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But that is just me. I never warmed up to polkas, lutefisk or cod roe cakes. In any event, the Northwest heritage of Swedish loggers and Norwegian fishermen is deader than all-you-can-eat salad bars, karaoke and turtlenecks. The last Scandinavian restaurant is now Indian. The last Scandinavian food store closed its doors recently, perhaps to be replaced by yet one more organic juice outfit. Fremont is a lost Seattle soul. On the culinary side, a not bad Greek stalwart named Costas Opa is still operating with very reasonable prices.
Service used to be a drag but might be better now. A decade ago, I ran a business down there. Costas fed me more often than not together with the legendary Red Door Alehouse, now displaced to an undisclosed location by Suzie Burke, Land Baroness or Goddess of Fremont, aka the female Godfather of Fremont.
She owns just about everything in the area, including the Red Door Alehouse. She wanted another million condos where that poor tavern happened to do business.
Condos up, tavern gone. Eatless in Seattle? Not so. Late in , a new place opened up in my neighborhood after what seemed to me and my neighbors to be years in the making. My hair guy Kevin shared some pre-opening rumors, being next door at the Sublime Place. Taped up windows added to the mystery. So and so mentioned some sort of bistro was coming to town.
Then it opened — Tilikum Place Cafe. On the second or third day of the opening back in the very last part of October, I tried them out. Duck Confit, it was. The the mussels appetizer followed, oddly off the menu nowadays. My budget may be bruised more ways than one, but so be it. I had rabbit, duck, pork, beef and all kinds of salads and veggies. Desserts such as homemade ice cream and truly made-to-order strawberry shortcake caught my sweet tooth. Dutch babies, smoked paprika butter, special this and that.
Spirits galore. The menu is short and to the point. The dishes are unique partly because Ba and staff makes just about everything fresh to order from scratch, creating distinct taste clusters played off against each other. Or something like that. Anything different was treason punished by his plate thrown across the dining room.
The Tilikum Place Cafe culinary experiences are neither ordinary nor short lived. Other dishes are hearty, most are on the light side. Few Parisian chefs offer buffalo burgers but Ba does. Enough said. You look it up. Blessedly, the business seems to boom now after some gloomy, rainy days this winter and Spring. Know that Japanese saying?
After all, there are only some ten people on staff so the flying might be called for. The kitchen is open. Seeing Ba and the others in action makes you realize that this kind of cooking is art.
Here is my second point. I go there because the place makes me feel good. Most of us have retreats, memories or places, occasions or people that we cherish. Our comfort zone. The security blanket. A picture of mother, the cat or Michael Jackson. Some adore a bottle of Armagnac a day, others live to climb Mount Everest or raise ants. A hair blown breed needs that Hummer, a next-generation spouse and a lakefront property to feel properly comforted. In my case, I head for the ambiance of a neighbor eatery.
Sarah Palin, the astonishing narcissism of a not quite sane quitter. Ann Coulter, the modern day Goebbels. George W. Bush, criminal and failure. Michael Jackson, the medical wonder who finally lost the magic. Muhammad Ali, the wonder who has yet to lose the magic. Boris Yeltsin, the winner, dead drunk or not, currently simply dead. The senators, congressmen, governors, mayors and dog catchers caught with their pants down or pocket books open.
The CIA torture specialists. Corrupt bankers. Mother Theresa and Gandhi heroics. The sad hysterics of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Neighbors riding db motorcycles at 4 am. Martin Luther and Martin Luther King. Terrorists, the Religious Right and the Arrogant Left. So many get their moment of fame but with little to show for the effort. Here is part of the reason: none of these cats above made art, or at least not art of lasting value. Thus they disappear as time passes — there are exceptions but not many.
On the other hand, the few that do produce lasting art will themselves last. As a contrast, monsters such as Mao, Hitler and Stalin lurk behind the scenes, together with scores of other political rascals. Art is good because it survives no matter what. Stuff such as democracy, human rights, the Beatles, Antarctic krill, polar bears and ozone layers come and go. So do birthdays. The Big Bang and Black Holes are irreversible but when did you last worry about that? Now check out the Bach Concertos ignored by dead, forgotten despots.
What about the cave paintings in France and elsewhere that are still alive after 35, years? The liturgical songs by Hildegard of Bingen are with us after years.
Consider the string quartets coming out of Auschwitz some 55 years ago after their creators joined untold others inhaling Zyklon-B gas. You get my point. People come and go. Art remains. One day the bomb may drop or global temperatures might hit a hundred or more degrees, shutting down that last CO2 spewing smoke stack. The concertos, rock paintings, Bruno Walter recordings, Thriller albums and Star Wars DVDs will still be there, somewhere under the debris of human bones.
