Sunday, September 19, 2010
The Stranger Genius Awards
Well, the Moore was the scene on Friday night as the Stranger handed out its annual Genius Awards: $5,000 and the respect of one's peers, but most importantly, 5,000 bucks. I always find myself feeling extremely socially awkward at these events, as I don't like to talk about my creative endeavors with those I don't know. And since my life consists pretty much of creative endeavors, I don't have much to talk about. But thanks to the magic of alcohol - they had an open bar onstage (ahh, "open bar," the two sweetest words in the English language, my friends) - I was able to engage in conversations about different things with various interesting people.
That's what the stage looked like after a few visits to the bar. Incidentally, the bartender was super-nice. Anyhow, I'd say the attendance for the ceremony was over 500. The point was later made by one of the presenters, I think it was, that if everyone in the place disappeared, Seattle would become a true cultural wasteland. Honestly, I've always felt that we were already there. But equally as honestly, the work done by most of the recipients persuades me that we aren't quite there yet.
I have to say that the Moore smelled really nice on that very rainy night. It was probably because of the legion of art-people's collective rarefied scent. Either that or the Moore staff has been using a lot of Febreze.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I was only acquainted with the work of a few of the winners. For a complete rundown on everyone's work, go here. I knew Jim Woodring's stuff best. He managed to give the best acceptance speech. He was quite funny. Here he is midway through accepting:
That's Paul Constant, one of my all-time favorite Stranger staff writers, looking on.
As for the others, I'm vowing to take in a Marya Sea Kaminsky production and rifle through the Internet to find art by Susie Lee. On the other hand, I'm probably not going to see the film by Charles Mudede and Rob Devor. I dunno, but when it comes to sex with horses, I draw the line at Equus. As for Shabazz Palaces, I came home and looked them up on YouTube. I must be missing something. I'm not a hip-hop fan in the first place, so I think that has to disqualify me from proffering my opinion. It was a bit odd that performers supposedly of their caliber weren't able to assemble any kind of acceptance speech. OK, their joke about giving Charles Mudede a ride five years previous in exchange for a this year's Genius Award was pretty much their saving grace. Still, nobody could outdo Jim Woodring.
After all the loot was handed out, I hung out for a while talking to people and left before Shabazz Palaces took the stage. Just one last thing: in the past, I've ridiculed The Stranger for their self-importance and clubbiness. But, whether or not, you or I agree with the worthiness of the winners of this or any year, this award proves that the paper is much more than a bunch of critics giving thumbs-up or thumbs-down. I salute The Stranger for giving the Seattle arts scene, such as it is, this level of support and exposure. So congratulations, all winners and thanks again to The Stranger for the open bar.
As usual, your move, Seattle Weekly.