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  #1  
Old Jul 1, 2001, 10:21 AM
cweeds cweeds is offline
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Post the future of the Cellar

Hello everyone. Happy Jazz Fest. Things have been spectacular at the club in recent weeks and I've been very excited about the future of The Cellar. Unfortunately a very bad thing happened on Friday night that threatens the future of the club and the short term future of Jazz in Vancouver. On Friday, June 29th, with 67 middle-aged people in the room, all sitting quietly eating their dinner, waiting for The Mark Turner/Kurt Rosenwinkel show to begin, in walked 3 uniformed officers, two uniformed city officials and one fire marshal. According to Mr. Gusdal of City Hall, a restaurant with the same license as ours has complained that we are operating illegally and why can't they? Someone out there is very jealous and has it in for The Cellar. The fire marshal was particularly upset with me because of some upgrades that we not done before my time. Apparently the fire board told the previous owner to make big, big changes and unbeknownst to me, they were never made, but the fire marshal never came back to ensure that the upgrades were done. The fire dept. is considering pressing charges against The Cellar. This is their way of getting things fixed. What does this mean for The Cellar? I honestly don't have a clue. I will find out more on Tuesday and Wednesday. I need everyone's support now more than ever to sign petitions and what have you. I will see how the city reacts on Tuesday and if its not favourable I will publish the email, fax and phone number of the city inspector in question and hopefully we can all bombard him with faxes, emails and phone calls. Stay tuned!

Cory
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  #2  
Old Jul 2, 2001, 02:23 PM
jcoverdale jcoverdale is offline
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Cory, has anyone clarified in what way "we are operating illegally". This will be crucial to understand in order to prepare any kind of response in defense.

Let us know what alterations were required by the fire marshal as well. What's the bylaw contravention, and what's the proposed fix?

The city officials usually aren't readily persuaded by the fact that one is unaware of requirements presented to a previous tenant, however a mercy plea, backed by community support in order to avoid charges, should help.

Keep the forum informed; support within the community is there!
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  #3  
Old Jul 2, 2001, 02:59 PM
Ron Hearn Ron Hearn is offline
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I am not wasting my time writing to the idiots at city hall. Below is a copy of an email I've sent to Bill Good at CKNW. If Bill gets into this, city hall won't be able to ignore him like they do the rest of us. Hopefully, it will help.

Ron
____________________________________________

Dear Bill,

We have another example of the no fun city mentality of Philip Owen et al. My good friend, Cory Weeds, operator of Jazz Cellar on west Broadway, was all set to present a jazz festival concert Friday when the city officials showed up, interrupted the dining of the full house with likely result is that one of the few live music venues in the city may have to close. I have attached Cory's post to the vancouverjazz.com website which fills in the details. I would request that you use your position to get some explanation from city hall about this, why it had to be done right in the middle of the jazz festival - an event you would think the city would support. It would seem that the No Fun City name fits Vancouver perfectly.

Ron Hearn
hearn@telus.net

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  #4  
Old Jul 3, 2001, 09:41 AM
cweeds cweeds is offline
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I have some new information on The Cellar front.

Licence: We need to apply for an entertainment endorsement on our existing licence. This is an initial fee of $1700. This will allow us to have trios, quartets, quintets and maybe even sextets but that is rare anyways here. it would make us have to shut down at midnight but that isnt so bad because thats when we have been normally shutting down anyways. Im in the process of applying for that licence as we speak. It will really depend on the surronding residents and their response as to whether we get it.

Fire Board:
We need to replace the EXIT lights which I have done, we need to clear out the back hallway and keep it clear at all times which I have done and we need to upgrade our suppression system (bylaw ? passed last year) to a wet foam system which could run up to $3500 dollars and we need to get our vents cleaned. We will also be getting our fire alarms and extinguishers checked.

