Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Question of the Week: Minor Postings VI

Remember in spring of 2008 when the infamous bureaucrats at the OLCC approved changes to their minor posting rules, making it somewhat easier for venues that serve alcohol to also host all ages shows? That was an awesome victory for Portland music, and due to a lot of effort put forth by musicians, show-goers, Carey Clarke and other folks at PDX Pop Now!, and the Musicians' Union.

So, I've been out of town for a while, and am a bit detached from new Portland music goings-on, and I haven't been able to find much from a half-assed google search, and was wondering if anyone has noticed any changes due to the more lenient minor posting rules. Are more venues taking advantage of this?

I think it's a good idea to keep looking at this issue, see if the changes are making a noticeable difference, or if perhaps there's more that could be done to promote the expansion of all ages shows in a fashion that's profitable and practical for local businesses. I have noticed that Backspace serves beer now, which should cut down on folks walking out on shows to get a drinks at a nearby bar, and probably significantly benefits their bottom line. Have any of you PDX music-savvy folks noticed any other changes since the ruling? Are there are any new all ages venues, shows, or better attendance at venues that already had all ages shows, but can now serve alcohol?


Goldie Davich said...

I want to know! I will hep put the word out to get answers.

And welcome back :-)

Amber Dawn said...

I haven't noticed anything really being different, of course I am over 21, and it's one of those doesn't affect me directly so I don't pay that much attention things, but I haven't noticed shows at over-21 places allowing under-21's really. Too bad.

Jess Gulbranson said...

Amelia, who is under 21, really likes the kitties in this post.

Dr. Something said...

Haha. I'm glad she likes them, Jess. I had a tough time thinking of a photo that would encompass this issue, so I figured I'd just post a cute kitten picture, as cat pics are Internet gold.

Same here, Amber. Since I'm over 21, too, it's a little harder for me to gauge any significant difference. Still, I think it's an important issue for folks of any age in the local music scene, since it involves broadening prospective audiences and performers.

Jess Gulbranson said...

It does make me wonder if it is contributing to places like the Jade having music. The vibe I got there was that the lounge itself (and the music) were adjunct to the neighboring restaurant, more than just physically. Perhaps we'll see more stuff like that, smaller places adding music since the minor laws are less of a hassle, as opposed to larger, more entrenched venues changing the way they do business. Who knows.

Cary said...

Ah, I'm glad you asked! This is Cary Clarke from PDX Pop Now! writing and I can say confidently that I think the Minor Postings Revisions have had a positive effect on all-ages music in Portland. We knew that the amendments to the rules and the addition of the Minor VI Posting were just a first, albeit significant, step in what should be an ongoing dialogue with the city and community about expanding all-ages access to the arts. Just as important as the technical changes themselves was the opportunity to really shine a light on the all-ages issue and get people thinking about it.

The current set-up at Backspace, where they are able to sell beer and wine, admit minors, and regulate with wristbands and staff as opposed to the usual ridiculous moat, is probably the clearest positive result of the OLCC reform. It's one of my favorite venues in town because of that situation and the booking it enables, so I definitely encourage keeping it on your radar and supporting their work.

Meanwhile, some of the more notable, established clubs in town have been dipping their toes into the all-ages programming pool, with all-ages shows happening occasionally at Holocene and The Doug Fir and, now, on a more ongoing basis at Berbati's. Additionally, the new Mississippi Studios is all-ages and, I believe, has Minor VI posting. And then there are the places that were all-ages before and continue to be, such as The Artistery and Satyricon as well as (usually) The Crystal, The Roseland and The Wonder.

The thing is, putting on all-ages shows still costs clubs some initial outlay of cash because of the need to properly staff them. If having a music community that is accessible to all is important to you, consider making an extra effort to support all-ages shows and patronize venues that are making the effort. When you're booking shows, ask about whether a venue can accommodate all-ages shows. Ask them if they have a Minor VI posting and, if not, if they've thought about getting one. If you have friends opening up new arts spaces or venues, encourage them to think about making them all-ages-friendly from the get-go...

So, there's a brief version of my spiel. Yes, there have been significant strides made since the OLCC reforms of '08, but those gains need to be maintained and furthered by a community that actively stewards its show-going culture.

Speaking of all-ages shows and supporting the community, come check out the benefit for PDX Pop Now! that Britt Daniel, The Robinsons (from Viva Voce), and IOA (Amanda from Point Juncture, WA) are playing this coming Thursday, October 29 at Mississippi Studios. Yippee!=)

Dr. Something said...

Thanks for all the updates, Cary, and for following this issue so closely! I didn't even realize the new Mississippi Studios was all-ages. Cool! Thanks also for the helpful suggestions for encouraging more all ages shows.

Do you (or anyone reading this) know if any clubs with a minor VI posting have experienced any difficulties with the OLCC? I recall reading something about Ground Kontrol being afraid to hosting all-ages shows after 5 (when they start serving alcohol) even though they have a minor IV posting because they were afraid of being placed under greater scrutiny, which could be risky in implementing a new alcohol control strategy.

Seems like the wristband strategy is working great for Backspace, which is encouraging.