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Tenant Dead, Sheriff’s Detective Shot After Eviction Attempt in Ballard
A source said the tenant had been served eviction papers "earlier this month." by Ashley Nerbovig A 29-year-old woman is dead and King County Sheriff Detective David Easterly remains hospitalized with a gunshot wound after deputies attempted to evict the woman from her apartment in Ballard Monday morning.  An ambulance took Easterly to Harborview Medical Center, where hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg said the detective was in critical but stable condition and headed into surgery. Law enforcement officers found the woman dead in her apartment about two hours after the shooting. According to King County Superior Court filings, the woman’s eviction process began in September of 2022 over her failure to pay about $6,300 in rent. Housing Justice Project Senior Managing Attorney Edmund Witter said his office handled her case but could not say more due to attorney-client privilege. However, the connection between evictions and death was not new to him. A person can match the names of people who died unsheltered to the names of people booted from their homes the year before pretty faithfully, Witter said. “An eviction can feel like a death sentence,” he added. On Monday, three deputies went to an apartment complex on the 800 block of NW 54th Street in Ballard to evict the woman, according to Meeghan Black, a spokesperson for King County’s Independent Force Investigation Team (IFIT). At about 9:30 am, deputies called for backup after “gunfire was exchanged.” One bullet slipped beneath a deputy’s bulletproof vest and exited through his body. Black initially said the two uninjured deputies fired their guns, but an IFIT statement released Tuesday said "investigators found evidence indicating all three deputies probably returned fire." After the exchange, the woman went back into her apartment and barricaded herself inside, Black said. About two hours later, the Seattle Police Department, who responded to the call about the injured deputy, entered the apartment and found the woman dead. Update, 3/22: According to the Medical Examiner's office, she died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Black said investigators were still looking into who shot first, whether police recovered a gun from inside the apartment, and how many shots were fired.  The Tuesday statement from IFIT named the other two detectives as Benjamin Wheeler and Benjamin Miller.  Court documents from the eviction used she/her pronouns to refer to the person living in the apartment, and a friend of the tenant said she was transgender. The Stranger is not publishing her name at this time.  A member of a mutual aid organization on scene said over the weekend he delivered groceries to her. The source said he'd been working with her and knew she was facing eviction and that she’d put up two-by-fours and metal barricades over her door to prevent anyone from forcing her out of her apartment. Gilman Park Partners, LLC, owns the Ballard apartment complex where the woman lived. In September, the company told the woman she had 14 days to either pay the rent she owed or vacate the apartment. The woman’s lease dated back to at least 2019, though records show she may have become a tenant sometime in 2018. She paid rent on time until 2020. Gilman Park Partners was not immediately available for comment when The Stranger reached out Tuesday morning. In court, the Housing Justice Project lawyers cited pandemic-related financial hardship as their argument against the eviction. Gilman’s attorneys said the woman hadn’t paid during the two months after the Mayor lifted Seattle’s civil emergency. In December, the court found in favor of the landlords. Seattle’s ban on winter evictions prevented Gilman from kicking her out until after March 1. On Monday, the King County Sheriff’s deputies followed the court order to remove her from the apartment. “The entire situation is tragic,” Witter said. “Evictions for nonpayment of rent are preventable with more support and the right programs. Instead, a person died and another was harmed while trying to do their job.”  King County Executive Dow Constantine issued a statement about the shooting Monday night wishing the deputy a speedy recovery. This post has been updated.

Bananas Are Creepy Yellow Fingers Full of Blood
Poet Paul Hlava Ceballos is up for a National Book Critics Circle award this year. by Rich Smith Seattle poet Paul Hlava Ceballos spent eight years researching bananas—not just because he likes them (which he still does), and not just because the fruit connects him to the cultures and topographies of Ecuador, one of the so-called “banana republics” from which his family hails, but also because the story of the banana tells “the story of the Americas,” as he put it in an interview with The Stranger. Using a collage of government documents, news reports, racist tweets, photos, and video stills that he found down his rabbit hole, Ceballos tells his version of that story in banana [ ] (University of Pittsburgh Press). The depth of his dive and the quality of his ear and eye earned him a nomination this year for a National Book Critics Circle award—not too shabby for a debut full-length poetry collection.  He begins the book with a bunch of short lyric poems that focus on US state violence and negligence toward Latinx people, linking the contemporary injustices to the Spanish plundering of the Incan empire. Then in the title poem, “banana [ ]: A History of the Americas,” he widens his scope with a focus on corporate violence in the global south. After giving us enough reason to pick up our pitchforks and torches, he closes out with a restorative portrait of a beautiful, strong, funny, complicated mother figure who thrives and blossoms in the face of oppression. In a chat last month, we talked about how all of that fits together—and where to buy bananas that don’t totally rely on exploiting Latin American laborers.  I eat a banana every morning. But now when I look at the bunch on my sill, I only see five yellow fingers filled with blood. Is that part of what you were hoping to accomplish here? Kind of! Well, many Latin American banana workers have been killed as a result of companies like Dole or Chiquita desiring more land to grow crops. Partly the need for land to grow bananas is due to the fact that it’s a monoculture—actually, a clone of the same banana that we eat. This lack of diversity makes it more susceptible to disease but more easy to advertise, ship, and sell. So companies try to expand farms to where people have been living for centuries, or force people to join their farms by controlling local markets. The people who tried to unionize or fight for control of their land were erased twice— once as they were killed, often by paramilitaries with direct financial links to major US banana companies, and a second time as they were forgotten. Sorry, Rich, this is dark! But the fact that the most ubiquitous fruit in the US is often NOT thought of as bloody was sad! Yeah, so much of mass fruit and vegetable harvesting is covered in blood, sweat, and imperialist geopolitics. The grocery store is a war zone. Right, the banana is just a symbol for an extractive economic method—for the extraction of resources by the global north from the global south. And not just resources, but labor as well, which is directly connected to immigration and a national consciousness. But I hope to make it clear in the book that I am culpable, too. It’s not that because I am from a minority group or have connections to people in resource-rich areas of the world that my conscience is clear. I can go out and buy 10-cent bananas any time I want.  Wait—do you still eat bananas?  Yeah, I try to get the fair trade ones, but if they’re not available, then it’s a whole thing.  Where do you go?  Central Co-op! Of course, they’re the best. I feel like I can trust them to curate my food for me, so I don’t have to do a web search on every food item I buy. All those thoughts on extraction remind me of what you do in the book: cutting, pasting, and rearranging. You use a lot of cutting imagery in the poems, and you collage texts and images from elsewhere to create most of the book. Why take that tack with this subject?  I think culpability has something to do with that, too. Like, maybe my voice isn’t the most important in this topic. But because of my position as an artist in the US, I can be more vocal about it. So, I wanted to include as many other people’s voices as possible.  As for the photos, I just cut out workers as they were from history or botanical books. So I tried to preserve them as much as possible. But, like their voices, there weren’t a lot of images of them in media! So what remained was just bits and pieces. Even trying to preserve what was available meant just preserving what was cut out by the companies that originally wrote the stories.  You do so much preservation work in this book. What stood out to you? When I wrote the section of the banana poem that I consider the “say her name” section, which lists the names of banana laborers and union workers killed in the past decade by paramilitaries (often with known links to the major banana corporations), I felt like it was an important archive to show. In fact, it’s the only such list of assassinated banana workers I’ve seen in my years of research.  But it was a dark place and a horrifying rhythm to be caught in, writing it. Yes, and yet you close the book with a lyrical meditation on your mom, Irma, and her story of immigration. I was uneasy having an arc that led to a kind of catharsis. I don’t want to give a sense of release or ease to the reader about oppression that is still ongoing. But it was important to have my family be in there, and I thought moving toward love was the answer. Actually, it’s how the research and writing occurred for me. I found banana laborers and other workers that I liked through the research. So the move was toward a type of caring-for.  A kind of repair felt necessary, especially after the dark historical journey that we took to arrive at the end. The National Book Critics Circle Awards are at the New School Auditorium in New York on March 23. 