Thats all I know for know so please keep in touch and keep your eyes and ears peeled for a benefit concert to be coming soon,
Cory Weeds
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  #5  
Old Jul 3, 2001, 11:11 PM
mikeallen mikeallen is offline
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My heart goes out to Cory. He's a good friend and a huge reason why this city has anything to keep musicians like me employed and motivated during off-festival time (without the Cellar I'll be tempted to relocate - I'm really disheartened that Cory is being forced to look for outside help to fund the changes those pricks are demanding). Now to the point...This city is being run by f*ucking idiots. The very fact that a single complaint (if there even was one) could cause five officials to show up at the Cellar at 8pm on a Friday, is beyond ridiculous. The only purpose the licensing rules serve, is to protect the jobs of the idiots running this city. Those dark-age noise bylaws are a convenient way for the city to act on complaints so they don't have to take any heat from citizens (if someone complains it's easier politically for city officials to revoke a business license than write a letter back to the complainer saying "sorry buddy you live in a cosmopolitan city that has a night life, you're going to have to learn to live with it or move to Smithers" - or something). This city is full of citizens trying to halt its growth, witness the resurfacing of the Lion's Gate instead of a real solution to traffic problems (like a tunnel). When and if this city's "officials" (spelt petrified bags of sh*t) ever wake up and realize it's not 1960 anymore then the laws may relax and begin to serve the people who live here rather than the f*uckups who are desperately trying to hold on to their jobs at city hall at all costs. End the transit strike !!!!! It's all related... P*ss on George Puhl and city councillors for walking out on the demonstrators who disrupted their meeting. That in itself should be grounds for firing them all. Lets get some people working for us who have good minds, who care for Vancouver citizens and who aren't quivering in their boots about taking action to solve the problems that make this city so much less than it could be. F*uck, I'm p*ssed off
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  #6  
Old Jul 4, 2001, 07:52 AM
cweeds cweeds is offline
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I just want everyone to know that its the surronding community of The Cellar, the residents that reside around the restaurant that are going to have the final say in whether we get our licence or not. So if you know anyone that lives in the general area that will support us please let me know or please put them in contact with me.
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  #7  
Old Jul 4, 2001, 08:45 AM
jcoverdale jcoverdale is offline
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Cory, I do know some people in the general area that will be eager to write letters of support for the continuing operation of the Cellar. As you've said however, it's the immediate neighbours who will have the most influential input.

I would suggest that proactive contact with people in the area is a valuable tactic. In written note form, contact everyone that you can, explain the situation and articulate your commitment to establish and maintain good relationships in the neighbourhood. If they're willing to provide written notes of support, have them sent to the appropriate person at city hall, or , better yet, consolidate them yourself for submission in support of your application.

Let us know how you'd like to pull this kind of stuff together, so that the responses can be effectively presented. I'm as disappointed and angry as others over this kind of "blindered" by-law enforcement, and its destructive effect on all kinds of progressive, community based incentives on the part of individuals and businesses. But I do want to ensure that neighbourhood and community support is effective, and that problems are resolved in as quickly as possible, without the notorious red-tape delays that tend to emerge from antagonism.

On the fire marshall's requirements, what are the suppression system details....is this for the kitchen vent hood?
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  #8  
Old Jul 4, 2001, 10:23 AM
Ron Hearn Ron Hearn is offline
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Listening to you on the radio this morning , I was pleased to hear that the Cellar is still in operation. Some people were wondering if it was closed pending compliance with the city. We should get the word out that the Cellar is still open - for the time being anyway, hopefully, indefinitely. Ron
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  #9  
Old Jul 4, 2001, 11:46 AM
paul paul is offline
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Hey Cory and fellow jazz fans... Perhaps it's time for a Cellar Benefit to help Cory pay for the fire regulation upgrades (or a lawyer of this is just more harrassment of jazz clubs in Vancouver -- see Brian Nation's comment re: Zev's). I think as Vancouver's best jazz venue (and in light of the fact that the Cellar innits current incarnation turns 1 year old next month), the club needs our support. We lost the Glass Slipper and the Southill Candy Shop (ironically to fire -- is there a message there Cory?). Let's not lose the Cellar. I'll happily make phone calls, whip up support and MC the gig (as long as it's not the first weekend in August). What can you do to help?

