Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The City has not done everything it can...

no way Jose......
we've lost about 17 businesses on the block, Antique Row, since last summer. Some due to the toxic Bush/cheney regime, and some due to construction.
I've been on this block,off and on for about 14 years...I think the construction had the most destructive force against small business.
And I think this is really what pleases the city......move out the small the corporate stores and shops can move in...
ColdStone Creamery, TGIFridays, Cheesecake Factory, and every other bland sanitized corporated yekkk you can name Lakewood.

Why? bigger payrolls of minimum wage workers, and tourist-purchases and therefore more taxes for Tacoma....
To do what with? Fix potholes?
That wouldn't be there but for increased traffic from the subsidized wealthy who bought condos and drive their SUV's and Explorers from downtown to Target and Costco.

But what makes a community isn't the bigger business, faceless corporate Xanax'd to death and meaningless.........
It the small business, the micro I need to remind you again, that small businesses make about 80+% of all American Jobs.
Off Shore This Wal-Mart !!
So there are what, 5 "antique" stores left on Antique Row...........
I just heard this comment "Where's Antique Row?" (she was standing in my store just 10 minutes ago)
"We saw more stores in Puyallup".........
"When are they going to be done?"
My answer is "Never".

The object isn't to make a pretty streetscape, tho that is a benefit...
the object isn't to replace aging services, tho that is a benefit...
everything done on this BroadwayLID could have been done over a 3 -5 year timetable with a minimum of disruption....that would have allowed all the small and micro businesses to stay and weather the storm of construction.
(and let me take this moment to tell you that the crews, the mens, the womens, have been Fabulous!!)

But the cost to us has been several hours every week, just cleaning up the muck and dirt.
We'll be cleaning for months to come.
Nobody gives me a deal on cleaning staff! Hey city! Give me a case of paper towels, and some CitraCleaner!
Nobody pays me to vacuum and wash my car once a week, instead of once a month (maybe).
The filth is tracked everywhere.
I have to drive in with merchandise ..I can't bring in 25 jackets and cute dresses, on the bus/hobo train.
I don't work in a cubicle.

What ...the city upped the parking time to 2 hours instead of 1???
the city was just doing their job, so why am I supposed to jump up and down like a mindless cheerleader for that?

The most often heard comment is "Those big machines are scary...I'm afraid of them"...
So City...
Where was the special advertising dollars to get folks down here?
Where was the occasional midweek day of rest from the destruction so maybe we could have a weekday without the trauma?

The object of the BroadwayLID was to kill community and rebuild something like Westworld.
And they just about succeeded.

Enjoy the robot serving you a Jack in the Box burger when they locate in my building next fall.
(yes that is a CityArtsMagazine picture...)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Let's Get This Garden Started !

I've been a gardener all my life...pulling weeds, which is a vital part of gardening, was my first job (that I remember) when I was 4, and got paid a penny a weed! Them's some big bucks.
I so clearly remember crawling under the big hydrangeas and the scent of the cool earth....the mystery of being the size of a bug under the big leaves and mop-headed periwinkle violet flower balls.......

so, I used to write a gardening column for Tacoma Monthly, then Tacoma Weekly...yes, that one!
I called it At Last A Decent Plot

I researched this article in the Tacoma Library downtown with child (Annie) in tow...she loved it...being inside the library all day...(no really!)

this was originally published April 12, 1995. I've added some internetz links because that is something one can do...that is not too possible with newsprint...much. Besides, I don't think the Google was invented, 1995. Let's go back to the Clinton days of yore, blue dresses and good wars, when acid wash jeans weren't yet ironic.
Each week I'll try to publish a new/old article from those days...and well, continue on writing, cause I like to do things...

Killer Chemicals

The recent subway poisoning incident in Tokyo may seem to have no relationship to gardening--but there is a connection. Sarin, the deadly nerve gas used in Tokyo, was developed during WWII by the Nazis.

American scientists regarding their own nerve gas during the war discovered that low concentrations of some lethal chemicals will act as pesticides, herbicides, or fumigators.
The end of the war left America's large chemical companies with vast knowledge of chemical killers. Knowledge they kept a top secret, right? Not a chance. Seeing the deadly chemicals as a potential money-making bonanza, they aggressively marketed them as new, modern solutions to the "bug problem".

