Category: Art & Culture

U.S. Home Prices, Sung As Opera

The Case-Shiller home price index is a powerful way to look at the story of housing in America. You can see the boom and bust all in one simple graph.

But when NPR goes on the radio to talk about home prices, a graph isn’t much good to them — nobody can see it.

So they converted the Case-Shiller graph into musical notes.

They gave the sheet music to Timothy McDevitt, a baritone who’s getting a master’s degree at Juilliard. Then they got Karl Case and Robert Shiller — the economists who created the index — to listen to the music weigh in.

Pecha-Kucha Night at See Sound Lounge 4/10

Make Magazine

I wrote an article for this months issue of MAKE Magazine ( about folk artist Martin Sanchez and the environment he created out of found objects (including a beer-bottle chapel) and I’m going to be featuring some of those photos with commentary this Thursday 4/10 at See Sound Lounge on 1st and Blanchard in Belltown at 6pm.

Pecha Kucha Night was conceived in 2003 as a place for designers, architects and artists to meet, network, and show their work in public, and it has spread virally to over 100 cities across the world.

Give a mic to an architect or an artist and you may be trapped for hours. The key to Pecha Kucha Night is its patented system for avoiding this fate. Each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds each – giving 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up. This keeps presentations concise, the interest level up, and gives more people the chance to show.


Pecha Kucha (which is Japanese for the sound of conversation) has tapped into a demand for a forum in which creative work can be easily and informally shown, without having to rent a gallery or chat up a magazine editor.


Artists and presenters for the evening are Marlow Harris, Alex Steffen, Cameron Hall, Sage Saskill, Elizabeth Buschmann, Karen Lorene, Jesse Harris, Dawn Clark, Ross Leventhal and Michael Franz Horner

Live, from Baby Tattooville

Martin Sanchez Chapel

When I was at Inman Connect, Brad Inman was asking questions of the audience and to the winner with the answers he liked the best, giving away Mark Frauenfelder’s “Rule the Web: How to Do Anything and Everything on the Internet—Better, Faster, Easier”. Frauenfelder’s an artist and one of the co-creators of BoingBoing. I met him briefly at a show he had at Roq la Rue Gallery in Seattle. Brad said he loves BoingBoing and admonished everyone who wasn’t a fan to become one immediately. For lovers of the internet, tech news, art and popular culture, it’s a regular read and getting something mentioned there is equivalent to having your new invention mentioned on engadget.

I’ve had several posts meet with their approval and get a link. One was a photo essay on artist Lisa Petrucci and another just a little link that documented collector Steve Bard. Yesterday, they mentioned this one on Riverside folk artist Martin Sanchez.

I met Martin through Hanan Levin of Grow-a-Brain. He knew I’d enjoy the naive folk artist-created environment, and arranged a lunch meeting there. Hanan and I were both so touched by Martin’s story, that we promised to help him if we could. Hanan is the Blog Father, to whom we all owe so much and, incidentally, the owner of The Great Team of “The Champion Company”, a real estate firm in Riverside. Hanan had visited Martin too and taken some great photos and posted them on Grow-a-Brain.

Though I took the photos in April, I waited until Baby Tattooville, taking place this weekend in Riverside, to post and spread the love, thinking that the timing would be much better, as the town would be crawling with artists and art afficianados.

Sanchez was the eighth child in a family with 16 children — 13 boys and three girls and he came to the United States in 1984. He struggled at first, selling oranges in East Los Angeles, working in factories and making extra money by selling tacos. He became a legal resident during the 1986 federal amnesty.

In 1992, Sanchez quit factory work and persuaded the owner of a Mexican seafood restaurant to let him sell tacos out of a corner of the establishment. Eventually, he raised enough money to buy the restaurant and the Spanish Colonial home next door where he lives with his family. (And, Marlow adds, becoming yet another person to successfully combine art with real estate!)

This is the first Baby Tattooville event and if successful, will probably happen again. It’s like Woodstock for low-brow art lovers. If you ever attend or have another reason to take the drive between LA and Palm Springs, then Martin Sanchez’s incredible art installation should be a definite stop on your itinerary.

