Lost Seattle – The Monastery Chronicles

The transformation of Seattle’s South Lake Union is stunning. It is a demonstration of Seattle trading its vibrant current culture for the promise of free market globalization.  In South Lake Union, capitalism is victorious in the form of glass and steel buildings and business casual office workers cradling $6 dollar coffee drinks, and stroking their fresh from the factory electronics.  There might be redoubts and traces of the cultural life that once existed and at times thrived in the area, but just traces.

To say that pre-Vulcan (billionaire Paul Allen’s company), Pre-Amazon (billionaire Bezos), pre-Fred Hutchinson (massive cancer research), pre-bio-tech and pre-internet South Lake Union was an Eden of funky, delightful artistry would be overdoing it.  The area was gritty, run-down and forgotten.  Paint fell off of old warehouses.  Grass grew between railroad ties that no locomotive had passed over for decades.  Parking was always available.  The dismal, forlorn aspect of the place made it perfect for low-rent lifestyles, low overhead endeavors and a smattering of stores that catered to musicians, electricians and sportsmen.  The appearance of South Lake Union in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s was not romantic.  It fit a punk rock aesthetic that is lost now, but preservation of a punk rock aesthetic isn’t material fit for writing a successful historical preservation application and the neighborhood as it once existed is mostly obliterated now.

From a mid-century hell-scape emerged the Monastery, to ink its tattoo upon the character of Seattle, to forever tag it, for better or worse. Culture and capitalism clash, collude, separate and bitch each other out. But no matter how much capitalism triumphs, there is a hell of a tattoo on Seattle’s ass.  Of tattoos left upon the ass of Seattle’s past, the Monastery is perhaps the tattoo that Seattle works the hardest to cover up.

The eastern boundary of South Lake Union is Capitol Hill.  The hill sits to the east and north of downtown Seattle.  Down west from the hill and just northeast from downtown lies a peculiar area of mismatched streets owing to the meeting of different homestead land claims.  Only now, in Seattle’s area of hyper-development, has the area, known as the Denny Triangle, ever been anything other than an unsightly part of town.  Until recently, empty parking lots dominated the area interspersed with the occasional business that attracted few if any customers.  It was not a place to take a stroll with your out-of-town guests.  It was in this marginal area that underground gay culture thrived, especially at The Monastery.

Nothing was as underground as the absolute free-for-all that was happening at the Monastery in the 70’s and in the 80’s.  To write about the Monastery other than to condemn it is a risk in itself, because things happened there that simply can’t be approved of or sanctioned, but to write another diatribe about the evils of the Monastery is to dismiss that it was also a place of gay liberation and all out partying that was a joy for many. The following article, linked here describes the Monastery as a far-out gay party scene:

From 1978 through the mid ‘80’s The Monastery was Seattle’s premier gay disco/underground nightclub. It was hot. There were men. There were drugs. There was sex.

Very few women were allowed in the club at the beginning. So those that made it in had a special place in the hearts of the queer crowd who lived it up inside.

The biggest memories I have of the club were the stories my friends would come back to Spokane and tell me after a weekend of debauchery in the ‘80’s. They were all about showing off the new music they heard and “recovering” from the strong drinks and smooth drugs (mdma seemed to be the drug of choice back then).

The article goes onto to give a set list to the 1982”Red Party,” including this song, by Kano:

So it’s the late 70’s and early 80’s and gay teens and men on MDMA are dancing to disco.  This hardly begins to tell the story of the Monastery. For starters, the Monastery was an all ages, gay, raging disco party in a church.  A church with a charter from the Universal Life Church. The church had a minister, George Freeman, who oversaw a flock of zonked disco dancers and there was a lot more than dancing happening at the Monastery.  The Monastery was a wooden church.  It was different than a typical church in that it was square and tall rather than rectangular and long.  It had a main floor, and an upper floor.  It had more than one staircase.  The floor plan had intricacies that permitted orgies to go full swing away from the main dance floor.  There are legendary tales of dancers being misted with drug infused sprays.  Keep in mind this was an all ages club so orgy participants and zonked dancers might be 14 years old as this article describes.

