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Naughtiness at the Good Arts Building

There’s a peepshow at the Good Arts Building. If you should happen to glance over at the window as you walk by 108 Cherry Street, you might catch a glimpse of a gyrating silhouette through the cutouts in the blacked-out windows. Step right up and take a closer look, and leave your noseprint with all the others on the window.

Amanda James Parker’s Ghosts II is an iteration of an earlier site-specific video installation, Ghosts of Flesh Avenue. Inspired by the artist’s experience as a dancer at an iconic, now extinct Seattle peep show, Ghosts II pays homage to downtown Seattle’s checkered history as a skid row and red light district, the evidence of which is rapidly being washed away to make way for a shinier, cleaned-up downtown. Artist, art model, longtime associate of ’57 Biscayne, Parker created the original video to project at the former site of the defunct Lusty Lady strip club, just down the road from us on First Avenue. She needed a place to shoot a video of naked people dancing, and Good Arts had an open space to lend her. She hung a translucent scrim from the ceiling and invited a bunch of her former stripper pals to dance together once again, filming their ghostly silhouettes through the fabric.

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Parker first projected the video onto the walls of the old Lusty Lady last September, setting up a dance floor for patrons to join them. The more voyeuristically-inclined could watch through holes in a nearby wall. Jen Graves wrote about the piece in the Stranger.

Ghosts of Flesh Avenue was slated to run at the Lusty Lady for just a month but, our building being no slacker in the sleazy-past department, we invited her to remount the video piece at the Good Arts Building in the same storefront where she’d shot the original footage. Ghosts II had its Cherry Street debut in December 2016, and is now running 24/7 for several months, until construction begins for the Good Arts Arcade gallery and studios. Best time to see it is after dark, but come take a peep any time. C’mon, you know you want to.

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What’s up with the boxing gloves?

If you were to look up as you walked past the Good Arts Building, you might notice that our flower baskets aren’t hanging from the standard-issue Pioneer Square brackets. Two of the buildings’ owners designed and built these brackets to pay homage to some of the characters and institutions from the building’s colorful history.

Schelles’ Grotto, a notorious speakeasy (and worse) occupied the basement at the turn of the last century; several other saloons existed on the first floor over the years, including the Yankee Clipper Tavern.

Hershberg Men’s Clothiers were among the building’s first tenants; their highly visible signage dominates the corner in early photos.

Wolf’s Good Eats Cafeteria, whose name is emblazoned on the building in photos from the teens (and the inspiration for our name), occupied both second and third floors. The cup also marks the future location of Cherry Street Coffee House!

The Skid Road Theatre (1975-1980) was an important part of Seattle’s (and Pioneer Square’s) theatrical history; actors and directors who went on to shape local professional theatre worked there in their early years.

The 102 Cherry Club (basement, 1940’s) figures prominently in Se- attle jazz history as the club where visiting acts would wind down and play casual, unadvertised sets after public mainstage shows elsewhere. Our future plans involve restoring the basement to a performance space.

The Evergreen boxing gym occupied the third floor in the 1940’s -’60’s. Among the memorable quotes attributed to ts irrepressible proprietor, George Chemeres: “I lived by the sweat of my imagination” – which also happens to be an appropriate motto for the current second-floor occupant, ’57 Biscayne art studios.

An early sketch for the design

An early sketch for the design

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The waterjet-cut steel discs awaiting assembly

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A bracket assembled and ready for welding.

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Good Arts co-owner Steve Coulter welding a bracket.