Surely by now you'll have picked up the summer issue of The Stranger's Arts and Performance quarterly and read my interview with Seattle's own Claire Dederer. At the risk of tooting one's own horn, that interview has been characterized as containing "SO MANY WORDS"—not my characterization, friends; that's what Dederer herself wrote on no less a social media platform than Facebook.
Anyway, the news this week that the Guild 45th and Seven Gables theaters had been shuttered (ostensibly for repairs, but one never knows whom to trust in these matters) reminded me that some of the most stirring material in Dederer's new memoir, Love and Trouble, can be found in her rhapsodic memories of the U-District of the '80s and early '90s. Dederer actually worked at the Seven Gables in the pre-Landmark mid-'80s (during the release of James Ivory's adaptation of EM Forster's Room With a View in 1986). Her account of those days squares precisely with my own romantic memories of working at two Landmark houses—the Metro and the Varsity—in time for Ivory's adaptation of Forster's Howards End in 1992.
Reading these passages left me with a strong sense that I had stepped into the neighborhood that Dederer and her cohort had prepared. That kind of continuity is ever harder to locate as Seattle expands (or is it contracting? I can never remember). It's easy for all of us to get hysterical about the changing landscape of this city, but as the days go by, the potential loss of these theaters feels irrecoverable, at least to me. It's enough to make one all the more grateful for books like Love and Trouble.