1. In his heyday, Jaron Lanier (who is reading from his new book, You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto, tomorrow at Town Hall) was known as the creator of virtual reality—he had people put on a suit, or goggles, or something, and then transported them into a computerized environment where they could imagine themselves taller, or as a dog, or a triangle.
He really freaked people out in the 1980s (in a moment of techno-hippie triumph, the Grateful Dead used his virtual reality glove to make one of their music videos) but, in the 90s, his virtual reality enterprise failed.
Since then, Lanier, who is imposing with dredlocks and looks like a soft-spoken Wookiee, has become something of a shaman, speaking to the spirits of the technological nexus and writing internet columns and lectures (he also specializes in playing 7,000-year-old wood instruments).
The crux of his sermons involve the idea that Google and Facebook sponge all the idiosyncrasies out of the internet, and that open-source projects like Linux and Wikipedia are propagating a hive mind.
He’s the nemesis of blog comments and smart advertising and Thomas Friedman. You Are Not a Gadget is a collection of his most recent writings.
Tonight at 7:30 pm. Town Hall (1119 Eighth Ave), $5.
On tomorrow's calendar:
1. The main event of the Washington Bus's new Olympia in a Can series is a video conference with state legislators in Olympia. The inaugural event in the series will kick off with a video of the State of the Union address, followed by a video conference between attendees and a selection of state legislators.
So far, they've booked Rep. Deb Wallace (D-17), chair of the House higher education committee (and current candidate for the U.S. Congressional seat being vacated by Brian Baird); and Reps. Bob Hasegawa (D-11) and Scott White (D-46), both of whom sit on the higher ed committee. Higher ed funding has been a burning topic in Olympia this year, from proposals to increase tuition for state colleges to income tax proposals aimed at getting the funding back.
But the real selling point is that you get to hang out at Grey Gallery (awesome) and nerd out about local politics (and get angry together over budget cuts) with in-the-know politico-hipsters, some of whom aren't even old enough to drink.
Tomorrow, from 6 to 8 pm. At Grey Gallery (1512 11th Avenue). Free.
2. Even if we weren't PubliCola, we would recommend tomorrow's PubliCola One-Year Anniversary Party. The lineup includes local brooders Song Sparrow Research, CMYK (they of "sensual blips" and "euphoric pulses"), and THEESatisfaction, who, like me, were influenced equally by Star Trek and Gil Scott-Heron.
It's also an excuse to get to the still-unbelievably-clean Crocodile and grab a drink, which, if you are one of the first 200 people in the door, is free. And, as at the Washington Bus event, the State of the Union address will be screening as well.
Tomorrow night, at the Crocodile (2200 2nd Avenue). Doors open at 6 pm.
3. There are also two neighborhood meetings tomorrow evening—the Southeast District Council (which includes Mt. Baker, Rainier Beach, Seward Park, and South Beacon Hill) and the Northwest District Council (Green Lake, Phinney Ridge, Haller Lake, and Licton Springs). Each group is made up of about 12 to 15 local neighborhood groups and non-profit community organizations.
These are the first council meetings for the year for these districts, so the agenda will probably be fairly standard, but attendees can also expect talk about this coming Sunday's Citizen's Budget Conference—the Mayor and the City Council are going to outline the budget process for the next two years, and how different neighborhoods might be affected.
The Southwest District meeting is at 6:30 pm, at the Rainier Community Center (4600 38th Ave S).
The Northwest District meeting is at 7 pm, at the Greenwood Neighborhood Service Center (8515 Greenwood Ave N).