jesse Miranda tipped off Capitol Hill Seattle Blog to the proposal, which Parks said would address a neighborhood shortage of walkable playgrounds. But the location—a go-to summer spot for Seattle’s queer community for decades—and the revelation that an anonymous donor would pay for most of the $550,000 project, seemed suspect to many beachgoers. They quickly organized to preserve Denny Blaine as a clothing-optional queer space, starting Save Denny Blaine and a petition that more than 9,000 people have since signed. Activists said putting a playground at Denny Blaine would dissolve a community hub by playing off the harmful “groomer” lie the far-right has peddled to push anti-LGBTQ laws across the country. They suggested other nearby parks, like Lakeview Park, as alternatives. Parks said the donor wished to remain anonymous. The Stranger has filed requests for their identity and more information about the project. As The Stranger reported yesterday, almost 50 people gave passionate public comments at Wednesday’s meeting. Not one said they supported the city’s plan. The next day, The Seattle Parks Foundation said in a statement that it stood with them. The Parks department had approached the nonprofit in August to act as a fiscal agent and project manager for the construction of the play area. In the subsequent months, it realized the potential impact did not align with its core value of equity in public spaces. “Seattle Parks Foundation has declined to participate in this project and is actively building relationships with Denny Blaine visitors and advocates to help protect the park and ensure their voices are heard,” it wrote on Instagram. Amity Debs with Save Denny Blaine said organizers are in talks with both the Parks Department and the Parks Foundation about forming a Friends of Denny Blaine group. She hoped the beach could be officially designated as the clothing-optional and a queer historic space it has been for so long. “We think those kinds of designations would help to prevent anything like this from even getting to this stage of planning in the future,” she said. “And not let the city waste any money.”
Café Racer Reboots Again
The venue is launching new dance nights, a radio show, and a weekly all-ages mini fest. by Dave Segal Café Racer owners Jeff Ramsey and Cindy Anne were bursting with optimism when they reopened the much-loved U District venue on Capitol Hill in 2021—even in the midst of a global pandemic. But their altruistic intentions to uplift Seattle's all-ages music scene and arts community didn't result in sufficient attendance and Café Racer began to rack up debts of around $40,000 in unpaid rent and $10,000 in state taxes, which forced the business to close in October. But things are looking up again, as angel investor Jody Ramsammy has joined Café Racer's ranks in order to, they hope, boost business and improve infrastructure. As CEO of Vivid Presents and On the HIYU and a tech savant, South African native Ramsammy has garnered success running entertainment events in clubs and on boats. In addition, Café Racer has linked up with "fiscal sponsor" Allied Arts Foundation with the goal of transitioning to some form of nonprofit status. Despite these changes, Café Racer's mission remains unswerving: "We serve marginalized communities, underserved communities, and give them a platform to share their art," Ramsey told Capitol Hill Seattle blog. Toward that end, Café Racer is looking for local artists to host a Gen Z radio show on Café Racer Radio as well as artists from that demographic to perform at a weekly all-ages mini fest. (Aspirants can send examples of their music and a mini bio to email@example.com.) Ramsey and Cindy Anne had been keeping the business afloat with their savings. "As it was becoming apparent that I was gonna run out [of money]," Ramsey says in a phone interview, "we started the relationship with Allied Arts. Unfortunately, the lead person for [AA] had a family situation that required their attention. We had hoped for a July 1 launch of the Allied Art campaign, but we were delayed almost two months. That delayed us doing any sort of fundraising campaign. And that delay put us in arrears, not being able to pay August 1 rent and things like that. "It became about personal integrity. I couldn't honestly start a fundraising campaign when we were already in the hole. Because at this point, the landlord wasn't guaranteeing—even if we paid the rent—that we were going to be able to reopen. I didn't feel good about asking for money only to end up paying debt and not be able to guarantee the future of Café Racer." Café Racer moved into the old Barça space on Capitol Hill in 2021. DAVE SEGAL On December 1, Café Racer held a "Makin' Rent" show, on short notice. While the draw wasn't as large as hoped, the bar did well. It's part of an incremental journey back to business as usual for the beleaguered company. They're throwing another fundraiser on December 8 with Between the Lines, a local collective renowned for their underground dance parties focusing on techno, house, and UK garage. Ramsammy's financial stability will enable Café Racer to pay off debts and keep its doors open while they forge a new business model that is potentially sustainable. "Jody approached us because he believes in what we're doing," Ramsey says. "And we represent a community that he doesn't represent in his world. He's big in the dance-music world, we're big in the live-music world. Bringing those things together as well as providing support for youth, that was another big mission of his. It was a perfect pairing." With Ramsammy's help, Café Racer has upgraded its water heater, toilets, lighting, and speakers. "We brought in these monster speakers, these Voids," Ramsey says. "They can be super-loud and yet you can somehow still have a conversation near them. They're based on frequency. Jody and I were literally standing in front of the speakers the other day, at full volume, and we were having a conversation. I could hear him and I have terrible hearing. That's going to be a huge benefit to people in the space—and for bartenders, as well. We want the dance sound and the live sound to be top-notch. Beyond that, the stage will be increased by a couple of feet from its current 12'x12' dimensions and a green room will be added on the mezzanine. "I think musicians are going to be very pleased [with these changes]," Ramsey says. Similar to Vera Project, Café Racer will combine live events with programs that help young people master music-oriented skills. "We have a couple of people who want to do mentorship programs out of Racer: Lara Lavi and Cameron Lavi-Jones from King Youngblood have a nonprofit called Hold Your Crown. It's an organization that provides mental health support to youth. Tiffany Wilson already has a mentorship program. Her Thursday nights have been a regular at Racer, and she and her crew are coming back in January. (She's at Teatro now.) We've been talking with XP Andrews, who's one of Macklemore's singers, and Macklemore has a youth mentorship program. "There's also Sharing the Stage, a similar program where they have a local headliner and they provide opportunities for student artists to perform prior to the headliner, and the headliner provides a mentoring environment and also exposure to an audience. That is definitely a big part of where we're headed." Booking will largely remain the same as before the brief shutdown. Café Racer had scheduled dance nights on Fridays and Saturdays to help support the live music dates. "It's just we weren't dance-music people," Ramsey admits. "So I didn't know which DJs would be successful. Whereas Jody brings in DJs from all over the world to do shows. His relationships with the successful global DJs will certainly round out the Fridays and Saturdays and help provide the kind of revenue that we need in order to pay the bills." Cafe Racer isn't quite back in business as they knew it. They still need to fill out the calendar, and because December is such a busy month, it's been difficult to find acts for it. So, Ramsey's now booking January through March. "There are a couple of touring artists coming in March and May. The calendar's starting to populate a bit. Our desire is by January our open mic will be back and we'll be back to regular programming. Tiffany Wilson's coming back on January 11. She created this soul/R&B/hip-hop open mic, but it's a little different. Her band—which is full of amazing musicians—would play live and people would come in and want to perform with