Time for chicken curry and Pee Wee Herman. Time to flyer, record bed tracks, and catch up with some new vinyl purchases. My new band, the Therapy, managed a sloppy little debut of sorts at the festival wrap party. Special thanks to Pat E on drums and Mikey S on cheese-bass for tolerating my creative process. Spring cleaning, yard work, all of these signs that the post-festival era will be one of hard work and new projects.
I've been trying for a week now to figure out how to sum up the experience of our month-long marathon of events, workshops, and concerts alongside the usual café business.
Thus far, I have failed.
Perhaps a bit of reflective blogging will shed a little light on the spirit of the festival, and how we measure success and development at the café. Hop on to my train of thought...
So what happened last month?
Well, about a dozen events planned by the café crew blossomed into 3 or 4 dozen various shows, workshops and talks organised by volunteer presenters. We put on more laundromat shows in a month than we did all last summer. Local acts drew capacity crowds, as did workshops like Frank Belleau's black ash basket weaving and the Cultured Club's intro to fermentation. We held screenings for fresh short films, and premiered local artist Chris Shoust's first feature film. We lived, breathed, and ate festival-style. Sometimes we slept. We made new friends and collaborated with café regulars. In a word, it was amazing.
What we do all the time:
Every day (closed on Wednesday) we strive to serve up healthy affordable food and provide a safe space for all of the community.
Every weekend we serve brunch 11-4 Saturday and Sunday. Like our daily menu, the brunch menu is always changing to include seasonal ingredients and to reduce waste.
Weekly: Mondays we offer Study Hall 4-9 PM, providing a quiet workspace and pay what you want food. We're developing programming and seeking presenters for readings, talks, community kitchen events, etc, so get in touch if you have ideas!
Tuesdays 6-10 pm, a rotating cast of local musicians and poets hosts the Gore Street Open Mic, an all ages, alcohol-free space to jam, play covers and originals, and generally have a good time. It is the most accepting and encouraging open mic I've ever attended, and a great place for all manner of performers of any skill level to mingle and entertain.
on a monthly basis we do the Gore Street Supper club, usually on a Thursday, offering a low-key communal fine dining experience at the laundromat table, presenting a coursed meal showcasing local seasonal meats and produce. Also one Thursday a month we put on the Night Market, selling fresh produce on a pay what you can basis.
What does the future hold?
We're booking many amazing shows for the spring and summer. We've got a week-or-two festival coming up mid-June. Fresh local produce is putting a smile on my face and tasty colours on our plates. The Crying Club is in development...
What do YOU want to see happen on Gore Street? Come get involved and be part of something positive on the downtown Westside.
And once again, again and again: thank you, thank you, thank you to all festival participants attendees, pass holders, and invisible beneficiaries. The festival is us. The community is in its own hands.