How do you know when your neighborhood has really gentrified? When people get pissy about parking.
The decision by Neighborhood Properties owners Paul McBroom and Sharon Pate to charge $3 for parking in the gravel lot running adjacent to and behind the Neighborhood Theatre has stirred up controversy in the North Davidson neighborhood.
"I know just in principle I will walk five miles in the rain before I put any money in a greedy man's pocket," one irate NoDa frequenter said in a group e-mail.
"(We) will not be receiving any monies off the pay-for-parking concept," said an e-mail sent out by Zach McNabb, a partner in J.E.M. Entertainment, which leases the theater from McBroom and Pate. "Paying for parking brings the corporate business edge to NoDa, and in my opinion that is not what this community is about."
"People are always dogging NoDa for becoming more gentrified, and this is a sign of that," said Joe Kuhlmann, co-owner of the Evening Muse, which is located kitty-corner from the Neighborhood Theatre at East 36th and North Davidson streets. "It's a double-edged topic for me. I understand as a business person, it's their land, they can do what they want with it. That's the American way.
"My biggest thing is if it's going to be a parking lot, they ought to at least provide something for people if they're going to charge for it. It should be graded better, or paved, and have some kind of security."
According to McNabb's e-mail, parking patrons will be expected to deposit $3 in a lock-box on the honor system; those who don't will be subject to tire boots or towing.
McBroom wouldn't comment on the issue without a face-to-face meeting with Creative Loafing, declining phone or e-mail interviews.
Meanwhile, McNabb urged Neighborhood Theatre patrons to "just park on the street, in the neighborhoods or down at the (Johnston) YMCA" on North Davidson.
But that, according to Kuhlmann, will exacerbate the neighborhood's already increasing parking woes.
"The people that need to be concerned about it are the neighborhood people, because what they're going to do is park a block or two away in front of someone's house and then walk over to the venue," said Kuhlmann, who is also considering lowering ticket prices at the Evening Muse to help cover some of the $3 parking fee. "Does it suck? Yeah. But is it part of business and life and growth? Yeah. Is it really going to hurt? Probably not.
"Paul and Sharon have for years allowed people to park there free of charge," Kuhlmann added. "I just wish that what they were being offered to park in felt safe and secure and was worth $3. If he put that foot forward, this would be a non-issue."
go go Goings On: Jeff Williams' gogoPilot is working on the follow-up record to Armageddon Lullabies, tentatively titled Manana Mon Frere, a Spanish/French hybrid in the manner of the Police's Regatta be Blanc or Outlandos D'Amour. According to Williams, the album "will be a back to basics rock/power pop/Americana record, similar to Lodestar, my previous band." Williams says the new songs -- recorded at his Wasteland home studio and Chris Walldorf's Sioux Sioux Studio -- encompass a host of influences ranging from Elvis Costello, the Jam, the Police, Fountains of Wayne, Guided By Voices, Pedro the Lion, Matthew Sweet, the Posies, Josh Rouse, Those Bastard Souls and Uncle Tupelo. Target release date is March 2007. gogoPilot takes some of the new material out for a test drive at the Visulite on Friday, Oct. 13 with Wayne Robbins & the Hellsayers.
Local Shows: The second annual "Rockin' Arthritis Fundraiser" will be held Saturday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. at the Evening Muse. Performers include singer/songwriter Taylor Burton, the Virginia Reel and Creative Loafing award winners the Near Misses and La Rúa. Proceeds go to the Arthritis Foundation ... Bellyfull and Fullgrown play their contrasting groove styles at the Neighborhood Theatre's Other Side on Friday, Oct. 20 ... the Bill Noonan Band breaks out the roots rock at the Milestone tonight, Wednesday, Oct. 11, along with Mother Jackson and Jud Block ... late 1990s' rockers Atheneum hold a reunion show at Amos' SouthEnd on Saturday, Oct. 21 ... the Evening Muse hosts a Simon & Garfunkel Tribute night on Saturday, Oct. 21 ...