Three Imaginary Girls Turns 10

When Liz Riley, Dana Bos and Char Davidson decided to share their excitement about Seattle’s indie pop music scene 10 years ago, they didn’t have many options. There was no Facebook for their status updates, no Twitter for their quips and the term “blogosphere” was yet undreamt. But there were websites, so the trio started one and called it Three Imaginary Girls.

“We were going to shows, we wanted to do something fun and creative, and we wanted to write,” recalls TIG founder Liz Riley. “We never planned for it to be what it is now, or even what it was six months after we started it. We just wanted a place where people could gather to talk about the music they loved because there was nothing like that.”

This month Three Imaginary Girls begins a prolonged celebration of its 10 years as “Seattle’s Sparkly Indie Pop Press” with an April 11 show at the Vera Project featuring Allo Darlin’ and the Wave Pictures. Riley—the only remaining original Girl, with Bos holding on to emeritus status—promises nine more events, including rockstar karaoke and the publication of the first Imaginary Zine, filled with the site’s most memorable stories.

The celebration comes at a time when the Internet is awash in blog-based online publications devoted to the Seattle music scene—with new ones appearing every month. When Riley, Bos and Davidson first started posting concert reviews online in 2002, the potential for blogging was unknown, but the trio soon discovered what many others have since found out.

“We quickly learned that there was no money in indie rock,” Riley recalls. “Any hope of our website somehow supporting itself was out the window. And, really, if we were to try and make it a big self-supporting machine, it would be a lot less fun than it is.”

The site still requires 30 hours a week from Riley and countless more hours from support staff. How long it can go, Riley can’t say.

“We’ve learned that it’s dangerous to plan far in the future,” Riley says. “Things change all the time, especially technology. If we were to start the site now, we would probably just start a Facebook page.”

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