FROM THE VERY FIRST of Seattle Metropolitan this magazine has been marked by the indelible stamp of Steve Wiecking, hired away from his job as theater critic at Seattle Weekly. Unfazed by how much he had still to learn about other art forms—opera, dance, art—he flew into his role as arts editor with shameless gusto. Literally.

That inaugural issue, published in March 2006, included Steve’s profile of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s newly installed artistic director, Peter Boal. Steve wasn’t content to observe the dancers rehearsing an aerial duet. For the article we called “Dope on a Rope,” complete with less-than-flattering photos of the author, Steve gamely stepped into a leather harness on the nether end of a rope and attempted to take flight—only to find gazelle-like grace eluded him. As Steve wrote, with naughty delicacy, it’s hard to focus on soaring through the air when “the equipment you’re wearing threatens to damage the equipment you prize the most.”

Steve wasn’t just clowning, though. He saw his role as celebrating the artistic life of the city, but without any whiff of intimidating cultural snobbery. Yes, everything’s beautiful at the ballet when lithe bodies fly through the air, but Steve’s small embarrassing moment demystified the complex process of art-making even as it deepened our appreciation of the technique and artistry that make magic in performance.

In a different vein, Steve made it easy to comprehend how an expert’s passion for art pretty much echoes the way any of us regard our beloved possessions. In a story about a wealthy art patron whose renowned collection is destined for the Seattle Art Museum, Steve introduced us to Barney Ebsworth on the grounds of his estate, who coos a greeting as he affectionately pats the nose of his prized larger-than-life bronze teddy bear.

During his tenure, Steve also wrangled bachelors and bachelorettes for Singles issues, he interviewed rock stars and Munchkins passing through town, and he perfected an exquisite form of witty haiku for Perfect Party, our monthly fantasy dinner party (no pressure on staff writers stepping into those big shoes). For all that, Steve’s true love is pop culture: He can quote TV series from any decade, sing all the lyrics from classic show tunes, recite comedy sketches, and discuss at length—make that ad nauseum—movies movies movies.

It all makes sense. Steve’s leaving us for that movie mecca LA, and his farewell effort for Seattle Met is all about the way Hollywood defines Seattle. Thanks, Steve. We’ll miss you. Insert cliche movie ending here: We’ll always have Paris. Toto, we’re home! Home! I’ll be back. Fin.

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