them. They would pick a song—the band knows virtually every song—and they would perform with this live band. You'd have people like Tiffany Wilson and her crew lay down background vocals. It was a really up-leveled open mic. It became one of our most successful evenings. "That's one thing Racer has always been about: providing that place where people don't have that opportunity anywhere else. We're willing to give everybody some [stage] time." Ramsey and company are also pondering bringing back artists in residence. "We want to do all of those things, as long as we have secured enough consistent shows that are providing the sustainable revenue for us." One aspect that's hurt Café Racer has been insurance: it rose from $26,000 a year to $44,000. "That's like 10% of our revenue!" Ramsey exclaims. "How do small businesses survive? I talked to the Office of Economic Development and said, 'I feel like there's gotta be some sort of cap,' but I don't know who would provide that. Bars are especially at the mercy of insurance companies, because there are so few who provide insurance for bars." Ramsey has learned some lessons over the last two years of running a business on Capitol Hill, compared to his experiences with the U District space, for which he lately has become nostalgic. "I miss the food. We did such good food in the U District. I loved that part of feeding people, feeding their souls. When we got the Barça space, I knew we were making the choice to really not provide food. It was going to be sandwiches or hotdogs, but it was not going to be to the level that we did. I was willing to make that compromise in order to provide more opportunities for artists. They were going to have a real space, a real sound system, real sound people. I was very excited about that, because it's such a big part of our mission. Food had never really been part of the mission, but it was something I loved. "I feel like that no matter what we do as a venue, there's more to it than just providing music. The thing that we lost by not having food was, we provided a lot of community in the old space. We fed people breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There were meet-ups there all the time. By not having that, we lost of a lot of that extra-community. The Philosophical Society stopped coming. The psychedelic society (I forgot what they're called now) used to do their meet-ups every Wednesday afternoon and they'd eat lunch. There was a lot of breaking bread [at the old Café Racer]. "The thing I learned the most was not to be overly confident. I, like many of my peers, believed that once the pandemic was over, [business] was going to go back to 2018-2019 levels of audiences. The pandemic changed the way people got their entertainment. I went into this thinking we were going to kill it. All of our artists live on Capitol Hill, a lot of the people who would come to the shows in the U District lived on Capitol Hill... That just wasn't the case. "The other thing was, expenses were more, so in any future endeavor, I'd be more conservative than I've been. I opened the old Racer on a shoestring, so I was underfunded. The new Racer, I definitely had the funding, I had the background; I was so confident. That was really misguided. "I talked to a lot of people in the neighborhood before we rented the space, and everybody had that same feeling: 'As soon as the pandemic's over, everything's gonna be great!' Yeah, that didn't happen." Café Racer presents Between the Line with alexia, KJ3, Temenon, and Manwell Fri Dec 8, 6 pm, free before 10 pm, $10 after. Tax-deductible donations to Café Racer can be made here.
The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Weekend: Dec 8–10, 2023
Christmas Ship Parade of Boats, Wintry Weekend Ice Skating Rink, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15 by EverOut Staff Holiday cheer is in no short supply this weekend. Save your cash for holiday gifts by heading to these cheap and cheerful events, from the Christmas Ship Parade of Boats to Wintry Weekend Ice Skating Rink and from the Winter Renegade Craft Fair 2023 to Green Lake Pathway of Lights. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week. FRIDAY LIVE MUSIC Jessica MossOn her 2022 album, Galaxy Heart, Montreal-based violinist and composer Jessica Moss moves between tense violin studies to ethereal works with layered vocals. Despite capturing a range of feelings, the album is cohesive with minimal compositions about the natural world. As press materials explain, "Galaxy Heart is cosmic music of dark matter and interstellar dust, of gravitational waves and celestial grit that connect messy terrestrial life—with its human, animal, natural suffering and beauty—to chaotic and unruly universal forces." Don't miss the opportunity to hear these tunes echo throughout the historic performance space. AUDREY VANN(Good Shepherd Center/Chapel Performance Space, Wallingford, $15-$18)
Slog AM: Some Seattle Sun, Texas AG Threatens Abortion Doctors, Russia Buys Propaganda on Cameo
The Stranger's morning news roundup. by Nathalie Graham Bezos bids adieu: Jeff Bezos is really truly fucking off to Miami. He put one of his four Washington properties on the market. The house he's selling, a 4,300-square-foot, five-bedroom home in the Eastside's Yarrow Point neighborhood, is on the market for $4.4 million. Allegedly, this house is one of Bezos's smaller homes and is where his "staff, security, and chefs" lived, according to the Seattle Times. Something fishy on the shores of Japan: Like, really fishy. The beaches in Hakodate, Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido, appeared covered in thousands of dead sardines (and some mackerel) Friday. Nobody knows why. One Hakodate Fisheries Research Institute researcher believes the phenomena could be a result of the fish being chased by a larger fish, growing exhausted from lack of oxygen, and washing ashore with the waves. Chillier and drier: The rain showers should taper off by Friday morning in Seattle. We'll see temps in the 40s and maybe a ray or two of sun. Don't worry, fellow rain lovers, a "vigorous system" comes into play Saturday. Oh, and good news for all you ski bums, there will be lots of mountain snow. New blood lab: Apparently, it takes 341 days on average to complete blood toxicology reports from suspected driving under the influence (DUI) cases in Washington state. Ten years ago, those reports only took two to three months. With a rising population, an increase in impaired drivers, and short staff at toxicology labs, it's a bad situation for everyone involved. A new $4.5 million toxicology lab in Federal Way should speed the process up and dole out consequences for bad actors and letting innocent people off the hook faster. It's a bad time on the roads: More blood reports won't solve the bigger problem at play here. Traffic deaths are up, up, up. Last year Washington recorded "more than 740 traffic deaths ... the most since 1990. Half of the deaths involved an impaired driver," according to the Seattle Times. Apparently, a rising number of traffic deaths involve drivers impaired by a mix of alcohol and drugs. Yikes. Please, don't smoke and drive; don't drink and drive; and certainly don't drive while cross-faded, you selfish idiots. Lawmakers may consider lowering the legal blood alcohol limit from 0.08 to 0.05. Monroe man caught in flood waters: Chris Robl was swept into the flood-fueled surge of the Snohomish River while in a boat without a motor or a rudder. He called 911 from the swift-moving out-of-control boat. The waters carried him five miles. Rescue crews chased him down the river, using a drone to find his heat signature in the dark of night. The crews shut down a portion of Highway 522 and tossed him a rescue line. Robl fell out of the boat trying to catch the line and plunged into the waters. Rescue swimmers swam toward Robl, locating him by his screams for help, and pulled him to safety. Incredible save tonight on the Snohomish River as a boater was rescued from the river. Firefighters threw rescue ropes over the 522 bridge to pluck the boater. More info to come shortly. pic.twitter.com/4er4VKvLDj — Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue (@SnoRegionalFire) December 6, 2023 Woman goes to court to beg for abortion: A Texas woman who is 20 weeks pregnant with a fetus diagnosed with "trisomy 18, a genetic abnormality that usually results in miscarriage, stillbirth or death soon after birth" begged a court to allow her an abortion. Carrying this doomed pregnancy to