Tremont is Dead. Long Live Tremont.

DSC01111When I first moved to Tremont almost two years ago I only knew two people in the neighborhood. They've since moved to New York City, greener pastures, and better opportunities. As I'm not very good at making friends, I decided that a good way of meeting people in the neighborhood would be to start a weblog and forum that would provide residents and visitors with a space in which to interact. Thus, amid spring rain and mud, was born Tremonter. Little did I know the impact it would have, or that I would become a nationwide contact for neighborhood websites and a nationwide ambassador for my neighborhood.

But that sort of laudation is a distant second to the true benefit that I have derived from the site. Through it, I've made connections with Lou Muenz, Matt Wascovich and R.A. Washington: independent soldiers of the Cleveland art and music. These guys are the ones who bring me out of my grim moods after a day in my cubicle and make me want to stay up late on weeknights, even if they don't know it. These guys are my friends.

When someone messes with my friends, I get pissed. The night before last, The Cleveland Church, The Church of Ayler, The Best Unsung Music Club in Cleveland was shut-down by the Second District Vice Squad for an occupancy violation. Nevermind the rampant reports of theft, nevermind the crack-dealers and knifings, The Cleveland Police Department has bigger fish to fry.

Including, apparently, a struggling music venue like The Church.


This is not the first time that a vendetta has resulted in the closing of a Tremont institution. The Starkweather had been a bar at the corner of Starkweather and Scranton for years. In the first year that I moved to Tremont it was completely restored to the beautiful brick building it is now. They had the best dart boards in the neighborhood and poured a good pint of Guinness. But one man with a vendetta managed to hassle and keep them closed just long enough for them to run out of money.

This must not happen to The Church. First off, they have no money. The Church is not around to make a profit. They are around to provide young Cleveland residents with music they like at a price they can afford. Tickets are never more than $5, and it is a lucky month where they make enough to pay rent or fix the PA system. The Church makes no more noise than the Guatemalan Pentecostal Church that had occupied the space previously. At least The Church of Ayler keeps its doors closed during its services.

The Church provided a venue for bands whose experimental nature and emerging sound would not be accepted at places like The Grog Shop or the House of "Blues". Unsigned bands, touring on their own dime, knew they could play at The Church and crash on the floor after the show. Steve Goldberg had his first reading as a featured poet there. Transgendered and feminist bands were welcome, bands with homemade instruments, bands with no instruments, bands from around the country and international knew of The Church as a place where they would be welcome. Tremont was revitalized exactly because of places like this.

This is the exact type of space that Cleveland needs. This is disruptive innovation at its heart and soul. This is economic development. And it has been shut down because of a vendetta and lack of vision. It sets a bad example and a bad precedent as well. Hundreds [and I'm not kidding] of young Cleveland residents now hate their city a little bit more, will be a little more likely to leave Cleveland, have a little less faith [as if there was any to begin with] in justice among city government. Other people will be less inclined to provide a venue for fringe bands both national and international to play. These bands will have no place to play in Cleveland and will drive on through to play in Chicago or Detroit or Columbus or Pittsburgh or Buffalo. Cleveland becomes poorer.

R.A. Washington is DJing tonight at Lava Lounge in the hopes of raising enough money to reopen The Church. Please stop in if you can. If you can offer assistance dealing with the mad wall of bureaucracy that is City Hall, please do. If you love The Church, help keep it open. If you love Cleveland, take a stand.

Apologies for the purple prose. You can see all my pictures from The Church here.

13 thoughts on “Tremont is Dead. Long Live Tremont.

  1. What does the oc­cu­pan­cy vi­o­la­tion mean ex­a­clty? That they didn’t have a per­mit to do what they were do­ing? Let me know…I have a few con­tacts that may or may not go any­where.

  2. I know some peo­ple in City Hall and the Justice Center. At the risk of sound­ing like an old fo­gey, it’d be a lot eas­i­er to shout in­jus­tice if they did have the prop­er pa­pers. If fundrais­ers can cov­er the fines, they should ap­ply for the prop­er per­mits and for­get this episode. Though one has to won­der if Southside, the Treehouse and Prosperity have the prop­er per­mits to have bands.

  3. They had a per­mit for an art gallery, not a mu­sic venue, I guess. I know the Chairman of the Board of Zoning Appeals, which is good, but her in­tegri­ty is im­pec­ca­ble, which is al­so good, but not in terms of string-pulling.

  4. That’s the prob­lem. Getting the cor­rect per­mits is on the or­der of thou­sands of dol­lars. The po­lice have been around, stop­ping by and check­ing on things, and just chat­ting plen­ty of times be­fore. Some guy gets a bee in his bon­net though, be­cause he doesn’t want kids hang­ing out in “his” neigh­bor­hood and the place gets shut down.

  5. The venue sounds great, but there is no way it should have opened up with­out prop­er per­mits, es­pe­cial­ly in light of some of the trag­ic fires in night­clubs in this coun­try late­ly. Fire and Building codes are there for a rea­son, and they have noth­ing to do with the “type” of peo­ple who will use the venue. I’m sure that the Councilman and City Hall would be glad to work in co­op­er­a­tion with the op­er­a­tors, but to just open your doors with­out prop­er fire and build­ing in­spec­tions def­i­nite­ly ain’t the way to do it, and one shouldn’t crit­i­cize fire, po­lice, or build­ing in­spec­tors for do­ing their jobs.

  6. It’s sad to think that one bit­ter per­son — and you know who you are — is now caus­ing trou­ble in an­oth­er part of Tremont. It’s not enough that this per­son has made busi­ness own­ers and res­i­dents in Ward 14 Tremont mis­er­able; now this per­son feels the need to make oth­ers mis­er­able. I heard this per­son al­so is go­ing af­ter Envy in Ohio City, even though the neigh­bors there have no prob­lem with it. If this per­son put all this neg­a­tive en­er­gy to pos­i­tive use, there’d be a cure for can­cer by now. Or at the very least, Tremont would be the awe­some place to live we all know it can be.
    Long live free en­ter­prise! May the gods of city per­mit­ting smile down up­on the Church.

  7. Very well said Sandy! “THAT” per­son needs to stop drain­ing the pos­i­tive en­er­gy every­one else puts out. 

    Maybe the busi­ness­es and peo­ple he tar­gets should get to­geth­er and file a ha­rass­ment or stalk­ing charge against him.

  8. Is Envy the club on the cor­ner of Chatam and 25th? My friend used to live there and we’ve heard mul­ti­ple gun­shots from its park­ing lot on more than one oc­ca­sion.

  9. fuck the po­lice. i dis­agree that one “needs” the cor­rect per­mits but with­out the cor­rect per­mits ya got­ta be ready to take the shit that WILL come down hill at ya some­day. Speak in Toungues took that shit so quite awhile.
    if it is a ca­pac­i­ty is­sue it may not be that hard to get around (of­ten it is based on the # of seats)and i be­lieve that would mean that the fine is from a ci­ta­tion (city or­di­nence) not a zon­ing vi­o­la­tion.

  10. is there some rea­son why ya’ll won’t name “that” “one bit­ter” per­son? is it the wiz­ard? will he strike us dead? are you ac­tu­al­ly afraid? is it a lo­cal busi­ness own­er? i would like to speak with them.

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