The Top 64 Events in Seattle This Week: Mar 20-26, 2023
Queensrÿche, Cherry Blossom Festival, and More Top Picks by EverOut Staff It's official: Spring is finally here! To celebrate, head out for any number of fabulous events happening this week, from Daffodil Day to the Cherry Blossom Festival and from Queensrÿche: The Digital Noise Alliance Tour to Hidden Worlds: The Films of LAIKA. MONDAY PERFORMANCE 12 Minutes MaxThis fast-paced community production showcases new work by regional artists across genres. Short experimental pieces—each 12 minutes long—will be performed by artists selected by curators Akoiya Harris, a Seattle-based movement artist and cultural preservationist, and Gary Champi, a San Diego-born dance artist and educator. (Base: Experimental Arts + Space, Georgetown)

Fred Lisaius’s Natural Reverence
Meet The Stranger's Artist of the Week. by Corianton Hale Fred Lisaius is a Seattle painter who thoughtfully portrays serene Pacific Northwest nature scenes that celebrate the beauty of flora, fauna, and sunlight. In our interview, we talk about his techniques, his love of nature, and the personality of flowers. Clearly, time immersed in nature is an important part of your work. Can you tell me more about how it affects your well-being? When I’m not in my studio, you are most likely to find me in my garden on a hike, kayaking, mushroom hunting, or taking a walk through a local park. The beauty, ingenuity, and tenacity of nature recharges me, makes me happy, and inspires me. I think it comes through in your work! And what preparatory steps do you take before creating a painting?  I start all of my paintings first by reflecting on a memory of somewhere I’ve been and how it made me feel. The wonderful thing about memories is that they are not detailed, they are mostly a collection of sounds, textures, temperature, and distance, and in that sense are more accurate than a photo. Passing Storm, 22 x 30. Fred Lisaius And how firm is your plan when you put brush to canvas? My plan when starting a painting is malleable. I make a lot of changes as I go. I like to discover my painting—it is more exciting that way. You depict orchids, lilies, and daffodils with something like reverence. Do you have a favorite flower, and what enchants you about them? I don’t have a favorite flower, I think I love them all. Flowers have wonderful personalities and I invite them into my paintings when they contribute to the mood I am trying to achieve. Mountain Dance, 20 x 24. Fred Lisaius I like the technique you often use, of visually compressing a scene into two layers; branches, birds and flowers as a spatially unified top layer, and a deeper scenic background layer. It is a stylish way of depicting nature, where you introduce some control over the chaos and focus the viewer’s appreciation in a more selective way. How did this technique evolve or come to be? I love to play with the illusion of space in a painting. In my gold leaf paintings, I let the reflections in the leaf create the feeling of space. In my other paintings, I create the sense of space via color, detail, scale, value, etc. I want to invite the viewer into my painting, and I try to create the space for them to do that. Misty Morning, 20 x 30. Fred Lisaius What are your goals for 2023? I want to work big! I’ll be creating a series of large paintings for my solo 2025 exhibit at Patricia Rovzar Gallery. I will also be creating paintings for other exhibits in Virginia and Minneapolis.  Fred Lisaius’ show Symbiosis is on display at Patricia Rovzar Gallery through March 28. Find more of Fred’s work at and follow him on Instagram at @fredl33.

