Top three reasons why the past couple of weeks have kicked major ass: one, the poster ban--abolished. Two, the Teen Dance Ordinance--abolished. And three, the Vera Project--established. Well, more established than it was before.

On Friday, August 9, Shannon Stewart, James Keblas, and Kate Becker, the three Vera heads, happily signed a three-year lease for a space that will be transformed into the project's new headquarters. Located at 1916 Fourth Avenue (formerly the Annex Theatre), Vera's new 6400-square-foot home will house a 250-plus-capacity live music room, a cafe/lounge area, an art studio, offices for all the Vera staffers, and more. Almost before the ink even dried, Shannon, James, and Kate gave me the grand tour, and after seeing the place and hearing all their ideas, I'm more excited than ever.

But aside from the great space (which has tons of character--the men's restroom alone is a classic), what the Vera directors most look forward to is being the first priority in, and in full control of, their very own venue.

"We've always been second or third priority in the previous spaces we've been in," said Shannon. "Here it's going to be different."

"Another great thing about it is longevity," added James. "We're going to be in the same space for a long time, and that's going to give us a foundation that we've never had before."

But while signing the lease was a big, exciting step, there's still plenty to be done before the theater can open in early October.

"We have a ton of work to do," said Kate. "We need to remodel the space and we are not fully funded. Even once we get the space remodeled, we don't have enough money to keep things going, so we need contributions to move us forward."

Besides paying the $16,000 bill for electrical work, they're going to be knockin' down a few walls, building a stage, plastering, painting... the list goes on and on.

"We'll also need materials like paint, carpet, curtains, theater lights--anything that's theatrical, we need. It's a nice space, but it's empty," said James.

The Vera Project has done a lot for Seattle's all-ages art and music community, so if you want to show your support by contributing money, materials, or time, they'll be more than happy to accept your kind offerings. To make a donation or volunteer, visit or call 956-VERA for more information. Or just drop by during the day and see if anything needs to be done. They'll appreciate all the help they can get. MEGAN SELING