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Celebrating The Next 50 – Seattle Center – Lower Queen Anne – Seattle, WA

I have never reached a conclusion about the frequency of oddball things that happen to me in any given week. I am either blessed with a disproportionate number of peculiar events occurring or I just happen to have a higher recall rate about those that do happen.

On this particular night, I found myself bored so I wandered over to the Funhouse to hear the last couple of bands. When I arrived the bouncer waived me in without paying the $6.00 cover. I was pleased by this generosity and I quickly found a place a the end of the bar with a clear view of the stage.

On stage was what I can best describe as a punk rock band whose expiration date had clearly expired and not recently. When I think of punk rock I think of early 20 somethings raging against anything that falls outside a crystal clear and lingering teenage absolutism.

Until this evening I never thought to associate that notion with 50 somethings. Slash and the Idiots, hailing from Kentucky and together as a band since 1983, were apparently on a national tour of dive bars. Somehow over the decades they managed to keep alive that crystal clear, but now long ossified, teenage absolutism.

They were kind of an odd looking bunch with three of the members staying stuck in my mind. One band member had a grey beard and looked like he should have been dressed in camouflage and carrying a bow and arrow instead of a guitar. The other guitar player looked exactly like Steven Tyler but about five years from now, while the bass player had this incredible shock of silver hair cut in a longer version of the bowl cut that Moe Howard wore in the Three Stooges.

Musically they were rather competent and utterly forgettable except to maybe the half a dozen 30 somethings that stood right in front of them though I could sense a discernible air of resignation that this evening was shot in the ass. I wish I could call this standing around a mosh pit but the truth is the only moshing I saw going on was when one guy pushed his buddy in the shoulder just as he lifted a Pabst Blue Ribbon to his lips. Actually this is more of a moisting now that I have had a few days to think about it.

They wrapped up their set after 30 minutes and these five Cinderellas of Slam, their pumpkin burst, transformed into one the most efficient roadie crew I have ever seen. They reminded of a NASCAR pit crew – I guess all the touring had honed their skills. Or maybe they were accustomed to having to leave town fast. And then they were gone, almost.

Out of the blue the bass player walked up to me really fast and handed me, without saying a word, both parts of the type of ticket you get at a school raffle. Before I could respond he turned and was gone into the night. That was strange.

Later, when I got home, I took a good look at them and on them was stamped a crude drawing of a spider or an octopus. After puzzling over the species for a few minutes I noticed in one of the critters some writing which I still cannot clearly make out. However I think it says pray. This is really strange.

Next up were the headliners, the F-Holes, another band of 50 somethings. One big difference between them and Slash and the Idiots: The F-holes could hit the G-spot effortlessly. They played a fine, fine, fine set of originals, such Tits and She’s A Hot Mess that made for some flat out great rock and roll.

In the middle of She’s A Hot Mess, a hot mess came up to me and handed me her credit card slip from the bar and demanded that I tell her “how much.” I am like, what the heck is up with her. I handed it back to her and tried to tell her that I had no idea what she wanted. Of course that went nowhere because the band was adding to our communications difficulties.

Instead of her clarifying how she wanted me to help her, I found myself once again holding her bar bill. And yes, once again, she said “how much,” and then clammed up and stared at me. Finally after several more of these back and forth exchanges, without any hint progress towards resolution, I signaled with my hands that we were done, crossed my arms for emphasis, and then stared back at her. She then gave up and promptly wrote in a $10.00 tip, signed the $25.00 bill, and gave it to the bartender and then walked away. That was strange.

After the F-Holes wrapped up I took my raffle tickets and headed for home without providing anymore accounting help. I was happy about both these things. My route took me through the middle of Seattle Center which got its start as home for the 1962 World’s Fair, Seattle’s coming out party.

Today it functions as the home to the Space Needle, The Pacific Science Center, The Children’s Theater, The Experience Music Project (a rock and roll music museum), Key Arena (former home of the NBA team now gone to Oklahoma City), and various festivals such as Folklife and Bumbershoot.

This year, 2012, is the 50th anniversary of the World’s Fair, an event that is being celebrated all year. On this particular night I thought the Space Needle looked especially elegant and felt that a perfect opportunity was at hand to capture some of the awe and mystery of the celebration and what makes Seattle a world class city.

Copyright 2012 By Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved.

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