Holy Rollovers

Seattle progress casualty no. 246: angels in devils’ clothing.

By Sarah Anderson January 6, 2009 Published in the February 2008 issue of Seattle Met

THE WARP SPEED at which this city is growing has many locked in a game of musical chairs. In Belltown last fall, Tabella’s—a hip-hop club known for shaking booties—got the ax for lax bouncers and serving booze to minors. The new tenants at 2333 Western Avenue, the group that looked all over the city, prayed for the answer, and finally knew in its heart that it had to move into Tabella’s? Mars Hill Church and its 6,000-strong nondenominational congregation. The irony is lost on the neighborhood’s biz heads, however, where all Belltown Business Association prez Pamela Anderson could muster was, “Other than possible parking issues during sermons, I think it’s great.”

Further north in Greenwood, family-friendly and Christian-based venue Taproot Theatre set up shop—in one of the city’s most notorious triple-X spots. In the ’70s, the building (204 North 85th Street) was the Northend Cinema, the steamiest porno-film joint in the land. So steamy it was the subject of a 1978 Washington Supreme Court case that helped influence how cities across the country zoned adult-themed businesses. Taproot’s artistic director Scott Nolte remembers the Northend from back in the day: “When I was young I figured out just enough to know it was a nasty place.” Later this year, be sure to visit the former skin-flick theater for the Christian themed play Susan and God.

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