Or as Nicholas Cage says to Sean Connery in “The Rock” regarding Connery’s prison hair style, “it is a grunge thing!” This is what Fodor’s says about Seattle grunge.
Grunge means grime or dirt—which went on to define a new sound coming out of Seattle in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Fusing metal and punk rock, grunge incorporated fuzz effects, feedback, guitar distortion, and anguished lyrics. The music form jumped onto the scene with C/Z Records’ release of Deep Six in 1986, introducing the world to Melvins, Green River, Malfunkshun, Soundgarden, Skin Yard, and the U-Men. Sub Pop, another record label founded in 1986, signed up major grunge players including Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Mudhoney; they’re often credited with kick-starting the “grunge movement.” Although the sounds have changed, grunge (along with flannel shirts and Doc Martens) are what defined Seattle musically (and sartorially), and there are still traces to be found today.
Alice In Chains, Nirvana, and Soundgarden played at Central Saloon before headlining around the world; it still offers live performances. Check out the control room, lounge, and overdub studios at London Bridge Studio, where Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains recorded albums (tours by reservation only). “A Sound Garden” is the name of a public art piece in Magnuson Park, made up of 12 steel towers that produce grunge-like sounds when the wind blows right—the origin of Soundgarden’s name. Some music venues where grunge bands played early on are still open today, including The Crocodile (which has changed locations but is still the same storied club), El Corazón (called Off Ramp back then), and The Showbox. Shop for vinyl LP copies of every Sub Pop release (along with other wares and objets d’art) at the famous Sub Pop Airport Store at the SEA Airport and at Sub Pop on 7th, in the Belltown neighborhood.
One of the best places to learn about Seattle music, and grunge in particular is Paul Allen’s Museum of Pop Culture or MoPop at Seattle Center. Over the years, they have exhibited extensive collections from not only Seattle grunge, but Jimi Hendrix, Elvis, and other Seattle related music (Paul Revere and the Raiders, guitar gallery, The Ventures, Fleetwoods, and Bumps Blackwell).
Grunge 1985-1995 (Wikipedia)
Prior to the mid-1980s, the local hardcore and metal scenes were often violently confrontational with each other. The opening of the Gorilla Gardens venue changed that by offering two separate shows at the same time; as a result, both hardcore and metal were frequently played on the same nights. The softening of relations between the two groups helped inspire the look and sound of grunge, a term allegedly coined by Mark Arm of the brief joke band Mr. Epp and the Calculations who gained some local notoriety.
Two local bands later become well-known icons of the era: The U-Men and Green River, the latter of which has been cited as the true beginning of grunge. Local music author Clark Humphrey has attributed the rise of grunge, in large part, to the scene’s “supposed authenticity”, to its status as a “folk phenomenon, a community of ideas and styles that came up from the street” rather than “something a couple of packagers in a penthouse office” dreamed of, as well as Seattle’s isolation from the mainstream record industry. Rebee Garofalo attributes to the unlikely rise of Seattle’s alternative rock to the legacy of local rock left behind by the Ventures and Jimi Hendrix.
The grunge scene revolved around Sub Pop, a record label founded by Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman. Sub Pop was founded by Bruce Pavitt, who began with a local radio show and began releasing tapes of local bands. Radio stations like KJET, KGRG and KCMU and local music press like Backlash and Seattle Rocket and City Heat Magazine also played a vital role. Grunge’s entrance into the mainstream is usually traced to the release of Nirvana‘s Nevermind in 1991, though others point to the signing of Soundgarden to A&M Records in 1988 and their Grammy-nominated Ultramega OK, and the release of a compilation album called Deep Six on C/Z Records in 1986. Though Soundgarden failed to bring in large national audiences at the time, record executives saw enough promise to send scouts out to the major bands, many of whom signed to large labels.
