Wednesday, September 30, 2009

After Hours

Tarkan. Şımarık

Here he is again, the great Tarkan singing his biggest hit to date. When I was in Turkey in 1999, this tune was massive. You could not escape it. Even way, way out in the middle of nowhere, you'd hear it. Once more, poor Tarkan is hounded by his adoring fans - and why not? He's a good-looking lad. But isn't that little girl just a little too old to be sucking her thumb? That shit ain't right. Still, it's good that Tarkan is getting a little exercise.

I know that in a post from last week, I claimed that he was batting for the other team. Let's not even discuss it and just agree that Tarkan is way better than Mustafa Sandal. You know that the legendary Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records fame once said that Tarkan was the best performer he'd ever seen? Apparently he did. But of course, maybe he was biased in favor of his ex-homeland. Who knows? All I know is that Turks are very nice people and they like Tarkan a lot, because he's a fine singer who does a great job making Turkish music appealing beyond Turkey's borders.

Eye Guy Strikes Again and Again!

Although I followed Scary Skull Guy with much more enthusiasm, I'm glad to say that Eye Guy is still out there re-facing public and private property. Although this is a few weeks old, it still qualifies as new work:

This is on the side of the Rite Aid (gosh, he sure likes that building) at 3rd & Vine. But that's not all. He's also been to Battery, between 4th & 5th. This example is on the back of the fire station, right by the entrance to the alley:

I think this might be his best work to date. It's cleanly drawn and expressive. The gigantic animal looks particularly drowsy and indifferent. I'm sure we'll see much more from Eye Guy in the future.

Operation Enduring Pavement: The Phinal Phase

There is one street that snakes its way from Lake Union to Puget Sound - a street where the laws of God and man do not apply. Of course, I'm talking about Broad Street. All except for two blocks of it is paved. Immediately following the conclusion of Operation Enduring Pavement on 2nd Avenue, the metal monsters turned their sights on Broad, taking its pavement and escaping into the night. That was at least a week ago. Today, the situation is unchanged. Observe:

My message to Broad Street residents (there are hardly any at all) is this: the city will deliver your precious blacktop only if you construct and pray to a large statue of Greg Nickels. That's what worked for us here on 2nd Ave. when we felt abandoned and forlorn. I recommend that you give the statue idea a try.

McGuire Scaffold-Watch! Week: ???? + 24

Once again, all is calm, all is bright at the McGuire. The dwarf army remains off-campus and no work is getting done. But the eternal scaffold remains. And if the wind is just so and if you're standing in the right place, you can hear ther words, "Shop at Wally's, your headquarters for Tilt, Joose and other fortified malt beverages." I could have sworn I heard that coming from the scaffolding this weekend. Anyhow, I'm not here to predict when they're gonna take down that ugly-ass scaffolding; I'm just here to speculate that it won't be soon.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

After Hours

Sylvie Vartan. Irrésistiblement
Every so often something comes along that is so unbelievable that it's hard to imagine humans ever creating it. It's always a thrilling discovery. This is one of those things. The year is 1968. For two solid weeks, the world is in the grip of "Barbarella Fever." After that, the trend is forgotten. But during that time, this video was made. Bulgarian-born Sylvie Vartan is queen of the galaxy, wonky teeth and all. How can I tell? She's sitting down and she's the only blonde - and yes, that's her real hair, not a wig. The same can't be said of her robotic brunette-bewigged space vixen assistants. The set is cheaply futuristic. The direction is inept. Sylvie's dancing is terrible. And the tune is magnificent - half wall of sound, half Telstar-esque future-pop. There's much oddness to it, from the six-bar phrases in the chorus to the weird futuristic effects in the violins to the grade-school sophistication of the lyrics. This video is just mind-blowing. And wouldn't you know it, the YouTubes will not allow it to embed. What to do, what to do? Go here. Go immediately. It will change your life.

Well, after that experience, what is there to look forward to other than a happy, peaceful death? If you're not quite feeling completely fulfilled, here is another version. Gone are the space-trappings, but some dancers persist. This version is very charming. The song is still the greatest French pop single of the sixties (yes, even better than the lovely FH's "Comment te dire adieu"), but the setting has changed. We're at some variety show soundstage that is both too small and too large for the performers, who are constantly dashing in and out of the picture. But they all look so happy to be on TV. The guys wear identical sharp suits (with sparkly ties!) and the gals... well, it's a miracle that nobody tripped on their jet-intake-sized bellbottoms. They also sport weird beehive jr. hairdos. Sylvie looks fantastic. Dig those boots. And yes, that's still her real hair. Honestly, this was best bit of foreign-language pop music I've found in ages. Enjoy!


