Dockless in Seattle

June 7, 2018

In summer 2017, thousands of brightly-hued bikes started covering Seattle streets. Unlike Seattle's previous bikeshare program, Pronto, which required users to return the bike to a designated parking station, these don't have a station. You unlock the bike with your smartphone, then leave it at your destination. It's more convenient, so the program has been seeing a lot more use and overall enthusiasm than Pronto ever did. But all that freedom sometimes leads to... well, chaos. The bikes have been hung off of bridges, stop signs, and trees; they've been drowned in lakes, thrown in bushes, and holed up in people's houses; they've been tossed in piles and mangled and tagged. This week, as Seattle releases its initial evaluation of a year with dockless bikeshare, Seattleland's intern Aidan Walker takes stock of all that vandalism and mayhem—and explores what bike companies and city staffers are doing to stem the tide of careless parkers.

Music by Ask AgainKevin MacLeodJahzarr, and Leeni Ramadan

This week's cover photo is an image of a remarkably orderly line of Ofo bikes, taken by Aidan Walker. 

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Without Shelter

May 31, 2018

King County has the third-largest homeless population in the country. And despite Seattle and King County's concerted efforts over the last decade, more and more people are living outside. That means more and more people are dying outside. Anitra Freeman and Qween B King Rios are two members of Women in Black, a group of volunteers that aims to stand in silent vigil for every unsheltered person who dies outside or by violence in the region. Both women have experienced homelessness, and each does this as a form of advocacy—a way to say that homeless lives matter and that keeping the issue in the public eye matters, too. Seattleland sits down this week with Anitra and Qween B to hear their stories, their hopes and fears, and what motivates them to do this work. To learn more, visit homelessremembrance.org and fallenleaves.org.

Music by Natalie Mai Hall, Doctor Turtle, and Leeni Ramadan

This week's cover photo was taken by Sara Bernard and is an image of the leaf made for Anitra's friend Colette Fleming, located in front of the Seattle Justice Center. 

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Faith, Doubt, and Pedro the Lion

May 24, 2018

When Seattle-based musician David Bazan began his career in the mid-1990s, he was Christian. In the beginning, he put his faith—and his doubt about his faith—into his music. But over time, he began to sing less and less about faith, and more and more about doubt. His band, Pedro the Lion, broke up in 2005, and he’s built a solo career since, releasing albums that explore his breakup with Christianity as well as his anger toward corporate power, politics, and patriarchy. In late 2017, Bazan reunited the band, revisiting some of his old work—and his old doubts—through a very of-the-moment exploration of toxic masculinity. Seattleland editorial director Mark Baumgarten leads us on that complicated journey, talking with both Bazan and his fans to probe the depths of personal change made public and the role that faith and doubt can play in art and life.

Featuring interviews with Mark Baumgarten, David Bazan, Nina Maldonado, Steven Heller, Leif Andersen, Nick Foster, Josh Morrison, and Noah Janes.

Music by David Bazan and Leeni Ramadan

This week's cover photo is a portrait of David Bazan, taken by Ebru Yildiz.

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Shifting SIFF

May 17, 2018

This year's edition of the Seattle International Film Festival features more than four hundred films from ninety different countries. It's the largest film festival in the U.S.—and nearly half of the films featured this year were made by women. This is a big deal when compared with the lineups from most every other festival out there, including the SIFF numbers from just a few years ago. What are the organizers at SIFF doing differently? Seattleland sits down with executive director Sarah Wilke and artistic director Beth Barrett to find out. We talk about gender, representation, and power in Hollywood and how much of SIFF's new look is intentional and how much is simply a reflection of an industry that, for a number of reasons, is seeing more work from women come to the big screen. 

Music by Leeni RamadanJesse SpillaneBOPDMystery Mammal, and Kevin MacLeod

This week's cover photo was taken by Amy Kowalenko and is courtesy of SIFF.

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Secret Agent Man

April 12, 2018

At the end of March, following the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in England, the Trump administration expelled 60 Russian diplomats from the U.S. and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle. White House officials said that these weren't necessarily diplomats, though. More likely, they were spies. Seattle resident Naveed Jamali, whose experience working as a double agent for the FBI and Russian intelligence prompted his memoir, How to Catch a Russian Spy, agrees. Although the Cold War ended a few decades ago, he says Russia still views the U.S. as enemy number one.  This week, in the final episode of Season One of Seattleland, we catch up with Naveed to get the inside scoop on how spy movies and TV shows can become real life—seriously, Naveed lived it all, from clandestine meetings to Hollywood-style showdowns—and why Russian espionage might have a nexus in Seattle.