term would necessitate her third Caesarian section and jeopardize her ability to have more children. A judge granted the woman a temporary restraining order against the state's enforcement of its near-total abortion ban. Despite the order, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened to prosecute any doctors who helped the woman with the abortion. It's impossible to discipline cops: An arbitrator ruled a 2017 police firing was wrong and that to cop—who was fired for using excessive force when she shot 11 rounds at a stolen vehicle and failed to de-escalate the situation—should receive $600,000 from the city in lost wages. This practice of binding arbitration, which is a condition often baked into collectively bargained contracts, undermines any sort of police accountability. Mayor Bruce Harrell is heated about the whole thing. When arbitrators rule against discipline decisions, Harrell said, "Our accountability system is undermined and public trust is eroded." Here's a horrible video for you: I like when people turn their weddings into horrific little talent shows. This woman and everyone involved in this belongs in jail pic.twitter.com/tKZMBkbNG1 — Kenjac (@JackKennedy) December 6, 2023 Russia buys propaganda on Cameo: Russia asked US actors on the app Cameo to make anti-Ukraine propaganda, according to BBC. The app allows people to pay users, who are often celebrities, for customized video messages. Some Russian propagandists requested several actors to make messages to someone named "Vladimir" to get help with substance abuse problems. Elijah Wood made one of these videos saying, "I hope you get the help that you need. Lots of love, Vladimir, take care." The goal was to spread falsehoods about Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky on social media. Wood's team said his video "was in no way intended to be addressed to Zelensky or have anything at all to do with Russia or Ukraine or the war." Other celebrities who fell prey to this are Priscilla Presley, Breaking Bad's Dean Norris, The Office's Kate Flannery, and Scrubs star John C. McGinley. Hey, look, jobs: Employers added 199,000 jobs in November and unemployment fell to 3.7%. No recession yet! More charges for Hunter: A federal grand jury charged Hunter Biden with "three counts each of evasion of a tax assessment, failure to file and pay taxes, and filing a false or fraudulent tax return," reports the New York Times. This is now the second indictment for Hunter this year. The optics aren't great for his dear old dad, President Joe Biden. The new charges may add fuel to a Republican-lead impeachment inquiry. Dictator only on day one: How bad could a second Donald Trump term be? Well. Sean Hannity brought his pal Trump onto his show to assure the American people Trump wouldn't "abuse power or seek retribution." “Except for day one,” Trump said. “I want to close the border, and I want to drill, drill, drill.” Then, later, he re-enacted the exchange. From the Associated Press: “We love this guy,” Trump said of Hannity. “He says, ‘You’re not going to be a dictator, are you?’ I said: ‘No, no, no, other than day one. We’re closing the border, and we’re drilling, drilling, drilling. After that, I’m not a dictator.’” A song for your Friday:
Will the Unfinished Towers in the Denny Triangle Become Like the Pit Next to City Hall?
Will these unfinished towers become Seattle's Torre de David? by Charles Mudede The future of Museum House, which is next to the Frye Museum, and WB1200, which is in the Denny Triangle, is, at this moment, unknown. Is anyone working on these buildings? This question is asked because, according to a recent story in the Globe and Mail, their developer, Vancouver BC's Westbank, "faces [an] onslaught of litigation for Canadian, U.S. projects due to unpaid bills." ...Westbank, founded in 1992 by current chief executive officer Ian Gillespie, who has made “fight for beauty” a tagline at his company, is one of the largest and most well-known Canadian developers to see such an onslaught of litigation. Although the amounts of some liens are not large, the volume of claims and the litigation is notable, painting a portrait of a developer that is in conflict with its trades on many fronts. The Seattle Times reported about Westbank's financial woes a year ago ("Flashy Seattle high-rise planned with a jet on site faces delays, liens"). And the progress made on these buildings between then and now has been either snail-slow or imperceptible. Museum House, the other Westbank project, at least looks complete. It has all of its glass together. And so its troubles are not visible to pedestrians, bikers, or those on I-5. The same cannot be said about WB1200, which was supposed to include a fuselage of a Boeing 747. The tops of its two 47-story towers, which are crowned by lifeless cranes, have no glass. The project, which, as with Museum House, began in 2018, was supposed to be completed in 2021. Westbank now hopes the whole damn business will be done in 2024. “Westbank Corp., a prominent Canadian developer known for its ambitious architecture, is facing problems at several projects in Toronto and Seattle with contractors claiming millions of dollars in unpaid bills” 🤔https://t.co/YaShaPXI03 — Mortimer (@mortimer_1) December 6, 2023 "That place has been cursed," said a youngish man who works in the Denny Triangle (he asked not to be named). "People are still waiting for the Trader Joe's. I don't care about the plane, which was supposed to be a piano jazz club or something. I wanted the Trader Joe's. But, man, it's just weird to see unfinished buildings in Seattle. I've lived in this city my whole life. And I have seen the pit. You know, the one by Pioneer Square [by City Hall]. That's it. But nothing like this. Two towers. Just sitting there in the elements. Pigeons and seagulls might be living up there. Or someone is up there using the free electricity for some Bitcoin scheme." The pit, also known (in polite circles) as the Civic Square, has been there between Fourth Avenue and Third Avenue, doing nothing since 2005; and in 2008, people with access to the kind of credit that makes the world of developers go around and around wanted it to be site for a building designed by the starchitect Norman Foster. That, of course, didn't happen. The site is still empty, and the developer who presently owns it, Bosa Development (also based in Vancouver BC), has, according to the Daily Journal of Commerce, "paused all efforts to build condos there." (Bosa's attention is on the city across the lake, Bellevue, where it plans a very ambitious "trio of 27-story condominium towers.") Now, I do not want to make any predictions, but I do want to make this observation about capitalism: It's a system that never develops at a gradual pace. Slow growth or long-term returns are, according to its mode of existence, deadly. Capitalism's lifeblood is, precisely, irrational exuberance. A bubble in its markets is not an anomaly, but the norm. This goes all the way back to the Tulip mania (1634 to 1637) of the Dutch Golden Age. If economic expansion is not at a feverish pace, then nothing's doing. Seattle's market is, for sure, still comparatively hot (it tops the list of US cranes in operation, 45), it's clearly losing steam. There is less and less irrational development, which, for the most part, is the only kind of development there is—if this wasn't the fact of the matter, then we would not have a homeless crisis. Now, without (or with declining) irrational exuberance, how will the remaining nakedness of the towers in the Denny Triangle be covered with glass? How will the whole project be completed? Will it become a pit in the sky? Will it become Seattle's Torre de David or, more impressively, Ryugyong Hotel? And what happened to the latter? Let's end this bleak post with the second paragraph of Wikipedia's page for the doomed "pyramid-shaped skyscraper in Pyongyang, North Korea." Construction of [Ryugyong Hotel] began in 1987 but was halted in 1992 as North Korea entered a period of economic crisis after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. After 1992, the building stood topped out, but without any windows or interior fittings. In 2008, construction resumed, and the exterior was completed in 2011. The hotel was planned to open in 2012, the centenary of founding leader Kim Il Sung's birth. A partial opening was announced for 2013, but this was cancelled. In 2018, an LED display was fitted to one side, which is used to show propaganda animations and film scenes.
