Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Farewell to Cinema Books

7/6/15 Ink, watercolor, colored pencils
After 38 years, Cinema Books is closing. The U-District icon has been near the corner of Northeast 50th Street and Roosevelt Way Northeast for most of that time. It was a one-of-a-kind place for film buffs and collectors of old movie posters and biographies of esoteric filmmakers. The construction mess across the street (where the old Tubs building used to be, which I sketched a couple of years ago) has caused too much disruption to the business, and the owner thinks she can’t last it out.

I’m not enough of a film fan to have frequented it, but it’s one of those shops that was “always there,” even back when I was a student at the University of Washington, so I’m nostalgic about it even though I wasn’t a customer (except to buy Greg a few gifts over the years). When Greg (who is a film buff) and I heard the news, we decided to go say farewell. He went in to shop while I walked across the street to sketch. Of course, I couldn’t get the front view that I wanted because the sidewalk was blocked off with the construction, so I had to make do with the awkward angle. The store next door, closed for years, is now covered with graffiti. I wouldn’t be surprised if all the old buildings on that block got torn down and replaced with – what else? – more ugly “mixed use” buildings that seem to be popping up everywhere (hence, all the cranes in my sketches).

OK, I probably sound like one of those cranky old people complaining about “progress.” Whatever. But it’s always sad to see independent and specialty book stores close.


  1. It is always sad to see shops like these close after such a long history in the neighborhood. Specialty shops like this one are a vanishing breed. Glad you got to sketch it before it closes...and I like that you set it in it's current location with the graffiti building next to it. Nicely done!

  2. Great homage to a landmark succumbing to "progress" --- Larry


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