The Science of Make Believe Shows

After being ousted from their posts as bookers at all-ages venue the Paradox by the Mars Hill Church, Alicia Blake and Liz Martin didn't stay down for long. The two ladies struck out on their own with Make Believe Productions, booking bands and putting on shows at various venues in Seattle. They keep their bands happy with old-school snacks like cheese and crackers. But don't believe them if they prescribe Oreos for heart attack prevention.

Please introduce yourselves and give us an idea of what makes Make Believe tick.

Make Believe is Alicia Blake and Liz Martin. We met while working together at the Paradox. We love music, and we love putting on shows. We wanted to put on shows outside of the Paradox, and thus, Make Believe was created. Basically, it's the two of us working together to put on the best possible shows we can.

What was the impetus that made Make Believe a reality?

While working together at the Paradox, we had quite a few conversations about starting our own company. Make Believe happened because we both wanted to expand our horizons. We wanted to be able to do shows that wouldn't necessarily fit at the Paradox, and also have the opportunity to build a company that was our own. We decided to go for it. Once we left the Paradox, we brought Make Believe to the forefront.

Now that you're free agents, what do you do to help pay the bills, aside from putting on shows?

We both have regular daytime jobs, actually at the same location. We both work for a small espresso supply company in Ballard.

What's your process like for putting together a show—from booking to day-of production?

Booking can go one of two ways: Either a band approaches us about a show, or we approach them. After the lineup is secured, the promotion work begins. Getting the word out about the shows is obviously an important step, otherwise no one would show up. We support the kids at Poster Midget. They do all the flyering for our shows. The day-of production is mostly about making sure that the bands are taken care of. It's extremely important to us to make sure that the musicians are comfortable and they at least have a snack in their belly before playing. Cheese and crackers for all! Once everything is running smoothly, we try to enjoy the show!

What were your favorite after-school snacks as kids?

Liz: That's a tough question. I don't know if I can remember that far back. It's not a snack, but I loved peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches.

Alicia: Oreos! My uncle once told me they prevent heart attacks.

All-ages shows seem to be a Make Believe priority. Did you see a lot of shows when you were growing up?

All-ages shows are definitely a priority. After being involved in the music scene for quite some time, it's obvious that this city (or any city) needs as much all-ages support as possible. We're both from towns where there wasn't a lot being offered for teens. It's extremely important to provide an outlet for kids. They're a huge asset and support system to the music community, and we feel that there can never be too many options for those who are under 21.

Have either of you crossed the professional boundaries (perhaps a smooch or two) with any members of the bands you've booked?

Liz: Ha-ha! To date, the answer is no.

Alicia: I can't say I haven't been tempted!

Top five records to listen to when...

Getting ready to go out ( Alicia):

1. Q and Not U, Power.

2. The Anniversary, Designing a Nervous Breakdown.

3. Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out.

4. Spinto Band, Nice and Nicely Done.

5. Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd, Jazz Samba.

Doing anything (Liz):

1. The Starlight Mints, Drowaton.

2. The Long Winters, Putting the Days to Bed.

3. Hot Hot Heat, Make Up the Breakdown.

4. Speaker Speaker, Call It Off.

5. These Arms Are Snakes, Oxeneers.

A weekly peek behind the curtain of the Emerald City music world, Behind the Scene sheds light on folks you won't see onstage, but who make it all happen.

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