The result has been that, as biologist Rachel Carson exposed in her 1962 book Silent Spring, chemicals synthesized into unnatural molecular chains have permeated nearly every ecosystem on the planet. Scientists have found post-WWII chemicals everywhere they've looked , including in samples taken from the top of Mt. Everest.

Many garden chemicals are billed as harmless, but don't bet on it. DDT, Chlordane and Dieldrin are "chlorinated hydrocarbons", while Sarin, Malathion and Parathion are "organo-phosphates".
Though anything made from elements native to the Earth is by definition, natural and organic, to make this a badge of harmlessness is deceptive. Chemicals in the DDT family are stored in the body. Both the FDA and EPA have agreed that there is no safe storage level because these chemicals interact with other chemicals, producing increasingly toxic results. Sarin and Malathion work on the nervous system, the effects resembling the alkaloid poison, muscarine.

So what are some chemicals to watch out for? Chemical nitrogens available so plentifully at nurseries -- Nu-Life-- is a common brand--work wonders for your plants. The nitrogen makes your plant's leaves green and encourages them to grow. While the nitrogen itself is a good thing, the concentrated chemical soup used to create chemical nitrogen, including ammonia and chlorine -- wreaks havoc on the environment. It's toxic to workers and the area around the chemical plant that produces it. It's harmful to nursery workers who deal with it. And, it eventually pollutes your local water supply.

Phosphorus is another gardening essential. Chemical companies mine rock phosphate, a wonderful source of natural phosphorus, and treat it with acid to create superphosphate. While your plants will become supercharged with phosphorus, they won't thrive. Why? When the superphosphate is added to the soil, it combines with the necessary micronutrients iron and manganese, making them unavailable to plants. Without iron and manganese, the plants become vulnerable to insect and disease damage. To an unsuspecting gardener, this action can create a vicious cycle.

The bottom line is that there is no need to use chemicals in your garden. Unadulterated sources of nutrition such as manure for nitrogen, crushed phosphorus rock for needed phosphorus, and wood ashes for potassium are available for your organic garden. Combined into rich compost, these sources will provide all the nutrients your plants need to stay healthy as well as capable of resisting insects and disease.

Hundreds of organic gardening books and magazines are available to help with basic information. One of my favorites is Rodale Press The Expert's Book of Garden Hints, edited by Fern Marshall Bradley. I also like Organic Gardening Magazine. Once obscure, it's now available on the magazine racks in most grocery stores. Besides information about organic gardening, you'll learn about the latest research on nontoxic insecticides and techniques to lessen the occurrence of fungus or bacterial attacks.

But what about chemicals used by large corporate farms? A scary example of chemicals resulting in tragedy occurred recently in Olalla. Two horses died from eating hay (grown in Eastern Washington) that had been sprayed with an organo-phosphate pesticide. The pesticide had drifted in from an adjacent potato field, said Cliff Weed, program manager for the State Department of Agriculture compliance division for pesticides.

Now that you're afraid of everything you might eat,
remember that you're not gonna get out alive. Still the best cure for cancer is to try to prevent it. Requiring multi-national corporations to avoid using dangerous chemicals which contaminate our water, air and food should be an obvious step.

What can we do to save ourselves and future generations of children and wildlife? Make a personal committment to stop using dangerous chemicals in our own gardens as much as possible. Just as important, write letters to congress, imploring them to continue enforcing environmental laws. This isn't an issue that is liberal or conservative. Newt Gingrich and Jesse Jackson breathe, eat and drink the same food and water the same as you and I. Remember, the life you save may be your own.

So there ya go....
across the street from the shop is a chunk of land at the top of a parking lot...I"m gonna just go over there and guerrilla-garden it....I suggest you do the same!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Send Money, Send Ideas, Send Energetic Responses

from the bottom of the well, with new improved acres of concrete sprouting all over downtown Tacoma, I say:
Let's Party On It !
and to wit:

“They won’t have David Fewster to kick around any more,” says disgruntled aging enfant terrible.

