Seattle Met Opens for Business
In the beginning, there was…not much. In November 2005, our tiny staff of four editors set up camp in the cavernous husk of the old Immunex office at 1201 Western Avenue, where the lack of desks and cubicles provided an excellent obstacle course for arts editor Steve Wiecking to board his orange Razor scooter and slalom around telephones on the floor. Our first intern took one look at the raw space and worried we were operating some kind of kidnapping scam. As the publication date of the inaugural, March 2006, issue of Seattle Metropolitan loomed, we held almost daily brainstorm sessions, fueled by excitement—and terror—at the gargantuan task before us. Gathered around a secondhand conference table, a fiberglass monstrosity known unaffectionately as “the surfboard” (woe to the lap of the person whose coffee cup inched too close to the rounded lip), we set about creating a magazine that would hail our city as the best possible place to live, a celebration of Seattle’s glories and aspirations and defining quirks.
—Katherine Koberg Seattle Met editor in chief, 2005–2014
Jeff Bridges Takes Our Call. Twice.
I owe Jeff Bridges big time. I did a phone interview with the actor for the cover story “75 Years of Seattle Movies” (December 2009). He’s a good talker; so good I didn’t notice the mini recorder connected to my phone had stopped mini recording. Cringing inside, I called his press agent back, pleading for just five more minutes with Bridges, which was as fun as you can imagine a conversation about your own ineptitude might be. She put me on hold and I pictured Bridges summoning the same sympathy it took him to pretend Barbra Streisand was bonerific in The Mirror Has Two Faces. When he finally got back on the line, you could practically hear him shaking his head in amiable dismay: “Steve,” he said. “Man.” I apologized and swore this had never happened before—which was true yet made me sound like I’d been doing it since birth. But for five memorable minutes he gave me the Cliff’s Notes version of a conversation he’d just had, speeding through the high points with patience and pity. The Dude abides.
—Steve Wiecking Seattle Met senior editor, 2005–2009
The Almost Live! Cast Tells. Us. Everything.
When you interview 12 ground-breaking Seattle comedians in one week, like we did for our oral history of Almost Live! in 2013, you just can’t fit all the funny into one article. We boiled 21,000 words—from hours spent on the phone with the Bills (Nye and Stainton), or over beers with the Guppys (Nancy and Joe)—down to 5,000, distilling the “million weird, accidental things” (quote John Keister) that came to make the Saturday Night Live of Seattle. Can we sum it up in one outtake? How about Nancy Guppy, on her Comedy Central debut: “The first pitch meeting we had for the Comedy Central thing, I was completely freaked out. I thought, ‘Oh fuck. Everyone’s going to find out I’ve got nothing.’” How wrong she was.
—Laura Dannen Redman Seattle Met arts editor, 2009–2013
Our Most Audacious Photo Shoot Ever
The funny thing about those more than 240 microscopic faces is that they’re genuinely smiling for this “100 Reasons to Love Seattle” cover photo (July 2010). I know because I was about 30 feet away, texting photographer Will Austin from the ground as he held his camera outside the door of the jittery helicopter flying overhead. Will and the pilot had to do small laps in the sky, which took them out of our view for minutes at a time. Everyone in the group, led by flash mob organizer Egan Orion, knew their faces would appear as indiscernible little dots, and yet they all showed up at Gas Works Park on an overcast Sunday—with very little notice—wearing various shades of red, and stood in the mud, faced the rain, and smiled big, contagious smiles for a camera they couldn’t even see. I’ve never seen that kind of genuine joy at a photo shoot.
—Benjamen Purvis, Seattle Met art director, 2009–2011