HELLO. THANKS FOR COMING. I’m so glad you joined us for the April issue. Let me introduce you to a few people.

Do you know William Belickis? He’s kind of a foodie darling and he just opened that techno-sleek restaurant MistralKitchen. He hasn’t had a day off since November, maybe because he’s so obsessed with serving up crazy intense flavors.

Oh, and there’s Pamela Belyea —she’s an architect—and her painter husband Gary Faigin. They founded the Gage art school and recently remodeled their home. You’d never guess their Ballard bungalow is hiding behind the tall modern cube facing the street.

Have you met Keli Carender? Maybe you read about her Liberty Belle blog and how she ignited the Tea Party movement. She grew up on Mercer Island, of all places. She’ll bend your ear about the antitax rally she’s organizing for April 15, but right now she’s talking democracy with the Venerable U Pyinya Zawta. We are quite humbled to have the Burmese monk in our midst. He was over at Seattle U for a screening of a documentary about his country’s oppressive military dictatorship.

I bet you’d like something to drink. Jeff Smiley has been brewing malty bock beers at Pillagers Pub in Greenwood. Just because they’re high in alcohol content doesn’t mean they come from the bottom of the barrel. If you’d rather have a Manhattan, Mike McSorley, the bar manager at Naga Lounge, makes his own maraschino cherries—no red dye either.

Pssst! Don’t stare. Over in the corner, holding court with the Mariners new DH Milton Bradley (maybe he’ll be happier with the Ms than the last eight teams he played for), that’s Suzanne Vega. Really. I said, don’t stare!

There’s someone else you might recognize: Hans Altwies —he’s acted in a lot of Shakespeare plays around town. This month, he’s performing Homer alone at Seattle Rep, appearing in the world premiere of a one-man version of The Iliad.

That styley young guy, that’s Ben Fuglevand. He’s a design student at Cornish and he likes to wear clothes that are “cheeky.” He’s chatting with Rafael Carrabba, the artisan violin craftsman who grew up in Garlic Gulch, Rainier Valley’s Italian district.

Some of our contributors are here, too. They’ve been road-tripping around the Northwest. I’m from east of the mountains, but I’ve never explored Pasco the way Lia Steakley Dicker has, on the hunt for the best Mexican food. And David Laskin went as far down the Oregon coast as you can go, to Brookings, which through some quirk of topography and air pressure has almost tropical weather.

Have you heard of Sakura-Con? It’s Seattle’s big-deal Japanese animation and comic convention, and one of the guests of honor is Jason Thompson, a local manga writer. He’ll be happy to tell you how Pokémon changed the world.

Okay, I’ll leave you to it. Don’t you love this town?

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