Update 12/7/2011: Now with slightly more historical accuracy, thanks to tipster Ann Gross. See below.
Day after Christmas in Seattle: what to do, what to do? Um, obviously, celebrate the holiday with one of the biggest icons of Jewish culture in America! Woody Allen will perform with his New Orleans Jazz Band at the Paramount Theatre on Monday, December 26. Okay, so that takes care of your plans for the evening, but what should the Woodman himself, Mr. Allen, do before the show? Here are the Localist picks for “The Glasses”‘s ideal Seattle itinerary…
Where to Stay
The impressive history of the Moore Hotel and Theater would certainly appeal to a man who strove to capture the atmosphere of 1920s bohemia in his recent film Midnight in Paris. Opened in December 1907, the Moore Theater’s management claimed it was the third largest theater in the US at the time. Big stars
like Sarah Bernhardt performed there during the Great Depression 1920s [Update: Historian Ann Gross tells me, and Wikipedia confirms, that Sarah Bernhardt died in 1923 and therefore could not have performed at the Moore during the ’30s. Sorry STG website], and in the 1950s, local artists such as Mark Tobey exhibited in the new mezzanine art gallery. It may not be the fanciest hotel in Seattle, with rates as low as $74 for a room with a private bathroom, but knowing that he’s staying in the same location that hosted the Orpheum vaudeville circuit for the venue’s first twenty years could provoke the right degree of nostalgia to inspire his next film. Midnight in Seattle anyone?
Allen can relive the iconic lobster-corralling scene from Annie Hall with a quick visit to Taylor Shellfish Farms in the Melrose Market on Capitol Hill. I’m sure he’s not tired of that one yet, right? But if he comes for the live lobsters, he’ll stay for the oyster raw bar. Totten inlets, Kumamotos, Pacifics and more are all on offer, and they can all be washed down with a glass of wine or beer. They’ll even pack on ice whatever he’d like to take back home with him! A quintessential Pacific Northwest update on a classic.
Is it too easy to suggest Allen have lunch at Stopsky’s Deli on Mercer Island? The cafe’s Jewish “Tradition, Updated” approach is the closest thing we have to the mile-high pastrami sandwiches of Lower East Side Manhattan. Perhaps instead Allen would prefer to imagine himself as Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, as did his character, Allan Felix, in Play It Again, Sam (my personal favorite). For this, he’d do well to visit Lola downtown, where he can snack on a Moroccan-inflected meze platter or kebabs.
Okay, obligatory activity: Allen should try to catch a film in one of Seattle’s fantastic theaters. SIFF Cinema at the Uptown in Lower Queen Anne (the neighborhood often, sadly, known as Uptown) is sure to be showing some fantastic international, classic or arthouse film. Unfortunately he’ll just miss the run of Strangers on a Train, a highlight of the previous week’s series “In Remembrance.” Another great option, for its historical elegance (built in 1925) as well as its stellar line-up of indie films, is the Harvard Exit. Standing in line to buy a ticket to one of its features should afford the director an opportunity to argue about Marshall McLuhan and other obscure intellectuals with whomever might be waiting in line ahead of him – or am I again channeling Annie Hall?
Before long, the doors will open for his band’s performance, Woody Allen on clarinet. Afterward, the man should reward himself and the band with a nightcap in the stately yet cozy Fireside Room at the Sorrento Hotel on First Hill. The septuagenarian director of 47 films has earned it.
So, what do you think folks? Where would you take Woody Allen in Seattle? And Mr. Allen, if you’re reading this, what you should really do while you’re here is join me for a cup of tea and a chat. Anywhere you like. My treat. 🙂