erik lundegaard

Seattle posts

Thursday May 17, 2018


The Bookshop Opens SIFF

The Englishwoman who opened a bookstore and brought down a mountain of trouble.

The Seattle International Film Festival kicks off tonight with a movie that looks like not-much to me. “The Bookshop” is set in the recent past (1959), and chronicles “a headstrong widow” (Emily Mortimer) battling “provincial locals” (coastal Brits) over what was then commonplace and is now disappearing (a bookshop). Seems a bit precious and obvious. If it were set today, and featured a woman (or anyone) fighting the indifference to books of millennials (and everyone), sign me up. But this? Hope I'm wrong. If not, there's always gin and tonic at the screening. P and I will both attend in what passes for our finery. 

I was in Minneapolis this past weekend, visiting my mother and seeing my nephew Jordy in a high school play (“The Laramie Project”), but I did spend some time going over SIFF's schedule of 400+ movies. Right now I‘ve got about 15 picked out, with fingers decidedly crossed.

Gotta say, the blurbs didn’t help much. Most are one-sentence long—as if directed to be so—and a few are inevitably run-ons. It's as if the writer is running downhill, breathless, trying to tell us all the good news:

In this Western-inspired crime thriller set in the Chinese countryside, a laboring family man whose brutal past led to biting his own tongue off in a fight, sets out on a mission of stunningly choreographed violence after his son is kidnapped by a crossbow-wielding, meat-obsessed gangster.

Many have trouble sticking their landings: 

In a rapidly gentrifying Oakland, home to co-writers and co-stars Rafael Casal and “Hamilton” Tony Award-winner Daveed Diggs, two lifelong hip-hop-loving friends struggle to adapt in this energetic slice-of-life buddy comedy set in a world that won't let it be one. [???]

Others needed a copy editor or at least a pair of m-dashes:

Following a serendipitous meeting on a train through the rugged Turkish countryside, two should unite for a journey that will offer new insight into the importance of charting one's own path, wherever it may lead.

The gorgeous swirling sands of the Thar Desert provide the backdrop for this emotional revenge saga about a scorpion singer, famed shamanistic healers that could supposedly cure scorpion bites by chanting, who has lost her grandmother after suffering an assault.

I‘ve got a few movies picked out (“Love, Gilda”; “On Borrowed Time”; “Love Education”) but if you’ve heard anything, let me know. Don't hesitate to tell me all the good news.

Posted at 06:42 AM on May 17, 2018 in category Seattle
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Sunday March 11, 2018

The View from the 520

Yesterday it got into the mid-50s and I went for a bikeride over the newly constructed 520 bridge. The Cascades were out. My iPhone camera doesn't do the shot justice. 

Cascade mountains Seattle

The bridge was crowded but not as crowded as when I did the same two months ago. You know where everyone was? Fremont Brewery. I biked by there, too, thinking I'd grab a quick drink, but the line indicated anything but quick. 

Today is supposed to be mid-60s. Get out, get out, wherever you are. 

Posted at 07:42 AM on Mar 11, 2018 in category Seattle
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Thursday August 31, 2017

The False Equivalence of the Lenin Statue in the Confederate Memorial Debate

In the wake of Charlottesville, when toppling Confederate statues and memorials not only became the topic of the day but a good idea, Seattle's embattled mayor Ed Murray brought an odd wrinkle to the conversation. He suggested two memorials in Seattle come down: a 1926 Daughters of the Confederacy memorial to Southern vets, which was on private property in Lakeview Cemetery; and the famous statue of Vladimir Lenin, perpetually on display in lower Fremont ... which was also on private property. 

I was surprised to hear that the Confederate memorial even existed. Confederate Vets? In Seattle? But whatever: It was on private property. We had no say. Lenin, too. What bugged me, though, was that Murray put the two in the same category. Was he striving for objectivity? One of theirs, one of ours? If so, like many a journalist before him, he simply found a false equivalence.

The Confederate memorial was created to honor the Confederacy. The Lenin statue, brought here from a defeated Russia and placed where it was, on a nondescript street corner, wasn't set up to honor anything. The opposite, really. From the beginning, it's been steeped in absurdity and irony. Existing where it does, it carries with it an Ozymandias-like warning:

'Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains ... except for a gyro joint and some Italian sandwich shoppe
And naked cyclists once a year

This week in The Stranger I found out somebody agrees with me: a Russian to boot. He adds a coda: Look on the dildo on my head, ye mighty, and despair.

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Posted at 11:08 AM on Aug 31, 2017 in category Seattle
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Wednesday August 30, 2017


Flying into Seattle last night in the haze made all of our waterways—from Lake Washington to Puget Sound—seem like giant puddles.

the puddles of Seattle

And the goat-footed balloonMan whistles far and wee.

Posted at 01:11 PM on Aug 30, 2017 in category Seattle
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Thursday May 19, 2016

SIFF-List 2016: from 'Weiner' to 'Wiener-Dog'

Diane Kruger in Disorder (Maryland)

Yes, Diane Kruger made it easier to choose “Disorder” (orig. title: “Maryland”).

Today the Seattle International Film Festival opens with Woody Allen's “Cafe Society.” Should be fun barring protests from Frank Sinatra lookalikes.

It's always both fun (and time-consuming) figuring out which movies to see at SIFF. I usually get a 20-pack in the fall and in the spring I figure out how to use them. This year I rolled the dice with the list below: 

If you hear anything good (or bad), let me know. 

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Posted at 10:28 AM on May 19, 2016 in category Seattle
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard