"Revolution is closed, but insurgency is open," writes Hakim Bey in his late-1980s essay "TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism." Beloved by anarchists, ravers, Burning Man junkies, and hackers, Bey's concept of the temporary autonomous zone celebrates spaces and moments when/where citizens free themselves from the shackles of Work, Debt, Physical Fitness, and Family without engaging the cycle of revolution and suppression.
"The TAZ is like an uprising which does not engage directly with the State," Bey writes, "a guerilla operation which liberates an area (of land, of time, of imagination) and then dissolves itself to re-form elsewhere/elsewhen, before the State can crush it." He cites as examples hillbilly enclaves, pirate utopias, and black markets.
Add to those the six Seattle booze belts profiled herein. These are the city's foremost thoroughfares of insurgency, blocks-long districts of bars and clubs wherein freedom is sought through drinking, dancing, rocking, and the most amorphous of pastimes, hanging out. Of course, with its liquor licenses and its "last calls," its tipping and ticketing, the bar/club is nothing if not a capitalist construct. True autonomy occurs in the spaces between bars, in the anticommercial nooks inside the (meat) marketplace: The coke-dusted toilets. The Frisbee games in the street. The inebriated couplings against rat-filled Dumpsters.
It is these zones of lib(er)ation that we celebrate, O Seattle!
A Nightlife Worth Living
Airport Way South
Ballard Avenue N.W.
Fremont Ave. and 36th St.
Second & Bell
Around Occidental Park