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Seattle as a Collection of Islands
Ballard vs Capitol Hill vs Georgetown vs Fremont vs West Seattle . . . How public transit creates a music & arts scene.

Seattle is finally getting light rail. There are certainly a lot of people looking forward to it, for a lot of good reasons stemming from a sprawling city with a lot of bridges, hills and continuously reshuffled bus lines.

The good reason that I'm not sure so many people are thinking about, is how much it will mean to the city's arts scene.

Filed Under: Places and Travel
Published: November 21st, 2012

Written by Tamandua Tetradactyla

Arts Genotype Supporter - Music/Film
Lives in Seattle, Washington, United States
Speaks Tamandua
Working On: Chocolate cake!
Listening To: Los Baraja
Reading: Shel Silverstein

The Islands

The people booking rooms don't encourage this thinking, but it's fairly common for bands (and the city of Seattle generally) to regard neighborhoods like Georgetown and Ballard and etc as separate, and sometimes separatist, city states. There are myriad historical & sociological reasons for the break-down. The common reason though, is that our contiguous city isn't so contiguous. We are really living in an array of floating islands, with shifting uncertain distances, rain, construction, bridges, and untimely buses dividing them.

Bands who reside here not only have the task of developing an out-of-town audience in Bellingham or Tacoma or Portland, but have a fuzzier version to deal with of interpreting their audience & draw with what should be their home city. Learning things like "Ballard people won't travel to West Seattle, but will go to Belltown 1/3 of the time on a Thursday if it's not raining."

Columbia City & Downtown

The Columbia City Theater has forever been separated from Downtown and all else by a long winding stretch of Rainier Ave, and a pathless South Beacon Hill to the West.

The length of light rail track running from Downtown to SeaTac Airport was the first to completion; giving people wandering out of shows in Columbia City until 12:30am to grab the last train headed Downtown. (A 1:10am train only runs as far North as Beacon Hill).

The reliable ride homewards has definitely encouraged me to get out to Columbia City shows, even knowing I'd need to leave a bit early to get back to Downtown, and even knowing I'd likely have a walk up to Capitol Hill at 12:45am in the absence of any buses.

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