“Not since Chip Van Gilder’s abdication has there been such a blow to the cultural life of the city. This is a tragedy,” Alex Clayton would have written in this week’s Volcano, if he had ever heard of Fewster.

Rumor has it that Fewster was driven to despair by the news of RR Anderson’s TAIP grant to print an edition of 100 hardbound books from specialty firm Lulu Publications at a cost of $16.66 per volume, while Fewster’s own project, the epic poem-cycle “Ballad of the New Tacoma & Other Sagas of the American West” (with accompanying folk rock opera of the same name included on CD) was stalled due to lack of funds, in spite of its budget of 66.6 cents a copy for ten copies.

Fewster, who is not on facebook or myspace and thinks twitter is what the damn birds do at 3AM to aggravate his insomnia, was apparently unavailable for comment until we found the following message scratched with a blunt stick in the dried mud from the city’s endless construction project in front of our place of business.
(ed. note: We love RR and wish him the best of luck in all endevours)
The following is what we could decipher before the rain started:

“The problem is, my message is misunderstood. I don’t hate people. I hate Community. In fact, that is what I like to see as my role, that of Community-Destroyer. Is that so wrong? What is everybody’s problem with that?

“I think it goes back to that night in September 2003, when there was a meeting held at the Karpelis Museum on ‘The State of the Arts in Tacoma’ or some nonsense like that.
I was sitting next to my buddy, Ray ‘Let’s-Put-On-a-Play-Kids’ Heaton, writer, performance artist, and beloved manager of Shakabrah Java.

Also present were the spunky neo-beat Dadaist action painter kids that were getting ready to start Pannemonica’s (which was fun for the year it lasted.) I myself attended in the (so-quickly) dashed hope that my slim volume of poems, due to be published that month, would do for our city what Sandburg’s ‘Chicago Poems’ did for his hometown—demonstrate that anyplace could be subject for serious artistic consideration. And I meant ‘anyplace.’

“But alas—also present, like the proverbial vipers in the midst, were two women (who shall remain nameless) who, unlike the rest of us, had a clear and ruthless vision for our future.
Before we knew it, their program of fashion shows, red doors, yellow furniture, suitcases, conceptual art projects that turned to plaster shards and gluten mush before our very eyes, endless grab-ass wine parties for slumming North End yuppies, and the like was sucking up all available funds from the Arts Commission, Economic Development Department, and credulous newly-arrived small businesses who were snookered into thinking that supporting such a groovy scene would put them on the fast track to popularity in what the internet assured them was a new Boom Town.

“These women were aided and abetted by feeding on the blood of our young creative types, who were seduced from the frequently tedious and frustrating task of making art that anybody would give a damn about into cavorting around like Rock Stars in Their Own Minds, prancing through the pages of City Arts and the Volcano like they thought it was People Magazine, posting 2000 pictures on Flickr (“hey, I’m a global artist”) and thinking that anyone was going to actually download this drivel, and running around half-undressed (“we’re free, uninhibited and avant-garde!”) at Art Parties for the afore-mentioned middle-aged Proctor perverts.
No doubt this is seductive for the artists’ egos (folks can spend a lifetime in the Bay Area without getting a goddamn sidebar in the SF Weekly), but the years have passed now and some of these hapless kids are discovering that they’ve wasted their precious twenties amassing a resume that consists of an interview on their favorite microbrew at Doyle’s.

“But, as it turns out, the days are numbered for this scene. The money is all gone and, as I speak, power is being shut off, over-priced rentals sit vacant, and the words ‘Seattle,’ ‘Portland,’ and even as God is my judge ‘San Francisco’, are turning up more and more on the blogsites.
And, as the Beautiful People begin to migrate to greener pastures, two distinct types will be left:
1) those born here and unable to gather enough escape velocity from its horrible vortex, and
2) those who crashed and burned here (or woke up and didn’t know where the hell they were), and, being now too weak and broken to move, have come to embrace its hideous splendor as a fitting purgatorio for the sins of a lifetime.

