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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

SAVE MY PLAYGROUND

I went to CBGB last night to see Figo and I took a moment to think about what CBGB means to me and why it should be saved from extinction. To set the record straight, CBGB is a horror of a club to play logistically. It's one long room, with the stage angled out so as to create better sight lines, but a nighmare for the loading in and out of the necessary Marshalls, Ampegs, and Ludwigs. The anlged stage creates a space of about two and a half feet that must be traversed, shoving aside drunken punters and puntettes, to get to the band rooms, and the notorious bathrooms.

Okay, the joke:

What is the difference between a cheap hooker, and the bathroom at CBGB?

It's safe to shit on the hooker.

So it suffers from bad planning, but Hilly Kristal wasn't planning on getting what he got when he opned his storefront in December of 1973. He wanted to start a club for his writer/artist crowd of freinds who were into Country, BlueGrass, and Blues. Thusly CBGB is an acronym, but shortly after opening, young punk bands (Television, Ramones, et al) with nowhere to play (The Mercer Arts Center collapsed in 1973) created a scene, and made Hilly's acronym not only obscure, but wrong. What did fit was the second even more obscure acronym beneath CBGB on the front awning; OMFUG. Original Music For Uplifing Gormandizers. Thats' the tie that binds every band that has had the experience of playing there. We're OMFUG to the bone.

See Hilly's History at: http://www.cbgb.com/history1.htm

So, to the point. CBGB is facing extinction from it's landlord, the Bowery Resident's Commitee, who have been negligent, and obstinant, in their efforts to clear CBGB from the bulding so they can cash in by renting the building out to NYU. NYU is the kudzu of New York, and it must be stopped. For the amount of revenue thay have at their disposal, they could buy all of Staten Island and set up shop.

Not only is CBGB a cultural landmark that attracts tourism, but it's my childhood playground. It's like the Brady Bunch episode where the kids save the park from developers. It's time for us to save OUR playground, and it's not too late.

What can you do? Go here: http://www.savecbgb.org/

You can also go CBGB, hang out, and have a good time. Who cares who's playing? Pay the cover ($10), get a drink (something in a bottle is best) and sit in back and soak in the atmosphere. It is okay to shower when you get home.

Please help me save my playground. One day I'd like to take my grandkids there and say; 'that's where grandpa realized he couldn't sing to save his life, but that didn't have to stop him from doing it anyway.'

Comments:
I want to go see the Dead Boys, whoever they are anymore. But I'm scared that it will be ridiculously crowded, or probably impossible to get in. I saw them in their better form anyway, Rocket From The Tombs.
 
In an emergency you can shit on the hooker.

CBGB was the one of the best live experiences I ever had (with Happy Boy, on "tryout night," we rocked hard and it felt great). I actually like the setup - you can hang out way in the back and avoid the stage, or not. Sure, it's angled weird, but it was still a blast to play. Our second gig at CB's... not so good, but that was for other reasons.

I certainly wouldn't call it my childhood playground, by any stretch, but CB's is a landmark and should be saved.
 
Here's another thing I would do if super rich. Buy the whole fucking building that CB's is in and give the club space to Hilly.
 
I think blogspot is having latency issues, but at the risk of being repetitive, CBGB is more like my 'seond childhood' playground...
 
'second childhood' which I obviously should have spent learning how to type.
 
So I heard on the news this morning that CBGB won some round of court hearings.
 
Yep, a court decided they are not liable for the rent increases they did not pay over the last several years.

Still, their lease runs out at the end of the month...
 
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