It's Who You Know 

Meow Meow, R.I.P.

While I'm not exactly tasting the canvas toe just yet, I can sense the distinctly bitter taste of "foot" beginning to approach my lips. Not that it's all my fault, you must understand. But when you author what amounts to a 1,700 word blowjob for a venue [What It Is, What It Was, What It Will Be, Vol 5 No. 23, Nov 4] that then decides to cut its (rather heavy) losses a mere two months later, it does sting a little bit. Or, to put it a little more clearly: the newly retrofitted Meow Meow is closing its doors as of February 1st. Sort of.

Beginning some five years ago as director Todd Fadel's rag-tag labor of all-ages love, the Meow Meow was forced out of its original location (527 SE Pine) in 2004, taking up desperate residence in the decidedly larger confines of the former home of B Complex. After struggling to transition from modest Meow Meow V.1 to the oppressive expanse (and subsequent cost) of the new space for several months, Fadel coerced building manager Mike Wolfson into an ambitious business partnership some eight months ago that promised great things for the floundering venue--improvements that included a new sound system, a second, more intimate performance space upstairs, a devoted staff (including beloved Berbati's booker Chantelle Hylton), and a functional café space called Ciao. After a year of missteps and financial frustration, Meow Meow finally looked like it was poised to become a practical, community-minded alternative to the city's mounting musical commerce--with a flurry of commercially viable shows that helped shoulder the venue's financial woes. And then came December.

With a dearth of shows at winter's onset, Fadel and the building's owner decided not to renew the Meow Meow's lease, effective Feb 1st. The owners of the property opted to maintain control of the space, with plans to equip the venue with a bar--retaining Wolfson as the yet-unnamed club's manager, as well as the rest of the staff, sans Fadel.

Though Wolfson is devising a floor plan in hopes that the venue can still cater to the kids, just whether the venue remains all ages is more or less to be decided by the OLCC--as the building's owners are not particularly committed to maintaining an underage clientele. And just like that--in spite of Wolfson's admirable intentions--the great hope that was threatens to be enveloped into the same commercial model it was established to contest. And just like that, the Meow Meow--in name and vision at least--closes its doors.

In additional club news: the folks over at the Bossanova have decided to more or less cease its "events based" working model in favor of returning to the venue's original vision--that of a working hours bar and social club. What does this mean to you and me? That the venue will, for the most part, no longer be hosting rock shows.

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