Photograph by Felipe Buitrago
Back into the light: The Cave reopens at the MACLA.
A Cave for All Ages
By Ryan Osterbeck
CORY LINSTRUM is doing it for the kids. "The teenagers are full of energy," he explains, "they're pissed off, they're driven, they have something to say. They think they can solve the world's problems by getting onstage and screaming about it." And Linstrum, through his Cave Productions, is providing the vehicle for their voices in San Jose. A few months back, the Cave—one of the last remaining all-ages venues in San Jose—was forced to close its doors after just over two years in existence, reportedly because the building it was using to showcase local metal, punk, hardcore and indie rock bands over on Lucretia Avenue came under scrutiny for certain code violations.
"Ultimately it was a problem with the building we were using," explains Linstrum. "There were other factors involved, but those could all be fixed. The only thing that couldn't be fixed was the building itself."
Since the building that housed the Cave was owned by a church, Linstrum and his dedicated crew knew that there probably wouldn't be money enough to fix all the problems and keep the Cave in operation. After all, providing a positive outlet for teenagers to get their rock fix in isn't exactly the most lucrative enterprise in which to engage, especially in San Jose. But, according to Linstrum, it's probably the one that's needed the most. "I know teenagers are a pain in the ass, but it's counterproductive to our art culture to take away all of their outlets," Linstrum says. "All of today's top artists began playing music when they were 16 years old; San Jose should begin supporting local artists who are under the drinking age."
There are only a small handful of venues left that provide an outlet for underage rock shows. One of the major goals of Cave Productions, according to Linstrum, is to help local bands garner success in the music biz.
"We focus on helping bands and building up the San Jose music scene [and] teaching them how to succeed," says Linstrum. "We're also starting to book European tours for bands, opening doors that they would not normally have access to."
More than just a booster, Linstrum says that Cave Productions encourages all of the bands it showcases to work harder than they've ever worked. Yet, without a dedicated venue to match the dedication to the all-ages local live music scene of Cave Productions, all that hard work can only go so far. But with a new year come new possibilities, and after a few months of vagabonding, Cave productions has found a semipermanent home downtown at the Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA) building on South First Street.
"MACLA is amazing," says Linstrum; "the staff there is incredibly supportive and understanding. They know what we do and what we stand for, and it's been a great relationship so far." Even this respite, however, may be short-lived—which isn't necessarily a bad thing. As the clout of Cave Productions grows, as more and more teens realize they have a place to relish a live music scene and as bands get more popular, the Cave may have to search for a larger space.
In the meantime, Linstrum is counting on the support of the city for success.
"I'd love for the mayor and the City Council to be more supportive of the young artists," says Linstrum. "It's so hard for alcohol-free venues to pay their bills, so hopefully the city will step up and lend a helping hand."
To check for upcoming rock shows from Cave Productions at MACLA and other venues, scope out the Cave calendar at: www.myspace.com/thecavesj.
Cave Productions presents: First Blood, Bloodlined Calligraphy, Death Before Dishonor, Maya Over Eyes and Dead Hearts perform on Thursday (Jan. 18) at 6pm at MACLA, 510 S. First St., San Jose. Of course, the show is all-ages and tickets are $12.
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