Riverside California Folk Artist Martin Sanchez on Unusual Life.

Degrees of separation

I love juxtapositions and reciprocity and capillaries of connections. I like to look for patterns and order and the weave, web and wiring between people and events. Relationships, correlations and networking connect the people, places and things in our lives.

Walt Crowley 2007

If you’re a Seattleite, you may know Walt Crowley, founder of, a journalist, a social services director, a policy planner for the City of Seattle and the Municipal League of King County, a television news commentator, a freelance writer, communications consultant and networker extraordinaire.

In a sad twist of fate, this former radio and television commentator, lobbyist and public speaker was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer on July 15, 2005. He began treatment at Group Health Cooperative in August, but chemo and radiation therapy ultimately failed to kill the disease, necessitating removal of his larynx on February 9, 2007. Luckily, word is he did well and is now in recovery. He’s not seeing guests quite yet (not even recent visitor Mayor Greg Nickels), but he’s making good progress. Slowly, he will learn to use one of those hand-held voiceboxes and will communicate with his multi-layered network of friends, political cronies, writers, artists and other assorted ne’er’-do-well’s in that way.

In the weeks before he went in for the surgery, he recorded his words so his wife, friends, family and, more importantly, he himself, would not forget how his own voice sounded.

In a degree of bravery I have rarely witnessed, the evening before his surgery he invited some of the friends, cohorts, sidekicks, well-wishers, patrons, advocates, supporters, politicians, ex-hippies and rabble-rousers he’s known, to come by one last time to hear him speak and for a going-away party for his voicebox.

Norm Rice, Walt Crowley, Jean Godden

There were several past mayors in attendance, including former Seattle Mayors Wes Uhlman and Norm Rice. Here is a photo of Walt, ex-Mayor Norm Rice and current City Councilmember Jean Godden.

Walt Crowley and Nick Licata

There were also many City Council members there, including President Nick Licata, Peter Steinbrueck and ex-Port of Seattle Commissioner Henry Aronson.

Danny O\'Keefe, Walt and Milo Johnstone

The place was packed. Writers such as Paul Dorpat. Artists such as David Kane (having his own battle with Hugo). Other writers like Milo Johnstone (The Magic Decade) and singer/songwriter Danny O’Keefe.

Walt and Marlow

Walt is also the author of several historical tomes about Seattle University, my alma mater. He wrote “William J. Sullivan, S.J” , a celebration of Seattle University’s renaissance during 20 years under its 20th president and “Seattle University, A Century of Jesuit Education”.

Hubert Locke and Walt Crowley

Also in attendance was Ken Bunting, associate publisher of the PI, Tracy Rowland, Maura Donahue, Kurt Geissell, owner of our favorite brunch spot, Cafe Racer, and Quintard Taylor, Dr. Hubert Locke, Professor of Public Affairs, Dean Emeritus, and Marguerite Corbally Professor of Public Service and author of Learning from History: A Black Christian’s Perspective on the Holocaust and Searching for God in Godforsaken Times and Places: Reflections on the Holocaust, Racism, and Death

John Carlson and Walt Crowley

Walt used to have a show on KIRO-TV called “Point/CounterPoint” with John Carlson, who is still a talk show host on conservative talk-radio, KVI. The show consisted of exchanges between the conservative organizer John and left-wing writer Walt. The mini-debates aired two or three times a week and covered a wide range of political and social topics.

Walt Crowley and John Carlson

John stopped by for one last verbal spar with Walt, the night before the surgery.

One of Walt’s great successes was the founding of History Link, a fabulous State of Washington history website, with over 100,000 visitors a day.

So what does any of this have to do with real estate

The seed money for came from a $100,000.00 grant from Paul Allen, owner of Vulcan Real Estate, the builder of 1000’s of condo’s in the Seattle area and also owner of Vulcan Capital, the main funder of Redfin.