The 1991 release of Nevermind catapulted the local scene into national fame. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and other grunge bands became bestselling groups; many of their earlier fans greeted this development with cries of selling out, and the bands themselves struggled with the irony of alternative rock bands entering mainstream pop culture. Seattle grunge as national fare ended abruptly in a few years, however, beginning with the suicide of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain in 1994.
Seattle has been and still is, a hot bed of music. We have enjoyed many genres here: ABBA, Sting, Paul Simon, Chicago, Average White Band, Jeffrey Osborne, Tower of Power, the Seattle Symphony, John Handy, and many others.
Does having the most coffee shops per square mile mean that you have the best coffee? Yes, there is a Starbucks, and usually one other competitor on every block. There are a few Peet’s (our favorite), so there is hope for this city. But do they have really good coffee?
Here is an “expert” at the Stranger:
Coffee shops in Seattle function as social clubs, community forums, shared office space, and study centers. Even the most utilitarian place offers mind-boggling overheard conversation and fascinating people watching. In my opinion, Starbucks’s coffee tastes burned and people look dumb walking around drinking coffee out of giant paper cups like they’re constantly at a high-school kegger. Espresso is best sipped scalding hot from a ceramic cup without a weird plastic sippy-cup lid filtering it through a petroleum product. Try it.
Truth be known, that is NOT the original or first Starbucks. That one is long gone, and this one is just there so Asian tourists can take their photo out front.
In the downtown area, where we tend to stay: For a taste of old Seattle, visit Bedlam. This place harks back to the Belltown neighborhood’s pre-boom era, when World Pizza had punk shows and before the Speakeasy Cafe burned down. This is the real deal—no foam hearts or a bunch of fluffing about sources. Just really good espresso—rich and complex. Comfy couches, plenty of tables, and an old upright piano give this place a living-room feel. Not a hipster in sight. They make toast and pie. It’s on the north end of downtown. If you’re on the south end of downtown, go to Zeitgeist, a big, open, industrial-chic space with exposed brick right around the corner from King Street Station, where Amtrak trains arrive and depart.
Or venture over to Beacon Hill: The Station is the soul of Beacon Hill. Everyone knows each other, and if they don’t, they will soon. Good and strong Fulcrum coffee is served with that rare magical unicorn: cheap refills! Cozy and dog friendly, the new location offers an expended food menu, as well as the Station’s classic drinks like the D’Angelo (brown sugar latte), Coco Chanel (chai and coconut), and Bowl of Soul (Earl Grey, honey, vanilla, steamed milk), all at lower prices than most cafes. The old much smaller space at 2533 16th Ave S will open soon as a wine bar “loud with conversation and music” as affable owner Luis Rodriguez puts it. “I’m going to get political,” he says. Rodriguez and his spouse, Leona, put on a real block party every summer, support the local hip hop scene, and host poetry readings.
Many well known Seattle folks live in Ballard: Fremont boasts it is the center of the universe. This is very apparent in joints like Milstead & Co., where pilgrims come to double down on coffee wankery, near the famous Fremont Troll. If you’re in Ballard and need to rent a table workstation for the price of a cup of coffee, Cupcake Royale and Verite Coffee is there for you. If you want amazing small-batch French pastry that people stand in line for—the line goes out the door—go to Cafe Besalu. If you want to skip the line, head on over to Honoré Artisan Bakery for the kouign amann (a salty sweet crispy croissant situation), cannelé (custard baked into a cake with a carmelized crust), and macarons.
So, do you want to know what we do? We bring our own Peet’s French Roast, and make coffee in our room. And if we head to breakfast, it is usually at a Tom Douglas place, like Lola, or our favorite bakery, or LePanier near Pike Market, which serves illy. If we need a mid day “pick me up”, we choose a local place, not named Starbucks.
That said, I have rarely had a bad cup of coffee in Seattle!!!
As the song says, “It never rains in California”, but I retort, that “it always rains in Seattle.” Tell me, why I would fly to Seattle in December, and go to a Niner-Seahens game on a cold and wet December night. I must have a very good reasons.
