This is our last Blabbermouth of 2015—see you in the New Year!—and it’s a great one, full of year-end reflections, current issues, and even one Proustian moment. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is on the show to talk about what he sees as his biggest accomplishment of the year, his biggest bit of unfinished business for 2015, and why he recently refused to sign a city council bill to let drivers for ridehailing apps unionize. After that, Stranger Arts and Music Editor Sean Nelson will be on to talk about the agony and the ecstasy of end-of-year list. (He just made a bunch of them himself.) And then Stranger film editor Charles Mudede will be on the show to talk about an interesting exhibit that’s up now at the Northwest African American Museum called Black Hanford, as well as a new movie—you might have heard of it—called Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
If there was ever a week to remind us that who we elect to national office matters a whole hell of a lot, this was one. And if you live here in Seattle, you probably know that the guy who speaks for you in the US House of Representatives is Jim McDermott—a Democrat who’s been Seattle’s voice in DC for the last 26 years. Well, for the first time in a long time McDermott has a serious challenger for his seat: Brady Walkinshaw, the state representative from Seattle’s Capitol Hill, who announced last week that he’s going to try to unseat McDermott in 2016. We’ll talk to both McDermott and Walkinshaw today, and then we’ll talk to The Stranger’s Heidi Groover about why you should be paying attention to a bunch of semi-obscure Sound Transit maps right now. Plus, as always, the music of Ahamefule J. Oluo!
There’s a LOT we have to talk about this week. Bertha, our giant tunnel drilling machine, is about to start back up at the end of the month, which means we all need to brush up on why the fuck Bertha’s been taking so long to dig one tunnel. Stranger Bertha expert Sydney Brownstone is here to help. After that, we’ll talk fascism—and whether it’s an accurate description of Donald’s Trump’s political philosophy—with local journalist David Neiwert. Then, because World AIDS Day was this week, Stranger art critic Jen Graves is back to tell us about a must-see exhibit at the Tacoma Art Museum. It’s called Art AIDS America. And finally, Charles Mudede weighs in on the stingy pours that our northern neighbors in Vancouver, BC are serving in their bars—and what it says about them and us. Plus, as always, the music of the amazing Ahamefule J. Oluo!
It’s the end of a long and upsetting week globally, so let’s pause from that for a moment—not to ignore it, but just to take a pause—and focus on some things here in Seattle. That extremely close city council race is STILL GOING over in West Seattle. Last week we talked to candidate Lisa Herbold, who at the time was behind by just a few votes. This week we talk to candidate Shannon Braddock who’s now behind by just a few votes and is getting ready to start "chasing ballots." After that I talk to Stranger art critic Jen Graves, who has big news about that iconic installation of spiraling cars at the downtown Seattle Art Museum. (Spoiler: it’s going to be disappearing soon, and Jen’s thrilled.) And after that, Stranger food writer Angela Garbes will be back on the show to talk about easy Thanksgiving recipes and coping strategies. Plus, as always, the music of the amazing Ahamefule J. Oluo!
This week’s show begins with a brief check-in with Lisa Herbold, one of two candidates in a verrrry close Seattle City Council race that’s still going strong ten days after the election. Herbold currently trails opponent Shannon Braddock (who couldn’t come on the show) by just six votes. After that, University of Washington geomorphologist David Montgomery and biologist Anne Bikle are on to talk about an invisible cycle of “eating, dying, and pooping” that is much older than humanity and much more important to the survival of humanity that most people realize. This invisible cycle is fueled by microbes, and Montgomery and Bikle have just published a book that explores a hidden world of microbes that extends from the soil that grows our plants to the soil that lines our colons. It’s called “The Hidden Half of Nature.” Then Ijeoma Oluo comes back on the show to talk about her refusal to review the movie Suffragette in The Stranger, and the huge online response her refusal has generated. Plus, as always, the music of the amazing Ahamefule J. Oluo!
We had a big local election this week—plus statewide votes on some important issues—so we brought in four people to tell us what the results say about our political future. First up: Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant, who appears to have won her race in Seattle’s 3rd District against challenger Pamela Banks. Sawant tells us why it’s a kind of “revolution” to have a socialist elected to another term in this city. Then we hear from three political consultants: Christian Sinderman, the guy behind many of the “establishment” candidates who appear to have won; John Wyble, the guy behind many of this year’s “insurgent” challengers; and Sandeep Kaushik, who has some feelings about the “Move Seattle” and “Honest Elections” measures, and who also claims he can win ANY vote if you give him $1.4 million, a crayon, and photocopy of his own ass. Plus, as always, the music of the amazing Ahamefule J. Oluo!
