Next Sketch Outing

Friday, May 24: Folklife

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Showbox Theater and Pike Place

4/20/19 Showbox Theater, downtown Seattle
Last year, the historic Showbox Theater near the Pike Place Market was in the news when its owner announced that it was selling the property. The theater, opened in 1939, would be demolished and replaced by a (yet another, most likely boring and boxy) 44-story apartment building. (It’s the story of Seattle these days.) After that, nostalgic venue fans, historic preservationists and even high-profile musicians like Eddie Vedder stepped forward to try to save the Showbox. The debate rages and is still unresolved. Meanwhile, the venue continues to operate.

I wasn’t even aware of that last part until I arrived Saturday to sketch the theater and saw that the marquee was current. Although I’ve never seen a concert there, the marquee and Showbox sign are downtown icons, and I wanted to document them, since it’s likely that they’ll eventually come down. Others must have felt the same way, as we got a good turnout of Showbox sketchers.

4/20/19 buskers at Pike Place Market
It probably helped that the morning was dry and mostly sunny (though not warm). After the Showbox, I swam upstream through the throngs (what is this, July or something?) at the Pike Place Market to my favorite busker spot near Rachel the Pig. Performing were a ukulele player and a tuba player – a colorful duo that I’ve sketched before.

Swimming further upstream, I spotted the usual long line of people waiting their turn to buy coffee at the “original” Starbucks location on First and Pike. As I captured the storefront and P. K. Dwyer (another busker I have sketched many times) playing guitar and harmonica outside, I overheard a couple of young men (visiting from the UK, based on their accents). Taking photos of each other with upheld Starbucks cups, it was clear that this was an important stop on their tour. Reviewing the photos, one man was especially delighted to finally be photographed in front of his mecca. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the actual first Starbucks on Western no longer exists (though natives like me remember it), and this second store on First somehow became the “original.”

Times change, old buildings get torn down, history gets rewritten. Meh. I may be a grumpy, overcrowded native, but at least I’m sketching it all.

4/20/19 One-man band P.K. Dwyer busks in front of the "original" Starbucks on First and Pike.
A good turnout at the Showbox!

David Hingtgen

Jane Wingfield

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