Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Message From the Owner - Major Announcement About the Future of Faces on Fourth Street

Thank you to everyone who ever visited Faces on Fourth Street over the last 30 years. Thank you to everyone who filled our dance floor until dawn, who drank with us, laughed with us, celebrated with us, fell in love with us, and sometimes cried with us. Faces has been both famous and infamous for 30 years. The last 14 years, I had the privilege of owning a part of our history. While it was often hard work and long hours, I am grateful to everyone who included me and Faces in their lives. I loved throwing the parties. I loved the music. I loved the video stars, recording artists, and DJs that I was able to get to know. I loved the incredibly talented DJs and drag queens from our local community who made Faces their home. I loved the late night decadence. I loved the thousands of wonderful customers who took the time to get to know me and my staff. I loved the conversations over cocktails about everything from politics to sex. You and your friends made the last 14 years one hell of a ride. After we closed at the end of April 2007, I took some time off. I worked to try to pay our old bills, kept the building secure, tried to keep up on St. Louis nightlife, and asked you for your feedback. I read your comments from our on line survey, sharing them with friends, advisors, and family. Considering the fact that we were forced to close because of cash flow issues, your positive comments were a nice surprise. We continue to get emails and IMs asking when we are reopening, frequently begging us to reopen. Some have admitted that they did not realize what they had at Faces until it was gone.
My answer has been pretty consistent. I appreciate all of your positive comments and I really did not know what our plans were. Personally, 2007 was a bad year. I had borrowed heavily to keep the bar going, and I was forced to sell property at a deep discount just to try to repay debts. What little money was left from sales went to start to repay people who had helped us, but at the end of the day, there wasn't enough to pay everyone. In a different economy, there would have been enough to cover all our debts and reopen. Despite this setback, we continued to discuss plans to remodel and reopen. The idea of reopening under my management became even more distant in the last few weeks.
In the last few weeks, someone cut the power lines to the building to steal the copper from our electric meter. How they did it without being electocuted is a mystery. Before we could replace it, they managed to break into the building and began systematically to gut the building. While not damaged beyond repair, they cut out copper pipes to and from our boiler, they cut out copper water pipes, they even smashed toilets to get the copper pipe and valves. We have been maintaining the building, keeping it secure, and alarmed since we closed. We could have easily cleaned, painted, and reopened in a matter of days. Now, the damage done in the last few weeks make that dream unrealistic.
The building is secure again. We have removed the equipment to keep it safe. We don't feel that we have the capital necessary to make repairs, remodel, redecorate, and reopen. It breaks my heart to say the only way to pay off all our debts and make necessary repairs is to offer the club for lease. We hope to offer someone with new ideas the opportunity to repair and reopen Faces. I want Faces to reopen as much as you do. I want it to reopen as a gay bar. Your on line survey responses have confirmed that there is a demand for Faces to return. I will help anyone willing to make that happen.
An observation - disturbing recent events in St. Louis gay nightlife seem to point to a continued downturn in the clubs. Manchester Street favorite, Freddie's was forced to close recently with plans to remodel and re-open in the spring. EXP Magazine, long the source of St. Louis' gay bar news recently suspended publication, leaving St. Louis without a gay bar magazine. Both events are sad. My heart goes out to the owner and staff of Freddie's as well as EXP owner/editor Jeff Balk. We had a long friendship with EXP and Jeff deserves credit for much of our early success as well as for his contributions to our community. We always enjoyed Freddie's and have a special place in our heart for their nationally known and incredibly talented DJ Danny Morris. We wish them the best and hope this is the end of the bad news for St. Louis gay bars.
Thank you for your support and kind words.