13 Aug 2015
This evening I met several of my pirate kin to observe the official public opening of a new Avondale experience called “My Parents Basement”, which has been constructed upon the remains of the dear departed James Joyce Pub – a wonderful establishment that I understand to have been eaten by a giant star goat, or some such. This new place, My Parents Basement, is a strange new flavor of crazy that just might work – let me tell you more!
For those who never had an opportunity to attend the James Joyce in its heyday, it’s a handsome tumbledown Tudor style building featuring a patio encircled by a stone wall with decorative iron fencing.
The interior is done up in dark wood in an Irish fashion, with a large bar dominating the west side of the space. On the east side of the interior is an enormous set of built-in shelves that once served to host all manner of treasures – from books to trophies to items that might once have actually belonged to an avant-garde Irish novelist (but I cannot back that up and only mentioned it for effect).
The most significant change is the conversion of the east side to a miniature comic book store – a move that instantly made the place the darling of practically every green-blooded Dragon*Con-attending American nerd within a 42-mile radius of Avondale Estates. Facebook and reddit and AOL were ablaze with news of this amazing hybrid. And it’s only natural that those enormous built-in shelves would serve as a great backdrop for the checkout counter for the comic book shop! (you can buy souvenir t-shirts there as well)
The local Avondalians (a term that I have not vetted with the Avondale Estates Board of Naming Conventions) are equally excited about the return of this favorite hangout and will no doubt provide “helpful suggestions” to the owners over the course of the next X years (where X approaches infinity) on ways that they could improve the place to make it more and more like the James Joyce was, back in its day (from menu to decor, like the addition of Cinzano style tables on the patio out toward the street). I’m sure the new owners will be patient with the locals and old-timers.
Having observed the effort that the new team have put into the concept I believe that this comic book bar deserves a shot!
And did I mention video games? They’re building a FREE arcade in the back of the bar!! I had the chance to speak with the wife of a man who renovates and refurbishes these beasts and it’s exciting to see a business interested in creating the kind of place you just want to hang out in with all your nerdy friends! (Your PiratePalooza gang put that high score on there tonight! See the ‘PP’??)
For several years I would occasionally stop by to join my friend Fiona and her mom and dad, and their friends Chrism and Bill (the voice of the rPlank™ commercial) for brunch at the old Joyce, and for several hours they would hold Nerd Court at a large table on the very spot where the comic book counter is now located. I can’t help but think that the concentrated intelligence and nerdiness of those dear people soaked into the essence of the building over the years and will serve to power this new endeavor for many years to come.
Me? The first thing I did when I arrived was to buy two comic books (one was about some sort of rebellion within a star empire and the other was about an octopus doctor) and then I ordered a beer (I believe it was a sour, from the Genius Lab at Green Flash).
If it had not been the official opening day for this restaurant/comicbook store/pub I might have been able to find a table to sit at and read my comics in leisure. Instead, I was soon met by friend after friend and everyone settled into talking and drinking and having fun.
It was so good to have the place open again. Thank you, My Parents Basement!!
This Septembarrrr will mark the 11th year for this little experiment known as PiratePalooza™ and for the first time in several years we have found ourselves adrift with no suitable final destination in which to hold our traditional concert. We’re in preliminary talks to return to this location, but if that doesn’t work we may explore an unusual option for 2015, just to shake things up. Regardless of how the winds blow this year I will be making an announcement sometime next week regarding our final details. My thanks to everyone who has given me suggestions, this will be an interesting year!