The Ché Café, the last bastion for radical activism and underground music on the UCSD campus, is struggling to pay the bills.
The all-ages, volunteer-run co-op owes the campus and collective members more than $6,000, says Gregory Prout, one of the venue's co-owners. The Ché also must pay $12,000 in insurance fees by March, Prout says, or the venue won't be able to put on shows next year.
Jesse Kranzler, a former San Diego musician currently living in New York, is spearheading an effort to save the Ché. He's gathering submissions for a benefit compilation and has started a Tumblr page (checafebenefit.tumblr.com) to collect donations. He's encouraging people to submit tracks and send in memories of the venue, which opened in the early 1980s.
The Ché Café has always scraped by financially, but the past year has been especially hard, Prout says. The collective that runs the venue is small, the venue's website recently crashed and attendance at shows has been low. (The venue also suffered a major setback when all of its equipment was stolen in 2009.) Prout fronted money to help cover last year's insurance, and another collective member has paid for supplies and food; they've yet to be repaid.
“Everything's just kind of up in the air and we don't want to see this venue close down,” Prout says. “I don't know what I'd do without the place.”
The Park Gallery is feeling iffy about booking punk bands after a show ended in violence on Tuesday, Aug. 2. Adam Powell, one of the venue's volunteers, said he stopped the show early after a group of punk-rockers jumped a girl and her boyfriend while a band was playing and the boyfriend pulled out a knife in self-defense. Someone's glasses also got stolen, a fight broke out in the street and the bathroom was vandalized. In a Facebook post responding to the events, the gallery's volunteers emphasized that the venue is “a place of peace,” adding: “Violence, hatred and disrespect will not be tolerated at the gallery and is not welcome.”
Singer-songwriter Chad Scott will perform with his band at Three Waves a Day, a benefit concert at Belly Up tavern on Wednesday, Aug. 10. Raffle proceeds will go to Jeans 4 Justice, a San Diego group that advocates against sexual violence. Avasa & Matty Love and Hazmatt Reggae will also perform.