Cake Shop's Successful Fundraising Campaign: "For Now, That Was The Piece We Needed"

Categories: Cake Shop

The Lower East Side venue Cake Shop has been on a desperate mission to keep its doors open. Staring into the pending end of their original 10-year lease, and owing back rent, higher-than-expected taxes, and other fines, the cafe-slash-rock club started up a fundraising drive on in May. The drive ended on Monday, August 6, and the club successfully reached its goal, raising more than $22,000.

"We would've liked to have made 250% of that, to be able to really pay off everything and move forward," says co-owner Nick Bodor. "But for now, that was the piece we needed, some leverage to go into the negotiations with the landlord on the new lease." They still owe their landlord about $20,000 in addition to other expenses, but the fundraiser gave them the hope and incentive—not to metnion the straight-up cash—to stay open.

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The State Of New York's Indiepop Scene: A Roundtable Discussion

Robert Adam Mayer
The Drums play the 4Knots Music Festival tomorrow.
"I don't think any indie pop bands or fans really cried out for attention," Clyde Erwin Barretto told the Voice in this week's feature about the recent rise of New York's indie pop scene. Well, they're getting some.

The NYC Popfest, co-organized by Barretto, recently marked its sixth year of celebrating all that is jangly, haze-shrouded and jubilantly forlorn with a weekend that included local new jacks like Heavens Gate and UK imports like Allo Darlin', while the similarly themed local dance party Mondo has been quietly going strong for eight years. And while the Lower East Side indie incubator Cake Shop has been hit with a number of unexpected legal difficulties recently, several of its most high-profile graduates have reached out to offer their support.

Events and clubs like these have helped create a fertile landscape for indie pop in New York, as seen by the recent success of outdoor-festival staples like The Drums and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. It wasn't always thus. When the Voice talked with Michael Grace Jr. of the beloved sweaterclad post-punks My Favorite recently, he talked about watching his group getting overshadowed by buzzier acts. And while indie pop will likely never be a Hot New Sound like dance-punk or chillwave, it's undeniably having a bit of a moment in New York. SOTC gathered some of the New York's primary experts in the field—Barretto, Grace Jr., Mondo DJs Maz and Miss Modular, the Drums' Jacob Graham, Cake Shop co-owner Andy Bodor, and Pains frontman and indie pop Padawan Kip Berman—to discuss the genre's recent rise, what makes it so special, and what the heck the term "indie pop" means, anyway.

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Cake Shop Takes Its Fundraising Campaign To The People

Cake Shop, ca. 2009.
On a recent evening, Queens resident Linda Ann Jordan sat around a candlelit table with three of her friends at the Lower East Side coffee bar/venue/record store Cake Shop. The first show by her band, Good Sports, would take place downstairs later that evening. Gesturing to a friend across the table, she said, "We were just talking about how every band we've ever been in, its first show was at Cake Shop." A willingness to book unknown bands has always been a point of pride at the venue, but if things don't turn around for Cake Shop soon, Good Sports' gig could be one of the last first shows Cake Shop hosts.

Last week, Cake Shop was the latest to join the melancholy brotherhood of financially troubled venues. They put up a project page on the community-funding site seeking an unspecified amount of money to cover nebulously-described " financial hurdles," including "one-time fines and legal fees." It's possible to read the entire project description, which maintains an upbeat outlook, and come away not exactly understanding what the big deal is. Is this even that serious of a situation? As it turns out, it is. "Without the support," says Nick Bodor, one of the venue's three co-owners, "Cake Shop is not going to be open in two months." Cake Shop owes money to various entities—to the city, to its lawyers, and most of all, to its landlord—and would need to make roughly 250% of its goal to pay off all of its debts. The goal has only been set so low so as to guarantee that cash can be withdrawn in the next 60 days.

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Don't Forget: The Village Voice CMJ Showcase Goes Down This Afternoon At Cake Shop


A quick reminder: Our CMJ showcase begins at noon today and features, in order of appearance, Diehard, Colleen Green, Diarrhea Planet, Bleached, Pujol, and Turbo Fruit. I'm not sure what condition the basement of Cake Shop is in after Thursday night's Life or Death showcase—at which Wise Blood freaked out and ripped down some of the Christmas lights and Trash Talk led a pretty intense circle pit—but either way, that's where we'll be. The event is free whether you have a badge or not, and there will be happy hour specials on beer and cider, because if a lineup of six great punk bands doesn't provide a good enough excuse for day drinking, I don't know what does. High school football, I guess. Set times below.

