Category: Popular Culture



Thanks to Sellsius this week for bringing us not one, but two explicit posts this week, Real Estate Porn, Broker-Agent Edition and Real Estate Transparency: Real Estate Agent Fired for Sexy Slideshow, which allows me the perfect segue to share, once again, more news from the lovely Ravenna, Queen of the Burlesque Realtors.

If you happen to be in Seattle on December 19th, don’t miss Ravenna and Gal Friends in a fundraiser called “Christmas Stockings: A Burlesque Benefit” to support our troops. It’s at the The Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater and there are two shows: 7:00 and 8:30 pm
21+ $15.

Christmas Stockings

Through the sale of their vintage style pin-up images, THE PIN-UP ANGELS raise money to send comfort packages to U.S. troops serving overseas. The Angels do all the work to collect donations, shop for the necessary items, organize the packages, and ship ’em out to the troops in need. After sending 200+ Christmas care packages, THE PIN-UP ANGELS continue fund-raising for this on-going effort.

Don’t miss this happenin’ event hosted by Trixie Lane, the Queen of Shame!

Live music, scantily-clad girls and real estate. What more can you want for the holidays?

Ruminations on the Scab: RIP Jack London

Jack London, 1902

Jack London, who died today on November 22nd in 1916, was an American author most famous for writing The Call of the Wild. He was a pioneer in the world of commercial magazine fiction, and he was one of the first Americans to make a lucrative career exclusively from his writing.

One of London’s most famous writings is The Scab“.

What is a scab? Simply, a person who purports to do the same amount of work as another person, but for less money. According to Jack London, anyone who undercuts another person, as far as wages or compensation for labor, may be considered a “scab”.

In a competitive society, where men struggle with one another for food and shelter, what is more natural than that generosity, when it diminishes the food and shelter of men other than he who is generous, should be held an accursed thing? Wise old saws to the contrary, he who takes from a man’s purse takes from his existence. To strike at a man’s food and shelter is to strike at his life; and in a society organized on a tooth-and-nail basis, such an act, performed though it may be under the guise of generosity, is none the less menacing and terrible.

It is for this reason that a laborer is so fiercely hostile to another laborer who offers to work for less pay or longer hours. To hold his place, (which is to live), he must offset this offer by another equally liberal, which is equivalent to giving away somewhat from the food and shelter he enjoys. To sell his day’s work for $2, instead of $2.50, means that he, his wife, and his children will not have so good a roof over their heads, so warm clothes on their backs, so substantial food in their stomachs. Meat will be bought less frequently and it will be tougher and less nutritious, stout new shoes will go less often on the children’s feet, and disease and death will be more imminent in a cheaper house and neighborhood.

Thus the generous laborer, giving more of a day’s work for less return (measured in terms of food and shelter), threatens the life of his less generous brother laborer, and at the best, if he does not destroy that life, he diminishes it. Whereupon the less generous laborer looks upon him as an enemy, and, as men are inclined to do in a tooth-and-nail society, he tries to kill the man who is trying to kill him.

Before someone writes in complaining that this definition of a “Scab” is defamatory, consider the following:

After God had finished the rattlesnake, the toad, and the vampire, he had some awful substance left with which he made a scab. A scab is a two-legged animal with a corkscrew soul, a water brain, a combination backbone of jelly and glue ….

This passage figured in a 1974 Supreme Court case, in which justice Thurgood Marshall quoted the passage in full and referred to it as “a well-known piece of trade union literature, generally attributed to author Jack London.” A union newsletter had published a “list of scabs,” which was granted to be factual and therefore not libellous, but then went on to quote the passage as the “definition of a scab.” The case turned on the question of whether the “definition” was defamatory. The court ruled that “Jack London’s… ‘definition of a scab’ is merely rhetorical hyperbole, a lusty and imaginative expression of the contempt felt by union members towards those who refuse to join,” and as such was not libellous and was protected under the First Amendment.

Jack London wrote The Scab in 1903 and died in 1916 at the age of 40…..

Unusual convergence of events

Christopher Hitchens represents conspiracy theories as the ‘exhaust fumes of democracy’, the unavoidable result of a large amount of information circulating among a large number of people. Other social commentators and sociologists argue that conspiracy theories are produced according to variables that may change within a democratic society.

