Monthly Archives: September 2009


As new technologies emerge (almost everyday), enabling everyone to be a music producer, can anyone really own a sound? Computers, software and even cell phones have radically altered our relationship to mass culture and technology, providing consumers with the tools to become producers, or “remixers,” of their own media. But long before everyday people began posting their video mash-ups on the Web, hip-hop musicians perfected the art of audio montage through a sport they called “sampling.” COPYRIGHT CRIMINALS, a documentary by Benjamin Franzen and Kembrew McLeod, examines the creative and commercial value of musical sampling, including the ongoing debates about artistic expression, copyright law and (of course) money.

The screening at SIFF Cinema is open to the public and there is no charge to attend.  The film will be introduced by KUBE 93 FM DJ Hyphen who will take a few questions.  Then following the film, we’ll discuss possible ways in which ownership of a sound can be determined.  The event is open to the public and all are welcome.

The ITVS/PBS Discussion Guide (PDF, 240K) is available online at:

Community Cinema Seattle is presented by KCTS9 Television Seattle, KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio, The City of Seattle Office for Civil Rights, the Seattle International Film Festival, The Future of Music Coalition, and KUBE 93 FM.

WHAT:   Seattle premiere of COPYRIGHT CRIMINALS

WHEN:   Saturday, October 10 at 3PM

WHERE:  SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer Street, Seattle, 98109


HOW:    Free. For more information visit /

We encourage our audience to walk, bike, and take public transportation to our events.  Seattle Center IS Seattle’s cultural center.  Consider riding Metro or the Link Right Rail and/or the monorail. How fun?! Parking in the adjacent garage connected by the skybridge can be pricy but OH so convenient.  Street parking exists within a block or 3 to the north and east.

The Community Cinema program offers free community engagement events following cutting edge indie documentaries in over 50 cities every month, and it is the largest community outreach campaign in television history. Share and connect… / /

Morrow has Mariners revising estimates of his ability entering 2010

    You could look at what Brandon Morrow did Wednesday against the Oakland A’s and shrug.

    The A’s, after all, are a last-place team.

    Or you could look a little deeper and be extremely impressed with Morrow’s eight innings of one-hit shutout pitching in a 7-0 Seattle win.

    For all their paucity of victories, the A’s have the third-best offense in the major leagues, at least in terms of batting average, since the All-Star break. And they had no weapon with which to combat Morrow.

    The 2005 first-round draft pick turned in his finest big league performance, retiring the first 10 batters he faced, giving up a single to Rajai Davis with one out in the fourth, then setting down the next 13 before his first two walks of the game put him in a jam for the first time in the game.

    Gone were the battles with control. Gone was the sluggish pace that sometimes saddles a struggling Morrow. What was left was a first-class effort, the kind the Mariners had hoped for when the previous Mariner administration took him in the first round out of the University of California.

    It was, simply put, a masterpiece on Morrow’s part. It was tantalizingly similar to Morrow’s first big league start when he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Yankees on Sept. 5, 2008. The year-plus between those starts has been full of trial and error for Morrow, who has bounced from the rotation to the bullpen and back again.


    And for manager Don Wakamatsu, he found himself rewriting his postseason conversation about the club’s needs going into the winter.

    “When a guy who has that kind of stuff suddenly puts it all together, you’re looking at someone who could be a top-of-the-rotation guy,” Wakamatsu said. “When you see that, it changes your mind-set looking forward.

    “If we can help him harness that on a regular basis, it gives us a different look going into next season.”

    For Morrow, Wednesday’s start was his last of the season. He was relaxed, and it showed. The A’s only hit off him was a slow grounder to shortstop, and when first base umpire Jeff Kellogg called Davis safe on a bang-bang play, the smallish Safeco Field crowd of 16,930 groaned, even if it was the right call.

     Morrow had retired 11 consecutive batters at that point, and he had no trouble getting back to intimidating the Oakland bats.

    “I’ve been able to create more rhythm with my hands and my delivery,” Morrow said in trying to explain the sudden bit of extra movement his already vicious fastball had Wednesday.

