Open Circle Theater‘s annual H.P. Lovecraft show started up on Oct 9th. This year it’s “Madness Out of Time: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” and it runs through Nov 14th, Thu-Sat at 7:30pm and Sun at 4pm.
Circus Contraption is looking for 100 True Fans to help them produce a CD of the music from their last and final show. And, you know, as a True Fan you help the world out with more good music and will get an Executive Producer credit in the liner notes!
The Circus Contraption Band has always been the fulcrum at the center of Circus Contraption. From accompanying physical performers, to creating instrumental music, to performing lyric-based songs, the Circus Band has, to a large degree, defined how people think of Circus Contraption.
With the newest show, The Show To End All Shows, being our last, we find one, final opportunity to share the band’s original music. One final chance to have this group of musical and lyrical talent together in a studio to document the sounds that have been, we hope, the occasional soundtrack to your lives. And now, we need your help.
The approximate cost to produce a CD of The Show To End All Shows is $10,000.00 — a small sum in contrast to the norm for CD production, but to us, quite formidable. In fact, if left solely to us, prohibitive. And that’s where you can champion our cause.
We are seeking 100 people to become “Executive Producers” on The Show To End All Shows CD. We seek a $100 investment from those 100 people to build the funds necessary to bring this CD recording to fruition. (To those who have already stepped up, THANK YOU!) In exchange, apart from our eternal gratitude and the knowledge that you facilitated making the CD happen, you will receive an “Executive Producer” credit on the CD and an autographed copy of the new disc, signed by the band. We will also host an exclusive CD release party and performance by the Circus Contraption Band, attended only by you and your fellow Executive Producers.
You can mail a check to Circus Contraption, c/o Sari Breznau, 115 Prefontaine Place S #303, Seattle WA 98104. Please write the words, “Band Recording” in the “For:” line. Or simply give a check to a circus member.
That’s it. That is our humble “pitch” to you, our friends. We hope that you will become part of the team that makes Circus Contraption’s final recording the best yet.
For anyone in Seattle, it appears the great Circus Contraption is coming to a close, which is sad for everyone. Got in email an announcement about a final show and auction where they’re selling off stuff, not just stuff but crazy circus stuff.
Saturday July 18, 2009
The Circus Factory
3400 Phinney Ave N
On Saturday, July 18, Circus Contraption will raise our collective glasses one last time to toast our fans and friends for 11 years of mirth, madness, and mayhem.
This party will not only feature special guest artists Orkestar Zirkonium, Caela and R.B. of the Dangerous Flares, and God’s Favorite Beefcake, but also favorite vintage performances by Circus Contraption’s physical performers and a white-hot set by the incredible Circus Contraption Band.
We will also have a video/photo montage of CC throughout the years, including never-before-seen footage of some of our best moments and near misses, as well as a staged reading of our treasured “Banned in Lynnwood” letter from the mayor of that fair city and other strange surprises.
Live and Silent Auctions
As we have always been better at creating art than paying our bills, we are also reaching out to all of you to help us bury our debt in the smoldering embers of greasepaint and poodle fur.
Throughout the evening, there will be numerous fund-raising opportunities, including a live and silent auction of Circus Contraption costumes, props, and memorabilia, plus one-of-a-kind auction packages such as:
Bicycle Built for Five — Ernesto Cellini’s custom designed, built, and driven caveman vehicle, as featured in Grand American Traveling Dime Museum.
Scotch With Shmootzi — a private single-malt master class for 20-30 taught by the “Whisky Ambassador of the Year,” Highland Park’s own Martin Daraz, and scored by the live musical stylings of Shmootzi the Clod.
Also available will be photos with CC members; a “Kiss-a-Clown” Kissing Booth, and other unique ways to help ensure that Circus Contraptions exits the Big Top with a clean slate—and that you never forget this amazing night.
So Step Right Up and Drink It Down one final time with the Bracing Curative for the Afflictions of Our Times.
