Stromae and the Seattle Central Library
Though I love hip-hop, I’m usually not a fan of electronica. But, lately, I can’t get enough of Stromae, a Belgian singer-songwriter whose repertoire is full of electronic beats. Perhaps it’s because of the way he dances, or because his videos are so well done and executed with a sense of humor; also he raps/sings in French, which never hurts.
Here is his most famous (he did a version of this with Kanye):
And here’s my favorite:
—Masha Udensiva-Brenner, Editor
The Seattle Central Library
On a six-hour layover in Sea-Tac, Seattle’s international airport, I decided to hop the light rail and go visit the Central Library. I had already virtually toured this building through “Designing the Seattle Central Library,” a TED lecture by architect Joshua Prince-Ramus. I was prepared to see this building based on “rationalism” and the library’s role as an evolving social center (rather than just a holder/dispenser of media and books), where the maxim “form follows function” is literalized into compartmentalized spaces, staggered platforms unified by a glass and steel skin. Frankly, I was prepared to find the building a bit ugly. I wasn’t about to write in, as one woman did during the building’s inception, to ask, “Who are the people in Seattle who have collectively taken some ugly pills?” I was just ready to distastefully compare it to the classical libraries I love and grew up with, like the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library. But, instead, I ended up marveling at this modernized idea of a library. I enjoyed the “funky” design with its bold colors, crazy angles, and sublime views. I appreciated how alive and clean the space felt; where often I have felt “the tragedy of the commons” in smelly, stained, loud libraries, this felt like the realization of an urban, hip, socially conscious commons. If you ever find yourself on a layover in Seattle, I highly recommend downloading the self-guided tour and visiting the library. Maybe you too will form the new life goal of becoming a window washer (every two years) at the Seattle Central Library.
—Nicola Fucigna, Fiction Editor