Free Will Astrology: December 13–19


ARIES (March 21–April 19): According to an old Sufi aphorism, you can't be sure that you are in possession of the righteous truth unless a thousand people have called you a heretic. If that's accurate, you still have a ways to go before you can be certified. You need a few more agitated defenders of the status quo to complain that your thoughts and actions aren't in alignment with the conventional wisdom. Ironically, those grumbles should give you just the push you require to get a masterful grasp of the inconvenient but righteous truth.

TAURUS (April 20–May 20): I undertook a diplomatic mission to the disputed borderlands where your nightmares built their hideout. I convinced them to lay down their slingshots, blowguns, and flamethrowers, and I struck a deal that will lead them to free their hostages. In return, all you've got to do is listen to them rant and rage for a while, and then give them a hug. Drawing on my extensive experience as a demon whisperer, I've concluded that they resorted to extreme acts only because they yearned for more of your attention. So grant them that small wish, please!

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Blabbermouth Podcast: The Alabama Upset and What's Next for the #MeToo Movement

Episode 129 talks about the lessons of the historic Alabama upset, the future of the #MeToo movement, whether there are any gray areas in sexual harassment, and the suddenly viral short story, Cat Person.
Episode 129 talks about the historic Alabama Senate race result, the future of the #MeToo movement, whether gray areas exist in sexual harassment, and the suddenly viral short story, "Cat Person." Above, some of Trump's accusers. Monica Schipper / Getty Images

This is our last episode of the year—we’ll be back in your earbuds on January 3!—so we gave you a little extra in this one. Settle in.

First: Dan Savage, Eli Sanders, and Rich Smith look into the historic victory for Democrat Doug Jones in deep red Alabama. What does it mean for the left as we all barrel toward the 2018 midterms? And what do the Alabama exit polls tell us about the kind of Democratic coalition it takes to win tough races?

Second: Sydney Brownstone is back to talk about how much credit the #MeToo movement deserves for the stunning Alabama result. Along the way, Sydney also gets into a fascinating back-and-forth with Dan over whether there are any “gray areas” in workplace sexual harassment and what, exactly, a boss should do if she wants to have a respectful, consensual, non-coercive relationship with a subordinate. Don't miss this conversation.

Finally: Rich Smith takes us through “Cat Person,” the short story that did something short stories never do. It went viral. Bigly. Plus...

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The Problem with Praising Black Women for Roy Moore's Defeat

Verso Books

Many are posting that black American women voters essentially prevented a racist alleged pedophile from winning a seat in the US Senate. One would think that being an alleged pedophile and racist would have tossed Roy Moore's whole political career into the fire. But that's not what happened. The godlessness of the majority of white voters in Alabama is so extreme, they are incapable of worshiping anything but the imagined supremacy of skin that lacks melanin.

Some are even saying that black women saved this civilization as we know it. There's a very good reason for feeling this way. One can only wonder who would have followed the self-proclaimed pussy grabber and the alleged pedophile into power. Black women voters in Alabama certainly put the brakes (for now) on the unimaginable. Black women voters also made it clear that the Dem party is in truth the minority-majority party or the racially and culturally heterogeneous party, and as such it should answer to and fight for the rights of minorities. This means no more compromises with the GOP, the white party of America.

And so some of the most vulnerable members of our society helped defeat some of its most powerful members. These black women are being praised all over social media. They are generating a lot of good feeling on Facebook and Twitter. Most of us will end the day pleased that we've tweeted, re-tweeted, and posted something positive and supportive about these black women. But a few us will, however, end the day with an uneasy feeling about this praise.

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Guillermo del Toro Discusses the Tragedy and Delight of The Shape of Water


"Understanding is love. There’s no difference, really,” says Guillermo del Toro. Despite it being a bright, warm morning in Beverly Hills, he’s wearing a heavy, cozy-looking sweater—and peeking through glasses so thick they distort his eyes. “That’s why most of the things we hate are things we don’t understand. We live in a time where divisions are done by ideology. It makes us easier to control, but on top of that, they have sold us on responsibility.... They tell you, ‘All your problems are them’—immigrants, illegals, a race, whatever it is—and you go, ‘Of course it is. My problem is not me or what I do. The problem is they are taking my job. They are the guys that are this and that. They are the criminals.’ No, no! It is an illusion. It is not us and them. It is only us. If you understand a person, you love the person.”

Del Toro thinks of his latest film, The Shape of Water, as being about “love and understanding.” That’s true, but those who dive deeper will find more: The Shape of Water is strange, sweet, and wonderful, and easily the greatest film ever made about a mute cleaning lady who falls in love with an amphibious fish man.

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25% OFF The Nutcracker at Pacific Northwest Ballet!

Make a magical holiday memory AND save 25% on select performances of The Nutcracker, just for reading The Stranger. “The new set is gorgeous in a Wes Anderson-y way, and it reflects the genuine weirdness and beauty in the story. I mean, the last 45 minutes of this thing is a Katy Perry video starring dancing desserts and a glittery peacock that moves like a sexy broken river. Bring a pot lozenge.” – Rich Smith, The Stranger

Get 25% off Tickets HERE!

