Reeling from the “death” of her community and her close friend, Babs unintentionally finds a new relationship with the Maybelle Center.
The anticipation grows as she walks into the dark narrow bar room. As she enters the Satyricon, the familiar sent of stale cigarette smoke welcomes her. She can barely make out the face of the iconic Buddha painting behind the bar as her eyes adjust to the darkness, pierced only by the bright stage lights.
She begins to follow the black and white checkered floor back towards the stage which is plastered with hundreds of band stickers. A shrine to the now-famous punk and alternative bands who have come of age in this bar. Glancing at the names of the many bands she’s met over the years who are memorialized here, a warm feeling of pride moves through her.
She smiles and nods to the familiar faces and hugs the manager like an old friend. She grabs dinner at Fellini’s and joins the rowdy crowd, confident they are part of something great. This is her community.
A sense of belonging
It doesn’t matter how many bands she sees – Pink Dots, Dead Moon or Nirvana. Each time the guitar rift first cuts through the screaming of the crowd, the adrenaline pulses rapidly down her body. The mosh pit pulls her in like the gravitational pull of a black hole. These are her people. As she works her way back to the band, they pull her up on stage to sing one last encore.
For over a decade Babs ritualistically met her community at 125 NW 6th Avenue. Moments like the epic meeting of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love and movie stars like River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves and Harrison Ford forever emblazoned in her memory. When the bulldozers finally came for the Satyricon in 2011, part of her identity and her sense of community were forever buried deep beneath the heavy pile of bricks and rubble. It was the end of an era.
An unintentional relationship
It took the death of a friend to get Babs to return to the spot where she had come of age. Where the Satyricon once stood was now the Maybelle Center for Community, where we were holding her friend Randy’s memorial.
On the day of the memorial, she numbly reached for the door, her body fatigued from the overwhelming grief over the loss of yet another member of her community. Babs entered just as we were setting up for the service and offered to help. As she moved chairs and set out refreshments, her mind wrestled with how to put the depth of real friendship into words. But just maybe, it’s not just spoken words that make up relationships – it’s a feeling deep inside. It’s a sense of belonging.
As the memorial progressed, Babs felt an instant connection with Maybelle Center. She “found the people loving – like I knew them forever.” As she reflects back to her first time at the Center last year, tears well up in her eyes. “It was the best gift he [Randy] could ever give me.”
The ground underneath the Maybelle Center holds a history that Babs holds close to her heart. Her two lost connections are muted by the gift of a brand new community.
Catching up with Babs today
Babs didn’t waste any time getting involved. Just recently, she was performing with the new Maybelle Community Singers. You can see the joy on Babs’ face as she performs her solo with the Maybelle Community Singers.