It's raining, really coming down, hard and steady. First we've had in quite some time.
It may get back up into the mid 80's for the end of the week (just in time for our final end-of-summer Labor DayArts Blowout (curiously, named after a British term for an umbrella), and we may even have a few more weeks of reasonably good weather in the offing, but this is as sure a sign as any that summer is just about over.
Sounds good, clean like a tap turned on. The ground is going to soak it up like a sponge. Unfortunately, if it continues through the evening and into tomorrow, it also means the roads are going to be slick as ice from the accumulated oil, grease, and othe hydrocarbon based lubricants that have built up on the pavement the last few months. It's going to be a nasty commute tomorrow, and probably not a good day to be riding on two-wheels.
Still, I have no one to blame but myself. Really, it's all my fault. Yesterday I bought rain gear for riding "Little Nellie" in just such conditions. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Yeah, tomorrow might be a very good day to take the bus to work.
In the meantime, I'm just going to sit hear and listen to the sounds and smell the scent of the world being washed clean.
It's not something I brag about, or wear on my sleeve, like some of those crazy folks out there who have shelves filled to overflowing with every single book that's ever been published with the words Star Trek on the cover, or who make pilgrimages to local conventions adorned in full costume regalia; you know, the sort of geeks that "normal" people make fun of. No, none of that for me.
But, I most certainly DO have the disease, generally known as "Fanboy Syndrome", albeit in a decidedly milder form than the examples cited above. Perhaps the more onerous symptoms diminish over time. I haven't actually attended a Star Trek conference since 1978, and the only time I can recall wearing a costume was for Halloween about 10 years ago. Still, I've got my share of Star Trek memorabilia: a couple of boxes of books and magazines (some of which date back to the early 1970's), a small collection of replica props (as seen in my recent TV featurette), videos or DVD's of most of the films, etc., etc. I'm not all OCD about it, but at the same time, I can't deny the fact of my latent geekism either.
Part of the reason for this acknowledgement is that lately I've found myself relapsing. For anyone who cares, the show's 40th Anniversary is coming up on September 8th, and in conjunction, there will be a major celebration here in Seattle that weekend. I was even prompted to pen a little paean to the show for the event's official blog site, which you can read here
To answer the hanging question: yes, I'm going.
And no, I am certainly NOT wearing a costume!
Actually, I'm limiting myself to attending the two major functions of the weekend: a gala celebration on Friday the 8th to be held at the Space Needle, coinciding with the anniversary of the series' television premiere, and a formal banquet the following evening at some rich guy's Science Fiction Museum. I figure, as a long-time fan of the show, I'm entitled, and furthermore as a local representative of the film/TV/theatre industry, I've got creds above-and-beyond just being a fawning Fanboy (at least it's a plausible rationalization, right?). I don't plan on drooling over the actors - simple professional courtesy precludes such base obsequies - but, that doesn't mean I can't bask in their collective celebrity.
Astronauts, particularly moon-walkers, however, are a different story entirely: I probably won't be able to help myself in their presence.
Hm, better stuff an extra hankie into my tux jacket, just in case...
My, that was a quick year. Hard to believe I've been at the job for a solid twelve months now. Things are going swell - a little slow in the office at the moment, but I was told to expect that in August, so it's not altogether untoward. Still, gives me time to catch up on a couple of back-burner projects, and take a couple of extra days off here-and-there.
Walked into the office this morning to confront one of my worst nightmares - the SAG Exec had taken the coffee maker last night for an off-site meeting - AND FAILED TO RETURN IT!!!
I have been reduced to consuming a can of Coca Cola to alleviate symptoms of imminent caffeine withdrawal.
Otherwise, things up here are same-old-same-old. We're well into what passes around these parts for the "dog days" of summer; now in our third consecutive week of temps in the upper 70's/lower 80's. I realize that's nothing compared to the heat-wave drying out other parts of the country, but it's the sheer monotony that has people wandering around, grumbling about the lack of rainfall. We're nowhere close to drought conditions, but being the environmentally cognizant bunch we are, lawns across the city lie sere and parched, grass withers to the color of hay from lack of watering, while fruit trees and berry bushes meanwhile suck the few precious drops of moisture from the ground to sustain their almost obscene productivity.
The plum tree outside my apartment door for example, is literally dropping fruit with an alarming abundance; even the local critters seem to have had their fill, and are now avoiding the fallen cornucopea of juicy droplets with outright disdain. My friends politely pluck one or two offerings from the overflowing plastic bags I foist upon them at every opportunity, but I can tell they're quickly approaching the point where they may begin to view them, not as edibles, but rather ammunition with which to pelt me. My refigerator is sagging under the weight of cobblers, freezer jams, sauces, and whatever other recipes I can come up with to reduce the seemingly infinite bounty. I have bowls, bags, boxes, even egg crates filled to overflowing with the plump purple ovoids. Every morning I leave for work kicking aside the previous night's fallen soldiers; each evening I return, only to find a new battalian of the struck down littering my path.
And this doesn't even take into account the Japanese pear tree, which is just now starting to release its progeny. At least it'll be a change of variety.
Still, despite the overwhelming evidence of fecundity all around, we've reached that point in the year when we can tell summer has peaked out, and begun its slow, downslope march toward the southern tropics, and before winter arrives for an extended stay, bringing with it seven months of gloom and drizzle (Fall, traditionally of only about two weeks duration around here, rarely counts as a full-fledged season). Usually, we start marking the days in early August with the region's annual Seafair celebrations, culmination of our Summer season. If we're lucky (and depending on the vagaries of Global Warming), we might be able to look forward to an extended "Indian Summer" lasting well into October, so we're not counting summer down-for-the-count quite yet. But, this morning is one that brings just the faintest hint of what's to come: a light, gray overcast, just enough to drop the morning temps a few degrees, and diffuse the sunlight enough to act as a reminder, like Winter has just sent us a postcard from Belize saying, "Having a wonderful time, wish you were here! See you soon!"
