Arts Briefs


Blacklight closed on Friday, June 30, after six months of operation at the Capitol Hill Arts Center (CHAC).

Created by Monny Rybicki and Shawna Holt, the founders of the Vogue, the late night Blacklight opened its doors in January and operated as CHAC's club-in-residence on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with such themes as Fabulous Fetish Friday, New Wave Dance Party and the Gothic night "Vampire's Kiss."

Although CHAC and the operators of Blacklight worked to keep decibels down and within the city's legal limits, citizen complaints about the noise led to the decision to close the club.

"It is a very difficult time for culture and for entertainment in this city, when even those who attempt to comply with all regulations are often met with conflicting or confusing laws, or simply laws that are not based in the reality of small business," said CHAC Producing Artistic Director Matthew Kwatinetz in a statement announcing the closing of the Blacklight.

"The city is doing the best it can, but with an increasing urban density it will be a struggle for arts, culture and entertainment to survive here on the Hill and in Seattle's core more generally," added Kwatinetz.


After nearly 30 years on the Hill, the Northwest Actor's Studio (NWAS) finally closed its doors in June. NWAS volunteer Tom Ansart put out a distress call in December, saying that the studio had been served with an eviction notice and needed immediate financial help to continue operating.

Founded in 1978 by artistic director Ann Graham, NWAS has billed itself as "the oldest acting school in the Seattle," providing a full selection of classes for theater artists.

The studio also operated two performance spaces used by a variety of small theater companies and performance artists. The 99-seat Gary Tucci Theater on the second floor offered a home for new works and young actors, while the more intimate couch-strewn Cabaret space on the third floor hosted popular comedy and late-night shows.

The last show to play at NWAS, "Warp," featured short plays by local writers. "Warp" closed on June 23.

On June 21, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that the 79-year-old Graham had decided to close NWAS.


Just to prove that not all theater news is bad news, two companies were tapped by Richard Hugo House to become the space's first resident companies: Next Stage and SiS Productions.

Each company was offered two years to produce new works in the Hugo House theater, said Lyall Bush, executive director of Hugo House.

During their residency, new company Next Stage will mount six productions, at least three of which will be written by Seattle playwrights.

SiS Productions has been using the Hugo House Theater since 2002 for "Sex in Seattle," a comedy series that follows the lives of four Asian American women. "Episode 14" of "Sex in Seattle" recently closed at Hugo House.

SiS also plans to produce other new works by Asian-American writers during their residency at Hugo House.

- Rosemary Jones

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