Passing of The Dame a blow to young people

As I watch The Dame on Main Street being demolished, I see a neglected, century-old building that could have been reused to give the proposed CentrePointe development more character and class.

But many others – people the age of my daughters – see something different: They see the loss of an important piece of their culture. To them, it’s almost as if somebody took a wrecking ball to the Lexington Opera House or the grandstand at Keeneland.

The circa 1901 building that housed The Dame is being demolished to make way for the CentrePointe development. Photo by Mark Cornelison

The circa 1901 building that housed The Dame is being demolished to make way for the CentrePointe development. Photo by Mark Cornelison

One of those people is Matt Jordan, 22, a University of Kentucky senior from Elizabethtown. I got to know him last year when he was a student in the journalism class I teach.

Jordan’s passion is music, and last month he wrote a touching piece in the Kentucky Kernel, UK’s student newspaper, about what The Dame meant to him and his generation.

“It was a cultural breeding ground for Lexington that can’t be bought, copied or easily replicated,” he wrote. “This one venue drew together punk rockers, bluegrass purists, Latin dancers, indie hipsters and average Joes … It was a gift while it lasted.”

When I called Jordan the other day, he had trouble putting into words what made The Dame special during the five years it existed. It wasn’t the building or location, although both were great. It was the way the club became a magnet for up-and-coming musicians and their fans, and the way it created a sense that buttoned-down Lexington could be a cool place for young people to live.

No urban planning expert planned it, no architect designed it, no developer built it. It grew organically and became an artistic success, if not always a financial one.

“I don’t want to say The Dame was the Lexington music scene, but it was pretty much the most important spot,” Jordan said, noting the club’s willingness to take risks on emerging bands and artists with limited appeal. “They were willing to book almost anybody once.”

While The Dame was most popular among over-21 college students and young professionals, it also attracted regular patrons in their 30s, 40s – and a few older ones.

The Dame’s owner, Tom Yost, said Tuesday he is actively looking for a new location either downtown or close to UK.

“We haven’t found the right fit yet,” Yost said. “Several landlords have come to us, and the support in the community has been off the charts.”

Jordan said he hopes it doesn’t take much longer for The Dame to reopen or a similar venue to emerge.

Fans standing in line at The Dame braved frigid temperatures to see Kenny Chesney perform in March. Chesney was the biggest act to play at the club, which took a chance on up-and-coming performers. Photo by David Stephenson

Fans standing in line at The Dame braved frigid temperatures to see Kenny Chesney perform in March. Chesney was the biggest act to play at the club, which took a chance on up-and-coming performers. Photo by David Stephenson

“I was in Athens, Ga., recently, and several musicians I know asked about The Dame and said, ‘So where do we play there now?’” he said. “The Dame was something that made people my age proud of Lexington and gave them a reason to stay here.”

Jordan noted that the fire marshal last February closed The Ice House, on Cross Street off West Maxwell, which was becoming a popular venue. It wasn’t zoned as a music club, and there were fire safety concerns. Local officials also have shut down performances in residential neighborhoods. Jordan doesn’t blame the officials; they’ve done the right thing, given the circumstances.

“But it just seems that this city keeps sabotaging itself,” he said.

There aren’t many places in Lexington for twentysomethings – and almost nowhere for those younger than 21 – to go for cutting-edge music.

However, Jordan is encouraged by growing support among city officials and business leaders for creating downtown entertainment venues. Good things are happening at Victorian Square, and ambitious proposals have been made for entertainment districts along Manchester Street and around Cheapside.

When Commerce Lexington took 175 local leaders to Austin, Texas, in early June, officials there stressed the huge role live music and entertainment play in their city’s economic vitality.

Austin civic and business leaders have figured out how to nurture music clubs and other venues, which often aren’t the most profitable enterprises, because they realize they help provide the quality of life sought by bright, creative people – especially up-and-coming young people. Those are the people who power the companies that can become a city’s economic engines of the future.

