Cooper-Young is an epicly quaint place where post-retirement hippies & post-graduate hipsters form a swirling nexus of open minds, mostly-liberal principles and Association Fees. Further north, the debauchery of Overton Square is lauded by every college student I’ve ever met. This length of Cooper Street is than the gulf between freshman and senior year. With The Roo supplementing our crumbling infrastructure, it’s the best place in Memphis to randomly find a good time.
The building at 831 Cooper was something else before it was Black Lodge Video but no one really remembers what. Back in the day, the corner of Evelyn wasn’t considered part of Cooper-Young proper. Black Lodge might never have existed if it was. Now the festival goes past Central, so who knows what’s where anymore. Places like Tart and City Market put 831 firmly on the fringe of the economic cluster defining the area. The success of those Lodge parties is part of what fueled that growth.
As an entity, the mystery surrounding Black Lodge Video is part of its appeal. A parent of the FOMO plague– those of us at Black Lodge weren’t missing anything. Self awareness is a valuable quality and watching moviesis universal. The ambiguous collective known as the Lodge Army is just a term for people supporting the underground scene, regardless of actual involvement. As they say – Keep it secret, keep it safe. There’s no doubt Black Lodge’s relocation is wholly in the hands of those capable of preserving the legend. I personally hope to have access to the Library again one day. I also believe Half-Life 3 will get released. Eventually.
In the meantime, 831 is still there. On Cooper. Waiting.
The building that housed Lodge is more than the videos it contained. Our blood, sweat and tears are in the studs. So many waves of free-thinking individuals investing themselves in that location, over time the land itself has absorbed the vibrations. It would be a crime to let some commercial developer profit from that energy. I don’t want to see what Jimmy Ishii would do with it, no matter how delicious.
831 is a vital refuge where local artists can be heard. Logistically, the bare bones are a better layout than nearly anywhere of the same size. That bank of windows up on a hill is essentially built-in PR. I’m not a major player, just interested party. Interested to see where this can go. I also know good timing when I see it. Invest your time and energy now. Talk to the owners. Make requests. Book shows and split the door. The Memphis Punk movement can easily claim this venue as our home.
If enough people work toward the same goal, anything is possible. There are ghosts all over this city. Some good, some bad. With a predecessor like Black Lodge Video, 831 is in a position to transcend the temporary and continue a legacy. Give the ghosts a place to dance.