Straight-Ahead Guitar Rock and the Nature of the Universe

By Chris Kissel January 6, 2010


Tonight's picks:

1. David Swanson's reading at Town Hall tonight from his new book, Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency—it's supposed to be a thorough look at the ways the Bush Administration altered the functioning of the Federal government.

I don't know that Swanson has much of a background in journalism; mostly he appears to be a total flaming liberal—he ran communications for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, wrote the introduction for Kucinich's book calling for George W. Bush's impeachment, and worked for ACORN and the AFL-CIO. For those still obsessing over the myriad ways civil liberties were compromised Bush era, this sounds like the reading of the year.

Tonight at Town Hall at 7:30. Admission is $5.

2. And sorry for not giving you the heads up on this one yesterday, but I just found out about it and want to hype it: The Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board meets tonight.

Like the rest of the city's special interest advisory commissions, the 12-member bicycle advisory board meets and then presents a detailed list of development or traffic suggestions to the mayor and city council, with help from representatives of several departments within the city.

The chain-and-spokes of their existence is the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan—a 2007 document that sets about trail fixing, bike lane additions, better safety rules, and a slew of other proposals. This month's agenda includes broadening the scope of that framework, as well as the 2010 edition of the Seattle Bicycle Map, a handy guide to the different routes throughout the city.

Tonight from 6 pm to 8 pm, in City Hall Room L280.

Coming up tomorrow:

1. British physicians Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett have their own String Theory, a Universal Theory of Everything, and while it doesn't take the quarks and quantum physics approach to the riddle of the universe, it does attempt to explain the material world. Above all else, they say, the gap between rich and poor is what ultimately determines well-being worldwide.

Looking at data compiled and recently released by the World Bank, Wilkinson and Pickett's new book, The Spirit Level, says that social inequality—the gap between the richest and poorest in a given country—is the root of all the world's problems. It accounts, they say, for everything from higher rates of infant mortality and drug use to incidence of teen pregnancy.


Tomorrow night's event is part of "The Good Life" series—authors are interviewed by Warren Report creator Warren Etheridge, and the ticket price includes a copy of the book and free appetizers.

Tomorrow night at the Palace Ballroom. Tickets are $35.

2. Downtown Seattle is apparently haunted. Serious ghost hunters are drawn to the area based on the legitimate creepiness of the turn-of-the-century architecture, and the unique dark dankness of the tavern basements. Mercedes Yaeger makes her living off of this perceived creepiness--she owns and operates Pike Market Ghost Tours--and now she's gone a step further with her book "Market Ghost Stories."

Yaeger, who essentially teaches people about turn-of-the-century civil engineering by taking advantage of their mortal fears, is reading at Elliott Bay Thursday, right at the heart of haunted Seattle.

Tomorrow night, at Elliott Bay Book Company. 7 pm.

3. Experimental poet Charles Bernstein is presenting his newest book, the collection All the Whisky in Heaven, at the Henry Art Museum tomorrow night. Bernstein, a Harvard-educated, east coast college professor and winner a whole range of different academic and literary awards, is known primarily for experimenting with structure and rearranging language and images.  All the Whiskey in Heaven is a comprehensive collection of provocative career.

Tomorrow night at the Henry Auditorium, at 7 pm. Free.

4. I hyped the Globes a couple of weeks ago, right after they were signed to indie label Barsuk Records, but tomorrow night is their real big-time debut—headlining a gig at the Crocodile. I've been a fan of their straight-ahead guitar rock for a couple years, and it's good to see them come out on top.

Tomorrow night at the Crocodile, at 2200 2nd Avenue, 9 pm. Tickets are $8.
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