Born With the Kingdome

Thirty years ago in Seattle Weekly.

March 31, 1976: Two momentous openings in the city of Seattle. Seattle Weekly fielded its first, 24-page issue. And, to somewhat more acclaim, the Kingdome opened its doors for the first time. The Kingdome is gone; Seattle Weekly is still here. Funny old world . . . 

Unsurprisingly, the Kingdome occupied a fair amount of space in that first Weekly issue, with four ad-free pages devoted to its architecture (written by our first news editor, Patrick Douglas), its financial potential (by our first business writer, William Cushing), and the story of how the monumental (for those days) project came together (by managing editor and, more recently, Seattle School Board member Dick Lilly).

On the human-interest side, the big story was a memoir about the short, happy life of Northwest sports star Vlad "Spider" Sabich, celebrity ski bum, party guy, and gun fancier, who had been blown away 10 days before by his current flame, crooner Andy Williams' ex-wife. Bit-actress/pop singer Claudine Longet, who was charged with murder, got off with 30 days for criminal negligence, and ended up back in the arms of Williams. (Remember Longet? No? Remember Williams? Funny old world . . . )

On the more substantial side, founder-publisher David Brewster wrote a thoughtful tribute to departing Washington Gov. Dan Evans, deprecating Evans' Olympian detachment from the petty business of state government after 12 years in office, but concluding, presciently, "[H]ow shall we manage without him?" (Atom-Heart-Mother Dixy Lee Ray was already looming darkly on the horizon.)

On the lighter side of life, Starbucks co-founder and adman Gordon Bowker (writing under the nom de plume Lars Henry Ringseth) declared Burien's long-ignored Filiberto's to be the area's best Italian restaurant. (This produced some coolness for a time with Victor Rosellini, proprietor of downtown power-elite watering holes the 410 and 610.) Jane Adams, who began her long and successful career as a relationships-writer in the Weekly's pages, discovered that a new Capitol Hill shop called the Seattle Design Store was every bit up to Pottery Barn standards. And the late poet-professor William Dunlop spoke more in sorrow than in anger about Seattle Opera's "technically inadequate," "dramatically witless" staging of Verdi's Aïda. In events about town, Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox lectured at the UW on "the changing nature of constitutional adjudication," guitarist Carlos Montoya was playing the (old) Opera House, while the Seattle Rep was presenting Noël Coward's Private Lives, of all things. (Funny old world . . .)

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