Conspiratorial accounts can be emotionally satisfying when they place events in a readily-understandable, moral context. The subscriber to the theory is able to assign moral responsibility for an emotionally troubling event or situation to a clearly-conceived group of individuals. Crucially, that group does not include the believer. The believer may then feel excused of any moral or political responsibility for remedying whatever institutional or societal flaw might be the actual source of the dissonance.

So, it may be a coincidence that events of a certain importance happened on the first day of the NAR conference, however, on some occasions particular conspiracy allegations turn out to be more than a mere alignment of the planets.

Some argue that the reality of such conspiracies should caution against any casual dismissal of conspiracy theory. Many “conspiracy theory” authors and publishers, such as Robert Anton Wilson and Disinfo, use proven conspiracies as evidence of what a secret plot can accomplish. In doing so, they attempt to rebut the assumption that conspiracies don’t exist, or that any “conspiracy theory” is necessarily false.

However, it is just so odd that NAR convention-goers are witness to the eerie collision of events that cause 1000’s of Realtors to converge in the same city, on the same day, at the very same time that the New Frontier Hotel, yes, the location of Elvis’ first performance in Las Vegas, implodes upon itself.

Conspiracy or coincidence.

You decide.

Lessons from the tribe


The dust-up caused by the revelation that Active Rain management was in discussions with Move about a possible purchase is reminiscent of the Washington Post’s investment in, another social networking site, a few years back.

So far, most of the 43,000 Active Rain members appear supportive of the aborted purchase, even as their personal information and content was about to be sold to the highest bidder, yet there are a few comments of indignation, though most of the writers appear naive to the sell-out. was founded by a group of Burning Man attendees in 2003, the same year MySpace was started. Like Active Rain, its site features user-generated content and social networking, and like other social networking sites, has inspired rabid loyalty and feelings of belonging and community.

Anyone could register as a new tribe user, and could join a network of friends, usually bonded together by alt interests or activities. As more and more people and their friends joined tribe, it resulted in an elaborate social network with many thousands of members. Tribe users leveraged the small world phenomenon as a way to enhance their own immediate social network and it has about 500,000 members v.s. Active Rain’s membership of 43,000.

In a surprise move, in 2005, the owners of accepted an unspecified amount of VC (though the number speculated was about $6M) from Knight Ridder and the Washington Post, giving them about a 20% ownership of

Members were indignant that their personal information and content was sold out. Unlike the MySpace sale to FOX, this was personal. The tribe’s members, being made up of mostly alt culture, techno geeks and BM attendees, had very left, liberal leanings. They hated being sold out. Tempers were exacerbated when new tribe management announced it would remove all “mature” content from the site. How could they sell advertising on the site to major advertisers if the corporate ad appeared next to a topless hippie or nude Burning Man attendee?

Angry and upset members left the site in droves and started their own new site,, their MO “What sets us apart is that no company owns us. We’re open-source, volunteer-developed and -run, and donation-funded.”

The look and feel of tribe was changed and then, in a coup by the original creator, was supposedly “reclaimed” and returned back to its original look/feel, but it’s never been the same since.

I doubt that even if/when Active Rain were to be sold to Move or any other corporate entity, the agents & lenders online would ever revolt. According to reports, there are only about 500 active members anyway, and it’s doubtful that membership is very radical or subversive enough to give a R.A. who owns it, as long as they get their points and show up as the #1 agent in their market.

One thing to note, last year when there was talk of NBC Universal purchasing, the price bandied about was $5M, and this was for 500K users. Based on those numbers, the $33M price offered to Active Rain by Move for 43K registered members is, uh…. optimistic, at best.

I’m not exactly sure what happened but what I can piece together is that tribe’s original investors gave up on the company last year. Talks with NBC failed and they sold their stakes to founder Marc Pincus. The original investors didn’t recoup their $6.3 million investment. Then, with still about 500,000 subscribers, Pincus sold to Cisco Systems. And the price was rumored to be less than $3M.

Social networkings next phase (NY Times)

NBC rumored to buy from TechCrunch v. The Duplicity at

What Active Rain should do now

The voices of bitter experience: ActiveRain’s petition against Move, Inc., is a heart-breaking sob story with no legal merit

Social networks aren’t products

Important real estate news


Yeah, yeah, the Feds cut the interest rate and Bush says he doesn’t want to raise FHA limits, but let’s get to the important news of the day: One of Seattle’s favorite sons, Sanjaya Malakar, is moving to Hollywood, Baby. His house (actually, his step-dad’s home) has been put on the market, as Sanjaya’s off to seek his fortune in LA and on the American Idol tour.