Yes, Summer has begun a slow, meandering jaunt south, but it's not in any hurry. Walking stick in hand, haversack slung over its back, it's hitting the trail with a spring in its step, and whistling a made-up tune. It'll take time to stop and smell the flowers, admire the views, and perhaps even pick a berry or two; somewhere about the end of September, Fall will rush past on its ten-speed, head down to break the wind, as it speeds North to deliver its messenger bag full of brown leaves and pumpkin seeds.
Then, round about early November, Summer will spot a wheelbarrow-laden Winter approaching in the distance, slogging along through the muck and mud, tattered, wind-sprung umbrella draped over one arm, shaking the wet from its beard like a dog just after swimming. Summer will tip its wide-brimmed Panama hat in greeting, while Winter will simply nod in response, burdened down with effort of pushing its cart-load of gray wool felt clouds, and the sloshing buckets of precipitation in which it intends to soak them. They don't need to speak much; they've crossed paths more times than they can count, and by now the conversation has been distilled to a few looks, nods and the barest grunt of a greeting, like two shift-men passing through the factory gate.
Yep, just about time for Summer to punch-out and Winter to punch-in.
But, before they do, there's time for one more cup of coffee - which thankfully, has just arrived.
And Now, The End Is Near So I Must Face The Final Curtain
Spent part of last evening inside what's left of Consolidated Works, the multi-disciplinary arts center founded by my friend Matt Richter. It was the first time I'd been inside the space since the ConWorks board summarily fired Matt back in February 2005. Like a lot of other local artists, I fully recognize that Matt has his own unique strengths and weaknesses, and that administration is not particularly his strong suit. That being said however, Matt truly was the heart of ConWorks: as both its founder and biggest supporter, his lack of managerial skills were more than compensated by his drive, determination, audacity, deep roots in the local arts community, and his ability to raise considerable amounts of capital; all factors that his board completely ignored (to their own peril, as it turns out) or worse, were inexplicably unaware of in the course of his dismissal.
As a result, many of us who know Matt personally, who supported ConWorks' mission, and who had either witnessed or experienced a spate of similar board coup-d'-etats locally in the past few years were incensed, nay outraged, at his treatment. And that in turn resulted in a decided coolness both to the organization, and to its new Artistic Director, Corey Pearlstein, who although likeable enough in person, nevertheless took on the impossible task of trying to regain the support of a community that had completely lost faith in the institution he was running.
And so now, ConWorks is closing up shop after more than a year of lack-luster programming (despite a handful of nationally-recognized artists coming through the doors), having been reduced to little more than a rental venue for raves, civic events and a seemingly endless pageant of futile fundraising parties. It's rather sad, because a lot of people put a lot of sweat-equity into creating the space (myself included), and now all that effort is just sort of going down the drain.
And from what I saw last night, it's going out not with a bang, but with a decided whimper. Although they still have a full month to vacate the premises, the place already seems to be regressing back to the the abandoned warehouse it was before the renovation: piles of detritus litter corners and causeways; most of the fixtures, lighting, etc., have been stripped from the interior; other items that might have some usefulness lie strewn about like so much derelict cargo washed ashore, a fine coating of dust testifying to their state of abandonment.
Aside from a skeleton staff, there doesn't seem to be anyone around looking after what remains: I was able to walk in through a side door, past a band rehearsal, and through the space with impunity, without the slightest challenge to my presence. Doors have been left ajar, leaving sound & lighting equipment, barware - including entire shelves of alcohol - abandoned and ripe for "salvage" by some enterprising individuals.
Describing the place as "sad" would be a gross understatement; "depressing" would be more accurate.
The reason I was even there was because a group of Annexers went in last night to further the dismantlement of the space. In typical "we have no idea what we're doing" fashion, the ConWorks board had planned to sell-off a rather expensive set of theatrical drapes and accompanying hardware, until some particularly astute individual pointed out to them that their purchase had been part of a grant from a local funding organization, and that they didn't actually "own" these items. In fact, the terms of the grant stipulated that if they were not going to be using them, they were obligated to either loan or re-grant them to another non-profit. Luckily one of our amazingly terrific, smart, and on-the-ball staff members just happened to be around at about that same time, and casually mentioned that we could really use a set of black drapes in our new little theatre. So, it was decided they would "loan" the curtains and all accompanying hardware to us, until such time as they might secure a new space and require their use again.
The only slightly minor downside to this arrangement was that we would have to come in and dismantle the curtain rigging ourselves, and arrange to transport it up to our space on CapHill. But, with the combined assistance of eight staff & company members, and a very friendly house Technical Director (on his last day of employment, no less), we were able to pull all the running gear down, load it up into the back of a borrowed pickup, and motorcade our way up to our space just in time to get most of it into the theatre during a rehearsal break for another show using the CHAC mainstage.
Now we have a very nice set of heavy black drapes, along with about 300 linear feet of tracks and swivel arms, which, once rigged, will enable us be to completely black out our 30' wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as provide some additional sound-dampening in the space, with plenty left over to create "wings" in the playing area where actors can hide and set pieces can be stored out of sight of the audience.
So, yeah - yay us! But, I do feel somewhat melancholy about the fact that our good fortune has come at the expense of another group's demise; even though it was a result of their own hubris, and sheer incompetence.
Still, hurray for gift horses and not looking in the mouth.