By Christopher Gray, Fri., May 27, 2005

Photo By John Anderson

With the lilting accordion-rock of Darling New Neighbors and playful pop of Jerm Pollett & the Total Foxes (above), last Friday's closing-night party for the Church of the Friendly Ghost was a bittersweet affair, though proprietor Aaron Mace says the show will go on. The Church has recently come under fire from the city and the Holly Neighborhood Association for what Mace terms a number of "propriety issues," including noise, parking, an invalid occupancy certificate, insufficient bathroom facilities, and, during SXSW at least, drunken partygoers urinating on nearby lawns. "To their credit, the city is actually working with me, and being very laid-back about it," says Mace, who notes that while a "spot rezoning" of the Church as a music venue is out, he will be allowed to operate as a studio/gallery. Under those terms, he says, "I'll be able to get away with musical events once in a while." When he's got all the necessary permits and the Church reopens as a nonprofit, Mace intends it to be available to the entire community, neighbors included. "I've sort of made friends with the neighbors and showed them that the place can function for the neighborhood as well," he says. Pollett and the Foxes, meanwhile, promise cake at the release of their hyperliterate debut, Retirement Community, tonight (Thursday) at Beerland, where Mace has steered most of the Church's June and July events. "A lot of Beerland Sundays are going to be Church of the Friendly Ghost-booked," he says.

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