The listing agent is Dennis Fletcher, an agent with Windermere Real Estate, who formerly worked with Sanjaya’s step-dad writing radio and TV jingles when they were in the music business together.

Another American Idol contestant with a Seattle real estate connection was Leah LaBelle from Season 3. Her mother was Anastasia Vladowski, a musician and immigrant to the United States, who defected from communist Bulgaria during a tour of Western Europe in 1979 at the height of success with the Bulgarian Pop music groups Srebyrnite grivni and Tonika. She was also a Realtor and sales agent with Coldwell Banker Bain in Seattle.

Now that’s news you can use!

Leah Labelle Fan Club

So Long, Sanjaya

Raising the bar on the real estate tour

Pete\'s Monkey Skull Lounge

We in real estate love the Open House and the Street of Dreams-type tours builders and developers sponsor every year. The Ballet or the Opera might do a designer showcase house for charity, or the local historical society may offer a tour of an architecturally significant property.

That’s fine for some, but nothing can compare with the annual “Home Bar Tour” put on by Terrence Gunn every year here in Seattle.

You pay your money and you get your ticket to the best two-day home tour and excuse for a party on wheels, and this time our “Dead Elvis Lounge” at our house on Capitol Hill is the first stop.

Here’s this years itinerary:

Friday, July 20th:
The first day of the event will take place at Pete’s Monkey Skull Voodoo Lounge (one of Seattle’s best — if not THE BEST — home bars). Check in/meet and greet will be from 5pm-7pm. During this time ticket reservationists will check in, receive their ticket and Aloha bag. DJ Terence Gunn will be playing Lounge, Exotica, Calypso, Hawaiian, Surf, Pop Jazz, and Latin throughout the evening. Complimentary appetizers and tropical libations will be available. At 7pm a backyard BBQ will take place, will plenty of food and drink for all. Round 8pm-ish Seattle’s own Atomic Powered Surf band, The Mercury Four, will break the musical waves. A raffle will take place round 9pm, followed by more live and DJed music. Please note: there may be a vendor or two at the event, but there will be no vendor’s section this year.

Saturday, July 21st:
The following day, beginning at 5pm and going until 11pm, will be a six-hour chartered tour of 4 Seattle-area home bars. Complimentary drinks and food will be provided at each stop. The meet up, departure and return location for bus boarding will be in (undisclosed location unless you buy a ticket!) Look for a large orange-yellow school bus and a gathering crowd of folks in Aloha shirts. Meetup time at Lincoln Park will be between 4.30pm and 4.45pm. The bus will depart at 5pm. Bring your ticket/boarding pass with you (provided in your Aloha bag the previous day). Please allow ample travel time to the Park so you will make the bus on time.

The Tour
Stop #1. The Dead Elvis Lounge (at my house!)
Stop #2. The Atomic Lounge/Cabana Bar
Stop #3. Fantasy Island
Stop #4. The Shrunken Head Lounge

This is the best party on wheels by far. And beats them dry Sunday Open House tours, hands down……. 🙂


Photos from the 2006 Home Bar Tour of the Monkey Skull Lounge

The Riviera Room

The Zanzibar

The Castaway Lounge

White Stripes even more UnZillowable?

Tickets went on sale this weekend for the White Stripes concert Sept. 26th & 27th at the Paramount Theater in Seattle. Members of Facebook can stream The White Stripes new album “Icky Thump” in its entirety tomorrow, June 19th. You can add the app by going here.

1731 Seminole

Matt Carter at Inman did a post a few months ago called The White Stripes are unZillowable, about lead man Jack White, who put his house on the market for $930K but Zillow had the Zestimate at $256,947.

White Stripes
Jack and Meg White / White Stripes

(Even if you’re not familiar with The White Stripes music, you may remember Jack and Meg White’s personal history. In early interviews, the pair presented themselves as siblings, two of ten. However, the Detroit Free Press famously produced copies of not only their marriage license, but divorce certificate, confirming their history as a married couple.)

Maureen Francis, of SKBK Sotheby’s, had several articles about this home, as I guess it created quite a buzz in Detroit. From what I understand, the particular district of Indian Village, where Jack’s home was located, is a beautifully preserved neighborhood, a historical oasis in a sea of crime and decay, and very few homes in Detroit proper ever get close to the $1M mark. The city itself has been steadily losing population since the 1970’s and many beautiful and historic buildings have been abandoned.

