December 9, 2022


Art Is Experience

Vancouver comedy and arts club to take final bow as pandemic-incurred losses mount

The six patio seats are a far cry from the 80-particular person potential floor the Kino Cafe was used to filling prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After a bustling hub for flamenco dancers and up-and-coming standup comics, it’s now a dollars pit for proprietor Steve Allen — the fiscal pressure adequate to make him wave the white flag soon after many years of marketing colourful performances.

“Generally, it killed the Kino,” explained Allen. “With no performances in listed here, the stage is a pretty lonely area.”

The Kino Cafe on Cambie Street is the most up-to-date casualty in a escalating list of dining establishments, pubs and clubs not able to make ends satisfy amid mounting public health steps in response to the pandemic. Most not too long ago, the province banned indoor eating to suppress a spike in situations. These steps have been prolonged until at minimum Could twenty five.

Entrepreneurs like Allen are confronted with a tough determination: try to temperature the storm or shut up shop.

“You will find just no conclusion in sight with this pandemic and opening entire potential once more. I don’t have any plan when that is likely to transpire once more, and I don’t consider any individual does,” explained Allen.

Vancouver’s Kino Cafe in the Cambie Village region has been presenting are living flamenco for the past twenty five many years. Flamenco singer and dancer Maria Avila pierces the space with her tunes. (Maryse Zeidler/CBC)

The cafe is now for sale and has now caught the eye of future prospective buyers. But Allen says it truly is unlikely whoever takes more than will carry on with its longstanding tradition of performance art. 

Many years of dance and laughs

The Kino Cafe has been open up in Vancouver for almost thirty many years, a flamenco establishment extensive prior to Allen owned it. Flamenco is a fashion of regular music and dance that originated in Spain.

Allen was a normal patron, inevitably marketing a weekly comedy exhibit from the location.

The restaurant’s past house owners set it up for sale, but the prospective buyers backed out due to licensing difficulties, Allen explained. That is when he jumped in.

“I thought, you know what, I can afford to choose a chance and ideally help you save the comedy and the flamenco,” he explained. “I truly felt this area really should be saved. This is the greatest stage for flamenco outside the house of Spain, in the globe. And I failed to know that right until I bought the area.”

In pre-COVID instances, the Kino Cafe experienced a potential of about 80 seats. (Maryse Zeidler/CBC)

Allen saved the tradition alive, together with his weekly comedy exhibit the place several comics have honed their craft — a list that contains Graham Clark, Ivan Decker and Dino Archie.

‘It’s not gonna be enough’

Wellbeing limitations have taken a toll on the club more than the past 12 months, nonetheless. Initial, the province set limitations on are living music and dance. The club experimented with to make ends satisfy by working standup comedy functions to minimized crowds, but people ended up later on restricted as properly.

In an try to help maintain the doors open up, neighborhood comedians launched a fundraiser to “Conserve the Kino.”

At the time, Suzy Rawsome, who runs the comedy evenings at the Caveman Cafe in downtown Vancouver, instructed CBC News that Kino has been one of the city’s most significant institutions as other venues have appear and long gone more than the many years. 

“The Kino is one of people places that is like the OG of comedy in Vancouver,” Rawsome explained in December 2020. “I come to feel truly undesirable for him to have to deal with impending closure when he is having all this on, essentially just for the like of the arts.”

Martha Villa Martin is a normal performer at Vancouver’s Kino Cafe, which is celebrating twenty five many years of flamenco. (Maryse Zeidler/CBC)

They lifted about $17,000 of their $fifty,000 aim.

“As a great deal as it truly is served, it truly is not gonna help adequate,” explained Allen.

Down but not out

Until the enterprise sells, Allen will maintain the patio open up on sunny days.

Nonetheless equipped with a PA procedure and scores of initial art that lined the partitions, Allen says he hopes to open up a new club as soon as the pandemic settles.

He could even provide back the Kino name — as extensive as whoever he sells his enterprise to doesn’t use it.

“I have this kind of a passion for standup. I truly want to maintain accomplishing this.”