On this week’s podcast, Stranger writer Rich Smith gives the inside scoop on a frightening $2 million rebranding effort at the Seattle Public Library that just got halted in its tracks (due in large part to Rich’s reporting). Then author Ari Berman talks about his new book, Give Us the Ballot, which traces the history of the struggle for equal voting rights in this country—a struggle that continues to this day, even here in Washington State. After that, Stranger food writer Angela Garbes brings in the surest sign of fall, the persimmon, and we have a taste. Plus, as always, the music of the amazing Ahamefule J. Oluo!
On this week’s show we corner Washington State Governor Jay Inslee at the Comet Tavern and ask him a few questions. (Like: Hey governor, why is it that Boeing can get an $8.7 billion tax break in a super-quick special session, but we can’t call a special session to get $3 billion for our unconstitutionally underfunded public schools?) Then we come back from the bar and talk to Stranger food writer Angela Garbes about a recent online discussion she got into concerning restaurant racism—when it’s actually a thing, when it’s not, and why you might just get a fork sometimes instead of chopsticks. After which Stranger art critic Jen Graves takes us through Paul Allen’s recent retreat from funding local arts organizations, and how it seems connected to Pivot, the new contemporary art and culture center he’s opening in South Lake Union. Plus, as always, the music of the amazing Ahamefule J. Oluo!
Ballots for the November general election are going to start arriving next week. Are you ready??? We are, almost. We’ve interviewed every damn candidate running for every damn race in preparation for our upcoming Stranger endorsements issue, and in this episode we lift our tired heads off the table long enough to ask: Why the fuck do we elect, in addition to everything else, the Director of the King County Department of Elections? The candidates in that race, Julie Wise and Zack Hudgins, try to give us an answer while also explaining why this particular race is so crazy contentious this year. Finally, we do a brief tour of this fall's very important, very full ballot. Plus! In-between all that we listen to the music of the amazing Ahamefule J. Oluo!
Forty five years ago, an orca named Lolita was captured from Washington State waters and taken to captivity in Florida. Stranger Editor Christopher Frizzelle is on the show this week to explain why Lolita needs to be returned home now, and what he discovered about the amazing culture and brains of Puget Sound orcas as he was reporting this in-depth feature on one killer whale’s plight. (Also discussed: why humans are the worst.) And then we hear from Mark Putnam, director of All Home, about the latest plan to fight homelessness in King County. The last big plan—a “Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness”—obviously didn’t work. What’s his better idea? Putnam explains. Plus the music of Yellow Ostrich and the band Tomtem, which is playing at EMP on Saturday, October 3!
Wow, well, Council Member Kshama Sawant is on the show for the first time this week and it’s an epic interview. Under fire from Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess for allegedly not having accomplished anything, Sawant takes a swing back at her council colleague—or, actually, several swings. We also talk about China, local crime and what to do about it, what Socialism means to Sawant, and whether or not The Stranger is “the corporate media.” It’s a long one, but a good one. Strap in. And then Stranger art critic Jen Graves tells us about a local artist who got an intense, last-minute commission: make a bentwood box as a gift for the Chinese president. Plus the music of Don’t Talk to the Cops, Thunderpussy, and the Theoretics!
Remember that Seattle teachers strike we talked about last week? It seems to be nearing an end, with the 5,000 teachers who were walking the picket lines now back in public school classrooms and preparing to vote on a tentative agreement this Sunday. I check back in with teachers union vice president Phyllis Campano about the details of the tentative agreement. (For the second week in a row, a Seattle School District spokesperson declined to come on the show.) After that, I talk about what to do next to fix our statewide education mess with community organizer Noel Frame. And after that we’ll go from one political mess to another with Stranger political writer Rich Smith, who fills us in on what happened at this week’s Republican debates. Finally, to round it all out, Stranger food writer Angela Garbes tells us what it’s like to eat a sunflower. Plus some songs produced by Steve Fisk, the winner of this year's Stranger Genius Award for music!