The Doors Are Open to a New Era of Public Investment in Arts and Culture for King County
The cost of the 0.1% sales tax increase to an average household is $40 each year. by Jeanne Kohl-Welles Art saves lives. If that seems like a stretch, ask Shawn Roberts, who experienced unthinkable tragedy as a child growing up in Rainier Valley. She felt unmoored and without purpose as a young teen until she set foot in her first dance class. The connection was instant and started a life-long love of the craft. Shawn credits dance with being the light that pulled her through a very dark time, an outlet that gave her purpose and focus in the face of tragedy. Today, she has dedicated her life to making sure that others have access to that same light and outlet. If ever you needed proof of the transformational impact of science, heritage, and the arts, Shawn is it. And the programs that pulled her through have the power to pull many individuals through. Such programs got a boost like never before Tuesday, as the King County Council unanimously approved a new transformational arts and culture levy that will uplift its residents, revitalize underserved communities, and enrich its educational landscape. The seven-year levy, called Doors Open, is projected to provide nearly $800 million in funding through spring 2031 and holds immense promise for King County's well-being, economic growth, and, most importantly, our people. The 9-0 Council vote masks all the hard work it took to get here—multiple trips to the state legislature, a narrowly defeated 2017 vote, and extensive outreach to build a more responsive and equitable public investment. But it doesn’t mask how vitally important we know this program will be. Doors Open is a science, heritage, and arts levy that will fund equitable access, support programming in public schools, increase tourism and revenue, and feed the workforce pipeline to the arts and culture sector through a 0.1% sales tax. Doors Open is rooted in the belief that public investment in arts, heritage, and science pays off with more jobs, better educational opportunities, and stronger communities. It builds off the success of similar models in the Denver metro area and Tacoma. Originally approved in the early 1990s, Denver’s Scientific and Cultural Facilities District is their region’s largest single funding source for arts, cultural and scientific organizations, consistently providing stability and momentum for a cultural sector that generates $2.6 billion in annual economic activity. Closer to home, Tacoma’s cultural access program, Tacoma Creates, has distributed funding to 56 arts, culture, heritage, and science organizations and the results speak for themselves: 1,185 programs were produced by Tacoma Creates-supported organizations for the public and youth education, with a vast majority of the programs free for all participants. We can expect to see even bigger results here in King County. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, arts and culture organizations are still reeling and deep in recovery mode. According to a recent study by ArtsFund, across 121 reporting organizations, there was a $95.9 million (21%) decrease in overall revenue and a $68.5 million (20%) reduction in operating budgets in 2020 alone. Des Moines’ Ailey Camp, launched by Shawn Roberts—a free, six-week, personal development camp that uses dance to teach key life skills to 60 middle schoolers from all over the county—was forced to trim one full week of camp this summer because transportation costs had risen so drastically. With half of its funding directed at supporting operating and programmatic expenses for organizations countywide, this levy will literally help keep the doors open for some of our most essential but struggling arts and culture entities. Similarly, when schools are cutting critical arts and music programs to balance budgets, Doors Open will step in with at least $12 million annually for public school students to provide field trips, before and after-school initiatives, student transportation, youth internships, and free or reduced-cost ticket programs. In voicing their support of Doors Open, PTAs throughout the county have highlighted the positive impact that the levy will have on students of color, those from diverse linguistic backgrounds, lower-income families, and students with special needs. Studies have shown that science, heritage, and arts programs lead to improved educational outcomes and greater community engagement, particularly among low-income students. And let’s not overlook the economic impact of Doors Open. Science, heritage, and arts organizations do so much more than put on nice-to-have plays and exhibits. They are vital drivers of tourism, revenue, and revitalization, contributing 10.8% of the state's GDP and supporting nearly 190,000 jobs statewide. The levy also supports our “creative economy,” a hotbed of innovative minds that include creative professions like sound designers, 3D technologists, and digital animators. Doors Open will give people in every corner of King County more opportunities to explore and experience the arts and culture that enriches all our lives. Specifically, a quarter of the funding is targeted to foster new cultural centers and organizations outside of Seattle. Arts and cultural entities outside of Seattle will be eligible for all the available Doors Open funding. By spreading these investments across King County, we will bring cultural experiences to the doorsteps of some of our most economically and culturally diverse communities. And while the 0.1% sales tax is not what we would choose, it's the funding tool we have to work with, and the work is badly needed. These dollars will be directed back to the communities that most need them, helping to offset any regressivity. The cost to an average household is just $40 each year, and the return on that investment is profound. Arts and culture aren’t a “nice-to-have,” they are an essential part of healthy individuals and healthy communities. Now with the King County Council’s vote, arts and cultural organizations from across the county will open doors to transformative science, heritage, and arts experiences for all our residents, bridging the gaps for economically and geographically underserved populations. This is a step toward equity, economic development, and expanding access to more corners of King County and we can’t wait to get started unlocking a brighter future for all of our residents. Jeanne Kohl-Welles represents District 4 on the King County Council, which includes Belltown and northwest Seattle. She’s championed access to arts and culture programs for decades in the state House and Senate and on the Council. With her retirement approaching at the end of the year, she considers the passage of Doors Open a major capstone to her over 30-year-long career. Claudia Balducci represents King County District 6 on the King County Council, which includes Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Redmond, and the Points Communities. She has personally witnessed the transformational nature of access to the arts in her own family. Manny Cawaling is the Executive Director for Inspire Washington, a merger of Cultural Access Washington and Washington State Arts Alliance. A Seattle native, Manny has been working professionally as an artist and cultural leader for nearly 30 years.
