Archive for the 'culture' category

The Darth Vader Of Fridays

[ Hanjin container ships unloading at Terminal 46 in Seattle ] Even Adbustsers couldn’t have come up with a better name for today’s national frenzy of consumerism.  Last I checked, the common connotation of the word “black” hasn’t changed since the dawn of human consciousness. The term Black Friday originated with Philadelphia police in reference […]

Thank You Seattle

“The city in its complete sense, then, is a geographic plexus, an economic organization, an institutional process, a theater of social action, and an esthetic symbol of collective unity.  The city fosters art and is art; the city creates theater and is the theater.  It is in the city, the city as theater, that man’s […]

From Ethiopia To A Stripmall Starbucks Drive-Thru

[ The fruit of the Ethiopian coffee ceremony, spiced with rue ] At the opening night party for the new Ethiopian exhibit at the Northwest African American Museum there was a demonstration of the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. The energizing effect of coffee was first discovered by Ethiopians, and it is deeply embedded in their traditional […]

“We can’t serve you. You need to be in a car.”

Starbucks. I like you. But we’ve got to talk. Listen, ‘Bucks. (You don’t mind if I call you ‘Bucks do you? Cool.) You’re good. You’re a meeting place. You’re local (2-0-6 in the coffee house!). You’re a gathering hall, a “third place” as Bertolet would say. You’re chill. And you’re a reliable source for the […]

The Shadows Are Growing Longer

Who Is This Alex Steffen Dude, Anyway?

[ Alex Steffen presenting at IDSA/ICSID Connecting Congress 2007 ] Just some guy from Seattle who was invited to give the closing plenary talk at the upcoming Copenhagen Mayoral Climate Summit. And who also happens to be the executive director of Worldchanging, a non-profit that runs the second largest sustainability site on the web, and […]

Retail Therapy

>>> Instead of staring at the screen all day waiting for the next King County ballot drop, why not do a little online shopping?  Especially since the fine folks at Noisetank have just launched a highly anticipated new line of designer t-shirts for the discerning urbanist. Don’t believe it?  CLICK HERE and be amazed at […]

Halloween, Election Day, And Hope

[ Memorial for Officer Timothy Brenton where he was murdered at the corner of 29th and Yesler ] Last year while out trick-or-treating with my two small children in the Central District we all heard the gunshots that killed 15-year old Quincy Coleman.  This year I was out of town on Halloween but my wife was home […]

Regarding The Upcoming Election: One Acronym And A Punctuation Mark: WTF?

In this, the year 2009, can it really be true that so many of the choices on the upcoming Fall ballot are still questions that are the subject of contentious debate; on which our citizenry must vote; that represent such a clear distinction between backward and forward, yet that could go either way? Let us […]

What Do You Spend $5.50 A Month On?

(Editor’s note: Guest poster Kate Stineback is a resident of West Seattle and an affordable housing developer and community organizer at Capitol Hill Housing.  More on the housing levy here. ) >>> Less than $6.00 a month for the typical Seattle homeowner—that’s about 18 cents per day, or $65 a year for the Seattle Housing Levy, […]

What The Corner Really Needs

[ How many rockstar reporters can you spot at McGinn’s 23rd and Union press conference? ] For eleven years I have lived two blocks from the notorious intersection of 23rd and Union where Mike McGinn recently held a press conference on public safety. We all know that the crime that has plagued the area around […]

Hugeasscityscapes Vol. 2, Scene 2

The Ice Cream Truck People

Whence cometh the ice cream trucks of summer, And whither goest they, When the cold rains of winter fall? No  really.  Do they migrate south?  Seattle’s ten-month-long winter can’t be so good for business. Such an odd, yet remarkably persistent commercial enterprise.  Many of the trucks and jeeps look like the same ones I chased […]

Field Work

Done did the Puyallup and saw much.  The transition out of the Seattle bubble couldn’t be any more dramatic than when I-5 dumps you out on Federal Way’s Enchanted Parkway—shown above—and yes, that’s a Fatburger right next door to LA Fitness. >>> A few miles further south on S.R. 161 in Milton—when will we stop […]

Don’t Even Think Of Trying Your Park(ing) Day Shenanigans On Any Other Day

[ Park(ing) Day on 1st Ave between University and Seneca ] Yes, Park(ing) Day is the purest of wholesome urban goodness.   Last Friday in Seattle and cities all over the country, people took over street parking spaces, filled them with stuff, and hung out in publicly owned space that is normally and unquestionably surrendered for […]

Um, Excuse Me, But There’s Bacon In That Cupcake

The only question is why hasn’t anyone else in Seattle done this before now.  Or have they?  Such a seemingly obvious combination of two classic foods, loved by hipster and red-stater alike.     Whether or not they’re first to market with the bacon cupcake, Seattle Coffee Works—on Pike between 1st and 2nd—has them today.  I […]

The Value Of Doomers

Author Paul Hawken has a word for people who can’t shut up about how the whole world is going to hell:  doomers. But during his keynote address to the Sustainable Industries Economic Forum in downtown Seattle on Thursday, he spoke in defense of them.  Because doomers play a key role:  they make designers do a […]

Even David Byrne Gets It About Density

His take on the perfect city, in the WSJ of all places: If a city doesn’t have sufficient density, as in L.A., then strange things happen. It’s human nature for us to look at one another— we’re social animals after all. But when the urban situation causes the distance between us to increase and our […]

Hugeasscityscapes Vol. 1, Scene 5

Wu Xing

The ancient Chinese philosophy known as Wu Xing is based on cycles of five.   There are five seasons of the year, and the extra one is late summer, now playing. Our culture is totally four-centric (Wiccans notwithstanding).  Five seasons just seems wrong.   You can have a four cylinder or a six cylinder, but not a […]