Wikstrand feels strongly that the space won't survive unless its format is altered--and since a previous incarnation of the club did well for years by appealing to the Hispanic population in northwest Denver, she may be right. But she remains frustrated that she was unable to make Area 39 into a rock bastion. After all, she's done her best to hype area rockers for years; she once put out The Adventures of Grandma Dynamite, a comic that centered on Colorado musicians, and oversaw the Granny Awards, a local-band contest that took place at various locales, including Cricket on the Hill. But after purchasing Area 39 from Haylar Garcia, whose rock-and-roll credits include Johnson, she was unable to convince enough patrons to take the less-than-ten-minute drive from LoDo to the club. "We wanted to keep going," she says, "but we weren't getting the support from either the bands or the fans that we needed to stay afloat.
"There are a lot of new bands coming out, and they're great," she adds, with increasing passion. "They don't care what slot they're playing. They just want to play. But some of the older bands, or newly formed bands with old members in them, need to lose the attitude, lose the ego. Some of them even told people not to come to our club--and when they do something like that, they're not helping themselves or anyone else. Denver's too small for petty things like that. There's a lot of talent and a lot of good people, and if they could form some kind of alliance instead of acting like big babies, something good could happen here. But a choice few are ruining it for everyone else."
Over the past couple of months, anyone who's wanted to buy a drink at the Ogden Theatre has been ushered to the bar upstairs and then not allowed to come downstairs again except to leave. It's an insane system--call it Drinker's Prison--that has angered plenty of music lovers lately. But Chris Swank of nobody in particular presents, which owns the Ogden, reveals that the situation is not long for this world. "The reason we had to do that was because the people at Excise and Licenses came around to all the venues in town and said that you couldn't mix all-ages and over-21 sections anymore," he says. "But we couldn't split the floor like we do at the Bluebird because the Ogden's bathrooms are all on one side." In other words, the people placed on the no-bathrooms side of the theater would have to cross their legs until the show was over. To solve this problem, the folks at the Ogden are building new bathrooms on the side of the building currently lacking them. "It should be done in a couple of weeks," Swank promises. "And it can't be soon enough for me. This has been a real pain in the butt."
Backbeat's e-mail address is: [email protected]. While you're online, visit Michael Roberts's Jukebox at www.westword.com.