Category Archives: Seattle

Comics in 2014: A NIGHT AT THE SORRENTO AND OTHER STORIES

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“A Night at the Sorrento and Other Stories” collects the work of a longtime cartoonist of the Seattle School, yours truly, Henry Chamberlain. We cartoonists grew up in the Generation X ethos of DIY, small press, and a pride for a certain alternative comics aesthetic. Make no mistake, just like alternative rock from the 1990s, there is something specific that is meant by alternative comics. To the point, these are comics that favor the offbeat and idiosyncratic. This spirit rings true today as it embraces an independent vision. Stay tuned. This collection will rock your world, very alternatively, in 2014.

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Filed under Alternative Comics, Comics, Generation X, graphic novels, Henry Chamberlain, Independent Comics, Seattle, Seattle School of Comics, Small Press, Sorrento Hotel

BALLARD COMICS #14

Macefied Music Festival celebrated its debut on October 5, 2013. We were there as part of my 24-Hour Comics Day exploration of Ballard, Washington.

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What would Edith Macefield have to say about all the big changes in the once mellow neighborhood of Ballard? That’s what I’d like to know.

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Some things take time to fully understand.

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Filed under Ballard, Ballard Comics, Comics, Edith Macefield, Macefield Music Festival, Music, Seattle, Urbanization

BALLARD COMICS #13

Into the night, we pressed on in search of the heart and soul of Ballard.

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Portraits of Jennifer at Ballard Inn.

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She and I had ventured onto an interesting journey.

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Sights. Sounds. History. Ghosts. Maybe some answers.

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Filed under Ballard, Ballard Comics, Comics, Seattle, Webcomics

BALLARD COMICS #12

Editor’s Note: Percy’s & Co. is a shining example of how old and new can come together. Percy’s & Co. is not some cute name that a marketing team came up with. It refers to Percy Sankey who built the building in 1893 to house his dry goods business. The Sankey building has mostly housed liquor purveyors of one form or another. Even when it was a dry goods business, there was a speakeasy in the back room.

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Percy’s & Co. might be mistaken by tourists as a business going back over a hundred years. It’s actually brand new but it’s not brash. Just some local kids providing unique cocktails and working with local growers. Percy’s & Co. offers apothecary inspired cocktails. As its website states, these drinks feature “infused spirits, fresh purees, and beneficial tinctures.”

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Thankfully, here’s a place that looks like it has a bright future because it bothered to take a careful look at the past. Visit Percy’s & Co. here.

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Filed under Ballard, Ballard Comics, Comics, Seattle, Webcomics

BALLARD COMICS #11

Editor’s Note: While any place of quality is welcome in the Ballard hub, we have a soft spot for any business that finds a way to authentically integrate itself within the culture. The Noble Fir is a fine example of thinking locally. It is a tavern with an eye, a mind, and a heart, to being part of the community. You’re looking for something unique and refreshing? You want to feel like you’re really still in Ballard? Then visit The Noble Fir.

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Maybe a place like The Noble Fir would have seemed just a bit too luxurious in the past. Maybe. But then again, Seattle has maintained a long love affair with microbrewies and can boast at having some of the best in the world.

Why not have that level of excellence, and even elegance, amid the industrial and mechanical fixtures of old Ballard?

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What we all wish to avoid is The Planet Hollywood treatment. If a place has no real connection to anywhere, then it contributes to diminishing that place. Not to put down Planet Hollywood but I think you know what I mean. So, yeah, The Noble Fir, and other fine establishments like it, are what we want to see: something that enhances the character of Ballard and actually fits.

These sort of ponderings take time but we have plenty of that. And, once a good mood is set, perhaps with a fine ale, in a good place, we can settle in and find all sorts of stories to tell.

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Filed under Ballard, Ballard Comics, Comics, Seattle, Webcomics

BALLARD COMICS #10

Editor’s Note: Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen is one of Ballard’s new hot spots which features tasty barbecue, catfish, and assorted specialty drinks and fine whiskies. Visit them here.

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Ballard Comics comes out each Monday here at Comics Grinder.

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Filed under Ballard, Ballard Comics, Comics, Henry Chamberlain, Seattle, Webcomics

BALLARD COMICS #8

Editor’s Note: Here in Seattle, we have an election this Tuesday. And, here in Seattle, we are going through some vastly problematic growing pains. What exactly are we doing as we sprout condos in every conceivable spot? Well, rest assured, Seattle will elect someone mayor. However, we the citizens of Seattle need to look beyond this, or any, election. Consider, for example, visiting a site looking to make a difference, Reasonable Density Seattle. Sure, growth can be wonderful, just as long as we don’t stomp out the very reasons Seattle is so attractive.

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Visit us every Monday for a new installment of Ballard Comics.

