Friday, March 24, 2006

Drag Shows & Our Cabaret

A few weeks ago we re-opened our Cabaret on Saturday nights. We have struggled with a dilemma for quite some time. Faces on Fourth Street has an incredible Cabaret. We are very proud of the space, particularly the art installations throughout the room and stairway. We frequently have a problem filling the room though, which forced us to close the room for the last few months. When we remodeled the Cabaret three years ago, we did it in an attempt to jumpstart the crowds. The room is expensive to open and operate. We had already moved our other shows to the Main Room, in part to accommodate our 18+ crowds and in part because it was hard to make all three floors look crowded. Customers would frequently walk in, see an empty Main Room (dance floor), and assume the bar was dead, when in fact the crowds were spread over three floors. Our dance crowd rarely showed up on weekends until after 3 AM, so it made more sense to move the shows to the Main Room. We hated having this great room, sitting unused most of the time. We tried to promote the idea of coming early for a drag show then staying to enjoy another room of music, but that idea, while popular in most major cities, never seemed to click with our customers. A handful of customers would linger to enjoy the music, leaving us again with an empty room. So we closed the room, dropped the Saturday shows, and tried to focus on our other show nights (Sunday, Wednesday, & Friday). We continued to get customers on Saturday who expected a show (which seems to show how effective our ads are), so we decided to re-launch the Saturday shows, with a later start time (1 AM) and a longer run time (they end at 4 AM). We moved Steve-O, our Cherry Lounge DJ to the Basement several months ago and that too had met with mixed results...most customers I have spoken with had spent many nights in the Basement, read our ads and our emails, but did not know we had a DJ spinning. So far, our results for the Saturday shows have been disappointing, particularly since we introduced a March special, with no cover until 2 AM. With a later show start, a larger show cast, no cover until 2 AM, and the move to the Cabaret, and we still can't seem to reach our niche. We frequently got complaints from customers who wanted to dance, because the drag show was on our dance floor. Since the Saturday show move, I am only aware of 2-3 customers who actually danced in the Main Room before 3 AM. We need your help. We have a great venue for shows, great entertainers on stage (I think there were 9 last Saturday night), and a later start time, all per requests from customers. Help us keep the room open. We are reaching the time of year when the Cabaret will become even more costly to operate, when we must decide first if we can even afford to replace the rooftop AC units that were stolen last fall, then if we can afford to pay to cool the room all summer. We would love to be able to make the Saturday show work, then work on opening the Cabaret on other nights as well. We can only do that with your support.