Radio comix

Pirate radio has become even more important in recent years as corporate consolidation of the airwaves accelerates. Yet if you don't live in a city like Seattle that's lucky enough to have a pirate station, you may think your options for free expression are limited to public-access TV.

Portland multimedia artists Jacob and Arnold Pander have set out to popularize the free-radio movement with a new CD and comic book, both titled Secret Broadcast. The CD compiles subterranean electronic music from legendary hip-hop MC Jamal-ski, one-man Portland band California, Miami's Supersoul, and many others. Their illbient and dub tracks can be played alone or in conjunction with the comic book, which introduces adorably feisty "micro-broadcasters" Carlos, Gina, and DJ Realistic. The story will continue in future issues, but the first installment carries you through the first six of the CD's 17 tracks.

Aside from creating comic books, the Pander brothers have directed music videos, created murals in Portland and Amsterdam, and made several short films, including The Operation. Last year, Dark Horse Comics released their acclaimed graphic novel, Triple X International, a look at some of the broader cultural issues hinted at in Secret Broadcast.

Secret Broadcast the CD is available from Nail Distribution (1-888-NAIL-INC). Secret Broadcast the comic book formed the first half of Oni Press's debut double issue published in December. The hilarious flip side of the mag was written by film director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy), and features his trademark teenage-wasteland characters, Jay and Silent Bob, in high-flying visuals by comic-art legend Matt Wagner.

Dollars vs. "Vision"

One of the most memorable of the Seattle Repertory Theater's early stagings was Bertolt Brecht's Galileo, with Tom Hill as the wily astronomer in trouble with the pope. Current Rep artistic director Sharon Ott planned a revisit to the sprawling chronicle-play to open her second season. Plans had gotten as far as extensive auditions for specific roles. Then, last week, Ott told the cast of An Ideal Husband that the show's off. Reasons given: The company's projected 1998-99 budget came in a cool million on the minus side, and other pressing needs— more rehearsal and preview time above all—took precedence. You have to give Ott credit for putting the good of the organization as a whole ahead of her own pet project, but it's still a shame: particularly when the Rep just scored a $175,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation back in January—to help support "artistic vision."

Annals of tack

Twenty years ago Christina Crawford's memoir Mommie Dearest set a new (low) standard for celebrity biography. Now the most notorious adoptee since Moses has topped herself: Not content with reissuing her record of childhood with screen idol Joan Crawford, Christina dearest is taking her show on the road in a "gala four-city tour" featuring her very own handpicked live interviewer and a screening of the Faye Dunaway biopic made from the book.Not low enough? There's more: The Seattleshow April 3 also features a Joan Crawfordlook-alike contest judged by drag divaMark Finley. Bleah: Why can you never find a coat hanger when you really need one?

Good guys win one

After more than a year of litigation, artist Frank Samuelson has won a settlement from the folks who appropriated an artwork of his for a poster advertising Fat Tuesday and declined to compensate him for their use of it. Considering that Samuelson's antagonists included the likes of Alaska Airlines, Seagram's, and Miller Beer (whose logos appeared on the offending poster as sponsors of Fat Tuesday), that's quite a win. Trying to defend the indefensible must easily have ended upcosting the defendants more than $100,000: about 100 times what Samuelson would have accepted as compensation in the first place. Maybe that will dissuade the next promoter who thinks any work of art hanging in public is in the public domain.

Comings and goings

The ex-director of Alaska's Alliance Theater, Andrew Traister, has taken charge of the leaderless Seattle Playwrights Alliance. The alliance's new officeswill be at Seattle's literary hotbed Richard Hugo House, formerly New City Theater.... Years ago Phil Shallat (once known to every Northwest trendie as Phil de Baskett, front man of the New Deal RhythmBand) shook the dust of show biz from hisfeet and settled down to serving humanity in the real estate line. But last month he took a sidestep mediaward, taking a position cultivating underwriting for KUOW-FM's public affairs programming.... Tapped to replace the irreplaceable Mike Tierney at KUBE is afternoon jock Eric Powers, who subbed for Tierney before his departure for cable music channel VH-1.... Leslie Swackhamer exits May 1 as A Contemporary Theater's associate artistic director. Her replacement is Mame Hunt, currently artistic director of San Francisco's Magic Theater,a specialist, like Swackhamer, in play evaluation and development. Hmm: Wonder why ACT's Gordon Edelstein felt it necessary to lure Intiman's literary manager Liz Engelman to ACT as well? Is this... war?

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