Go there. Tell Ba I sent you. Facebook is a lively source for Ba and the Cafe. Do fly in from Zagreb, Paris, Hanoi or Bellevue if necessary. Try the Spanish sardines. Say Hi to the four Ms, all famous for their music, but for vastly different reasons. Millions find great joy in the art of the four although few like all four. Why are these Ms considered important? Are they really even artists? Do they truly produce art, whether or not they are artists to begin with? The features of their trade share little: Symphonies versus Ragtime.
Lieder versus Solos. Form versus Adlib. Opera versus Gigs. Black tails or Headbands. Liberia versus Libretto, Joy versus Angst. Technique against Creativity. Brooklyn versus Berlin? How can four so different practitioners of music all be famous? Should they be? What about Culture, Racial and Generation Gaps?
How about Snobbery, Elitism or simple Ignorance? Are such items f actors in this mystery? Such questions are hard to face after a long day at work. Not to despair. Art is real. But then, that is part of the secret. Gustav Mahler followed suit in the early s in, mostly, Vienna and Austria. Miles Davis is mostly a mid s guy. Wynton Marsalis lives his glory moment as we speak. Mozart was an early Classicist, Mahler a late Romantic and Miles a little of jazzy everything in an introvert manner.
Marsalis is also a little of everything but in a very different extrovert way. At the time, emperors and dukes solemnly nodded their heads or not while Burghers applaude d, silver coins clinking.
Today, record companies know him as a sure, positive ROI. His personal life was a romantic mess — no money, starvation, illness over and again. He completed the fairytale by predictably dying prematurely. Mahler wrote his hour plus long, grandiose symphonies, vastly orchestrated, while suffering from all the angst so popular at the time.
He did eventually die after producing around fifteen hours of symphonies and, mostly, lieder about Angst and Death KindernTotenLieder. Some claim his music basically is a poor copy of Alpine cows roaming over the mountain sides, their bells clonking and loudly producing masses of green house gases. Critics happily find all kinds of technical problems. Maybe so but Mahler made art. Perhaps he went over the top at more than one occasion in a technical and emotional sense.
The picture to the left is from the US premiere of his 8th Symphony. No, that is not the audience you see. Those are the performers. It is not known if they managed to squeeze an audience into the hall. The last 60 years of jazz produced only a handful of truly great jazz artists with a lasting legacy. Miles is one of them. Not only that, he was an artist never standing still. He worked his way through late swing to bebop to cool to the best quintet and sextet music ever recorded, followed by fusion, free style and what have you.
Other true artists in the same vein include Picasso and Stravinsky. Was Miles as great a trumpet player as he was an artist?
His early recordings with Charlie Parker lacked the confidence, flair and excitement of Navarro and Gillespie. Later, he tended to play with his back to the audience, walking off stage when others soloed. Like Mahler, the angst level was high, yet he delivered just about every time.
Nothing belittles his legacy — it only shows that superior skill is not required if artistry is big enough. Miles is not the only case where the art genius beats the stiffness of lips and the speed of a few fingers. Louis Armstrong was a teddy bear of a singer but technically perfect? Not quite. Yet all are Hall of Famers. Leni Riefenstahl debuted as an Alpine sex symbol of great beauty above. Her immense talent, flawed, naive and self-serving as it was earned her the friendship of Hitler and a jail term by the Allies after the thousand years Reich vanished.
Following that, she fled to Africa and became a distinguished documentary photographer of steppe tribes. In her seventies, she switched again and learnt to scuba dive. Her underwater photography ranks with the best. She was not a nice person but possessed an immense talent. She also was an artist never standing still until her death at Compare that to Rolling Stones still living off their s tunes. Think of Mel Gibson playing the same role in every film. Many of us go through life never changing or even considering change.
All of which may boil down to nice, comfortable lives. Another school contains those with above average sanity challenges. Bud Powell was a brilliant pianist when his madness was somewhat controlled. The same goes for Glenn Gould of Bach fame. Van Gogh and the ear business come close.
Robert Schumann was locked up in his mid forties and soon died. Charles Mingus was not mad to my knowledge but had a temper issue that resulted in smashed bases and screams at audiences. Keith Jarrett also has an audience problem. Do not sneeze in the presence of the master.
Charlie Parker left recordings amply proving that having your brains on fire does your artistry no good. Ben Webster went nowhere without his pocket flask.Gmail is email that's intuitive, efficient, and useful. 15 GB of storage, less spam, and mobile access.