To this day, the stories of the Monastery’s drugs, prostitution and basement hot tubs still circulate widely. The “disco/church” had a charter from the Universal Life Church which allowed operator George Freeman to declare the teenagers a congregation and exempt them from many laws.

Described here:

It was just a lot crazy shit going on with minors and drugs. It was like the ultimate bad place for children to go if they were out.

It is impossible to imagine that no criminal exploitation of minors occurred within the confines of the Monastery, yet there is little to no indication of criminal prosecutions stemming from such crimes.  This may owe to the fact that the 70’s and early 80’s were not a time when society was as sensitive or vigilant to pedophilia as it is now.  Also a raped teenager might have preferred to keep mom and dad in the dark about what happened at the Monastery.  It may also owe to the fact that many of the under-aged Monastery flock were gay and hormonal and at least arguably consenting to everything that happened.  It wasn’t like the gay teenager could grind on another fellow at the 1979 junior prom without the expectation of the jocks beating him to a bloody pulp.  The line between liberation and exploitation was undoubtedly crossed at the Monastery, but the value of liberation and validation was there too.

The minister, George Freeman, embodied this blurring of the line.  He was and, if still alive, is a rumored chicken-hawk.  George Freeman was there at the parties.  It is hard not to imagine that Freeman crossed the line.  Nevertheless, Freeman provided the environment that, for many, was the epitome of sexual liberation in a society where gay marriage was unimaginable, where out-of-closet life was led in a circle of friends and within a few square blocks of a city.  George Freeman’s flaws are well documented and they earned him the enmity of the King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng.  It is the battle between the politically ambitious prosecutor, Norm Maleng, and the minister of a drugged out gay-disco, George Freeman, that sets the scene for the future transformation of South Lake Union into the glass and steel, sanitized, worker bees’ hive.

In 1983 Seattle’s elite were confronted, in Life magazine, with imagery of their city as a haven for runaways and exploitation of minors.  For the benefit of anyone born after 1980, Life was a very popular magazine and it was physically larger than other magazines, because Life was a magazine the featured photography.  Many of the 20th Century’s most iconic images were printed in Life.  The magazine was on every newsstand, it was at the doctor’s office and spread out on coffee tables across America.  When your city shows up as the setting for ultra-gritty street-life encountered by teenagers, it is no longer a quiet problem happening in a forgotten part of a distant provincial city.  It is now the city elite’s biggest headache.  The text and photos can be seen here at this link.  The following are some excerpts to get a sense of what America was learning about Seattle while flipping through Life in their dentists’ office.

many of Seattle’s street kids risk arrest–and worse–by becoming prostitutes, what they call “turning dates.” Boys and girls, who stash their clothes in bus station lockers during the day, drift near the waterfront’s Pike Street Market and wait for offers. “I’ve been raped eight times by dates. One held a gun on me and almost broke my arm,” says Sam, 17, a professor’s daughter from Idaho who ran away.

. . .

This young dealer is injecting a 14-year-old customer with MDA (methylene dioxy amphetamine) in a crash pad for runaways. At $5 a capsule, MDA is the drug of choice among Seattle street kids–though marijuana is common, and LSD is making a comeback. MDA users need at least five capsules to attain the desired “body rush,” a violent shuddering later followed by sudden vomiting, clenching jaws and twitching eyes. The $1 “rigs” are disposable insulin syringes, but addicts dangerously reuse them as many as 50 times, honing dull needles on matchbook strips and lubricating the plungers with Vaseline.

. . .

They sleep in a spooky, abandoned hotel that has no water or electricity, where they cleared one block-long hallway so they could roller-skate. Because the building is boarded up, they climb in at a second-story window. If police cars are parked behind the hotel at night, the boys go to a pay phone and report a nearby fight. When the duped cops take off, Mike and Rat sneak inside. Often for dinner they’ll phone Shakey’s and order several pizzas “with something like pineapple on them that nobody else would want.”

