Flushing the cultural latrine 

Now that I'm only doing this column every other week, the gossip channels seem to be good and clogged. So I'll take the plunger to my usual list:

Daniel Breckenridge resigned as director of the Business of Art Center after only a year last Friday. Board Vice President Karen Huff cites Breckenridge's achievements as "hiring of talented people" and "getting the organization aligned in a more efficient manner" as well as "bringing life to Venue 515" (it'll always be "The Garage" to me). According to BAC Board Member Raynelle Kukel, Breckenridge would "prefer to do something other than manage the BAC." Well, at least he's not alone. The BAC needs broad creative vision and savvy business leadership, not just a number cruncher who wants to turn the joint into a blues venue. In the meantime, communications coordinator David Ball and Events Coordinator Craig Cantrell will jointly manage the BAC toward, hopefully, a stimulating future that includes a more formally challenging art school.

The Acoustic Coffee Lounge, one of the best local venues for great and diverse live music, is facing a 10 p.m. shut-down time if neighbors get their way. A huge crowd came out to the lounge on Tuesday, June 11, in support of owners Jason and Jamie Spears for a discussion with neighbors and a representative from the City Planner's Office. The discussion came about after a neighbor complained that people were loitering in the alley behind the caf and making noise after closing times (ranging from 11 p.m. on weekdays to 1 a.m. on the weekends). According to the development plan for the strip mall where the ACL is located on Centennial and 20th Street, all shops are supposed to close by 10 p.m. The Spears said they were unaware of the mandate when they began hosting live music over a year ago (after a year of business without live music), and had never heard a complaint. In a compromise designed to appease neighbors while allowing them to retain their business, the Spears have offered to comply with the 10 p.m. closure time during the week and have asked if neighbors and the City would agree to allow them to amend the development plan to stay open until midnight on weekends. Larry Beser -- one of the most vociferously angry neighbors, whose father, it turns out, was the only person aboard both the Enola Gay and Bock's Car when the A-bombs were dropped on Japan -- couldn't cite any evidence that would link the ACL with the loitering in the alley. Beser did note, however, that the development plan was put in place specifically to deter the kind of after-hours noise he now claims is disturbing the neighborhood. Neighbors refused the compromise and the Spears must now await a decision from City Planner Gina Herring and, possibly, a hearing from City Council.

Guess what, folks. Teens hang out in strip mall alleys because they're bored and their parents won't likely find them there, gleefully breaking the law and consuming illicit substances. Closing down the ACL at 10 every night just means the rapscallions won't have a place to hang out legally where they might enjoy themselves more constructively listening to live music and cavorting with of a lot interesting and intelligent people from around the city who wouldn't otherwise be there. Close it early and the ACL goes down faster than Fat Man, and the noise of guilt will be deafening. My suggestion: Find that quiet place inside. I don't know about you, but it takes a lot more than a bunch of yapping, yelling and screeching to wake my 1-year-old after a long day of being culturally stimulated.

If you're a fan of sabotage art, there's been plenty of billboard and sign desecration to enjoy about town. Gold Rush Casino's "Hot Games, Hot Slots" billboard along I-24 was discreetly modified with a little black paint recently to read "Hot Games, Hot Sluts"! During McDonald's recent promotion of bratwursts that read "Brats Are Here" someone surreptitiously removed the "B" so that the sign announced a more poignant truth: "Rats Are Here." Two billboards just north of the Garden of the Gods Road exit on I-25 have also been constructively modified, and a couple of lovely aerosol pieces now grace their faces.

Geez, I'm outta space and I just started plumbin'!

-- nblack@csindy.com


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