Friday, September 30, 2011

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Short Film Festival - This Week Only!

Fall is in the air. The air is crisp, the leaves are falling, and days are growing shorter. Which means only one thing:

Time for the annual Manhattan International Film Festival!!

Over the span of one week, a program of 10 short films are shown in 250 cities across 6 continents to over 100,000 people. At each screening, the audience votes on their favorite and the winner is unveiled in NYC at the end of the week.

One interesting, and sometimes frustrating aspect of the Festival is that each program only runs for one day in each of the theaters. And since the festival isn't exactly backed by Hollywood, the theaters tend to be in smaller, more obscure locations. In other words, this will not be showing at your neighborhood multiplex. In my opinion, this makes the experience all the better because you end up getting to check out these quirky little theaters that are (often) short on seating, but large on personality and you get to share them with people who are genuinely excited about film. But you do have to work for it a bit more. For instance in the Seattle area the options are:

1. Take a ferry to Bainbridge Island
2. Drive to West Seattle
3. Drive to Kirkland

Now, normally I would opt for any excuse to ride a ferry across the beautiful Elliot Bay. However, the one-time-only-screening was this past weekend. Same is true for West Seattle. So, it looks like I'll be driving to Kirkland Saturday night.

Why would I go to such lengths you may wonder? Well, it is because it simply never fails to be an entertaining, thought-provoking, highly enjoyable evening. The films are from all over the world are typically a great mix comedy, drama, and documentaries. They focus on a variety of themes and cultures and it's really fun to see the world through someone else's eyes for a bit. Also, good short films are built upon good story telling since there's no time to waste. This translates into high entertainment value for you the viewer.

Remember, it's one night only, so check your city now!
-San Francisco is tonight!
-Tucson is Thursday
-Ann Arbor is Thursday
-Kirkland Saturday
-Tangier, Morocco is Sunday

Find your venue here.

Here are the 10 finalists:
Manhattanshort Finalists

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"That Passeth All Understanding"

"... That Passeth All Understanding"
by Denise Levertov

An awe so quiet
I don't know where it began

A gratitude
had begun
to sing in me.

Was there
some moment
song from no song?

When does dewfall begin?

When does night
fold its arms over our hearts
to cherish them?

When is daybreak?

(thanks to Josh Jeter for showing me this poem)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Food Cart Rodeo Rundown

Last saturday was the much ballyhooed foot cart fest know as the Mobile Food Rodeo
Though there were no rodeo clowns, food cart barrel races, and precious few cowboy boots.  There were haybails, a country western band, and a big circle of foodcarts waiting to be wrangled. 
Here’s my round up of the best: 
The Box on Wheels was without a doubt my favorite new find that is still making my taste buds sizzle at its mere mention.
The Box was the last stop on demanding round of food card sampling, which makes the this delectable little dish all the more remarkable. By this time I really was not hungry. Nor should ANYTHING have tasted good to my over-satiated body at this point.
Still, I had a $3 voucher to spend and I could not stop thinking about the bowls of crisp, chicken-y goodness I saw wandering around the rodeo.
So I walked up, slapped my ticket down on the counter along with a couple bucks, ordered the Chicken Karaage Bowl, and was rewarded with what enough goodness to ensure the beginning of a long and glorious love affair of flavor. 
The chicken was moist, tender, with a touch of crisp on the outside. The sauce was divine: a hint of citrus, creating a savory-sweet swaddling of flavor on this perfectly done chicken. 

I could not stop eating it. 

And neither could my eating companion Eric.
Mind you neither of us were hungry.
Yet we were so compelled to savor every bit of this chicken-powered goodness that we sat in the backseat of his car, bowl of chicken between us, as Becca, Eric's  gracious wife drove us home. It’s true. I know this sounds a bit dramatic, but it is what really happened. Ask Becca, she’ll tell you.
The only downside (for me) about the Box, is that they are in Kirkland and I am in Seattle. This may mean a long lunch commute for me or (hopefully) the rumored in-the-works-Seattle cart will get here soon. 

I'll be the first in line. 

Also getting high marks were:

ULA burger from Portland’s Happy Grillmore
The cuban sandwich from the newcomer Snout & Co

And the pesto, mushroom, onion? pizza from Veraci.

Getting medium marks was the Catfish Poboy from WhereyouatMatt. Good quality and tasty, though the proportion of bread to filling seemed a bit high, especially for the $9 price.

Big smile, little value. 
Getting low marks on the evening was the slider from The Bistro Box. Never has freerange beef, bacon and cheese tasted so dry. And small! For $5, that’s more than a dollar per bite. Take me back to the Box!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Splitscreen: A Love Story

Splitscreen: A Love Story from JW Griffiths on Vimeo.

This is cool for the following reasons:

I love Europe
and clouds in my coffee
and trains
and moody piano-driven music
and bridges
and airplanes
and clouds
and sunsets
and short films
and love stories.