Let's check in on the A.L. Humphrey House and the Recovery Cafe, shall we?

As you can see, the first floor is in the works. Gosh, that didn't take long at all. I swear, this project is going at warp speed. But that's nothing compared to the Recovery Cafe. They're at something like trans-warp speed, which any Star Trek fan can tell you is way faster than plain old warp, by Spock. Observe:

OK, this might look like a tangle of construction-stuff, but that's exactly my point. Only a few weeks ago, this was just a hole in the ground. Now the foundation is finished and they're building upwards at an alarming pace. In fact, if I were a betting man (and I am), I'd say that even though the A.L. Humphrey has a head-start of several months, the Recovery Cafe will be done first. Anybody want to put some money on it to make it interesting?

Anyhow, here's the A.L. Humphrey site's crane. I love it more than I respect it.

...And De-struction!

Well, it happened just like I said it would; Martin Selig's metal monster brigade is taking down that building ensemble at 3rd & Battery. And like a caring lover, they're doing it slowly. Turn on the Barry White, sweet people! Anyhow, here is a shot from last Friday:

They seem to be in no hurry at all. Here's what it looks like today:

Doesn't look like they've made any progress, no? Well, that's actually an optical illusion. Observe:

Yes, they've just scooped out all the guts. But they've done it lovingly and respectfully. And thus the building that used to house Exotique Imports meets its end.

What's next for the site? Well, way back a long time ago, I declared it a dead project. I stand by that. But why, oh why, you ask, did that nice, anonymous building cluster have to come down? It's simple; they wanted to turn the land into a parking lot. Martin Selig apparently owns the whole block, so half of it is going to be an office building with zero retail (the 4th & Battery Building) and the other half will consist of parking lot. Yeah, it doesn't happen very often in Belltown, but it does happen.

Monday, September 28, 2009

After Hours

Blestyashchiye. Za chetyre morya (Beyond Four Seas)

Happy Zhanna Friske Monday! Here's Zhanna and her ex-group singing a very catchy number. At least, I hope it's Zhanna and not her sister, Natalia. They look a lot alike, just like all Russians. Well, if it's not her, let's just call it Friske Monday, OK? I dunno, you need a detailed scorecard to keep track of Blestyashchiye, which as you recall, means "shiny things" in Russian. So anyhow, yeah, since they formed up in 1995, they've had 12 changes of personnel. It just goes to prove that there are plenty of women in Russia who can dress trampy and (sort of) carry a tune.

Oh, the Humanity!

Entre Nous on Stewart, between 2nd & 3rd, was one of my favorite places. They had great food at reasonable prices, a nice ambiance and they showed Band of Outsiders on the ceiling. But now they're gone. Witness:

Gosh, this is awful. It was really a great place. And it seemed to be doing well enough, but it was kind of a bad sign when they stopped serving lunch. I just figured that since the couple who owned it recently had a baby, it was just them trying to care for the kid. I guess that wasn't it at all. Well, I'm really sorry to see them go and I hope the former proprietors are OK.

So here's a send-off to Entre Nous. It's the dance scene from Band of Outsiders. I really don't like Goddard (I'm more of a Truffaut fan) in general, but I like this film a lot. The cafe dance is one of its better scenes.

Igor's Sage Advice to the First-time Real Changer

So you've decided to sell Real Change. Good for you! With the economy in the crapper and all, why not? I guess you already know that the Real Change organization is on your side. Not only are they located in Belltown, but their headquarters is in my apartment building, so I've seen the positive results of their work firsthand. No argument there. They are very sincere in their efforts. But sometimes new vendors of the Real Change newspaper are a little unsure of how to go about selling it. Well, based on my longtime proximity to Real Change, I've assembled a few guidelines that may enhance your experience. Here they are:

1. Don't sell your newspapers right outside the Real Change office. You'd be surprised how many people do this. You've got your papers and you're telling everyone about what Real Change is. Well, everybody already knows. They know you're standing five feet away from the front of door of Real Change headquarters and you're wondering why everybody's laughing at your profound lack of initiative. The sad fact is that people within a certain radius around the Real Change office are jaded and they won't buy your newspaper under any circumstances. It's probably better to find a corner that's more removed from Real Change central. It may be a little less convenient for you, but at least it shows a little moxie.

