And why are they leaving? What about CHAC is so objectionable, or are other venues just more attractive? This post leaves me wondering...
@ 1. money. money is always the answer.
CHAC should have Capitol Hill all sewn up, should be the place to put on a show.
Sounds like they've set rent prices accordingly. The market will tell them if they are overreaching.
@2 - I don't think it's as simple as "money". Based on what's been reported publicly and privately over the years, the issue seems to be more about strong arm tactics once a group is in the space. The folks at CHAC seem to agree that they should be THE place to be on the hill, and that it gives them license to treat people poorly.
BTW, I thought the Chamber Theater was going to remain a rental theater space after some 'cleanup' (don't know how extensive that will be, though). I certainly hope it will remain a rental theater.
I think this is an exciting development for Seattle's indie-comedy scene.
I've always felt that while the clubhouse nature of CHAC had its charm, that the shows and the scene needed to challenge itself and move to a larger venue of some sort...
I hope that the audience for Laff*Hole continues to grow and that the new venue proves a good fit for the event.
I think it will!
As a performer, I'm most definitely going to miss performing at CHAC's lower level. I loved the intimacy of the space and even the stage itself. Too bad CHAC fucked this up. The flagship show of the growing alt-comedy scene in Seattle started in their venue...and they decided to play hardball. Penny wise, pound foolish.
I don't think CHAC fucked up at all. We had an oppurtunity for growth and we took it. Everyone involved(PRoK and CHAC)put a lot of work into Laffhole to turn it into what it has become. There came a point when we stopped having the same goals and it was time for us to go our separate ways.
I am going to miss the staff and stage at the Lower Level. Saying goodbye to the stage that I grew up as a performer on next week is going to be a rough and beautiful moment, but I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the future with Chop Suey.
I think live performance is a vital part of Seattle and I would hope that Seattle continues to support all venues that are trying to do something new and worthwhile. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the CHAC next.
Co-Founder People's Republic of Komedy
CHAC has a lot of problems with disorganization and double booking. It makes it hard for theatre companies to work with them.
Thanks for the comments, Emmett and everyone. We definitely are open to both positive and negative feedback.
We've been very happy to host, support and then co-produce Laff Hole since its inception in late 2005 as a monthly. I for one am pleased to have gotten to watch these incredible comics take off in the community, and like to feel that we had some impact on their success. CHAC is a jumping off place for artists, and we intend and hope for them to move on to bigger and better things, we think of ourselves as a platform, and invest in artists like those involved in Laff Hole accordingly.
Ironically, every group mentioned by Brendan is a group that we have directly supported through financial investment--these were not straight up rental arrangements, but artists and organizations that we believed in enough to put our own money into the pot. It is a challenge for us to balance their needs with our own staffing levels and building limitations. One criticism that has really come loud and strong to us from these groups is that our communication needs to improve. We definitely hear that and are working on it.
An unfortunate reality that we are facing in this neighborhood is the rapidly increasing real estate prices. This has caused the death of many organizations and caused price increases in many others. We are currently working hard lobbying to get more City and County support for mid and small arts and culture organizations.
CHAC is a triple-bottom line business. So while we are motivated by financial concerns, that is only 1/3 of our goal--the other two being artistic quality and nourishing the community. We try hard, sometimes we fuck up. In this case, though, I would agree with Emmett. I think that the biggest driver for this change was that we had different visions for the future.
I wish Laff Hole the best and hope that it is an incredible success at Chop Suey. I know I will definitely be attending there as I will miss having it and all the great PROK guys and comics here!
Producing Artistic Director CHAC
b.kiley - can't we think bigger? stirring up animosity is a cheap sell. i appreciate the fact that controversy at least gets people here talking. but what about bigger fish like the office of economic development or the dpd? i'd love to see a theater reporter on that beat. hollerrrr
You're right, those are important stories, stories my colleagues and I have reported on before and will in the future.
But this story has to do with several theater tenants leaving (or seriously thinking about leaving) CHAC for the same reasons: communication problems, weird and difficult contract negotiations, feelings of abused trust.
I don't see how any of those problems involve the DPD.
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