Also, the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors created the First Citizen’s Award in 1939 to honor outstanding community and civic leaders who’ve made a contribution to improve the region where we live. (The Gates Family were recipients in 1995, Jeff Brotman, founder of Costco in 2005, the McCaw’s in 2004. Dale Chihuly was a recipient in 2006. (Read “Glass Artist = Realtor?”).

The Association of Realtors created a relationship with Walt’s organization,, to memorialize the 1st Citizen Award event and most importantly, the contributions of the past recipients. Walt helped write the biographies to provide a new, authoritative, and easily accessible historical reference. created 1,500 word biographies for each past recipient.

This past week, Crowley took his voice on a farewell tour, appearing on public radio and local TV news stations:

Cancer claims radio host’s voice on NPR

Historian’s voice still fighting to be heard

NPR (KUOW) radio interview with Walt Crowley

Seattle historian loses voice (KOMO-TV)

A voice of Seattle faces a challenge (Seattle Times)

To send get-well wishes and to check up on Walt’s progress, you can visit Driving Mr. Walt.

Offbeat America

Marlow and JoDavid in the Paint-By-Number Salon

Photo Credit: Seattle Metropolitan Magazine

I’ve reviewed this past week’s posts and I note that each one is about, well, me.

So, as not to break a run, I’ll make this one about me too.

This Sunday, January 28th at 6pm, we will be appearing on HGTV’s “Offbeat America“, exhibiting our large paint-by-number collection. (And you thought I was just a silly dilletante!) If you have Comcast Cable, that’s Channel 68.

Also, more in the vein of me, take a look at Dustin Luthers interview of moi, on Rain City Guide.

Next week, real estate. I promise.

My Dinner with Andrei

Andrew Miksys and Andrei Codrescu

Andrei Codrescu, that is.

Mr. Codrescu is in town this week for a series of lectures and events and my husband and I hosted a party at our home for him last night.

Also in attendance was Anderew Miksys, photographer of exquisite photographs of a Lithuanian Gypsy community in BAXT, with text by Andrei Codrescu.

Tonight you can attend a lecture by Andrei Codescru speaking at Town Hall

And Friday night will be a fun evening of debauchery a la Codrescu at the Center on Contemporary Art, in the shadow of the Space Needle:

Writer, poet and bon vivant extraordinaire Andrei Codrescu brings his worldy wit and wisdom to Seattle as he talks on “States of Memoir, or How to Reconnect Old Brains to New Ones in Several Languages.”

Friday January 26, 7:30pm: THE BAXT PHOTOGRAPHS at CoCA
Acclaimed photographer Andrew Miksys, with the assistance of Andrei Codrescu, presents his intimate portraits of a Lithuanian Gypsy community. Book signing to follow. FREE and open to the public.

Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA)
410 Dexter Avenue N.

Friday January 26, 9pm: CODRESCU & FRIENDS at CoCA

Get ready for an evening of belly dancing, burlesque, poetry and debauchery at CoCA. Joining Andrei Codrescu will be the musical group Orchestra L’Pow, the belly dancing troupe Hipnotica, and burlesque dancer extraordinaire Babette La Fave. David Rauschenberg will provide all the DJ action, with Rick Klu as the evening’s emcee.

My good friend Cecilie Miller is putting on this shindig, and it should be a hoot. Gypsy wear encouraged, or at least a bangled bracelet or two.

This and that

McLeod Residence

Always interested in modern art, especially in unusual places, I attended the grand opening of the “McLeod Residence” an art gallery/performance space located in an old apartment building in downtown Seattle. Like galleries in San Francisco and elsewhere, they’re offering “private membership” to augment their income to keep the place running. It feels like an old bordello with it’s velvet wallpaper and vintage chandeliers, and I look forward to more events there.

I was pleased to see Galen Ward in attendance, founder of Shack Prices. He and his cute girlfriend Eve were hobnobbing and chatting it up with other gallery attendees, and he was a good sport when I insisted that he bend his 6’+ frame down for a photo, so I wouldn’t look so short petite.

