Capitol Hill Seattle blog is reporting today that the neighborhood's long-running DIY all-ages show space known as Healthy Times Fun Club is slated for eviction due to years of modifications not cleared with the city's Department of Planning and Development:
Given the size and layout of the space, the basement could not be used for sleeping or as a gathering space without obtaining a permit to upgrade the space with proper exiting and other life safety requirements. The owner has given the tenants a notice to vacate by the end of the month and will use the basement as storage. Our notice of violation was issued on 10/12/11 with a compliance date of 11/14/11.
Bummer. But in a way, this is all part of a DIY space's natural life-cycle--it's not really a punk venue until it's been shut down by the DPD, developers, or the cops, is it?
And taking a larger sort of ecological view, this sort of thing almost has to happen: When one venue gets shut down, others can sprout up in its place, just as a forest fire enriches the soil for new growth. Healthy Times popped up when some jerk blew it for things over at Atlas Clothing (and was promptly run out of town), as did other spaces I won't name here. This kind of whack-a-mole bivouac* approach is inherent in operating on the fringes or even just outside the law: You get to play around in the margins but with the acceptance that eventually the authorities might find you out and force you to move on--it's what makes illegal after-hours clubs or warehouse raves more fun than the fluorescent lights and security staff of Bumbershoot After Dark.
(Of course, not all DIY or all-ages venues inevitably go this route--some take the much more arduous path of going above ground, almost always as nonprofit organizations like Seattle's model Vera Project, since there's never enough money to be made to cover rent costs without alcohol sales.)
Which is not to say that Healthy Times, should it close its doors next month, won't leave an immediate hole and be dearly missed. It will. They've put on a ton of super-fun shows, from clubhouse-vibed nights of local bands doing pop '90s covers to the recent super-sold-out Lightning Bolt concert, with its highly sought-after golden tickets.
So, here's to Healthy Times. May it rest in peace, and/or flourish in its next life...