The spotlight stayed on Seattle as the city of choice for telling the story of gritty runaway life.  The Life magazine article led to the making of the 1984 movie, Streetwise, which was nominated for an Oscar in the documentary film category.  How could Seattle not become self aware as it stared at the faces of runaways with Seattle as the backdrop on the pages of national magazine and then saw the critical success of Streetwise as an Oscar nominated documentary.  This was happening in the same city where the dentist appointment was happening.  Seattle’s establishment couldn’t deny that Life magazine and the Oscars were happening.

In stepped the ambitious prosecutor (is there any other kind?) pushed on by the newly formed advocacy group, Parents-in-Arms.  Prosecutor Norm Maleng received plenty of encouragement from Parents-in-Arms and one of its members’ David Crosby’s story of the evils of The Monastery.

Seattle of the 1980’s wanted to be in the spotlight for making airplanes, putting up skyscrapers and for its pro sports, but it did not want to be in the spotlight as a haven for a deadly, hardcore, youth lifestyle.  To escape the glare from the spotlight, the city was looking for a way to clean-up.  It is not clear that the Monastery was fully connected to the Streetwise scene, but there was enough of a connection for the county and city governments to target the dodgy church.  With a city on high alert and American society awakening to the scourges of youth drug use, exploitation of minors and pedophilia, the Monastery’s days were numbered.

The following article is quoted in full because it relates many of the key details that led to the demise of the Monastery.  There are parents who are blaming the Monastery for their children’s runaway lives, including a David Crosby (not the David Crosby) regarding his son Ian.  There is Norm Maleng, the King County prosecutor, aiming to stomp out the youth drug and party scene so that Seattle could have its proper image back.  There is George Freeman, cast by the prosecutor as the creepy pastor, and quoted in the papers as saying things like, “Kids are coming out of the nest at an earlier age,” and, “Christ left home when he was 12. What’s the big issue here?”  Again, there is David Crosby investigating George Freeman and getting more sketched out with each new discovery.  And then there is Parent-in-Arms the support group formed to pressure the city to shut the Monastery down and the group that would spur the Seattle City Council to pass the infamous Teen Dance Ordinance.

Reading the story, written in 1985, from the perspective of an “It Gets Better” society, it is hard to deconstruct what happened between the Crosby parents and their son. The father, David Crosby definitely experienced the tragedy of losing his son to a swirl of drugs, but when you read the following 1985 article, you wonder if the father wasn’t using the entire episode to crawl into a reactionary cocoon. Here is the link.

David Crosby’s son ran away. Lot of kids do.

Ian got a Mohawk. He got poor grades. He got into drugs, all-night clubs and sex. In short, Ian got rebellious. He called it “freaking out the natives.”

It wasn’t the first time a 14-year-old went bad. But Ian was his father’s first-born, his only boy. And David Crosby wasn’t about to let his son’s transformation stick.

Crosby set out on a crusade to save his son and others like him. He talked to people, told them Ian’s story. The parents who heard him and had been where Crosby was joined him.

The group that resulted is called Parents in Arms. It hopes soon to reach its first goal; closing the Monastery, a Seattle teen dance club that Parents in Arms views as leading children like Ian astray.

A hearing is scheduled Monday on whether the Monastery should be permanently closed as a public and moral nuisance. King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng charges that drug dealing and other vice activity took places at the dance club.

In addition, a city Council committee next week will have a hearing on proposed restrictions for teen nightclubs.

Ulitmately, Parents in Arms seeks much more, not the least of which is to change laws affecting jeveniles in Washington. David Crosby is a man who won’t settle for less.

Ian Crosby went from being a gifted student, an all-American sharp kid, to a a street punk within four months last fall. His parents blamed themselves, at first, for the change. David Crosby, who calls himself a skeptical agnostic and a liberal Democrat, admits: “We made Ian as independent and arrogant as he was. They were the mistakes a lot of liberal parents make.”

Maybe David and Maureen Crosby loved their son to a fault. But they believed they had been good parents, and refused to bear the complete responsibility for Ian’s problems.