Slog AM: Trump Fears Arrest, $10 Million Discrimination Claim Filed Against SPD, the Lusty Lady's New Future
The Stranger's morning news roundup. by Rich Smith What should we make of the Lusty Lady? Adult FriendFinder dude Andrew Conru bought the old peep show theater for $3 million, and now he's asking the people of Seattle for renovation ideas, according to the Seattle Times. Your choices include: Restaurant, hotel, museum, strip club, retail store, or other. Not to be a buzzkill, but how about some housing for poor people up top with some retail space for sex worker advocacy groups on the ground floor? A bathhouse would be fine, too. Or maybe we could bring it all back with a peep show / gay bar concept called Shelly's Lusty Leg Lady.  Speaking of sticky wickets: Everybody welcome the Seattle Orcas, one of five new teams to join Major League Cricket for its first season this summer. Unfortunately, the league will hold all the games in Texas, but the team is "working with King County and the city of Bellevue to build a cricket community park that could seat 6,000 people" in Redmond, KOMO reports. Not as fun as the Lusty Lady, but kinda fun.  A new idea enters the CID light rail station discourse: This week Hannah will drop a piece explaining everything you need to know about the big fight between urbanists and Chinatown preservationists and urbanists who want to preserve Chinatown about whether to put a transit hub in the area, but, in the meantime, Martin Pagel over at Seattle Transit Blog offers this olive branch: "Let’s just improve our existing tunnel and use the savings to make up for lost time on other projects." I'm intrigued.  I appreciated reading this perspective from @chrissyshimizoo in @TheStranger on the impact of a proposed train station in Seattle's Chinatown/International District. The issue is a stress test for what a truly inclusive urbanism should look like. — Shaun Scott 🌹🤝 (@eyesonthestorm) March 17, 2023 "Detective Cookie" files $10 million claim against the Seattle Police Department: Detective Denise Bouldin seeks millions in damages for enduring discrimination over the course of her 40-year career as a cop in the South Precinct. Among other incidents, she claims some officers wouldn't back her up on calls, and someone put dog shit in front of her locker, KIRO 7 reports. Looks like the only thing we can do here is give the department more money to train the cops not to discriminate or put dog poop near lockers.  False alarm: Port police shut down part of the airport for three hours on Sunday over some unattended luggage, causing "backups and delays," according to KING 5. The cops set off a little bomb to destroy what turned out to be "scuba and fishing gear."  Sprucing up the light rail stations: An in-depth feature from Mike Lindblom at the Seattle Times runs through Sound Transit's long to-do list, which includes replacing a lot of the broken and worn-out escalators and elevators, hiring more maintenance teams, and employing more security guards. The agency recently ramped up the latter two efforts, but it'll take about ten years starting next year to replace all that hardware.  Spring sprung a leak:  Light rain has moved into much of Western Washington overnight making the first commute of Spring a wet one. Drive carefully. #WaWx — NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) March 20, 2023 Ban Wyoming: Over the weekend, Governor Mark Gordon banned abortion and abortion pills, reports Politico, signaling his desire to see a 25% increase in preventable maternal deaths among women in general and a 39% increase in maternal deaths among Black women in particular. Courts tied up the state's earlier abortion ban, and this one will likely meet the same fate at least for a while, so abortion remains legal in the state for now.  Trump fears arrest: In an all-caps social media post published on Saturday morning, the leading 2024 GOP presidential candidate falsely claimed that Feds planned to arrest him on Tuesday. He then tried to start a lil Jan 6 action by asking his followers to protest the injustice. The potential arrest relates to allegations about Trump breaking campaign finance laws when he paid hush money to Stormy Daniels, but the grand jury on that case still has more work to do, so Tuesday probably isn't the day, according to the New York Times. Plus, Trump lackeys say he'll probably just turn himself in once the scythe draws near anyway.  The GOP establishment continues to stand by its man: In partial fulfillment of his blood oath, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy rallied his troops in the House Republican caucus and framed the New York prosecutor's investigation of Trump as a political witch hunt, according to Politico. They're not wrong to sound shocked. Like many houses of prosecution, the Manhattan DA's office is known for nailing the poor while letting the rich off with wrist slaps—if that.  A "muted" reaction from core supporters: One young Republican demonstration and a few social media posts aside, Trump's base didn't really respond to its leader's encouragement, "with even some of his most ardent loyalists dismissing the idea as a waste of time or a law enforcement trap," reports the Associated Press. On the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, we read Michael Brenes. "No war is inevitable, but I remember thinking the Iraq War would be the first," he writes.  DeSantis backed force-feeding at Guantanamo Bay: The Washington Post looked into the Floridian meatball's record as a JAG officer in Gitmo, where one detainee says DeSantis smiled as he watched soldiers tie the detainee to a chair, stick a rubber hose up his nostril, and pump "two cans of a protein drink" into him. The UN and the Red Cross both call that torture. DeSantis does not. As we mark the 20th anniversary of the Iraq war, that prison remains open.  Oh, forgive me, I meant that Pennsylvanian-Ohioan meatball: In his memoir, DeSantis, a governor who harnesses the power of the state to oppress people that identify as a gender they weren't assigned at birth, says he was raised in Florida but identifies as one of two crucial swing states in the upcoming presidential elections:  DeSantis: "I identify as western PA, pronouns You/Yinz" — John Ganz (@lionel_trolling) March 19, 2023 Cyclone kills more than 500 in eastern Africa: People living in Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar endured the "longest-lasting tropical cyclone" in recorded history, according to Al Jazeera. Most of the damage and death has fallen on Malawi, where the storm made "tens of thousands" homeless and produced floods that hit hundreds of thousands more. The cyclone started in late February, and it only began to let up last Wednesday.   Related: The newly released report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that we'll miss our goal of slowing warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius "within a decade," according to the Washington Post. If we don't take more aggressive action soon, then we damn ourselves to increased numbers of deaths from "heat waves, famines and infectious diseases." We have the tools to stop this now, but we do not have the political will.  I spent part of the weekend a little stoned in my reading chair trying to determine who sang the best cover of Blaze Foley's "Clay Pigeons." The answer turned out to be John Prine: 

This Week in Seattle Food News
MoMo's Kebab Hits Capitol Hill, L'Oursin Plans a Wine Bar, and Cafe Besalu Says Goodbye For Now by EverOut Staff Spring is so close we can almost taste it, but in the meantime, we'll have to settle for some other flavors, like Middle Eastern cuisine from MoMo's Kebab and Southeast Asian-inspired seafood boils from SEA Crab House. Read about that and other food news, like what's next for the London Plane space and L'Oursin's upcoming cafe and bar, below. For more ideas, check out our guide to what to eat and drink for St. Patrick's Day and our food and drink guide. NEW OPENINGS MoMo's KebabEgypt-raised brothers Ahmed and Mohammed Elgedawi, who run multiple food trucks, a Renton restaurant, and a catering operation for their business MoMo's Kebab, opened a trailer in a Capitol Hill lot located behind the Black Rock Spirits headquarters and Tequila Lab events space last weekend, with menu items like gyros, kebabs, shawarma, and falafel.Capitol HillPickup, delivery, dine-in

