Help Save The Showbox From The Wrecking Ball!
We were shocked and saddened to learn that our beloved historic Showbox At The Market music venue is facing demolition to make room for a 44-story building with 442 residential units. In fact,judging from the avalanche of social media postings we witnessed yesterday, thousands of music fans here and beyond were blindsided by the news. The Showbox opened in 1939 as "Seattle's newest dine and dance rendezvous," hosting acts such as Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, and Mae West, before closing in 1948. According to the Seattle Times, the venue reopened several times in different incarnations - a theater, dance club, even a furniture store. In the late '70s it reopened again as a Jewish bingo hall, whose owners allowed music promoters to put on occasional shows. This led to the "Modern Productions" era, which was the name of a very motivated local promotion company. They proceeded to bring up-and-coming new wave and punk acts from across the country - and across the pond - to the venue.
In 1980 alone, the Showbox hosted Devo, The Police, The Specials, The Jam, 999, XTC, Ultravox, The Ramones, The Cramps, Gang Of 4, Squeeze, The Undertones, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Psychedelic Furs, Iggy Pop, Dead Boys and many others. The majority of these shows were opened by local new wave/punk bands, giving them much-needed support in an otherwise desolate club scene. The Modern Productions reign lasted only a year before they passed the torch to Steve Pritchard, who continued bringing exciting new acts to the venue. In 1985, the venue shut down once again until 1990, when it reopened as a comedy club. In 1996, the Showbox Music Club was born, and began hosting big acts on a steady basis. Twelve years later, worldwide entertaiment & sports conglomerate AEG Live purchased the Showbox's lease, and Easy Street is proud to have been a longtime promoter of their events over the years. In recent years, we've seen the likes of Pearl Jam, Prince, Soundgarden, Queens Of The Stone Age and Macklemore play the Showbox, as well as countless others. However, the Vancouver BC-based Onni Group owns the property, and they're ready to raze what is possibly the best-sounding venue of its size in our city.
So there's the history....now, what can we do to save the Showbox? It is currently unclear whether the Showbox could be designated a historical landmark (trust us, it's a tricky process), but nearly 60,000 people have signed a petition to send to the City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board. Sign it!
The following action steps are listed on the newly-created Save The Showbox group on Facebook (which you should join!)
LET'S DO THIS!!
Share your views and support of the Showbox by contacting the following officials:
Sarah Sodt City Historic Preservation Officer, Coordinator for Downtown, South Lake Union, First Hill, and Pike/Pine
Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda
Find your city council reps here: https://www.seattle.gov/council/meet-the-council
List of upcoming council meetings: https://www.seattle.gov/council/calendar
Showbox staff have created a email address firstname.lastname@example.org to have people write in letters of support. Or else drop off handwritten letters at the venue. They say these letters are important as they only have a small window to apply for landmark status otherwise their next window isn’t for another 5 years. There’s also a twitter account @saveshowbox that’s trying to help spread the word on Twitter.
Petitions! There are quite a few online petitions that have been floating around in here, here's a few of them. Feel free to sign one or all!