Many Lexington leaders seem to get it. There has been a lot of encouraging talk, and some good work done by the city’s Downtown Entertainment Task Force.

Matt Jordan is a bright, creative guy – the kind Lexington needs to attract and keep. While middle-aged professionals like me have been fretting about the future of the media business, Matt has been creating it. His blog, www.youaintnopicasso.com, covers popular music and attracts enough readers and advertising to pay his rent.

Jordan graduates from UK in December. He hasn’t decided whether to stay in Lexington, although he would like to. Where else might he go?

“I would love to move to Austin, Texas, which has tons of appeal,” he said.

There are many important questions to consider as we watch bulldozers finish clearing debris from what was The Dame. Here are three of them: Will The Dame reopen or be replaced? Will bright, young people find reasons to stay in Lexington? What more can we do to keep them?

READ music critic Walter Tunis’ reflections on the dame at his blog, The Musical Box.

Comments Closed



to “Passing of The Dame a blow to young people”

  1.   J Voskuhl Says:

    I’m constantly amazed at all of the ink the closing of the Dame gets. Boo-hoo. It was no more special than the Wrocklage was 10 years ago (or Yats after that). In fact, an easy argument can be made that it was a lot less special.
    The lesson is that no matter how tied into the “scene” these bright, young patrons are, live music and alcohol constitute a business – not a cultural movement.
    There are exceptions, of course. The Icehouse (RIP) comes to mind.
    So to the scenesters, fear not. Something else will come along. It always does.

  2.   Burt Says:

    Everyone acts like the Dame was something amazing and kids are left with nothing to do, no where to go. Yeah, the Dame probably had their regular patrons but those numbered about 100 on your average weekend. Everytime I walked past it on my way to McCarthy’s on Harvey’s it looked much less. I would bet $100 that the only time it was at capacity in the last 2 years was for the Kenny Chesney concert and I bet not 10 people who came to it were regular patrons on the Dame…different type crowd.

    Well, I remember Lynaugh’s being a great place for live music, I remember The Heresey being a great place for live music. The point I’m trying to make is that venues for live music come and go in this town and the Dame is just the next example of that. The Dame will reopen or another new place will so there will be a place to develope “culture” if that is what the blogger wants to call it. Two Keys and whatever A1A is called these days both have room to take on live acts. Atomic Cafe has live bands every weekend too. Those are 3 places right there yound adults can go check out bands if the owners want to book them. Sorry, I am just not buying this blog that live music is dead in this town.

  3.   Drew Curtis Says:

    I agree with the other two guys.

    I went to the Dame quite a few times and liked the place, but it was a hole. Filthiest bathrooms you ever saw – and that’s when they were clean. Dirt everywhere. Crap all over the walls. Yost can do a ton better now that he knows he has a successful venue and maybe make an investment in a new location that comes back stronger than ever.

    The passing of the Dame is no tragedy, it’s an opportunity. I predict it’ll be the best thing that ever happened to them. Just like Mia’s, which is thriving in its new location.

  4.   Peter B Says:

    It may be time to stop trying to wax eloquently about the loss of the Dame and its place in the “culture’ of the young professional in Lexington.

    I think it is a great leap to compare the Dame with the likes of the Opera House or Keeneland. The Dame has never seen the size of, nor as highly varied a clientele as those two venerable locations.

    As for Mr. Jordan’s assertion that the city is sabotaging itself, I feel that the owners of the Icehouse (and any others who will follow the same path) are the ones who are doing the sabotage. Asking that the City officials look the other way is not putting the customer first.

    We are not Cincinnati, we are not Atlanta, we are not Vancouver, and to continue to compare ourselves to those cities will only reinforce our feelings on coming up short.

    Lastly, some answers to your questions.
    Yes, the Dame will reopen or be replaced. All the others before it were.
    Yes, young professionals will find a reason to stay. Look at the names at the bottom of the editorial page and tell me how many of them are native Lexingtonians.
    Judging from the population growth in Lexington and the birth rate here, we are doing fine in that category, so maybe more of the same as we have been doing.

  5.   Tim Says:

    To Tom “Greatest American Hero” Eblen,
    Get over it! You lost! You continue to try every method conceivable to throw dirt at this project, compromising any journalistic integrity you once had. You struck out Mighty Casey! Take your ball and go home.

  6.   joseph turner Says:

    Burt, where can we pick up our 100.00? And really, comparing the live music featured at A1a(or whatever it’s called) Two Keys, or Atomic Cafe to the type of acts the dame booked is apples/oranges. Cover bands playing nickelback isnt quite what they were going for. There will always be places for local bands to pick up a gig but there is currently no venue in town for mid level touring acts; Rev. horton heat, unknown hinson, de la soul, guided by voices, sun ra, tom tom club, X, dave alvin, krs-1, sunvolt, frank black, and the list goes on and on(all of whom PACKED the dame), I cant see too many of these acts playing thirsty thursdays at two keys.

  7.   Burt Says:

    joseph turner, First let me state that I have nothing against the Dame or any of the patrons. I’m all for places that support live music. With that being said you missed my point that Two Keys, Atomic, and A1A all have the facilities and capablities (stage, lighting, sound system, etc) to hold these same acts you listed. Whether the owners choose to book them is one thing but these acts would have a place to play if people in the business want to make it so. My post is my opinion regarding the blog of Tom who states young professionals and late teens having a blow to their “culture.” As I stated many venues have come and gone and will continue to do so. The Dame lasted 5 years and was probably close to running its course within the next couple of years anyway. If Lynaugh’s didn’t stand the test of time I seriously doubt the Dame would have. If you are unfamiliar with Lynaugh’s, it was located on Campus and had traveling acts every day of the week. It was a prime location, had great acts, and better facilites than the Dame. Not sure why they closed but did…it just happens like that in this town.

    Some of those acts you named….de la soul, krs-1, tom tom blub, etc have been coming to Lexington for years. They used to go to Boogie Nights when it was open not to mention, Vanilla Ice, Digital Underground, 2 Live Crew, Rick Springfield, The Galloots, Outkast Band, Whitesnake, etc that all played the smaller venues not Rupp. When Heaven was open Q-Burn, Sasha, DJ Daddybob…popular traveling DJ’s were here in town as well. If you provide a venue traveling acts will come to town regardless of the location…to them it is all about the $$$. The Dame closed, fine, someone will open up a new place or the Dame will reopen at a new location and the acts will continue to come and patrons will follow. So back to the blog….the “culture” will keep on and not die due to the Dame closing.

  8.   Nick Sprouse Says:

    Wow. I’m constantly amazed at people who have no idea what The Dame was about going around throwing out “facts” about our business. Also, if you haven’t been to a show since 1997, you can save your expert opinion for yourself. Lexington is a different place then it was five, ten, twenty, or forty years ago. I, for one, am tired of having the X was better than Y club argument over and over again. There is something to be said for any business hosting live music anywhere, anytime.

    Perhaps these arguments stem from the fact that you haven’t been to a show since The Wrocklege closed and you feel that you are too old for the “college scene”. You are jealous of the “kids” and think that there is no possible way for their music to be any good because they don’t know how good it was back in your day. Yes, I think I’ve nailed it.

    To Burt – You are COMPLETELY WRONG about our attendance. I know, I was the General Manager and Talent Buyer. If we ever had less than 100 people on a Friday or Saturday night it was considered a terrible catastrophe. That maybe happened twice a year and whatever band was playing certainly would not be headlining on a weekend ever again. You are missing the point of The Dame entirely. Unlike McCarthy’s or Harvey’s who rely ENTIRELY on a regular crowd for their business, The Dame relies almost entirely on a DIFFERENT crowd every night. The calendar was so diverse because I wanted to include everybody and not cater to one particular crowd.

