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Carl Sander

Paul, I read this ode to 1995 just before heading over to the Eastlake Zoo to raise a pint in memory of Gary Vaughn. Gary passed about 5 years back, and in 1985 was the TD at On the Boards. I shared your recollections of ’95 and we all laughed and came up with the following. Hope you take it in the spirit of cantankerous old fartdom that Gary would have appreciated.


Seattle hadn’t changed yet. The wave was cresting, but no one was really sure if it would break or how to surf it if it did. You could still get high with the band without risk of being photographed or ending up dead.

Seattle was a great R & B town with 7 clubs going 7 nights a week. The Sonics, still in the shadow of a World Championship, played in the Coliseum. The Weekly was locally owned and had good writing in it, not the least of which was provided by Roger Downey whose theatre reviews were read for there wit, insight, and occasionally misplaced bile. About the only “coffee shop” in Seattle was the Last Exit on Brooklyn. If you were looking for anyone working in the theater you could find them post show either at the Comet, Trattoria Michelli’s, or the Queen Anne Bar and Grill. After closing you could find everyone at The Dog House.

The 211Pool Hall was still in its original location at 211 Union, a much more storied and beautiful space than the Belltown location. The Rep had just opened the Bagley Wright (with a world premiere by a living American playwright) after moving from the Playhouse, where Intiman is now after moving from Eagles Auditorium, where ACT is now after moving from lower Queen Anne, where On the Boards is now after moving from Washington Hall. OtB was younger than the Annex is now and, among other impressive offerings, presented Laurie Anderson free in Volunteer Park. Benaroya Hall was built where the 211 was.

I had just co-founded the first organization of playwrights in the Northwest. Among its guiding principles was that Seattle would only become a World Class theatre town if it followed the lead of that upstart in Redmond and developed the software and not the box. Change Paul, it’s how things stay the same. Ya gotta just hope that Seattle is still a place where some 20 year old with an attitude can think to themselves “I’m gonna burn this town down”. That, my friend, is an essential part of being world class.

Oh… and the Eastlake Zoo was pretty much the same as it is now. Cheers.

Paul Mullin


This is wonderful.

You know, I ran into a kid after a new works talkback a couple weeks ago. He said he was following my blog closely because he had just moved to Seattle and I was helping him understand the history of the theatre scene here.

I love that there’s always someone with at least a decade's deeper understanding. I really appreciate all you’ve called back to recollection here. And I’ll bet I’m not the only one.

Man, oh, man. How I wish I could’ve gotten the chance to shoot some stick in the original 211.

Sincerely in your debt!


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