Bertha the underground tunnel-boring machine began her slow march under Seattle this summer. She’s been a long time coming. The Nisqually earthquake hit in 2001 and did enough damage to the Alaskan Way Viaduct that it needed to be replaced, but it’s taken more than a decade to just get this far. The urgency of this work was reemphasized by the failure of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River at the start of the summer travel season. If a truck can bring a “safe” bridge down, what havoc could be wreaked in the next big quake?
Ballard Kayaks, the company that offers kayak rentals and tours, has hoisted its big blue tent on the south end of the beach at Golden Gardens just in time to help you quench your recreation and Vitamin D needs. Outdoorsy types: Stop by BK’s beach outpost to rent a kayak ($25 per hour) and head out for an independent exploration of the Puget Sound waters. Less experienced kayakers can sign up for guided tours (starting at $35 per hour) that troll throughout various destinations around the Sound. On our to-do list?
Given her role as Seattle Art Museum’s Deputy Director for Art and curator of European painting and sculpture, Chiyo Ishikawa has trouble considering herself an art collector. In the course of seeking acquisitions for the museum, she regularly visits the homes of veteran art collectors. “Their collections are really curated—a conscious exercise,” she says. “Mine doesn’t reflect my professional perspective. It’s organic and sentimental.” But of course that’s exactly why wandering the art-filled rooms of her Fremont bungalow is such a rich experience.
Must RockThe Dandy WarholsFriday (6/21, 9 p.m.) — Portland’s 1990s alt-rock sensation The Dandy Warhols return to celebrate the recently remastered re-release of best-beloved album Thirteen Tales of Urban Bohemia (which this year, rather alarmingly, is 13 years old).
Must VisitBainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) Grand OpeningBainbridge Island welcomes BIMA, its very own art and culture haven, focusing on contemporary work by artists from the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas. Go for the museum’s striking architecture—a curve of tall windows sweeps visitors toward the entrance—and for its many opening exhibits, including work by Bainbridge Island artist and children’s book illustrator Barbara Helen Berger.
Whether we stream, rent, TiVo or watch on the air, Seattle is crazy about cleverly crafted television series. (We're among the country's top markets for Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones.) So we imagined the mayor's race as pitch sessions for several series we'll be watching (or trying to tune out) for the next four years. Come August 6, primary day, we are all producers.
In the early 1990s, architect Jerry Garcia walked along Denny from his Capitol Hill home to his office on the waterfront, passing a little park between Ninth Avenue N and Dexter. He was intrigued that this dark, unwelcoming patch was Seattle’s first park. “It was truly baffling to me; I didn’t understand why it would be like this,” he remembers. “It’s such an introverted experience.”
For students, the start of a new school year can feel like a blank slate, a chance to begin anew. This year, however, Seattle students (along with their parents and teachers) can be forgiven for experiencing a strong sense of déjà vu—the raging debate over standardized testing that dominated the 2012–2013 school year may have shifted focus, but it’s not going away anytime soon.
For those who don’t have little scholars stressing over the test at home, here’s a quick review. In the 2009–10 school year, Seattle Public Schools adopted the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test, which measures reading and math skills and serves as a way to track student, teacher and school progress. It is the latest in a string of controversial standardized tests that came into vogue as part of President George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” program, which also includes the much maligned Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL). The WASL is a broad skills assessment tool for grades 3 through 8 and was replaced by the Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) test in the spring of 2010. In addition to the challenges about the effectiveness and necessity of the MAP, the circumstances under which Seattle Public Schools adopted the test have been criticized: It was introduced during former superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson’s tenure while she sat on the board of the Northwest Evaluation Association, which developed and owns the test.
In January, grumbling and sporadic protests came to a head, when teachers at Garfield High School held a press conference to announce their unanimous vote to boycott the MAP. Obligated by their contracts to administer the test, the Garfield teachers risked disciplinary action or suspension. They were backed by many students and students’ parents. Half the teachers at Ballard High School, many at The Center School and the majority at Chief Sealth International High School and Orca K-8 School followed suit. The boycott received both state and national attention as a litmus test for testing around the country.
“It didn’t surprise me at all about the support,” says Phil Sherburne, president of Garfield High’s PTSA. “As parents, we have the same level of frustration. We already have adequate testing in place to evaluate how our kids are performing.”
We do our best to keep a lid on all the stuff our kids collect, but have you taken a close gander at their play space or bedroom lately? Does it look like chaos? Given the way tiny toy parts seem to proliferate like bunnies, keeping them all in one place is a monumental Martha Stewart type of task that can overwhelm even the tidiest amongst us.
Sub Pop’s Silver Jubilee: A 25th Anniversary Public Display of Affection. The grand dame of Seattle’s indie music scene, Sub Pop Records isn’t too old to throw a rager. This celebration takes place on the streets of Georgetown, an appropriately grungy ’hood for the label that launched Soundgarden and Nirvana. But the live music lineup showcases the label’s diversity of sound, from longtime local rockers such as Mudhoney and Tad Doyle to the newer folk freakiness of Father John Misty and the genre-busting hip-hop of Thee Satisfaction and Shabazz Palaces. But soft!