Rumble House new location

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Earlier this month I posted some erroneous news about the Gorilla House and Rumble House in amongst some factually correct information.

In my previous post, I was upfront about my speculation regarding their new location. Today I received confirmation that my source was wrong.

This post is therefore to correct that erroneous information.

I don’t feel particularly bad about the fact that I was wrong. Maybe I should, but I don’t given the circumstances. In it inevitable that things like this will happen for time to time. It is obvious now, that I was not alone in being mistaken.

In the Fall 2014 edition of Stephen magazine (the one that is currently available) there is a double page spread on pages 32-33, showing photos of members of the Gorilla House/Rumble House team in the “5,500 square feet of unused space in front of the Day’s Inn on Macleod Trail.” The remainder of the article leaves an impression that this was going to be their new home.

I understand the nature of lease negotiations all too well. From recent personal experience, I had an extended conversation for over a month with a landlord about occupying and leasing a vacant commercial space for the entire two summer months. The day before I was prepared to move and a couple days before I had targeted as the first date of active operations from our very first conversation in May, the deal fell apart – suddenly.

I have previously written for different publications. From that experience, I know that glossy magazines usually require a longer and sometimes significant lead time prior to publication. Glossy magazines don’t have the quick turn-around that a blog or newspaper has.

I read news from yesterday that Rumble House has signed a lease for a space on 8th Avenue SW, near Mewata Armories, Millennium Park, Kerby Centre and the old Science Centre/Planetarium. Ironically I passed their new location last week (before they put up the current for lease sign). I was thinking to myself as I did that, that the space Rumble House has leased looked vacant and I was also thinking that it potentially could be a good space for a gallery.

The new location will be at 1136 – 8 Avenue SW.

It most recently was used as a retail space for a store that sold classical music recordings, called Classics Plus. Prior to that if memory serves me correct, it was an English Fish and Chips shop for quite some time. Classics Plus has been located there or next door in the building to the east (a two story, plus basement mid-century building) that once housed Virginia Christopher Gallery, three or four moves before the gallery closed a few years ago. That building next door also housed artist studios, the short-lived Deacon-Ulrich Gallery and long-term tenant Fine Art Framers. As seen from the tenants it once housed, the building next door was definitely an arts friendly building at one point in time and from what I understand it has subsequently been sold.

From the news that was released from Rumble House yesterday, it appears as if they intend to open during October. No date has been set.

It is my opinion that this will be a much better location for Rumble House than the Day’s Inn location.

I wish them success here. I will definitely stop in and visit, once they are up and running.

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Gorilla House Live Art

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Originally, I planned to make this more of a housekeeping post more than anything else. Then I heard some news (in a gossipy sort of way) from one of my sources, which has yet to be confirmed. However, I feel confident enough in my source, that I will take a big leap of faith that this news is correct.

In my last post celebrating the one year anniversary of this blog, I made a short mention of the Gorilla House.

Near the beginning of the week, I happened to be going past the space that was occupied by the Gorilla House Live Art. I happened to have my camera with me, so I took advantage and took a photo of the space before the building exterior materially changed.

As you can see here, the building is surrounded by metal fencing. The signage that used to be there, has come down. Otherwise, for the most part, the exterior appears to be similar to what it has been since it was still a used bookstore (which if memory serves me correct from the occasional visits I made when it was operational, smelled like cat pee).

The interior is currently undergoing significant renovations.

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As you can see in the photo above there is a large stack of drywall ready to be installed and a large counter of some sort, is currently under construction.

In my last post, I indicated that the building is planned to be a sushi bar. Shortly after I took this photo, I asked an older Oriental man who poked his head out the door what the plans were for this site. He corroborated the information that I heard, which is that it will be a restaurant, although he did not state what type.

So there you have it. The far too common end to a short-lived art space in the city.

* * *

However, all is not lost.

Soon you will be hearing of a new organization called Rumble House.

This is the same organization, except that instead of conducting “art battles” as they have done in the past, the new organization will conduct “art rumbles”. I guess they wanted to use a less combative terminology.

The concept is still the same.

I have attended a few of the weekly events over the past year. I had intended to go previously, but always remembered too late in the evening or after the fact.

It is a very interesting concept.

From a professional practice perspective, it serves to encourages practice which is a positive. Depending on the artist, for some the work produced is not consistent with the remainder of their practice which could be considered a detriment to their professional practice.

Here is how it works, as best that I can determine from the few times I have attended as an observer (not a participant), and I should also state that I have never attended a full event from start to finish:

  • The beginning of the night, random descriptive words or phrases are written on a piece of paper and placed into a container (or attached to a spinning wheel);
  • The theme is selected;
  • During the next two or three hours, participants are expected to produce a new work(s) based on the descriptors selected;
  • At the end of the evening, the work(s) is(are) auctioned off, with the artist receiving a portion of proceeds, and the Gorilla House also receiving a smaller portion;
  • They then meet the following week and do it all over again.

In this respect it is a lot like the national Art Battle that was held recently at C2 (the old Museum of Contemporary Art – Calgary) a few months ago.

Now for the news.

As mentioned above, the same people behind the Gorilla House are now behind what will be called Rumble House.

I hear that right now as I write this, after being homeless for a number of months, a new space is under development. It is my understanding that it will soon be open.

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It is an interesting space that they will be moving into. The windows to this space connected to the Day’s Inn Macleod Trail location have been covered up for quite a few years, in fact I don’t recall this space being occupied – ever. That says a lot, as the building has been around for quite a while (maybe 10-20 years, maybe longer).

For a number of reasons, this could be a very challenging location from a real-estate perspective to successfully lease out. Here is why:

  • It is geographically isolated in a little one block wide island separated by the C-Train and Macleod Trail, both of which act as significant barriers to access from the residential on the one side and commercial on the other;
  • It is surrounded by car dealerships, fast food restaurants and a graveyard;
  • It is a residential wasteland within the block-wide strip between Macleod and the C-Train (outside of a small residential pocket near Chinook Mall) for a significant distance either way (from downtown all the way to Heritage);
  • It’s immediate neighbours are a destination pub and a budget conscious hotel;
  • The parking can only be accessed from one side of the street at a point where traffic speed increases significantly;
  • There is no parking in front, the building frontage goes right to the sidewalk, and parking is hidden from view.

However, these are the same factors which potentially might make it suitable for this type of facility.

As this facility is currently used mostly in the evenings there will be people in the immediate area. It is possible depending on the nights that the Rumble House is operational, that there might be some spillover patrons stop in from the neighbouring Atlantic Trap and Gill and the hotel above.

It is centrally located, with easy access by train and car which is ideal for a destination facility that is active outside of regular business hours. These are the same factors which made the Trap and Gill successful. It could potentially be a win-win for everyone.

I wish them success in their new venture.