BETTER THAN BURNING MAN
Thanks for Michaelangelo Matos' great oral history of Bumbershoot ["Bumbershoot: An Oral History," Aug. 27]. I appreciated the wide spectrum of contributing commentary; however, we both agree that people all over this city would be thrilled to share their very own precious Bumber-momentsheck, you could spend years compiling all of the stories.
After 30-plus years of growing pains, Bumbershoot has truly evolved into this profound cultural asset with so much intrinsic value for the city of Seattle. People say that it doesn't compare to the New Orleans Jazz Fest or other events like Burning Man, but Bumbershoot isn't about huge names, huge profits, or getting as high as you can. All it's ever wanted to be was a living, breathing tribute to art in all its forms, and you can get it all for $15! It's the best damn entertainment value on the planet! There isn't another festival in the world that can boast that, yet still people whinge and bitch about the ticket price. If I were to compare, I'd say that Bumbershoot is in perfect harmony between Jazz Fest and Burning Man, because it takes place in the middle of a beautiful city (like Jazz Fest), there is funky-crazy art everywhere (like Burning Man), yet you can bring your kids and don't have to deal with wasted people everywhere. I think that kicks ass, but what can I say, I'm biased.
Long live Bumbershoot!
ONE REEL TOWN?
As a former Bumbershoot commissioner from the Bumber Wars era, I can say "Bumbershoot: An Oral History" [Aug. 27] was spot on! If Norm Langill was made emperor of Seattle and his One Reel allowed to run the city, our town would be on the way to getting its soul back!
I'm sure Michaelangelo Matos had his hands full accurately accounting every word of every interview he held for his fun-loving oral history of Bumbershoot ["Bumbershoot: An Oral History," Aug. 27]. But I have to defend the twist that came of my account. Granted, I use expletives loosely when talking with adults, and I am hyper and use a speaker phone (the interview was by phone). When Michaelangelo and I spoke, I was quite animated and exciteddelighted. He may have misinterpreted me. Let me clarify. I have rarely, if ever, paid to get into Bumbershoot, but I wasn't here during that time of the year in the '80s. However, I didn't say, "I never fucking paid and never will," and I didn't strike a cocky pose about going gate to gate to get in. Sure I hustle, but not like a thief. You walk around Seattle with my notoriety. I am grateful and respectful of the fame I've achieved. I strive to honor it. I use it appropriately both personally and socially where and when I deem necessary.
As for Bumbershoot, I still support Bumbershoot, as I do Folklife. It's events like the Bite of Seattle and Salmon Days in Ballard that offend me and I take issue with. There are issues with Bumbershoot and Folklife that buskers still work with, but the real culprits are the Seattle Center and, currently, the City Council. The council needs to pay attention to magician/balloon artist Mike Berger and his attorney and help buskers resolve our grievances.
Meanwhile, Michaelangelo would do well to use a tape recorder during phone interviews, please. Nevertheless, I appreciate the respect.
Artis the Spoonman
BUILD IT YOURSELF, PAUL
In 1890, real-estate entrepreneur Guy Phinney, a man with a fraction of the net worth of Paul Allen, developed his own streetcar to lure buyers to his new parcels in the Woodland Park and Phinney neighborhoods ["Vulcan Mind Meld," Aug. 27]. If Allen wants a streetcar to exploit his landholdings in South Lake Union, let him take a page from the history books and build it himself.
President, Phinney Ridge Community Council
SELL A TOY OR TWO
South Lake Union is a messthere's no question it could use some buffing up, and bully to Paul Allen for proposing something better ["Vulcan Mind Meld," Aug. 27]. But Allen already has ripped off the city and state with his Seahawks scam and given Seattle one of the ugliest eyesores in history, and now he wants the city to pungle up $550 million or more to further enhance his edifice complex.
Not only is Paul Allen worth $50 billion or whatever, but he has at least $1 billion worth of toys. And anecdotal evidence suggests that Vulcan mirrors Allen's otherwise penny-pinching ways. If Allen was as civic-minded as painted, you'd think he'd happily give up a jet or yacht or two to prove his commitment.
Thank you for "Already, a Hot Campaign" [Aug. 27] from a member of that "radical middle"59, retired teacher (31 years), paying over $700 a month for health insurance for my husband and me, disgusted by the fiscal and foreign policy of the Bush crowd. (You would think they won the election in 2000!)
Philip Dawdy has accurately captured the source of Gov. Howard Dean's appeal: plain-speaking, truth-telling. I have called him "Harry Truman with a medical degree." The campaign liked that phrase so much they asked me to speak at the Falls Church, Va., Sleepless Summer Rally . . . another thing that sets this campaign apart. They want ordinary Americans to connect with the political process again. Thanks for an excellent, balanced story.
HEMPFEST OF THE FUTURE
In response to Ben Schroeter's letter [Letters, Aug. 27] bemoaning the lack of pot paraphernalia sales at Seattle Hempfest, I would like to first suggest that he is wrong . . . selling such articles is illegal under state law. The law was passed in '98, in response to neighborhood complaints against a Puyallup smoke shop. In fact, there is a new "Paraphernalia Task Force" in the region, I am told.
What Mr. Schroeter is right about is our concern about the newly enacted federal RAVE Act, but it does not stop there. Operation Pipe Dream and Headhunter are the names of two recent DEA operations targeting wholesalers and retailers of glass pipes and bongs. Even Tommy Chong is due to do jail time for his entrepreneurial efforts in the biz as a result.
As for the fact that such items were being sold at the White River Amphitheatre, well, it is highly unlikely that the amphitheatre will be a specific target of federal narcotics enforcement divisions.
Every one of our lawyers suggested we suspend accepting vendors selling such items, and we begrudgingly complied. We already put enough on the line fighting for Mr. Schroeter's freedom, and you would think he would be thankful. We look forward to the day when Hempfest can again be the biggest headshop in the Pacific Northwest.
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