…both good and bad, but it’s just been too wild of a week to find the time to say it. It’s been a week of extraordinary highs and lows.
Aaron Beck wrote a really nice commentary in the Dispatch on the 4th, but it spent most of the week in error-land, so I couldn’t post it sooner:
Little Brother’s Won’t Soon Be Forgotten
There is also a slideshow.
Life soundtrack: Peggy Lee, The Best of Miss Peggy Lee, “Is That All There Is?”
Here’s a story about Little Brother’s closing.
Lyle Lovett, Lyle Lovett, “Closing Time”
Rod Stewart, Smiler, “Farewell”
As The Sopranos goes into its final three-episode countdown, actors keep making appearances on talk shows, reminding us that they first started filming the series ten years ago. That was right around the same time that Dan was holding staple-pulling, linoleum-laying and painting parties in a former library and used furniture shop, then gritting his teeth at commission and city council meetings as he encountered an unexpected and expensive fight to rezone the building.
Today, I also realized that 1997 was the year that Harry Potter first appeared on bookshelves in England, and his final volume is due this summer. (I was deeply relieved when I read this article on Salon a few weeks back, and found out that I wasn’t the only woman in her thirties who is steeling herself against the loss of these vivid characters.)
All I can say is, as far as endings go, at least we’re in good company.
Features of our neighborhood:
• Mango and papaya are at the front of the produce section in every major grocery store.
• Camp Chase. When we bought the house but were still waiting to move in, I had a dream in which people asked me “how’s the new house?” and I said “It’s great, except for all of these ghosts of Confederate soldiers. They make it hard to drive through the neighborhood at night.”
• A 24-hour jelly donut drive-thru.
• Westland Mall has hosted at least two child pageants and a gun show since we arrived. This Saturday’s Cinco de Mayo celebration/garage sale may be the city’s most authentic.
•We actually know our state representative, and he has already taught us the secret West side handshake.
• An ice cream stand with over 25 flavors of soft serve (?) !
• The only Mexican/Filipino grocery store in town that I am aware of.
• Discount warehouse cheap liquidation factory outlet clearance everything. On sale now!
• Taquieras everywhere. Dan is visiting a tortilla production line this weekend.
Plan B version 127 for our uncertain future: Dang if this side of town doesn’t need a decent bookstore and coffeeshop with WiFi.
There’s an interview with Dan about Little Brother’s history here.
Yesterday he was asked (by a different reporter) if the announcement of the club’s closure might be some elaborate media ruse designed to manipulate the landlord into letting him stay. If that were the case, it would have needed to have happened over a week ago.
Dan truly thought that if he could get the landlord to sit down and talk in a room, something could be ironed out, but the man and his lawyer flatly refused any negotiations. It was basically presented as “you can sign this document or be prepared to be asked to leave.” At that point – the one when a person you’ve maintained a working relationship with (however frayed) for several years won’t even look you in the eye – how do you fight to stay? I know people do it. I also know that there are those who can sleep well at night as they tell themselves that “business is business” as they make bloodless decisions that profoundly affect the lives of the people they are financially entangled with. My husband isn’t one of those people. And he’s definitely not a person who can deal with those sort of people.
I had fantasies where Declan and I stormed the landlord’s office (he has never met us so he wouldn’t know to hide the way he did when Dan showed up), and asked him, if he couldn’t face my husband, to face us – two people who count on Dan – and justify his actions. To look at us and tell us that he hadn’t worked out details with Dan before disappearing behind his glacial attorney. It would have been manipulative (not to mention very daytime TV drama). But if that harebrained scheme somehow miraculously worked, then where would we be?
We’d still be in a business where the owner of the building had clearly demonstrated that he has no understanding or regard for what the club is, was and has been. It has never simply served a small group of people from the neighborhood nightly – it has always drawn people to the area from all over the city, and sometimes even the state or region. (And obviously musicians from all over the world.) Unfortunately, it will be long gone before civic leaders and the landlord realize this. And I do believe that eventually, they will realize this. All of you Richard Florida groupies who research the reasons cities like Austin or Pittsburgh have an easier time attracting the “Creative Class,” put this one in the minus column.
So… anyone have a line on an ice cream truck?
We have had a rough couple of weeks. You can read about it here (my husband’s business).
There is too much to say about this. Closing looks basically inevitable at this point, it’s just a question of when. After many sleepless nights, I am working on at least trying to do something positive and focus on collecting and preserving the legacy of the place.
Within hours of putting out this notice through Internet channels on Friday, we received about 25 emails where people laid out some of their memories, and they keep coming in. There are some incredibly moving testimonials that aren’t just about particular shows, but the deep sense of personal loss people feel over the shutdown of their countercultural home – a place that helped to shape some part of their identity (for better or for worse), even if they haven’t come though its doors in some time.
We’ve had our moments where we’ve lamented the shows our son won’t get to see. And the fact that he won’t be old enough to remember running around on the stage where his parents got married. I cannot imagine ever wanting to lay eyes on it again after we have left. (This is assuming that whoever is signing the lease that is undermining and forcing Dan out might leave the stage standing. I almost hope they do not.) I definitely will not miss the stress Dan has endured under this landlord for years.
At any rate, these are going to be a long last couple of months.