Ballet Unbound
'Boundless' opens at McCaw Hall March 17. by Rich Smith Pacific Northwest Ballet resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo walked into the dance studio with a Spotify playlist, some loose ideas, and not much else.  A little more than two weeks before its world premiere, his contribution to Boundless, a program of boundary-pushing ballets that will run at McCaw Hall from March 17–26, didn’t have a title, a firm setlist, or, for that matter, a set. “I could tell you what I have in mind for stage production, but it would be a lie,” he said in an interview shortly before the rehearsal. As for the steps to the dance? “Eh, I like the dancers to dance through sensations rather than steps,” he said. He had developed a few sequences, sure. And he had a rough idea of what he wanted to see—his hallmarks in works such as One Thousand Pieces and Silent Ghost include gyroscopic tumbling, surprising spectacles, and lots of soft intimacies all arranged to music you’d actually listen to. But his plan was not to have a plan. He wanted to “keep it open.” As the company’s first resident choreographer, Cerrudo’s developed a trusting relationship between himself and the dancers that affords him the space he needs to play. “It allows us to work more freely and prevents us from falling into what we already know,” he said. PNB’s dancers seemed to embrace that approach.  When he strolled into the unseasonably sunny studio in late February, soloists Leah Terada and Christopher D’Ariano had something they wanted to show him. They’d spent a good part of the morning working out ways to basically stand up in a very cool way.  Panting and sweating, they ran through a complex routine. Cerrudo appeared to like the moves, but he directed them to try a few simpler variations before tabling it and moving on to the next sequence, which featured D’Ariano lying on his back and pushing up Terada by her hips as she held a midair plank at an angle, as if she were diving into him headfirst.  Soloist Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan gets low while corps de ballet dancer Lily Wills flips out in the background in rehearsals for Penny Saunders’s Wonderland. Kristen Marie Parker As she held that position, Cerrudo asked Terada if she could “worm”—that is, undulate her body like a worm, but with no resistance. After a few attempts, she could do it smoothly. The adjustment turned a straight line into a ripple, amping up the scene’s sensuality and sense of fluidity. He asked her to execute the tough move three times, and she obliged with a knowing smile.  Cerrudo’s seat-of-the-pants staging style isn’t uncommon in the world of contemporary ballet. Lots of choreographers use improv and adjust their steps based on the kinds of dancers working at a given company. But his strategy of pulling the dance from the dancers themselves pushes them to their physical and creative limits, and, in turn, pushes the art form forward.  Soloists Leah Terada and Christopher D’Ariano tumbling through a challenging sequence in Alejandro Cerrudo’s untitled piece. Even after all their work, he might end up cutting it. “Today, it’s still there,” he said with a laugh over the phone two weeks before opening. Kristen Marie Parker Celebrated New York-based choreographer Jessica Lang runs a much tighter ship, but the work she’s creating in Let Me Mingle Tears with Thee tests the limits of ballet in its own way, and the results look no less promising. The dance emerges from Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s composition of a 13th-century Latin hymn called “Stabat Mater.” The first half of the song tells the story of Mary mourning her son at the foot of the cross, and the second half opens it up for the rest of us to shed a tear for the Lawd. “Who would not weep if he saw the mother of Christ in such sorrow?” a singer asks, inviting the audience into the grieving circle.  Soloist Ezra Thomson watches on as corps de ballet dancers Clara Ruf Maldonado, Kuu Sakuragi, and Audrey Malek hop through a passage in Jessica Lang’s Let Me Mingle Tears with Thee. Corps dancer Malena Ani waits in the wings for her big leap. Kristen Marie Parker Sounds like an old-fashioned story ballet, right? Not exactly. Lang destabilizes identity by casting all the dancers as both Mary and Jesus, having them swap roles throughout the show. When Mother becomes Son and vice versa, the griever becomes the grieved, literally embodying the empathetic response while also subtly underlining the cyclical nature of loss. Clever costume design and a sleek, modern set foregrounds the contemporary movement, as dancers transform into fire or burst into the pure joy of salvation. But it’s that notion of radical empathy that drew her to the material in the first place, partly because she sees herself in it. After more than two decades of creating dance all over the globe, she’s developed a “hyper-empathetic” approach to working with dancers. “I observe them, I see their highs and their lows, and when they move, I feel their movements—I can see it and I can feel it,” she said. Soloist Madison Rayne Abeo stretches and tapes her toes ahead of a grueling day as principal dancer Lesley Rausch cools off in the -20 °F shade of Abeo’s gaze. Kristen Marie Parker That empathy came through in a recent rehearsal. “Fire! Fire! Fire!” she said to a group of young corps de ballet dancers sprinting across the studio floor and elegantly flailing their arms in imitation of flames. After several attempts, the steps seemed to challenge the dancers at the expense of projecting the idea of holy fire. A few gentle adjustments later, and the sequence worked out smoothly but looked just as impressive.  Of the three choreographers on the program, Penny Saunders actually has to rein in her piece for Boundless. Wonderland, her riff on Alice’s trippy world, debuted at PNB in 2020. The video performance featured dancers in circus-chic costumes haunting McCaw Hall’s peak-COVID carcass. They escape the invisible walls of the stage, dancing in the opera boxes and in the orchestra pit for no one but themselves.  Corps de ballet dancers Zsilas Michael Hughes and Noah Martzall try to find the right shape, as principal dancer Angelica Generosa peeks out from behind. Kristen Marie Parker Two years and a couple of mRNA vaccines later, and now Saunders must find a way to retain that sense of dancers-dancing-everywhere-all-at-once, but she has to keep them more or less in the auditorium. Very early in the rehearsal schedule, there was some loose talk of stashing dancers in the box seats, but decisions were still being made.  No matter which tack she chooses, real-life Wonderland is bound to radiate the same melancholic magic as its digital companion did a few years back. And if the dancers have as much fun with it as they did in the studio while working to translate the movements from the screen to the stage, then it might just steal the whole show. See Boundless March 17 through 26 at McCaw Hall. Kristen Marie Parker

Lionmilk's Healing Ambient Jazz and Sound Cipher's Weaponized Electronic Rock
The best new music to hit Dave Segal's inbox this week. by Dave Segal Lionmilk, “Shaneen” (Leaving Records) The blissful music of Lionmilk—Los Angeles pianist/composer/producer Moki Kawaguchi—makes you reassess your skepticism toward “healing music.” Now, it's a stretch to say that music can relieve your shin splints or bone spurs, but I can verify that it can alter and calm your mind and slow your pulse. And that's not nothing.  Lionmilk wasn't always laser-focused on music's restorative powers. Much of his early output, such as 2018's Depths of Madness and 2019's Visions in Paraíso, veered toward vibrant ambient, whimsical trip-hop, and electro exotica, with complex, sometimes funky rhythms and glassy textures evocative of Luke Vibert and µ-Ziq's madcap '90s IDM productions. With 2020's Healing for a New Tomorrow, Lionmilk became serious about the therapeutic benefits of sound. He furthered that pursuit with 2021's I Hope You Are Well, which featured his jazzy, Joe Zawinul-esque inclinations in its 16 compositions. This album was originally self-released during the pandemic's early days on a home-dubbed cassette, which Kawaguchi dropped into beloved friends' and family members' mailboxes as a way to ameliorate the alienation that people were feeling during lockdown.  Lionmilk's new album, Intergalactic Warp Terminal 222 (out March 17), continues his exploration of soothing tones for mental well-being. It's not an easy feat to keep this approach from becoming a snooze, and, gratefully, Lionmilk is keenly aware of the importance of interesting dynamics and fascinating timbres. An apparent immersion in Miles Davis's chill fusion classic In a Silent Way informs Intergalactic Warp Terminal 222, especially in the keyboards emit a gentle glow and the melodies tend to dip into a blue warmth. The epitome of this approach may be “Shaneen,” which twinkles and dawdles with a spectral charm and dignity that would impress Ahmad Jamal and Seattle's own Noel Brass Jr. Listen and feel better already. Sound Cipher, “Grid Incursion” (Royal Potato Family) I'll never forget Sound Cipher's live debut in 2017—it happened on the same day as my first colonoscopy. Feeling spaced-out and in an existential quagmire, I nevertheless attended Sound Cipher's Sunset Tavern show, excited by the prospect of this oddball power trio: the busiest man in local underground music, Skerik, on sax, synth, and electronics, bassist/synthesist Timm Mason (ex-Midday Veil, Master Musicians of Bukkake), and Primus/A Perfect Circle percussionist Tim Alexander. It turned out to be one of the most mind-blowing live performances I'd seen in my 15 years of living in this city, up to that point. You can read more about that gig here.  Fast-forward nearly six years and Sound Cipher finally have their first release in the can for the respected Royal Potato Family label. Released on April 24, All That Syncs Must Diverge captures a band at the summit of their potent capabilities.  The tone throughout remains fairly consistent: eventful, spacious, and pugnacious. Most of these six tracks are as cold as ice and twice as hard. “Church Turing” exemplifies the album's stark contrast between the soft and the hard and the quiet and the loud, with its eerie atmosphere rammed to the gills with bulbous, tom-heavy beats. On “Permissive Action Link,” aggressive rhythms, militant sax wails, and scathing synths give the sense of inexorable, punishing movement over rugged terrain. As a bonus, the glowering influence of krautrock outliers Moebius/Plank/Neumeier's Zero Set looms large. Only the 12-minute closer “Entropy Pool” deviates from the pervasive sci-fi battle-scene vibes. Here, a beautiful desolation reigns, with Skerik at his most mellow and tender. You listen on tenterhooks waiting for an explosion that never comes. The track's a moving, tranquil farewell after so much turmoil.  The first single and lead-off song, “Grid Incursion,” though, is bellicose electronic music that projects an air of invulnerability. Sound Cipher form a weaponized drone over which robust, swift beats pummel, the bass growls like an infernal beast, and flagrant synth rays zing. Cinematic sounds with a killer instinct that whip you into a frenzy? It's what the GI doctor ordered.  Sound Cipher perform April 21 at Clock-Out Lounge.

