James’ Brand New Blog

APK Live: Solidarity & what comes next?

- October 10th, 2012

allie hughes apk live

Allie Hughes performing at the APK Live, an increasingly popular venue for arts and music in London. An undated photo, courtesy of apklive.com

The impending demise of APK Live pulls me in a couple of emotional directions. First, and most importantly, there is  tremendous gratitude & admiration for the idealism & excellence of all those involved in the successes there on so many fronts: community, creativity, music, activism, food, good drink, visual art, trivia etc.

Second, there is the frustration of seeing a useful building go empty yet again in downtown London. APK Live was its most glorious & remarkable tenant. A JBNBlog relative ran a restaurant there (the downstairs space) so sentimentally that’s my favourite, but basically that era about a decade ago is a cautionary tale about what happens when my kith & kin get in the restaurant game (at least two sad endings by different teams so far). The space has also been a place where a publican who did not pay off his bank loan protested outside about the unfairness of it all (this was the 1980s) & a v. good West Asian restaurant (late 1980s, early 1990s) where one of the Free Press’s all-time greatest reporters had a meal dropped on her lovely white suit during a staff meeting/luncheon. Proper amends were made. There were other night spots, too.

The big room upstairs was Yuk Yuk’s for a long time which I missed . . . but it was also home to episodes of The Boneyard Man recently & is therefore sacred turf in the JBNBlog universe. The upstairs area had been separated from the downstairs in control terms in the last months apparently.

My favourite APK Live memory is the night my sister was visiting from Vancouver & we heard some fine singer-songwriters & in the crowd were Liz Coyles & Tom Legge. Kewlness.

What next after a celebration and farewell on Sunday to the York at Wellington locale? The idealism which made APK Live a cultural hub & home is still strong & there is a determination to go on with a different approach. Hooray. (Details follow in an open letter e-mailed from APK Live on Tuesday).

My suggestion would be to see if the London Arts Council has a feel for who else is out there & check in with Western & Fanshawe & their student councils could contribute to a downtown venture on the model outlined in the e-mail. Best wishes to all who are working on the next chapter of A.P. Keaton to APK Live to . . . well maybe Michael J. Fox will want to help, you never know.

In the 1960s, my father & allies ran Alpha Centre (on the Talbot area where BudG is now) & eventually it closed. But one of the young writers and actors whose career took hold there is up for a GG in children’s literature this year.

So 40 years down the road, the creative soul of APK Live will no doubt be reverberating, too.

On, York volunteers etc.

Here is the open letter:

Dear Friends & Community Members,

 

We regret to announce that due to circumstances associated with the state of the building, APK LIVE at its current location (340 Wellington Street) will be closing its doors as of October 17th, 2012.

 

Over the past year, the cost of ongoing repairs to the building has been the burden of APK Live, putting the business in a bad financial position.  After numerous negotiations with the landlord, it has become clear that he is not willing to work with us to meet our operational needs and has requested that we leave immediately. We have explored alternative options only to find that we have exhausted all other conceivable avenues.

 

The hard work and commitment that has been required to help support London’s arts and culture scene should not go unrecognized. A committee dedicated to devising a long term plan for APK Live will be formed with the hope of creating a collective with a potential non-for-profit status at a more conducive location. We hope that you will support us in looking for a new home.

 

We invite all of you to come celebrate your success in making apk live the vibrant, community driven space that it has become.

 

Our doors at 340 Wellington Street will be open to the public from October 10th until October 14th, 2012 from 6pm until close, please join us at any of the following shows:

October 10|| HUMANS (British Columbia) | DJ SPENCER BAIRD (London) |

October 11 || METZ (Sub Pop Release) | ROOMRUNNER (Baltimore) | I SMELLBLOOD (London)

October 12|| WILD DOMESTIC (London) | ELK (Welland)| Rival Boys (Toronto) | The Nix Dicksons (Calgary)

October 13|| CADENCE WEAPON (Montreal) | DIGITS (Berlin/Toronto) | NGAJUANA (London)

October 14 || —– 3:00PM- HEARTBEATS FOR HAITI (Fundraiser for Lifepaths Global Alliance)

9:00pm- OPEN STAGE: Final Farewell to the Community

 

We’d like to take the opportunity to thank the musicians, artists and community members who have made the last two years possible.

 

All media inquiries should be directed to Elaine Knight at elaine@apklive.com. We will keep you informed through our website (www.apklive.com) and other social media outlets.

 

Thanks for your understanding and support,

 

Apk Live

 

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