Memorial Day weekend is here, summer has tentatively arrived and along with warmer climes in many areas, the season has revived a defining dog days debate: Should men wear shorts? According to a recent piece from MEL staff writer Tracy Moore, “We as a culture can’t stop debating where you can wear them, what length is appropriate, and of course, the perennial debate, whether or not cargo shorts should be banned universally in perpetuity.” But there’s also a sizeable subset of the population that refuses to engage in the debate by refusing to wear shorts at all. Dubbed the “Never Shorts” by Moore, she explains that these men “are hard pressed to ever slide on a pair of shorts unless it’s absolutely necessary for sporting, entering water, or hanging out water-adjacent.”
One of the questions emerging from this post-#MeToo reckoning is whether abusive behavior that lacks a sexual component belongs in the ongoing discussion of gender equity in the workplace. Many feel strongly that it shouldn’t. Sexual harassment is bad, but who hasn’t exploded at a co-worker or associate or student? the riposte goes. This is how X industry works; toughen up or get out.
Is this a violation of city rules? No.
by Eli Sanders
Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant is not apologizing for making 4,000 copies on the City of Seattle photocopier as her office geared up for a recent "Tax Amazon" rally.Getty Images
I should confess upfront my deep fascination with a spat over photocopier usage that's currently raging on the second floor of Seattle's City Hall. (And has been rumbling beneath the surface for years.) It's like an episode of The Office gone very, very wrong.
So I was thrilled to see that Erica C. Barnett has now used public record requests to assess the validity of an allegation—aired most recently and publicly by Council Member Sally Bagshaw—that charges Council Member Kshama Sawant and her staff with using the taxpayer-funded office copier to print up signs for events such as their recent "Tax Amazon" rally.
"Between 11:02 am on May 10 and 10:19 am on May 14," Barnett reports, "documents show that Sawant’s office—specifically, her legislative assistants Ted Virdone and Adam Ziemkowski—printed several thousand posters and other documents related to the rally, including hundreds of chant sheets to guide rally participants during the 'March on Amazon.' The printing jobs dwarf other council office’s print requests; moreover, the council offices that did relatively large print jobs during the time when Sawant’s office was using the city printer to produce her rally posters were printing presentations, copies of studies, and agendas for council meetings—not posters for weekend demonstrations against Amazon aimed at pressuring council members to adopt a larger tax."
Is this a violation of city rules?
No, Seattle Ethics and Elections Director Wayne Barnett told ECB.
Is Sawant apologizing?
No, according to ECB, who quotes Sawant defiantly suggesting that other elected officials should join her in using the office copier "to further social movements and not for the protection of the interests of the chamber of commerce."
But all in all, Sawant, while clearly pissing off her colleagues, is at least being ideologically consistent. She's seized the means of rally poster production on the second flood of City Hall and is more than happy to keep them under government control.
Leena Joshi's riff on the famous billboard from the 1970s. It's called, Will the last bad bitch leaving Seattle — turn out the lights. You can see it looking east on the corner of S Holgate and Occidental Ave SW. CF
We're all intimately familiar with the paradox of feeling alone in the middle of a city. We're constantly surrounded by people, and yet the crush of bodies anonymizes each of us, makes us feel lonelier than we'd feel in some small town where at least the bartender is counting on us to walk through the door and play our part in life. Though the subject has received finer treatment elsewhere, I'm forever ruined by Gavin Rossdale staring into the camera in the music video for "Glycerine" and issuing the dorm room koan, "I'm never alone. I'm alone all the time." Us too, buddy. Us too. (But for real.)
In all the novels and movies, New York City is often portrayed as the capital of this emotion. Artists, writers, and filmmakers (but weirdly NOT Gavin Rossdale) use the city's rush-hour sidewalks and reflective subway windows to really drive home the fact of our absolute loneliness. But this month, Seattle-based art collective Vignettes has teamed up with Gramma Press to make an argument that the fastest-growing American city of the decade is a worthy location for considering the subject, too.
You only have one week left to see all this art. Get to steppin.Vignettes / Gramma
For the citywide exhibition, a lone, Vignettes and Gramma installed work from some pretty incredible bicoastal artists and writers. Taken together the project juxtaposes everything that's great about living in a city—its wild daily surprises, its massive scale, its seemingly infinite and fascinating complexities—with everything that's not so great about the city (its random violences, its insurmountable obstacles, its labyrinthine systems).
As you bounce between these contradictions, you come to the one at the core of the project: all this time you've been having a deeply personal experience with an incredibly impersonal city. In this way, the act of participating in a lone provides the cure for the poison that drove its creation. And in general, a lot of the work is funny, beautiful, sweet, poignant, and politically powerful, and it's all definitely worth exploring over the course of a few weekend afternoons.