The trouble, they say, started with the nightclubs. Ian had begun asking his parents permission to visit the Seattle dance spots early last fall. And as he became more contemptuous of the restrictions at home, he’d talked about going to The Monastery.

“He started reciting lyrics to me,” the 40-year old Renton lawyer says of his son. “There was one from a David Bowie song, went something like ‘These children that you spit on… ‘I told him I didn’t know where he ever got the idea we were spitting on him.”

Song lyrics are today’s prophetic messages, claims George Freeman, 47-year-old owner of The Monastery, now temporarily closed while Freeman awaits next week’s hearing. he adds, “Kids are coming out of the nest at an earlier age, and society can’t accept that.

There’s an old song: ‘God bless the child that’s got his own. Mommy may have, Daddy may have, but God bless the child that’s got his own.’ That’s a very real message.

David Crosby began doing some investigating of Freeman and the Monastery. He learned that Freeman identified himself as a minister with the mail-order Universal Life Church and that the Monastery had a reputation as a late night gathering place for drug dealers and under-aged youth.

The deeper Crosby dug, the more convinced he became that Seattle teen nightclubs like the Monastery were leading kids, including his son down a path of possible no return. “I got to the point where I didn’t know whether my son was ever going to live a normal life again,” says Crosby, “And I wanted to do something about that.”

Crosby learned of Ian’s whereabouts on the streets of Seattle with the help of a private detective. Once, he tricked his son into his care and took hims to a Seattle drug-treatment center. But Ian didn’t stay there long.

After about six weeks on the street, Ian himself was ready to come home _ on his own terms. “He wanted to use home as a hotel,” says Crosby. “Ian thought he could live at home without any rules.”

David and Maureen Crosby drew the line. Ian could enter either an urban wilderness-survival school or a drug-and-achohol-treatment program. He chose the latter.

Crosby placed his son in a drug-rehabilitation facility outside Washington, from which Ian would be unlikely to run. Then Crosby returned to Seattle, where he and his family had made their lives for the past nine years, to make sure that what had happened to his son would not happen to anyone else.

He held a meeting on a Saturday afternoon late in February to form an organization that wold do something about teen runaways in Seattle. At least 50 parents, mostly from Seattle suburbs, came, listened to Crosby’s story and felt someone was telling their own.

There was talk of sons and daughters who changed overnight.

There was talk of The Monastery.

“It was a situation where you really could point to one man and one institution,” says Crosby, “and say it had made a negative influence on the community.”

Members of Parents in Arms organized a telephone tree system and were able to exert pressure on Maleng, the prosecutor, to investigate The Monastery, Kevin Raymond, deputy prosecutor, describes Crosby as a major force in bringing out the problems of The Monastery and other teen nightclubs. Late last month, the prosecutor’s office filed its civil-abatement against The Monastery.

Members of the group say it would not have been possible without Crosby. But Crosby contends he just did what any parent would have done in his situation. “The difference was that I am an attorney,” he says. “I knew the system and I knew how to make it respond.”

Parents in Arms vice president Mike Zeitner of Puyallup, who says his twin 17-year-old sons have been on the streets since January, agrees. “As an attorney, David didn’t have to face the ‘poor parent runaround’ we’d been getting from the system,” he says.

Some members of Parents in Arms think Crosby did more than provide legal expertise. They say he set in motion changes within the system, changes that someday may make Seattle a healthier place for teens. He had the courage to do something they could not: admit to the community that they had a problem with their kids. From the beginning, David Crosby committed himself full time to Parents in Arms, now 200 members large. Crosby’s law firm _ Wickwire Lewis Goldmark & Schorr _ has continued his salary and treats Parents in Arms as a pro bono, or nonpaying client.

Crosby sees next week’s hearing as the group’s first success.

But there are other goals.

On the local level, Parents in Arms wants some across-the-board regulation of teen discos in Seattle. The group has asked the City Council to enact ordinances restricting the clubs’ late-night hours and the ages of those who attend. They also want the city to take responsibility for ensuring the reputability of the clubs’ operators. A City Council committee has scheduled a hearing on the matter June 5.

