It’s been a few weeks since The Space closed its doors. It was weird. One second we were putting on our first show at The Space, and in what seemed to be a blink of the eye, it was gone. I didn’t feel the shock. The Space closing didn’t really seem to surprise anyone, and I think that’s because we had been expecting the fall for so long. Back in December, I remember hearing rumors that The Space wasn’t going to be around much longer. And more and more, it seemed that Meg McNash – The Space’s de facto booker – was fighting to keep the blood pumping. And she should be proud. Orlando should be proud. The Space was never meant to be The Social or Backbooth. It wasn’t, or at least didn’t feel like, a venue. The Space was more of a creative celebration or a social experiment, meant to see what Orlando was capable of.
“So they burned it down, so build another one. Don’t go on to me that they burned it down, BUILD ANOTHER ONE. YOU’RE THE ONLY ONES THAT ARE GONNA DO IT!”
– Patti Smith
After a extended stay in denial, this Patti Smith quote, delivered by local spoken-word artist Young Moon, pushed me directly to acceptance. The excerpt is from a piece he read at the final edition of Speakeasy, a monthly poetry and spoken-word night at Will’s Pub that ran for over 13 years. In a city where bars and venues close down so suddenly, how could this line not resonate? Because avenues of expression may die, but as long as we keep pushing, the creativity within the community will continue to thrive. We should remember The Space for what it was, what it meant to everyone who visited. To some, it was a hot as shit venue. I, in a previous article titled “Why is The Space Important?,” more lovingly described it as, “… a prime location to witness Orlando’s growing cultural impact” and, “[An] artistic mecca home to a variety of celebrations and group expression.”
But I agree, it was hot as shit. And we didn’t care. Some of my best memories since moving to Orlando were at The Space: my best friend crowd surfing during a packed Me Chinese set, seeing Tiger Fawn for the first time at SPACE FEST 2, putting on my first show with all my friends! The Space was great. It left its mark on me. And I know everyone reading this right now has stories like mine. You’re marked too. And hopefully, you’ll want to keep this artistic community alive by starting your own iteration of The Space or supporting local venues like The Space Station, Uncle Lou’s, or Will’s Pub. So thank you to The Space, Meg, and the entire Orlando community. The Space will always be the place.
“The idea of a place for us to teach in, to rehearse and play in that is kept afloat based on the efforts of the community is such a next-level, foreign concept for us. Maybe this is our chance to evolve as a unit and directly support each other’s passions and art forms.”
– Addison Muha (Orlando Singer-Songwriter)