2. Don't brawl with your fellow vendors over turf. Location is important, but nobody will want to buy from somebody with a bloody nose and various contusions.

3. Conversely, five vendors on a corner is way too many. Sometimes there can be too much solidarity and cooperation; people will feel like they're experiencing Real Change overload and actively avoid your corner in the future.

4. Shtick is important, but make sure you have more than one lame joke in your arsenal. The other day, I saw a guy out selling. He kept calling out, "Real Change costs just a dollar. If you don't have a dollar, I will take a twenty." Yeah, that's kind of funny. But I ended up walking past him four times that day. Each time he made that same stale joke. Please, unemployed comedy writers, send this guy some new material, stat.

5. If you're a roving seller, don't approach people, say: "Excuse me, sir/ma'am" and just stare at them. It kind of creeps most folks out.

6. If you're crazy, take your meds before you go out to sell. People are more likely to buy from you if you're not talking to characters only you can see.

7. Don't threaten to kill people if they don't buy your paper. EVEN WORSE: threatening to kill people after they've bought your paper. Basically, don't threaten to kill anybody.

8. Guys, don't hit on every woman who walks by. You may be suave, you may have a smooth delivery, but restrain yourself. There will be plenty of time to work your magic on the female population when you're not selling a homeless newspaper.

9. After a sale, never, ever say anything like: "Thanks! Now I can have a beer with my hooker tonight." People like to think that their money is going towards more essential things, like food and shelter.

10. If you have sold to somebody, don't ask them for more money and/or cigarettes. The main point of Real Change is to give people down on their luck an alternative to panhandling. You're offering a newspaper in exchange for a dollar. If you're selling Real Change and panhandling at the same time, you're panhandling, plain and simple. It kind of defeats the purpose, doesn't it?

11. And guys, whatever you do, don't sell while you're shirtless. Nobody wants to see that. Keep that shirt on. Your modesty will be rewarded - if not on earth, then in the afterlife.

So that's my advice to you. I've seen each and every one of these things go down time and again. Just keep these 11 simple (sorry it couldn't be 10) rules in mind when you're out selling. And don't let this city's ruder residents get you down. After you've made your first million, you can reckon with them.

Read more of Hideous Belltown!

Coming Soon to the Moore!

Golly, this looks like a fantastic show. A few years ago, I heard all this talk about what great a songwriter Aimee Mann was. The only tune of hers I knew was the awful "Voices Carry." I didn't like the song or the video. And I really hated her voice. She sounded like a sheep. But then I listened to the soundtrack from Magnolia. It was tremendous. So yes, now I think she's great. She writes tunes that fit her voice well. As for Nick, well, he's just a plain-old pop music legend. I really like the fact that back in the seventies when everybody was making arena rock or angry punk noise, Lowe was writing catchy pop gems and then over-producing the bejeezus out of them. Yes, it was a lovely time to be alive. Anyhow, I'm seriously considering going to this show.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Your Sunday Squirrel

For every decent shot like this...

...there are about 10 shots like this:

Ah yes, just a second before, it was perfect, but then the squirrel of interest moved.

This was perfect about half a second before he darted whichever way for whatever reason.

Sometimes the focus-bot needs glasses.

Sometimes it's completely asleep at the switch.

These things happen over and over again:

My favorite is the wonderful "empty lawn" shot. It's so zen.

Remember, for every squirrel photo you see, I've taken many, many shots of tails, blurs, empty lawn and out-of-focus weirdness. So yeah, being a squirrel photographer is a tough job, but I knew that when I signed up for it. Actually, it's not really a job and I didn't sign up for anything, but you get the idea of what I'm dealing with here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wash Hands After Climbing Fence

The A.L. Humphrey House construction site at 1st & Cedar looks innocent enough from a distance. Well, you could say that about a nuclear warhead or some crazy person with mad kung fu skills or a guy who can't stop farting. Yes, all those things look pretty innocent from a distance. See:

Nothing wrong here, no? But if you're a handsome, dashing, curious daredevil like myself, you feel comfortable approaching a little closer. That's when things got weirder. Observe:

That's right, Honey Bucket does fences now. Am I the only one who finds this disturbing? You'd think they'd want to differentiate the brands, so that people like myself don't think of, er, human waste when they see the familiar logo on a fence. On the other hand, maybe their logo keeps people from scaling their fences for precisely the same reason. If so, then they're geniuses. If not, they've got a problem with branding. Me, I can't imagine climbing that fence - not even for all the free lumber in Belltown.

