Last night at the Afterthought I watched the Good Time Ramblers play for over four hours to a packed room of familiar faces. Around midnight we all raised our glasses in honor of the bar, around 1am we all danced to the final song, and around 2am Jeff Jackson announced the (truly) last call. It was a bittersweet goodbye to that quirky little corner spot that has seen thousands of performances from both musical giants and local heroes since the late 70’s. The Afterthought meant a great deal to me personally— I’ve been going to hear music there since I was in high school (this was before the 21 and up rule was imposed for all shows at the Afterthought), and in my young musical career I’ve performed there far more than any other venue. The Afterthought’s closing has been hard for me to handle, and for that reason I want to walk myself through the five stages of grief (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance) for the Afterthought. (Note: I do realize that in real life you can’t just walk through the stages of grief in one day, but this isn’t real life, this is my blog and I get to do what I want)
Last week I heard about the Afterthought closing by reading my friend Olivia’s Facebook post. I played guitar at the Afterthought every Sunday for two years and I hadn’t been told about the Afterthought closing, so my first reaction was indeed denial: She doesn’t know what she was talking about! She doesn’t work there! What does she know! That can’t be true. Even as all the facts of The Afterthought’s closing surfaced, I still went to play brunch on Sunday and treated it just like any other Sunday. Though it was indeed my last Sunday brunch performance at the Afterthought, I didn’t do any special song or send off, I just played and went home like I always do. I didn’t want to acknowledge that it was happening.
The most enraging fact in this whole saga is that I and all of the other performers/employees at the Afterthought were given so little notice about it closing. I was initially angry at the Afterthought’s manager, because I mistakenly believed it was him who had not informed everyone. I can’t apologize enough to Richard Muse for even thinking this— I’ve seen and experienced firsthand how much he cares about the Afterthought and all of the employees, and Richard was in fact given the same short notice as the rest of us. The truth is, the new buyer of the Afterthought is shutting it down for renovations and from what I understand it was he who gave only about a week of notice to everyone working at the Afterthought. It is an enraging injustice that some good, hardworking people are without jobs today because they were not given enough time or notice to find new work before the Afterthought closed. My outrage is amplified by the thought of who the new buyer is. You can look up who that is on your own, I don’t want to mention the name in my blog, but here are some clues: they already turned one long-standing cozy Hillcrest spot into a soulless hipster laptop hell, their coffee tastes terrible, and they make a real good sandwich.
Hey Stephanos, sorry about what I said just now about Mylo’s Coffee Co. I didn’t mean it—I’m just upset. Will you just promise to keep the music alive at the Afterthought? I’ll be totally on your side, I’ll put ads up for you on my website, I’ll drink your coffee everyday! Just please keep booking local bands (like mine) to play in that wonderful space. Please!
Ok readers, let me pause for a second and tell you some truth. I’m a bit hungover right now. I had a few too many drinks in honor of the Afterthought last night— what can I say, I love that place. I have some important things I want to say concerning the final two stages of grief about the Afterthought’s closing, but I don’t think I can express those thoughts right now. Instead of over-extending my foggy brain, I’m going to do myself and you readers a favor and make this a two part blog post. Stay tuned next week for Depression and Acceptance! Is this a cop out? Yes. Do I care? No.
For those not yet privy to it, this blog is part of a nine-month long project in which I release a blog-post and a new song every week. So below is this week’s Opus if you care to listen, and even further below are links to posts from past weeks. Enjoy!