The time draws near. Just around the corner, and there sits the end, nigh.
Why? Well you may have heard, the House of Blues did not own it’s own land. And the landowners have decided they can make more money with a hotel on sunset than anything else.
Never mind there’s a hotel going up to the left and right of the House of Blues. Never mind there’s already one across the street. We need another hotel on Sunset like we need a hole in the head. We need another hotel on Sunset, even if it means eliminating the very reason people come to Sunset in the first place: Live Music, Comedy, etc.
Fine. Neighborhoods change. It happens. Do you remember what koreatown looked like in the 1920s? Not very Korean.
Me? I’ve been coming regularly to the House of Blues for a little more than a year and a half. I’ve been a “member” all that time. Truth is the brick and mortar portion of the House of blues I won’t miss that much. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll miss it, I’ll miss it something terrible. That’s why I’ve spent some of my last few hours here taking photographs of it. The photographs I can take with me.
What I’m going to miss the most, cannot.
It’s the people I’m going to miss, the seemingly tireless workers behind the scenes. (They better be tireless. Most of the time, they got home at 2:00 am…or later.)
The sense of community, of family of open arms. That I can’t photograph.
Gotta tell you, I was nervous as @#$% when I first came here. Here I was, paying for a membership with the Foundation Room, and the first time I go in there…I actually felt like I didn’t belong.
I know you think I’m kidding. Trust me, I’m not.
It was the Staff that let me in. It as the Staff that made me feel welcome, that pointed the way, that made the place warm and comfortable.
So imagine that guy, the guy who was nervous and uncertain the first time, sitting in Paris Lights (above, the reserved Dining Room), hidden off in a corner table, by himself, taking a moment to watch that last sunset come in through the windows. Dinner over. Drink in hand. Feeling the room transform from warm daylight to cool night.
I can’t believe those two guys were the same but they were.
And the House of Blues didn’t make that moment possible. House of Blues staff made that possible.
The bands, the funky art work, the Captain’s Room, the Parrish Room, Paris Lights…in a way, they’ll just transfer to the new place when it opens. The people who’ve worked at the House of Blues? The ones who that inhabited these halls, that worked here, that made the whole thing work?
And that breaks me up.
Some have been here, working since the doors opened. Some started working last month.
Now to you, they may have been your everyday average kitchen crew, bartenders and waitstaff, just here to get you your drinks, get you your food, get you…well, whatever you needed at the time. But I’ve gotten a chance to talk to them in my short time here, and…it should come to no one’s surprise, they were more than that.
Were there your share of Actors and Actresses, waiting for their shot at the big time? Sure. This is Los Angeles, your local Credit Union has their share of Actors and Actresses waiting for their shot at the big time. Some got it. Some just got in the door. Some are still waiting. We’ve got a Surf Instructor, a Property Manager, a soon-to-be Travel Show Hostess, soon-to-be Employee of the L.A. Auto Show, a guy who works on Bikes, someone who split time between the House of Blues and the Viper Room, and of course more than a few University Students. Some where full-on full-time Live Nation employees (that’s the Corporation who took over the House of Blues) and are staying. Some had to leave for good.
They a couple of things in common. They all had dreams. They all were nice people. And they all liked being here.
Yeah, it was a job. It was a means to end, for paying bills, for paying groceries, getting that Electric bill taken care of. But they liked it here. They liked being here. They liked the party that was the House of Blues, and…like me…are all sorry to see it go.
That’s why it was good to see a lot of them come back for one last ride, at a final Party on July 31st. Finally, we got to meet a lot of significant others, partners, husbands, and wives of the people who made this place what it was. As sad, and as broken up as I have been, that was good to see, the best feeling of an otherwise sad moment.
Look, I’m just losing a Club Membership for a year…and in truth, I’m not even losing that. Even though I have no idea where the new House of Blues will be, I know there will be one. Just from a Dollars and Sense perspective, you can’t leave Market No. 2 alone. I know that in the space of calendar year from now, Live Nation will secure a new site, and start construction or even re-construction of the new House of Blues.
But it won’t be the same.
I bear no illusions that there will be new people inhabiting and working inside the new House of Blues, and that these people will be just as competent, lovely, and delightful as the last bunch. They’ll even be my friends in time. But like I said, they won’t be the same of course.
No, of course not.
I’d love it if Live Nation tracked down every person who worked in the House of Blues these last few days, and invited them all back, but that’s just me being selfish. As one friend remarked Saturday night, this is a chapter that is closing, and maybe it needs to close to take that next step. So many of the former staffers are going on to literally bigger and better things, and even if the new House of Blues were to go up tomorrow, they should stay at these newer, better gigs.
So, the truth of it is…the moment’s lost, and that’s what’s sad.
To the people who welcomed me, who looked after me, who (yes) took care of me this last year and a half, goodbye. I wrote all this to remind you that you are special, and you are what made this place magic.
I’m going to see some of them again. Fingers crossed, and with a dash of luck, I’ll see them all again.
The House of Blues, my House of Blues was a home, an idea you just can’t take a picture of.
Unity in Diversity.
All is Love.