Yes, my buddy, Big Bob, who moved to Idaho, will meet up with me for the Niner game. We were at the NFC Championship game in Los Angeles last January. If you thought that was crazy, sitting in the freezing cold and rain is even crazier. He even went to Green Bay to see the Cheese heads on the “Frozen Tundra” of Wisconsin last January.
Though I have visited Seattle numerous times in the past, both for business and pleasure, winter is not an ideal time to visit. I have seen relentless rain, heavy snow, and bitter wind and cold here. The snow may have been the worst, since it paralyzes the city. Why? The downtown streets are so hilly and steep. Even the police and fire do not have tire chains or snow tires!
But the main reason I am here is the game, not because Seattle is any good. Maybe the Niners can win a game in a hostile stadium? And clinch the NFC West and a playoff home game or two??
The best way to reach the stadium is the Sound Transit (light rail) from downtown to the ballpark. The senior fare is a dollar, as I recall. In fact, I will use the light rail to get from SeaTac Airport to downtown before meeting Big Bob.
I have been to the Mariners baseball stadium (Safeco?) before, but never to Lumen Field where the Seahens play. In fact, I also went to the old (now imploded) Kingdome, perhaps the world’s worst indoor stadium every built!!!
We are fortunate that Lumen Field is not located in Petaluma (haha). I expect we will be outnumbered by about ten to one, Seahens fans to Niner fans. Oh well! Big Bob is a former SWAT trained officer, marksman, and crisis negotiator. No worries!
I was hoping to see our next great QB, Trey Lance, but he is out for the season. We get another season of Jimmy G (now injured, yet again), though he might get us into the playoffs and Super Bowl. Then again, maybe not. But I think we are in a better place than the Seahens. It seems like they got rid of Russell Wilson just in time! And now our hopes depend on Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, the last player drafted in 2022.
But I love Seattle, any time of year. The average daily high temp is 53 F., making December the coldest month of the year here. It will be coldest at kickoff time! And an average of 14 days of rain. Weather update: the highs are in the 40s, lows in the 30s. Burr!!!
I also can’t comprehend how some people think it’s okay to take care of their personal hygiene on an airplane like clipping their nails, tweezing their eyebrows or giving themselves a manicure. In the past, I would tell the passenger it’s not allowed to apply nail polish on a plane because both nail polish and nail polish remover are highly flammable. But after getting chewed out, now I would just ring the call button so the flight attendant can do the dirty work. They always shut it down immediately.
Unfortunately, it’s happened at least twice in the past week as two incidents made the news.
First, last week, the Daily Mail reported: “An American Airlines flight from Miami to Barbados had to return to the airport after flyers became sick due to an ‘acetone smell.’ AA Flight 338 departed Miami International Airport around 6pm on Wednesday, but had to return due to a strong chemical odor – believed to be nail polish remover – coming from a passenger’s carry-on item. Some passengers reportedly became sick and started vomiting due to the strong smell.”
Then Yahoo wrote a story about a viral Reddit thread titled: This woman painting her nails on a 3 hour plane journey. There were over 600 comments and the most popular was from Twinkletoes1951: “Happened on a flight I was on; flight attendant came over and shut that down within a minute for degrading the air quality.”
However, what I find even more shocking is that neither nail polish nor nail polish remover are illegal to bring onboard (something I just learned).
Carry On Bags: Yes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)
Checked Bags: Yes
“The FAA limits the total amount of restricted medicinal and toiletry articles in checked baggage. The total aggregate quantity per person cannot exceed 2 kg (70 ounces) or 2 L (68 fluid ounces). The capacity of each container must not exceed 0.5 kg (18 ounces) or 500 ml (17 fluid ounces). See the FAA regulations for more information.”Fortunately, I have never had to endure the smell of acetone on a flight, yet. But I have endured a guy slipping toenails of his dirty feet. And a woman openly breast feeding a seven year old! Or the farting old lady on our flight from Costa Rica!
