Tuesday, February 23, 2016

OK OK! Seattle's OK Hotel Remembered in Comics.


 The OK Hotel

I would happily credit
this photo if I knew
who took it!
If you weren't in Seattle in the late 80s through the early oughts, or if you just weren't into live music, performance and poetry, than you probably missed out on the OK Hotel.

It had, in fact, been a hotel.  Mostly small rooms for transient laborers. Graffiti from the Wobblies still graced the back rooms.  But Steve Freeborn and Tia Mathies took over the building and made it a live music mecca, fine arts gallery and also a cafe.  The rooms above the first floor were rented out as studios.  It's like that day - dreaming you did in art school where you came up with everything wonderful that you would put in one place, only they did it!  From their first show in 1987 to closure due to earthquake in 2001, it was the most interesting place to see live music in Seattle.

There is so much to say about it, but you can read the comic.

The OK Hotel Comic

I was a shy member of the audience for music shows there early on, but an active member of the performance poetry community later.  I regularly attended the Seattle Poetry Slam, which was introduced to the city by David Meinert and Paul Grajnert at the OK.  

I left town from 2000 - 2005, so I missed the closing year of the OK Hotel.  Years later, my partner took me to see the Great Wheel on Seattle's waterfront and we got so close to the old OK that I had to go see it.  It's been converted to artists lofts with a small gallery, but no live music.  No cafe.  Kept the name but lost the life of it.

Couldn't help but take a photograph.  The wide-angle lens bent the edges of the scene, where I stood in-between the buildings and the (soon to be gone forever) Alaska Way Viaduct.  Then I drew it, posted it, and the response to that image was enough to inspire me to create a history of the venue.
The original OK Hotel Drawing
as the front cover of
Gone Girl Comics #1

I consider this comic my official entree into comics (It first published in 2013) and combines my love of live music, my work in poetry and my degree in fine arts.  I got to marry those interest in one 8-page comic, and I get to bring it to life again this weekend.

The OK Hotel Reunion

Stand-alone, special
edition of the OK Hotel
comic, in the works.
Steve and Tia may have lost the OK Hotel, but they opened a new venue in Columbia City - the Royal Room.  As 2016 marks the 15th - year anniversary of the closing of the OK Hotel and they are doing a reunion weekend, bringing back iconic bands from the 90's et al to perform at Royal Room from Thursday through Sunday night.

With help, I've been able to create a special edition of the OK Hotel comic.  It's been published previously here, on http://inktart.org/, and in a mini-comic, but I created a new cover for the story as a stand-alone special edition.

It's available onsite or via my paypal at m.noel.franklin.com

Push/Pull, What I Am Missing

I am a super huge fan of Push/Pull Gallery - who met their Kickstarter goal and moved to a larger space in Ballard.  They've played host to Exterminator City, a micro comic convention featuring over 20 local artist with their newest zines, books, posters, releases.

I've sold a ton of comics at Exterminator City, and I'm sad that this year's event is opposite of me tabling the OK Hotel Reunion show this weekend.  But that doesn't mean YOU can't go.  And you should. 

Until next week.

C-log posts on comics, publication and community that publishes on Tuesdays.

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous place, I just went here with someone. The place itself was beautiful and spacious, the seats were comfortable and wide. From where I was sitting at least, the views were great. I think the music at venues in NYC really did a great job of filling up the space.