Critics' Picks: Author Betty MacDonald; tweets from a refrigerator
Three things Seattle Times writers love this week: blueswomen Tracy Nelson and Lydia Pense, both coming to Jazz Alley in August; the former home — and enduring literature — of Northwest author Betty MacDonald; and the Twitter feeds of inanimate objects.
Fans of Northwest author Betty MacDonald (1908-58) were saddened last week by the demolition of the Roosevelt-neighborhood home, at 6317 15th Ave. N.E., in which she lived with her family during the 1930s. On historylink.org, Paula Becker gives a touching history of the house, including her own final visit to it. MacDonald affectionately described the home, with its "easy book-filled firelit living room" and "four elastic bedrooms," in her wonderful Depression-era memoir, "Anybody Can Do Anything," a book I've devoured many times over. It's a joyful read for anyone who loves Seattle history — or MacDonald's inimitably warm way with words.
Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times arts writer
Tracy Nelson and Lydia Pense
Ladies sing the blues — yes, indeedy — and a pair of tough-and-tender blueswomen will be at Jazz Alley this month. First comes a Tuesday-Wednesday return appearance by powerhouse singer Tracy Nelson, whose deep-soul voice is shiver-inducing. Then Aug. 14-15, the Bay Area's hardy Lydia Pense brings her Janis Joplin vibe (and funk-rock band Cold Blood) to the club for a tribute to the great Etta James (206-441-9729 or www.jazzalley.com).
Seattle Times arts writer
Why should carbon-based life-forms have all the fun? Among the items that tweet are a refrigerator at The New York Times (@NYTfridge), which serves news-oriented snark; London's Tower Bridge (@towerbridge), which had a virtual smackdown a couple of years ago with @ImLondonBridge; and a very funny photocopier (@photocopier).
Melissa Davis, Weekend Plus editor