My mom and I came here to escape Russia when I was 16 years old. We ended up living in Fremont, right near the Troll. We were close to the Lenin statue, too. My mom didn’t like that, but I thought it was funny—Lenin right next to a Taco Del Mar! He would be rolling in his grave.
If you love film you have to go to Scarecrow Video. It’s a paradise for film—the largest collection of videos in the country! Central Cinema is a really cool place to see older movies and have a beer. The Majestic Bay is the best multiscreen movie experience here. The Ark Lodge isn’t fancy, but it’s great. Farther north, the Crest shows art films and second run movies. And Northwest Film Forum is awesome for finding films you wouldn’t see anywhere else.
Each region has its own culture, and artists need to represent their area onscreen—otherwise all the stories come out of LA and New York City. We’re like our own kind of Portlandia here, and that story needs to be told too.
I love the Triple Door. It’s such a world-class venue. I especially love the burlesque shows there. All my work is genderqueer, and that’s a big part of Seattle burlesque culture—it’s a free for all! I also love taking friends to the Center for Wooden Boats. I don’t know how to sail, so I just get a rowboat. I love hiking too—you can hike to these alpine meadows at Mount Rainier and it doesn’t even seem real. You can imagine Snow White running around with her little animals.
The Georgian restaurant at the Fairmont Hotel is a treasure. It’s so not Seattle—it’s fancy looking. But the lunches are reasonable and it always feels like a special occasion. Also: Café Mox in Ballard. It’s attached to a board game store [Card Kingdom], so you can borrow a game and bring it over to play. And I love going to the Pretty Parlor vintage clothing store—it feels like I’ve been swallowed by a bubblegum monster.
Interview by Brangien Davis. Photo taken at the Center for Wooden Boats.