Sunday, April 01, 2007

Gypsy Article Rebuttal

I wanted to bite my tongue, or in this case temper my fingers from typing angrily. Alas, I cannot temper anything. The stakes are too high. It's Sunday morning. On Sunday mornings I walk down my street to the newsstand on the corner and buy a Dallas Morning News. I peruse the sports, check out the Best Buy adds to see if that 61" I've been coveting has magically dipped a thousand dollars, and I save the Guide for last to read up on what happened in the music world the night before. As expected, an article was waiting about the closing of the Gypsy Tea Room - perhaps the most notable concert spot in the DFW area since it's opening in 1998. Thor Christensen, a music beat writer for The News shared his opinion about Gypsy and all of it's flaws. Poor Thor, hopefully those who hide your flaws for you are much kinder than you were to the Gypsy with your article.

Mr. Christensen chose to focus on all the Gypsy lacked rather than all the small venue has done for Dallas and Deep Ellum. With the Gypsy gone, I can hardly think of a reason to visit the quickly fading D.E. How many of us have sung along with our favorite budding artist as they filled the room with songs we were just beginning to love? How many times has an artist or band returned to Dallas/Ft. Worth, bigger than before, and credited Gypsy as the experience, which brought them back? Enough, I think, to have Mr. Christensen save a paragraph in his article to mention it.

Sure, Gypsy was smoky, drunks were prevalent, and you couldn't see a darn thing. Wait to go Thor, you pointed out what we already knew - small venues suck. But where else would we go to hear the artists who would've passed over Dallas without Gypsy? I have a love hate relationship with Dallas and music. It seems like for every one person you meet who would dance the night away with you at an inspired rock show, there are 20 people crying about how they don't have a comfy chair to sit in. We kill our ears with the regurgitating radio stations playing what Major Labels hand out. It's nearly impossible to be creative in Dallas. With Gypsy on the way out, I'm afraid for the next guy, the one who comes in to replace this gap being left in our American Idol-loathing hearts. I can only say a prayer that the truly talented, underappreciated feel like they still have a home - a place they can find solace. If I had a bigger house I would invite them over, but I don't. The Gypsy was my home too.

Shame on Whit Meyers for saying that Gypsy Tea Room wasn't for the fan who wanted to "focus 100 percent on the music." He is wrong. Perhaps it was just a business to him. Perhaps the cumbersome square bar made more money than the bands on the stage. But something bigger was taking place. Dallas was worth visiting. For a band on the road, no place is happened upon by accident - they choose to stop and play because they believe it's worth it.

Everywhere you go as a rock fan, there is going to be something that bothers you. Whether it's the opening act, the tool that is booty dancing with his girlfriend in front of you, the smoking, the drunken fools, the reverb, etc. Let's be realists, that's part of the experience. If we wanted comfy chairs and a great view, we'd slap our headphones on and close our eyes. How you choose to react to all those distractions determines your enjoyment of the show. When it was crowded and hard to see at Gypsy, I would put the girl I was with (who was shorter than I am) in front of me, spread my legs to make some space for us, and we'd just sway to the music. When it was too smoky, I would move. And when someone was attempting to ruin a show with their song requests, I would secretly unite with everyone else around me, and we would all send hate vibes to that guy. I never left Gypsy feeling ripped off, but that was me. I guess Mr. Thor Christensen represents a piece of Dallas I will never get - that entertainment should be comfortable. It's a pivotal moment in the DFW music scene. As we say goodbye to the Gypsy Tea Room, are we saying goodbye to an open stage for uniqueness as well? Cast your votes America.

Jasien Swords, The Dallas Does Indie Podcast

ps, I encourage anyone who reads and has an opinion to send an email to Thor Christensen of The Dallas Morning News. His email address is


Blogger '83 said...

Gypsy was the best venue in Dallas. So many memories.

10:08 AM 

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