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Seattle This Weekend: Mar 17-19, 2023
St. Patrick's Day Parties, Sissy Butch, and More Cheap & Easy Events by EverOut Staff Lucky for you, there are plenty of cheap and easy events this St. Patrick's Day weekend that won't cost you a pot o'gold. Check them all out below, from Conor Byrne St. Patrick’s Day to Slim's Last Chance St. Patrick's Day Party and from A Study in Light: An Afternoon With Washington Poet Laureate Rena Priest to Sissy Butch: A Transmasculine Showcase - 1 Year Anniversary! ST. PATRICK'S DAY Conor Byrne St. Patrick’s Day 2023Celebrate St. Paddy's Day with nearly twelve straight hours of live music and dancing. Featured performers include the step-dancing troupe Evergreen Irish Dancers, singer-songwriter Conor Dunworley, U2 cover band Sam Russell and the Harborrats, Celtic rockers Belfast Bandits, folk duo Crumac, and bagpipe players Cascadia Pipe Band. (Conor Byrne, Ballard, $15) O’CtopusThe Octopus Bar bids you to come "jig the night away" on their dance floor, with DJs Swervevon and Mixxtress providing the tunes. Enjoy an al fresco beer garden and drink specials made with Jameson, Rainier, Guinness, and Red Bull. Plus, you'll get a chance to win prizes like drink tickets, merch, and more from a "pot of gold." (The Octopus Bar, Wallingford, $10) Slim's Last Chance St. Patrick's Day PartyThis St. Patrick's Day, local bands including Waltzing Matildas, the Swaggerlies, and Hopeless Jack will pay tribute to Celtic punk legends the Pogues with an evening of covers from across their career. Stick around for more holiday-appropriate tunes from DJ Strawberry along with a live set from the Scoffs, who will play the classic punk jams of Belfast-born outfit Stiff Little Fingers. (Slim's Last Chance Chili Shack and Watering Hole, Georgetown, $15)

Slog AM: Amazon Faces Biometrics Suit, More Train Wrecks, Trump's Back on YouTube
The Stranger's morning news roundup. by Nathalie Graham New Yorkers sue Amazon: Our least favorite local bookseller faces a lawsuit from New Yorkers because it didn't disclose biometrics* technology in a NYC Amazon Go store. "New York is the only major city which requires businesses to post signs if they’re tracking customers’ biometric information," according to NBC. Amazon put up the signs over a year after the law went into effect. Amazon's defense? "For Amazon Go to successfully track its customers and the items they take, it has to continuously monitor their bodies." I hate when big tech must monitor my body during the simple act of buying groceries.  Seattle is dying? Not if the writers at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs have anything to do with it. AWP, which Seattle hosted at the new convention center last week, brought in an estimated $15 million for the city.  Chinese president palling around with Putin: Chinese President Xi Jinping will kick it with Vladimir Putin in Russia from Monday to Wednesday next week. The two will likely dish about Russia's war in Ukraine as Xi expands China's diplomatic ambitions. China has previously said it remains "neutral" in the whole Ukraine war thing, yet also said it had a “no-limits” friendship with Russia. This news is off the rails: Two BNSF trains derailed yesterday. One in Arizona, and one in Washington near Anacortes. The latter spilled 5,000 gallons of diesel on a berm near Padilla Bay on the Swinomish tribal reservation. Things could have been worse, though. At least the diesel spilled on the land side of the berm rather than on the water side. Instead of blaming trains for the continued derailments, I will place the blame on our crumbling infrastructure and the deregulation of the railroad industry. Do something with your day. Fight over that in the comments.  Semi-truck crash kills three: Yesterday, a semi-truck smashed into a Kia Optima on I-90 west of Cle Elum. Two adults and a 10-year-old child died. An adult and child passenger survived with injuries.  Two dead in E Madison apartment fire: According to the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, a fire started in a third-floor unit at the Elizabeth James House, an affordable apartment building at 109 23rd Avenue, at around 11:30 pm. Firefighters found two victims dead inside the unit as they beat back the blaze. A dog also died.  Another day for Jay? Gov. Jay Inslee hasn't indicated whether he'll run for re-election in 2024. With the legislative session underway and a lot of college basketball to consume, I can understand why Inslee hasn't made an announcement yet. The Northwest Progressive Institute couldn't wait around for Inslee and ran a "hypothetical" gubernatorial poll to see which non-Inslee candidates people liked. The list consisted of King County Executive Dow Constantine (Democrat), Attorney General Bob Ferguson (Democrat), Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz (Democrat), and Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier (Republican). Thirty percent of respondents weren't sure, 21% picked Ferguson, 35% picked Dammeier, and 7% picked Constantine or Franz.  The French aren't thrilled with President Emmanuel Macron's decision to move the country's retirement age from 62 to 64 without a vote.  Fires burned on the streets of Paris and police fired tear gas to disperse protests after the French gov't forced its controversial pension reforms through parliament without a vote ⤵️ — Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) March 17, 2023 400,000 gallons of nuclear waste water leaked in November: Xcel Energy in Minnesota experienced a leak of water containing tritium from their power plant. The company reported the leak to state and federal authorities back in late November, but it didn't tell the public until this week. They waited until they knew there was "no health and safety risk to the local community or the environment" to tell the public. Hm. Ignorance is bliss, but I'd like to know if my groundwater had excessive levels of tritium in it even if I don't know what tritium is. This groundwater's tritium levels, for what it's worth, are nothing to bat an eye at, according to Xcel Energy.  Throw the tritium in the sea: Buried in the Minnesota nuclear waste water leak story from the Associated Press was this sentence that made my innards twist up into a little ball—"Japan is preparing to release a massive amount of treated radioactive wastewater into the sea from the the triple reactor meltdowns 12 years ago at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant." In Venus news: Volcanoes. Recent volcanic activity has been observed on Venus for the first time.Scientists made the discovery by poring over archival radar images of Earth’s twin taken in the '90s by our Magellan mission. Our VERITAS mission is set to investigate: — NASA (@NASA) March 16, 2023 ICYMI: I have a new column on this hell site where I'm exploring Seattle subcultures! No, I'm not on staff again (learn to read a masthead, you illiterates). It's freelance, baby. So, that means I have bad health insurance. It also means please read it and also send me ideas for covering different layers of Seattle society, weird hobbies, favorite pastimes, whatever. Thanks, (sort of) love you! This is definitely his main priority: Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell says the city could get an NBA team in a "much shorter window" than the next five years.  Someone should tell them: "Omaha nonprofit hoping to relaunch 'Raw Dawgs' youth gang prevention group" YouTube restores Trump's channel: Donald Trump can now live out his vlogger dreams again. As a result of the Jan. 6 insurrection, for over two years, YouTube banned Trump from posting to his more than 2.6 million followers. Now, YouTube's basically saying, "Eh, it's all water under the bridge." They reinstated his account, including his ability to post videos and buy YouTube ads. This comes as other tech companies who de-platformed Trump after the insurrection (Meta and Twitter) have lifted their bans on his accounts.    Happy St. Paddy's Day: Chicago turned its river green this weekend.  This is how Chicago turns their river green for St. Patrick's Day.They have a "secret recipe" for the dye and use boats to spread it —  the bigger boats dump 40lbs of the dye in the river & the smaller boats mix it up.It stays green for 24 to 48 — Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) March 12, 2023 This Chicago guy says it's all Mountain Dew: How do they turn the river green? Not like that time-lapse above, says this guy on Tik Tok. No, no, it's all Mountain Dew.  @connorandthejets Replying to @leiathehuman  why Chicagoans pour Moutain Dew into the river. #chicago #stpatricksday #chicagotiktok ♬ original sound - Connor *Correction: This post and its headline quoted an NBC story saying Amazon faced a lawsuit for using facial recognition without giving people a heads up, but NBC got it wrong, and so we got it wrong. In reality, Amazon only faces a lawsuit about biometric data.