But the one thing people, mostly women do, is toss their hair continuously during a flight. The hair hangs over the seat back, resulting in a myriad of particles (including dandruff) falling onto me, my tray table, and possible my food and drink!!! And it seems to happen elsewhere too, like in church, sports venues, or at funerals!!!
Let me be the first to tell you that airplanes, church, and funeral parlors are not the fashion show catwalk!!!
After more than a million miles in the air, I think I have earned the right to complain.
PARIS — The humble baguette — the crunchy ambassador for French baking around the world — is being added to the U.N.’s list of intangible cultural heritage as a cherished tradition to be preserved by humanity.
UNESCO experts gathering in Morocco this week decided that the simple French flute — made only of flour, water, salt, and yeast — deserved U.N. recognition, after France’s culture ministry warned of a “continuous decline” in the number of traditional bakeries, with some 400 closing every year over the past half-century.
The U.N. cultural agency’s chief, Audrey Azoulay, said the decision honors more than just bread; it recognizes the “savoir-faire of artisanal bakers” and “a daily ritual.”
“It is important that these craft knowledge and social practices can continue to exist in the future,” added Azoulay, a former French culture minister.
“Of course, it should be on the list because the baguette symbolizes the world. It’s universal,” said Asma Farhat, baker at Julien’s Bakery near Paris’ Champs-Elysee avenue.
“If there’s no baguette, you cant have a proper meal. In the morning you can toast it, for lunch it’s a sandwich, and then it accompanies dinner.”
Despite the decline in traditional bakery numbers, France’s 67 million people still remain voracious baguette consumers — purchased at a variety sales points, including in supermarkets. The problem is, observers say, that they can often be poor in quality.
“It’s very easy to get bad baguette in France. It’s the traditional baguette from the traditional bakery that’s in danger. It’s about quality not quantity,” said one Paris resident, Marine Fourchier, 52.If you have spent any time at all in France, you know why the mighty baguette is a way of life. Every French home, restaurant, and cafe makes their baguette run early every morning. Some people will drive 20 miles each morning for the right baguette. I see people bringing their baguettes home on their bicycles.
If you go on a picnic, or decide to have an impromptu meal, the baguette is the center piece. Just grab some cheese and a bottle of wine! And it works great while cycling too!
Though I hardly consider myself a frugal traveler, there are times where being frugal is smarter, faster, and easier. Consider these ideas.
Stop buying food at the airport! Yes, carry snacks, energy bars, dried fruit and nuts. For longer trips, perhaps make a sandwich at home. Not only is airport food expensive, it is not very good or healthy (with a few exceptions).
Don’t park at the airport. Either park off site or take public transportation. Enough said.
Avoid peak travel. I prefer to schedule my trips by avoiding summer months and holidays. My favorite travel months are May and October, slightly off peak, and perhaps a time to find some discounts and bargains.
Use public transportation at your destination. This includes the airport to hotel segment as well. The experience is much richer compared to a cab or Uber. Munich, Lisboa, and Porto had great public transportation options on my last trip.
Mealtime. Quite often, I eat just two meals a day, a full breakfast, and a nice, early dinner. Lunch might be a snack with a beer or something light. But I do not skimp on beer, wine, and water.
Convert money ahead, do not use the airport exchanges! Converting currency at the airport is a waste of time AND money. Better exchange rates can be found once I reach the city center.
Join a walking tour. These are conducted by college students and local free-lance guides. Tips are based on how much you enjoy your tour, and generally provide a better insight into local culture and favorite places.
Hit the Happy Hour or early bird specials. Often, bars and restaurants have bargain happy hour food and drinks. Many times, the menu is the same with a 50% discount! And it provides a great opportunity to meet locals. Same for the early bird specials.
Talk to locals. They always have insights and tips on what to do, how to save money, and have some good local fun. Trip Advisor is not always the best, just the safest.
Carry a reusable water bottle.
But always remember, you are on vacation. Relax and enjoy yourself. Don’t be too frugal!!!