Paul Grant
Host, Hot Air
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  #10  
Old Jul 4, 2001, 12:15 PM
cweeds cweeds is offline
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Thanks everyone for the support. Here is what everyone can do to help me. I would love people to write letters about my character and about my policies in ensuring people's safety and comfort, not only customers but for surronding residents. Let the city know that this has been run as a restaurant and not a bar or a night club. Let them know about the food and what kind of people frequent The Cellar. They dont care about jazz and how The Cellar is the only jazz club and yada yada. The City really doesn't care about that. I need letters of character more than anything. I will publish the city inspectors name and contact info when I have it, I left it at home,

Cory
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  #11  
Old Jul 4, 2001, 05:17 PM
william gibson william gibson is offline
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Cory,

I think you may have hit the nail on the head when you said some other owner is jealous. I believe the word for this sort of thing is "shakedown." Either the City faces other license holders who will demand to pay less or you pay more to the City. City-fathers, Godfathers, same routine. The scene in front of a full house with uniformed police along with the suits was designed to frighten. The firecode violations (electrical code, plumbing code ...) is an old and obvious gambit. Everyone wants a safe place, we know what can happen in a night spot fire. That problem can be treated with calm reason.
Speaking of calm reason, by all means people should write letters, but by no means should they use name calling or abusive language. This is not about personalities, it's about City revenues just as much as parking tickets on Sunday evenings are. Folks, make it into personality attacks and you and the rest of the area's jazz fans lose for sure.
The parallel here isn't really with No Fun, it's with no dancing at the Victory Cafe which ran into trouble because neighborhood clubs made trouble at City Hall. Imagine police watching and trying to determine whether a patron is moving enough to constitute dancing! This is 2001 and not a Marx Brothers' movie.
Maybe a benefit night of silent jazz instruments is in order. Reedless saxes, stringless guitar and bass, skinless drum kit and a singer without a song. Very importantly, no applause.

William
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  #12  
Old Jul 5, 2001, 05:51 AM
jcoverdale jcoverdale is offline
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re:silent benefit (as above)..........

I'm in!

[This message has been edited by jcoverdale (edited July 05, 2001).]
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  #13  
Old Jul 5, 2001, 09:57 AM
cweeds cweeds is offline
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UPDATE:
Well folks you're going to love this. I waltzed down to the city this morning with a $1650.00 cheque in hand and all the supporting documents I needed for the application. I was told that everything was in order but The City "doesn't do anything in August" and that I'd be looking at late September early October before there would be any kind of decision. So, I guess I'll be running The Cellar as I have been until I get the new licence. I have to admit that I'm starting to lose my patience and am sick of being pushed around by the suits of The City. Its a bit of a waiting game now and I will be collecting letters of support and contacting the immediate residents around The Cellar to try to win over their support.

Cory
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  #14  
Old Jul 5, 2001, 11:10 AM
paul paul is offline
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Hey Cory... Good news! Nice to hear the city doesn't do anything in August... does that mean we get a rebate of 1/12th of our taxes? And anyway, it's not August yet... it's barely July... are they gearing up? (or down?). If you ever want to take this public, let Charlie Smith know at the Georgia Straight... he's good at ferreting out the ferrets at city hall and holding them to account. In the meantime, let us know if there's anything we can do to aid an abet you this summer... looks like I'll be around except for the long weekend in August so if you're still thinking of having a birthday party, let me know.

Cheers

Paul
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  #15  
Old Jul 5, 2001, 12:30 PM
cweeds cweeds is offline
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A few more notes. At this point regardless of everyone's anger including mine towards the city, they have been easy to deal with so although venting anger is fun it also has the potential to be detrimental to the application. My first order of business is to find people withing a 2 block radius of The Cellar who would be willing to write a letter on my behalf. These letters should be addressed to Guy Gusdal but should be given to me. I will gather up all of these letters and present them to him in the coming months. I would also love to get some letters from fans of the club or media people as well. Same thing. Address them to Mr. Guy Gusdal but send them or drop them off to me. Thanks everyone,

Cory
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