So this is the New Year...
Well. Just like that, it's 2017, and it's confirmed that I am pretty mediocre at this blog thing. Here's what's been going on with me:
So, back in September, about 3 1/2 months after FCS became FCS and took over the former LA Motion gym on Richard St., I received notice that the owners of the building would allow us to stay through the end of the year to finish out LA Motion's lease, but that they did not wish to enter into a new lease agreement with me. They cited liability. Now, I am not quite sure how what I do is any more dangerous than a bunch of movie stunt men literally hurling themselves at each other 15 feet above the floor while pretending to fight and doing some sick flips, but that's apparently neither here nor there. I decided to go straight to the top and call the owner myself, so I googled the name of the company that sent me my monthly invoice for our rent, and found out that the building is owned by a very famous actress and her lawyers. I totally called the lawyers. They said that if anyone fell, then their famous client (aka business partner) could be sued, and they were not willing to take on that risk.
I totally panicked. It was the sh*ttiest timing ever. I was just getting off the ground. I had a plan to get us through the first year, and it did NOT include moving the whole g*ddam gym to another space.
I looked, and no fewer than 3 different real estate agents looked, for the next 8 weeks with no luck. It was halfway through November. I thought we were screwed. I know plenty of circus people in other cities who have searched high and low for years for a new space and come up empty-handed. I thought we were going to lose everything.
And then, a miracle occurred. I was sitting in front of the convenient store across the street from my house, chatting with the owner, when a neighbor came and sat down with us. This guy knows me pretty well. We've had plenty of beers together and he's seen me perform a bunch of times. He wanted to know what was up and I told him. He immediately pulled out his ancient flip phone and said, "We have to find you a building. Now, let's see..."
He gave me 4 numbers. The next morning I called the first one, which was a woman who owned an old movie theatre in my neighborhood that has been abandoned since before Katrina. I say, "Hi. My name is Elizabeth Rose. Al Jackson gave me your number. He said you own the building on Claiborne and Ursulines. I'm looking for a new location for my business. I'm a circus artist and educator. I teach circus."
And she says, "Wait, who gave you my number?'
"My neighbor, Al Jackson."
And to my complete amazement, she replies, "When can you come see it?"
It was November 15. I saw it. She said we could rent it. It needed a ton of work, but was mostly up to code. The rest is, well, very recent history.
The renovations will continue through probably next month. New walls, new floor, new windows, and a bunch of other stuff, but we are permitted and running a limited class schedule for now. When it is done, it will be a theatre as well as a training space. Yes. A little circus theatre in an old movie theater in New Orleans. I am so grateful to everyone who has trusted me, helped out financially and logistically, and to those who have simply kept showing up to class in the midst of all this chaos.
We will hold each other up.
The Clabon Theater in 1940
1031 N. Claiborne Ave in 2016, abandoned, prior to renovation:
Stay tuned, Chickadees.