The Nitty-Gritty Details
Saturday, July 18th
21+ with ID
The Circus Factory at Theo Chocolate
3400 Phinney Avenue N
Seattle, WA 98103
Doors open at 7:30
$15 advance / $20 at door
Tickets available at Brown Paper Tickets
tEEth will be performing the world premiere of Grub in Seattle at On the Boards from Feb 12th – 14th. Tickets are $18. From the e-mail announcement:
We hope you will join us in Seattle at On the Boards for the World Premiere of our new work, Grub, featuring Video Animation by Miwa Matreyek, Costumes by Paloma Soledad and Celeste Sipes, Lighting by Malina Rodriguez, Original Music/Video Design/Video Effects by Phillip Kraft, Choreography by Angelle Hebert, and Performed by Gina Frabotta (pictured above), Elizabeth Grossberg, Lee Kyle (pictured above), Melissa Murray, Celeste Olivares, and Noel Plemmons.
The copy from On the Boards:
“tEEth is quickly gaining recognition in the Northwest for their sensory-rich amalgamations of contemporary dance and performance art. Led by Angelle Hebert and Phillip Kraft, the Portland-based ensemble returns to Seattle with a brand new work integrating idiosyncratic movement, sociology, original live music, industrial costumes and video-driven elements.”
This is a post that I’ve had in my drafts since last march and keep thinking I’ll get back to finish some day …
I’ve found myself talking a lot about the old days in Seattle and a set of shows where The Tone Dogs [also,et] and Sadhappy played at The Crocodile Cafe one day and The OK Hotel the next. I still have one of Evan’s flyers for the first show.
I had something like a religious experience at the show when I saw for the first time both The Tone Dogs and Sadhappy. But first, let me tell you how I got there.
One day, over a decade ago now, I was flipping through channels on cable and passed by the public access channel, did a double take and ended up watching what was in some kind of mesmerized state. I had stumbled on some show with a woman playing bass guitar accompanied by nothing beyond a drum machine, and was amazed by the range of her vocals and the music she played. When the show ended there were no credits other than a comment that it was recorded at The OK Hotel. I was frantic because I had no way to find out who this was that I’d just watched play.
I finally went out to a local, independent music shop near where I lived called The Orpheum. I used to hang out there, but like so many places that were it is not anymore. There was a cute redhead that worked there that I used to invite out to lunch and had a bit of a crush on … Yeah, so, anyhow, I went up to the counter and described the show I’d seen on cable access. The person there listened to my description and thought it sounded like an artist by the name of Amy Denio [also,et,et,et,et]. They didn’t have any of her solo stuff, but she was also in a group called The Tone Dogs which they did have one CD of in the shop.
And, that was only the beginning.
The whole point of all these memories is that I went to the Sadhappy site the other day and ordered the two newest CDs they had. When I placed my order, I wrote a question in the comment field asking if there was any chance that the old music from “sideways laughing” and “spin cycle” would ever be re-released because I was afraid to play the cassettes I’ve had all these years for fear of stretching the tape any more than it already is.
Well, I got a package in the mail a while after that and when I looked inside there were not only the 2 CDs I ordered but there was also a CDR of “sideways laughing” and “spin cycle” …
I can hardly tell you how much I love loving bands like Sadhappy. Local music is great. Great local music is awesome. Awesome local music is a mystical peak experience. This is something that I’ve been rediscovering since I moved to Portland, which I seem to have forgotten for so long somewhere along the way.
The thing is, seeing Sadhappy and the Tone Dogs live … I was completely paralyzed in awe of what I was seeing and feeling. I couldn’t move. My jaw dropped, I’m sure, and my eyes were wide. I’ve tried on so many occasions to describe it, but nothing I’ve ever said to anyone about witnessing that comes close.
Now, I remember especially one song that Sadhappy played as the opening band that night at the Crocodile Café called Between Four Horses, which only appears on the Sideways Laughing cassette. It’s not on any of the CDs that you can order anywhere. That group at the time was one person on a bass guitar and one person on drums playing live exactly what you hear. If you ever get to hear that remember this and listen to it again. I mean, oh my freakin’ gods! It’s unnatural. It’s divine. And, even by the time I saw them play it seemed clear that Paul Hinklin was tired of playing that song already …
I still have difficulty trying to tell this story. How to put it into words?
