Found Sounds and Designing Gods

By Chris Kissel December 11, 2009


1. There's going to be a health care rally tomorrow afternoon at Occidental Park, right by the King Street station at Main St. and Occidental Ave. The rally is organized in part by the national Democratic Party for support of President Obama's health care agenda.

There will also be a pro-choice contingent on hand, wearing purple and pink, advocating for the protection of reproductive health funding in the final legislation.

Mayor-elect Mike McGinn and U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA, 7) (who has crusaded for single-payer health care throughout his 76 consecutive terms in the House) are going to speak at the rally.

Tomorrow from 2 pm to 3 pm, at Occidental Park.

2. The Seattle Phonographers Union, a group of composers and sound artists who created pieces out of found sounds and long-archived field recordings, is having a two-night CD Release concert. The second night features a solo performance by local composer and writer Christopher DeLaurenti.

In 2007, DeLaurenti released an entire CD of orchestras warming up and background noise he secretly recorded at classical music performances (audience chatter, warm up exercises on a clarinet) called “Favorite Intermissions"—The New York Times said it was "the latest entry in humankind’s search for art in unexpected nooks." On Saturday, DeLaurenti is premiering a piece called What is Happening in Darfur? and a collection of "urban sounds" that seems to run along the same lines as the “Favorite Intermissions" pieces.

Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, at the Chapel Performance Space, at 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, in Wallingford. Tickets range from $5 to $15.

3. Fantagraphics, the nü-school comic book publisher down in Georgetown, is celebrating the third anniversary of their adjoining indie bookstore/gallery on Saturday. Cartoonist and R. Crumb disciple Peter Bagge's band Can You Imagine?, with their very fitting Ghost World jangle, will play some tunes, and there'll be an appearance by Dame Darcy, whose surreal Edward Gorey-esque cartoons have been published by Fantagraphics since the '90s.

Tomorrow night from 6 pm to 9 pm, at Fantagraphics, 1201 South Vale Street, in Georgetown.

4. William H. Wilson, who studies the history of urban planning, is presenting at the library this Saturday on his biography of the most influential planners in Seattle history—R. H. Thomson.

Shaper of Seattle details Thomson's turn-of-the-century quest to tame the frontier town, flattening its hills (Thomson orchestrated the Denny regrade), installing and reorganizing infrastructure (he had a hand in building roads, rails, sewer system, and electrical networks), and partly conceiving the idea of the floating bridges over Lake Washington. He's best known, of course, for the infamous R.H. Thomson Expressway, which would have paralleled I-5, cutting through the eastern half of the city; the freeway was voted down in a special election in 1972.

[caption id="attachment_20807" align="alignnone" width="550" caption=" The "ramps to nowhere," built to connect SR520 to the aborted R.H. Thomson Expressway"]    The "ramps to nowhere," built to connect SR520 to the aborted R.H. Thomson Expressway[/caption]

Most of the way the city works, at least from Wilson's perspective, should be credited to Thomson, for better or worse—and Wilson's bio goes into all the battles that hindered and motivated this God of Seattle urban planning.

Saturday at 2 pm, at the Central Library. Free.

5. The Thermals, Portland's rockinest 90s-throwbacks, and the Cave Singers, Seattle's beardy folk rock torchbearers, are performing together at Neumo's on Saturday night. After last weekend's super-faded Go Machine hip hop blowout, I'd say it's time for some therapeutic indie rock.

Saturday night at Neumo's at 8 pm. Tickets are $20.
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