    Burt, I doubt that De La Soul, KRS-One, and Tom Tom Club performed at Boogie Nights. I can’t find any evidence of that. Care to help me out? Also, are you seriously bragging about VANILLA ICE??

  9.   Nick Sprouse Says:

    Since opening in April of 2003 The Dame has hosted or confirmed performances by Neko Case, Iron & Wine, Of Montreal, Mogwai, Stars, Animal Collective, Andrew Bird, The National, Scissor Sisters, RJD2, Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket, Guided By Voices, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Black Keys, De La Soul, Apples In Stereo, Do Make Say Think, The Zombies, Rogue Wave, Rasputina, Slightly Stoopid, Horrorpops, Frank Black, Kenny Chesney, Little Brother, Del the Funkee Homosapien, The Pharcyde, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Gin Blossoms, KRS-One, Drive-By Truckers, Spinto Band, Jump Little Children, Reverend Horton Heat, Kaki King, New Model Army, Dar Williams, X, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Califone, The Toasters, Don Caballero, Six Organs of Admittance, Burning Spear, Duncan Sheik, The Queers, Busdriver, Jolie Holland, Sun Ra Arkestra, VHS or Beta, John Scofield, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Old Crow Medicine Show, Over the Rhine, Elf Power, Aqueduct, Son Volt, Souls of Mischief, Fruit Bats, Clem Snide, Pernice Brothers, Camper Van Beethoven, Hank Williams III, The Sleepy Jackson, Devin the Dude, Dierks Bentley, Dalek, Holly Golightly, Urge Overkill, Dressy Bessy, The X-Ecutioners, Dieselboy, Cracker, Soulive, Fishbone, Jon McLaughlin, Rickie Lee Jones, Los Lonely Boys, DJ Spooky, Kathleen Edwards, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Nappy Roots, Richard Buckner, Dirtbombs, Marc Broussard, The Juan Maclean, Wesley Willis, The Features, Nashville Pussy, Electric Eel Shock, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Jay Reatard, Rahzel, Vic Chesnutt, Jill Sobule, Los Straitjackets, The Sadies, Heartless Bastards, Martin Sexton, Tom Tom Club, Wanda Jackson, The Wailers, Papa M, Southern Culture On The Skids, Blue Cheer, Marah, Michelle Shocked, Robert Earl Keen, The Mendoza Line, The Gourds, Jay Farrar, The Minders, North Mississippi Allstars, Jucifer, Corey Smith, Lotus, Hot Club of Cowtown, Burning Brides, Dax Riggs, Hasil Adkins, Edith Frost, Amy Ray, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Derek Trucks, John Doe, Charlie Hunter, Mosquitos, Leon Russell, Railroad Earth, Bob Log III, Asylum Street Spankers, Allison Moorer, VietNam, Robbie Fulks, Rodney Crowell, Poco, Bottle Rockets, Kelly Willis, Mike Watt, Chuck Prophet, Particle, Junior Brown, Jordan Knight, Dave Alvin, Lee Rocker, The Sights, Buckwheat Zydeco, Billy Joe Shaver, John Hammond, Drums & Tuba, Split Lip Rayfield, The Greencards, Nine Pound Hammer, Trampled By Turtles, Buddy Miller, Hair Police, Sam Bush, High Water Marks, ekoostik hookah, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, U.S. Maple, Rhys Chatham, Hackensaw Boys, Ulysses, Trailer Bride, Awesome Color, Legendary Shackshakers, Poison Control Center, Q-Burns Abstract Message, Tinsley Ellis, Chris Duarte, Tommy Stinson, Ming + FS, Waco Brothers, The Woggles, Quintron and Miss Pussycat, The Bridge, Bitch and the Exciting Conclusion, The Yayhoos, Backyard Tire Fire, Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze, The Derailers, Dave Fischoff, Bernie Worrell and the Woo Warriors, Dark Star Orchestra, Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise, DJ Swamp, ISWHAT?!, Lee Roy Parnell, Tony Conrad, Tommy Womack, The Codetalkers feat. Col. Bruce Hampton, Goose Creek Symphony, Red Stick Ramblers, Jeff Coffin Mu’tet, Brother Danielson, The Suicide Girls, James Hand, Uncle Monk featuring Tommy Ramone, Jason Ricci and New Blood, Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez, Jason Isbell the 400 Unit, BR549, Johnny Cash’s Legendary Tennessee Three, Duwayne Burnside, The Dave Rawlings Machine, Cheetah Chrome, Marc Olson & Gary Louris, Carlos D of Interpol, The Pete Best Band, and Coalition of the Willing.

