William Hubbell on Beaux Arts Time
I have many fond memories of Beaux Arts. Tom Reese the Owner had many long talks with me. He was dedicated to making it a showplace for Painting folk singing and related arts.
I had an apartment on the third floor which included a fire escape so I was not supposed to lock my door. I didn't like this arrangement so i changed appartments. The only open apartment was painted all black. Some considered it haunted. There was a story going around about a former gardener who had died and whose spirit still roamed the halls.
Being right next door to the police station the residents were always worried about Narcs invading their space. This was the height of the drug culture and Marajuana was used in private gatherings but most stories of harder drugs were false.
I remember the longhairs preparing in the "chess room" and then going into the stage area to sing. I occassionally went on stage with my poems. I worked days behind a rip saw and had my head shaved. Quite a contrast to those with hair lapping over their shoulders.
Jack Fray and Larry Kelly (The Brotherhood) came in two seperate occasions and they said the song "Coming in with the Crabs" was written on a bet.
During my time there I was openly professing my relationship with Christ. So one night Freddy Cooper got some bad weed and came to me saying "You've got to help me. Satan is after me. I replied "the only safe place from him is in the arms of Jesus." "No, he replied, you don't understand. He is actually chasing me!!!" I replied looking him squarely in the eye. "No, You don't understand. Jesus is stronger than Satan. He won't give you up!!!" We locked eyes for a minute and he broke first. Freddy went and searched up an Episcopal Clergyman who led him to the Lord. I went and hunted up some scripture on how to recieve Christ but Freddy was already saved before I could give them to him.
Before I tell you the next rememberence i want to interject something of a procedureal matter. I'm sure others have metioned the garden outside the house. Maybe you were even there yourself. Weekdays we would enter through the garden gate and the Performance Area would be locked up. When someone was to perform this would be padlocked and we would enter through the front door. Those who did not have residence or credentials as a performer would pay an admission fee. After walking along the edge of the performance area we would go through another door connecting with the residence area. On the first floor of this area was the warm up room where performers would chat or people would play chess.
One friday Evening I had gone to get a coke from the Pop Machine and The owner had finished business for the night and wanted to go to bed. He stepped into the warm up room and said "Who will take responsibility for turning out the lights. He was ignored. He repeated the question. I watched from the hall as he overturned the chess board drove the people out, turned off the lights himself and went to bed. When all was quiet I went in flipped on the light, found the chess pieces and put them in their box then turned off the lights again and went to bed myself. Saturday Evening I happened to be one of the people at the chess board when the time came for Tom to go to bed. He locked up the performance area stuck his head in the door and bellowed Who will take responsibility for the Lights? I jumped up from the chess board and said I will take the responsibility.
He paused a second surprized that I had responded. Then he said OK there's this one and the rest rooms. I'm going to bed. Then he turned and walked upstairs and I returned to my chess game. My opponent was so unnerved that he quickly lost the game.
I still play chess occassionally but in all these years I have never become any good at it. I remember I spent three nights memorizing the Knight and bishop mate and One of the guitarists said that if he studied his guitar playing as hard as I studied my chess he would become a famous performer. I have even forgotten what his name was.
I still look fondly back to those days. I was very sad to recieve the news 1n 1988 that the place had burned down. I was living then in Melborne Florida and drove to beaux arts for one final visit before the wrecking balls arrived. I saw first hand the blackened shell of the house with the gardens still intact. I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings.