FIVE THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

I’m sitting here in a coffee shop in Edmonds, Washington waiting for my buddy to come pick me up.  Tonight is the last night of “The Little Girl Waits” book tour.  I am ready to get home, but being here again has reminded me of some of the things I love about the Northwest.

1.  Washington State Ferries.  I am sure if I had to ride one every single day a as a part of of a commute they might grow old, however, I love riding on them.

2.  The Bowling Alley in Port Orchard.  It is the best breakfast place anywhere on earth.  The only thing missing on the menu is chorizo and eggs.

3.  Portland’s weirdness.  I had coffee twice, two different days, with two different kinds of people in Portland and, I have to tell ya, it was interesting being the only people in the coffee shop who wasn’t pierced.

My friend Cameron and I at Torque Coffee
My friend Cameron and I at Torque Coffee

4.  Seattle.  Just, Seattle.  I love that city.

5.  Slate.  Gray.  Skies.  There is something oddly refreshing about the methodical, predictable, and unbending weather of the Northwest.

Of course, the people are what really make it, and I am so thankful for the wonderful souls who have helped make this a fun time for me.  I look forward to any opportunity to get back up here.  A part of my heart will always be on Puget Sound.

SEATTLE VERSUS DAVID STERN

I’m not a big NBA fan.  I never have been.  I think the game moves too fast for me.  I can’t even follow the college game very well.  But, I am a big fan of Seattle.  In fact, I love Seattle and its greater metropolitan area.  I love its people, culture, geography, and the glorious summers.  But apparently, David Stern, the Dr. Evil of the NBA hates Seattle.  Back in 2006-2008 Stern did absolutely nothing to help the Sonics, a historic NBA team and franchise, remain in Seattle.

For the whole timeline which reveals the NBA and Stern’s hypocrisy, please see this excellent piece in the LA Times, “How the Sonics Became the Tunder.”

seattlesupersonics

I have nothing against Sacramento, and I have nothing against the people of Oklahoma City.  If I had my way, the league would simply grant an expansion team to Seattle and call them the Sonics.  That would be a win/win for everyone.  I guess that makes way too much sense.  But for now I must content myself for rooting against OKC, always.

But back to David Stern.  What I am trying to figure out is why he hates Seattle so much.  There must be some logic to the systematic bias he displays against Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.  Why? Why does he hate?  Maybe . . .

1.  He is allergic to tasty salmon.

2.  His wife made him watch Sleepless in Seattle one time too many.

3.  Nirvana made him nauseous.

4.  He is an Apple guy and can’t stand Bill Gates and Microsoft.

5.  He owns stock in Airbus.

6.  He is afraid of the rain.

7.  Bigfoot.

8.  His gum wouldn’t stick to the wall in Post Alley.

Post Alley's Famous Gum Wall
Post Alley’s Famous Gum Wall

9.  Mt. Rainier gives him LSD flashbacks.

10.  He’s really more of a tea drinker than a coffee drinker.

I don’t know what it is, but for some reason that guy has a serious hatred for Seattle.  Maybe when he retires we’ll get a break.  Until then, the only safe assumption we can make is that David Stern is just not cool enough to recognize what a great place Seattle, the 13th largest media market in North America, is.

JETS AND SHARKS IN SEATTLE

Last night Mrs. Greenbean and I escaped away to the city and left our little sprouts behind.  I shudder to think what they got away with while we were away, but that is another blog for another day.  We had a very nice and luxurious dinner.  Mrs. Greenbean had a seared chicken and I had the pork tenderloin, but the highlight was the outstanding chicken noodle soup.  After dinner was over, we jumped in a cab and headed to the Paramount Theater for the main event, two tickets to a revival production of West Side Story.  We had a great time.  As I wake up this morning and get the girls off to school and drink my morning coffee I”m still thinking about last night.

For starters, I was very surprised at how contemporary the immigrant story feels.  The cultural clash between “normal Americans” and Spanish speaking immigrants is something that could have been developed this year.  It is hard to believe that it was written in the 1950’s.  Of course, we must remember that the plot is stolen directly from Romeo and Juliet.  For my money, I still prefer Shakespeare because he has the courage to kill Juliet in the end (unlike Maria) and Genoa is way cooler than New York.  However, Bernstein and Sondheim are much more singable than the Bard.

In a technical sense, the production was very good.  All of the singers were very strong.  We felt like the strongest actor was the woman who played Anita.  My program tells me her name is Michelle Aravena.  The lead of Tony was strong, but Anita was the best actor on stage.  I never believed the actress playing Maria as a true ingenue.  Something was just missing from her performance.

The stage construction and set designs were outstanding.  I particularly liked the “Rumble” underneath the highway.  The way they built the set, where the action takes place behind a chain-link fence was compelling.  You’d expect a barrier like that to distance the audience, but it had the opposite result in me–it drew me in.  The orchestra was, as always, fantastic.

The show was at the Paramount Theater in Seattle and that is always a treat.  The layout of the theater is old-school and grand with lots of gaudy decorations.  The Paramount also features the coldest water I’ve ever drank from a drinking fountain.

At intermission I took a survey of those in attendance.  It was a full house and I didn’t see a single seat open.  The crowd was very gray–I’d say the average age of those there was at least 60.  It was clear the revival of this old favorite appeals mostly to Baby Boomers.  However, there were also a few younger than us folks but most of these were the typical Seattle arts crowd with people dressed all in black.

The show runs until January 15.