  10.   Nick Sprouse Says:

    In the interest of fairness, here are all of the national acts to perform in seven years at Lynagh’s between 1995 and 2002. Acts that also performed at The Dame are in CAPS.

    Smog, Neil Michael Hagerty, Adrian Belew, ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO, KELLY HOGAN, TIM EASTON, The Silos, ALLISON MOORER, Altan, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Aquarium Rescue Unit, ASYLUM STREET SPANKERS, Auldridge, Bennett, & Gaudreaux, Bare. Jr, BERNIE WORRELL & THE WOO WARRIORS, BIG SANDY & HIS FLY-RITE BOYS, BILLY JOE SHAVER, Bio Ritmo, Blue Highway, BLUEGROUND UNDERGRASS, BONEPONY, BOTTLE ROCKETS, BR549, BUDDY MILLER, CHARLIE ROBISON, CHRIS KNIGHT, CHRIS WHITLEY, CHUCK PROPHET, CIGAR STORE INDIANS, COL. BRUCE HAMPTON, DAVE ALVIN, DEREK TRUCKS, DEREK WEBB, DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND, Donna the Buffalo, Dread Zeppelin, Duke Robillard, EDWIN MCCAIN, EKOOSTIK HOOKAH, Fastball, FREAKWATER, Fred Eaglesmith, G.E. Smith, GOOSE CREEK SYMPHONY, Gov’t Mule, HANK WILLIAMS III, HOT CLUB OF COWTOWN, Howlin’ Maggie, INDIGENOUS, IRIS DEMENT, J.D. CROWE, JAMES MATHUS, JAMES MCMURTRY, Jason & the Scorchers, JAY FARRAR, Jeb Loy Nichols, Jim White, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, JOHN HAMMOND, Jonell Mosser, Jorma Kaukonen, Josh Rouse, JUNIOR BROWN, KELLY WILLIS, Kevin Kinney, King Kong, LEON RUSSELL, LOS STRAITJACKETS, LUCERO, Man or Astroman, Merl Saunders, MICHELLE MALONE, Mike Keneally, MIKE WATT, MOFRO, Mojo Nixon, MONTE MONTGOMERY, NASHVILLE PUSSY, NEKO CASE, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Nickel Creek, NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS, NRBQ (ignore all caps), Old 97′s, OVER THE RHINE, Pete Yorn, Peter Case, PROJECT/OBJECT, REVEREND HORTON HEAT, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Rick Danko, ROBBIE FULKS, ROBERT BRADLEY’S BLACKWATER SURPRISE, ROBERT EARL KEENE, ROBERT WALTER’S 20TH CONGRESS, Rosie Flores, SCOTT MILLER, Sebadoh, Seven Nations, SHANNON MCNALLY, Sixteen Horsepower, Slaid Cleaves, Slobberbone, Solas, SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS, String Cheese Incident, The Back Doors, CHARLIE HUNTER, The Connells, Del McCoury Band, THE DERAILERS, THE GOURDS, The Jayhawks, JOHN COWAN BAND, The Rebirth Blues Band, Tony Furtado, TONY TRISCHKA, The Verve Pipe, THE YAYHOOS, Tim O’Brien, T-Model Ford, TODD SNIDER, TRAILER BRIDE, Train, Vassar Clements, VHS OR BETA, VICTOR WOOTEN, V-Roys, Whiskeytown, WACO BROTHERS, WAYNE HANCOCK, Webb Wilder, Wilco, WILL KIMBROUGH, WILL OLDHAM, Younder Mountain String Band

  11.   Grits Says:

    A few wistful thoughts about the fair lady of Lexington…

    A1A is Francine Pascal to The Dame’s Hunter S. Thompson. I’ve read ‘em both, and will even admit to liking ‘em both at times, but there is clearly a difference between the two.