The music came fully formed from just two people, with a gravity that seemed impossible. The sounds coming from the bass were more than seemed humanly possible. There was one layer which was a solid and complete sound, with hands and fingers where and moving as one would expect. But, there was a whole other layer. While still playing and fingering the primary layer, Paul’s hand on the neck of the bass would hit each far corner, in sequence, like a metronome ticking along. I have no way to fully describe even what I witnessed with my own eyes. I still cannot seem to understand how it happened and I was actually there watching. There seemed to be some magical extra arm playing the four corners of the neck while the rest of the music was being played as would require two fully dedicated sets of hands and fingers; like witnessing the god of destruction himself, Shiva, play the music of eternity. With two arms playing what a normal human could manage, another arm was methodically marching to the elemental directions of the music like a steam-powered clockwork tarantula made of love and struggle doing argentine tango together until the end of time.
And then, after being thrown down the rabbit hole by Sadhappy, next came The Tone Dogs … There are some things that are simply ineffable. By this point, the mundane world was merely a dream carried away by deep, rich tones of ecstatic music. I cannot even begin to describe the rest of the show to you. It was simply beyond words and was one of those memories I carry with me. This was a show to which all other shows are inevitably compared.
And, then they both played together again at the OK Hotel, but this time The Tone Dogs opened for Sadhappy. Over the years I was in Seattle, I saw both Sadhappy and The Tone Dogs several times, but after those two shows never together again.
I got to see Amy Denio play in a lot of other bands. At various times, I think I’ve seen her play 20 different instruments or something like that and in a variety of styles. It was Amy that actually introduced me to the actual Sound Garden at Warren G Magnusson Park, which I believe is now off-limits because of fear that someone will try to shoot at planes heading to Seatac from the hill there. We went on one of the stormiest, windiest days I remember there, so the sound was really active.
When I was in Olympia, I did see Amy Denio play once at the Experimental Music Festival. But, for so long while I was in Olympia there really wasn’t much I could do to feel connected and alive with music, though I did try on occasion. There were a few groups in Olympia, but nothing like it was in Seattle back in the day.
Now I’m in Portland, I’ve seen several reminders of that time in Seattle and how important live music was to me. I’m pretty sure I saw Fred Chalenor show up a the Monsters of Accordion show a while ago here in town where Amy Denio was playing. I saw Skerik play as part of Critters Buggin at the Doug Fir. And, for me the spiritual successors to my memories of music in Seattle have been filled by local Portland bands like Portland Cello Project, Loch Lomond, and so many more I’ve been following when I can. I may have finally found that profound feeling again.
About 28 groups from Bremerton to Mercer Island are developing along the lines of Sustainable Ballard, and the EcoVillage concept has spread to Port Townsend and Olympia.
That’s all the article says about Olympia and Port Townsend. They don’t even link to them in the online article. What’s up with that?
Anyhow, I linked to them, for what ever that might be worth.
I was intrigued by the mention of the Phinney pledge. It’s on the Phinney ecovillage site, downloadable in PDF format.
Seems to me that could be the basis for a large-scale community awareness campaign, to form a kind of virtual ecovillage within a city. What if some Olympia group used something like this flyer to get people in the community to pledge some slice of the ecovillage lifestyle and tracked that information, like many non-profits track their donations, and made that available as a community health indicator?
One of the items on this list is to install a low-flow shower head. However, I remember there was a buzz going around a few weeks ago for “navy showers” which save even more. A “navy shower” is simply to shut off the water while soaping up, instead of letting the water run the whole time. The Wikipedia entry on “navy shower” points out, along with step-by-step instructions for the perplexed, that the opposite, lavish kind of shower is called a “Hollywood shower” as a bit of interesting trivia.
So, what if there were first and second steps to each pledge item, like first low flow and second navy showers?
Also, if one were to use something like a pledge to help develop community interest in and tracking of ecovilliage-like values, there should be pledge items about being in community and that encourage social connection and sharing. Then again, maybe there should be a pledge for each indicator of community health, so that there would be a climate change pledge and also a pedge about being in community? One could go through the process of developing one’s own set of indicators, or start with those developed by the Cascadia Scorecard project at Sightline and create a pledge for each indicator.
Got an e-mail today that Best Buy is now the owner of Speakeasy.
Speakeasy was one of the original local internet service providers in Seattle. Speakeasy always had character. Back in the day Speakeasy was a cybercafe in Seattle, and one of the first. They had text terminals, even. Located in an old building in Seattle’s Belltown district, just north of downtown. That was before Belltown became a hot new spot for gentrification. The original cybercafe was located above a pool hall. That sure was an odd crowd going in and out the front door: geeks going up the stairs and sharks and barflies going down to the pool room.
