By now, you’ve heard that local nightclub/music venue Corazón has closed its doors due to tax problems [blog, June 26: “Broken Heart”]. However, this may not be the end for the club. “We have met with [the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department], and they’re being very reasonable in helping us come to a solution,” Corazón owner Mikey Baker tells SFR. “Things are still kind of up in the air, but as of now, we still hold the liquor license and will be meeting with tax and rev. [this] week to see what we can do.” A representative for the department declined to comment.
Cross your fingers, Santa Fe; this could be a lucky second chance. For many, Corazón has been a standout venue amidst a sea of increasingly homogenized nightlife offerings. Where else in town would you hear a band like New York prog-rock quartet Ayurveda or hip-hop from members of Wu-Tang Clan? But despite the variety that was readily welcomed by some, Baker’s willingness to experiment also made things difficult.
“When we opened, the original concept was diversity and to appeal to a different cross-section of the population every night,” Baker says. “I didn’t count on people’s need to define the places they’re attending, and we kind of got pegged as this weird, eclectic club; whereas a place like the Cowgirl—and I love the Cowgirl—will have exactly what you expect to see every single night…There’s no risk involved.”
It boiled down to Corazón being forced to stray from its original vision. Baker had to focus on DJs and salsa nights rather than Cramps cover bands and up-and-coming indie-rock acts. DJs and salsa music certainly have their place in our scene, but when is enough enough? Ask yourself if it’s really so wrong for there to be one club in Santa Fe that caters to those who prefer distorted guitars to house music or Latin rhythms. The answer, of course, is no.
Sadly, though, when Corazón took chances on smaller-name rock acts or touring indie bands, attendance dwindled. Even celebrated local acts did little to entice crowds.
“With a few notable exceptions like La Junta or D Numbers, we just couldn’t count on people showing up for the local acts,” Baker says. “And if it was something new or a touring act, people really couldn’t be bothered.”
Now, Corazón hangs in the balance. Whether or not the club is saved, the game has changed for Baker.
“I came to realize that, in order to be a good club owner, you have to either be a huge prick or a saint, and my sainthood has been tested on a daily basis,” Baker says. “Even though people like Leahi [Mayfield] were a major help, the club was basically being run by me and Catherine [Davis], and we’ve been broke and bleeding for so long that there is no way I’m putting as much of myself back into it.”
It’s up to us, Santa Fe. Yet another amazing venue is in danger of becoming a victim of our “too little, too late” attitude. Should the club escape the jaws of death, stop by. Attend a show you’re unsure of. It’s time to welcome a little bit of change and variety into our fair city because, really, you can find DJs and salsa music at numerous other spots around town. If things don’t work out and Corazón stays closed—well, that would just plain suck.
Baker’s attitude is commendable. Even with the venue’s current troubles, he remains an ardent music fan.
“Despite everything that has happened, I still believe that music is the single coolest form of expression we have as human beings,” Baker says. “I never really wanted to be a club owner or to get people drunk. I just wanted to bring music to Santa Fe that I’d want to see and hear.”
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