“’So,’ some of you may ask, ‘what makes this such a pressing time for a Community-Wrecking Festival?’ Some may even think to themselves I may have an ulterior motive.
And I do.
It is simply my selfish need to spend a few precious moments with the special and wonderful creative individuals that I want to destroy, before we come to that sad parting of the ways and leave the Tacoma art scene forever.

“Oh, and my other ulterior motive. Cash. Lots of it, but not so much that people will think I’m insane. I’m talking tens of thousands of dollars, which is still a mere fraction of what other groups ask for on a weekly basis at the City Council meetings.

It is my dream that the Funkoma Vintage Anti-Festival will take place in July and August, featuring such performers as the Tacomen, Tommy Dean, Colin Sannes, Doug Mackey, Heather Lum, Teddy Haggerty—all the folks that were here long before the b.p. showed up, and will be here long after they’ve gone far away. The festival would also be the publication party for my 10 xeroxed pages from Kinko’s.

“But, for this we’ll need start-up funds. So, I’m calling out to all my brand new best friends on the blogosphere to help me
1) find ways to cut through all that red tape on those nasty 501C-3 applications
2) grease the palms of the bureaucrats who vote on grants for me
3) maybe some wealthy patron could just give me a big wad of greenbacks in exchange for immortality—who would have heard of the Medicis if it hadn’t been for Leonardo, answer me that. And did I mention how much I love you guys up on the North End?
4) while I’m waiting for this to happen, I still gotta eat. There’s a list of restaurants I’ve never been to in town. It’s called the Yellow Pages. Give me a ring when you want to take me out. (No breakfast calls before ten, please.)
5) the back panel of my electric guitar amp has fallen off, and I get a wicked shock every time I try to turn it on. I need someone to come over and fix this. (Please have own insurance.)

“Well, that’s about it for now. I’ll keep everyone posted as I discover other needs. In the meantime, I would like to offer the first page of my book for the world’s perusal. Because you won’t find it in “In Tahoma’s Shadow: Poems from the City of Destiny”—


Sometimes, as a kind of game while I’m waiting for the light rail
To take me from nowhere to nowhere a mile and a quarter down the street,
I pretend to timewarp my youthful self of 25 years ago
(runaway college-dropout denizen of dens of LA and San Francisco depravities)
To my present situation with no word of explanation,
Then I try to figure out where I am using Sherlock Holmsian powers of deduction.
The tall buildings that rise at different points of the horizon
Would seem to imply a city,
But the street I’m on is composed of vacant lots,
Half-block long complexes of shops with the personality of
A strip mall gone to seed, and broken brown stumps of
Abandoned buildings of a century past.
To my right is a large, multi-storied aluminum structure,
Looking all the world like the exoskeleton of
A High School Football Stadium erected by a Proud and
Moderately Affluent Midwestern town.
Although it is 10 o’clock in the morning on a business day,
The street is completely deserted.
I decide my quarter-century twin from the past
Might feel like Burgess Meredith in the old Twilight Zone episode,
The one where he goes outside after the Nuclear Blast.
Oh wait, I lied—looking as far as the eye can see,
I can spot one speck of humanity in one direction,
A couple of specks in the other.
“What IS this place?” I wonder aloud.

“Oh, what will happen if Frank Russell leaves?”
The business section and bloggers moan.
Shit—bring it on—what’s the worst that can happen?
Tacoma will turn into a ghost town?
I’ll only be able to see two specks instead of 3?
Hell, it’s already so bad that the Starbucks kittykorner from the Convention Center
(Remember the Convention Center aka home of the Gooseberry Falls Iowa Corndogs—
It was going to Revitalize Downtown!)
Our Starbucks is the only one in the Goddamn Universe
That closes on Saturdays.
On weekends, it is very funny to see
The occasional tourists saunter confidently to the door,
Reach for the handle to swing it open,
And nearly wrench their shoulders from the sockets in the
Inexplicably arrested movement.
Some of them even try twice,
Then peer through the tainted glass
Before turning around in pained disbelief.
Sometimes our eyes meet. I shrug,
As if to say
“I dunno. Don’t ask me. I’m just passing through.”