Coming Soon to the Moore!

I've seen this guy's shtick a few times. He reminds me of a cross between Mort Saul and Gilbert Gottfried; he's both acerbic and obnoxious. His thing is riffing on stuff that annoys him. I remember a few years back he totally unloaded on George W. Bush. Yeah, it was fun to hear and all, but only about four years too late. And by that time, everybody pretty much realized that Bush was a terrible president and a sub-par human being, to boot. So yes, Black was just jumping on the bandwagon. It would have been a lot cooler if he'd started his Bush-bashing in, say, 2003. Of course, he would have gotten totally Dixie Chicked, but that's the time we needed it. You know, Bush's habit of tossing out endless malapropisms wasn't a byproduct of his being "plainspoken." No, it showed a remarkable lack of understanding for even the most basic issues. It was true his first day in office and it's true today. But Black and a host of others (with the one huge exception of David Cross) only came out when it was safe. I'm sure he's moved on, as Bush is no longer topical (and thank God for that), so he's probably griping about airline food and women drivers. I guess what I'm saying is that I don't find him particularly funny.

Friday, September 25, 2009

After Hours

Julie London. Bye Bye Blackbird

Hey, how about a tune in English? Well, it's about damn time! You know, I'm a little surprised at this performance. I didn't think JL appeared live anywhere. It seems that she had a crippling case of stage fight. She couldn't even sing in front of a live orchestra in the recording studio. Most of her tracks were recorded in her living room while she sat in her favorite chair dressed very frumpily. Yeah, it was just that bad. So I find this quite interesting. She looks great, sounds even better and doesn't seem on the verge of freaking out. And even though her record company tried its hardest to sell her as a sex kitten, she really was a good singer. And here's your proof. True, she was no Ella Fitzgerald, but some of her performances were on par with Peggy Lee at least.

Hey, Let's See an Arty Cell Phone Photo from the Waterfront!

Cranes in the fog. Arty enough for ya? I thought so.

Is This Peace?

Since the conclusion of Operation Enduring Pavement, we've all been expecting peace and relative quiet in our daily lives, especially those of us who are unemployed and have no place to go during the day. But the roar of a jackhammer this morning made me aware that there is another, equally noisy action taking place. Let's call it Operation Infinite Sidewalk. Have a look at the anger and bitterness:

Citizens, our sidewalks are in a state of rubble-fication! And all of this is only a sampling of what's going on. This particular skirmish is happening on 2nd between Lenora and Virginia. When will it end? Seriously, if you know when it's going to end, let me know. My soul prays for relief.

Coming Soon to the Moore!

There are lots of acts coming through the Moore, so it's no wonder that it took them till this afternoon to change the marquee for this evening's show. I guess Alice in Chains must've really left it all on stage last night - and I don't mean that in any kind of gross way. Anyhow, this fellow is a comedian from Tacoma. Hmmm...really? He can't possibly be funny, because nobody funny has ever come from Tacoma. Sweet people, I think we all know that the best comedians come from either Nebraska, New York or Canada. Maybe England, too, but just not Tacoma. Still, we wish Jo luck with being funny. He stands an even chance if he sticks to telling jokes about Tacoma, because, honestly, it's a place ripe for wicked ridicule. And before you start getting all concerned for Tacoma residents' self-esteem and whatnot, remember that they make jokes about people from Lacey, because why not?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

After Hours

Sylvie Vartan. La plus belle pour aller danser

Wait, wait, I know the parody version of this tune: "La poubelle pour aller danser." And you probably thought I slept through junior high French. Not a chance, my friend.

Golly, Sylvie's very pretty, but did you see her teeth? Wow, kind of retarded. And did you perhaps know that she was born in Bulgaria? How could you?? I just found out myself! Anyhow, 1964 was really Sylvie's year. She got to meet the Beatles when they were cute and funny and didn't hate each other and she had two number one hits. This particular tune was at the top of the French charts for a whopping 11 weeks. I'm not exactly sure what the flower arranging has to do with anything (although she does sing something about the "springtime of her days," but really, flowers??), but it is a nice surreal moment. We'll be hearing from Sylvie again soon...and she'll be singing from the future! You'll know what I mean when it happens.

