Sunday, May 20, 2007

Holy Joe's Review

Friday night, Ethan Norman and I played at Holy Joe's in Harriman, and after the aesthetic waltz that the building did with my senses when I walked in, I am forced to tell you about what an amazing place it is.

The building itself has to have been some sort of town hall of some kind years ago. The heart pine floors lead you in past two storefront-style windows, and the first thing you see is a behemoth old upright piano sitting on your left. It has that honky saloon sound, muffled and mellowed just enough to make it beautiful in its stuttering. Past that is the counter/coffeebar on the left, with some classy glass tables on the right. But the real eyecatcher is the venue itself. Upon the hardwood floor sits an enormous area rug, and upon that sit the seats of the auditorium - old bus station seats. These are the kind with the black vinyl covering partitioned by gleaming metal arms on like legs, clustered into groups of three. I want some for a house I don't have, to go against a wall somewhere and look artistic no matter what the case. Beyond the seats is the stage of like flooring with beautiful rounded steps descending from the apron. Heavy navy curtains grace the sides and back of the stage to complete the ensemble (I was so pleased that they didn't have those vomit-hued monstrosities that assault the eyes from every middle school auditorium). Ethan and I spent a good twenty minutes marvelling at the place itself, including the acoustics, which are amazing.

The lady who runs the place is a kindred spirit named Mary Kaye Eisenberg, and she also is striving (with some success) to create an arts community there in Roane County. She runs an organization called the Creative Arts Co-Op. You can see some pictures of a show that they did here. If you are in the market for getting your music out and making contacts in artistic communities, Mary Kaye is someone you need to see. As with all things in small towns, advertise a lot.

We ended the night by meeting some folks (by coincidence, or perhaps not) who came to the show and eating at Long John Silvers. I haven't eaten there in ages, and it was, at least for the one time, amazing. I love fish.


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