Monday, February 6, 2012

Jesus Christ Made Seattle Under Protest

That's the mnemonic to remember the major east-west thoroughfares in downtown Seattle:  Jefferson, James, Cherry, Columbia, Marion, Madison, Spring, Seneca, University, Union, Pike, Pine.  (Pause to check map to make sure I got it right.  Okay.  Where were we?)  These are all streets.

North-south  thoroughfares are all avenues, and sport truly imaginative names like First, Second, Third...

Sounds straightforward.  Some are one way.  But not all.  At least one--I can never remember which one--is "bus only" part of the day.  Then you get random boulevards cutting through at an angle.  And pillars supporting the silly monorail which runs in about a mile-diameter circle.  And the Seattle Streetcar, which, contrary to what certain businesses in the South Lake Union district want you to believe, was never actually called the South lake Union Trolley.  Plus, the City of Seattle is firmly in the grips of a bunch of commie tree-hugging car-haters, led by a man the Wall Street Journal called "Mayor McSchwinn", all of whom hate the very idea that anyone would be so lacking in civic dedication, or whatever it is the collective thinks we should be feeling, as to want to drive their own car rather than ride a bus.

So, Friday night's trip to see the opening night of Oklahoma at the Fifth Avenue Theater was enjoyable, after we got there...

Dinner before the show was at the Rock Bottom Brewery; which I believe is another of these national chains.  Pretty good.  Right across from the theater.  Due to the stupid Seattle street plan, I had to drop Mrs. Drang off in front of the restaurant and drive 10 miles south, go west a block, drive 20 miles north, a block east, ten miles south, half a block west...  to get to the parking garage.  Grumble.

Now, those who aren't from around here may be surprised to learn that Seattle is often considered to be the "number two" theater city in America.  Forget Peoria:  Will it play in Seattle?  The Emerald City is often the last stop of a show before hitting Broadway, and the first stop for a show leaving there.  We once attended opening night for some show that was horrible--specifically, the sound wasn't just incomprehensible, it hurt--and we left at the intermission.  The next week Mrs. Drang was speaking to a co-worker who was gushing about how great the showing they went to was, which puzzled us.  A month or so later we met a man who worked in theater light and sound; when we asked him about this show, he laughed and told us that about 75% of the audience had walked out, and the entire sound crew got fired that night.  Apparently, they had been certain they could use their own Noo Yawk experts, these Seattlites couldn't possibly know the business better...

Anyway.  A couple of glitches with the audio in this one, the actors' mikes cutting in a second late, possibly a hardward issue.  (As opposed to incompetent mixing...)  The Fifth Ave continues to have impressive set design, "Judd Frye's smokehouse" rose out of the floor of the stage.  Pretty cool.  And I don't think I really realized how many "old standards" were from Oklahoma.  Then again, Mrs. Drang is a lot more into theater than I am. 

The drive home wasn't quite as annoying as the drive there, mostly because traffic downtown was so much less at midnight.  I still felt like I had to drive about 50 miles out of my way to get to the Interstate, though...

See also:  Street layout of Seattle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2 comments:

vicomtesse said...

I'm out in Seattle twice a year with the hub. He goes more often. I say, driving around there is a pain. Even in the burbs like Issaquah, where his plant is, is ridiculous. Love Seattle though.

Drang said...

Geography plays a big part. Puget Sound to the west, one lake in the middle of town and another immediate to the east, and the Cascades farther to the east.
The fact that the two or three teams of guys laying out the street plan weren't speaking to each other didn't help any. Plus, half of downtown is built on fill, in a moderately strong earthquake, it'll all turn to quicksand. (Which is why most of us think replacing the Alaska Way Viaduct with a tunnel is pure insanity.)