Parents in Arms has not called for the closure of existing teen discos. “We realize that teens need some place to go,” says Crosby.

On a state level, the group wants even bigger changes. In 1974, the federal Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act called upon states to revise their laws affecting runaways. The goal was to provide protection for abused or victimized youth. Washington and 45 other states made changes in their laws.

But the act had another effect, says Crosby. The statutes that resulted left parents with little legal help in retrieving their runaway children. Parents in Arms seeks the reversal of such statutes, while allowing for protection of abused children.

The goals of Parents in Arms, and Crosby’s actions towards achieving them, have not met with total approval, especially from patrons of The Monastery and other club owners in the area. “I’m probably the least popular adult in the city of Seattle as far as kids are concerned,” says the attorney.

Two opposition groups have sprung up: Youth in Arms and Kids in Action. Both seek to stop the closure of The Monastery and to have the kids’ side of the issue heard.

Tama Rhoads, president of Kids in Action, is 18 and living on her own. Says she: “The Monastery family will stay together no matter what Mr. Crosby and Mr. Maleng do. We’re pretty tight-knit group.

Stephanie Logan, 16, a board member of Youth in Arms, adds, “Parents in Arms has been fed a lot of untrue information from David Crosby. We feel our rights have been taken away and no one cares what we have to say.”

John Schloret, owner of Club Broadway, says the restrictions that Parents in Arms members seek for Seattle clubs are discriminatory.

And Schloredt, a father of six, says of David Crosby, “One thing I learned from raising my family _ and they are all very successful _ when there are faults, I don’t look any further than with myself. The home is where the problems start and end.”

George Freeman explains Crosby’s actions similarly: “David Crosby is just a frustrated father who couldn’t handle his problem at home. Crosby’s son ran away from home as many adolescents do because father and son probably reached that point in time when his age of reasoning came to be. Well, Christ left home when he was 12. What’s the big issue here?”

Freeman disputes the charges against The Monastery. He has described the club as catering to a nontraditional homosexual and heterosexual church congregation that does not condone drug use.

Crosby’s crusade to make life better for Washington families has taken a toll on his own. He claims that threats have been made on both his life and his son’s. Because of that, his daughter, Tanya, is living with family and friends outside of Washington.
Ian will complete his drug-rehabilitation program late this summer, but no one knows if he will ever come home. “We knew from the beginning that it wasn’t going to be any small task,” says Maureen, Crosby’s wife. “It’s wrecked our family’s life, torn us apart at the seams. But sometimes there are just things you have to do.”

And what of the future? Crosby hope that everything Parents in Arms set out to do on a local level will be achieved this summer.

“After that, my goal is to put things on a self-sustaining basis,” he says.

Beyond that, Crosby will only shrug. “We’ve learned not to future trip,” says Maureen Crosby, “to just live a day at a time.”

The article makes it appear that a dad couldn’t handle his son spouting off some David Bowie lyrics.  Of course, the issues were more serious than a kid’s good taste in music, and it is hard to know from the article if Ian was Streetwise or if he was a gay kid with intolerant parents.  What is clear is that Mr. Crosby’s Parents-in-Arms campaign was very well received by the County Prosecutor, the City Council and Mayor.  The press was running with the story.  Whether or not the Monastery explained the kids in Streetwise or if it explained Ian Crosby’s new behavior, it didn’t matter, because the prosecutor was fixing to file a Civil Abatement action, the City Council was on the verge of passing the infamous Teen Dance Ordinance.

Parents- in-Arms was a steamroller.  The righteous anger of the parents was not to be satisfied until the teen dance scene itself was regulated.  The City Council couldn’t act fast enough and Norm Maleng made himself busy condemning the building where the church was located through a civil abatement proceeding.  The docket for the case contains years of filings.  In 1985, with the Monastery inhabiting Seattle’s nightmares, the authoritarian Teen Dance Ordinance was passed.  The TDO would stand until 2002 and come to be regarded as among the most draconian laws in the country ever aimed at youth culture.

