Usually in this column I try and hit as much local music news as possible, but this one's a biggie so I'm givin' it full fucking roam. Todd Fadel, the man behind the late-great Meow Meow, is taking up the reigns of a brand-new all-ages venue in North Portland. Opening May 12, the K St. Café and Theatre (corner of Killingsworth and Williams) will be managed by Fadel but booked by a group of curators.
Says Fadel, "This time around, I'm calling on 50 of my friends to put ONE event on every month, focusing on making it interactive and unpredictable, both in the acts that would perform and the general direction of the event."
Fadel wants the new venue to be an extension of the multi-genre concepts he tried to accomplish with Meow Meow, which vacated its space in February 2005.
"I want one night to look sorta like this: A person walks in, there are boardgames, coffee, and an old-time band who announces the Scrabble tournament in 15 minutes, right after the local animation festival in the other room gets out. Then a soul band sets up in the theatre as people grab some soup and crackers and go back in. Then a puppeteer finishes off the old-time band's set in the café and leads a procession of café folks into the room where a spoken word artist does a short set before the soul band performs. Then a DJ finishes off the night in the theatre, while the rest of the people come out to watch a short drama from the local college, followed by a DIY craft class."
Fadel says the café area has seating for 40-50 and a small stage, while the theatre (equipped with a projector) fits 80-125 people depending upon the seating arrangement.
Plans in the works include a recording studio, week-long theme events, and, later, "songwriting, recording, screen-printing, and DIY-packaging classes for underprivileged kids in the area."
Fadel admits he's not much of a businessman, but says Portland pride and a desire to encourage the oft-times exclusionary community to expand keeps him going. "I really do love this town. I've loved it since the first time I stepped foot into the X-Ray Café and listened to JR Pella (from '90s funk band Drunk at Abi's) sing his Steve Wonderin' lungs out. And it's never left me. This feeling of all-encompassing love. I don't give a fuck who hears me say it!"
Check out the venue at myspace.com/kstreettheatre