They used to have events there. I didn’t go to many, but I remember that the silent film festival showed there sometimes.
They were one of the local internet service providers in the old days. They offered dialup accounts along with their cybercafe offerings. I remember that there was a group of small local ISPs that tried to form a supporting organization. I tried to get Seanet to be involved, but Seanet was kind of the enemy to the little guys. Also, the sort-of owner was hostile to the idea of teaming up with that group; wrongly I felt. It was essential because the mom and pop outfits were already getting killed, and the telecom providers would have loved to off all the regional providers given the chance … the writing was on the wall if one paid attention to that sort of thing. The industry had expertise, but was living in a niche created more by ignorance and regulatory restraint than design on behalf of the large teleco providers.
DSL was the sea change. With the advent of faster modems, the technology on the ISP side became a treadmill into the abatoir. US Robotics did a great deal of damage to the industry with their high speed offerings, the proprietary X2 56k stuff, that required really expensive and unreliable equipment, and annual support contracts if there were any hope of support. US Robotics was heavy handed in their marketing too. They would target owners and route around the technical people who had a clue, building pressure from the PHBs to waste money on USR equipment and contracts.
Back then it was still cheaper per line to support dial-up on POTS lines than to aggregate them into thicker pipes to be served by T1 into Portmasters. But, aggregating lines was the beginning of the end. For DSL, enduser connections were moved to the ATM network, and therefore moved to a completely new environment with all kinds of routing rules and priorities that gave the Teleco more and more control over the service. POTS lines were heavily regulated, and so the Teleco really couldn’t do much to push the ISP off them. But, with DSL all the little ISPs were doomed. With each wave of new tech, the price of entry went higher and higher, so no new little shops were starting and the big shops needed to be bigger.
Eventually, I think most ISPs moved to leased infrastructure and became merely services that ran over the network, not even really necessary for the customer. Seanet was looking into that when I left and I’m pretty sure they moved all their dial-up to leased virtual lines. At that point, you’re just a (barely) value-added reseller for the Teleco, and that’s just how the Teleco wanted it all along anyway.
I did manage to make a case for the need, back when cities like Tacoma were trying to tax internet service to their citizens, that there needed to be an industry group with the power to lobby on behalf of our interests. That was back in the beginning of the Washington Association of Internet Service Providers. I notice that Speakeasy is a member, along with some old guard. Zhonka is there, but I don’t remember if the old Olywa was. Of course, Seanet dropped out a long time ago, I recall.
Then there was a fire. I thought Speakeasy was pretty much dead, and I think that’s around the time that I moved so I stopped paying attention. They re-opened, I think, and then closed the cafe …
Then Speakeasy really grew up and became something. They managed to make the transition to DSL, and they offered services that other ISPs didn’t. They really catered to the technical and geeky people, and the gamers. They also had a nice, tight marketing look and feel.
Anyhow, it’s sad to see them go and get purchased, especially by Best Buy. But, you know, the Geek Squad has the same kind of tight marketing look and feel. It’s just Best Buy seems so … K-mart. They look and feel cheap, but actually charge too much for what they sell.
Of course, the irony of the Geek Squad driving around in cars decorated like police vehicles and the rum-running connotations of the Speakeasy … there’s a whole Untouchables narrative there just waiting to be explored.
But, the thing that really gets me is that the e-mail said Best Buy wanted Speakeasy for their VOIP tech:
“One of Speakeasy’s core product offerings is Voice over IP (VoIP), which is becoming a popular choice for small businesses who seek efficient and cost-effective telecommunications services. Best Buy For Business’ mission is to deliver simple, reliable, and affordable technology solutions to small businesses. A product offering such as VoIP, which has immediate compelling appeal to most SBs based on cost savings and simplicity, is an attractive value proposition that allows Best Buy to round out its solutions menu for small businesses.”
I hope Speakeasy survives the corporate urge to take what they want and then trash the rest. And, it seems a little round-about to buy a whole service company in order to get just one particular implementation of a widely known technology. That’s a little like buying Sears because they really know their cash registers …
I can’t help but wonder if this purchase has anything to do with the trouble Vonage has been in with their conflict with Verizon over patents in VOIP calls to land lines.