The full story of the Teen Dance Ordinance is more than this current article can contemplate.  In summary, the TDO was an overreaction by Seattle politicians and their backers.  Teenagers in the late 90’s were the victims of the city ordinance.  The ordinance did not outlaw school dances but it otherwise made an all ages show too risky and expensive for a promoter to put on.  The bassist of Nirvana, Krist Novoselic, would end up spearheading the effort to get rid of the TDO, and it took until 2002. From 1985 to 2002 an all ages show in Seattle was unthinkable.  The Seattle establishment was heavily committed to sanitizing the city and their zeal extended to a poster ban.  These were actions of questionable constitutionality, but the city was on a big-time anti-fun crusade.  Seattle was now a place for adults, for big spenders and the Streetwise problem was solved with the Monastery’s flattening.  Much of this anti-fun is enshrined in the current architecture and aesthetic of South Lake Union.

The following memo, available here, dated April 13, 1998 and from a Seattle Assistant City Attorney to Seattle City Council Member, Nick Licata gives a matter-of-fact account of the Monastery leading to the TDO.  An attached footnote from the City Attorney offers to bring David Crosby back into the latest version of the fight to repeal the TDO.

The Teen dance ordinance was enacted in 1985 in response to very real concerns about the safety of youths attending dance halls. Prior to that time youth dance halls were unregulated. In the early 1980’s, there were high profile instances where teens were routinely victimized (including sexual abuse and drug abuse) at dance halls, as a result of this lack of regulation. An organization comprised of parents and other concerned citizens called Parents in Arms was instrumental in bringing about the closing of two notorious “all age” clubs, the Monastery and City Beat, as public nuisances. Recognition of the need to protect youth in the public dance hall context, led to the enactment of the Teen dance ordinance. [fn]

[fn] One of the leaders of Parents in Arms was David Crosby, a lawyer, whose son was abused at the Monastery. I believe Mr. Crosby and his family moved to Alaska. The attorney for Parents in Arms was Bill Dwyer, Senior United States District Court Judge in Seattle. If it would be helpful for your review of these issues, I would be happy to check to see if either Mr. Crosby (or others involved in that organization) or Judge Dwyer would be available to discuss the historical safety concerns of parents regarding the teen dance ordinance.

Among Seattle’s policy makers the Monastery was still radioactive in 1998 and the memory of it was keeping the Teen Dance Ordinance on the books despite its questionable constitutionality.

Here is another account written in October 1996, in the UW Daily which was tuned into the suffocating effects of the Teen Dance Ordinance.

But the real death to all-ages venues was the amendment of Seattle municipal Code 6.294.080 to prohibit people under 15 who are not accompanied by a guardian and people over 20 who are not acting as guardians from entering a teen dance hall. To enforce this the ordinance also requires that ID is checked at the door.The ordinance was quickly drafted in 1985 after a large public scandal over the infamous Monastery, an all-ages club. To this day, the stories of the Monastery’s drugs, prostitution and basement hot tubs still circulate widely. The “disco/church” had a charter from the Universal Life Church which allowed operator George Freeman to declare the teenagers a congregation and exempt them from many laws. The club was declared a public nuisance and Freeman was jailed after an extensive campaign by a group calling itself “Parents in Arms,” all of which led the City Council, headed by Norm Rice, to define the purpose of the Teen Dance Ordinance. “The City Council hereby finds and declares that the pervasive problems of runaway children, drug abuse and abuse of children are problems of such magnitude that they are a matter of city concern and are contributed to by unregulated dance halls.” Since then, the teen dance problem has continued to concern the City Council. In 1988 the city amended the TDO to require operators to carry $1 million of liability insurance.

The city establishment’s commitment to the TDO became progressively more toxic over the years. From a relatively understandable initial reaction, the establishment relentlessly invoked the devil’s horns of the Monastery to keep the TDO in place.  Once a law is on the books it has a life of its own, and even unreasonable laws can take decades to get off the books. Check this link for more on the Teen Dance Ordinance.