    He has been working with pitching coach Rick Adair, and the work is paying off.

    “A game like this is going to help me stay sane (this winter),” Morrow said. “It’s absolutely a good end to the season for me.”

    Catcher Adam Moore, who took over after Kenji Johjima was hit by a pitch on the left elbow, saw the new extra movement on Morrow’s pitches during the first two innings from the bench. Then he saw them from behind the plate.

    “He has the stuff to be a great pitcher in this league,” Moore said. “The two innings I watched from the bench, I could see in his eyes the kind of focus he had. When I got in the game, he kept right with it.”

    Morrow was staked to an early lead with a four-run first inning by Seattle, with Ken Griffey Jr. hitting a three-run homer for the second time in as many days. Two more runs came home in the second, and Moore added his first big league homer in the fourth so that all Morrow had to do was think about pitching.

    The A’s thought the effort was as good as any they’d seen against them all year.

    “Everything he threw was right on the plate,” first baseman Daric Barton said. “And when he fell behind in the count, he threw great pitches to get back.”

    Wakamatsu noticed that, too. He saw Morrow throw a couple of 3-2 changeups, something he wouldn’t have done a month ago. And the slider that Morrow is using a little more each time out was electric.

    “That’s as good a game as any we’ve had pitched for us all year,” the manager said, which lumps it in with some stellar games by Felix Hernandez. “I don’t know if we’ve had better.”

    What the Mariners have now is a better expectation for the future.

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The Art House Beat: Three From the Local Sightings Film Festival at NWFF

 The New Generation of America Independent film-makers is growing, if only by means of incestuous interconnections. “The Mountain, The River, and The Road,” (Oct. 2 at 7 pm) the opening night film at the Northwest Film Forum’s Local Sightings Festival (Oct. 2-7) looks and feels like a West Coast version of “Mutual Appreciation” or “Hannah Takes the Stairs,” with the decadent urban grime of those pictures replaced by the airy mountains, clean flowing rivers, and open roads of the Northwest.

Although it is director Michael Harring’s first feature, it is well-pedigreed by virtue of its cast. Justin Rice, who is so familiar from Andrew Bujalski’s “Mutual Appreciation” that this seems like a sequel, continues to exploit his natural persona of one who is dull on the outside but interesting on the inside. As his sidekick who abandons him at the beginning of their road trip, Joe Swanberg, writer/director/cinematographer of “Hannah Takes the Stairs,” anchors the film with his quiet intelligence. Tipper Newton, the love interest, had a featured role in “Hannah Takes the Stairs,” and has recently completed her own short film with Swanberg. J

ust as the participation of Mark Duplass helped draw national attention to Lynn Shelton’s “Humpday,” Rice, Swanberg, and Newton’s contributions to “The Mountain, the River, and The Road” should be a further push toward getting Seattle wired into the national community of independent film-makers.



Documentaries about eccentrics are often exploitive things that play on the viewers’ sense of superiority to the on-screen subjects, Not so “American Collectors,” (Oct. 5 at 7 pm) which respects the obsessions of those afflicted with “More-itis” without denying the entertainment value of entering the private worlds of borderline maniacs. 

From a relatively tasteful collection of handcrafted purses to the near-catastrophic proliferation of AOL promotional discs, directors Bob Ridgley and Terri Krantz offer a fast-paced romp through the bedrooms and garages of our most single-minded citizens. We meet a young woman who feeds all her quarters into gumball machines as if they were slot machines and an old woman who still delights in playing with her Barbie dolls. One of the most articulate subjects explains that by collecting the toys he owned as a child he can trigger lost memories, while a guy who boasts the world’s most complete collection of Duran Duran posters is on the edge of tears as he tries to communicate just how far this band has gone to defining his own life. I

n addition to the excellent interviews, the film is a wealth of visual delight. Hundreds of bobble-headed dolls shimmy and shake to generic metal music. A theme-park for artifacts from science fiction movies of the fifties takes up residency in a donut shop. Finally, the sight of 100 idle tractors on a plot of unbroken land is a once-in-a-lifetime vision of displaced consumerism gone wild.