(As a side note, Seattle has been lucky enough to stem the flow of “white flight“, even though we had the same court-mandated forced bussing program for integration that Detroit did. Now, the Seattle Public Schools are some of the best in the country, Garfield High School, an inner-city school, has more National Merit Scholars than tony Lakeside School, Bill Gates Alma Mater, and the suburbs have more gang activity than any inner-city neighborhood. The city of Seattle has higher property values than many suburbs, and the suburbs, if not crime-ridden and full of functionally obsolescent homes and bland architecture (think Kent, Auburn, Lynnwood, Crossroads) are culturally a wasteland with nary a professional theater, orchestra or fine art museum to be found. Redmond, home of Microsoft and a nearby suburb of Seattle, doesn’t have a lot of crime, but it doesn’t have anything else either, except for a mall with a couple of movie theaters. Bellevue, with a population of over 100K and a vibrant economy, has no professional theater, orchestra nor ballet and the only fine arts museum closed and re-opened as an arts & crafts venue with no permanent collection to call its own.)

So, in the Inman blog post, Matt had noted that the Zestimate for Jack White’s house was $256,947, with a value range of $156,738-$706,604. But now the Zestimate is $26,944.

I realize that Michigan does not allow official publication of sales information from their public records, so Zillow can be very ineffective in this situation. But that’s a pretty wide range of value there. Especially since Maureen just told me it sold and closed for $590,000.

I happen to live in a state that allows public viewing of this information and can only imagine how my hands would be tied if not allowed to know what the last sales price was. But, at the same time, it seems like a pretty big invasion of privacy for everyone to know what one paid for ones house. There’s your transparency for ya.

Long Gone John
Long Gone John

One of the White Stripes first albums was released by Long Gone John and Sympathy for the Record Label. In the seventeen years SFTRL has been in existence, John has released over 750 records and helped launch the careers of several other well known, controversial and talented artists, including Courtney Love and her band Hole and The Donnas first incarnation, The Electrocutes. Some of John’s less famous but yet still very notable Sympathy acts over the years have been The Muffs, The Von Bondies, Rocket From the Crypt, The Mumps, April March, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Dwarves, Buck, Suicide, The Gun Club, Billy Childish, Turbonegro, Man or Astro-man?, Scarling, Inger Lorre and Motel Shootout, and Redd Kross.

Long Gone John\'s Long Beach living room

Long Gone John is moving himself, having sold his mid-sized Spanish-style home in Long Beach CA, to a mini-mansion on the shores of Puget Sound in Pierce County (where, for the same price as a mid-century rambler in Southern California, he bought himself a waterfront dream home).

John has had a film made about him, “The Treasures of Long Gone John“, about his music business, his impact on music and culture and his fabulous art collection.

Now the same film director, Gregg Gibbs, is making a new film about the MOVE of Long Gone John called “The Gone World“. Apparently, John has so many possessions, items, art, furnuriture, collectables, ephemera, souvineers, object d’art, crap and crapola that it’s been taking months to pack it and Greg is documenting the packing and subsequent move.

Marlow Harris and Long Gone John

(We visited his home last year and documented a bit of his super-fab art collection.)

Apparently it’s taking months longer than planned and more than one moving van. Too bad he didn’t use one of those real estate agents in Southern California who advertise a free moving truck.

The White Stripes (as interpreted by uber-cool Seattle artist Sara Lanzilotta.)

Jack White’s Michigan crib under contract

Jack White Slept Here…and Recorded Here…and Ate Over There…

Jack White’s house sold
on Modern Age (with photos)

Location Scout

Zoo -- The Film

Every once in a while I’m contacted by location scouts searching for places to film around the Seattle area. They’ve usually seen something on Unusual Life or some artists home on Seattle Dream Homes and they need a house or vacant lot, other times they’re looking for entire streets.

I wrote about being contacted last year by a film crew looking for an idyllic farm to shoot that lovely tale of man/beast love, Zoo. They found a farm, a horse, a couple of actors, and the film was in the can in a couple of months. It premiered at Sundance and just opened up in Seattle last week to, uh…. rave reviews. You know, the classic love story of a man and his horse.

