Another doomed club fiddles and faddles its way to oblivion - 140826Tu Shows



Another doomed club fiddles and faddles its way to oblivion


What to make of tonight’s show with Saxy Sady T (aka Tess Perrier) performing solo at a joint called Apollonia on Danforth Ave. near Coxwell?

Not much despite the fact that after about 20 years of working on her sax playing Sady is a pretty decent performer. She’s no Carrie Chesnutt to be sure —but then who is?— but nevertheless, combined with her singing and personality, she puts on an energetic and soulful show.

But the operator of this reasonably well appointed but perpetually empty place, Garnet Caesar, has demonstrated that he has absolutely no understanding of the hospitality industry whatsoever, let alone the chops to mount a successful live entertainment enterprise. The Greek deity Apollo was known for being the patron god of music and poetry, but this room is making a pretty sad mockery of that so far.

After taking over the place at 1504 Danforth Ave that used to be called The Livin’ Room (which over three years never amounted to anything other than an ethnic social club for one of the lower European nationalities —I’m not sure which one) Caesar started up this summer with karaoke being hosted by ebullient red-headed Erika, who has been doing shows in place after place in the area for two decades that I know of and does have a bit of a following.

In June she told me about her new gig hosting not one but two nights a week at the room, Thursdays and Saturdays. Since at the time I was busy with my own show on Saturdays, I decided to check it out one Thursday, particularly curious since I was also in the process of reviving my local East York Chronicle community news rag and thought the new developments there might merit an ad or story or both.

Saxy Sady T @ Apollonia -Gary 17

Saxy Sady T @ Apollonia -Gary 17

But the night I first attender there was nothing going on when I arrived at 11 p.m. —I was told that the Thursday K-show had been moved to Sundays and after showing Caesar my publication I was enthusiastically invited to come by then to also talk about promotion. When I did, there was again nothing going on. Apparently Erika was delayed or there was a misunderstanding or something, but it’s not like there was a crowd of unhappy patrons wondering where she was —there was just me and the owner.

By the time I was able to get back there on another Sunday, that show had been switched back to Thursdays! And when I finally got there on a subsequent Thursday in early July, this time there was no one there but Erika, packing up at midnight, and she was practically in tears because, she told me, she’d been given only a very small portion of the pay she’d been promised, not even enough for cab fare home.

Next, enter Sady, performing in duo mode on Wednesdays starting in early July “because he won’t pay me enough to hire more than one other player”. The night I was there for that show, there were two other patrons, both music industry people and longtime Sady pals.  Meanwhile, instead of actually buying some advertising, the owner made a promise to do so that he never followed up on. (His wife, whom I’ve never seen there, wouldn’t let him spend $100, he subsequently told me.)

Not surprisingly, Sady’s shows have been pretty lightly attended and the latest news, a couple of weeks ago, was that she was going to switch to Thursday nights and do the nights solo, starting as of last week (Erika’s karaoke show had once again been cancelled).

But two days beforehand the big debut show was “postponed” —until it suddenly wasn’t when the club owner decided late Wednesday night to go ahead with it last week after all! (And we haven’t even touched on another show she was supposed to do there a week ago Sunday that was cancelled on three days’ notice.)

But wait, it gets even more bizarre! After a reasonably successful (according to Sady) show last Thursday, the owner now wants her to switch it to Tuesday nights, starting tonight (assuming that it doesn’t get cancelled or rescheduled between the time you’re reading this and when it’s supposed to start at 10 p.m.)!

Why an experienced and not untalented performer like Sady puts up with all this is anybody’s guess —but then she also had a run this spring at another east end bar famous for its inconsistency, ridiculous underpaying of talent and refusal to do any promotion: Melange on Main Street at Gerrard.

Sadly, however, these sorts of episodes are becoming more and more common. Out in Scarborough there’s a whole string of bars that have gone gung-ho with live bands for a few months only to drastically cut back or cut them out entirely, all the while doing zero promotion. It’d be funny if it weren’t so heartbreaking for the performers who pour their all into trying to make these rooms work only to be discarded like a dirty band-aid once the owners realize there is no magic pill substitute for hard work, consistency and investing a few dollars in making things pay off. (I’ll have more to say about that in an editorial I’m whipping up for the holiday weekend.)

In the meantime, hopefully Sady gets enough friends out tonight for the 10 p.m. show to ensure she at least gets paid what she expects. If you do go you might consider trying the food –it looked reasonably appetizing when Sady’s friends were enjoying it on the patio. But wag your finger at Garnet and tell him to get out from under the apron strings and make up his mind what he’s going to do already —and you might mention to him, too, that having no draughts on tap and a grand selection of about six different bottled beers isn’t likely to produce a night of bumper sales.

-Gary 17,


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