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Craig Smith, director of CU-Boulder's Program Council, served as Club Mecca's manager, and now he's been pressed into service to deliver its eulogy. Why? Because Mecca's official owner, Robert Territo, disappeared about a week before the closure. When asked if Territo left a trail of debt in his wake, Smith says, "I'd really rather not talk about that, but I think the answer is obvious if you put together that he vanished and the club is shut down." Money issues aside, Smith sees the demise of Club Mecca as a major negative for young Boulderites. "We gave people who didn't have anywhere to go a place," he notes. "I don't know where they're going to go now."

In Smith's view, the space ultimately failed to pay for itself because Boulder students were thirstier for booze than for hip-hop. "We did really well with special events--like the shows with Tha Alkaholiks, Hurricane and the Roots--and we did great on the weekends, too. The problem was the weeknights. You have to draw the 21-and-up crowd to make it, and in Boulder, people are apparently still most concerned about alcohol. I mean, why go out during the week unless you want to get drunk? We thought that kind of attitude was changing, but apparently we were wrong--and in the end, even the packed houses on the weekend couldn't make up for the shortfall the rest of the week."

Smith hopes that other venues keep hip-hop happening in Boulder. And while he admits that Mecca never became a breakthrough club, he's still proud of what was accomplished. "We weren't around for that long," he says, "but we really invigorated a scene that needed it."

More invigoration. On Thursday, November 14, Medeski, Martin & Wood visit the Fox Theatre. On Friday, November 15, Fourth Estate, Indica Gypsys, Martha's Wake and soon-to-be-a-Californian Beth Quist showcase at Area 39. On Saturday, November 16, Face to Face puts its best face forward at the Ogden Theatre, and Steve Hahn demonstrates the proper uses of the Chapman stick at the Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts, 111 Cannon Street in Lafayette. On Sunday, November 17, Laurie Dameron hosts a CD-release party at Fiske Planetarium. On Monday, November 18, the University of Colorado celebrates "Mingus Day '96" with an appearance by the Mingus Big Band at Grusin Music Hall (call 492-8810 to learn more). On Tuesday, November 19, Space Team Electra and Abdomen share the bill at the first Pulp magazine band night at the Key Club, and the Suicide Machines end it all at the Mercury Cafe, with the Swingin' Utters and Pinhead Circus. And on Wednesday, November 20, the Bluebird Theater is the place to find Pork. It's the other white meat.

--Michael Roberts

Backbeat's e-mail address is: Michael_Roberts@westword.com

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