Ticket Alert: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ilana Glazer, and More Seattle Events Going On Sale This Week
Plus, More Event Updates for December 7 by EverOut Staff Head to the Gorge next spring to watch the Red Hot Chili Peppers show their fans unlimited love. Or let out some belly laughs as comical broad Ilana Glazer brings her quick quips to the Moore Theatre stage. Plus, we’re faithfully bringing you an early warning that tickets for Def Leppard and Journey’s 2024 summer stadium tour go on sale next week. Read on for details on those and other newly announced events, plus some news you can use. ON SALE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8 MUSIC Adam AntNeptune Theatre (May 2, 2024) Alexandra SaviorNeumos (Mar 16, 2024) Attila & Born of OsirisThe Showbox (May 15, 2024)
Fight for Your Right (To Be Naked)
The Mayor's office deferred any comment to Seattle Parks and Recreation. by Vivian McCall There wasn’t enough time, or room at Martin Luther King FAME Community Center, for the hundreds who wanted to share their fury Wednesday night about the mostly privately-funded city proposal to install a children’s play area at Denny Blaine, Seattle’s gayest and nakedest beach. A full-on movement has emerged to save the beach made up of queers, naturists, nudists, beach mainstays, transplants escaping oppression elsewhere, and even two men who sucked the air from the room with professions of straightness and queerness before launching into passionate defenses for the park as is. Leading the charge is Save Denny Blaine, a newly formed grassroots organization. The auditorium spilled into the lobby. A line for public comment snaked around the room. People held cardboard signs high above their heads Sharpied in block print with messages like “DON’T BULLDOZE GAY HISTORY'' and “LET YOUR FREAK FLAB FLY.” About 50 people spoke and every one of them opposed the project. What may seem small and rocky to the uninitiated represented an unbroken chain of fun and freedom for generations of nudists and LGBTQ people in Seattle. “I’m looking around this room, and I see people who want to preserve our spaces versus one man with the power of a checkbook,” said a speaker who joked that many of his friends were seeing him clothed for the first time. “The Parks are here listening to us tonight, but they still move forward anyway because one person has that power.” How did this start? The battle for Denny Blaine began two weeks ago, when news of the proposal and a mysterious funding source spread on social media after Capitol Hill Seattle Blog first broke the story. Seattle Parks and Recreation said the neighborhood had no playgrounds within 10 to 15 minutes walking distance, and putting one at Denny Blaine would fix the problem. It would also cause another. Denny Blaine, while not officially designated a nude beach in Seattle, is understood as one. Also known as “Dykekiki,” the park has been a summer hangout for queers since at least the 1980s. Putting a playground at a gay nude beach, in this political moment, felt like a trap that perpetuated the “groomer” lie, or even put bathers at risk of catching an allegation of indecent exposure from an angry parent. Activists worried one complaint could put them in legal peril. As of Thursday morning, more than 8,300 people have signed the Save Denny Blaine petition to stop construction. The group has suggested alternate nearby locations, like Lakeview Park, as a possible solution to both problems. Denny Blaine is also in a wealthy neighborhood, with residents who have complained about noise. Suspicions grew after Parks revealed a private donor planned to foot the bill, and wished to remain anonymous. The Stranger has submitted multiple records requests for their identity and other details about the project. "Gay buns over shady funds." VIVAN McCALL The Only Cool Place in Seattle Parks and Recreation had planned the community meeting before any of this outrage. Before taking public comment, Seattle Parks Deputy Superintendent of Operations Andy Sheffer told the crowd no decisions had been made and the department was there to listen. They would summarize their comments in a report before taking the next steps. He acknowledged the park’s history as a nude beach. “The process starts right here–validating a need for a play area at Denny Blaine and public engagement,” Sheffer said. “It's well-resourced, and for that reason, it's not in our capital plan to put a play area there.” The crowd applauded. He continued. “The donation does provide an opportunity–,” he started, but booing from the crowd interrupted him. After a short presentation on the project and more than an hour of emotional testimony, Sheffer assured the crowd Parks would have more answers about Denny Blaine in two weeks. During public comment, people shared their personal connection with the beach. (Most did not share their names, and The Stranger could not ask for their name or pronouns before the meeting dispersed.) A man from a traditional Hispanic family in Florida said he suffered from suicidal thoughts and body dysmorphia when he came out eight years ago. But his emotional health improved after a few visits to Denny Blaine. He met lifelong friends and began feeling secure, beautiful, and normal. He no longer thought of suicide. He asked Parks to consider how far LGBTQ kids who grew up with nowhere to play had to walk to Seattle. A mother tearfully said she loved playgrounds, but Denny Blaine was the only place in Seattle where she could sunbathe pregnant without judgment. Another commenter, Angela, said the beach was one of the few places a small, femme-bodied person could go and not be fucked with. Kim, who described herself as a fat, non-binary queer femme, said she has been sexually harassed in every Seattle park except Denny Blaine. Raleigh, a bisexual man from Texas, called Denny Blaine the only cool place in Seattle. Families dominated the other beaches, where he worried about offending parents if he stepped the wrong way or swore around their children. “Which is fine!” he said. “They have that and we have this. If you take this away to make one rich guy happy, where do I go? What other city should I move to? … If you do this, and you do it for the children, A, no one will ever believe you, and B, none of us will ever forgive you. No child who lives in a $3 million house is ever gonna play on that crusty pile of rocks.” An older man became overwhelmed with emotion as he told the story of his granddaughter on 24-hour supportive care after drowning in a pool. Another person in the crowd took over when he could no longer speak. He held out pictures of the young girl before and after the accident. “How could you ever consider putting a playground within 50 meters of Lake Washington?” he asked. Two others also raised the issue of child drownings at a beach with no lifeguard and poor visibility. Trans men and women, many of whom fled from states that passed anti-trans laws this year like Texas and Kentucky, said being visibly trans at the beach was terrifying. Rae, who said she survived conversion therapy, said she and her girlfriend were transgender. She felt normal on the beach and asked Parks not to take that away from them. Before learning of Denny Blaine in a trans support group, Vince never thought he’d swim in Lake Washington again. The Black trans man said the beach was the first place he felt dignity outside. Parks almost cut off public comment before Brother Jim could talk, a man with a blonde cataract of hair that flowed down his shoulders who spoke with the cadence of a professional wrestler. “I love to do yoga,” he said. “I love to do it naked in nature. And Denny Blaine is just a beautiful space to do that. I consider everyone who uses Denny Blaine my family. And I don’t like my family members being pushed around. We aren’t going to let it happen.” District 3 Council Member-Elect Joy Hollingsworth watched the commenters from the stage. When Parks handed her the mic, she told the crowd that constituents had flooded her inbox with emails about Denny Blaine. She said would be taking a look at the issue when she assumed office in January, but did not state a position on the playground. Outgoing Council Members Khsama Sawant and Teresa Mosqueda both said in a Parks budget meeting last month that they do not support the proposal. Mayor Bruce Harrell's spokesperson Jamie Housen said the office was grateful the community was making their voices heard, but deferred any comment on the project to Parks. After the meeting, Save Denny Blaine organizer Milo Kusold told The Stranger they teared up three times from the overwhelming show of support. “I am so happy and proud,” they said. “I was afraid no one would show up, and yet everyone is here.”
