It’s easy to find stats that prove Seattle is a literature-loving city—we always land in the top three in the annual ranking of America’s Most Literate Cities, which doesn’t even take into account our many writing programs, reading series and independent word nerds writing books and creating literary magazines.
I have no intention of ever entering the political arena as more than an observer. Still, I sometimes fantasize, “If I were dictator of Seattle, what would I do?”In reality, it’s a terrible idea. I believe human nature is flawed, good intentions often go awry, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. I can imagine my well-meaning dictatorial Mossback regime at City Hall devolving over time—perhaps rapidly—into a circus worthy of Pyongyang or Game of Thrones. Mimes and clowns would come to fear me, the Dear Leader, or flee the city for safe haven.
Heavy Art: According to The Seattle Times, several sculptural pieces of Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist and activist, will be featured in Walla Walla starting next month. Eight of Weiwei’s sculptures will go up at the Foundry Vineyards.
If you lend me a book, chances are I will finish it and return it to you within about four years. I'm great at starting books and terrible at finishing them. It’s a problem I’m working on. And as the summer draws nearer to the end, it seems like a perfect weekend to spend lazing on the couch with a particularly absorbing volume. Or in my case, to finish one I’ve already started. These five are oldies but goodies, and are all worth reading straight through to the end.
Thunder rolls. Seattle got a break from its record-setting hot summer Wednesday when thunder and lightning storms struck much of Western Washington, knocking out power in nearly 5,000 homes in Rainier Valley, says KOMO News. The storm even forced an early end to outdoor practice for the Seahawks at their facility in Renton.
Self-taught illustrator Kyler Martz started selling screen prints in local coffee shops just three years ago when one of his pieces was purchased as a holiday gift for Whale Wins’ chef-owner Renee Erickson. She liked Martz’s work so much, she commissioned him to create the 13-by-20 foot mural that decorates the exterior of the Ballard restaurant. The only problem was, he didn’t know how to make a mural. “I freaked out,” the 29-year-old says. “I have a friend whose dad is a sign painter in Boise, where I’m originally from. I drove out there, and he gave me a one-day crash course.
It’s a late spring morning at West Seattle Elementary and as usual, morale is running high. Counselor Laura Bermes high-fives students as they walk through the door. Principal Vicki Sacco greets teachers while cradling Bingo, her watchful Chihuahua. The children walk single file to their classrooms, and a bespectacled special guest bounds upstairs to talk to fifth-graders about their brains.
“Hi, everyone, I’m Ms. Natalie,” says the guest, waving at the students like the school celebrity that she is.
Until recently, a pet emergency in Seattle meant a stressful drive in the black of night to a veterinary ER in Wallingford or Lake City—or to Shoreline, Lynnwood, Renton and beyond. But with the opening last month of Seattle Veterinary Specialists (SVS) (First Hill, 805 Madison St.; svs.com), South Seattle residents can breathe a little easier.
You never know what you’ll find at Westlake Park—a protest, a preacher, a person you wish would stop playing bagpipes. Even with recent splashy improvements, it’s a two-block petri dish swabbed with disparate strains of human culture. This month, add to the urban science experiment a 40-foot-tall geodesic-dome theater, courtesy of Portland’s Umpqua Bank.
Once a year, everyone is invited (for free!) to enjoy tranquil vistas and participate in a little fall cleaning at our parks, canyons, rivers and streams during National Public Lands Day (9/26; publiclandsday.org). Volunteers throughout the country have planted more than 100,000 trees and maintained or built more than 1,500 miles of trails since the program started 21 years ago.
Nothing in life worth having comes cheaply, right? Well, except for a whole page worth of gratis things to do in Seattle for the rest of this month and many, many more. Explore a new museum, watch a drive-in movie or enjoy a taste of soothing Japanese tea—all while leaving your wallet on your nightstand.
Free Museum Days:
Look up: You might be able to sneak a peek at The Perseids meteor shower Tuesday and Wednesday night until dawn thanks to potentially positive weather conditions. Earth will be passing through Comet Swift-Tuttle’s trail, which means skywatchers have a chance of seeing quite a few fireballs should the sky be clear.
Patrick Knowles with Sheila Cain and Rachel Hart; additional reporting by Ryan Kindel, Madeline Lootens and Evan Webeck
Just as a potential partner needs to be vetted, a good bit of thought should go into where and how you decide to spend an evening with someone you just met. These spots offer the benefits of immediate discussion topics, a “shared experience” kick-start and, if you are not necessarily feeling it, the opportunity to sit back and let a few other complete strangers entertain.