The Columbia City Theater, in Seattle, turns 100 years old this year. At various times throughout its history it's been part of Seattle's booming 1940s jazz scene, a neighborhood movie theater, a home for the punk movement, and an art commune.
It reopened in 2010.
Today, it's a music venue and bar. Its owners plan to celebrate its centennial throughout the year.
On history: “Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles: A long lineage of people who have stood on this stage. It was a vaudeville stage, so you had this combination of musical talent, and then you had comedy, and then you might have burlesque.”
On running a theater: “To be able to be an important venue operator, and to be able to be here, bringing back a piece of us and making sure it sustains for another century, I do feel like I’m on some kind of mission. There are days when I am having so much fun … and then there are days where we know we need to do crowdfunding, because the roof is leaking and water poured out of a pipe … and we’re looking at each other saying, ‘Oh my God, we bought a zoo; we’re out of our mind.’ But then the music starts, and everything gets awesome.”
On the value of preservation: “We can’t throw everything out from our origins. This also represents a piece of our humanity. It is imperfect and perfect at the same time, and that dichotomy is human. This is a sanctuary in here, just like a beautiful church or synagogue or mosque or temple. This is a temple of music, and when you destroy these things, you’re chiseling away at the core of who we are as human beings and as artists.”