Bad Rackets
Bad Rackets (Photo By John Anderson)

A Winter's Tale

Guess what happens when a theatre company moves next door to a band rehearsal space. Nobody has a very merry Christmas, that's for sure. Back in August, the Rogue Performance theatre moved in next to Black Rose Rehearsal in the industrial area south of Penn Field. They soon learned it's hard to be neighborly when you share both a nonsoundproofed wall and similar operating hours. The obvious question is how they could be neighbors in the first place, but a call to Dimension Properties, both businesses' landlord, went unreturned at press time. Moreover, "When you come to look at a space, you always come during the day," notes Rogue owner James Cotton. Soon enough, Cotton learned that prime rehearsal time for most bands is at night, also the time Rogue scheduled its performances and workshops. He talked to Black Rose's owners, who he now thinks were just humoring him, and left notes asking bands, including the Bad Rackets, not to rehearse during Rogue performances. The owners and bands reluctantly obliged, until they in turn learned Rogue lacked some permits required for theatre operation, and an anonymous band called the fire marshal during a Rogue production. ("If the city wants to find something wrong, they will," says Cotton.) However, the Black Rose owners discovered a clause in their own lease prohibiting any activity – like excessive noise – that disturbed their neighbors. "I wish I had looked at that lease, goddammit," says co-owner Jason Westbrook. "But I also wouldn't have thought our landlord would put another after-hours business next door." Cotton has decided to move out, convincing Dimension to refund him a couple months' rent – "At this point, it's better than nothing" – while Westbrook says he and partner Monte Williams will try to head off any future disputes by acquiring the Rogue space for themselves.

See also "Rogue Performance Venue."

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Christopher Gray, June 29, 2007


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