Slog AM: Three Dead in University of Nevada Shooting, Kevin McCarthy to Resign, and No-Show Trump Wins Fourth GOP Debate
The Stranger's morning news roundup. by Hannah Krieg Rain, rain, go away: Remember yesterday’s weather? And the day before that? And then the day before that one? Yeah, today will be sort of like that. From sunrise to sunset, you can expect varying degrees of rain showers and temperatures will hold steady in the mid-40s. Whenever I express even the smallest displeasure about rain, or if I fail to put on this goofy show of loving the rain that so many “real” Seattlites insist on performing, some of y'all get all “if you don’t like it then leave.” You sound like really fun people and we should definitely get coffee! Take four: Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and cartoon character Vivek Ramaswamy faced off last night in the fourth Republican presidential debate. Just six weeks before the Iowa caucus kicks off the primary (if you can believe that), the narrowed field of candidates desperately tried to stand out, mostly by shooting off one-liners at each other. Voters love an entertainer! This is the fourth debate @VivekGRamaswamy would be voted in the first 20 minutes as the most obnoxious blowhard in America. pic.twitter.com/z7qwht4GNO — Chris Christie (@GovChristie) December 7, 2023 Mr. Christie: Aside from making jabs at his opponents and that Ramaswamy guy who keeps wandering on stage, Christie set himself apart by actually going after the former president—“I’ve got these three guys who are all seeming to compete with Voldemort, ‘He who should not be named,’” he said of their hesitancy. But Christie does not seem to care if he burns a bridge with the presumptive nominee. “When you go and you say the truth about somebody who is a dictator, a bully, who has taken shots at everybody—whether they’ve given him great service or not over time—who dares to disagree with him, then I understand why these three are timid to say anything about it,” he said. “Maybe it’s because they have future aspirations; maybe those future aspirations are now or maybe they’re four years from now. But the fact of the matter is, the truth needs to be told.” So what? Christie had his moment last night, but Politico campaign reporters disagreed on who won the night. DeSantis earned praise because of his offense on Haley and because he flexed his veteran status. Another reporter said that Haley won because she didn’t let her competition “arrest her momentum.” Still, it seems unlikely any of these candidates will overcome former president Donald Trump. I guess he's the real winner! Texas: Cops arrested a suspect in a string of shootings that killed six people and injured three others in Austin and near San Antonio, Texas. NBC News details the timeline here. Speaking of: Yesterday a shooter killed three people on University of Nevada’s campus in Las Vegas. CNN reported that the shooter, who died in a shootout with cops, worked as a professor in Georgia and North Carolina. Gun control advocates pointed out that the shooting happened on the same day the Senate Republicans blocked legislation to ban assault weapons and mandate universal background checks. That bill came after the US already broke its record for mass shootings in a single year over the weekend. Today I asked my colleagues to pass my universal firearms background checks legislation. It's supported by 90% of Americans and would save thousands of lives.Republicans blocked it.Three hours later, another mass shooting in UNLV.This carnage is a choice. pic.twitter.com/WYLUqrGtxb — Chris Murphy 🟧 (@ChrisMurphyCT) December 6, 2023 Quitter: After enduring the brutal, public embarrassment of his colleagues ousting him as Speaker of the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy announced today that he will resign from his position at the end of the year. He will end his career about a year early, as he would have been up for re-election in November 2024, according to USA Today. Now, the governor of his home state California must call for a special election in the next two weeks to replace him. Then, under state law, his constituents must elect a new representative within 126 to 140 days. His retreat along with George Santos dramatic departure could mean trouble for the Republican's already slight majority, but politicos say that a Republican will likely win the seat in that district. And maybe the voters will elect one that the rest of the House likes! pic.twitter.com/STeWjxkpcT — gillian (@gxllian) December 6, 2023 $$$: Did you hear? Biden announced his administration will forgive another $4.8 billion in student loan debt, which means relief for 80,300 borrowers. According to CNBC, the Biden administration has so far forgiven $132 billion in student debt for more than 3.6 million people. Panera lemonade strikes again: https://t.co/ruEdQf3iyt pic.twitter.com/SlWlw1ii1T — Dan Sheehan (@ItsDanSheehan) December 7, 2023 Blocked: Senate Republicans blocked a bill yesterday that would have sent $50 billion in aid to Ukraine and $14 billion to fund Israel’s genocide. But don’t get too excited. Republicans did not block the bill out of their moral duty to protect innocent lives. They blocked the bill to put the party in a better position to bargain for stricter controls on the US-Mexico border. If Senate Republicans cave, the House would still have to approve it, and Republicans in that chamber love to vote down aid to Ukraine. Sad: I planned to go to Alaska’s show last night, but some of her crew got COVID, so they postponed the show. In her honor, listen to this:
Your Guide to Hanukkah Food in Seattle for 2023
Sufganiyot, Latkes, and More by EverOut Staff Hanukkah runs from December 7-15 this year, celebrating the triumph of the Maccabees and a very miraculous bit of oil. Of course, there's no shortage of culinary ways to mark the occasion, from crispy potato latkes to sugar-dusted sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts). We've gathered a few of the places offering specials around town below.9th & Hennepin DonutsThis operation known for its hot-out-of-the-fryer doughnuts with delicate seasonal flavors is kicking off Hanukkah in style with a box of sufganiyot, complete with four different fillings: strawberry jam, apricot rose petal, peach bay leaf, and cardamom Shiro plum. Pre-orders are now live for pickup from the business's truck on Thursday, December 7, so don't delay, although some may be available for walk-up purchase. If you miss out, 9th & Hennepin will also sell them again from their takeout window in West Seattle on Friday, December 15—preorders for that day will open on Monday, December 11.Capitol Hill, West SeattlePickup
Paradise by the Rainy-Day Gaming Light
It's cold. It's probably raining. Stay inside and play games. by Sam Machkovech As the endless gray begins to dominate the Pacific Northwest, "experts" might suggest anti-SAD measures like adjusted bedtimes, vitamin D supplements, or strategically arranged lamps. Pish posh! 'Tis the season to embrace the warming combination of a blanket, a TV screen, and a mildly vibrating game controller. Sure, it can be tempting to marathon your favorite films or TV series when the weather turns, but games ramp up the getaway factor. With that in mind, we're here to suggest particularly sunny and cheerful fare, tuned to distract you from the increasingly dim light peeking through your windows as of late. For Clueless Gamers Netflix Gaming If you’re already paying whatever insane price Netflix has risen to, open its app on your phone and look for a whole-ass Mobile Games tab, all included with your subscription. (They don’t advertise this much, so you’re forgiven for having no idea about it until now.) Many of these are legitimately good games that have nothing to do with Squid Game or Tiger King, and they have none of the predatory costs or ads found in most “free” phone games. Recs for sunlight-starved gaming novices: Poinpy, an addictive jump-and-jump-and-jump cartoon-action game; World of Goo, an architecture-with-jellybeans simulator; Storyteller, which lets you remix fairy tales by dragging pictures on your screen to create makeshift comic panels; and Too Hot To Handle, a silly and horny interactive-romance series that’ll heat you up on gloomy days. Apple Arcade Another subscription service? Again: Most smartphone games suuuuuck. Paying into a gaming subscription service for