The Cactus Cafe has been a wonderful venue in many regards [“'A' Is for Axed: UT Chops Cactus, Cuts Classes
,” News, Feb. 5; “Off the Record
,” Music, Feb. 5]. However, I attended a show there in 2008 to record the featured artist and was surprised to find that the house audio console was not exactly in great shape. It offered several dead input channels and an obviously growing list of dysfunctional features. I wondered at the time how a venue with a rep for great sound could leave the board in this condition, unless the Cactus was pretty severely strapped for cash. The sound operator that night (Joey Christopher) was excellent and dealt easily with something that could have been a problem with an act needing a complete, properly working board. How much money are we talking in subsidies for "seven of the last eight years"? How many of those 17,000 Facebookers have been to the Cactus recently enough to have made a difference in the bottom line? Has the Cactus been paying rent? Most competing venues in Austin do not enjoy a public subsidy. If one gets too comfortable running in a subsidized setting, one may overlook small variable costs that can eventually add up to financial ruin. Intensive focus on those costs was a key part of what kept Armadillo World Headquarters going post-1976.