It sounds just like a movie: a former Disney employee and a former mayor team up to run their own theater. That's exactly what Jeff Brein and Sam Granato did in 1988 with Bainbridge Cinemas, where they still spend Friday and Saturday nights tearing tickets and scooping popcorn. Besides Bainbridge Cinemas, their theater collection—Far Away Entertainment —oversees seven other local theaters, including the historic single-screen Lynwood Theatre. Opened in 1936, Bainbridge Island's first talking picture house now specializes in independent features and foreign films in which actors rearrange the English alphabet to make strange new sounds.
Over at the two-screen Admiral Theater, projectionists give newer Hollywood releases a second run, plus host screenings every year for the Seattle International Film Festival. Far Away's five remaining theaters, each with three to five screens, show digital versions of Hollywood's freshest celluloid. Lean back in the Anacortes' reclining seats, or scarf down an all-beef frank at Oak Harbor while taking in a flick or live screening of the Metropolitan Opera.
At The Dance Within, teaching the steps for belly dancing, hula, Bollywood, and burlesque isn't enough. The instructors also want to teach students about the culture surrounding the dance. The studio features a salon where you can get a henna tattoo, and a boutique shop where you can find dance garb such as burlesque bustiers, Bollywood disc earrings, and jerseys of popular ballet dancers.
Onlookers gasp as the graceful figure tumbles to earth in a slow-motion plunge. Her strong legs twist and spin down a billowing swath of deep-red fabric like a spider expanding its web. It is awe rather than fear, however, that draws the crowd's gasps, as the elegant descent is performed as a demonstration by one of Emerald City Trapeze Arts’ skilled instructors during a silks class. A dedication to teaching students of all ages and abilities the skills necessary to capture both the beauty and athleticism of the circus arts is the studio's main mission, upheld by a cadre of circus-grade instructors and a friendly staff.
Below the soaring ceiling of exposed old-growth beams, students leap and balance on well-maintained circus apparatuses as their instructors correct their form and ensure their safety. The staff welcomes aerial enthusiasts to experience the sky-splitting thrills of all manner of circus specialty, from the flying trapeze to acrobalance to hatha yoga performed on the top of an elephant's stiletto. Along with high-flying classes, Emerald City Trapeze Arts’ crew celebrates the circus arts via dances and parties held within the whimsical-yet-rustic venue, from merriment-packed Halloween festivities to energetic performances by staff and students.
Thalia, one of the Greek muses said to inspire artists, must have paid Seattle a visit in 1949. That's when Mikael Scheremetiew—himself a violinist and conductor—established the Thalia Symphony Orchestra and named it for that mythic figure. Scheremetiew's wish was to give fellow local musicians another creative outlet, and it was more than granted. After a brief flirtation with opera, the organization devoted itself to music, and the aural tradition continues today.
The modern iteration of the orchestra, headed by new conductor Michael Miropolsky, features 80-plus instrumentalists, a core group frequently joined by noted soloists. The ensemble regularly performs unique concerts showcasing the work of composers united by common themes—a Tchaikovsky suite might share billing with a Dvorak symphony, while a Wagner overture could be accompanied by Schubert's latest remix. The orchestra's access to such a wide range of works is partially afforded by its Thalia Scheremetiew Library, one of the largest private music collections in the region.
Most summer weekends, up to 1,000 cineastes flock to Fremont Outdoor Movies for screenings of pop classics, cult favorites, indie films, and video shorts broadcast via Blu-Ray digital projection with 5.1 THX surround sound. Omitting only the cars and the prohibitions against hand holding, Fremont pays homage to the drive-in theaters of old as warm summer evenings slowly fade into warm summer nights. Audiences of all ages bring lawn chairs, rubber floats, and even sofas to enjoy movies such as Raising Arizona, Sideways, and Caddyshack.
Fremont Outdoor Movies believes that the community of an open-air theater is often the best part of the experience. In addition to regular screenings, they also hold special events such as an Edward Scissorhands–inspired haircutting contest and a Show Us Your Scar contest to celebrate Young Frankenstein. Outside the theater, cinephiles can cruise a makeshift food court provided by Mobile Food Rodeo.
Founded by movie-industry veterans Scilla Andreen and Carlo Scandiuzzi, IndieFlix culls a massive collection of independent and festival-selected films from across the globe into a convenient online streaming-video library. Filmmakers can submit their comedic, dramatic, or documentary masterpieces to the site, which fairly distributes movies of all genres and lengths, with artists fully retaining their films' rights and action-figure tie-ins. Audiences delve further into IndieFlix’s arsenal of cinema gems with Film Festival in a Box game—lauded by the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and Seattle magazine—which allows cineastes to display their knowledge without having to stroll through the local megaplex with a megaphone.