Culture Performing Arts Restaurants

Celebrating Seattle: Rendezvous at the Rendezvous

rendezvous4

inside her red swirl
i am wildly entertained
enthralling lady

My love affair with all the little curves and beauty marks of this city continues with an invitation to join me in one of Seattle sweet spots. There is magic here and I don’t mean that metaphorically. It’s visceral. I can feel it every time I’m in this lush, dark space. There is a feeling of connectedness that touches me just before I enter. I feel it in the crimson curtains of the tiny theater nested inside the space, in the tiny stairs going up to the sound booth and in the scribbles of graffiti in the hall outside the Green Room. Not unlike the pulsating feeling that comes from swimming in the sea or being held tight by an ancient forest, there is a life force here that rushes into me and connects me to all that came before this moment.

This élan vital is externalized not only in the red-soaked environment but in the people. There is a kind of raw friendliness. Seattle’s infamous cloak of passive-aggressive attitude seems to fall away here and is replaced with an authentic embrace. (I think it’s the magic.) It’s not shi shi and not divey. It’s the sweet spot where people can hang out, have a drink, and be real.

rendezvous2I find myself wondering if others have felt this too. I imagine so. In the basement, you’ll find the Grotto which was once a Prohibition-era speakeasy and you can snuggle up in the Velvet Lounge upstairs in seats that were once found in the Opera House. The Rendezvous has been entertaining people since 1927 so a lot of energy has entered this space. From Paramount’s first talkies being screened in the Jewelbox Theater, to the Burlesque, comedy and variety shows that can be found onstage today, this is a place where art happens and where people who are just starting out can get a break. It’s affordable enough to be able to self-produce a show which means it’s often a great place to be entertained on a budget.

One of my favorite things about this place is the variety that can be found onstage. Storyteller Jennifer Jasper is currently curating a monthly variety show called Family Affair, which is a show that benefits local artists. I’ve had the pleasure of attending many a literary event here including the hilarious charity event Trainwreck: A Celebration of Bad Celebrity Memoirs hosted by Seattle 7 Writers where I saw local writer Sean Beadouin reading the literary stylings of Tia Tequila, and Jarrett Middleton of Dark Coast Press chug down some beer for a drinking game that included taking a drink every time the word AWESOME was uttered in the reading of Bret Michaels’ memoir. Last year, I staged my one-woman show, Unbridled, there for the first time.

I imagine it’s a place of firsts for a lot of people and that Rite of Passage thing might be part of the vibe here—part of the magic that connects us inside the swirl of her. Other firsts include seeing my first live drag show. I also heard my first bar song here. I was all snuggled up chatting with a date when I heard this song erupt from the front of the bar. Delighted, I stood up and peered over the booth. I asked my date what was going on and he said, “The bar is closing. This is what happens.”

rendezvous3This and so much more happens at the Rendezvous in Belltown, some things that might end up in confessionals around the city. I left my childhood Bible in the Green Room after my show and I’ve left little bits of my heart onstage. How about you? I would love to hear your stories/confessions of first times at the Rendezvous. Email me at dellaluscious@seattlestar.net and I’ll put your story in a poem to be published in September. For now, I have to get going. I’m going to see One Man Gang: Live in Seattle with Special Guests! tonight in the Jewelbox. Maybe I’ll see you there.