Let's look at a couple of my favorites so far.
Fixed that for you. HG
On the side of Photographic Center Northwest at 12th Ave and Marion St, you'll see Charlottesville by Brooklyn-based multimedia artist Alexandra Bell. This piece comes from a series called Counternarratives, wherein Bell installs herself as the front page editor of the New York Times and offers up her corrections to the paper of record. She wheat-pastes the marked-up page next to her more accurate version, one that tells the story of violent racist acts without the obfuscations of euphemism, bad layouts, and bothsidesism. On a semi-related note, I wish she was around for that time when Seattle Times put a photo of Bill Clinton above the fold the day after Hillary became the first woman nominated for President by a major political party.
Let's look at this billboard one more time. Vignettes
I know I already mentioned Leena Joshi's hilarious but also kinda sad nod to the endless exodus of Seattle's priced-out "bad bitches," but it's worth mentioning again in the body of this post, where it's easier for me to link to a photo of the old 1971 billboard she's referencing.
In a statement about the billboard, Joshi writes, "When Bob McDonald and Jim Youngren, two white, middle-aged real estate agents in Seattle put up the iconic billboard reading 'Will the last person leaving Seattle — Turn out the lights,' they did so out of their own brand of despairing hilarity at the completeness of the economic downturn and its effect on the city. Seattle seemed unsalvageable. And yet, look at it now. Fully salvaged! Bursting from the seams with the young tech elite who pour into the city by the week, ready and able to pay a few grand for any apartment and even more ready to seize any further opportunity to capitalize on the place."
She goes on to list the people who can no longer afford the fully salvaged city, including "black and brown people...queers...freaks...and bad bitches who have consistently hustled their art and their work to make ends meet and live in relative spiritual peace despite a town that increasingly looks on their lives and priorities as useless in the face of capitalist production." It was ever thus.
I'm sure you'll let me know in the comments. RS
Then there's Martine Syms's Nite Life, which your drunk ass has probably seen while stumbling down Broadway. Syms drew inspiration for her banners from the work of nightclub promoters on the "Chiltin' Circuit," a group of venues where black musicians could play during segregation.
The big banner on Broadway repurposes language from a recording of Sam Cooke's Live at the Harlem Square Club album, which famously marked the difference between the Sam Cooke white people heard on the studio albums and the Sam Cooke black people saw when he was out on tour.
If you want a little taste of that difference, please compare:
"The purple side is Sam Cooke, and the white side is the audience response," Syms explains in an interview with O, Miami. "He keeps asking 'is everyone okay,' which I think out of context has a nice ring to it. Also, thinking about who he was speaking to at the time he was speaking to them, there's sort of multiple layers to what he's asking."
Tommy Pico's audio installation, iLone, is also worth checking out. If you go to this website, you can download the audio on your phone and then walk around town while one of the best poets in the country whispers and weeps and sings and cracks jokes in your lonely little ear. Here's an indicative line from one of Pico's many observations about the city: "Can I just say Seattle is a trick. Cuz all the boys wanna wear nail polish, but none of them wanna suck dick." The monologue/poem/urban-traipsing experience had me laughing and nodding along and seeing all the old buildings and glass boxes and construction workers with fresh eyes.
This weekend should be nice-ish! So print out the a lone map and walk or bus around the city by yourself. If the idea of walking around alone bums you out too much, try to remember these lines from the poet Ocean Vuong: "loneliness is still time spent / with the world."
If you and the world aren't on good terms at the moment, try "Islands" by Muriel Rukeyser: "O for God’s sake / they are connected / underneath," she says of the apparently solitary landforms.
None of the men of Arrested Development came off looking great in that New York Times interview published on Wednesday, in which a question about Jeffrey Tambor’s bad behavior (specifically, what he has described as a “blowup” with castmate Jessica Walter) was downplayed by all but Alia Shawkat and Walter herself, who was in tears. But no one made a worse impression than Jason Bateman, who repeatedly tried to redirect the conversation and justified Tambor’s behavior as part and parcel of working in Hollywood—even as he insisted that he was not belittling what happened to Walter.
“Look, it’s great that Bateman apologized, even if it was in the face of overwhelming backlash. But the “I’m just a good friend who got caught up in defending my castmate” schtick in this apology is cloying, to the point where it almost seems like 15 years of being Michael Bluth, the self-styled nice guy who can’t admit that he’s just as bad as the rest of his narcissistic family, may have rubbed off on the actor who plays him. “