I’m Sad That Seattle’s Sunless, Wet, and Cold Days Are Coming to an End
I will wait and wait for winter 2023. by Charles Mudede Seattle's meteorology community is giddy with a Friday that it promises will be sunny and even 60 degrees. This is our bobbing world. It went up; now it is going down. The darkest months of 2023 are, for sure, here with us, but only as a memory; and memory is how the mind (through biological processes that are, when explained in scientific terms, bewildering) makes what has happened present with what is happening. Those long and dark days. How I will miss you. Tomorrow sounds like it will be the gateway to a wilderness of over-long days, high temperatures, and a flexing sun that kicks sand in my face like a beach bully full of muscles.   48 hours until sunshine & 60 degrees — Seattle Weather Blog (@KSeattleWeather) March 15, 2023 Days since Seattle last reached 60 degrees F: 147.Chance of Seattle reaching 60° tomorrow: 50%.Chance of Seattle reaching 60° on Saturday: 70%Average length between the last 60 and first 60 degree days of the year: 109 days.Odds that we are behind schedule: 100%.#wawx — NWS Seattle (@NWSSeattle) March 16, 2023 In the winter, it's my habit, during the long, long nights, to open my bedroom window and welcome in the cold. I then run the fan, jump into my freezing bed, pull the duvet up to my chin, and find myself in an arctic world. Nothing warm but my body, and even barely so. The light of the moon as frozen as that of the stars. Their heat will never reach me. And the wind coming from the rotating fan doesn't whir but, in my dream-dissolving mind, howls. How happy (at peace) I am in this simulacrum of the South Pole, or even the poles of Mars, a planet whose sun is so small and bleak. The frigid magic of the moment was always fulfilled by the deep doom jazz of the Nordrhein-Westfalen band Bohren & der Club of Gore, particularly their 2014 masterpiece Piano Nights. Listen to it. It's like my room during the winter nights that are, presumably, meeting their end tomorrow. Nothing in this jazz but the kind of ghosts you find in Truly, Madly, Deeply—their barely warm breath condensing to icy droplets. I will wait and wait for winter 2023.  

The Flood Is Coming
'FLÓÐ (Flood)' shows at the National Nordic Museum March 17 through July 30. by Jas Keimig Icelandic artist and musician Jónsi is riding a big wave to Seattle. No, not a literal wave, but a figurative one composed of sound, scents, and images. Though best known as the singer and guitarist for his post-rock band Sigur Rós, Jónsi also has a robust visual art practice. He pulls from his interest in perfumery and music to create installations that engage multiple senses—sight, sound, smell—and he’s making his US museum debut this spring at the National Nordic Museum in Ballard with FLÓÐ (Flood), a site-specific installation that will plunge you into the depths of the ocean. Meditating on climate change and the relationship between Seattle and Reykjavik—sister cities since 1986—the installation will simulate the experience of a wave moving across the gallery. Choral music and field recordings will play in the background as fog and the scent of seaweed—harvested from the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and distilled into a tincture by Jónsi himself—disperse through the space. I’d expect nothing less from an artist known for his sad, angelic vocal style. “What really drew me to [Jónsi’s art] was his ability to create a multisensory—almost synesthetic—experience through his works,” said the National Nordic Museum’s Leslie Ann Anderson, director of collections, exhibitions, and programs who curated FLÓÐ. “It’s work that is contemporary, it addresses very important subject matter, it’s cutting edge, but it’s also very accessible. I love that you could enter this exhibition and immediately—equipped with no information—understand you’re being transported to a place.” Weeks before Jónsi was set to come to town to debut his installation, I called him up to get the lowdown on his burgeoning art career, the connection between Reykjavik and Seattle, and the big wave that will kill us all. You’ve had a long, illustrious career as a musician. What spurred you to dip your toes into the art world? I’ve just been surrounded by artists all my life. Iceland is a tiny community full of musicians and artists. So if I wouldn’t have done music, I would have probably been doing some art stuff. The only thing I could do in school was painting and drawing. Then slowly music took over, but now I’m kind of dipping my toe into that [art] pool.  From what I’ve been reading about your work, sound is a real throughline in the art you make. How did your work as a musician influence your work as a visual artist? I guess a lot. It’s a different space. [As a musician], you’re used to playing concert venues and big arenas, so it’s kind of interesting to take music and dissect it. With a gallery space, you can do what you want and really control the sound. Because with shows, you’re usually in and out of different venues, but [with galleries] you have a space for a few months and you can design it however you want. I’m also into spatialization of sound, where you have a lot of speakers in different places in the room, so you can get this surround sound kind of thing. I’m really into that at the moment. There’s this beautiful combination of natural and unnatural in a lot of your pieces. Where do you draw inspiration from? From nature. Nature is just always the perfect art form. There’s not many false moves in nature. I take a lot of inspiration from that if I’m doing something sculptural. It comes from some geometric natural shape or flowers or some kind of natural formation. In addition to your career as a musician and visual artist, you’ve also launched a career in perfumery. What kicked off that interest? The more people I talk to about perfumery and scent, I feel like everybody is kind of obsessed with it, but it’s very hard to get access to and know where to start, how to do it. Everything seems so complicated. I mean, for me, I started maybe over 10 years ago with essential oils then slowly got into aroma molecules. You can really do detailed stuff with that. I have been kind of obsessed with it all my life, but for the last 10 years, I’ve been doing a deep dive into scents or creating perfumes or scents for exhibitions and stuff like that. My shows usually have a scent aspect to them. I’m trying to trigger a lot of senses in people. You have music or some soundscape for your ears, something to look at with your eyes, then something to smell with your nose. I love triggering as many senses as possible, so if you come into the gallery space, you have something to be moved by. FLÓÐ (Flood) at the National Nordic Museum is site-specific to the museum. I know you’re still in the middle of fabricating everything, but what’s the concept behind the show? I’m still making it, as you mentioned, but I think the main inspiration is probably the big wave. Everybody on social media and Instagram is scrolling and you see all this news of natural disasters, wildfires, floods, crazy climate change, change in weather systems, and stuff like that. So I think my thing now is the big wave and how we’re all gonna die and everything is gonna flood. So biblical! I know. Exactly. [Laughs] So we have to create some ark together... no. It’s gonna be a sound installation with probably 30 or 40 speakers around the room based on the big wave. I’ve never been to Iceland. How do you see Seattle and Reykjavik in relation to one another? I was talking to Leslie [Ann Anderson] at the Nordic Museum, she was telling me that Seattle and Reykjavik are sister cities. I hadn’t even thought about that, but I guess they are pretty connected: rain, depression, grayness… and all the good, creative energy that comes from that. You have to be inside a lot and create something to be happy. And also just the ocean, the fisheries, boats, and stuff like that. And there’s going to be a scent piece that is pulled from both Seattle and Reykjavik, right? What are the throughlines between those two cities and smells? It’s basically just the ocean. I wanna do some kind of seaweedy apocalyptic smell. [Laughs] It doesn’t sound pleasant, but I haven’t done it yet. Experience FLÓÐ (Flood) March 17 through July 30 at the National Nordic Museum.

