Jun 17, 2007

WICKER BASKETS AND LEATHER
SEATTLE – Fremont airs the boho skeletons in its corporate closet today. Once the funky self-proclaimed "center of the universe," the area lost its edge when Adobe headquartered there about ten years ago.

I'd laugh and point, but Ballard's thick with chipboard palaces and purse dogs...

Anyway, our rival 'hood still throws a good summer solstice parade: lotsa naked bikers, bellydancers, rain barrel robots, samba bands, a marching forest and a ukulele tribute to rubber duckies. But my knockdown, drag-'em-out favorite is the bondage barbecue.

Leather-masked men in cut-butt chaps tug along pit bulls, dispensing candy to the kiddies. Others wheel a picnic table down the street. And the chef – complete with a mustard squeeze-bottle codpiece – serves up corn cobs and hot dogs from a glowing wheelie grill.

"Your Friendly Neighborhood Barbecue," I sigh. "That's beautiful.What freedom. God bless America!"

"I don't know," my friend says. "Maybe it's a little too far – in public?"

Erm ... Adventure and an inappropriate sense of humor bound me to my ex-husband for 8.5 years. The equation wasn't sustainable, but the essential bits are clear.

American Pie = genius.

Running from riot police = smart move, even better story.

Getting kicked off Edinburgh's Royal Mile for flaunting a 25-foot phallus during the Fringe Festival = priceless.

I don't miss the Muppet, except for the absurd scrapes. The purloined audio equipment for the casino party at the American Academy in Rome*. Moving to the Middle East when the second Iraq War ignited. The sunken narrowboat. Baking cookies without an oven mitt. Oh, we were such rebels, living our own legend...

I snap back to the present. My buddy frowns at the gimps. He's lived in New York and San Francisco; his liberal pedigree's as impeccable as they come. Nonetheless, a squeeze-bottle codpiece is neither fun nor funny.

And, well, maybe it's not, really. But seeing Seattle relax its PC passive-aggressive side for one jumbo-dog's worth of time ... well, I'll cheer for that.

*This epic party went forward on the Italian axiom "better to ask forgiveness than permission". We bought a roulette wheel and rented a drum kit – no mean feats in the Eternal City. Artist friends underlit the garden's shrubberies, many of which were subsequently destroyed or otherwise debauched. Luckily, the institution's president and a camera-laden "New York Times" documentary-maker attended, which softened the bureaucratic backlash.

However, I still suspect the director snuck through the scrub and yanked the extension cord around 3am. No matter. The festa raged acoustic till dawn...

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