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Oh, A Pretty Dress !

a great pleasure that often comes with choosing from the flotsam and jetsam of life, from the uncountable objects of enterprise is.....
offering for sale a lovely dress or 2 or 100...
and when someone finds one I have for sale, and buys it, and then loves it so much, they want to wear it immediately and then....they send me a picture...
well, That just makes my day!

(I still love everyone who buys something from me, because without you, dearest buyer, I am nothing...well, that is a bit dramatic, but you understand)
Recently 2 gals bought spring frocks and sent me pics.

I'm late getting to this but I am so happy to have met Ang over the internet, courtesy of etsy. She's from the Bay Area (yeah!) and she bought this stunningly beautiful dress from me.

This is an 80s dress that is inspired by the New Look of Dior's late 40s collection. Dior used yards and yards of fabric because he could, after years of WWII wartime restrictions on fabric and style of fashions.

So not only does this dress have yards of fabric, it has one of the most beautiful fabrics ever designed. It was done by Karin Stevens. It was for sale as yardage in addition to being used for dresses and home accessories. I run into this dress 3 or 4 times a year, and I often see picture frames and pillows with snippets of it.
It has pink and burgundy peonies, and periwinkle wisteria. Rare, I tell you since I am a horder and treasure-hunter of dreamily beauteous floral prints.

Another pleasure I have is to find a fun day know, the kind of dress that doesn't go to big formal events...the kind of dress for the daily grind or marketing, errand-running, and perhaps a toddler playdate or PTA meeting. It's the kind of dress that bridges the gap between jeans and tshirt and a dinner date.

Here's darling Kristin and her date for the day, wearing a comfy cotton late 50s/early 60s day dress. In Kristin's other life besides being a mom (I presume) to an adorable little boy, she makes funky cute pet tags. I shall be going to her etsy shop and purchasing one...when she returns from the madness of remodeling her home. (I fully understand that..I just moved and I'm putting stuff away)

Her shop is Pure Panache Pets. Please join her email list so you'll know right away when she returns. All I can say is, that her prices are great and the tags are uniquely cute.
Click her feedback link to see her Sold tags, and then just drool !

Here's the Tacoma part of this post !
I moved my storage of special vintage to the shop, I'm sorting and pricing, and creating new displays, and we'll likely be closed until Wednesday May 20....and of course I am stupidly excited about the opening day of Tacoma's Farmer's Market...Broadway edition on Thursday May 21st.
I'll have plants and pots and other gardeny type things for sale on that tote bags made of vintage fabric and birdhouses, plant shelves and bring the outside world inside or heck, leave it all out...because, 'round these parts, we don't get enough of the beautiful world outside our homes and offices....
I'm working on moving my newest old stuff out to the sales floor...and in a day or 2 I'll start publishing my garden column.
Some of you know I used to have an organic farm, published a garden column, and sold at the Gig Harbor Farmer's Market in the early 90s.
Thanks for loving funkoma vintage...and making the trek down our street, even though the City of Tacoma has done everything in its power to kill all the businesses on our block.

Friday, May 1, 2009

buzz buzzzz punk tag Betsey Johnson...

I love the whimsy...I love the fun....really!
and Betsey Johnson has been delivering it since the 60s man...

a bit of bio....
Now firmly part of what was considered the “Youth Quake,” Betsey soon found herself in the unforgettable 1960’s Warhol scene. Edie Sedgwick was her house model, while the Velvet Underground’s John Cale took to wearing her designs both on-stage and off. In 1969, Betsey began her foray into retail by opening a new boutique called Betsey Bunki Nini. Directly following the opening store Betsey was offered a job from Alvin Duskin in San Francisco and thus began living a bi-coastal life for the remaining years of the 60’s.

Along with the new decade came new career opportunities for Betsey and in the early 1970’s, she came into creative control of the label Alley Cat, a label which set the trends for the 70’s rock n’ roll clothing, with bohemian and ethnic styles. In 1972, along with Halston, Betsey won the coveted Coty Award becoming the youngest designer to ever receive the honor.
so I'm so happy to list this amazingly fun top..on Betsey...