black dog, wreck room
i'll admit to feeling a little adrift since the dog's demise not quite a week ago, even though i usedta bitch about the vomit smell at the downtown location and the miniature toy self-service p.a. bar as much as anybody. whatever else you can say about tad gaither, he provided a venue for lotsa stuff -- jazz, spoken word, punk -- that you couldn't find anywhere else in town (well, maybe at the metrognome, but only for a minute there), and on certain nights, his room had a more, how you say, _culturally diverse_ audience than i'd seen in the fort since the demise of the original bluebird. in his curmudgeonly way, evabody's favorite paranoid conspiracy theorist gave me a weird kind of _hope_. may he and his crew (jem rodriguez, the best bartender in the fort, once made me walk a line to get out of his bar when i wasn't even drunk, bless him) all find good places to land.
oddly, my two favorite black dog memories have nada to do with music: 1) when i was newly unemployed back in the spring of 2002, once a week i'd go downtown when the black dog opened, throw two dollars in the meter across the street, and sit shooting the shit with the bartender until the happy hour crowd started drifting in. it was a cool, quiet place. 2) i met my wife there one night in october 2003 when i was standing at the end of the bar with my beer, waiting to hear acoustic goodwin.
most of my best memories of the wreck room are like that, too -- going there before there was even a stage to drink black and tans with my rekkid store co-workers; our wedding party and just hangin' out there with ppl we dig. but there were also nights when sub oslo threatened to levitate the joint, or woodeye brought strong men to tears, or the boss martians from seattle played one of the rawkin'-est shows i've ever seen to like eight people, or mark growden played the accordion while flamenco dancing on the bar.
i dug just sitting there last night, when my sweetie 'n' i went in to hang up stoogeaphilia posters, watching graham deal with a backed-up toilet while the fwac acoustic monday thingy was going on over at "wreck west," shooting the shit with john shook, drinking in the vibe of the place and thinking about how it's going to feel when el wreck shuffles off this mortal coil to join the black dog and caravan of dreams and the hop in the land of places that don't exist anymore. sure, there'll be other rooms, but you've gotta appreciate the good ones while they're around, because they're never around for too long.