The Riches

Some L.A. friends Tim and Jill, were approached a few months ago by a location scout for the F/X show “The Riches”, a show created by Eddie Izzard and starring himself and Minnie Driver.

I’m not sure I would have watched it if it hadn’t have been filmed at my friends house, but now that I’ve started, it’s compelling. The plot surrounds a family of “travelers”, roaming gypsy-type criminals who through a twist of fate, end up in a dead families upscale suburban home. They take on their personas, jobs, clothing and education, and it’s an interesting glimpse into both lifestyles. It’s like hijacking the American Dream, in a nightmare suburb somewhere in the Southern United States.

Tim & Jill’s house belongs to the “next-door neighbor” sort of an eccentric artist-type of gal, and it’s featured in several shots.

Jill and Tim\'s Riches

Click HERE to view more interior photos.

Tonight is the last episode of this season, but it’s become so popular, F/X announced that it’s been picked up for a second season.

Should you rent your house out to a filming company? If you do, make sure you have an attorney to hammer out the details in case of inadvertant damage. You’ll want to make sure your home is restored to as good or better condition.

In my friends case, they’re replacing all the carpets and re-doing the flooring after the wrap. And that’s on top of the daily filming fee, so it’s not a bad trade-off for them.

Go for Filming – site to list your home suitable for location shooting

Films made in Seattle

Film in America — locations across the U.S.

With 2 you get eggroll…..

Read 360digest

Matt Carter had a little post a while back he called “Confucius on mortgage fraud“, prompted by a gift of personalized fortune cookies he received from Interthinx, which offers an automated fraud detection system to mortgage lenders. I don’t know why I kept thinking about this, but Matt was somewhat offended by the “pidgin” English sayings on the fortune cookies.

Generally, I’d have to say I’m pretty sensitive to offending folks sensibilities in regards to race, religion, disabilities and the like, but I’m on the fence about this example. It’s not always so clear anymore, what is offensive or not. With the fortune cookie, it’s a Western construct, but the Chinese were the ones who adopted it here in the West and added the fortunes….

Anyway, the reason I noted this was that one of the best promotions I ever did was having custom fortune cookies made for a listing I had a few years ago that featured Asian-inspired architectural design. The fortunes read “You will buy this house today” and “Take time to ponder your future home purchase from Marlow”, “You will have good luck in your new home” and things like that. They were a hoot.

The local company I bought them from was from Short Order Fortunes, but there are plenty of other firms that will make and ship them around the country.

More Fortune Cookie sites:

Weird Fortune Cookie Collection

Fortune Cookie Generator

Tasteless Fortunes

Comics, lawsuits, science fiction and unusual real estate

Emerald City Comicon

The Emerald City Comicon is in town this weekend, the largest comic book and pop culture convention in the Northwest.

Comic publishers, panels, artists and speakers from around the country will be in attendance, plus local favorites and friends Jim Woodring, Jim Blanchard and Ellen Forney (the author of I Love Led Zeppelin and lady wrestler with the Pin-Down Girls.)

One publisher with a huge fan base is Fantagraphics Books. Fantagraphics has been active in comic publishing since 1976 and found itself at the forefront of the burgeoning movement to establish comics as a serious art medium.

Fantagraphics has been in the news recently because science-fiction writer Harlan Ellison is suing them and its co-owners, Gary Groth and Kim Thompson, for defamation and “violation of right of publicity.”

Says the Seattle Times in “Fantagraphics’ friends come to its financial aid“:

The alleged defamation regards statements in Fantagraphics’ forthcoming self-history, “We Told You So: Comics As Art.” The book says that Ellison tried to get out of paying his share of legal bills when he and Groth were co-defendants in a 1980 libel suit by comic writer Michael Fleisher. (Ellison and Groth won.) Ellison denies it while the Fantagraphics folks say they’re just commenting on a part of their history. Due out this summer, the book’s already been serialized on the publisher’s Web site.

The “violation of right of publicity” charge is for what Ellison says is the unauthorized use of his trademarked name on the cover of Fantagraphics’ “Comics Journal Library Vol. 6: The Writers,” released last summer. The volume reprints the inflammatory Groth/Ellison interview that prompted Fleisher to take them to court in the first place.

Ellison wants unspecified damages and an injunction to stop both books from being distributed. Ellison, 72, has won a vast number of awards and is best known among non-geeks for writing the most popular episode of the original “Star Trek” (“City on the Edge of Forever”). He was recently named Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America.