Too many documentarians use the medium to express their own outrage. In “River Ways,” (Oct. 6 at 7pm) director Colin Stryker leaves the editorializing to his subjects, refusing to put a personal slant on the issue of whether or not the four dams on the Snake River in Eastern Washington should be removed to restore endangered salmon runs. The result is a provocative outburst of dissatisfaction with a situation that cannot help one person without hurting another. The conflict between fishing and farming interests is both timely and timeless, harkening back to the cattle wars between the ranchers and farmers and looking ahead to the showdown between industry and environmentalists.

Stryker records the death rattle of American individualism in his interviews with these sons of the pioneers who can no longer make their home on the range. He also shows the continuing struggle of native Americans to hold onto the fishing rights promised them in treaties with the government. From Frank Sutterlict, a stoic fisherman caught between white racism and tribal law, to Ben Barstow, a wheat farmer who would be out of business were he not subsidized by his wife’s parents, their voices tremble with anger and impotence as they fight their losing battles against a diminishing future.

ou are unlikely to see a truer portrait of what America has been and what it is becoming.

Complete schedule of films:

Just a minute! Pre-existing condition robs hospital board of its senses

     If institutional insensitivity sticks in your craw, don’t seek treatment at Valley Medical Center.

     This is not to say Valley Medical handles craw blockage poorly. It may well be the craw-daddy of health care.

     But when you realize the hospital’s own CEO, Richard Roodman, collected a $1.7 million retirement payment without having to retire, you’re likely to relapse. (Roodman also made $900,000 in regular compensation in 2008.)

     The hospital board of commissioners approved the payout several years ago as an incentive to keep Roodman from retiring or taking a job elsewhere. He became eligible to collect it after turning 60.

     It seems the board likes Roodman, even though he was fined $195,000 in 2007 for using taxpayer money to persuade voters to approve two ballot measures. (The hospital’s insurer paid the fine.)

     As a county hospital, Valley Medical gets about $18.5 million a year in taxpayer funds. At a time when King County is looking behind sofa cushions for spare change, this largess by a board that’s clearly out of touch fails the smell test. According to the Seattle Times, a draft audit by the state says as much.

     Moreover, it smacks of the same corporate hardheartedness that put our economy into intensive care in the first place.

John Levesque is a former editor and columnist at the Seattle P-I.

Art: Is First Thursday over? (Regina Hackett)

Regina Hackett is the former arts critic for the Seattle P-I. This, from her blog Another Bouncing Ball.

Even though it’s the first Thursday of the month, very few Pioneer Square galleries are opening shows tomorrow night. In the old days, when PS galleries marched in lock step, everybody opened on First Thursday and closed at the end of the month.

That 12-show a year schedule was tough to maintain. Too tough, plus, it didn’t allow for the work to sink in. Some galleries drifted toward 6-week shows, and others began to open and close when they felt like it.


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Art: Coyote Consciousness (Regina Hackett)

Regina Hackett is the former arts critic for the Seattle P-I. This, from her blog Another Bouncing Ball.

Transformation, trickery and transcendence in Seattle’s Occidental Park:

From press release:

In the spirit of a Murakami story, Gina Coffman, Seth Damm and Kristin OugendaI have created a four-act play about creating a coyote den in Occidental Park.


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Art: Stranger Genius Awards 2009 (Regina Hackett)

Regina Hackett is the former arts critic for the Seattle P-I. This, from her blog Another Bouncing Ball.

Visual art goes to Jeffry Mitchell, on view at Ambach & Rice through Oct. 18. (Review here)

Jen Graves on Mitchell getting his Genius cake here.

This year’s other awards here



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Three Sheets Northwest: Feds may expand restrictions to keep people away from whales

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Parenting: Washington State Has Some Good News on Child Care in This Historic Recession

From former P-I parenting reporter Paul Nyhan’s blog on Birth to Thrive:

States are struggling with recession-fueled budget cuts, but Washington State made some progress on early learning issues last year, investing in a quality rating system and avoiding a waiting list for child care assistance, a new report found.

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