For the first time in 30 years, Seattle’s teachers are on strike. That’s 5,000 educators walking the picket lines as more than 50,000 students (and an even larger number of parents) await a fair resolution to this contract dispute. To get a deeper understanding of what the teachers want and where negotiations stand, I speak to teachers union vice president Phyllis Campano. And to learn more about what it’s like to navigate all of this as a public school parent, I talk to Stranger writer Jen Graves, whose child is currently waiting to begin classes at Ingraham High. Come for parent perspective, stay for the mutual rage spiral! Then, because it’s that season again, Jen and Stranger Arts Editor Sean Nelson talk with me about the Stranger Genius Awards, which are happening this Saturday night at the Moore Theatre. But really, we mostly talk about the TRUE nature of genius. Plus the music of Stranger genius nominees Chastity Belt, OC Notes, and Steve Fisk!
Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who claims that Jesus Christ prevents her from issuing gay marriage licenses, is now in jail for contempt of court—and Dan Savage is on the show to talk about why that’s exactly where Kim Davis belongs. We also discuss the trouble-free gay marriage license that my husband and I recently secured in the great state of Montana, where I’ve been for the last few weeks while getting hitched. (Thanks for filling in, Sean Nelson!) Also discussed on this week’s Blabbermouth: what Sydney Brownstone saw when she went out to write a story about the wildfire lands of Eastern Washington, and what Rich Smith thinks I missed in the presidential race while I was off getting a husband. Plus music from the new album by Ahamefule J. Oluo, which you can listen to and buy on Bandcamp!
This week, Stranger food critic Angela Garbes stops by to talk about her incredible feature from the current issue, “The More I Learn About Breast Milk, the More Amazed I Am.” Then, Stranger book critic/national politics correspondent Rich Smith described the scene of the Rand Paul rally at Town Hall this week. Guest Host: Stranger Music & Arts Editor Sean Nelson (in for Eli Sanders one last time). Music: Shelby Earl feat. The Spectacles “Stay With Me Tonight,” and two from Briana Marela’s excellent new album, All Around Us: “Surrender,” and “Take Care of Me.”
This week on Blabbermouth: Sydney Brownstone stops by to discuss the weird epidemic of baby seal kidnapping (in the name of baby seal “rescue”) on Seattle’s beaches. Also, Jen Graves talks about the underreported mass killing that inspired of an installation at Seattle Art Museum—and why it’s directly relevant to social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement. And Dan Savage weighs in on what that Ashley Madison membership really cost you. Music by Seattle band The Weather, from their brand new album Waters Electric (www.theweather.fm). Stranger Arts & Music Editor Sean Nelson is guest host. Eli Sanders is still on vacation.
This week, Blabbermouth welcomes Washington State Senator Pramila Jayapal to discuss her guest editorial about feeling heartbroken after the failed Bernie Sanders/Social Security rally at Westlake last weekend. But was it really a failure? Staff writers Sydney Brownstone and Rich Smith also stop by to talk about their experiences reporting from that same rally. The music is by this week's guest host, Stranger Music & Arts Editor Sean Nelson, filling in for Eli Sanders, who is on a well-deserved vacation.
Rich Smith is on the show again for a very special review of this week's Republican presidential debates—both the "kids table" debate AND the "adults table" debate. Also: now that Seattle's primary election has concluded, city council candidate Michael Maddux stops by to talk about the results in each of the new council districts (including his own) and what they all mean. And then Stranger art critic Jen Graves takes us on a tour of what she saw at the first-ever, Paul-Allen-funded, impressively successful Seattle Art Fair. Plus the music of La Luz, which is playing at the Showbox on August 7!
Seattle City Council member Nick Licata is on the show this week! He talks about what he's learned about the city over the course of five terms (this one being his last), and he offers some insight into Mayor Ed Murray's sudden reversal on a plan to make Seattle more affordable by up-zoning the city's single-family residential areas. Licata also offers his picks for the upcoming primary election. DON'T FORGET! Ballots are due on August 4th, and if you want The Stranger's endorsements just click on over to our web site. Also on the show: Charles Mudede, who's invited to spill the contents of his mind and, accepting the invitation, talks about Greece, The Matrix, body cams, and Cecil the Lion. Plus the music of SSDD, which is playing Pizza Fest on August 8!