    As much as I love and have loved other music venues in town, The Dame was different. It was a social hub and touchstone for a certain generation of Central Kentuckians; it managed to be a place every genre could claim and love; it had the creaky old wooden floor and dark corners that made you feel ghosts of generations past might be listening in and digging the riffs; it was the place I took out-of-town and overseas guests for a solid night out; it was the place in Lexington that folks in other cities around the nation had heard of and knew by name. Other places will come and go and I know a good venue or two will pop up to book The Dame’s artists, but it will be quite the hat trick to pull off a space that is as seminally beloved, musically iconic, and culturally identifiable as the lady “in Beautiful Downtown Lexington” once was. She might not have been a legend yet, but she was on her way…

    Having travelled and lived in quite a few places around the globe now, The Dame remains one of the top 3 music venues I’ve found, along with the 40 Watt in Athens, GA and the Espy Hotel in St. Kilda, Australia. We may not get a world-class tower, but we once had a world-class music venue.

    Last but not least, since I’m feeling so saccharine:

    As for the loos, no one ever went to CBGB for the cleanliness of their facilities. A music venue with clean bathrooms is cause for a healthy amount of suspicion…

  12.   Nick Sprouse Says:

    While I’m here….

    If anyone has any thoughts, ideas or offers concerning relocating The Dame please feel free to send me an email.

    You can reach me at dameonmain@yahoo.com.

  13.   joseph turner Says:

    Geez, I tried to keep the list of acts who played the dame pithy and here comes nick :). For the record burt, I guess my point is that for the first time since Ive lived in lexington there is no live music bar (as opposed to a bar that has live music). I was there at the wrocklage , lynaughs, heresy, area 51, and the dame. Less often as ive aged like a fine cheese, or just a big smelly pile of velveeta, but I patronized them, enjoyed them, complained about them and even performed at them sometimes. Hell, I made it into the thrash can a few times before I started getting carded. will the dame reopen or will another club open in 6 or 8 months? Will someone take up the slack? Yeah. It still wont take the sting away from having the only game in town tossed like a used tissue because money talks and less money walks. This city seems a lot lamer to me right now than it did a year ago, and I dont think I’m alone. Anyway Burt, Hope I didnt come off as snarky or hateful, you can donate the hundred to a nice local charity, I’m partial to abused animal/abandoned pet charities myself. At least we can all agree that nobody knows what A1A is called now.

  14.   joseph turner Says:

    And oh yeah, the reason lynaughs music club didnt pass the test of time had nothing to do with the music or booking or number of patrons, and thats all Im gonna say on a public message board.

  15.   J Voskuhl Says:

    Nick – You seem very eager to cut and paste that list of bands into threads like this. This isn’t a question of your booking prowess, ok?

    I’m sick of these whiny kids lamenting the demise of the Dame. Another club will come along and the kids will forget. They’ll grow old like we all do and wax nostalgic about the time Duncan Sheik rocked the Dame.

  16.   Mike Martin Says:

    Whippersnappers! None of you have ever heard of Little Enis, have you?

  17.   Alison Says:

    I’m pushing 40 and I lament the loss of The Dame and that entire block of buildings. It’s not just the “young” people who are distressed.

  18.   Peter B Says:

    Mike Martin:
    Little Enis and the Tabletoppers, the best left handed upside down guitar players ever to grace the stage at Comer’s on South Broadway. What ever became of Carlos Toadvine anyway?