your phone or tablet means the games don’t bait-and-switch you the way that free-to-play phone games typically do. Apple’s selection is bigger than Netflix’s, but unsurprisingly, it’s only available on i-branded doohickeys. Its cheeriest games include Grindstone (imagine Bejeweled, only the match-3 gameplay here is attached to an epic, Adventure Time-esque quest), Pac-Man Party Royale (four-player Pac-Man on one screen, which is better if you play on an iPad or Apple TV), Crossy Road+ (an addictive, modern twist on Frogger), Air Twister (a late '80s arcade throwback where you ride a dragon and shoot lasers like a high-tech rollercoaster), and Stardew Valley (a cartoony farming sim made by a single Seattle-area person, also available on other systems in a pinch). Puzzmo Imagine something like Wordle that updates every day with a bunch of clever, phone-friendly games, plus more ways to interact and compete with friends and fewer tie-ins to the New York Times’ worst op-eds, all for free, and you’ve got Puzzmo. Its daily crossword includes a handy, built-in hint system (no more errant Googling to remember which movie from 1995 starts with an H), and its other games range from placing puzzle blocks to remixed versions of chess. Right now, Puzzmo is in a limited state, ahead of a wider public launch sometime in 2024, but you can get in earlier for free by going to its home page and jumping through a couple of hoops. The Original Super Mario Bros. (1-3) and Super Mario World Okay, duh–but there’s gotta be someone out there who only knows about this series because of Chris Pratt. The thing is, it’s tricky to play classic Mario video games if you don’t own some kind of gaming device made by Nintendo, and the biggest exception—Super Mario Run, for iPhone and iPad—sucks a big Koopa shell. The original games are all superb, though, and the easiest way to play them these days is to go on eBay and buy either the NES Classic or SNES Classic, which each comes with at least two very good Mario games built-in. There are other ways to play them on your phone, or on a cheaper, pre-made TV box shipped directly from Chinese retailers, but they’re all legally dubious. (Ask a niece or nephew.) For Lapsed Gamers Newer Mario games Again, duh—but if you’ve skipped a few game systems over the years, you have some delectable options on this front. The easiest modern ones to access are on Switch: Super Mario Bros. Wonder (old-school style with best-in-class weirdness), Super Mario Odyssey (entirely in 3D, so you’ll need to be fluent with two joysticks at the same time, but it lets you transform into a T-REX WITH A MUSTACHE, come on!!), and Super Mario 3D World (somewhere in between, with lots of flexibility if you want to add up to three friends on the couch). Katamari Damacy It'll be hard to be unhappy while playing a game this fuckin' cute. PALADIN STUDIOS The video game equivalent of snorting Fun Dip. You’re a cartoon prince whose father, King of All Cosmos, sends you to Earth to roll up every single thing on the planet via a sticky ball in your hands (basically, Pee-Wee Herman’s massive ball of foil). The soundtrack is legendary for its sheer joy, while the game’s explosions of color and silliness make an average Bugs Bunny cartoon look like a Marxist-Leninist textbook in comparison. You can get at least one version of this series on every modern phone, tablet, computer, or game console. Forza Horizon 5 and Burnout Paradise If you reach a mid-winter breaking point and want to feel the sun on your shoulders and the wind of an open road in your hair, any of the Forza Horizon car games will get you there. The newest one, Forza Horizon 5, is arguably the sunniest and cheeriest driving game ever made, except when the in-game calendar decides to switch to winter on occasion. (Even then, it’s a dry chill.) Forza is only on Microsoft-branded systems (PCs, Xbox), so if you’re on some other modern game system, Burnout Paradise is a terrific sunny California backup option for aimless driving, and it includes an amusing tweak where you go faster when you slam other cars demolition derby-style. Just Cause 4 Land on a generic Caribbean paradise, then use the overkill combination of a super-long zipline and a jacket full of rocket launchers to blast yourself across sun-drenched islands. Just Cause 4 is a way better option for braindead open-world antics than Grand Theft Auto, which has always been on the boring side of misogyny and LGBTQIA+ appropriation. Rez Infinite In a past life, I reviewed this series on the old Xbox 360—for this very publication! Rez remains a surprisingly trippy and titillating arcade romp for many, many gaming platforms, including most virtual reality headsets if you decide to tune out the bad weather by strapping an entire game system to your face. Wherever you play Rez Infinite, toggle all of the extra “vibration” options in the menus to make the game physically buzz against you to the beat of its trance soundtrack. Halo: The Master Chief Collection If you never got into Halo, this single-disc compilation of five classic shooter games is all you’ll need to see why the green-dude-versus-aliens series became a merch-selling phenomenon. For the uninitiated, this neon-soaked series’ “T for teen” rating is a bit overkill, as all the anti-alien violence is tame enough for any 10-and-up kids you might want to share this game with. And every Halo game on this disc scales nicely for two, three, or four space marines on the same screen, so you can team up and save the day instead of going online and shooting anonymous, dingbat teenagers on microphones. For Savvy Gamers Alan Wake and Alan Wake II The video game world has a surprisingly robust interest in David Lynch's filmography, with a few classics cribbing from Twin Peaks in particular. None do it quite like Alan Wake, a series that started on Xbox 360 and returned this year with one of the most jaw-dropping sequels of the current console generation. In these games, when you're not solving a mystery in the woods or getting cherry pie at a particularly styled diner, you're shining flashlights in the dark to fend off ghosts. This whole flashlight system, in either game, is killer on a dreary, real-life day—all crackles and static as your hand-held lantern makes shadowy figures writhe, scream, and explode in beautiful 3D vision. Would that we could all wield such a flashlight on King County Metro from time to time. Luigi’s Mansion 3 Similar flashlight-gaming schtick as Alan Wake, and quite a bit of fun as a result. This Nintendo Switch game is more family-friendly and thus less Lynchian—though I'd love if this game’s titular, green Mario Brother spoke backward while letting a bird peck at a tied-up Toad. Baldur’s Gate 3 The most critically acclaimed quest game of 2023 makes our rainy-day list less because it’s full of sunshine and light, and more because it is so all-engrossing, and so clever, so full of fascinating characters and intrigue and morally unclear decisions that you might get stuck on its 80-plus hours of adventure for the entirety of this winter. Heck, this Dungeons & Dragons-branded game offers so many creative possibilities (and, ooh, romantic options) that you can play it twice over and have a different experience each time. You’ll need the newest console or a decent computer to play it. Helsing’s Fire This is one of the best smartphone games of all time, but it launched around the same time as Angry Birds and thus got overshadowed like crazy. And yes, “overshadowed” is the operative word. Helsing’s Fire revolves around shadow and light: place shining beacons on a surface that’s otherwise covered in rats and vampires, in such a way that their colored light beams shine on the correct evil specters to burn them to death. Silly, Stoker-worthy dialogue and unique shadow-and-light gameplay make this a bright smartphone option on dreary days. Thirsty Suitors One of the most progressive and emotionally fluent video games of the 2020s was made by a Seattle-centric developer, so I’ll take any excuse to recommend it again. The music, style, and writing of this is all quite positive and optimistic, so I wholly count it as fine entertainment during a crappy week under a blanket. Full review here. Thirsty Suitors is short-and-sweet, easily worth its $30 tag, and it comes as part of a paid Xbox Game Pass subscription if you’re already paying for that on either Xbox consoles or Windows PC.