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Happy Sixth Birthday, Cake Shop

The bilevel coffee shop/bar/venue/place for hangs Cake Shop turns six this weekend, and it's celebrating with a sixth-birthday party with a bunch of bands and "surprises." Cake Shop's gone through some changes over the course of its existence--R.I.P., for all intents & purposes, record store that took up much of the back of the ground floor and slowly got chipped away--but it's consistently booked fantastic indiepop bills and local bands, and it's nice to see it holding down the fort and slinging the still-relatively-cheap hooch in an increasingly unfun-to-visit corner of the Lower East Side. The fête tomorrow night includes a set by the quite lovely Kiwi act Surf City, who are keeping the New Zealand chiming-pop flame alive; full flyer (via BV) after the jump.

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Live: The Cake Shop's Letha Melchior Rodman Benefit Mercifully Features Only One Gushing Head Wound

home blitz blood.JPG
Other than this poor guy everyone had a lovely time. Pics by Mike.
Capsul/Purling Hiss/Home Blitz/Tom Surgal/Mad Scene
Cake Shop
Saturday, January 22

Better than: Any other rock show you could've seen tonight

Letha Rodman was a significant presence on the pre-Internet indie scene in NYC -- chiefly with her band Ruby Falls (which included the future Rogers Sisters, Jennifer and Laura), but also as an encourager and friend to many. Early in the '00s, she met transplanted English rocker Dan Melchior, who was transitioning from guitar star with Billy Childish and Holly Golightly into a prolific and vital bandleader of his own with the swinging blues-punk band the Broke Revue. They married, and a few years ago departed the city for the greener pastures of the Chapel Hill area.

As traumatic events can, the news late last fall that Letha Melchior Rodman had been diagnosed with melanoma and breast cancer (as she related in an e-mail also filled with optimism and resolve) united her friend-base in support. (Make your own donation here.) If Saturday night's benefit at Cake Shop felt more functional than emotional, that's probably due to it morphing from a regular gig to a benefit after a few of the bands had already been booked. No matter: The cash will go to an excellent cause, and the rock ranged from good to great to . . . bloody.

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Universal Order of Armageddon Are Returning To New York For Two January Shows

See if you can spot this grinning blogger in the above picture. Photo by Keith Marlowe, via Brooklyn Vegan.
Beloved early '90s hardcore band Universal Order of Armageddon are resistant to the term "reunion" (according to drummer-turned-Del Posto pastry chef Brooks Headley, they prefer "money losing labor of love"), but whatever it was they did at Death By Audio back in July--their first New York performance in over fifteen years--was one of the best shows we've seen in 2010. Because the four members of the band are busy, successful people, we figured this wouldn't be happening again anytime soon, but it turns out we were wrong: UOA will reunite (ahem) for a couple more New York shows in January, at the Cake Shop and the sight of their July triumph, Death By Audio, on January 21st and 22nd. The Cake Shop show is with SOTC pals and fearsome Providence-based two-piece the Body and the recently YIMBY'd Orphan; the show on the 22nd, at Death By Audio, will be with Fight Amp and Trophy Wife. We emailed Brooks to find out what the deal was with the January dates:

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Live: Doom-Metal Crew Monarch Lead A Violent Ladies'-Night Spectacular At Cake Shop

Monarch, doing their slow-shriek thing. Photos by Phil, more below, including one that's not particularly SFW.
Monarch/Tinsel Teeth
Cake Shop
Friday, November 12

Better than:
The usual noise-rock sausage-fest.

So Friday night, French doom-metal quintet Monarch brought their first U.S. tour to the Cake Shop, joined by two East Coast acts: robed art-doomsters Bloody Panda and convulsive noise-rockers Tinsel Teeth. Yes, it was Female-Fronted "Extreme" Music Night, and not a moment too soon.

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Henry Rollins Visits The Cake Shop: "You Hear Laughter Because To These People, I'm Old and in the Way"

Most people, of course, have long since made up their minds about former Black Flag frontman, spoken word poet, and Bad Boys II actor Henry Rollins. Those who haven't would be advised to watch the below clip (which looks to have been shot a while ago), in which Rollins wanders into the Lower East Side indie-rock den that is the Cake Shop, and confronts the natives. If you've ever wanted to see the weird plight of the aging punk dramatized, this is pretty much it. "Oh, I see," he says to some cowering girl who has just heckled him by yelling "Get in van, man," and giggling. "Is this where the young elitist hipsters take on the ancient, dodgy, in-the-way types?" You almost feel bad for him, until he marches out of the venue, gets in the back of a black livery car, and explains to his dumbfounded companion that "When she yelled out 'Get in the van,' that's the title of a very famous book I wrote." Not self-aggrandizing enough for you? He then adds. "The audiobook won a Grammy." Fuck you, Rollins:

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CMJ Portrait: Diamond Rings' John O'Regan

photos by Sam Horine

John O'Regan a/k/a Diamond Rings
Hails from: Toronto
Occupation: Musician
Best CMJ moment, so far: French toast, buttercream and pecan cupcakes before the Cake Shop show.
Favorite CMJ band P.S. I Love You

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