Hilarity ensues at the opening of new John Varvatos store at former CBGB's site | West Coast Sound | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Hilarity ensues at the opening of new John Varvatos store at former CBGB's site

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Fri, Apr 18, 2008 at 10:00 AM

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Last night I was "taking a meeting" at the fancy ass Bowery Hotel, just down the street from legendary scum pit venue of punk rock lore, CBGBs. Scratch that. I keep forgetting it's now an outlet for clothier John Varvatos and (somehow, much less controversially) the new location of the Morrison Hotel, a gallery for musically-oriented fine art photographs. I only wonder about the controversy because complaining about John Varvatos ignores the fact that glamour and wealth has been encroaching on the neighborhood for decades now. (Viz, the very fancy Bowery Hotel where I met my friends at -- folks that one would undeniably have to acknowledge were quote-unquote rock'n'roll people.)

My point is that gentrification does not have a tipping point. It's more like the Red Menace or an alien invasion. One day everything seems normal, the next day we all are reading Marx and/or having alien spawn ripping through our belly flesh and freaking the crap out of our co-workers. Nothing you can do about it but hold your entrails in and hope.

Anyway there was a protest. It was a small group, maybe two dozen folks max, but as I rolled by a conflict arose between some guy that looked like a Sid Vicious impersonator, but is apparantly a member of The Misfits according to the Vanishing New York blog.

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Yes, as the photos show, he had pretty impressive cheekbones.

My favorite placard: "One small loss of a music space, one giant leap for pants."

Photos shamelessly lifted from Curbed and Jeremiah's Vanishing New York. There's more postage at The New York Observer, including a photo that makes the protest look as friendly and staged as it seemed to this observer.

After the jump, that shamelessly lifted photo, and a brief memory about the legendary CBGBs.

Fun with protesters!

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And here's my memory of CBGBs: By the time I got there, during my teenage years, it was mostly hosting hardcore matinees, and the punk rock equivalent of open mic nights. The toilets really were totally disgusting. And once I saw a good show by Jawbox and Lois, a twee solo pop singer.

So much for legends.

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