Update @ 12:51am 28mar:
Wow. I just stumbled across an archived message to seattle.news talking about the very meeting back in 1996 I was talking about in this post. Crazy to see archives of activity that long ago still searchable, not to mention the nostalgia of it all, back when newsgroups were a useful and daily thing. Of course, most of my activity was in the private Seanet newsgroups, for which there’s no archives.
I’ve been meaning to write something about this for a long time. This won’t be a perfectly thought out piece. It’s been years since this stuff was in my head, so it is what it is.
In thinking about net neutrality, I was remembering back to the early, early days of DSL. At the time, I was a system admin, jack-of-all-trades at one of the largest regional ISPs in the Puget Sound, based in Seattle.
The thing I realized as we were all discussing whether to get into the DSL business was the fact that DSL traffic was being routed over the ATM network. Any packets on the ATM network from DSL were not given priority and could be dropped. This was in the contracts that the ISP had to sign. The data to and from ISP customers connecting via DSL were the least important data on the ATM network and if there were any congestion, that data could be killed.
I remember realizing that this was the big dirty secret. Not only could the big teleco get dial-up people off the wire with their long calls and need for decent quality, but by moving the customers of independent ISPs on to the ATM network the big teleco could do all kinds of prejudicial and nasty routing of that data.
So, my point is this: independent ISPs were forced by the big telecos to give up network neutrality when they started to offer DSL services back in the 90s. And, individuals connecting to the Internet via DSL also lost network neutrality silently in the same moment.
Big telecos might be so cavalier about net neutrality these days because they know they’ve been winning that war for years already. They’ve always been trying to monetize the data both ways, and now that the independent regional and smaller ISP is pretty much irrelevant … who’s left to be vigilant if not the individuals themselves?
There’s this bass player Jean Baudin that does an amazing version of the Mario theme on an 11 string bass. (Have you seen that? Mario 11-String Bass) well, I found out that he’s also in a band called “nuclear rabbit” … there’s mp3’s on the site: Nuclear Rabbit
As a strange bonus, here’s a guy noodling on an 11-string bass hooked up to a midi system … “Al Caldwell with a brand new 11 string midi mass” (Isn’t “Al Caldwell” the name of the religious leader seen in the West Wing pilot?)
Of course, my all-time favourite bass players are Amy Denio and Paul Hinklin of older Sadhappy. I was in heaven when they played two venues together back in the day. I think I still have the flyer for those shows. The first night, Sadhappy openned for Tone Dogs at the Crocodile Cafe and then next night the Tone Dogs openned for Sadhappy at the OK Hotel.
Those were in the days before Sadhappy added Skerik to the band, so it was just Paul Hinklin and Evan Schiller. I think Paul was getting tired of playing it at every show, but seeing him play “Between Four Horses” was like a religious experience for me, or at least something mind altering. The way his hand moved over the strings like some crazed tarantula while layers and layers of sound played … a torrential flow of music all the while his hand rhythmically arrives at the four courners of the neck, in order, over and over again … like the march of the inevitable that pulses and powers through the chaos of a storm.
And, Amy’s music and voice … she’s an artist I cannot too often praise or too highly recommend. She should be a world religion. Plus, she introduced me to the actual Sound Garden in Seattle back in the day …
Doing a google to find out more about where Paul Hinklin might be now, I find a page about Magdalen Hsu-Li with whom Paul Hinklin performed some. On her page, on her new album she appears to be working with band members that have worked with John Zorn, Wayne Horvitz, Ani DiFranco and others. I’m not so charged up about the sample music that I listened to on the site, honestly. Maybe the older stuff is more my taste. This new stuff sounds a little too mainstream blah to me.
“The New York Times has an article on Paul Allen and his impact on Seattle via both his ownership of the Seahawks and his efforts to redesign South Lake Union and promote an entire new bioscience-based economy in that area.’ The writer, Timothy Egan, is of course using the hook of the exciting playoff game here tomorrow to talk about what Allen appears to be up to and the responses of the community to his efforts.’ The article talks about ‘Allen’s vision of a new-century city built around compact urban living and a biotech job engine that some officials suggest could one day rival that of the Boeing Company’.
