The Ivy Room in Albany, California is closing this weekend for good, he said in a voice that he hoped was something like the choked snarl of Howard Beale, mad prophet of the airwaves, It's closing, and how does that effect you? If you're a Bay Area musician, you'll know; it's one less stage for the San Francisco area roots rockers and folkies. Nationally speaking, it's just one more ancient, jolly, smelly neighborhood tavern going down, no doubt to be replaced by something more realtor-friendly: a blood freezing lounge with expensive vodka bottles, glittering coldly under fluorescent lights. I can see it now: It'll have a name taken from the Periodical Table of Elements or an algebra textbook and it'll have all of the warmth of Superman's Fortress of Solitude. A place where, in Steve Martin's words, rich men go to meet rich women so they can have rich babies.
At least we can still see what a proper bar looks like in the movies. While taking in the Ivy Room's irreplaceable decor -- farewell, smoke-stained wallpaper, adieu coin-operated shuffleboard machine -- I was struck with the idea that a film festival would be a great tribute. I imagine the line up looking something like the following (though of course, I'm hoping that guest programmers out there would have ideas of neglected films that need to be added to the schedule):