As Seattle Art Museum staffers prepped Tuesday for a Jan. 5 closing-night blowout, they were broadsided by an unexpected ultimatum. A group of museum guards, who usually work the evening shift, vowed to walk out at 5:30 Tuesday, Jan. 3, if management did not brief them on the status of their jobs during the museum's upcoming, long-term closure. Talks between the two parties continued at press time. . . . Remember: Seattle Art Museum closes Thursday, Jan. 5, for more than a year of remodeling. Then on Saturday, Jan. 14, Seattle Asian Art Museum reopens with a new roof. Between the 5th and the 14th, you might consider visiting one of the city's less traveled museums—except, of course, for the Frye: It'll be closed Jan. 6–16 to have its floors refinished. LYNN JACOBSON
GAS WORKS OR BUST
In a prepared statement, Mayor Greg Nickels hailed the Summer Nights concert series' move from South Lake Union to Gas Works Park as a "wonderful opportunity." So why did the mayor issue the press release on the afternoon of Friday, Dec. 23, when most of the city's journalists were already home stuffing stockings? Perhaps he suspected that Gas Works' neighbors wouldn't find the traffic and noise associated with the series quite so "wonderful." Sure enough, complaints are now being voiced by community groups in Wallingford, Ravenna, and the Gas Works area. LYNN JACOBSON
A NEW FANGOUT
Between the dungeon-chic concrete and chain-mail curtains, green neon, and film-negative Lichtenstein prints, Venom is pop art with prurient allure—a cheeky grin baring fangs. Unfortunately, at the Belltown club's Dec. 29 opening, the makings for classic cocktails like sidecars (and a nice glass of red wine) were nowhere to be found behind the serpentine bar, and the spread—croissandwiches bedecked with so-so cold cuts—seemed like a bar mitzvah buffet assembled at the last minute. The shiny-shirt brigade can rejoice, though, since the club's opening-night playlist sounded like a cross between KUBE and Polly Esther's.
"An iPod! An iPod! My kingdom for an iPod!" Seattle Shakespeare Company has found a novel use for new technology. It's podcasting a program to prepare patrons for its upcoming production of Richard III—background on the War of the Roses, interviews with SSC artists, and selected scenes from the play. Download it at eshakespeare.org/webfeed/Richard_iii_jumpstart.mp3. LYNN JACOBSON
On the Boards got a huge Christmas gift from the Non-Profit Finance Fund's Mid-Size Presenting Organizations Initiative: a four-year, half-million dollar grant, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. . . . The Washington State Court of Appeals settled a complicated suit challenging the One Percent for Art ordinance as applied to City Light and other utilities. Bottom line: The ordinance stands, continuing support for public art. STAFF