Originally published September 2011. NEPTUNE RISES. It’s the too-perfect tagline for the rebirth of the U District’s 90-year-old cinema, once slated for closure, but saved by Seattle Theatre Group in February and officially reborn as a concert, film, and theater venue this fall. If it were up to the original owners, though, the marquee outside might employ a bit more tongue in cheek: “Back from the Watery Grave” or “Neptune’s Staff Returned.” They were a sassy bunch.
Though the Neptune had its soft opening in May, the renovations have been ongoing—and major. Out went the threadbare cinema chairs, making room for all-ages patrons to crowd the stage when their favorite indie bands come to town. In came state-of-the-art sound and lighting, new safety sprinklers (phew), a bar, and good sightlines for the 21-and-over crowd who want to avoid the mob. And expect a mob, considering the hefty lineup STG has slated for September and October.
It starts with a week of free events: a Rocky Horror Picture Show party (Sept 25); a comedy night hosted by Luke Burbank (Sept 26); a gospel workshop and performance by Pastor Patrinell Wright and the Total Experience Gospel Choir (Sept 27); a salsa and hip-hop dance party (Sept 28); and a guitar lesson and acoustic set by Bobby Long (Sept 29).
And then come the national acts: Stephen Malkmus (of Pavement) and the Jicks (Oct 11), singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist St. Vincent (Oct 13), and our personal favorite, British dance band Friendly Fires (Oct 19). It’s practically an act a night for six weeks.
But what about the Neptune of old? Will we even recognize the place? Don’t worry: The sultry stained-glass mermaid stayed put.
Neptune Theatre’s opening week events (Sept 25–29) start at 7:30 and are free and open to the public (first come, first serve). Doors open at 6:30.