At some point in life, every kid fantasizes about running a music venue, art gallery or record store-the type of job that not only further delays the whole "adult" thing and justifies not wearing a suit for the next 40 years, but also pays a few bills. ***image1***
Santa Fe locals Vince Kadlubek and Matt Smith have a headstart on turning that fantasy into reality. Three months ago, the venue known as Meg's House began to host a slew of shows in a tiny, egg-carton-covered basement. The shows caused such a murmur in the local music scene that Meg's House quickly grew into Meow Wolf, a new interactive artspace devoted to visual art and music.
The idea for Meg's House and Meow Wolf came out of frustration with the lack of underage venues and the lack of accessible music choices.
"Santa Fe's music scene is terrible," Kadlubek says. "There's nowhere to go unless you count bars. But there are only so many times I can see D Numbers or The Soul Deacons and it always costs more than it should."
Rather than simply complain about a scene that wasn't meeting its needs, the crew at Meg's House got to work, booking touring bands and adding local acts to round out each bill. Exploring everything from metal, hardcore and indie rock to hip-hop, experimental and dance music, Meg's House has a little something for everyone.
Kadlubek explains, "Everybody that is a part of Meg's House grew up with Warehouse 21; that's where we learned we could book our own shows and that everything was possible in that do-it-yourself fashion. We figured there needed to be an alternative to Warehouse 21."
For Daniel Werwath, president of Warehouse 21's board of directors, there's a sense of pride in knowing that experiences at Warehouse 21 have spurned alternatives within the local scene.
"People have other ideas and want to take those ideas in another direction," he says. "It's a sign of the growth of the underground community in Santa Fe. [Warehouse 21] wants to support those ideas whether they happen in our building or not. The more we push boundaries as a community, the more our community grows internally, rather than the art scene we have now, which is driven so externally."
That vision of growth is embodied in Meg's House, which is moving out of its small, residential, makeshift venue (where shows begin with a vegan potluck that lets artists and audiences get acquainted) to a bigger and more professional building. After large December turn-outs at Meg's House, the crew decided it was ready to move into a more suitable spot. Meow Wolf is slated to unlock its doors on Feb. 14 with an interactive art show that features Matt Smith and Quinn Eldon Tincher, followed by a Feb. 19 show with Charlotte, NC, experimental punk band Calabi Yua and local acts We Drew Lightning and Large and Small Rooms.
Although another art gallery/music mecca hybrid with similar intentions, High Mayhem, is located in the same area, Kadlubek is confident it will not interfere with Meow Wolf's impending success.
Similarly, High Mayhem's program director, Carlos Santistevan, isn't worried about competition from Meow Wolf. He's excited about the community that such organizations help foster.
"When an artist can be supported, it catalyses even further," Santistevan tells SFR. "These guys are 10 years younger than us and hopefully in 10 years there will be another group of kids behind them. It's all about art and the continuation of art. It's good to see that the DIY mindset is continuing, and that we can get some venues that are outside of the mainstream."
Megan Burns, the Meg's House namesake, echoes Santistevan's desire to create a community with more options for young people to listen to live music.
"There just aren't that many venues that feel all-ages," she says. "And it's just more comfortable to be with people your own age."
Once Meow Wolf is up and running, Meg's House will no longer house shows. The crew's primary focus is to sustain Meow Wolf as a solid force within Santa Fe's art scene.
"I'd like to see more than one or two all-ages venues pop up," Kadlubek says. "But there needs to be a change in infrastructure. It starts with the people that own buildings trusting in a younger demographic. Luckily, we found a landlady willing to stand up for our objectives."
One of those objectives is to create an atmosphere where underage people can enjoy music without the pressures of alcohol. Burns is pleased with the respect that is shown at Meg's House in regards to the group's strict no alcohol policy. She hopes that level of understanding will continue in the new space. Couple that respectful sense of community with progressive bands such as Troll 2, Yoda's House, Lydian Grey and The Listener Project, and there is no doubt that Meow Wolf will draw crowds of a curious nature hungry for a revamped music scene.