Galen Ward at McLeod Residence

Galen had a piece in the show entitled “Ice Field – No Dumping” that was presented as a transparency in a light box. Very cool.


I missed the big Inman debate of “High Touch V.S. High Tech” (you can view the videos from the debate on Sellsius blog) but I do remember seeing this NAR survey from a few months ago that that shows Buyers and Sellers use technology but they want personal service too. Of 7,500 respondents, 83% used full-service tradtional brokers, 9% limited service and 8 % used really limited service. 50% of those using limited-service brokers were unhappy with their experience.

NAR Survey


Beer cans in rental

Ryan Froerer, a property manager with Century 21 Gage Froerer & Associates had quite a surprise when he entered a Provo, Utah townhome and discovered 70,000 beer cans inside a townhouse he was managing. He and the owner thought they had a dream renter because the guy never complained and always paid his rent on time.

When discovered, the 70,000 beer cans fetched over $800 from a recycler.

At least he was a healthy tenant. He appeared to favor “Light” beer.

More “Beer Houses” on Unusual Life.

Glass Artist = Realtor?

Dale Chihuly

Dale Chihuly is the recipient of this years First Citizen Award, sponsored by the Seattle King County Association of Realtors.

This has not been a banner year for Dale Chihuly, nor for the National Association of Realtors.

Beleaguered, sued, and harassed, both face lawsuits this year. Realtors from the Department of Justice and Chihuly from an artist accusing him of fraud.

Coincidence? Conspiracy? Or Prophesy of a New World Order? YOU DECIDE!

First Citizens Ticket Info (May 10th)

Glassblower challenges integrity of Chihuly art

Chihuly Screwed Me

Best New Buildings

Seattle Architecture

Houses made of bottles

The Bottle Houses on Prince Edward Island

House made out of bottles in Rhyolite, Nevada, a Ghost Town about 100 miles outside of Vegas

Doc Hope’s Bottle House in Hillsville, VA, built in 1941

Anna’s Bottle Home in Tucson, Arizona

Why is there an airplane (with runway) on 77 Water Street Building in Manhattan?

What was it like to live on a Utah farm in the 1920’s? How were homes different then? Take a look through my grandparents home in Leamington, (Millard County) Utah

ArchInfo’s World’s 12 Best New Buildings

Who wouldn’t want to live in a Tree House?

The Cedar Creek Treehouse in Ashford, WA

Hiroba, the Sapporo Dome Stadium with the world’s first “hovering soccer stage” (Including a QuickTime movie, showing how the full soccer field is being transferred in & out the dome)

“Raw concrete” of the Brutalist architecture

Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman’s Age of the Domiciles

Lincoln Toe Truck, a pink landmark south of Lake Union, and other Seattle Icons & Roadside Attractions. Also, Seattle’s “Hat ‘n’ Boots” and other Unusual homes

This is a post that I am “co-blogging” with Hanan Levin, a real estate agent from Southern California who blogs at Grow-A-Brain and who provided many of today’s links. Thank you, Hanan! You can view other co-blogged entries of Hanan’s HERE. If other bloggers are interested to share the forum here on any other topic, please contact me for details. If you’re interested in Hanan’s site, check out HERE for his incredible list of topics.

(Photo above from NW Links.) Many More of Hanan’s Unusual architectural Links Here

Dale Chihuly to Receive 2006 Seattle First Citizen Award by Washington Board of Realtors

Kirkland, Washington, December 2005 – Renowned artist and Puget Sound native, Dale Chihuly, has been selected as the 2006 Seattle-King County First Citizen for his indelible contributions to the local community and world at large through his art. Chihuly will be honored with the First Citizen Award on May 10, 2006 at the Seattle Westin Hotel. Tickets can be purchased by visiting or calling (425) 820-3277.

Marlow at Dale Chihuly\\\'s Lap Pool
This photo was taken at Chihuly’s lap pool a while back…

It’s interesting, while he’s the Association of Realtors Man of the Year, he’s involved in a complicated lawsuit over copyright infringement. “When does inspiration cross the line into imitation?”, asks Maureen O’Hagen in the Seattle Times. Seattle Times lawsuit article

That’s the question at the heart of a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle claiming two glass blowers have copied Dale Chihuly’s designs and are selling knockoffs at several local galleries.

