Highbrow Town

The Best of Seattle According to Greg Kucera

The GREG KUCERA Gallery, now in its 20th year as a highbrowser destination, has achieved the status of Institution—it's filled with often incredible contemporary work, much to the thrill and thrall of often pretentious gallerygoers. Mr. Kucera comments: "I hate snobs. I especially hate wine snobs! And opera snobs—oooh, I really hate them. But the worst kind of snob is that snob who presumes to inherit their snobbery along bloodlines, financial lines, or dynastic private-school legacies. When I am forced by uncomfortable circumstances to revert to snobbery, I prefer to think of it as 'cultural elitism.' Sounds more polite, n'est- ce pas? I'd say more about the topic of snobbery, but I'm much too busy enjoying a cold glass of Snapple, a grilled Velveeta cheese sandwich, and viewing my newest Thomas Kinkade highlighted painting."

Best Place to Get Away from Intellectuals

That's easy: the Mariners' sports commentator booth at Safeco Field. Never have trifling and meaningless statistics taken on such importance. Listening to Dave Niehaus blather on about how many times this batter has hit a home run while holding a mouthful of chewing tobacco can drive sensitive, thinking people to toss their TV sets out the window.

Best Fancy Restaurant

The Ruins—the most elegant and delightful rooms for a romantic dinner. Too bad it's a membership club—I guess that means most people will have to sleep with a member to go there. But that's good for those of us who are members. And it's worth compromising your morals to be taken to dinner at such a classy place as The Ruins.

Best Antique Store

Really fine Japanese antiques, particularly elegant Japanese art deco metal pieces, can be seen at Kagedo on First Avenue South, while Honeychurch on James Street features more Imari ceramics, folk carvings, and lovely textiles. For European material, Pelayo out on Greenwood always has some really delightful stuff—icons, LARGE SCALE cabinetry, sets of dishes, and the occasional good sculpture.

Best Art Gallery Other Than Mine

There are so many good galleries in Seattle—don't make me choose between Billy Howard's Howard House and the James Harris Gallery.

Best Local Artist

When Jacob Lawrence was alive, this would have been an easy choice. Now I'm not touching this with a 10-foot pole.

Best Place for Classical Music

Benaroya Hall, without a doubt. I also like some of the concerts in churches, such as Seattle Baroque's concerts at St. Stephen's Church in Laurelhurst—but let's be real, church pews are built for punishment, not for comfortable seating.

Best Place to Get Something Framed

Easy! Gallery Frames at Second and James. This shop frames for all of the galleries in Pioneer Square and some of the most prominent collectors in Seattle. They, like the Boy Scouts, are careful, courteous, thrifty, and so on. And I don't pick them just because the owner, Larry Yocom, is my mate.

Best Fringe Theater

The annual Fringe Festival has always been a lively enterprise. And, as is customary with contemporary theater, it offers many a good chance to see naked or nearly naked people onstage.

Best Hotel

We always recommend our visiting artists to stay at the Inn at the Market. It's small, cozy, convenient, and scenic for tourists. And it actually has real Northwest art in the lobby and not the bland "art factory" furnishings so prominent in the lobbies of the larger hotels.

Best Mainstage Theater

I would choose Intiman Theater. Over the last few years, their productions have taken risks and also maintained a consistently high quality.

Best Nursery

The best plant nursery is Wells Medina Nursery just across the 520 bridge. I have no opinion about nurseries for kids.

Best Art Made for the Public

Robert Irwin's Nine Spaces, Nine Trees at the Public Safety Building and city jail.

Best Art Made With the Public

Buster Simpson's First Avenue project of pedestrian benches and tree supports made from a wonderful array of found materials and a whole lot of community involvement. Totally admirable.

Best Place to Spend $200 on a Shirt

Why spend $200 on a shirt when you can get a work of art by a promising young artist for that amount? I only buy clothing on sale and have never even been tempted to spend $200 for a shirt. Well, once I did score a great $240 shirt for $110 at Nordstrom's half-yearly sale. It's a plaid fine-wale corduroy shirt in Mark Rothko tones of dark green, maroon, and purple.

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