40. We’ll Always Have Paris. In Ballard.
In a year dominated by French restaurant openings, Bastille in Ballard (bastilleseattle.com) nailed the Gare du Nord aesthetic. Owners Deming Maclise and James Weimann outfitted the joint after forays through Paris flea markets that yielded turn-of-the-century brass sconces, an actual Paris street light, even a double-sided Paris Metro clock. But the biggest find came when Maclise was browsing through the SoDo architectural salvage store Earthwise: a crystal chandelier, big as a fridge, that had lit the opulent Shilshole Ballroom in the ’30s. Though he had no place to hang it, or even store it (Bastille had yet to open), the glorious piece wouldn’t leave him alone until he bought it. Now it dominates the gorgeous Back Bar with all the splendor of Versailles—er, Shilshole—itself.
46. Hip-Hop Is the New Grunge
Seattle’s an incubator for music trends, but for years outsiders couldn’t see beyond the flannel curtain. Now we’re brewing a strong hip-hop scene, and national publications are paying attention. At SXSW, Shabazz Palaces (shabazzpalaces.com) made an impression on Rolling Stone with their “impossibly funky, dubby avant-rap,” while Pitchfork called their latest release “as visceral as anything on the new Young Jeezy mixtape.” (That’s a good thing.) Meanwhile, the duo behind Fresh Espresso (myspace.com/freshespresso) isn’t just making infectious party rap; they’re making some of the best music we’ve heard in a long time. Period.
48. Our Mayor Gives Good Tweet
A 24-year-old staff assistant cranks out hizzoner’s 140-character missives these days (@MayorMcGinn), but back when Mike McGinn was the longest of shots—biking to campaign events in rumpled suits from Nordstrom Rack—he thumbed some of the best Twitter haikus in the land. From the gluttonsous (“ahhhh . . . Burgers, fries and milkshakes”), to the gracious (“Big thanks to [opponent] Joe Mallahan for giving me a ride from LWVforum to Rainier Valley Forum!”), to the bizarre politics-as-basketball metaphor (“The big boys ferociously dunked on me, but I took the game of PIG with my eyes closed foul shot”), McGinn’s tweets at the now-dormant michaelmcginn gave us a glimpse of the guy whose unguarded, off-the-script approach would upend a decades-long stronghold on City Hall.
49. Our Films Screen with a Side of Karaoke
Even a $70,000 budget shortfall couldn’t keep Northwest Film Forum from climbing out on a limb this year—the idea was too good: Create a film-and-live performance hybrid, a self-described “spectacle” where people sing and dance as an original movie screens—then allow for karaoke at intermission. For the inaugural season of Live at the Film Forum (nwfilmforum.org), NWFF recruited dancer Amy O’Neal and actress/writer Marya Sea Kaminski and gave them free reign to create. O’Neal jetted to Japan to film scenes of her modern dance piece Too at a love hotel, and Kaminski crafted a docudrama about the condominium-ization of the city. Sometimes the experiment worked, sometimes it didn’t. But it was a risk worth taking.
20–21. Our Bartenders Are Hardcore About Their Ice—Like, Chainsaw Hardcore
MistralKitchen barman Andrew Bohrer has a thing about ice. So does Zane Harris, co-owner of Rob Roy in Belltown. Most Thursdays, the two pals arrange for a 300-pound block of deoxygenated, purified ice to appear at the loading dock at MistralKitchen. They leave it alone a few hours—supercold ice is a nightmare to cut—and then slice it into 50-pound cubes with Harris’s electric chainsaw. The 50-pound cubes shrink to three-by-three inch cubes by way of a band saw, and then end up in your drinks—in the form of a large iceball or a meticulously whittled torpedo. Undoubtedly there is boys-will-be-boys bravado at play. But because the ice at Mistral (mistral-kitchen.com) and Rob Roy (robroyseattle.com) will dilute your drink at the optimal rate, Chainsaw Thursday is really all about you.
50. We’re Crashing MTV. Again.
Local director Lynn Shelton’s $5 Cover: Seattle certainly has the glossy look and feel of an MTV show, as hot young things rock out and make out around town, but it’s no Real World: Rock ’n’ Roll. For this 12-part series that was slated to “air” on mtv.com in June, Shelton ( Humpday ) shot short, documentary-style webisodes based on the true stories of 13 up-and-coming local bands, covering the highs and lows of roots rockers the Maldives and the Moondoggies, electronic hip-hop group Champagne Champagne, Harvey Danger singer-songwriter Sean Nelson, and bands that start with “Thee” (electro-rappers TheeSatisfaction and the soul-infused Thee Emergency), among others. Hey, even though they don’t play videos anymore, Seattle musicians still managed to make it back on MTV.
51–55. We Don’t Need a Team to Kill It in the NBA
A message to Clay Bennett: You can take the NBA out of Seattle, but you can’t take Seattle out of the NBA. Despite being the 15th largest market, the Emerald City has sent the fifth-most hometown boys to the league since 1999—two of them, Rainier Beach’s Jamal Crawford and Franklin’s Jason Terry, won back-to-back Sixth Man Awards. And we’ve got plenty more coming up through the college ranks:
Avery Bradley One of three regional prep stars named to the 2009 McDonald’s All American team, the Bellarmine alum declared for the 2010 NBA draft after just one season at Texas.
Reggie Moore Born and bred in Rainier Beach, Moore started 30 of 31 games for WSU as a freshman last season and was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team.
Isaiah Thomas The scrappy guard from Tacoma stayed home to play for UW and racked up more points in his first two years than any previous Husky had.
Aaron Dotson Another solid product out of Rainier Beach, the six-four shooting guard started as a freshman at LSU last season.
Peyton Siva After a season on the bench at Louisville, fellow McDonald’s All American will most likely start this winter as a sophomore.
62. We Take the “Independent” in Independent Radio Seriously
Broadcasting out of an attic in Wallingford, Hollow Earth Radio (hollowearthradio.org), an all-volunteer, online-only station has, since 2007, fed our ears 24-7 with punk, metal, and surf music; live, in-attic performances; interviews; and ghost stories. Nerdly bonus: Cocreator Garrett Kelly conceived of HER in the online virtual-reality game Second Life, where the station also airs.