As the Streetwise movie, the article in Life show, society was beginning to confront pedophilia.  The Monastery is really a fascinating part of that story right along with the Catholic Church.  Seattle’s story is interesting. The Teen Dance Ordinance is an important part of the story.  In many ways the Monastery’s demise and the resulting TDO showed a society redrawing lines of liberty and expression and coming to grips, however unsatisfactorily with youth freedom, minors in prostitution, youth drug use and pedophilia.

The foregoing is an attempt to store this interesting episode on the internet.  George Freeman is one of those unique individuals that seemed to thrive in the 70’s world.  Norm Maleng was the prosecutor who mined the gold to be had from relentlessly litigating Freeman into oblivion.  The scene itself at the Monastery was probably one of the greatest hedonist adventures ever conducted.  It is worth it to get some of this gathered in one place.  Now that South Lake Union has been transformed into a hyper-secure, corporatized, high technology zone, the story is harder to see.  Losing the Monastery was not a tragedy, but losing all memory of it would be.

For anyone with greater interest in that era, try looking up some of the following song titles from this article.

01. An American Dream (Medley) – Hot Posse
02. His Name Is Charlie -Laser
03. Dance – Night Force
04. Top Shot (Remix) – Tantra
05. Now Baby Now – Kano
07. Exotically – Peter Jacques Band
09. Walk Right Now (12-Inch Version) – The Jacksons)
10. Fire In My Heart (Remix) – Madleen Kane
11. Trippin’ On The Moon (Remix) – Cerrone
12. Tainted Love (12-Inch Version) – Soft Cell

The Red Party (Live At The Monastery) Pt. 2

01. Spirit Of The Dancer – Evelyn King
02. On The Beat – BB&Q Band
03. Me No Pop I – Kid Creole
04. Table Manners – Kid Creole
05. I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) (12-Inch Version) – Hall & Oates
06. I’m In Love (Evelyn King)
07. Double Dutch Bus (Special Remix) – Frankie Smith
08. Hard Times/Love Action (12-Inch Version) – Human League
09. Step On Out – Companion
10. Disco Train (12-Inch Version) – Dance Reaction


10 thoughts on “Lost Seattle – The Monastery Chronicles

  1. Bill Johnson

    Hi Mueblespasayo,

    I’m an independent writer based in Seattle who has been researching information on the monastery and other clubs that Mr. Freeman has built. I contacted him regarding this article, and its allegations. His comment was, and after searching court records I confirmed, that there were no charges ever filed for sexual molestation or rape against the monastery or against Mr. Freeman.
    Mr. Freeman, it appears, sued the stranger for its article “Return of the Demon,” and besides that piece I’ve been unable to find any records supporting your claims. Please reach out to me if you get the chance, I’d love to talk further regarding this article.
    My email is: writerfromseattle@gmail.com


    1. Bill:
      I think your research is correct, you won’t find the criminal charges of molestation or rape. What happened with the lawsuit against the Stranger? I am glad to hear someone is writing a book on this. I think it is a fascinating historical event. Getting the context right is a challenge, but if it can be done, it will be a brilliant book.

  2. Just discovered this story there are many mistakes parents again I’d like to talk to you about the incorrect information. GeorgeFreeman. Com

  3. The collateral unintended consequences of The Monastery experience has much more content then what is portrayed here. I have just finished a half million dollar lawsuit of readers making false claims As to my conduct and intent of the monetary creation. After these many years it is difficult to tell you the truth The monastery was an event created by the circumstances that it faced. My intent and prayers at the time and to this day are simple….. A place where old people could join and worship the experience of life. I think too much I said in reference to hedonism or sexuality. My perspective is it is a story of liberation. George Freeman
    You can see another view at

  4. Paul O'Connell


    Great article about Seattle history. I only came learned about The Monastery by coming across an old picture of the church, it had a for rent sign on it. I don’t know if it was pre Monastery or post Monastery. Your article is very interesting. from the little i found about the club some patrons have found memories while others say it was exploitive. I guess both can be true. I tried to find some more info on the church but all I could find was that it was also a club in the mid 60’d called BFD. Do you have any other info or links that talk about when it stopped being a church and why and when it was eventually razed?

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