In case you haven't heard, a GRAND BARGAIN has been reached by a mayoral committee tasked with solving Seattle's housing crisis. How grand is this bargain? Stranger writer Ansel Herz is on the show to tell us exactly how grand, and to explain what this bargain's going to mean for apartment dwellers, single-family homeowners, and developers over the next 10 years. Also on the show: Leila Marie Ali, who managed to find $400-a-month rent in the midst of Seattle's housing crisis by living in a tiny, tiny house on wheels. What happens when a city inspector tries to figure out whether a tiny house on wheels deserves a permit, and if so, what kind? Leila tells all. And then Stranger art critic Jen Graves stops by to tell us about the upcoming Seattle Art Fair, borne out of a Paul Allen "fever dream." Plus the music of Girlpool, playing the Capitol Hill Block Party on July 25!
Did that New Yorker article blow up your nice, calm summer, too? You know, the one called "The Earthquake That Will Devastate Seattle"? Feeling freaked out about the article, we haul in Seattle Times science writer Sandi Daughton, a local earthquake expert and the author of Full Rip 9.0, to tell us just how terrified we really should be. Helpfully, Doughton also describes what she's keeping in her earthquake kit these days and tells us what to do when the shaking starts. We also bring Rich Smith back on catch us up on the latest batshit comments from Donald Trump and to tell us what he learned while reading Harper Lee's "new" book, Go Set a Watchman. (Which is really an old, old manuscript that was initially thought of as just a failed early attempt on Lee's way to writing her classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.) Wondering whether you should read the "new" book or just pretend you read it? Rich has the answer. Plus the music of Ephrata, a local band playing the Capitol Hill Block Party on July 24!
Pride weekend is upon us, so we asked Mayor Ed Murray—Seattle's first out, gay mayor—to come in and talk about the way Capitol Hill used to be. Like, in 1984 when Murray moved moved back to Seattle and started renting a room in the gay-friendly-ish neighborhood for a few hundred dollars. Murray talks about what's changed on the hill since then (beyond, obviously, rents) and weighs in on whether the LGBT community really needs a "gay ghetto" anymore. We also talk to Jason Schmidt, author of A List of Things That Didn't Kill Me, a new memoir that's set in 1980s Capitol Hill. His book centers, in part, around his gay father who was then dying of AIDS. Schmidt remembers several-hundred-dollar rents, too, and like Murray tackles the question of whether the neighborhood has changed for the better. Plus the music of Blood Drugs, a heavy/metal band that'll be playing at the Capitol Hill Block Party next month!
This week we talk to Seattle City Council member Mike O'Brien, who paddled out into Puget Sound recently to try to stop a Shell Oil rig from heading off to drill in the Arctic. He was hauled off the water by the US Coast Guard in the process, detained, and charged $250—along with a number of other activists. "Why is the law protecting Shell Oil but not the planet?" O'Brien asks. He says he'll do everything in his power to prevent Shell from returning back to Seattle after the summer Arctic drilling season is over. And Rich Smith is back on the show to talk about a big week in national politics—Hillary Clinton's "populist" speech in NYC, Jeb! Bush's campaign launch in Florida, and Donald Trump's amazing escalator ride into the Republican pack. Plus, the very first recording from a Seattle band called Draemhouse, which was formed out of the recently-broken-up Seattle band Rose Windows.
It's our 10th Anniversary special! Ten episodes of this podcast and we're still not canceled, so it's time to celebrate with University of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass, who's on the show to argue with The Stranger's Sydney Brownstone over how best to talk about climate change (and whether ocean acidification is a real and present problem). Josh Feit, of PubliCola and Seattle Met Magazine, is also on the show to offer a theory about socialist City Council member Kshama Sawant's defacto support for the home-owning class—and to explain this great album of his, Teenage Machine Age, which was recorded in the 80s and 90s and then recently found in the back of a Stranger desk. We listen to Josh's album, and then we go on a road trip through the brain of Rich Smith, who just drove out to Seattle from Missouri to write about the local literary scene and national politics for the paper. Happy anniversary!
June 5, 2015
This week we talk to Dylan Orr, the man who was just picked to enforce Seattle's trailblazing $15 minimum wage law. He's a trailblazer himself, having served as the first transgender presidential appointee in US history before accepting this new job (in which he'll become the first transgender mayoral appointee to a cabinet-level position in Seattle history). Jen Graves, the Stranger's art critic, is also on the show talking about big staffing changes—and related gender and race concerns—at the University of Washington's art department. Plus, what Jen's looking at lately and the music of the Wimps, a "sweet 'n' sour" punk band from Seattle.