Seattle postsFriday September 13, 2013
The 17th Rule of Seattle Traffic
17. The first person in line will be the last to notice the light has turned green.
Not to get all Ferengi here.
5th and Wall
I usually bike to work but I walked this morning. It's about a 45-minute walk through downtown Seattle, and I was heading north down 5th when I had to wait for the red at 5th and Wall. I'm no Seattleitie, by the way, I'll run that red on foot (or on bike), but there was a lot of traffic heading west on Wall, so there was no opportunity. Even though most of that traffic was turning left onto 5th.
In case you don't know: Seattle's famed monorail (cue: “The Simpsons”) bisects 5th, leaving two lanes on one side and one on the other, and I noticed a lot of the traffic was turning from the middle lane of Wall into the far, single lane of 5th. I wondered if they were allowed to do this. Then I saw the straight-or-left arrow painted on the street in the middle lane. So: yes. Still, it seemed slightly dangerous. What if the car in the left lane on Wall wanted that far lane of 5th? I imagined accidents happening.
Then I nearly saw one. Just before the light turned red (for them), an SUV in the middle lane on Wall turned left ... but into the near lane, cutting off a driver in the near lane on Wall who was about to turn into the near lane of 5th. Luckily that driver was observant. He put on the brakes, and the SUV kept driving.
That's capitalism to me. Being careful, observant, respectful helps you not at all. The dick move gets you ahead.
What to See at SIFF?
Some people have asked me what looks good at the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival, which opens this week. It's a question everyone in Seattle asks about this time of year. How do you choose between the hundreds of movies offered? It's tough. You research. You look on IMDb. You ask those who know.
That's what I did anyway. The other day, I was lucky enough to run into Seattle Times' movie critic John Hartl outside SIFF Uptown, where he was busy seeing too-many movies in anticipation of the festival. He recommended two docs in particular: “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks,” Alex Gibney's latest; and “Dirty Wars,” Richard Rowley's documentary about Jeremey Scahill's investigation into America's covert wars:
After nominal research, I also bought tickets to the following with fingers crossed:
- The Deep (Iceland): How an everyman became the sole survivor of an icy shipwreck. Based on a true story.
- Frances Ha (US): Greta Gerwig in a Noah Bambach film. It's gotten good reviews, so I'll go despite last year's “Lola Versus.”
- Out of Print (US doc): The shift from print to digitial. Jeff Bezos and company. This shift is called “an exciting journey” so I assume it's all positive. It'll be interesting to see what negative the doc talks about. If any.
- The Last Sentence (Sweden): Jan Troell's look at an anti-Fascist writer in Sweden in the 1930s
- A Hijacking (Denmark): Danish freighter, Somali pirates. Will be interesting to compare with “Captain Phillips” in a few months.
- Muscle Shoals (US doc): A documentary on the small Alabama town that is the focal point of soul, R&B, and rock 'n' roll music.
- Go Grandriders (Taiwan): Elderly dudes cruise the island where I lived in the late 1980s. A box-office smash in Taiwan.
- The Trials of Muhammad Ali (US doc): Bill Siegel's doc on the heavyweight champion's refusal to serve in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War.
So five docs, three Scandinavian movies, one each from Taiwan and the U.S. Other suggestions welcome.
If you're buying tickets on the SIFF site and know which movie you want, the search function is in the upper right. Barely visible. They don't make it easy. Plus after buying the tickets you have two options: CHECKOUT or CONTINUE SHOPPING. The latter choice will take you back to the home page, where you have to start all over again. They don't make it easy.
Sifting Through the SIFF Schedule
I was glancing through the schedule for 2013 SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival), trying to figure out how they'd organized everything. The booklet lists a few traditional categories (LOVE ... MAKE ME LAUGH...) and some odd ones (OPEN MY EYES ... PROVOKE ME!). Mostly I was trying to find the country by country. In particular I was interested in films from France—although “Les tribulations d'une caissière” kinda screwed me over last year—and finally found, in the back, on pg. 49, a topic index. No pics, no synopses, just movies by topics. I read down:
- FAMILY FRIENDLY
- GERMAN LANGUAGE
Uh ... wait. Where was the French? I backtracked, looked again. Then again. I studied the other topics: ARABIC LANGUAGE ... ASIAN .... JAPANESE LANGUAGE ...RUSSIAN LANGUAGE... But no FRENCH LANGUAGE? Were they banning French movies or something? Did others complain about “Les tribulations d'une caissière,” too?
A few pages on, I found Country Index, where, yes, about 15 French movies were listed. Whew. Even so. Quel est le probleme, SIFF?
And what's with the logo below?
And has anyone heard what's worth seeing?
Starts May 16.
All the Pretty Cherry Blossoms
I went for a walk around Capitol Hill Saturday, First Hill to Volunteer Park, as temps climbed into the mid-60s. All the cherry blossoms were out.
I also like still seing these “Approve 74” signs still up. Because we did.