I first met Harlan Ellison when asked to chauffeur him around town for a Foolscap convention and accompany him to local collector Steve Bard’s very unusual home and Palace of Arts and Oddities in Seattle.

Steve Bard\'s House

Mr. Ellison wrote “A Boy and His Dog” that was made into a film starring Don Johnson in 1975 and the novel “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream”. He’s won ten Hugo Awards, four Nebula Awards, and five Bram Stoker Awards (presented by the Horror Writers Association) including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996. He was one of my favorite science fiction writers until I actually met the man, but I digress…..

Harlen Ellison

Mr. Ellison is known to live in an unusual home in Los Angeles himself, so was anxious to view Mr. Bard’s domicile.

Steve Bard and Harlan Ellison

Steve’s house features some of the following items, the list being somewhat incomplete and less than exhaustive:

Circus Sideshow Smallest Mummy
Frog Babies (pickled punks)
Siamese Twin calves, weasels, goats, etc
Two-faced pig, cow and kitten
Painting on the head of a pin
Victorian Art & Artifacts
Wreaths woven from human hair
Hundreds of Art Nouveau and Deco statues
Lovely paintings/prints covering walls & ceilings
Ornate carved antique furniture
Natural History specimens, exotic taxidermy, skulls/bones
Medical Specimens / Equipment
Human skeletons, skulls
Assorted Fetuses
Antique medical instruments & machines
Quack-medical electrical devices
Funeral Paraphernalia & Memorabilia
Antique coffins and carriers (adult/child)
Casket plate collection
Embalmer/mortician tools & tables
Library of Curious and Esoteric Tomes (25,000+ books)
Thousands of autographed Science Fiction 1st Eds
Hundreds of Fantasy and Lowbrow art books
Hundreds of antique Erotica, Curiosa & Sexology
Hundreds of Victorian Art books
Toaster Museum (150+ antique toasters)
Garden Architecture, Statuary and Art
13 foot tall Minotaur bust
25 foot tall Rapunzel castle tower
15 foot diameter formal fishpond w/ tiered fountain
Sinister Cemetery / Satanic Altar
New Treehouse
Funky Future Room (ie Jetsons / Barbarella decor)
Hundreds of cool kinetic art and lighting gadgets
Egg-shaped furniture (Stereo chair, sensory-deprivation tank)
Other Curiosities, Antiquities and Gadgetry too numerous to mention

Meet Mr. Bard and take a little tour of his unusual home…..

Steve Bard

Bard\'s devil room

Bard\'s bathroom

Bard\'s friend

Bard house view

Bard\'s Bathroom

Bard\'s Kitchen

Steve and Marlow

Steve and I always talk about “listing” the house for sale and having an Open House, coinciding with April Fools Day. Can you imagine the look on potential buyers and agents faces when I welcome them to this spectacular Open House?!?

If you liked that, you can view more photos of Steve Bard’s House here.

Or take a Virtual tour of Steve’s house, courtesy of VR Seattle.

And see photos of Steve’s house on Flickr

And friend Kirsten Anderson also had an entry on Boing Boing of Steve Bard’s Odditorium.

If you’re a science fiction fan, do not miss Kirsten’s science fiction art show at her gallery Roq la Rue, Amazing Visions. (And see photos of Seattle Mayor Greg Nichols at Fantagraphics Books on Kirsten Anderson’s blog “That Ain’t Art”.


Other events of note, next weekend will be the Japanese comic and popular culture convention Sakura-Con. Very cool.

And don’t miss Norwescon, the only large (3000+ attendees) annual Science fiction/fantasy convention in Seattle, is this weekend, April 5-8, at the Airport Doubletree hotel (former Red Lion). The convention features a large fantasy art show and a dealer’s room full of books, jewelry, art, costumes, etc. There are a dozen tracks of continuous programming, ranging from writers on writing, science and technology, art and costuming workshops, etc. Major convention events include a masquerade costume show, presentation of the Philip K Dick Award for best softcover novel of 2006, dances, music, gaming, and lots of parties.

Nothing to do with real estate


But interesting, nevertheless….

On April 16, 1970, a federal grand jury indicted the Seattle Liberation Front (SLF) leaders for conspiracy to riot in planning a February 17, 1970 demonstration in Seattle.

One of the members, Jeff Dowd, went on to be a big Hollywood agent. He goes by the name “The Dude”.

