40 Year Anniversary Series: As RHI celebrates a 40th anniversary in 2023, this interview returns to the early 2000s as Seattle was transitioning to support a growing technology industry and revitalizing its music economy. The city’s music history began in the 1800’s but is best known for legendary artists Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Jim Hendrix, and emergence of Grunge and later genres.
James Keblas grew up with music and became the first director of Seattle’s Office of Film and Music. This was during RHI’s pilot program on nighttime management leading to a series of recommendations. With James’ leadership, this plan was formalized in the Mayor’s Eight Point Initiative focusing on security training, late-night transportation, disorderly behavior, sound management, and a “flexible hours” proposal to create a locally licensing process for extending alcohol-service hours. In this interview, James traces the history, RHI’s role, and success of the initiative.
James Keblas serves as the general manager of All is Well, a concept-to-completion film studio. The firm makes films for agencies, brands, musicians, and movie lovers. His early work was as co-founder and executive director, of The Vera Project, a nationally recognized music and arts center run by youth in Seattle and as director, the Seattle Office of Film and Music, an economic development agency that advocates for the film and music industries through policies and initiatives that directly support the business, revenue, jobs, and wages of Seattle’s film and music professionals.