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Friday, May 6, 2016

The short, happy life of The Lodge: Experimental performance venue suspends shows

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

This building, formerly known as The Lodge, sits at 120 W. Emma St. in Slater. The building was the site of a few musical performances in early December 2009.
(Geoff Rands/Democrat-News)
It was a short-lived experiment, but Mike Kaiser's attempt to create a space for any artist to perform or display his or her art did last for two concerts before The Lodge at 120 W. Emma St. in Slater closed its doors.

"What we're trying to do is really just provide a venue for all artists," said Kaiser in an interview after the first of the two shows Saturday, Dec. 5. "... We'd love to do film, performance art, spoken word, if we had traditional artists that wanted to come out, really, anybody that feels they want to express themselves in some way, we want to provide a venue for them."

Although the reason for The Lodge's closing is not currently known, Kaiser had said he was working hard to "keep the lights on."

Kaiser owned the building for about a year and a half, he said, and had tried a few ideas that he felt would involve the local community, but when those found little success, he and his partners decided to pursue one of their earliest desires for the building.

The success of that venture was limited to two shows, one a rave and the other a more traditional rock show that included a very nontraditional performer, amateur noise musician Tyler Kruger.

Kaiser said he wanted to develop The Lodge as a non-profit organization that will be able to pay for artists' travel and lodging. He also wanted to create a retail space that would "strictly ... focus on independent music and art."

He hoped that the cost for entrance to performances would never exceed $5.

Kaiser had further plans for the building, three spacious stories tall.

"Ultimately, we want to be able to move the live music all the way up to the third floor, use the basement more for DJ-type events or other display art," he said.

There was a concessions stand inside The Lodge, but, said Kaiser, the building was to remain alcohol-free.

"We're never going to serve alcohol; it's always going to be a no-drinking, no-smoking venue. We're really just about providing a venue for the artists, a place for them to perform, and not having anything get in the way of that," he said.

But that didn't mean The Lodge's shows would have been suitable for every audience: Kaiser said he planned to never censor an artist's performance in any way.

"It should be a 'parental advisory' kind of show," he said, "but if we find artists that want to come out and want to do something geared towards family, we'll certainly make that known, and we'll try to appeal to that audience, particularly. But I think, just in general, we ought to be known as a place for all artists to perform. And, you know, some art's good, some art's not so good, but we're not here to judge the art, we're simply here to give the artist a voice."

Contact Geoff Rands at marshallreporter@socket.net

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