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Forced closing of beloved Texas venue-Cactus Cafe

Michael S 07 Feb 10 - 02:54 PM
katlaughing 07 Feb 10 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,Gerry 07 Feb 10 - 04:46 PM
Jeri 07 Feb 10 - 04:52 PM
ClaireBear 07 Feb 10 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,999 07 Feb 10 - 07:04 PM
Michael S 08 Feb 10 - 08:03 AM
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Subject: Forced closing of beloved Texas venue
From: Michael S
Date: 07 Feb 10 - 02:54 PM

The University of Texas has announced the closing of the beloved Cactus Cafe, a 150-seat campus venue that for 30 years has presented vernacular music and singer-songwriters. There are usually 4 or 5 professional shows per week, and open mic nights are also common. The reasons keep shifting, from money to student needs, but the U has ignored community willingness to set up an ongoing fundraising apparatus (which exists for every other Campus arts venture). I've attended about 150 shows there in over a decade. Now, I've joined thousands in writing letters, attending meetings, and raising my voice, to no avail. Read a heartwrenching news piece Look at the photos by clicking along the left side of the article. The weeklong tumult in town has been astonishing, and the NY Times even ran a piece on this.

Here's a Facebook discussion page and you can also check out the Save the Cactus website

I've spoken to some of the administrative and student officials involved, and they've been like stone. The general belief among the aggrieved is that the place is suddenly just too much bother for administrators who like everything "neat." Many believe that, after a brief period, commercial interests will invade this prime student union real estate. There's already a Wendy's, a Starbucks, etc in the building.

Michael Scully
heartbroken in Austin


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Subject: RE: Forced closing of beloved Texas venue
From: katlaughing
Date: 07 Feb 10 - 03:27 PM

That is a beautifully written piece. How very sad. I hope there is a way to keep it going. It sounds like a wonderful community much as we have here, in a way.

Thanks for letting us know and good luck!


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Subject: RE: Forced closing of beloved Texas venue
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 07 Feb 10 - 04:46 PM

I had many terrific evenings at the Cactus during my year-and-a-half in Austin, 1985-6. I'm glad to hear it lasted 30 years, and sorry to hear of its going.


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Subject: RE: Forced closing of beloved Texas venue
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Feb 10 - 04:52 PM

Decades later, I'm still trying to get over Armadillo World Headquarters being torn down. I've got a photo of myself and a friend outside it.

It's the modern way to get rid of anything with a bit of history and personality and replace it with plastic trendy crap. Sorry, Michael.


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Subject: RE: Forced closing of beloved Texas venue
From: ClaireBear
Date: 07 Feb 10 - 06:40 PM

"Armadillo World Headquarters?" she inquired...


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Subject: RE: Forced closing of beloved Texas venue-Cactus Cafe
From: GUEST,999
Date: 07 Feb 10 - 07:04 PM

Any other place it could re-open?


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Subject: RE: Forced closing of beloved Texas venue-Cactus C
From: Michael S
Date: 08 Feb 10 - 08:03 AM

The Cactus is in a University building, and its staffers are state employees with steady salaries, medical and dental benefits, and eventual pension rights. Consequently, it's not a matter of simply relocating to another place in town. It does pay performers and charge admission, but its context insulates it from commercial realities. I doubt too many people are clamoring for the chance to open a full time folk music club with the need to pay market rent and support themselves.

There's been one proposal floated (merely floated) about finding a home for it in the on-campus alumni center with a different university budget behind it. There are lots of concerns about that potential space, but the immediate problem is that it wouldn't be available until Fall 2011 at the earliest, and the University is determined to shut down the Cactus this summer.

I know the Cactus has a unique situation that's helped it thrive. So why kill it?

Michael Scully
Austin


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