Following today’s news of his involvement with the new performance venue that’s planned for the old Mo Pitkin’s space on Avenue A, Todd Patrick gave us a call to clarify a few things.
First and foremost, Patrick — better known as the underground show organizer/promoter Todd P. — wanted to clarify that Jevan Damadian, who is one of the four partners behind the venue, is not the former owner of Aces & Eights, the widely loathed bar that succeeded Mo Pitkin’s.
“He was the leaseholder, not the operator and not the manager of space by any stretch of imagination,” Patrick says (for more on the long and convoluted history of Aces & Eights’ ownership, go here). He adds that Damadian will have no creative control over the new space, which will look “towards the avant-garde. Imagine something that brings back the concept of Tonic, and hearkens back to the original Houston Street Knitting Factory. Very academic, focused on the downtown experimental underground.”
Patrick says that he and his co-partners (who also include Mo’s/Two Boots owner Phil Hartman and Mike House, an architect whose projects include work on Santos Party House) all want to create a venue that “reflects and serves the surrounding community. No one wants this neighborhood to be this gauntlet of bars where you can get Jell-O shots. We are very happy to remove that stain [of Aces & Eights], but at the same time, no one wants more overpriced boutique restaurants.”
The new space will have a ground-floor restaurant that, Patrick says, “will be the main revenue source and the main face of the business.” Its menu will be seafood-based “Pacific Coast-style Mexican cuisine” (Pacific as in Jalisco, not California) and its atmosphere “casual yet fairly sophisticated as well. We envision high-quality and not bargain-base-priced cuisine, but also not prices that price out the average individual.” Right now, the partners are in discussions with two candidates to run the restaurant; both, Patrick says, have extensive experience in the business.
As for the performance part of the equation, Patrick stresses that “this is not an indie club, not a rock club, and certainly not a dance club.” Instead, it will be purely avant-garde. “Our feeling is that it’s a genre that really needs to be represented in the city,” he says. “Both the Stone and Issue Project Room are great, but they’re maybe more of a museum setting than we would like to be. I have a great respect for those things, but you’re seeing kind of a presentation of something rather than it being a little more free-form.”
Patrick adds that he won’t be the booker for the space. “My role in this is to be the artistic director and creative consultant. I’ll be in charge of a curatorial committee.” Currently he’s in discussions with possible committee members, whom he prefers not to name at this time.
The partners also intend the upstairs performance space to have “a gallery feel without it being too pretentious,” Patrick says. “We can have installations and an always-changing atmosphere.”
“We have a very good network of talented people, as well as the financial backing to create something that I think will be really good for the community,” Patrick says, clearly mindful of the fact that his venue’s Community Board 3 SLA/DCA hearing is but a week away. “We really intend to have a place that in addition to celebrating this particular strain of music and art also provides a restaurant I could see myself going to without being disgusted. … Folks care about who their neighbors are, and I respect that. I’m not planning to run a rowdy club.”