Sunday, February 28, 2010


Street artist Slinkachu places tiny hand-painted figures in unlikely urban settings, photographs them, and leaves them for passersby to find. He recently released a book of his photos called Little People in the City: The Street Art of Slinkachu with a forward from none other than British novelist Will Self. Splendid.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ouch My Eye

Ouch My Eye is a physically small but conceptually huge gallery existing in the unnamed Seattle interzone between Pioneer Square and the Stadiums. Over the past 3 years Ouch My Eye has mounted dozens of carefully curated group and solo shows, unafraid to tackle subjects as diverse as Art vs. Science, contemporary furniture design and "9/11 Truth." This month brings the 2nd Annual Invitational Exhibit with artists chosen based on their affinity with the mission of Ouch My Eye: "Creative people dedicated to un-orthodox work guided by a passion to create regardless of education, affiliation, or past accomplishment." This beautifully assembled exhibit features work by Charles Kraft (shown here), Chris McMullen, Joe Vollan, John Lewis, Lynn Schirmer, Mike Klay, Ryohei Hase and Tracy Boyd

Opens this Saturday, February 27th, at Ouch My Eye, 1022 1st Ave S. in Seattle.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Seattle Bike Swap

This Saturday brings the annual Seattle Bike Swap. Lots of great deals from parts manufacturers and bike shops looking to sell off stock and clear out old merchandise before bike season really gets going. Tons of new and used bike-related goods, from complete bikes to small parts. One day only, Saturday February 27, at Magnuson Park Hanger #30. Admission is $5 from 9 am to 1 pm and free from 1 to 2 pm. Kids enter free all day. Most dealers are not taking credit cards, so bring cash or things to trade if you mean to go shopping!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ishmael Reed

Today is the birthday of writer, poet and social critic Ishmael Reed, born February 22, 1938. Reed was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but grew up in Buffalo. He attended Buffalo public schools from elementary school until he dropped out of Buffalo State University in the early 1960's. Reed's writing career began with a jazz column he wrote for Empire State, a long defunct African American weekly paper out of Buffalo.

Reed moved to New York City in 1962 and co-founded the East Village Other, an underground newspaper that became an important organ for the burgeoning counter culture movement. He published his first novel, The Free-Lance Pallbearers, in 1967, and since then has published some 10 novels, five books of poetry, four collections of essays, six produced plays, dozens of songs, and countless reviews and critical articles. Reed's huge body of work conforms to no one style, but more often than not Reed is combative, suspicious, deeply cynical and funny as hell.

In addition to his own prolific career, Reed has been a champion for younger writers, founding and serving as editor and publisher of various small presses and journals. His current publishing imprint is Ishmael Reed Publishing Company, and his online literary magazine, Konch, features contemporary poetry, essays and fiction. Reed recently retired from teaching at the University of California, Berkeley where he taught literature and creative writing for thirty-five years.

beware : do not read this poem

tonite, thriller was
abt an ol woman, so vain she
surrounded herself w/
many mirrors

it got so bad that finally she
locked herself indoors & her
whole life became the

one day the villagers broke
into her house, but she was too
swift for them. she disappeared
into a mirror
each tenant who bought the house
after that, lost a loved one to

the ol woman in the mirror :
first a little girl
then a young woman
then the young woman/s husband

the hunger of this poem is legendary
it has taken in many victims
back off from this poem
it has drawn in yr feet
back off from this poem
it has drawn in yr legs

back off from this poem
it is a greedy mirror
you are into this poem. from
the waist down
nobody can hear you can they?
this poem has had you up to here
this poem aint got no manners
you cant call out frm this poem
relax now & go w/ this poem

move & roll on to this poem
do not resist this poem
this poem has yr eyes
this poem has his head
this poem has his arms
this poem has his fingers
this poem has his fingertips

this poem is the reader & the
reader this poem

statistic: the us bureau of missing persons re-
ports that in 1968 over 100,000 people
disappeared leaving no solid clues
nor trace only
a space in the lives of their friends

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mobile Sound Unit

Vancouver based designer Jonathan Igharas picked up a heavy-duty utility tricycle while he was in Beijing and converted it into a highly portable DJ station. Powered by a rechargeable marine battery and a power inverter, the Ant AV Tricycle houses turntables, CD players, speakers and a visual projector within a cleverly designed cabinet. Sliding rails allow for quick set up and easy access to the equipment within, making it possible to move from one location to the next. Brilliant. Hope to see and hear this on a Critical Mass ride some time this summer.

From the charming site For the Love of Bikes!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oh To Be Not Anyone...Gone

I didn't see Patti Smith when she was recently here in Seattle, and I regret it. Immediately after the show, the entire city was breathless with excited and tearful summaries of Smith reading old poetry and new prose from her book Just Kids, and of her powerfully direct musical performances, just she and a guitar. No one who saw it spoke of anything less than a once-in-a-lifetime performance. Stranger writer J.T. Oldfield posted this summary on the magazine's blog.

Luckily, video blogger Ben Slivka sneaked a video camera into Benaroya Hall and managed to record a stunning seven minute section of Patti reading and playing. Here, she reads about her mental state at the very moment that her friend and lover Robert Mapplethorpe died, followed by a heartbreaking performance of her song "Beneath the Southern Cross."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Seattle street painter Solace is a distinctly Northwest kind of animal. While his work is clearly based on street culture and graffiti forms, he rarely uses letters, focusing instead on the strange creatures and characters that creep from his imagination. Like fellow Seattle-ite Parskid, Solace's ogres and trolls occupy a space both dangerously urban and peacefully uninhabited. You can find Solace's monsters on walls all over this city, and by digging a little deeper you can see his custom vinyl toys, stuffed animals, and detailed works on canvas.