Ticket Alert: Drake, Thing 2023, and More Seattle Events Going On Sale This Week
Plus, Ali Wong and More Event Updates for March 16 by EverOut Staff Certified lover boy Drake will leave the 6 to visit the 206, bringing 21 Savage along on his It’s All A Blur tour. Port Townsend arts and music festival Thing will return this summer with headliners Fleet Foxes, Lil Yachty, Sylvan Esso, and Thundercat. Pint-sized beef lover and queen of vulgarity Ali Wong has also announced two Seattle shows this coming July. Plus, boys don’t cry, but you might if you don’t snag tickets to see goth heroes The Cure. Read on for details on those and other newly announced events, plus some news you can use. ON SALE FRIDAY, MARCH 17 MUSIC Atreyu: The Hope Of A Spark TourThe Showbox (Sun Apr 30) Carla MorrisonMoore Theatre (Thurs Aug 17) The CureClimate Pledge Arena (Thurs June 1)

Play Date: A Day of Jigging with Seattle Irish Dance Company
Tagging along on some pre-St. Paddy's Day craziness preparations. by Nathalie Graham As it turns out, the world of Irish dance is more complicated than just Macklemore waving an Irish flag in a trench coat. I learned this lesson as I tried to jig, tap, and step alongside the Seattle Irish Dance Company (SIDC) during the “two weeks of Irish-dancing craziness” ahead of St. Patrick’s Day, as SIDC founder Carlye Cunniff put it.  These weeks mark the busy season for these kinds of Irish dancers, who typically only perform at cultural events such as St. Paddy’s festivities and the annual Celtic Music Feis in Ocean Shores, a "feis" I didn't know about until last week. This week, SIDC has a full slate of performances around Puget Sound.  As part of my new column, Play Date, where I explore Seattle's subcultures, I wanted to know who these fleet-footed dancers were and why they devoted their time to this form of dance that most people only know from that one scene in Titanic. At a three-hour rehearsal on Saturday morning and a subsequent (impromptu) performance at Kells Irish Pub that evening, what I discovered was a tight-knit dance company with a soul more inviting and more fun than mainstream, competitive Irish dance.  One Problem: I Don't Dance  At rehearsals, Cunniff suggested I warm up with her and her six dancers. Looking down at my jeans and clunky boots, I wanted to say no. Not exactly dancing attire.  “Screw it, I’m game,” I said, thinking of this story and the things I must do for journalism.  “But,” I said as the queen of caveats, “I have zero rhythm. The only way I’ve ever moved my body is playing soccer. ” “That means you’re foot-focused!” Lianne Lahaie, 25, said.  The music started with a flurry of fiddle, and we were off—stretching, side-stepping, toe-tapping. Well, some of us were off. Others of us were tripping over our own feet.  “Don’t worry, it’s hard for us, too,” Lahaie whispered to me. I appreciated her lies.  The Seattle Irish Dance Company mid-rehearsal on Saturday. Those black "hard shoes" make the pleasing sounds. NG When the warm-up ended, the real (or, reel, heh heh) dancing started. The dancers floated across the practice room with high kicks and quick steps like galloping upright horses. Some wore their hard shoes, which made nice clackity sounds. Some wore socks to glide as they would in their soft performance shoes. Cunniff danced in bare feet. Their feet moved fast, but their upper bodies stayed mostly still. The music stirred something in me. Maybe the fiddle reminded me of Howard Shore’s “Concerning Hobbits,” or maybe the quaint, folksy tune hit on a particularly pastoral nucleotide in my DNA. I grew almost misty-eyed observing the rehearsal, especially when I saw Cunniff smiling through every step and heel-click.  Scandals, False Assumptions, and Riverdance  One assumption you might make about Irish dancers turns out to be false. “Are you Irish?” I asked nearly all the dancers, and each one gave an answer that amounted to “somewhere far back in the family tree.”  “Everyone always asks about Irish heritage,” one of the dancers said, “but I’m just here because my mom saw Riverdance.” Apparently, Riverdance is the universal gateway drug. Cunniff also started taking classes after her mom watched Riverdance in the 1990s. For years, she did so competitively, even going toe-to-toe against one of her current dancers, Kristina Gallant, 35, as a teenager. (They now have matching shamrock tattoos.) And yet, Cunniff never truly enjoyed competition. She didn’t like the judgment and the rules telling her what was and wasn’t Irish dance. Seeking a more-relaxed, performance-centered alternative, in 2012 Cunniff created SIDC. She was only 24 years old. SIDC is more like Riverdance. Competition is more technical and, well, more competitive. It's also mired in controversy. Recently, scandal "rocked the world" of competitive Irish dancing. In December 2019, reports of child abuse at the hands of Irish dance teachers circulated after plaintiffs in New Jersey filed three civil lawsuits. Then, in October 2022, news of a cheating scandal broke in a flood of juicy WhatsApp text screenshots.  Gallant and Lahaie told me their own Irish dancing group chats went crazy that day. “It’s been this open secret,” Gallant said about the cheating. “And it finally came out.” “We are vocally not involved in competition,” Cunniff said of SIDC, “we are integrated with musicians in the Irish music scene and the Irish dance scene that is not competition.”  Stark-Raving Plaid Later that evening at a packed Kells, I sat with Cunniff, Gallant, Lael Wentland, 29, and Sarah Baresh, 26, one of the newest members of SIDC. In a matter of minutes, a once-local Celtic rock band called Stark-Raving Plaid would start playing, and the dancers would also perform. They wore street clothes, not their typical performance garb.  “Dancing in a pub versus a stage makes people nervous because there’s very little control,” Cunniff said. “We don’t know what the band is going to play, we don’t know when to stop. I personally love that. It’s my favorite thing.” Wentland described these types of dances as “jams.” A few years back, when she was living in Vietnam, she found an Irish band and started dancing in bars while they performed. She'd strap planks of wood to the back of her motorbike, drive all over the city, and do jigs on her makeshift dance floors.  “People went wild for it,” Wentland said.  The energy from a bar performance is unparalleled, Cunniff explained. The experience is the rawest form of the dance, she added—pure joy, no rigor, and low stakes, thanks to an audience that's often drunk.  “The idea makes me crazy,” Baresh said of the casual affair. This was her first pub dance. Growing up, she learned Irish dance from Cunniff “for fun.” Her main emphasis, however, was ballet and modern dance. Having earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance, what she knows best is structure and routine.  Studying a setlist written on a bar napkin, Baresh vibrated with nervous energy.  “Nobody will know if you mess up,” Cunniff assured her.  Then, they hopped up and surprised the crowd with a professional dance. They click-clacked across the floor, the rhinestoned buckles on their hard shoes glittering. The crowd roared.  I was content to sit back and watch, but when Stark-Raving Plaid started up another reel, Cunniff grabbed my arm and said, “C’mon, now’s your chance!” She pulled me to the front of the room. “Do what we did in the warm-ups,” she said.  She held my arm and did the steps next to me. My cheeks burned. I shuffled along beside her, tangling up my feet. And yet, the crowd kept cheering and the band kept playing. She pulled me into a circle as the music swelled and we skipped around with each other, arms connected at parallel right angles. My feet were probably supposed to be doing something other than skipping, but it didn't matter. When we sat down, Cunniff beamed at me.  “That was great,” she said. And even though I knew it wasn’t great—or even technically Irish dance—I felt giddy. It was fun.  The dancers ordered beers as their nerves settled. They amended their setlist and adjusted their routines in the spaces between dances. Drunk Irish men came up to our table and asked if we were Irish. A woman asked for a picture with the dancers. Stark-Raving Plaid peddled their CDs.  “Only a Celtic rock band would still be selling CDs,” Cunniff laughed. Any ideas on which Seattle subculture I should explore next? Want me to tag along with you on your favorite hobby or pastime? Send me tips at 

