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.
A group of rowers founded Sammamish Rowing Association (SRA) in 1996, meeting at Idylwood Beach Park in Redmond before each of their journeys across the water. Eager to grow SRA, it wasn’t long before the crew took notice of an abandoned boathouse in Marymoor Park, languishing on the banks of Lake Sammamish. Its ceiling was rotting away, and its oar racks were emptier than a child's pockets after a candy-shop spending spree—but that didn’t deter the passionate rowers or their vision. They put in a bid for the building, formed a strong subsequent partnership with King County Parks and Recreation, and set to work renovating the vintage structure to make it fit for public use.
Ever since, SRA has introduced adults and youth to the benefits of rowing. The sport's fluid, low-impact motions tone muscles all over the body, and the collaborative nature of the sport nurtures sportsmanship and camaraderie. The association's future is bright: members are building a new boathouse scheduled to open in the summer of 2013.
Lyric Light Opera's professional productions of classic American musicals send Broadway actors and top-flight local performers singing and dancing over the stages of beautiful venues around Seattle. Meredith Willson's Tony Award–winning musical The Music Man follows dapper con man Harold Hill's attempt to sell band instruments to a gaggle of school children, leave town with the cash, and purchase a lifetime supply of soda pop and pomade. Romance gets in the way, and soon Harold must choose between the charms of a local piano teacher and his hard-swindled money. Broadway actor Greg Stone and Seattle starlet Megan Chenovick lead the production's lively cast, supported by a full orchestra, dazzling costumes, and musical notes scraped straight from the yellowed pages of the score and dripped through pipettes into patrons' ears.
Recently renovated with a curved, 90-foot screen and new digital projectors, Seattle Cinerama uses the latest equipment to project new, mainstream releases in an elegant, expansive theater. Guests can sit in plush seats on the balcony or main level to watch crystal-clear feature films, pumped to audio life with Danley subwoofers so that every on-screen explosion rocks the seat and every Woody Allen monologue whips the hair back. Screening blockbuster films and 3-D features, the theater hosts dramas, comedies, and action-packed thrillers, including the soon-to-be-released Sucker Punch, a battle-laden fantasy flick. Moviegoers can also treat taste buds to one free popcorn of any size while feasting corneas on screen-spanning entertainment.
Members of the Pacific-12 Conference, the University of Washington Huskies athletic department boasts a rich history of triumphs. In 2001, their football team added a Rose Bowl victory to a trophy case that already contained the laurels of four national titles, the most recent of which occurred in 1991. In 2011, the men's basketball team claimed its third Pac-12 tournament title, and in 2005, the women's volleyball team steamrolled competition en route to its first-ever national title. Much of the Husky-related glory unfolds on the floors and fields of UW's lineup of pristine facilities, which includes the historic 72,500-seat Husky Stadium and raucous Alaska Airlines Arena.
Cindy Ross was an unlikely person to found a scuba-diving school. Told by a commercial diving instructor at 19 that she was too small to scuba, Ross didn’t begin to explore the sport until she was in her 30s. Earning certification was a trial, and she spent her first four dives lugging 80-pound gear in the snow up and down a massive hill—and, adding insult to injury, the men’s equipment didn’t even fit properly. But the fifth dive changed everything. Held in Puget Sound, Ross felt a calling to the location's green waters and white anemones, and since then, the aquanaut has frolicked with such neighbors as a 1,200-pound sea lion, hundreds of Canadian seals, and a giant Pacific octopus.
At Scuba Shoppe, Ross and her team of instructors immerse guests of all ages in the sport of scuba. Try Scuba classes held in the center's 84-degree pool familiarize students with their equipment before they plunge into the water to practice. Alternatively, an open-water certification program from Scuba Schools International expounds on these pool sessions with shore dives in the rolling waters of Puget Sound, which let students hone their skills in a more realistic environment or find a dolphin pod to adopt them. As part of this training, they also have the chance to explore the briny depths aboard underwater scooters. For the more advanced,, Scuba Shoppe provides training for specialty certifications, including rescue diving, night diving, and underwater digital photography. An onsite dive shop outfits customers with all the necessary dive gear and accessories.