Showing posts from September, 2009

Whiteout: A Cooked Carrot Fart of a Movie

Allow me to get scatological for a moment to make a point. When my brother and I were in junior high school, we thought farts were the funniest thing in the world. They fascinated us so boundlessly that we even developed a Fart Taxonomy, as it were. We'd hypothesised that every form of gastointestinal expulsion known to man arose from one of three distinctive categories: The Rotten Egg Fart, The Potato Salad Fart, and the Cooked Carrot Fart. The Rotten Egg Fart wore its self-explanatory name on its shoulder. It packed a sharp, attention-getting, nostril-stinging, sulphuric stench that usually erupted wetly, killed small birds at ten paces, and never failed to elicit maximum snickers. Rotten Egg's slightly less-potent cousin, the Potato Salad Fart, shared a bit of the nostril sting, only leavened by a foody, potatoey undertone. But the most unspectacular, dreary fart--the one that extracted naught but resigned groans and dull disdain--was the Cooked Carrot Fart. Cooked Car

Here Comes de Judge: The First Annual Great Ballard Chili Cook-Off

Cooking chili is a lot like playing the bass guitar: It's easy to get by on, but deceptively difficult to really do well. I've cultivated a profound love for this beany Mexican-born dish over the years, and it got me through a lot of lean years in high school and college. A good chili possesses a protein-and-fiber-rich heartiness that sticks to the ribs, and sports enough spiciness to give the taste buds at least a little bit of a spank. It also initiated my abiding lifelong fondness for spicy foods in general. So it was a massive honor--and an undeniable pleasure--to be chosen as a celebrity judge for the first annual Ballard Great Chili Cook-Off. The Cook-Off drew a large, enthusiastic crowd of at least four-dozen happy eaters, and Re-Bar raconteur/ Get Loweded mastermind Chas Roberts hosted. Four phenomenal cooks created four vastly different variations on the venerable staple food, and The Clash of the Con Carnes took place at the Sunset Hill Community Center ; a great t

Interview with Melvin Van Peebles at

What the Hell? I've plugged it everywhere else; I'll plug it here. I had a lengthy and extremely stimulating chat with one of the architects of modern independent cinema, Melvin Van Peebles. The director of Sweet Sweetback's Badasssss Song was easily one of the most inspiring and fascinating people I've ever spoken to, and the interview (all partisan bias aside) turned out pretty all-right. Check out , a fine new Seattle-centric website. My review of Van Peebles' newest movie lives here , and the interview lives here .

Song of the Day: "Got Nuffin," Spoon

It's 1:40 in the am and I'm driving home alone. The sky's clear and dark. I ruminate on the night, life, the future. Random images and thoughts begin seeping along my consciousness like silty mud running from a swollen river into an open field--fuzzy, unfocused, intermittently negative. But then the drums start, a mid-tempo throb of purpose. The silt runs in reverse, receding back into the waterline. Clarity--the first of several hot moments of it--rides the rhythm. The near-black sky etches the highway in front of me into sharp graphic-novel relief. Laser focus. I roll down the windows and crank up the volume. Spikes of guitar jab into the top of the backbeat; then the bass starts its sturdy surge of rhythm. The pulse of the car against the uneven asphalt punctuates the low thrum. As though by uncontrollable gravitational pull, my foot presses down on the gas...65 mph...70mph... A scarred and sensual voice rasps out the lyrics with barely-coiled, all-or-nothing urgency