The copyright-infringement suit, filed Oct. 27 by Seattle-based Chihuly Inc. and the world-renowned glass artist’s publishing company, is asking for at least $1 million in damages

Chihuly Screwed Me!

Chihuly Website

Holiday Sale at the Tractor

Lisa Petrucci does Kirsten Anderson Tractor-Craft’s Annual Holiday Sale on December 11th from 11am to 4pm. Buy gifty items (like tee shirts, stationary, purses, powder mirrors, magnets, and other inexpensive goodies) from Lisa Petrucci, along with crafty pals Liz Cole (Retros), Lisa Lomano, Sara Lanzilotta, and Christine Olsen. The event is at the Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. NW in Seattle (Ballard neighborhood)

And can you believe it, Lisa just recently came out with a new line of cell wallpapers too.

-Gamut Industries – Images can be seen in the Go To > Features category!
Lisa Petrucci Wallpaper

-DaDa Mobile – Images can be seen in the “Dolls” category!
More Lisa Petrucci Wallpaper!

Mark Mothersbaugh opens at Roq la Rue

Mark “Devo” Mothersbaugh’s 2005 gallery tour of his new Beautiful Mutants collection stops next at Seattle’s Roq La Rue gallery. The exhibition of these hand- and digitally-“corrected” vintage photographs opens this Friday, September 9, but all of the works can also be seen online at Roq la Rue. Here’s a quote from the artist’s statement: “Symmetry – Rorschach’s patterns, though abstract, suggest different visual images to each person who views them, and each interpretation is correct. Objects in this world are what they are to you because of how you happen to see them.”

Since Christmas is just around the corner, you may want to consider getting his holiday CD, Joyeux Mutato, written, performed and produced by Mothersbaugh. It began life as a series of compositions to accompany an art installation but blossomed into a collection of Mark’s interpretations of traditional Yuletide standards. Though primarily instrumental, several recordings feature sampled voices; one track even has Mothersbaugh singing a unique version of “Silent Night.” It’s out of print, but you may be able to score a used copy on Ebay or Amazon.

John Waters

Many folks have heard of John Waters films, but not many know that he is also an accomplished artist, showing at galleries such as Greg Kucera in Seattle. His first show was entitled LOW DEFINITION. Waters photographs his TV set to capture “low definition” images of movie stills from various exploitation films, failed Hollywood epics, forgotten art films and even his own so-called “celluloid atrocities.” The final product is what Waters refers to as a “re-directing” job comprising a “little movie” of sorts. As Greg Kucera Gallery writes, “each of these photographic juxtapositions features his highly refined wit and aesthetic intelligence in their content, composition and punch-line titles.” I dunno. Maybe. But you can buy them here:

Here’s a fun interview of John Waters from RetroCrush

Want to write John? You can contact him care of Atomic Books in Baltimore.

Want a fans perspective? See what Two Jealous Perverts have to say.

Pop Surrealism

Pop Surrealism My friend Kirsten Anderson just came out with her new book, Pop Surrealism. It’s fabulous, of course. I hope she has a big debut party at her gallery Roq La Rue. In the meantime, there’s a book signing at my other favorite gallery in LA, La Luz de Jesus Gallery on October 23.

It features Anthony Ausgang, Glenn Barr, Tim Biskup, Kalynn Campbel, The Clayton Bros., Joe Coleman, Camille Rose Garcia, Alex Gross, Don Ed Hardy, Charles Krafft, Liz McGrath, Scott Musgrove, Niagara, Marion Peck, The Pizz, Lisa Petrucci, Mark Ryden, Isabel Samaras, Toss Schorr, Shag, Robert Williams, Eric White, and XNO.

I wish I could go! I got an email from Lisa Petrucci that she’s going to be there. It should be very cool.

— Marlow Harris
Seattle Dream Homes