Stranger Suggests: Poog, Vagabon, It's a Wonderful Life, Jeff Rosenstock, Black Nativity
One really great thing to do every day of the week. by Megan Seling WEDNESDAY 12/6 It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Alaska...a Christmas Show (DRAG) Say HIEEEE to Alaska Thunderfuck, because she’s wiggling seductively down a chimney and into town. She'll pull "heartwarming" stories and songs from her sleigh to warm your icy ticker this time around—I'm hoping for something in the vein of her albums Anus, Poundcake, and Vagina. The RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars season two winner has been busy lately; she hosts the Race Chaser podcast with fellow former contestant Willam and still makes time to call for a ceasefire. (Neptune Theatre, 1303 NE 45th St, 8 pm, $37.50-$47.50, 18+) LINDSAY COSTELLO UPDATE: The Alaska Thunderfuck show was postponed after publication. The new date is December 30. More details here. THURSDAY 12/7 Poog: The Road to Christmas (COMEDY) The hags are coming!!! Poog (Goop backward) is the unhinged blend of hypochondria, consumerism, and millennial ennui that you might not have known you needed, served up on a platter covered in retinoids and permed lashes. Kate Berlant and Jacqueline Novak are on the road for the holidays, so prepare for some lymphatic drainage in the form of diatribes on skincare and microgreens. If you are exhausted by the endless, girlbossy guides to optimizing, glass skin, and supplements that occupy nearly every corner of Beyoncé's internet, Berlant and Novak are here for you—not to debunk or fact-check these things, but to laugh along. ("The original batch of snake oil had to have had something in it," says Novak.) (Neptune Theatre, 1303 NE 45th St, 7:30 pm, $40, all ages) LINDSAY COSTELLO FRIDAY 12/8 Vagabon (MUSIC) Speaking about her adventurous new album, Sorry I Haven't Called, Vagabon told the Guardian that she just "didn't feel like being introspective." However, that lack of introspection did not sacrifice her sharp, cutting lyricism. The album is honest and conversational with a refreshing breeze of effervescent electro-pop. She will support the new album alongside the indie R&B project Nourished by Time. (Madame Lou's at the Crocodile, 2505 First Ave, 6:30 pm, $22, all ages) AUDREY VANN SATURDAY 12/9 Shop All the Local Holiday Markets View this post on Instagram A post shared by Renegade Craft (@renegadecraft) (SHOPPING) Today every single holiday market in the world is going down in Seattle. Punk Rock Flea Market is at Nii Modo in the old Bartell Drugs space on Third Avenue from noon to 8 pm. Entrance is just a buck and more than 150 vendors will be selling wacky, weird, and whimsical shit including art, records, vintage clothes and housewares, and bondage gear. To secure their spot on the nice list, Punk Rock Flea Market will donate a portion of the proceeds go to the Low Income Housing Institute. Up in north Seattle is the Winter Renegade Craft Fair at Magnuson Park Hangar 30 from 11 am to 5 pm. It's gifts galore, including delicate handmade jewelry! Dog neckerchiefs! And sculptural pillows that are as big as a Mini Cooper! I want one. For something with a more Lifetime holiday movie vibe, head to Occidental Square Park for the third annual Pioneer Square Holiday Market from 11 am to 3 pm with dozens of local art vendors, a skating rink, and free hot chocolate. (Find even more holiday festivals and shopping opportunities in our calendar) MEGAN SELING SUNDAY 12/10 It's a Wonderful Life (FILM) Already before World War II, the world of the villain in It's a Wonderful Life, the robber baron Henry F. Potter (portrayed by the stern face of Lionel Barrymore) was long over. The glory period of his kind did not rise from the combined ashes of the First World War and the Crash of 1929. But no one knew what was to come next. Would the USA become another USSR? The 1930s were called the Red Decade for a good reason. Was the hero of It's a Wonderful Life, George Bailey (played by the drawl of James Stewart), a Red? Sure looked like it in 1946. During the Great Depression (the Red years), capitalism in its liberal form, that is to say, as it was practiced in the 19th century, classical capitalism, was no longer viable. Trade unions had become too militant, and the power of mass culture was matching, if not at times surpassing, that of the bourgeois class. Was there another path other than that of communism, which, as an idea, is the domination of the economy by the working classes? There was. And it took the form of George Bailey. Let's look at him in his movie world. The goal of Bailey's bank, Building & Loan, which runs at a loss, is to pull workers out of poverty—indeed, out of the slums that make Potter's bank huge profits. Bailey's dream, when he isn't dreaming of banking but doing interesting things with this life, is to expand the middle class. However the realization of this kind of banking requires an investment that first appears in the books as a loss. This is Bailey's dilemma. Those familiar with the story of this movie, directed by Frank Capra, can place the structure of my economic background on it and find it fits perfectly. Bailey is a Keynesian, and this is the economic program that directed worker militancy in white America from a fascination with the USSR to the utopia of the suburbs. The US government realized the Building & Loan's reasoning by providing long-term loans that made home ownership for wage earners possible. With this came the famous white flight from apartments to single-family homes, the rise of car culture, and profits that satisfied the business class that replaced the Potters of the old world order, managerial capitalists. This is really what It's a Wonderful Life, a Christmas movie, is about. (Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th St, various showtimes through Dec 28, $8-$11) CHARLES MUDEDE MONDAY 12/11 Jeff Rosenstock (MUSIC) Season affective disorder is doomed. With his new album HELLMODE, Jeff Rosenstock has armed us all with the armor needed to survive another several months of serotonin-depleting rain, cold, and 4 pm sunsets. For instant relief, just blast "DOUBT," a pep talk disguised as a song written by a pop-loving punk rocker. There's no sugarcoating anything—"I don’t know how to scrape the dog shit that’s stuck on / The heart of the fuckin’ world! / How to cut loose the doom that’s been screwed to / The roof of your fuckin’ skull!"—but Rosenstock pairs the mutual feeling of dread with the much-needed encouragement to "Kill all the doubt or the doubt is never gonna go away / Kill all of the doubt or it’ll waste your day." You don't have to fight the Big Dark—proverbial or otherwise—alone. Rosenstock is your army, his songs are your battle cry. Declare war on the demons in your head. (The Showbox, 1426 First Ave, 8 pm, $25, all ages) MEGAN SELING TUESDAY 12/12 Black Nativity View this post on Instagram A post shared by Intiman Theatre (@intimantheatre) (THEATER) Written by innovative playwright, poet, and social activist Langston Hughes, Black Nativity first premiered in 1961 and was one of the first off-Broadway plays composed by an African American person. Presented in partnership with the Hansberry Project, this interpretation of the gospel play features "actors, dancers, soaring vocalists, and a rousing city-wide gospel choir," who come together for nativity storytelling, dance, and traditional Christmas carols with brand-new songs. The production also offers opportunities for audience sing-alongs, so prep your vocal chords before the show. (Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, various showtimes through Dec 30, $5-$105) LINDSAY COSTELLO Prizefight! Win tickets to rad upcoming events!* Fishbone The CrocodileDecember 12, all ages Contest ends December 8 at 10 am ENTER NOW! *Entering PRIZE FIGHT contests by submitting your email address signs you up to receive the Stranger Suggests newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Keep Denny Blaine Degenerate
I don't know where else I can go and feel comfortable in my body in this damn city!! by Anonymous At the behest of some rich person, Seattle Parks and Recreation has decided that one of the few nude beaches in Seattle (Denny Blaine Park) would be a GREAT place for a children's playground. Considering the multiple park options nearby for this project that would not be adjacent to one of the few spaces in this city where queer adults can be themselves and feel comfortable in their bodies, there is no way this decision is coincidental. I have gone to this park for years, and as the child of a queer person who has lived in Seattle since the ‘80s, I know how critical it is for us to maintain spaces where queer people don't need to worry about optics every damn second. In a world that is constantly repressing our identities, is it not possible for queer people to have one space? Really hoping the parks department chooses another site, because I don't know where else I can go and feel comfortable in my body in this damn city!! Do you need to get something off your chest? Submit an I, Anonymous and we'll illustrate it! Send your unsigned rant, love letter, confession, or accusation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember to change the names of the innocent and the guilty.