Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Margin Notes: Grungy Art Deco White Christmas

The scene in a Bellevue, Washington backyard as snowfall continued on a White Christmas, 25-December-2008

BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON - The rain and wind storm yesterday morning cleared the roads and caused most of the snow to disappear, but the Seattle area did see a rare White Christmas, as evidenced by the photo above. Arguably, this was the first "real" White Christmas of my lifetime in this area, as there was snow on the ground at dawn and snowfall during the course of the day; only one of those elements had been in place in any previous year.

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It was a Seattle Christmas, though. While wandering downtown Seattle last Saturday, a group of street artists near Westlake Center were noted performing Radiohead's "Creep". Where else but the grunge capitol of Seattle could someone sing "I'm a creep / I'm a weirdo" on the streets and not only avoid arrest but expect to earn money?

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"Nutcracker" by Randy Bollanger in Pacific Place was part of the Downtown Light Spectacular in Seattle, Washington on 27-December-2008

More conventional holiday entertainment came in the form of the Downtown Light Spectacular, a series of forty LED light displays depicting various toys. While most of the "Toyland Display Gallery" was dispersed outside throughout downtown Seattle, a few were inside including the "Nutcracker" which mixed in with a variety of Nutcracker figurines at the Pacific Place shopping mall.

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Seattle, Washington's 1930-era Exchange Building exemplified the Art Deco style on 27-December-2008

Also mixing the inside and outside was the reason for my visit downtown, a tour of Art Deco Seattle by the Seattle Architecture Foundation. Looking at such architectural gems as the Seattle Tower and the Exchange Building from both inside and out demonstrated how the ornate and vertical nature of Art Deco structures contrasted with the classical and international styles much more common in Seattle.

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One of the first buildings that comes to my mind when thinking of Art Deco is Palo Alto's railroad station, the public transit gateway to Stanford University. Holiday travel is the time I usually use to catch up on reading "Stanford" Magazine. Had I not read recent issues, I would not have known that Yankee pitcher Mike Mussina, Air America and MSNBC personality Rachel Maddow, and KUOW-Seattle producer Sage Van Wing all went to Stanford.

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For more detailed coverage of radio in 2008, Scott Fybush's well-known Northeast Radio Watch came out with its Year in Review this week. The highlight of Fybush's reviews, especially for those outside of his region of focus, is the Year-End Rant which often has significant insight into the state of the broadcasting industry. With the economic downturn, one might think this would be a pessimistic article this year, but Fybush has managed to insert some optimistic thoughts that are worth reading.

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