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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

November 4, 2011 at 10:13 PM

Neptune sails on as concert hall

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Sketched Nov. 2
sketchertwo05-m.jpgThe U-District’s 90-year-old Neptune Theatre, which reopened as a concert and arts venue last summer, looks much the same now as it did when it was a movie house. You can still buy popcorn at the boat-shaped concession stand and admire the nautically-themed décor that includes portholes, tridents and mermaids.
Once “the finest suburban motion picture theatre in this part of the country,” as this newspaper called it when it opened in 1921, the Neptune has been redesigned mainly for live performances. Seats were ripped out and replaced with portable chairs that can be stored away to make room for dancing.
Concertgoers waiting for a Richard Thompson show this week said they like the transformation. “It’s very intimate … you are not very far away from the stage,” Lionel Halvorsen told me as he enjoyed a drink at the new bar.
John Brown has fond 1980s memories of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” –a regular midnight feature for years– but said now he’d rather go to a concert at the Neptune. “I’m glad we have another music venue.”
Web Extra!
These drawings don’t appear in Saturday’s print edition.
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Cozy halls: As soon as doors opened at 7 p.m., the theatre’s historic halls were bustling with people buying popcorn or heading to the bar, which occupies the space where the last rows of seating used to be on the main level. A sign by the concession stand states the venue’s capacity at 885 people. “It’s the right size of crowd,” said Teresa Lawson, a Thompson fan from Port Townsend.
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Lights, camera, music! I caught a glimpse of The Webb Sisters while they rehearsed before the show. The British pop-folk duo is joining Thompson on his U.S. tour.
Visit the Neptune for free: Those interested in the history and architecture of the theater will be happy to know that the Neptune also offers free public tours every third Saturday of the month. The next one is coming up on Nov. 19, just two days before the theatre’s 90th birthday.
What has drawn your attention around Seattle lately? Send me your suggestions of interesting places to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!

Comments | More in Theater | Topics: U-District

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