The Stranger, March 21, 2002

By Megan Seling

Slender Means Society's first meeting convened on March 9 at Secluded Alley Works, an easy-to-miss art gallery at 113 12th Avenue in the Central District. Despite the images conjured by its name, SMS isn't an underground society involving black velvet cloaks and buckets of virgin mammal blood. It's a new, monthly music-and-more series created by two young men bent on recognizing what's lacking in Seattle's music scene.

"Here, in our fair community of socialistic endeavor, swirls an undercurrent of disparate/desperate talent--a living, breathing organism simply waiting to be brought to life," says SMS cofounder Zac Pennington. "We did not create the Slender Means Society. Its existence predates our own. We simply gave it a name."

Zac and business partner Devin Welch met over a year ago, when Zac was asked to do some design work for what Devin describes as "an ill-fated project of mine." The two began exchanging ideas, and the SMS was born.

At the society's premiere gathering, young hipsters paid five bucks a head to fill the modest space with messy hair, black pea coats, and stylish messenger bags. Such a scene can be intimidating, but attitudes were pleasantly nonexistent. We were all here to experience a plethora of new projects by local big and/or unknown names, all honoring this month's SMS theme, debut music.

Among the debuts was the premiere performance by an all-star side project featuring the Blood Brothers' Morgan Henderson, the Gossip's Nathan Howdeshell, and Get Hustle's M. Evan Burden. The "meeting" also welcomed a variety of other "special guests," including cellist Serena Tideman, and Display, a three-piece from Everett that proved Zac correct when he introduced them as "your new favorite band." Over all, the inaugural meeting was wonderfully successful.

Zac and Devin may hold the key to this very promising project, but the handsome 21-year-olds remain modest. They prefer that their faces not be associated with SMS, hence the above photo of their backs.

"It's not to be aloof or inaccessible," assured Devin. "It's our desire that Slender Means Society events are free of any one particular aesthetic; therefore our personal appearances are irrelevant."

Concrete plans for next month's "meeting" are still in the works, but the guys were able to offer a few intriguing hints.

"It's scheduled for the 20th of April at Secluded Alley Works, and I believe the theme will be focused on the wonders of children's television," offered Zac.

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