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Filed under Ballard, Ballard Comics, Cities, City Living, Comics, Editorial Cartoons, High Density Development, Political Cartoons, politics, Reasonable Density Seattle, Seattle, Social Justice

SEATTLE INTERACTIVE CONFERENCE 2013: TIME magazine and The Future of Journalism

Jonathan Woods TIME.com Senior Editor, Photo & Interactive

Jonathan Woods TIME.com Senior Editor, Photo & Interactive

What will it take for TIME magazine, the landmark newsmagazine, to survive for another one hundred years and beyond? Well, no one can say that TIME is not synonymous with quality journalism because it certainly is. It has a long history that led it to that level. One of the factors, no doubt, was its vigorous, even legendary, competition with Newsweek magazine. But it’s a whole new game today. One thing is clear and that is that nothing is clear. TIME is in the midst of a revamp. Of all the Seattle Interactive Conference sessions this year, the session on TIME and its future provides the biggest glimpse into a brave new world we are all interacting with.

TIME.com‘s Photo and Interactive Senior Editor, Jonathan Woods, led a discussion about this brave new world. Instead of being overwhelmed by the shock of the new, TIME appears to be standing tall about its legacy and looking forward with confidence. Woods came across as a man very much in charge, even if he is entering uncharted waters. To help steer the mighty vessel, TIME is working with Big Human, known for its work with startups; and Blink, a web and mobile solution for finding and managing freelance media professionals worldwide. Media professionals upload their location data on the Blink mobile app to a website that media companies use to search for talent to work on their stories. Managing Director Steve Spurgat was there to speak for Big Human. He used to be CEO of the now defunct VYou, a social media platform once used by Oprah’s Book Club.

Founder/CEO Matt Craig was there to speak for Blink. Blink is online with many active users on the site. People who are interested in joining the beta site can sign up here. The Blink app is available on iTunes and Google Play. Craig worked on Page One of the Wall Street Journal for five years before founding Blink.

Steve Spurgat Big Human Managing Director

Steve Spurgat Big Human Managing Director

Big Human’s Steve Spurgat set the tone for the discussion by bringing up The New York Time’s “Snow Fall,” a feature story about avalanches that employs innovative use of photos and interactive. The title of the story became its nickname when referring to its storytelling features. Spurgat’s reference to Snow Fall was a way of hinting at what TIME might do differently. “A show of hands for those who have seen Snow Fall,” said Spurgat. A majority of hands went up. “Alright, now how many of you remember anything you saw?” said Spurgat with a decided sneer to test the attendees. There was some nervous laughter from the audience, probably unsure of how to respond. Instantly, just to balance things out, Blink’s Matt Craig offered: “But Snow Fall did scratch a certain itch.” So, where do you go from there?

Of course Snow Fall seems to be an easy target because of the controversy related to naysayers, particularly Medium.com’s attempt to undercut it. You can read a good recap on all the fuss here. Essentially, someone at a startup can deny that Snow Fall is much of a big deal since they believe they can offer something similar. And so a process of kicking the original around ensues. Someone at another relatively new site pokes at it and someone else comments on it and so on. Hey, give yourself some time and go read the original Snow Fall here. What you’re looking at is an excellent in-depth feature, something TIME really can’t quarrel with over quality. You are free to read, and skim over, whatever you want, just like you would any special feature that has ever been created.

Matt Craig Blink Founder/CEO

Matt Craig Blink Founder/CEO

It’s not like TIME doesn’t have some very cool features of its own. There is “Timelapse,” in partnership with Google, Landsat, and Carnegie Mellon University, that presents a 30-year look at global climate change through satellite images. View it here. Woods also cited a feature with an infographic by Jeffrey Kluger and Chris Wilson mapping out the best places to live in the U.S. according to your mood. Read it here. Woods was asked a number of questions that kept coming back to whether or not there was a formula to follow to maximize readership and to this, over and over again, Woods was clear that there was no formula. “I want the right amount for a story,” was Woods’s steadfast response. To this, Spurgat could only agree with, “A story is as long as it needs to be.”

Getting back to basics on compelling content, Woods pointed with pride to the newly launched Red Border Films at Time.com. This new documentary series debuted on August 15, 2013 with “One Dream,” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. View it here. The first profile is of Bobby Henline, an injured Iraqi war veteran who is now a stand-up comedian, directed by Peter Van Agtmael. It will debut on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2013.

Here are a couple of other interesting observations, considering that Big Human and Blink have TIME’s ear. Blink’s Craig referenced Vice.com as a leader in original web content. The VICE audience expects great video, photography and stories. At this point in the conversation the discussion had turned to long form vs. short form media and the issues surrounding user generated content. Craig believes UGC is useful in some instances but great brands will always need to produce high quality original content. VICE is a great example of a media outlet that does it well. Craig stated that he gets his news from a wide variety of sources with the most alternative source being Vice.com. And Big Human’s Spurgat wasn’t too keen on Medium.com’s tracking of how long it takes a reader to complete reading a post. “It’s documented that people don’t always read things to the very end,” said Spurgat. “News is very fragmented today,” he added. We do, however, come back to the fact that web content is free of the restrictions of print. Web content is free to be as long as it needs to be.