The Coen Brothers made a film about him called “The Big Lebowski”.

It become an underground hit. Now it has a cult following and a group of fans have festivals and film screenings and bowling and costume parties all based on the film.

The next “Lebowski Fest” is coming to Seattle March 9th.

And Jeff Dowd, the actual real live “Dude” and one of the original Seattle Seven, will be in attendance.

Grow-a-Brain loves The Big Lebowski

Smells like a garage

Redfin’s San Francisco blog had a wonderful post “Palo Alto: In Praise of Garages”, enumerating several noteworthy garages in the Bay Area. They noted both the garages of young Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard and another noteworthy garage, the place where Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs started their “Homebrew Computer Club.” This enterprise later became Apple.

I couldn’t think of any famous garages here in Seattle, unless you counted
Kurt Cobain’s, whose life ended in his garage.

Cobain Garage

Nirvana was arguably Seattle’s greatest garage band, though
not its only famous one.

Nirvana (photo source unknown)

Today, February 20th, would have been Kurt’s 40th birthday. He was born in 1967 in Aberdeen, WA.

The garage was torn down by Courtney, shortly after his death, perhaps because she couldn’t stand looking at it or maybe to avoid it becoming a shrine.

Courtney sold the house in 1997 for $2,895,000. The listing agent had a brokers Open House, and the curious were able to wander about for clues to the previous owners existence. The garage had been torn down by then, a fence put up around the property and a bench erected in Viretta Park, that has had to substitute for a shrine. Courtney had contacted Lake View Cemetery (where Bruce Lee is buried) and Greenwood Memorial Park in Renton (where Jimi is buried) but both cemetery owners were concerned about security. Cobain was cremated; the cremains are kept in an undisclosed private location. His family has yet to approve of any official memorial site.

Zillow has the home listed
with a ZESTIMATE of $5,861,884.00. Which is probably about right.

Kurt Cobain Seattle Home

This Saturday, February 24th, would have been Kurt and Courtney’s wedding anniversary. They were married 2/24/92 in Hawaii.

Angelo Bruscas in his PI blog,
Seattle@Nite writes of the 12th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death in an entry entitled “Nirvana at Nite”. The 13th anniversary is coming up April 8th.

The home where Nirvana played its first gig was on the auction block for sale last year.

This is not the first Cobain home lost ….Courtney Love lost both her New York home and a historic home in Olympia she bought for Kurt’s sister Kim.

Cobain listing on Ebay

The other members of Nirvana were Dave Grohl, who went on to front Foo Fighters and lives on the East Coast.

Krist Novoselic’s ties are deeper in the Northwest, and he spends time in Seattle and in his home Southwest Washington he shares with his wife, local clothing designer Darbury Stendaru, who had a studio on 1st Avenue, but now only does trunk shows. They also celebrate their wedding anniversary this month (2/27).

In 1995, Novoselic founded JAMPAC (Joint Artists and Music Promotions Political Action Committee), an organization that advocated on behalf of Washington state’s music community. Novoselic’s work with JAMPAC helped Seattle club owners find ways to host all-ages shows, and was instrumental in helping to overturn the (anti-)Teen Dance Ordinance. And sometimes making music and making a statement go hand in hand, as when Novoselic, Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil, and drummer Gina Mainwal backed Jello Biafra as the “No W.T.O. Combo” at a show performed during the World Trade Organization conference held in Seattle in 1999.

There have been other musical endeavors since Nirvana, as well as new causes. Novoselic is a strong supporter of electoral reform, an issue he writes about extensively on his website Fix Our United States.

Of Grunge and Government

He’s also published several books, including
Of Grunge & Government: Let’s Fix This Broken Democracy!

Instant runoff voting: speaking to voter needs
By Krist Novoselic (Seattle Times)

Krist Novoselic

IRV, a better way, by Krist Novoselic, The Nation

Guide to Pacific Northwest Bands, garage or otherwise

Photos of Kurt Cobain’s Seattle house on Flickr

A walking tour of Kurt Cobain’s Aberdeen

33 things you should know about Nirvana — Blender

Cobain unofficial memorial at Viretta Park

Sad reminder of Kurt Cobain’s legacy
Cobain/Love house sold in foreclosure

Kurt Cobain: Seven Years Later
a Reflection by Clark Humphrey on

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.

