What's Wrong with Beer?
The owners of three nineteen are baffled as to why the city won't give them a beer permit.
Kari Hoffman, one of the Gay Street club's owners who applied for the permit, says the board refused to make a motion to approve.
"I'd never been to a beer board meeting before," Hoffman says. "Apparently, the procedure is you get up there and they ask you questions. People who got up before us, several had DUIs and selling alcohol to minors. A bunch of those people got permits.
"When I got up there no one asked me anything," she says.
(In fact, according to the minutes only one applicant, The Pub, with a recent DUI was awarded a beer permit that night, but it is not uncommon for those with violations to get a permits.)
Hoffman wondered whether complaints from some neighborsnamely Jack O'Hanlon and Regas Restaurant who were represented by attorney Michael McClamrochbiased the beer board against them.
"[McClamroch] said it was dangerous in there because we only have one exit. It's true we have only one exit," Hoffman says. "But we have a legal occupancy for the exit that we have."
Hoffman says that although neighbors have called the police on them a few times, they've never been cited for noise or any other violations. "Every time the police have come, they said we were fine as far as the noise level went," Hoffman says.
Nick Pavlis, chairman of the beer board (the board is really City Council, acting in a different capacity), says the club's low capacity kept him from making a motion for the permit. "Once you add beer, the crowd is obviously going to pick up," Pavlis says. "Plus, they don't have any parking. There's a lot of issues they're facing."
But Pavlis says it wasn't the neighbors' complaints that kept him from making a motion to approve. "I hear [the neighbors'] concerns, but [three nineteen] meet the zoning. The zoning is correct. It's just one of the hazards of downtown urban living."
It's unusual for the beer board not to make a motion on a permit, but it has happened a handful of times in his six-year tenure as chairman, Pavlis says.
Charles Swanson, the beer board's attorney, says the board doesn't have to give a reason for denying a permit. However, the members have to have one. "The beer board is obligated to comply with the law. If they deny a beer permit and there were a lawsuit, I would have to show the beer board had a legal basis to deny," Swanson says. "No, they don't have to give a reason, but there has to be a reason there."
Asked if Pavlis' reason was legally sound, Swanson says, "I suspect the court would find that's not a valid reason under the law for denying a beer permit," he says.
Although the club doesn't have a beer permit, it is still booking shows. Patrons may also BYOB. Hoffman has not yet decided if she'll reapply for a permit.
Eye on the (Web) Scene
Like everyone else, I was saddened by Sara Jordan's premature death. If you never got a chance to see her perform, well, you missed something. And if you headed out to local stores to try to buy one of her CDs, well, you missed out again. There are some CD projects in the works, but if you'd like to hear her singing in the near future, the Web is the place to go.
At the superb Sassy Ann's Blue Jam page (Listen.com called it "the best bar band on the Internet") you can hear her singing an original tune, "33 days and 32 nights," as recorded live by Mike James. It's at http://bluejam.iuma.com and well worth a listen.
Sara also sings on the Defenders of the Faith's 1997 release, Original Sins. The tune is "All Night" and you can hear it at http://defendersofthefaith.iuma.com. (The Defenders were at the top of the IUMA blues charts for several months last year, though this song is one of the less bluesy numbers.) And she sings the title track off Jonathan Reynolds' So Little Time, So Many Blues CD, at http://www.mp3.com/jonathanreynolds. I hope that the CD projects bear fruit soon, but these tracks may help.
Todd Steed has been around Knoxville playing music since Jimmy Carter was President. His current project, Apelife, has been compared to Uncle Tupelo and big Electroboy faves Sex 66. You can hear tunes at the Disgraceland.com site, http://disgraceland.com/mp3_frames_page.htm if you like. "Thank God for North Knoxville" is my fave, for obvious reasons.
There's also a Steed retrospective (yes, Todd's old enough to have a "retrospective" album now) at http://www.mp3.com/apeville featuring cool tunes from his Smokin' Dave and the Premo Dopes and Opposable Thumbs eras. "Ethiopian Jokes" is there. So is "Five O'Clock." As Listen.com (yeah I quote 'em a lot) says: "Songwriting skills to pay the bills." 'Nuff said.
Thursday: Flaming Shitbags with Psychic Sasquatch and the Mothership Tractorpull at Pilot Light. Nope. I know nothing about these bands. But with names like these, an evening's weird entertainment is almost guaranteed.
Friday: Streamliners at Fairbanks. Swing isn't dead. One night here will prove it.
Saturday: Cyrano de Bergerac at Pellissippi State Performing Arts Center. A classic, well-produced.
Sunday: Celebrate air conditioning.
Monday: Sandra Emond at St. John's Cathedral. Some organ music to start your week.
Tuesday: The Shoddy Puppet Company at Pilot Light. Radical tales, traditional form.
Wednesday: The Luxury Liners at New City Café. Power pop.
Emma "Dirty Pop" Poptart
July 19, 2001 * Vol. 11, No. 29
© 2001 Metro Pulse