Flowerquest: The Last of the Season

Fall is here, and while that doesn't mean that all flowers have instantly disappeared, I've decided to draw the line till next spring - unless winter sponsors some mega-tremendous blooms, which is doubtful. So here's a picture of a weird space-flower that I believe was at 1st & Vine. I took it a while ago, so I'm not completely sure. It doesn't matter, because it's not there any more. Take a look:

Isn't that strange-looking? I'm pretty sure it's a kind of daisy, but a strain usually only grown in outer space.

Flowerquest will return in the spring, with or without me.

My Favorite Belltown Building

Sure, I have a fairly short list of Belltown architectural favorites: the Darth Vader Building, the Mosler Lofts, the Austin A. Bell Building, the Castle Apartments...let's see...OK, that's about it. They all provide a welcome relief from all the ugly buildings this neighborhood has to offer (and will remain nameless, because I don't want this post to go on forever), but by far, my all-time favorite is definitely the Hull Building.

The Hull calls 1st & Battery home - as does the fabulous Austin A. Bell Building. It's a three-story Romanesque box that attracts little attention from passersby. It was built in 1889, the year Washington became a state. At the time, Belltown was mostly forest and Denny Hill was more than two decades away from obliteration. I'm so fond of it because this is what much of Seattle's urban architecture used to look like - dark, squat, and slightly foreboding.

If you look at pictures of downtown at the turn of the century, you'll see a slew of buildings all very much like the Hull. These days, there's just the Hull. It's difficult to find any kind of history on it. (You have failed me, Internet!) My sources tell me that it was a commercial building. At present, it still is; it houses a dry cleaning business and a designer clothes boutique. The upper floors are either empty or are used as the dry cleaner's storage area. I've heard of numerous attempts to buy the place back in the nineties, but all were unsuccessful. Apparently, the people who own the dry cleaner (which is really quite good) also own the building. And they're not keen to sell to anybody.

So there it stands - a bulwark against modernity, a window into the past and an inspiration to weirdo dreamers like myself. I've long thought about how cool it would be to renovate the top floor into a huge living space. Of course, the owners would never allow it, but every time I walk by, I can't help thinking about it. Of course, renovation would be a total nightmare. You'd have to rewire and replumb the whole place. It would cost a fortune and take forever. But still, it would be worth it to be the Omega Man of the Hull. So if anybody is personally acquainted with the Hull's owners, put in a good word for me. I'm quiet, dependable and I love the Hull Building. When can I move in?

Read more of Hideous Belltown!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

After Hours

Serge Gainsbourg. Cha cha cha du loup

Here's a neat little fan-imation of an early Serge gem. Before he invented rock 'n' roll for the French, he was a pretty formidable jazz and latin composer. This is proof of his command of the latter genre. And although he most likely had nothing to do with this kick-ass arrangement, at least he wrote the tune. As for the dancing people in this clip, I don't think they're doing the cha cha. Sure, it looks like a few basic latin steps (one of which I'm pretty sure is the merengue), but the cha cha is more of a side-to-side affair. These dances they're doing look to be back-and-forth. But no matter. It's still a fun little video for a great Serge tune. Enjoy.

Welcome to 1st Avenue! Please Enjoy Our Scaffolds!

What's going on? When did 1st Avenue become blighted with scaffolds? Well, I guess it was a gradual thing, but now it's too prevalent to ignore. Lots of things get past me, but this isn't one of them. Let's have a look:

This is the Ellington at 1st & Clay. It appears that they're installing weather-stripping or something similar and not trying to counteract the building's groaning cheapness. As far as I know, the Ellington is a very nice, very well constructed complex.

Here's the Alex at 1st & Bell. Isn't that place done already? Apparently not, because they need a full-frontal scaffold to take care of business there, whatever that may be.

Next door at the semi-super-ugly Bell Tower, there's a baby scaffold right above the front entrance. But a baby scaffold is still a scaffold, so it counts. They're doing some renovations around there, so why not have a scaffold?

Finally, we have the lovely Terminal Sale Building at 1st & Virginia. There seems to be a lot of grinding going on. It sounds a lot like the toils of the dwarf army on the side of the McGuire, only the Terminal Sales is a much, much cooler building. My guess is that they re-mortaring the bricks, which is an upright, American thing to do.

There you have it, folks. Your guide to 1st Avenue's scaffolds of mystery. Sure, none of them are nearly as extensive as the McGuire, but they're also not as unsightly. Enjoy them while they're around!

