Montreal based musician/blogger David Ryshpan writes about the closing of an open minded Montreal performance space.
Unfortunately, the recent opposition to our request for the Salle de Spectacle permit by principally one local resident is causing our existence as a cultural centre to be called into question.
Noise complaints on St Laurent are fallacious, to me; if you have a place on St Laurent, you should know what that entails. Peace and quiet are to be found on many other streets in the city; The Main isn’t one of them.
It’s like deja vu all over again. It seems to me that the smaller more progressive musical venues are the ones that get shut down by this one noise complainer/permit shuffle because the small venues that book fringe music don’t have the cash to grease the system. The venue dilemma has been getting attention with the recent closing of Tonic in NY, and Marc Ribot’s very public stance on the subject. There has also been an interesting thread on the Chi-Improv mailing list dealing mostly with the qualities needed for a successful venue. One side says low rent is the highest priority, and the other side says cheap funky dives are demeaning to the artists and patrons. Both sides are right to some extent.
Many are supporting public funding of performance venues, and that would be cool, but even public support in the form of clear and stable permits and zoning would be enough to make it possible to run a non-mainstrem venue. The greatest injustice in all os this is that these venues can be allowed to operate (for years sometimes) with no problems, then when one person complains, the government says that the area is not zoned or permitted for that use, but that use has been allowed for long periods of time prior to the complaint. If it wasn’t legal before stupid Leo started complaining, why was it allowed to operate. It makes it look like our cities are selectively enforcing our laws, and that’s not good.