Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Art of The Wolf

I am not sure that I mentioned that I sold The Wolf Public House, not on this Blog anyway. I haven't written much at all lately because I am getting ready to "come out" again, like, big time.  And I mean watch out folks!  A brand new canvass awaits my indulgence. I beg you to take me seriously.  The world needs pontification dispensed accordingly.  Thing are shaping up.

Sursly, I take breaks to build up content and, in order to get inspired, I have changed things up a bit, decided to take a couple trips. Another one on Saturday to see my Mom in LA, just after a high profile LC and the High Road private gig for Stray Dog Rescue. Trips like this provide good fodder. So how about a personal hobby of traveling to a city with a backpack to experience the culture on a thin dime, and, whenever I get around to it, write about it.  Brilliant!  We are not too old to do this.

So yes, there are reasons for not writing much, but it is not because I sold a business and am depressed.  I have been laying low due to getting my house in order, settling up on things with folks, keeping the vampires and zombies confused.   I have been busy.

Anywaze, a quote:

 "The two best days in a restaurateurs life is when he opens and when he sells".  
                                                                                 --My Dad

And it is funny, because I keep getting asked "how am I doing?" and "do I miss it?"  like I just sent a child bundled adrift in a wooden boat, down a river, turning my back in despair, weeping.  Now that couldn't be further from the truth.  Interesting though, when I was tapering off, prior to the sale, I got lots of emails from some blues fans and musicians, inquiries that they heard the place was closing. This was mildly disappointing because most of these folks sat for hours while sipping on refillable Pepsi products, or were musicians getting paid a premium.  That is just about all I will say about the blues culture, even though I love playing blues.  The reason that I quit hiring blues bands is because I was sick of it and it wasn't pulling.  We embarked on singer/songwriter showcases and sales went up.  Bang.     

I did spend a lot of time at The Wolf, nights and weekends along with my real job.  It was just too much to keep doing.  Being in the music venue business also requires you to re-invent from time to time and promote non-stop.  Once you settle in on one demographic, you get pigeon holed. You need multiple groups, always reaching out finding new "tribes".  I never found anyone able to run with my ability to fill the house and it was getting old being there, always. 

I loaded the walls and ceilings with artifacts and images depicting a lifestyle of active living and cool vibe with music and artist inspiration.  We brought in cool coffee, better beer and great music. It was an art piece and I was inspired by the people that I have gotten to know through the years.  But to be honest, it is not at all that sentimental.  Not really at all.  It was just a project with a beginning, a middle and an end.  It was an art piece gifted to the community as far as I am concerned.  And it did make sense in relationship to the bigger picture.  Behind the scenes we used the kitchen to tee up another business relating to private high school meal preparation.  We grew out of that last July, and moved that operation to another location. That business is thriving and that is where I am centered. Bang.

Like it or not, the place changed the world and, when it became apparent that my work was done there, I wanted the employees to have it.  Perhaps a little unorthodox, but that is part of the artistic nature of the project.  It is how it ended up.

Ask Lewis Greenberg: What is it like to create a masterpiece?  After all, it was he who motivated me to let it rip creatively, and while I leaned a little more to the right than he did (on his masterpiece), the place evolved over time to what people talk about today.  "It was needed to fight cultural depravity"  Lewis says.

Even though I had to toss him out of the place for getting a little...motivated, (with the unconditional understanding that we would remain friends always) he taught me a thing or two about being authentic. The Wolf allowed me to workshop my own authenticity, while convincing others that they should get on board, get inspired.

So I take with me the highlights of my journey as it relates to The Wolf Public House, packaged and boxed up, labeled: Wolf Stuff, escorted out with the swagger of a fat security guard, finger pointed to the road.  I take with me the experience of creating something from nothing, a blank space, a white canvass dotted in with things that made me happy at the time, surrounding myself with stuff that attracted people whom I would later enjoy hanging with; my employees, my customers and my vendors.  I am taking my arrowheads, a couple of my bikes and a few other artifacts that are too meaningful to leave, but the rest is yours to enjoy.  This art was so about me. 


Joe Griffard said...

Ralph - the Wolf has indeed been an awesome gift to the community. Before that, it was an empty space. THANKS!

Anonymous said...

On to the new thing Jimmy.....

I know you'll kill it........

Chef Mike