Partying with the Big Z

Jorrit, Angela & Marlow at the Hoedown

From Zillow Carnival to Zillow Hoedown.

It’s a long story, so please don’t ask.

But here’s a photo of Zillow’s Vice President of Partner Relations, Jorrit Van der Meulen, me, and his lovely wife Angela, partying down, Baby.

Unfortunately, I think they misunderstood the party theme….. where most thought “Hoedown” to be a Country Western party, they thought it was a, uh… well, I’m sure you can guess what they thought.

I’m sure this is no reflection on Zillow managment, however….. 🙂

Pimped out

Carnival of Real Estate

Real Estate Freak Show

Step right up, Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s a Real Estate Freak Show, the Zillow Carnival of Real Estate! Only one thin dollar, 10 tiny dimes, cheap at twice the price! We cheat the other guy and pass the savings on to you!

As I had mentioned last week, I was hoping that someone would enter a post in honor of Elvis’ birthday. Several writers stepped up to the challenge, including John Harper and Pat Kitano.

John Harper writes “Elvis on Blogging” on The Harper Team. I haven’t seen your blog before, John, and I enjoyed it. Good job!

Patrick Kitano stepped up to the challenge and presented posted at Excellent. Thank you. Thankyouverymuch.

This has nothing to do with Elvis, but it does include the topic of music. Clifford Jacobson presents “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Realtors”. The Songs Of Real Estate 2.0. posted at WebHomeUSABlog, asking the age-old question, “Should Mothers allow their children to go into Real Estate?”

Jim Cronin presents The Secret To Developing Real Estate Blog Content posted at Real Estate Tomato. It was a good topic, plus he sent me a cool T-Shirt. Thanks Jim! (State regulators note, I can be bribed.)

Jay Thompson presents Phoenix Bloggers Meet; Much Conversation Ensues, Including The Long Tail posted at The Phoenix Real Estate Guy, saying, “The Long Tail and local content blogging in action.” This had absolutely nothing to do with Elvis, but he DID remember to wish E. a Happy Birthday at the end of the post. (See, I really DID read all your submissions!)

This has nothing to do with Elvis either, but it’s interesting nevertheless. Toby Boyce presents What Did You Write? posted at Sadie’s Take on Delaware Ohio, saying, “Society is learning that words are more important than we ever thought — should it be any different in our advertising?” Our broker used to hand out a little sheet with useful words to assist agents in writing useful ad copy. The word “charming” was definitely the most overused word in the real estate ad.

I liked Nigel Swaby’s post entitled Real Estate Agent Tricks – How to Protect Yourself posted at Salt Lake Real Estate Blog. It’s aimed at Buyers, and may not be applicable to all areas, but it’s interesting. It discusses pulling a house off the market to make it look like a new listing. This is not possible to do in our market and would be a good thing to abolish everywhere, if possible. Though playing devil’s advocate, if someone finds a house they like at the price they like, how is “market time” relevant, all other things being equal? Anyway, I digress….

This also has nothing to do with Elvis, but does embrace TV and popular culture, which are two more of my favorite subjects: Tracy Coenen presents Flip This House lawsuit posted at FRAUDfiles. A month doesn’t go by where I’m not contacted by A&E, HGTV or the Fine Living Channel, looking for subject material for their 24-hour-a-day home & garden-themed television shows. They want to film folks but refuse to compensate them in any way, asking them to provide free content so they can continue to sell their on-air advertising. Needless to say, this is a very interesting subject.

In another reference to popular culture and television, Praveen presents Trump Mortgage Boss Inflated His Resume? posted at My Simple Trading System.

And who doesn’t love a weird house for sale? Silicon Valley Blogger presents This Unusual Property Is For Sale posted at The Digerati Life about a real-life fire station for sale.

I’ve often noticed that neighborhood transformation by gay and lesbian residents often has a postive economic impact on neglected areas, a topic addressed by Nina Smith in Ten Money Questions for Mark Brand posted at Queercents, saying, “Award-winning architect, Mark Brand, talks about houses and money in the Queercents series: Ten Money Questions”

So, I’m finishing up here, looking for Elvis, or other funny or unique posts and what do I see but Bryant Tutas’ incredible post entitled “Martin Luther King: Rest in Peace, My Brother“, a beautiful and haunting entry, particularly relevant today, on Martin Luther King’s birthday. Thank you Bryant, for that meaningful and eloquent post.