McGuire Scaffold-Watch! Week: ???? + 23

And speaking of scaffolds, behold the grand-sire of them all. There's no work going on - the dwarf army is nowhere to be seen - so the scaffold is just there for decoration. It doesn't appear that they're going to take it down either. I think if they do that, the building will fall over. So there it stands - an example to other buildings in the neighborhood that if they're poorly built, they, too, can look something like a European cathedral - at least theoretically.

See You in Hell, Stupid Tag!

Yesterday, I posted this about the economy-sized tag on the side of Cafe Zoe here at 2nd & Blanchard. I actually took those pictures last week, but felt no urgency to post, because I didn't think that they'd do anything about it. Well, I was wrong:

I know, I know, we're looking at a brown stucco wall - and not a very appealing one at that. But it's just so nice that the oversized, obnoxious tag is gone. In the past, Zoe's been really slow to paint over stuff like that, but they took care of it in less than a week. Good going, guys! It's good to have you at 2nd & Blanchard. Who know, I might ever have dinner there one day.

Coming Soon to the Moore!

I guess "Surviving Members of Alice in Chains" wouldn't fit on the Marquee. Yes, Layne Staley's passing was quite a shame, but it happened late enough after grunge's heyday that it was just a sad afterthought. I always liked Alice in Chains - not as much as Soundgarden, but I did think that their grunge goods were genuine. They had the longest hair and the weirdest hats. Their music was also the most brooding. A lot of their stuff dealt with Staley's drug abuse, which is at once tragic and something of a cliche. But now we're in a special era of widespread musical incompetence. Funny as it seems, I'd like to go back to those bad old grunge days. They seem so innocent in comparison to today.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

After Hours

Tarkan. Sikidim

What do you get when you combine Elvis with Bruce Springsteen and add a dash (just a dash, no more) of George Michael and teach this creation how to speak Turkish? That's right, Tarkan. You know, I might be overstating this a bit, but I'd say the three most revered figures, past or present, in Turkey right now are 1. Ataturk, 2. Mehmet the Conqueror, and, 3. Tarkan.

Here we have one of his early hits. The title is spelled "sikidim," but it's pronounced "sheekidoom." It's a crazy language. I speak it poorly. Anyhow, this is a weird video; he has to be rescued from his own rabid fans. They totally trash his car. That's not legal, is it? Well, ladies, the sad news is that you're wasting your time. Tarkan is quite gay (see update below). It's kind of odd how he came out. His apartment in New York was being renovated. One of the workmen, who just happened to be Turkish, found a stash of gay porn and threatened to sell the story to the Turkish tabloids. Tarkan called the guy's bluff and outed himself. Even though homosexuality is taboo in Turkey (as it is throughout the Islamic world to various degrees), Tarkan is still a super-megastar at home.

One of the reasons why I love to visit Turkey (which hasn't happened since 2002) is that you get to hear Tarkan everywhere you go. His tunes go equally as well out in the sticks as they do in the middle of Istanbul or Ankara. Expect to hear more of them in the future.

UPDATE: Well, perhaps the issue of Tarkan's preference is not quite as settled as I thought. The last time I was in Turkey - granted, it was a while ago - every single Turk I talked to would say, "Yeah, Tarkan's gay, but he's still awesome" or something similar. I'd ask how this came about and they'd all tell me the same story, the one I more or less relate above. For me, the issue doesn't really matter. Tarkan is awesome - plain and simple. But if it makes any difference, let's just categorize his sexuality as "undeclared" and bask in his awesomeness.

So Long, Summer??

Not so fast, buster! You might recall wrote this post back on September 8th lamenting the end of summer and announcing my acceptance of fall's inevitability. Well, anyone who can look out a window can tell you that since then, our weather has been mostly superb. Today is a special example of that: 83 degrees, clear sky and my fellow Rivolians hanging out in front of the building - all indicators of summer. Yet it's fall. Tomorrow promises similar temperatures. I'm hoping that this never ends, but I am spiritually prepared to let the stellar weather go. Seasons change. Turn, turn, turn. And all that crap.

