Thursday, September 29, 2005

My friend AJ's sister happens to know the guy who leased all kinds of equipment to TwiRoPa, a music club in N.O. After the storm he needed to get in and grab all the equipment he could, and he needed help to do it, so when we got word of it Michelle and I went to the club to pitch in. For the past few years we've had many experiences there.

In June of 2003 I organized the first [N.O.]D.I.Y: Alternative Media Expo there, and put together three more, the most recent in April '05. When the first Expo went over so well it got me a gig promoting the club's weekly '80s dance night. I did that until March of '05, and that extra job funded the beginning of AntiGravity. Michelle had been bartending there for a few months when Katrina hit.

Also in 2003, a couple months after Michelle and I met, I set it up so our second date ended on the TwiRoPa roof. We spent hours listening to music on a boombox I brought with us, drinking wine and looking over the city. We had a great view of the Crescent City Connection.

Since AG started, we've hosted a few shows there and attended many more. One of the most satisfying things about AG has been getting to a show that's doing much better than the club anticipated. The club's always thankful, the promoters even more so. I'm proud to say we had a few instances of that at TwiRoPa.

Since the equipment guys had a flat tire and showed up an hour late, Michelle and I had time to explore the venue. It was unlocked, and we went into what they called the Tchoupitoulas Room, where smaller shows took place. The bars were still fully stocked, and everything else seemed in place. The roof was dripping and there were puddles of water covering most of the concrete floor.

We walked through the venue, through the Mill Room, towards the Live Room, where all the bigger shows happened. It wasn't easy to get in, though.

It only took a little maneuvering, but we got in. This is a shot from the doorway.

And from the stage. This is the room the past three Expos were in. I wish I had a photo of the Expo from the same angle, but they were all on my PC at the house that flooded. If I did have a picture of the Expo, you'd see 8 foot tables lined up those poles and in islands with exhibitors behind them, and maybe some models in the fashion show we had last time.

We also went upstairs into the office areas. Not much to report there, but while on the fourth floor I did take this photo of the gigantic trash mound that's a block away.

I don't think TwiRoPa is going to open again. The owners (new guys who came in a few months after I got the promotions gig) aren't from New Orleans and don't have the ties to the city some other club owners do. The building wasn't in good shape during the best of times, so seeing it in the condition it's in shouldn't be surprising. It'd be insanely difficult to rebuild. The booking agents who've gotten the club to really step it up over the past few months are probably moving to California, so the main part of the club's management will be gone. The sad thing is TwiRoPa was starting to become an elite club in terms of booking, taking shots on up and coming bands (before the storm, they'd just booked Clap Your Hands Say Yeah for the end of October, as just one example). I'll have to find a new place to do the Expo, whenever it's time to do another one.

The city's music scene survived before TwiRoPa, and I'm sure it will after TwiRoPa. Another club, like One Eyed Jack's, will surely pick up the slack, though I'm sure it'll take awhile before the city can again support some of the bigger names. I know that AG'll be around to promote the hell out of those shows, though.
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