Savage radio love

Comes now an Art Town reader to enquire: "Why is KCMU playing re-runs of the Dan Savage radio show?" Glad you asked: The reason, according to Seattle's nationally known sex-advice columnist and Stranger staffer, is that the weekly three-hour Sunday evening show is "on hiatus," and may just stay that way permanently if Savage and the University of Washington's student-staffed radio station can't work a few things out.

One problem is just plain truth in packaging. With no new broadcasts in the offing, it can be disclosed at last that the show does not emanate "from the 23rd floor of the Washington Mutual building" but from the Jack Straw Foundation's U District studios. Why not from KCMU itself? Most likely because KCMU shares facilities and ownership with NPR affiliate KUOW over on campus, and the folks who run both stations for the UW are afraid that a program featuring live-on-air butt tattooing and bondage instruction (among its milder experiments) might conceivably attract undesirable attention from the religious right and/or political opponents of public broadcasting.

Savage derides such fears, pointing out that management can't point to a single letter or phone complaint about the show in four and a half years on the air. And he's graveled by the hypocrisy of the situation. "I'm in and out of KUOW all the time recording my pieces for All Things Considered and This American Life, but I have to do my own show somewhere else. It's like they like our audience numbers but they're ashamed to admit it."

Somebody else who likes those numbers may step in to produce the show: The granddaddy of nonprofit alternative radio, California's Pacifica Foundation, has indicated interest in picking up the program if KCMU/KUOW doesn't meet Savage's minimum terms for renewal. Could all America soon be tuning in to Savage, lesbian co-host Mary Martone, and announcer and token straight guy Danny Clark? Even in Seattle, "the show took a while to find its legs and stick 'em in the air," but today listeners take a female-female fisting workshop in stride. "I don't think even Howard Stern has done that," says Savage proudly.

Vamps in the 'burbs

The same week that Grand Illusion Cinema is hosting a career retrospective of the works of Manitoba filmmaker Guy Maddin, one of the Northwest's own exponents of visionary cinema on the cheap is offering a two-minute teaser of new work. Bellevue Community College media prof Michael Korolenko will show the snippet of his students' summer '97 project Nighters at BCC this Friday, along with a half-hour "Making of . . . " documentary, also shot by students. Nighters was shot entirely with a Sony digital camera, capable of shooting in surroundings and under lighting conditions where film (or even video) cameras are unusable.Nighters itself is still in post-production, but Korolenko is already convinced it will prove that the future of independent film is definitely digital.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Call them up and ask for it, turns out. Carnegie's 300-seat Weill Recital Hall rents for only $1,500, as the co-directors of local new-music group Ensemble Sospeso discovered when plotting a New York appearance. Kirk Noreen and Joshua Cody, both 27, decided it was time to take the three-year-old Ensemble to the next level, and give their own composing careers a boost as well. On the March 16 concert their music will share billing with works by modernist é­Šnences grises Harrison Birtwhistle and Luciano Berio. (The program will have a local preview at On the Boards March 14.)

Who's bankrolling the visit for the 16 or so Ensemble musicians? "It's our own gamble," Noreen says, hoping the investment now will pay off with recognition in America's contemporary-music capital.

Radio's loss is TV's gain

The man who foiled an out-of-town conglomerate onslaught to keep his radio station no. 1 is departing Seattle for the Big Apple. KUBE-FM 93.3's affable program manager Mike Tierney has been named vice president for program managing at MTV's sister station for the "mature" pop audience, VH-1. Tierney, 29 and white, survived overheated charges of lack of staff diversity on a station emphasizing black pop music to beat down Philadelphia-based Entercom outlets KNDD and KISW in the battle for top spot on the FM dial.

Savage Love Online

Weill Recital Hall


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