A beautiful show of new small paintings by Solace, called "Survival of the Fittest," is up at the Whiskey Bar in downtown Seattle until March 4th.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Yoko Ono is mounting an epic big-band performance of her newest record - which many critics are calling her best. The album Between My Head and the Sky, by the resurrected Plastic Ono Band features Daniel Carter, Yuka Honda, son Sean and others. The show takes place on February 16th at BAM with a band that includes the boggling collision of Cornelius, Paul Simon, Jim Keltner, Haruomi Hosono, Eric Clapton, Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore and Bette Midler. Needless to say, tickets are long gone. Earlier that afternoon WFMU DJ Brian Turner talks to Yoko at her studio for three hours of conversation and music. Streams here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

My World is Empty

My wife and daughter have gone away without me for the first time since she was born! Ten whole days!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Head Like an Espresso Truck

I like the sound of this.

"Head Like an Espresso Truck" is a one-night-only event featuring Seattle bands Fresh Espresso, Head Like a Kite and Truckasauras. It would be a good line-up at any time - all three bands are Seattle music makers gaining some serious attention. While they've all got their roots in hip hop, all three bands are serious experimenters, finding new ways to take the driving beats and cultural awareness of hip hop in new directions. And blessedly, all three bands have a great sense of humor about themselves and their work. This particular show finds all three bands on stage at the same time. As the event website has it: "No headliners. No set changes. 3 bands all set up onstage mixing it up. Fresh over Truck. Truck on Kite. Kite doing Fresh. And everyone all in."

At Neumo's, Friday February 12th, 9:00 PM. Tickets just $10.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Jim Denevan

Working freehand with found materials, Jim Denevan creates massive drawings on beaches and on the Earth's surface. His preferred canvas is a wide beach at low tide, sometimes walking for 30 miles and spending as long as 7 hours on a drawing which the tide then washes away. In addition to many insanely beautiful photos, his website contains detailed notes on how he accomplishes all of his projects. Denevan is part of the current Vancouver Biennale exhibition, and will create one of the world's largest free-hand sand-drawings on the beaches of Vancouver's Spanish Banks this summer.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


E-Waste is a series of tragic but beautifully shot images from photographer Andrew McConnell. The photos were shot in Agbogbloshie, a suburb of Ghana's capitol city Accra, which has become a dumping ground for computers and electronic goods from Europe and the U.S. The hundreds of tons of waste that wind up here each month become the raw materials for impoverished people to salvage and live on. In places like the U.S., properly disposing of computers is hazardous and costly. Simply dumping them in poor countries like Ghana poses fewer legal problems, but results in all manner of toxic materials being released in the water, the air, and into the bodies of the people who work with them. The photos are eye-opening.

Friday, February 5, 2010

La Puerta

I mentioned Barcelona street artist Limow just the other day, and now, via Wooster Collective, comes this very cool stop motion film made by Limow and Sam3 on the streets of Barcelona and Murcia. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


The poet W.S. Merwin is making an appearance in Seattle this week. Merwin has been writing and publishing poetry for more than 50 years. He is inventive enough, and has been around long enough, that his work has evolved through many different styles representative of several cultural eras - from his ornate mythological poems of the early 1950's, through the austere meditations on the natural world that he writes today. Through his many changes, the beauty of Merwin's poetry owes as much to an undying wonder at the ephemera of the world it does to his formal and rhetorical inventiveness.

Merwin's earliest work was written under the tutelage of John Berryman, and he returns the gift of teaching by sharing the Seattle stage with four younger poets who will read their work and chat with Merwin before an audience. The poets include Erin Belieu, Ben Lerner, Valzhyna Mort, and Matthew Zapruder.

On Thursday February 4th at Town Hall Seattle. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for students, available through brown paper tickets.

For The Anniversary Of My Death

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveller
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what

Monday, February 1, 2010

Will Allen

This week, food and gardening visionary Will Allen pays a visit to Seattle. Allen is the CEO of Growing Power, a Milwaukee-based non-profit organization that promotes urban agriculture as a pathway to both physical health and social justice. Early in his career as a farmer within the city limits of Milwaukee, Allen recognized that the health problems of urban populations are a direct result of limited access to safe and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. He pioneered a novel approach to urban farming, using low-cost production and distribution technologies. His two-acre site in central Milwaukee now produces vast amounts of food, both produce and livestock, which feeds more than 10,000 people. Allen won a MacArthur Genius Award in 2008.

Will Allen arrives in Seattle on Feb 3. He will be at the Yesler Terrace Community Center as a special guest for a “Peoples’ Roundtable," a daylong series of events designed to help brainstorm ways that Seattle neighborhoods can improve their health, empower their residents and create access to healthy food. He later visits the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center to speak with youth leaders involved in the Food Empowerment Education & Sustainabilty Team (aka. FEEST). In the evening, Allen speaks for free at the Mercer Middle School Auditorium in Beacon Hill, leading a discussion on food, urban farming and food policy.

More info on Allen and the Seattle events here.