Snow Fall is both derided and admired in the same breathe but it is not the problem. As much as we want instant gratification, we appreciate a feature that provides thoughtful analysis and greater detail. Have we seen the last of Snow Fall? No, instead we’ll find our way out of a free fall. Journalists will continue to pursue a good story. Stories will continue to be told, short ones and long ones. And one thing is certain: we will continue to see more competitive, and excellent, journalism ahead, no matter what the medium.

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Filed under Internet, Journalism, Media, news, Newsweek, Seattle, Seattle Interactive Conference, TIME Magazine, Web, Web Content

SEATTLE INTERACTIVE CONFERENCE 2013: When Transparency Isn’t Enough: Cal McAllister of Wexley School for Girls

Cal McAllister, Co-founder & CEO of Wexley School for Girls

Cal McAllister, Co-founder & CEO of Wexley School for Girls

With the Seattle Interactive Conference just closing up for another year, I wanted to share with you a very engaging and informative presentation I got to see today (more news to come later on), with a quick sketch of the presenter included. Seattle can be proud to say it is the home base for one of the great advertising agencies, Wexley School for Girls. SIC had the honor of having its Co-founder and CEO, Cal McAllister give a talk today.

The presentation by Cal McAllister, of Wexley School for Girls, was full of punchy lines like, “Social Media is like a weapons system. Social media is like an F-16. Once you acquire one, you have the power but you need to know how to operate it.” These thoughts were running through McAllister’s mind since Wexley is currently working on NATO’s efforts to use social media. Pretty heady stuff but McAllister certainly looked up to the challenge.

McAllister was going for an offbeat take on the 2013 SIC theme of transparency, talking about how we’re drowning in a clutter of facts, many of them fake facts, so transparency alone isn’t going to solve the problem. He skewered Jenny McCarthy for using her massive platform as a celebrity for spreading the idea that vaccines cause autism. He said that 98% of pediatricians don’t believe there is a connection so he’s going with that statistic. He provided similar examples of how facts get lost in the shuffle, like the recent viral video of an eagle lifting up a little boy hoax, and the little old lady who got a coffee burn from McDonald’s, which was a legitimate case but was exploited by the right as an example of a flimsy lawsuit.

Great take-away: People are proud of their decisions. Once they believe something, it is very difficult to get them to stop believing. When confronted with the facts, when given proof that they are wrong, they will shut down. So, despite all the proof of it being a hoax, people would rather believe that an eagle swooped down and picked up a little boy.

McAllister then went on to show how you win over customers: by giving them opportunities to participate. He took great pride in Wexley’s campaign to invigorate The Sounders brand. It was a three year process. First, you show the fans how to behave, like when to wave their scarves; then you bring back old traditions; and, finally, you allow the fans to own the game.

Another successful Wexley campaign was for Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. It was painting a message in a handicap parking lane at high schools that said that spot could be reserved for the next teen drunk driver. It is a controversial statement but it got the message across. And it specifically did not include the MADD brand since it actually alienates teens. “Teenagers already have one mad mother to deal with. They don’t need more,” said McAllister. That was perhaps the best line of the presentation, if not the whole SIC.

The last thought was sparked by a question on where Coca-Cola is headed with branding. McAllister thought it was great how Coke had partnered with Google on the Happiness campaign. “It’s just another great example of providing ‘added value’ for the customer,” said McAllister. Considering the theme of transparency, it is a curious place to stop. Can the giant of soft drinks, be associated with happiness? Well, that’s the magic of advertising. We’ll just have to see how NATO’s makeover works out. Can the military industrial complex really be associated with happiness? Oh, perhaps wrong campaign. One never knows for sure.

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Filed under Advertising, Capitalism, Seattle, Seattle Interactive Conference, Social Media

SEATTLE INTERACTIVE CONFERENCE 2013: Jack Conte, Founder of Patreon.com

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Jack Conte of Patreon.com

Jack Conte of Patreon.com

Seattle Interactive Conference, or SIC, is in town October 28, 29, and 30. My first impressions are that this is a very cool place to be for whatever your creative bent. Case in point, a presentation I just enjoyed put together by Jack Conte of Patreon.com. I include a quick sketch I did during the session. Conte has a great way with people. He makes you feel like he’s a friend with a really cool idea to share with you. And, well, that’s basically what he turned out to be. He is the founder of a new crowfunding platform for creators who release digital content and that could be just about anything, music, video, and even comics.

Patreon is unique. You can think of Kickstarter to get a frame of reference but then quickly move on from that. With Patreon, your patrons pay what they want to receive your content one piece at a time. If you are a musician, well, then it’s one song at a time. And so on. What’s really cool about this model is that creators and patrons find the right fit in a whole new way and everyone wins in the end. How do musicians and other digital content providers earn money today? Check out Patreon.com.

Be sure to check out the Seattle Interactive Conference. Visit them here.

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Filed under Digital, digital comics, Digital Content, Interactive, Seattle, Seattle Interactive Conference, SIC, Web Content