August Wilson 1945–2005

American theater has lost one of its most brilliant minds: Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright August Wilson, 60, succumbed to liver cancer Sunday, Oct. 2. Though a Seattle resident, Wilson spent his career recalling the voices of the people he knew in the black Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pa. Wilson arguably did more than any artist since James Baldwin to bring to light and life the beleaguered valiance of African Americans in the 20th century, chronicling each decade with a series of plays that began in 1984 with Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and ended with his recent Radio Golf (which the Seattle Rep, continuing its long devotion to Wilson's work, will produce in January). Haunted by the sometimes hopeful, often heartbroken repartee he heard during his formative years, Wilson was that rare writer who could intricately articulate the points of view of many different characters. His dialogue had an improvisatory, jazz-driven snap and fury; his monologues were soaring arias of despair or defiance. Broadway will remember him—its Virginia Theater will be renamed for him Oct. 17—but we all owe him a moment to honor the fiery, magnificent compassion of his words. STEVE WIECKING

SMELLS LIKE NIRVANA

Kurt Cobain may not rival Tupac Shakur in the output-after-death sweepstakes, but few things excite the music industry more than the prospect of that contradiction in terms, "new Nirvana songs." Last year saw the issue of With the Lights Out, a three-CD/one-DVD box set loaded with demos, rehearsals, outtakes, and other gouge-the-faithful ephemera. Now, Geffen issues Sliver: The Best of the Box on Nov. 1. There are three new tracks ("Spank Thru," from a 1985 demo; "Sappy," the 1990 outtake later remade as "Verse Chorus Verse"; and a raw, early version of "Come as You Are") along with 19 of the box's highlights. Too bad the Lights DVD, featuring home-video footage of the band during rehearsal and in-store gigs, and more affecting than just about any of the audio, is currently unavailable on its own. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

WEB RADIO WAR

In the David vs. Goliath Dept., the tiny, local Internet radio station Steve.FM is taking legal action against megabillion-dollar, 1,200-plus-station Clear Channel. Steve.FM owner Steve Chapman wants Clear Channel to rename its Steve-FM.com, a Cayce, S.C.–based station named after South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier. "I have first usage," says Seattle's Steve, who plays the Posies, Pearl Jam, and other Seattle "Rock 'n' Roots" music on his site. Even though the audience in Cayce (pop. 12,100) can't be vast, Steve Chapman's is probably smaller: "I get about five to 10 listeners a day," he says. Clear Channel refused to comment. TIM APPELO

ENGELSON EXITS

Seattle Weekly visual arts critic Andrew Engelson is hiking up to Third Avenue to devote more time to his job editing Washington Trails magazine (www.wta.org). We'll miss his many insights and thoughtful voice. Check this spot in coming weeks for news of his successor. LYNN JACOBSON

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