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.
Blabbermouth, Episode 8: A worrisome shooting in Olympia, the young woman who tied herself to a ship, and rhubarb!
This week we hear from Stranger writer Charles Mudede on the shooting of two young, unarmed black men in Olympia and the fallout from the incident (which is still under investigation). We also talk to Chiara D'Angelo, the 20-year-old who tied herself to an Arctic drilling support vessel in Bellingham over Memorial Day weekend. And Stranger food critic Angela Garbes is back to talk about the laws around restaurant surcharges and, in addition, rhubarb!
Released May 29, 2015
Blabbermouth: Our Week-in-Review Podcast Has Feelings About the "Wreck of the Kulluk," Hillary Clinton, and More!
So, the big protests against Shell Oil happened last weekend. They were successful in getting attention around the world, but they didn't cause the global oil company to scrap its Arctic drilling plans and yank its Polar Pioneer drilling rig out of Seattle's port. So what does a company like Shell pay attention to?
We hear from McKenzie Funk, who has been following Shell closely for a long time and wrote "The Wreck of the Kulluk," a gripping New York Times Magazine exploration of what went wrong the last time Shell used Seattle as a homeport for its Arctic drilling pursuits. (Funk also wrote a more recent piece on Shell's visions for our planet's future.)
Ijeoma Oluo is also on the show, and talks about the latest on the Somali remittance crisis (including Mayor Ed Murray's recent conversation about the crisis with John Kerry). And Charles Mudede and Sean Nelson are back to tell us what we should see at SIFF this weekend—and through the rest of the festival. Oh, and Charles also has a heartwarming lesson / film recommendation to share in honor of Memorial Day. Really.
Plus the music of Jenn Ghetto and her project S, which plays at the Sasquatch music festival this weekend!
This Week on the Blabbermouth Podcast: Former Mayor Mike McGinn Criticizes Current Mayor Ed Murray Over Shell Deal
Former Mayor Mike McGinn is back on Blabbermouth this week. McGinn talks about dusting off his kayak in order to join this weekend's Festival of Resistance against the arrival of Shell Oil's Arctic drilling fleet in Seattle. He also tangles with this Danny Westneat column, which questions whether kayak protests will accomplish anything at all, and he criticizes Mayor Ed Murray for not taking a stand against Shell back in November, when—as the mayor told Blabbermouth last week—he first heard the Arctic drilling rigs were headed our way.
"The best way to have stopped Shell would have been sunshine," McGinn says. "If Shell's actions had been known well in advance, in time for the activists to bring the pressure on the port and be heard, this would have been stopped. And it turns out that the port commissioners were keeping it a secret. It turns out Ed Murray was keeping it a secret, too."
Sydney Brownstone is on the show, too, talking about the "two-faced" vote taken by the Port of Seattle's elected commissioners on the Shell issue this week. Ansel Herz ticks through his fact-check of the statements police and the mayor made about May Day last week. And Lindsay Hood talks about escaping New York and landing in Seattle as The Stranger's new music editor.
PLUS the music of Detective Agency, which is playing on Sunday, May 17 at El Corazón.
This Week on the Blabbermouth Podcast: Mayor Ed Murray on May Day, Shell, and His Seattle Times Scolding
Mayor Ed Murray is on Blabbermouth this week! And he has a lot to say about the scolding he got from the Seattle Times editorial board over his stand against Shell's Arctic drilling rigs and the permitting wrench his administration just threw into the plan to host those rigs at Seattle's port. The Mayor doesn't agree with the Times' criticism of his actions, and says the paper's editorial board engaged in some "unconscionable reasoning."
Murray also has a lot to say about May Day, the many styles of protest it drew into the city's streets, his own philosophy of social change, and the unfair criticism he believes the Seattle Police Department has received for its handling of the protests—particularly from Seattle City Council members.
Turning to the particular rage of young white men, which was on display during an evening May Day protest on Capitol Hill, the mayor offers a theory for the starkly different tenor the (largely white and male) May Day evening protest had as compared to the protests earlier in the day, which were led by and focused on communities of color. The mayor also compares some of the Black Bloc protesters to ISIS, which I'm gonna go out on a limb and say will be the most Tweeted snippet of this show.
Sean Nelson and Charles Mudede are also on the podcast, talking about all the Seattle International Film Festival movies they've been screening for our SIFF calendar—and about the way the festival has been changing as Seattle changes. PLUS, the music of Katie Kate the Stranger Genius nominee who's playing May 8 at LoFi with fellow Stranger Genius nominee Erik Blook and Aeon Fux.
Dan Savage is on Blabbermouth this week talking about the tip and how to use it. Kathleen Richards is on, too, talking about risk-shifting in restaurants. And former Seattle mayor Mike McGinn is on as well. He says he can kinda identify with Kshama Sawant these days. She got in trouble this week for not being Seattle nice enough with her council colleagues. "They've never liked Kshama," explains McGinn. (He also has some interesting things to say about who's getting what done on the council, and about Tim Burgess's "patronizing" talk of needing "adults in the room.")
We also hear the former mayor's take on May Day and the line police should draw when responding to protesters. And finally, Sean Nelson, author of a book on Joni Mitchell, explains why she's so important, and why rumors of her being in a coma blew up the internet this week.
Plus! The music of iji, which Emily Nokes calls a "dance-pop project that will keep you in the deepest groove." They're playing on Saturday at the Monkey Pub.
Rent control, anyone? Or how about no housing market at all in Seattle? This week on Blabbermouth, we put former Tenants Union director Jonathan Grant and Smart Growth Seattle's Roger Valdez in a tiny room together and let them try to solve the problem of runaway apartment prices. We also hear from Angela Garbesabout more restaurants that are eliminating tipping. And Sean Nelson and Emily Nokes talk about Montage of Heck and all the feelings and in-theater shouting it's provoking in this city.
Plus! The music of Seattle rock band Posse, who areplaying at the Columbia City Theater tonight at 9 p.m.