EDITOR: I'm really bummed out that The Stranger ran the Atlas story ["Atlas Clothing's Covert Concerts," Eric Grandy, June 28]; it more than likely was the final nail in the coffin of a very cool DIY all-ages venue and you should be ashamed. Don't get me wrong; I know that you have the right to report on whatever you want and I respect that, but just because you have the right to do something doesn't make it the right thing to do.
Sure, the venue wasn't up to fire code and, yes, kids could have been hurt were there to be some catastrophic fire emergency. But, more people die crossing the street than burn to death in all-ages music venues, I assure you. You don't see crosswalks getting shut down, though, do you?
I also understand that The Stranger didn't go down and single-handedly put the kibosh on Atlas—at least not literally—but running that article ensured that someone would, so you may as well have.
Seattle is ALREADY a puritanical anti-teen city—since I was a teen in the 1980s, they've been routinely shutting down any venue that doesn't have heavy adult supervision. This is evidenced by the ridiculous laundry list of hoops one must jump through to "legitimately" open an all-ages club.
The thing is, teens want to get away from their parents and other adults so they can be themselves with people who are just like them. This is the way it has always been since the dawn of humankind. If there is nowhere for them to go, and nothing for them to do, and nowhere for them to test themselves and find their limits, then out of sheer frustration and boredom they will find much, much worse trouble to get into. That is a fact.
REALLY VERY PISSED
STRANGER: Thanks for being the assholes who put the only all-ages venue on Capitol Hill out of existence. I've always been somewhat annoyed by the elitist snobby view you shitholes put forth in your articles, but now said snobby bullshit has put a beloved place (run by hard-working volun-fucking-teers) out of business.
You fucking suck.
AND EXTREMELY DISGUSTED
EDITOR: I mean to be as polite as I can be, but I'm shaking with anger right now. Capitol Hill is my home, and I can't go to Neumo's or Chop Suey very often. Atlas Clothing was a place that I and many other kids and adults loved and worked hard for. I can say with pride that I've spent many hours working at or promoting shows; it was a safe place to have fun. With an article that obliviously and intentionally exposed something that had to be covert for the time being is a crime against my neighborhood. I am extremely disgusted by the article and sickened that a place that I spend a lot of time at had to be shut down because of Mr. Grandy's carelessness.
DEAR STRANGER READERS: As many of you have already heard, we at Atlas Clothing had a visit on Friday night from the Seattle Fire Department who shut down the show after they decided the venue did not meet their safety standards. All of the members of the SFD inspecting Atlas were more than helpful and sympathetic to the space. Their main concern was the safety of showgoers in the event of an emergency. All of us at Atlas support that decision.
Long before the inspection, we searched through the building to look for possible hazards and did what we could to reduce risk. The safety of our guests has always been of the utmost importance as we attempted to take these shows and the space down the path of legitimacy. The changes necessary along with other updates to the building have led to the construction that started in the back area this Friday. Our mistake was that we didn't wait for the completion of these updates once we knew what we needed to fix. We felt that in order to get the ball rolling we would host shows in the space to prove to the owner that there really is a need for the kind of venue we were all hoping to provide. We knew there was the risk of being shut down, but we were willing to take that risk if it meant becoming legitimate in the process.
It's unfortunate that this happened right now and not in a few weeks when the construction will be finished and all of the appropriate paperwork would have been filed.
We are all excited about the space and appreciate the support from the community over the last few months. We started this project at Atlas because we love doing shows. No matter what happens, we'll all still be involved with music. We're continuing down the path we started with Atlas—the permits are on their way; the construction is happening. We're not ready to quit!
Atlas Clothing & Music: Matt Fuller, Alicia Blake, Nathan Ellis-Brown, Adam Grunke, Keenan Dowers, Aimee Butterworth, Kristen Kerr, Sarina Roscigno, Calla Hummel, Jamey Braden