And as if this isn't cool enough already, apparently it was all shot using a mobile phone.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Buy Your Tickets TODAY for the Mobile Food Rodeo

Buy your tickets TODAY for the Seattle Mobile Food Truck Rodeo!!
Why you ask?
Well let me tell you.

If you buy them now, you get the entry ticket for $8.50 (after fees), plus you get a $3.00 voucher good at any of the food trucks. 
However, if you just show up tomorrow you have to pay $10.00 and you don't get any voucher! 

Need I say more? Ok maybe I do. Because why should someone have to pay to go to a food truck? has your answer:
"This isn’t just a parking lot full of great food trucks, it’s an experience with live music, live art, contests, tons of hay barrels, cowboy hats and even a Trophy Cupcake eating contest!!
But, this is still 100 % about the best mobile food in town. So enough of the build up already….We are introducing some seriously tasty signature dishes to keep your taste buds salivating at this Mobile Food Rodeo. Think you’ve tried them? Well you haven’t, as these prized dishes set to debut for the the very first time as part of the Seattle Met’s Wagon Awards competition.
That’s right! The Mobile Food Rodeo is the ONLY place to get your hands on these dishes! Our favorite mobile food trucks are cooking up brand new signature dishes for the Wagon Awards this year to be judges by our guest judges and audiences. That right!"
Music, art, cowboy hats, cupcakes and new dishes! Ok I'm done. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Something to Brighten Your Day.

This is Good with a capital G.

This idea get high marks for:

-use of existing materials
-improving people's everyday life
-low cost
-being awesome.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Ace Hotel: Portland. Put An Elk on It!

Traveling with my job, I’ve stayed in my fair share of hotels. For too long I ran the circuit of the big name hotels, lured by points, priority check-in (who cares?), and the coveted sliver, ahem, excuse me, platinum card that comes in the mail every year, telling me I am important and am not home that much.
Well I’m here to tell you it’s all a sham.
No matter what you pay at these chain hotels (I’m talking Marriott, Hilton, H.I. Express, Hyatt and the like), you get: a lobby with stuffed chairs and a blah, if upscale feel, expensive parking, expensive breakfast. For your $150-$200+ you get a room that looks basically the same no matter if you are in Seattle, San Francisco, Hong Kong or Indianapolis. I mean really. It’s just a shoebox with nice bed, a big TV and a stark, functional, but characterless bathroom. These hotels are generally funded by developers looking to get as much money out of a plot of land as possible, with no regard for the locality they inhabit. Had enough of this discussion? So have I. In fact, I’ve had enough of these places in general. 
Now try this on for size. 
  • Rooms with character. Each room is a bit different. Some have murals. My current room has one wall papered in an old dictionary. 
  • The ceilings are tall, the floors are wood. 
  • A sweet elk on my “Portland” bedspread. Put on Elk on it!
  • A clawfoot bathtub. 
  • Wooden floors that delightfully squeak as you walk up the stars or step into your room.
  • Record Players (in some rooms)
  • Custom soap and bath products. (Have you tried the cilantro conditioner?! I could drink that stuff.)
  • Stumptown Coffee in the Lobby. Let me repeat. Stumptown. Lobby. 
  • A photobooth in the Lobby. 
  • Clyde Commons, the restaurant attached to the hotel, is the sort of place you'd actually want to go on a Friday night and you'd actually want to eat the food. 
  • Oh, and did I mention it’s the same cost or cheaper than the big chains?
  • The lobby is hip beyond all imagining. I feel like I’ve stepped into a set for “America’s Next Top Hipster.” You really feel out of place unless you have multiple tattoos and/or piercing, and look like you don't give a damn. It’s kinda ridiculous really, but kinda fun too. Explore your inner skinny jeans.
  • The breakfast is reasonably priced ($8), delicious and healthy too. The guy working it said he got all the fruit today from the Farmer’s Market. How very Portland. Wherever it was from it was delicious. Blackberries, peaches, blueberries, cherries cheeses, toast with Nutella, pastries, yogurt, etc, etc, and (of course), Stumptown Coffee. All in a nifty little breakfast room with communal wooden table with copies of the New York Times, or a window seat by the little roof-top herb garden. 
Have you ever seen an herb garden at the Hilton? I think not. 
And maybe the best part, Powell’s is a block away.

Friday, September 2, 2011

1 Reel Film Festival or What I Would Be Doing This Weekend if I Were Around Seattle

I'm leaving town this weekend.

But if I weren't, this is what I'd be doing:

1 Reel Film Festival

SIFF Cinema is using Bumbershoot as excuse to have a little mini-fest.
This is good news to you loyal reader because you get to experience some of the best short films from around the world.

Top Picks would be:

-Best of SIFF Audience Choice Shorts at 4:30pm on Sunday.
-Astonishing Tales, Sunday at 7:00pm
-Around the World in 50min, Monday at 1:00pm.
-Cupid Attack, Sunday at 2:00pm

Really you can't go wrong. Just go.