Music by Leeni RamadanBOPD, and Jahzzar

This week's cover photo is an image of the Samuel Hyde mansion in Seattle, home of the Russian Consul General since the 1990s. Photo obtained via Wikimedia Commons. 

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The Backlog

March 29, 2018

The cities throughout the Puget Sound region are home to Amazon, Microsoft, and tons of other tech companies—many of which hire a significant number of their employees on H1B visas. These are temporary work permits designed for foreign workers with specific kinds of skills and expertise. In recent years, a vast majority of those workers have come from India. And when they and their employers apply for permanent residency—something that's legally required after six years on an H1B—that's when they run into problems. Workers and the companies that hire them are insistent that the system needs to change. Their critics, meanwhile, argue that H1B holders are taking jobs away from Americans and that the current system is more than fair. This week, Seattle Weekly staff writer Melissa Hellmann and H1B visa holder Lokesh Marenayakanapalya discuss the gigantic green card backlog for Indians and the impact it is having on the lives and families of thousands of our area's tech workers. 

Featuring interviews with Melissa Hellmann and Lokesh Marenayakanapalya; performance by Mark Siano.

Music by Leeni Ramadan, Jahzzar, and The Insider

This week's cover photo is courtesy GC Reforms and was taken in downtown Bellevue during a rally in late February.

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Boarders vs. Bureaucracy

March 22, 2018

Skateboarding continues to grow in popularity in the Pacific Northwest. But it’s still difficult for skateboarders to find a good, safe place to get together and do their thing. Rain is a big problem, and covered skate parks are few and far between. Recently, a group of skaters in Renton took matters into their own hands and, using 50,000 pounds of cement, built a park under a freeway overpass. This was, of course, illegal. The Washington Department of Transportation threatened to tear it down last fall, but a crowd of skaters from across the region showed up to defend it. Renton Reporter staff writer Leah Abraham set off to figure out just why one park could mean so much to so many people—and discovered a whole world in the process.

Featuring interviews with Leah Abraham, Jack Skeel, Kristin Ebeling, Marshall Reid, and David Waite. 

Music by Leeni Ramadan and Jahzzar

This week's cover photo is a shot of Longacres Skate Park, taken by Leah Abraham for the Renton Reporter in late November 2017. 

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Black Lives Matter Meets #MeToo

March 15, 2018

The Black Lives Matter movement has been active in the Seattle area for more than four years. But it wasn't until this past December that a trio of activists created the first official BLM chapter in the region, Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County (BLMSKC). The catalyst for this, organizers say, was the harassment and abuse that some male BLM leaders had allegedly been exacting on women and gender non-conforming members of the movement. In this week's episode, South Seattle Emerald editor and Seattle Weekly columnist Marcus Harrison Green talks about Black Lives Matter's #MeToo momentand how the fight for one kind of justice can sometimes overshadow other injustices. As the nation grapples with revelation after revelation of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination in the workplace, Green discusses a history of the same thing happening within social movements. 

Music by Leeni Ramadan, Kai Engel, and Grapes

This week's cover photo was taken by Naomi Ishisaka during a 2015 Black Womxn's Lives Matter memorial gathering.

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The Matriarch of Marijuana

March 8, 2018

Everyone knows that Washington was one of the first states to legalize marijuana—medicinal in 1998 and recreational in 2012. But few know the story of the small, tight-knit community that fought the battles for patients' rights that eventually opened the door to recreational cannabis. Those who do know will tell you that none of it would have happened without JoAnna McKee, who passed away in late 2017. In this episode, we meet some of the people who knew and loved JoAnna; hear about her role in the first-ever federal raid on a medical cannabis dispensary in the country; and pause to reflect on the legacy of a person whose life's work won't be forgotten, especially with new leaders at the federal level who are attempting to turn back the clock on cannabis policy. 

Featuring interviews with Meagan Angus, Dale Rogers, Douglas Hiatt, and Stich Miller.

Music by Leeni Ramadan, Jahzzar, Josh Woodward, and Doctor Turtle

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A Hardwood Classic

March 1, 2018

In this mini episode, we introduce you to the editorial director for the show, Mark Baumgarten, who is really into basketball. He plays in a pick-up league on Monday nights and on Tuesday nights in winter he and some buddies go to high school basketball games. It's cheap, he says, and really good! So good, in fact, that after one dramatic game this season, he was inspired to write a poem about it. Since this weekend is the Washington state high school basketball tournament, aka the Hardwood Classic, we decided we would share it.

Music by Leeni Ramadan

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