29 Places to See Santa Claus in Seattle This Year (That Aren't Just The Mall)

See Santa at the Holiday Dog Party at Peddler Brewing Company on December 17.
See Santa at the Holiday Dog Party at Peddler Brewing Company on December 17. Santa Northwest / Peddler Brewing

Santa used to stick to shopping malls and parades, but lately he's been exploring new pastures, drinking a wider variety of beverages, and hanging out with wish-havers of all ages (even pets). To help keep track of his whereabouts, we've compiled all of his appearances this month in Seattle. Grownups can knock back some booze with him at Linda's annual Drunk Santa Party and see him in a murder-filled thriller in The View from Santa's Lap, while kids can take photos with him at Easy Street Records and the Volunteer Park Conservatory. See them all below, and find even more seasonal events on our winter holidays calendar.

Get all this and more on the free Stranger Things To Do mobile app—available now on the App Store and Google Play.

Cocoa Cris Cringle At Easy Street
Bring toys and non-perishable food items to donate to West Seattle Food Bank and get three photos with Cocoa Cris Cringle for $15 ($20 without). While kids tell him their holiday wishes, adults can sip dollar Rainiers from 5 pm until close.

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Listen to Corey J. Brewer's New Soundtrack for The Shining Forward and Backward

Dont overlook Brewers fantastic new Shining soundtrack.
Don't overlook Brewer's fantastic new Shining soundtrack.

If you missed Corey J. Brewer's live score at Northwest Film Forum's Puget Soundtrack showing of The Shining Forward & Backward, you still can hear it, albeit sans imagery. Brewer recently uploaded the audio to Bandcamp under the title The Overlook Hotel. It's a great piece of disorienting, darker-than-midnight-at-the-North-Pole ambient/drones in the vein of '89s/'90s :zoviet*france: and foreboding industrial soundscaping à la Techno Animal and Scorn (see "Here's Johnny"). It's worth hearing, even divorced from its cinematic inspiration. One imagines that original film composers Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind would be impressed.

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39 Winter Holiday Pop-Up Markets and Gift Bazaars in Seattle This Week: Dec 13-17, 2017

For the third year in Seattle, the Renegade Craft Fair (happening Saturday and Sunday) will bring together more than 200 markers at Magnuson Park.
For the third year in Seattle, the Renegade Craft Fair (happening Saturday and Sunday) will bring together more than 200 markers at Magnuson Park. Courtesy of Renegade Craft Fair

There are only a couple more weeks to find holiday gifts for loved ones—Hanukkah is already in full-swing—and amid the holiday cheer, this time of the season can be the most stress-inducing. If the idea of braving a mall full of last-minute shoppers gives you a rash, worry not: There are still dozens of pop-ups, bazaars, and sales selling local goods, from Pioneer Square Holiday Hooky Hour to the Life:Forms Night Market, and from the Duwamish Arts & Crafts Market to the Bon Voyage Holiday Vintage Pop-Up Market. See this weekend's options below, and check out our winter holidays calendar for more markets next week.

Get all this and more on the free Stranger Things To Do mobile app—available now on the App Store and Google Play.

Blue Cone Studios Holiday Art Walk
Party with Blue Cone Studios artists and pick out some creative holiday gifts. Thad Wenatchee will play music, and you can see work by Carolyn Hitt, Mark Meuller, Meagan Hall, Annalise Olson, Natalie Dupille, Alexandrew Wong, Jeremy Decory, Stephanie Jamieson, Anouk Rawkson, Megan Sarraf, Cyreeta Mitchell, and Kimberly Watcher.
Capitol Hill

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Comedian John Mulaney: Just a Humble Yarn Boy Who Performs Two Shows at the Paramount Tonight

Hal Horowitz

Stand-up John Mulaney and I were born two days apart, and I have always assumed this is why his polite, reference-dense humor lands so perfectly for me. But if tonight's two nearly sold-out Paramount Theatre shows are any indication, I’m completely wrong and you don’t need to have experienced the 1992 presidential election through the eyes of a 10-year-old to appreciate Mulaney’s wry “sweet idiot” take on life.

“If you were a kid when Bill Clinton was first released, it was the most exciting thing ever,” says Mulaney on his Netflix special The Comeback Kid. “We’d never seen a cool politician before. He would go on MTV and have cool answers to kids’ questions, like, ‘Governor, what’s your favorite food?’ And he’d be like, ‘I don’t know, fries?’ And we’d be like, ‘Yay! We eat fries!’” Mulaney continues into this long-form joke, which lasts 12 minutes, explaining that he learned the piano chords to Clinton’s campaign song “Don’t Stop,” “by Fleetwood Mac from Rumors—an album written by and for people cheating on one another.” “He let us know who he was right away,” he adds with good-natured skepticism.