Stoned & Starving with Michael Freiburger of Satanik Royalty Records
Eating soup and getting stoned with the owner of Satanik Royalty Records. by Ma'Chell Duma Is there a smell that defines your neighborhood? Can you tell the time of day by what’s wafting out of the local bakery or BBQ joint? The comfort of ritualistic scent is something no one should take for granted. For years, at 10 am every morning, the air around south Alaska Junction smelled like Pho Than Bros broth. Until it didn’t. I miss it all the time. When I posed the question ”Why Pho?” to Satanik Royalty Records' founder Michael Freiburger, or Frei as he’s known around town, his reply was tough to argue: “Pho is life.” Fremont’s business district is cozy, so it was out of necessity Frei became a Pho Than Brothers devotee. For two years he helped produce shows at Bar House on North 36th Street. The bar is staying open, but they hosted their last show on March 4.  “Than Brothers is one of my two favorite pho shops in Seattle," he told me. "I eat there at least twice a week, [and have] for many years. On show days I work 13-hour days. I would get to the venue to do soundcheck and load-in. After that, I would have an hour before bartending and doors opening—I would always go and get a bowl of pho in between. Especially on the colder days, as our venue is indoor/outdoor. I would always offer but never pressure bands to get pho with me. It is very much a ritualistic experience that I will miss. Ben Verellen [owner of Bar House] and I would have meetings over pho there, talk all sorts of business over noodle soup. Than Brothers will forever be special to me.” Frei (left) with members of Pan-Amerikan Native Front and Pigs Blood. As the cozy buzz of K. Savage’s indica-leaning Lilac Wine kicked in, Frei told me about those first years when he was a broke, new Seattleite. “When I first moved to Seattle I lived in the U District and was really poor. Someone turned me on to bánh mì from a local pho place on the Ave. I was hooked. Killer sandwich for $2.50. After eating there for almost a year someone recommended the noodle soup. I’ll never forget my first pho. Changes you. It’s like your first mushroom trip. You're a different person after. For the better. I moved shortly after to First Hill and Phở Bắc became my local haunt for noodles. Since working in Fremont for almost 15 years Than Bros has been a constant for me.”  Pho is about the fixings. A first date's pho prep style can be as telling as what songs they choose on a jukebox, so I hit Frei with a difficult question: If he had to make the devil’s bargain for only one single pho fixin', what would it be? Personally, I couldn’t live without the lime, but Frei says he's a Sriracha man. As you would expect from the owner-operator of Satanik Royalty Records, he makes a pentagram in his soup with his hoisin and Sriracha before the first slurp.  K. Savage’s hybrid Lilac Wine is as fragrant and memorable as its name suggests. And yes, it will have you feeling light and heady like your love. I’ve spent some time with this strain and it's become a Sunday afternoon chill-out favorite—it boasts a functional, light body and brain buzz that enhances brunch when you want to roll mimosa-free, and it turned out to be a perfect pairing with pho. My experience with the strain gave hints of jasmine, a bit of tea, earthiness, and a somewhat acidic bottom, so when Frei suggested Than Bros and their floral, tea-centric broth, Lilac Wine was a lock. I found them as close to a match palette-wise as I’d hoped and Frei picked up on “garlic” in the bud flavor profile, adding it was “a perfect warm-up of the palette for a nice bowl of pho. Also really enjoy the mellow high that came with it. Perfect for soup consumption!” And Frei is a consumer. A big one. “I usually get a large #2 with extra meat on show days. Sometimes, when it’s a super long day, I’ll get an extra-large with extra meat. This seems pretty large to most people. I’m a large human. A hill giant.” Frei before pho. Ma'Chell Duma Even though Bar House will no longer host live music, Frei is set on more 13-hour days. The show’s not over yet. “My main gig will be booking heavier shows at Belltown Yacht Club, which is a 150-capacity basement venue in Belltown’s historic neighborhood,” he says. “But I will also be co-producing shows with Hierophant Booking at multiple venues across town! All my shows will be as Satanik Royalty Records presents, which seconds as production and booking.” Fortunately for Frei, there are more than 20 spots to get pho within a mile of Belltown Yacht Club. Check out Satanik Royalty Records at

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