Octavia Butler, 1947-2006

Seattle's sci-fi genius dies. Plus: Seattle Met's coming-out party, and Alvin Ailey dancers at Denny Middle School.


How many Seattleites does it take to launch a magazine? Too many, judging by the crowd at the Paramount Saturday, Feb. 25, where the new, glossy Seattle Metropolitan threw itself a lavish coming-out party. A Tom Douglas–orchestrated feast, live music by Wayne Horvitz, and tequila by the gallon awaited guests—at least those who could get in. The line snaked around the block, and would-be revelers were turned away repeatedly because of the size of the crowd. One ticket-holder was so miffed at being rebuffed he unzipped his fly and threatened to piss on his ticket. Meanwhile, inside, it was body to beautiful body. Rumor had it that models were hired to up the party's glamour quotient, but Seattle Metropolitan Editor in Chief Katherine Koberg explains that the models—who appeared in the magazine's first fashion spread—were unpaid, invited guests. SEATTLE WEEKLY STAFF


By the time the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company gets to Seattle for its gig at the Paramount Theatre March 17–18, a group of Denny Middle Schoolers will already have taken apart the company's signature work, Revelations, and put it back together again. In a residency with Ailey teaching artists, Denny students will look at the work from multiple perspectives: as a piece of social history documenting the lives of African Americans in the South, as an example of dance composition and aesthetics, and as a template for their own expression. Try to sit near them at the April 18 matinee and pick up on their commentary. SANDRA KURTZ


With rude and shocking swiftness, the Seattle sci-fi lioness had her writing career cut short only a few years into the new millennium, the result of fatal injuries suffered in an accidental fall on Friday, Feb. 24. A MacArthur "genius award" and Nebula Award winner, she's known for futuristic musings on identity in books including Kindred, Revelations, and (last year) Fledgling. She'll be memorialized at the Science Fiction Museum (325 Fifth Ave. N., 206-724-3428) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 2, by friends and fellow writers, including Greg Bear, Brian Herbert, and L. Timmel Duchamp. Her books, of course, survive her. BRIAN MILLER


Not only a link to old, pre–world's fair Seattle, Katims, who died Monday at 96, was one of the last survivors from the between-the-wars burgeoning of American classical music: chamber-music colleague of Isaac Stern, first-chair violist under Toscanini in the legendary NBC Orchestra. Arriving here in 1954, Katims worked hard to lift the city's arts scene out of the "aesthetic dustbin" his predecessor, conductor Sir Thomas Beecham, had famously warned Seattleites to avoid. He led the charge to convert the old Civic Auditorium into the Opera House and served 22 years as the Seattle Symphony's music director (one of three in the last half-century). GAVIN BORCHERT


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