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Savage Love Letter of the Day: Micromanaging Other People's Monogam(ish)y


My roommate and her boyfriend of one year made a "monogamish" agreement over the summer: They are allowed to sleep with other people if it comes up, but they aren't supposed to "seek it out." Importantly, they've agreed not to tell one another if anything happens. She has never acted on it and I think she believes he hasn't either. I recently found out that he is sleeping with other women actively and that he has basically had a second girlfriend (who thinks he is in an "open relationship") for the past few months. They go on dates, kiss in public, etc. I think this violates the terms of the monogamish agreement and I am considering telling her. She has been very adamant about not wanting to know anything, but I don't think this is the level of infidelity she imagined when they made the agreement. What is appropriate here? Should I confront her or hold my tongue?

Feeling Relationship's Illicit Explorations Need Discussion

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What'd You Do Over the Summer? Dude York Was Recording Christmas Songs


Dude York are a trio of twentysomethings with service-industry jobs who call themselves America's band. Obviously, America's band needs to have a Christmas album. So several months ago, in the height of Seattle's summer, they recorded a nine-track holiday record in a windowless basement decked out with a tree and Christmas decorations.

Realizing they needed to shoot some cover art, bassist Claire England called the JCPenney photo studio at a nearby mall to see if they had any Christmas backgrounds. Since it was summer, they didn't. The closest they had were solid red and white backgrounds, but England, guitarist Peter Richards, and drummer Andrew Hall sat through an hour of traffic to do the photo shoot anyway.

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The Band Industrial Revelation Is Covering Björk's Homogenic Live at the Neptune

Industrial Revelation

In one of the year's most surprising developments, Industrial Revelation will be covering Icelandic singer/songwriter/producer Björk's third album, Homogenic, in its entirety on December 20 at the Neptune. Released in 1997, Homogenic is a richly orchestrated electronic song suite that stuffs 10 pounds of fraught emotions into a five-pound bag. It's the record on which Björk became really serious.

Homogenic contains two career peaks: the jaggedly funky "Alarm Call" (augmented by some of the most buoyant "oohhs" ever put to tape) and the infinitely ascending helix of joy that is "All Is Full of Love." Beyond those, the record finds Björk and her phalanx of producers—Mark Broom, Howie B, Guy Sigsworth, Markus Dravs—combining orchestral strings with rarefied electronic textures and beats that don't want to make you dance so much as they assert the singer's idiosyncratic conception of rhythm as a metaphor for her tumultuous inner life.

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A New Bill Could Help Protect the Open Internet in Washington State Even If Net Neutrality Gets Repealed

Net Neutrality: Pretty much something that everybody (except Verizon) wants.
Net Neutrality: Pretty much something that everybody (except Verizon) wants. RYAN MCBRIDE VIA GETTY IMAGES

In the face of net neutrality’s imminent doom tomorrow, Washingtonians can at least feel good about our state’s efforts to preserve it. Last week Governor Inslee sent a strongly-worded letter to the FCC about how the repeal would strangle innovation and damage tech jobs here. And now, one state legislator wants to make sure that, at least here in Washington, the open internet remains open.

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Seattle's #KOMONEWS Quizzes Its Facebook Audience and the Responses Are Priceless


A public quiz from the KOMO News Facebook page: "In the last month, 1 in 3 people have experienced this during their morning commute. What is it?"

Some of the (funny, horrifying, thoughtful, obvious) responses included below...

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About The Wildfire That Destroyed Mansions in Bel Air

The Guardian:

Authorities have revealed the wildfire that razed homes owned by LA’s wealthiest residents was started in a homeless camp inhabited by its most downtrodden. After the Los Angeles fire department announced on Tuesday that the Skirball fire began life as a cooking fire under a freeway about 20 miles from downtown, the homeless services community took a sharp intake of breath. “These kind of reports are never good for us in general,” said Laurie Craft, a director at Hope of the Valley, which runs the only winter shelter in the area where the Skirball fire started.

Maybe fewer people would be living under freeways if the wealthy didn't invest so heavily in driving down tax rates, ramping up income inequality, and destroying the social safety net. Don't want people living under freeways? Spend more on housing and social services and access to health care and addiction programs. Don't want to spend more money on any of that? Then maybe put in a sprinkler system.

You Don’t Have to Cross Lake Washington to Eat at Dough Zone Dumpling House Anymore

Dough Zones infamous Q-bao
Dough Zone's infamous Q-bao MVH

The Eastside’s Dough Zone Dumpling House chain has finally caught up to its arch competitor, Taiwan-based Din Tai Fung, with its first shop in Seattle proper: across from Uwajimaya in the International District’s new Publix building.

As far as soup dumplings go, I’ve always been on Team Dough Zone, partially because it’s more chill than the upscale Din Tai Fung, and also because it’s a local business. But I admit, it’s mostly because Dough Zone’s dumplings are exactly as good as those at Din Tai Fung, and there’s rarely a wait to eat them.
This reasoning doesn’t exactly ring true at the new Dough Zone location, arguably one of the best dumpling holes in the neighborhood. This Dough Zone is slicker compared to the basic strip-mall interiors of its brethren—it’s got mobiles in geometric shapes hanging from the ceiling, and it seats roughly twice as many people. Good thing too, because they’re doing a brisk business already only two months after opening, with a near-constant mob scene of office workers streaming in from the giant complex across the street. So, it’s less chill, and there’s usually a wait.

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