OK, That's Enough

What's up with the big, illegible tags around the neighborhood? First the Moore, then Mama's, now Cafe Zoe at 2nd & Blanchard is the target:

Can anybody read this crap? Honestly, what's the point? I know that there's an essential human urge to declare "I was here." That was the motivation behind the cave at Lescaux, wasn't it? This is different. Nowhere does this tell a story or give us insight into anything. All it does is testify to its creator's ego. He thinks that the world wants to know where he's been. He's wrong. It's visual noise that wouldn't be interesting to any generation, past, present or future. So let me say right now: that's enough. Please stop. Belltown doesn't care about your tag. You're obviously not from here, so please just go back and tag your own neighborhood. Thanks.

Coming Soon to the Moore!

You know, I've only seen about half an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It was from the very early part of the first season when they were still establishing setting and characters. It wasn't particularly funny and I lost interest halfway through. Since then, random people come up to me and tell me what a great show it is. I can't argue with them, because I really don't know enough about it. But I mean, it's really nice that Danny Devito is still getting work, but otherwise, I have no opinion. Apparently, this is the faux-rock opera that was hatched on the show. And now fans get to see it live. My guess is that it is inspired in its badness, because if it was good, what's the point? That's not comedy! Anyhow, I feel that I might want to revisit the show on Hulu, because this presentation is a little more inspired than usual.

Monday, September 21, 2009

After Hours

Zhanna Friske. Ya byla (I was)

Gosh, Zhanna seems to be in quite a bit of trouble in this video. She's chained to a wall in a room half-filled with water, sitting on a submerged couch. But, being a true professional, she manages to sing this song, which kind of sounds like many of her other tunes. At some point, she gets some massive hair extensions and hires a bunch of unemployed Rhythm Nation dancers. Although this production doesn't have the epic surreality of "Zhanna Friske," there is a lot more sinister water involved than in "Gde-to letom." So please enjoy this while I scour the YouTubes for more Zhanna clips.

The Hatred Comes to Broad Street

Hey, all you citizens of Broad Street between 1st and Elliott! I know there aren't many of you and I assume that you already know this, but...

The hatred has arrived. Your pavement is gone. Your road is bare.

As a survivor of the 2nd Avenue's Operation Enduring Pavement, I can offer you no advice, other than that you should be patient. I can predict, however, that when Sweet Lady Blacktop comes to town, you will dance a jig of freedom. But that may not be forthcoming. It took them more than two weeks to put lay down the Sweet Lady B on 2nd. Many residents were praying for a swift, merciful death at the end of week two. But the orange-vests did return to fulfill the prophecy. They will return. You must believe.

You Say You Want a Dog Parade? You Got It!

In Belltown, many things are possible, including the occasional dog parade. And although the Olympic Sculpture Park isn't really in Belltown (it's part of the waterfront), it was still a fine place for the event. The Belltown Central Committee - oops, I mean the Belltown Community Council organized the whole thing, so don't say that they never do anything. The only disappointing thing for me was that I was expecting the dogs to form some kind of marching band and maybe play a few Sousa tunes. Yeah, they didn't do that. Oh, well. But I did take quite a few photographs of the oddness.

It wasn't totally about the parade. Some people were actually trying to sell stuff. Gasp! Did you know there are humans you can hire to massage your pet? I find that just a little bit weird.

This was the only artificial dog there. All the others were real.

This was the scene at registration. Things moved slowly, because dogs don't write very legibly.

Here are the prize categories. Wow, DNA testing? That's even stranger and more excessive than pet massage.

How many pugs is too many? I say one; this lady says a million.

Maybe if this guy had been down in San Francisco with the Seahawks, the results of the game would have been less embarrassing.

A dog in a dress is still a dog...

Yes, very clever and all, but I have a question: where the heck do you keep a dog that large? This is Belltown, a neighborhood full of tiny apartments.

These guys aren't even dogs! They're ferrets! That reminds me of one of my Ukrainian grandma's old sayings: "You can put a leash on a ferret, but it will never be a dog." How true, how very true.

There was even a jazz band providing musical stylings. So yeah, this thing was a big deal all right.

At long last, the parade got started. Here are some members of the dachshund faction.

And here's a dog looking very chic in a matching bandanna/visor combination. Who's up for bingo? You are! Yes, you are!

And then they marched away. I could have followed. I could have waited for them to return. I could have been there when they handed out the prizes, but no. I had to watch the Seahawks lose badly to the 49ers. Even though I don't own a dog, I'm a dog person. It was really nice to see so many turning out to be seen. And although it was disappointing that there were no canine musicians, a good time was still had by all. Even the ferrets.

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