The rock-and-roll shows will go on, says UCSD, as L.A. alt-rockers Bad Suns plug in at Porter’s Pub on January 22.
1000 Scholars Drive, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, San Diego
Two ill-fated UCSD music venues, Ché Café and Porter’s Pub, appear to be back in business.
The Ché Café is a 35-year-old nonprofit run by a student collective with support of well-connected student alumni.
Since 2007, Porter’s has been leased by Stephen Lawler, who runs the eatery/bar as his business. Local bands and nationally touring artists headline both venues.
A superior court judge granted UCSD’s administration the right to serve the Ché a five-day eviction notice in October, but it hasn’t been stapled to the door. There are no shows booked at the Ché as its volunteer staff sits in wait.
Vice chancellor Gary Ratcliff says the school is “in a holding pattern” about posting the eviction, waiting for two reports to come in from two student groups (Associated Students and the Graduate Student Association) to weigh in about the Ché.
Ratcliff offers that if safety issues are dealt with, the eviction could go away. He says “lapses in good practices,” like using too many extension cords, need to be addressed so that all Ché shows are safe.
Meanwhile, Lawler says he had a meeting with Ratcliff last week regarding the fate of Porter’s. Lawler’s lease ends in May, and he had been told that it would not be renewed. Lawler tells the Reader that he will not comment on the meeting until legal counsel helps him decide “what avenue we’re going to take.”
Lawler said his January 8 show featuring rapper Too Short sold out, but that ten campus police officers intimidated guests by ID-ing them at the entrances. According to Lawler, “It was a straight-up police state, there is no other way to put it.”
Stephen York, former editor of UCSD’s satirical Koala newspaper, managed Porter’s Pub until Lawler arrived in 2007.
“When I was working there, the administration said they did not want it to be a big giant music venue. But Stephen came in and thought it should be.... I was shocked at how many concerts he brought in.”
Lawler sees it differently. “If music wasn’t a part of it, I wouldn’t be here. Beer and hamburgers doesn’t do much for me. Music has always been what we do.”
- Thursday, January 22, 2015, 8 p.m.
9500 Gilman Drive,
Ratcliff says Porter’s Pub will continue to be a music venue but next year its stage use will be decided primarily by AS Concerts, University Events, and some 60 student organizations. Ratcliff says UC students need Porter’s Pub’s 550-capacity for shows that are too big for the Loft, which can only hold 250.
Ratcliff says Bad Suns (January 22) is an example of the type of campus-booked headliner that could be expected to play the Porter’s stage under the new arrangement. “The rock-and-roll scene will not be disappearing,” Ratcliff says. “But the next tenant will not have the same programming privileges as student organizations.”