I’m newly back to Seattle after many years in the Bay Area and I have been puzzled by the animosity that Paul Allen and the South Lake Union complex engenders here. He has already build a very cool sports stadium and a world-class museum.’ I like the idea that someone is planning ahead and seems to be focused on ‘building a new-century neighborhood, with green building principles and tight density, imagining a community of scientists who were never more than a few minutes stroll from their experiments.'”
The line between vision and social engineering is a bit ambiguous, I think, but it’s an important dialogue to have.
Interesting discussion about the south union bay property that Allen got when the Seattle Commons efforts failed because of the agreements made over the use of the money he gave to the project. Realistically, however, cities do the same kind of social engineering through zoning and infrastructure projects. At some level, it’s a vision of an area of Seattle that is in-city warehouses, primarily. There’s good reason to worry about gentrification of low income housing, but it’s a very poorly utilized area, in my experience. Another area that is mostly a wasteland is the area around boeing field, south of Sodo.
I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if Olympia could re-claim the land on which the Port sits. That’s an area with amazing potential. What if Olympia could do what Seattle couldn’t and create an Olympia Commons on the peninsula north of downtown? That would be something.
That sure would de-militarize the port. Although, it would likely move elsewhere and be less visible, and less of a catalyst to discussions about militarization. On some level, NIMBY just doesn’t promise to engender a dialogue, rather it becomes a kind of plausible deniability for those that don’t want to engage in the conversation. Which is better, really?
On some level, I wonder if it’s a mistake to buy west bay from the port. If the port moved to west bay, and the city reclaimed the peninsula, I think that would be better. The port could build a road along the old train track south that runs from west bay and route their trucks under the 4th ave bridge, away from downtown, and connect to I-5 and 101 there instead of via Plum.
I had a dream the other day that the Port moved out and the peninsula was reclaimed. There was a new high-speed ferry dock put in that linked from the city to Seattle. Also, the old rail bridge across the mouth of west bay was rebuilt as a pedestrian walkway to connect west bay to the peninsula. At some point in the dream that rebuilt bridge turned into a light rail that ran out to Evergreen on one end and south down capital in the other direction. I suppose there would also be a strong mass transit system running along the old 99 coming in from the direction of Lacey, linking to a branch that ran up the hill to west olympia.
“Dystopic pockets of inequality and dirt inhabit the not so shiny bits. Ask a gathering of leading thinkers in the worlds of architecture and design, and you get a rather different picture. Some 70 million people a year migrate from the country to cities. That is about 130 a minute, says Robert Neuwirth, author of Shadow Cities. Many of these set up home in squats, put together from scarce materials, if put together at all. There are a billion squatters in 2005. By 2050, that figure will reach three billion. At this rate, our future cities may turn out to be quasi-temporary, low-tech shacks, missing the basics of human life, such as water and electricity, still belching out the waste of fuels that warm the globe.”
That’s a mighty number of squatters. The article continues with a typical McDonough story about ecologically sound future development. That’s not to say that the notion of a living city should be ignored. I mostly agree, but there’s something persistent about the presence of squatters.
The area that used to be SoDo in Seattle, which I suppose now is SoStad or something, was the home for a very large Hooverville, so large they, apparently, formed a union in order to represent themselves to the government.
I just re-watched Blade Runner. In the graphic novel Fray, by Joss Whedon, there’s the division of upper and lower cities which I clearly remember from The Fifth Element, also.
What is it here? In Barbara Erhenriech’s Nickel and Dimed, I started to see the way in which property ownership was being heavily eroded in the class of economically challenged. Some even taken to live in motels because they were unable to make the kind of financial leap to renting a space for real. So, there’s contingency workers living in contingency spaces.
Corporations, mostly hiring temp or contingency workers, have contingency buildings. Instead of owning or building, they lease space. They could dissolve, in a flash, into just a holding company, perhaps.
I wonder, sometimes, if the future of the city isn’t to embrace, even more, this notion of contingency living in some fashion. I wonder what that future would look like that embodied a mobility so uncertain. Is this the future of Snowcrash where Hero lives in a storage shed? Or, is it a cyclical return to the migrations of hunter gatherers in a future where income and work and life are once again variable to seasons and luck?
Reminds me, also, about a Zine I used to have, and may still have, that outlined how to squat. It actually included information about squat toilets too.