    Comer’s, now there was a bit of culture that we’ll never see again. The Adams House and 803 South within shouting distance of Stanley Demos’s Coach House and Roger’s restaurant, talk about an entertainment district with diversity that is gone. Who’ll lament their passing? Any one of us “young professional” post college youths who spent any time there in the mid 60s, thats who.

  19.   jack Says:

    This is a nice post. I just loved the “tunis” part.

  20.   Mike Martin Says:

    Howdy Peter B,

    Alas, poor Carlos is no longer with us. I take it you’re also an Ed McClanahan fan.

    Here’s a good page on Enis, complete w/ sound files to play on these new-fangled computer thangs:

    http://www.geocities.com/garycountry/enis.html

  21.   John57 Says:

    “I’m sick of these whiny kids lamenting the demise of the Dame. Another club will come along and the kids will forget. They’ll grow old like we all do and wax nostalgic about the time Duncan Sheik rocked the Dame.”

    What exactly is your problem? I’m sick of pretentious, self righteous blow hards that assume a false air of “sophistication”, pretending to have “outgrown” what they consider “lesser” forms of music. The “kids” eh? You truly show a lack of information on what little is and has been left of the Lexington Music scene. The Student Activities Board doesn’t do ballroom or similar shows anymore, Woodsongs/Troubadour is geared to a specific range of styles and artists, and most of the acts don’t do arena’s. In fact, some of the best traveling acts right now, including the “Classic Rockers” that have become quite popular again, only play smaller venues. If you don’t like the artists that played at the Dame, that is one thing, but for the smaller touring acts (not to be confused with meaning unknown!) it was pretty much the only game in town.

    There is no Breedings. There is no AIA. There is no Lynaugh’s, and as far as it went, you may unfairly disdain the Wrocklage, but as both that and The Bottom Line, they were hosts to many excellent regional bands as well as acts like Robert Cray and Warren Haynes. Exactly where are all these clubs that will pick up where the Dame left off coming from????? The Dame was essentially the last in a long history of very active and excellently booked music clubs. Overly expensive clubs in BloatedPointe that cater to small, local jazz acts does not a vibrant downtown music scene make. Downtown is not for the very small number of “upper crustonians” that don’t realize they couldn’t keep Festival Market afloat and there aren’t enough of them to be able to keep BloatedPointe afloat and none of those reals estate developments will do anything to revitalize downtown.

    So many keep wanting to use San Antonio as a comparison. Well, get it through your thick skulls, San Antonio became what it is by catering to the very types of bands and music and people that clubs like The Dame, Wrocklage, Bottom Line, Lynaugh’s Music Emporium, Cafe LMNOP, AIA and a host of other long lost clubs booked and welcomed. Without the “kids” downtown, downtown Lexington will soon fade away……..

  22.   Here Now Says:

    In general, Liberals and the young (which is probably why there are so many young liberals!) share a very common thread. They think that the world revolves around them and that their every thought or action requires some vast cultural ‘definition’. And thus, The Dame. Sure, it was a cool place. It reminded me of some of the great bars I hung out in years ago while in school in Athens, GA. That said, it was a business–period. If the market supports that business (and by all indications, it does) then that business will reopen elsewhere to service that demand. Tom, you and your pouty crew of neo marxists should relax. Quit taking yourselves SO seriously. It’ll be alright…promise.

  23.   ARiggs Says:

    Some thoughts on the final question posed in Tom’s original article: What more can we do to keep [bright, young people in Lexington]?

    Two needs are at the top of my list that will not only attract young people but also will improve everyone’s quality of life: public spaces (another article by Tom speaks to the importance of these spaces) and walking/running/cycling trails.

    Indianapolis serves as a model in this region in its development of The Monon Trail and connected Greenways. I’ve used the trail several times for running while on business in Indy, and I’ve been amazed every time of the user population: young, old, fit, not-so-fit, runners, walkers, and just about everything on wheels–roller blades, baby joggers, tandem bikes, skateboards and both serious and leisurely bicycle riders.(http://www.indygreenways.org/monon/monon.htm)