These videos are a series we produced in collaboration with the Northwest Film Forum‘s #CitizenMinutes project, featuring Ghosts of Seattle Past contributors sharing the lost Seattle spaces they miss. 

Capitol Club

Remembered by Hollis Wong-Wear

Hollis Wong-Wear, Grammy-nominated musician, poet, and member of The Flavr Blue remembers The Capitol Club, a much beloved Capitol Hill venue that closed its doors in 2013 after 17 years of epic DJ sets and raucous times. Its former location at 414 Pine is now the current home of fellow displacee, Bauhaus Coffee.

Malden Ave and E Mercer

Remembered by Sarah Galvin

Seattle poet Sarah Galvin performed their poem “Contents of My Pockets After an Evening of Communicating with the Dead” for the Ghosts of Seattle Past while sitting on the stoop of what was once a gathering space at Malden Ave and E Mercer.

Says Galvin of the spot, “It was two duplexes, one of them formerly inhabited by the artist [Jason Sprinkle] who put the ball and chain on the ‘Hammering Man’ outside SAM, who became a born-again Christian before unfortunately going crazy and [getting hit by a train]. At one point I used a Ouija board in one of their attics with some friends and it worked unusually well. Spooky.”

Sarah Galvin is the author of a book of poetry, The Three Einsteins (Poor Claudia, 2014), as well as The Best Party of Our Lives: Stories of Gay Weddings and True Love to Inspire Us All, forthcoming from Sasquatch Books. She is also widely known as “The Champagne of Queers.” Her poems and essays can be found in io, New Ohio Review, Pleiades, Pinwheel, Vice Magazine, and The Stranger.

Sit & Spin

Remembered by Chris Porter

Once upon a time in Belltown, there was a laundromat, music venue, and cafe called Sit & Spin, where dozens of Seattle’s punk icons played while locals separated their delicates from their towels. Talent buyer and event programmer Chris Porter met up with us in front of what is now Spitfire sports bar to share his memories of the deeply missed spot.

Chris used to produce a monthly mod show at Sit & Spin called UFO Au Go Go featuring DJ’s, live bands, go go dancers, and projections – all in a 60’s psych/garage/soul and Brit-Pop theme. Says Porter, “I occasionally lament to my fellow sports fans that over in the corner of the back room where we are watching TV, many great bands including The White Stripes, Billy Childish, and many hundreds of others performed there…I DJ’d many times in an elevated spot behind where we sit to watch sports. I have memories of countless Seattle bands, burlesque dancers, and getting beer at a bar surrounded with kitschy décor. The sweet memories of Sit & Spin go on and on – and I continue to cherish them.”

Chris Porter is Governor for the Pacific Northwest Chapter Board of The Recording Academy, and the former Programming Director of Bumbershoot. As President of Chris Porter Productions, he provides festival/event programming, talent buying, and consulting. He is also the founder of the Boston Sports Fan Club of Seattle.

Coffee Messiah

Remembered by Tomo Nakayama

Before gracing CMJ charts with his solo record and composing for a Lynn Shelton film. Before Grand Hallway become one of Seattle’s most beloved bands. Before gigs at Bumbershoot and write-ups on NPR, Tomo Nakayama first got started playing open mics at a divey little place called Coffee Messiah.

The former café on Capitol Hill’s E Olive Way (where In the Bowl Vegetarian Noodle Bistro now stands) was an adored haven for misfits and counterculture, now gone. Says Nakayama, “I started playing open mics at Coffee Messiah during my freshman year at UW. I’d spent all my years before that living a pretty sheltered life across the lake on the east side. It was eye-opening to meet all these crusty punks and anarchists, homeless guys playing chess, vegans and poets and bakers—all outsiders who found a home in this crazy cafe with a disco ball in the bathroom.”

Tomo played a snippet of Grand Hallway’s “Raindrops” to remember a place where he felt a sense of community before he’d found his footing in the music scene. “We were all supportive of each other, because we were just people looking for a place to be heard,” he says wistfully. “I miss that place.”

Tomo Nakayama is a singer/instrumentalist/songwriter/producer from Seattle, Washington. Known for his crystalline high-tenor voice and intricate chamber folk compositions, Tomo’s music has been praised by NPR, the New York Times, and KEXP. Fog On The Lens is his first solo album, made after nearly a decade fronting beloved Seattle band Grand Hallway and composing for and acting opposite Ellen Page in Lynn Shelton’s Sundance Grand Jury nominated film Touchy Feely. Fog On The Lens spent 8 weeks on the CMJ Top 200. Tomo has also composed music for movies and TV, and collaborated with numerous bands and composers including Sera Cahoone, Gold Leaves, The Moondoggies, The Maldives, Jesse Sykes, Portland Cello Project, and Jherek Bischoff.