Montag, 10. November 2008


FIUTS is a non-profit organization and stands for Foundation of International Understanding Through Students. This year, the organization celebrated its 60th anniversary with a huge Gala. My Mission: take pictures!

The Gala was at a Chinese Restaurant in the International District (formerly called Chinatown).
People from 60 years of FIUTS and from all over the world had come back to Seattle to celebrate the event with Chinese food, and a traditional Indian dance performance. During events like this, international friendships and even relationships have developed. Many couples had joined the Gala who had met each other through FIUTS and everybody had a story to tell about the wonderful experiences and friendships related to their exchanges and stays abroad.

It was a rare opportunity for people from many different social backgrounds, places, ethnicities, religions and age groups to communicate. Each person was assigned to a specific "country table".

the night was not only meant to celebrate, but was also supposed to be a fundraiser for the organization. People had donated different kinds of traditional items for a silent auction. For a silent auction, people write their bids on a piece of paper that belongs to the item and after a certain time the one with the highest bit gets the object of desire. This beautiful Japanese Kimono was the most desires item and changed its owner for about 1000 Dollars.

Equally successfull was the desert auction. Each person at a table donated some money and the table with the highest amount would get to run for the desert table first and take their desert of choice. Somebody must have loved the chocolate cake, because the table spent over 900 dollars for it.

EMP & SciFi Museum

The Experience Music Project (EMP) was built in 2000 and is one of the interactive museums in Seattle Center. It portrays not only the local music scene of today, but also its history. Since Jimmy Hendrix was a Seattle native, a special gallery is devoted to him. Many of his old guitars have found there way to the museum. So have the guitars and materials by Kurt Cobain, Queensryche and others.
In the lobby, the huge guitar sculpture welcomes visitors to the world of music.

The second floor is really the heart of the museum. The sound lab offers learning sessions in the major rock instruments and one can have his own concert in a real studio.

In 2004, the Science Fiction museum was integrated into the building. Since I am currently taking a class on Science Fiction, I could not miss this opportunity. While the museum has a pretty nice collection of magaines, books and movie artefacts, it is not extraordinarily interesting for poeple who don't identify with Science Fiction. The rather open definition of SF that it seems to be based on, makes it easier for non-Trekkies to appreciate the exhibition.

Culture Fest & Alanis

Cultural Fest is a once-a-year event where international students present their country not only to their fellow students, but also to Middle School Children. This year, 300 school kids had come to take the opportunity of cherishing German chocolate,
Polish sausages and witness martial arts presentations and Korean games.

That night, I myself was supposed to get some fun as well. Alanis Morrissette was playing at the Paramount Theatre downtown. Unfortunately, it was a disappointment, however.

The sound was bad and the instruments were mixed in way too loud so that her singing was barely audible. Alanis herself didn't give a good show either. Starting with "Uninvited" this was the feeling she gave us. The first 2/3 of the concert she ran to and fro on stage, shaking her head and long hair (which made the audience cheer) without apparent reason and looking like she didn't know what to do with herself on stage.

When the band left their first set of instruments and they moved to the front of the stage a little of the good ol' Alanis feeling came up. She sang her old songs and the concert was just about to get better when after 90 minutes she left the stage. Returning for two more songs and ending with "Thank you" she had barely left the stage again when the crew started taking apart the stage. The feeling being uninvited had never really left during the concert.

Yes, we can!!

It is time for change!

If you went just one step out of your home on election Tuesday, there was hardly any chance you could miss or forget the fact that it was a Tuesday not like any other. This day was important and everyone with a voice (and a voter registration) should come out to change the future of the country.

Polling places were all over, even in churches. What seems a little obscure for Europeans who are not used to churches mingling in political business is perfectly normal to Americans. Especially the young came out of the closet to raise their voice and make the change happen that America needs after eight years of disasters.

The anxiety about the outcome was thus high and everyone wanted to know: "Who did you cast your ballot for?"

After watching early results at home, we left about 7:30 and at 207 vs. 134 electoral votes. Destination was the Merian Hotel downtonw where the State Democrats were having their party. On the bus a black guy was talking on his cellphone and kept us posted with the latest news. He had jsut gotten off the phone when it rang again. His mouth opened wide: “Are you freakin' kiddin' me? They called it?” A moment later he got up and exclaimes the news: “Senator Obama has just been elected President of the United States” - the bus started to cheer.
Walking on the way to the Westin, he was still expressing his joy on the phone: “Man, they’re gonna have to paint the White House black now!”

On the big screens at the party we watched McCain declare defeat at his "invitation only party" and Obama's speech to the masses of people in Chicago. People were crying, dancing, drinking and celebrating in Chicago and Seattle alike. Obama made clear that this was not the cahnge yet, but now, finally, the possibility for change was there!

From there, we took the party to the streets where honking car torsos roamed. The area of 1st Ave and Pike Street - the heart of Seattle - was completely jammed. The heart was beating with people dancing and celebrating to the sound of African drums and music.

The police mainly stood by and blocked out incoming traffic. I had last seen this kind of celebration at the World Soccer Cup. The whole scene had, however, a certain revolutionary air about it. From the waterfront, the mass started moving through the downtown area, lead by a man wrapped in the American flag shouting "Yes, we can!" through his megaphone.It was a historic moment and it felt amazing to be right in the middle of it!

Halloween II: Costumes and Displays

People go through considerable efforts decorating their houses, much like they do on Christmas. This little garden cemetery is a nice example of the level of creepiness.

But not only the front yard, also the house itself is used for displaying purposes.

Although people dress up for Carneval in Germany, it is no comparison to America.

Not a single person would dare to arrive at a costume party here without a costume.

Although most costumes are a little weak in the details (plastic knifes are apparently not supposed to look real), a lot of them spend a lot of money on their dress up.