Friday, June 1, 2012

Bye Bye Bohemia

Cafe Bohemia is changing hands. After 8+ years and struggling with the lean economy, Matt Neal, Bonnie and Candice will be moving on to other things. It is difficult to convey what a shining spot this was at one time. This gifted group of people created far more than just a cafe with excellent foods and drink. They did the nearly impossible: They built community, if not extended family. Bohemia became the nucleus and incubator for creatives in the area. There were the live painting events, where several artists would gather to show how it is done, and the lucky watched and learned first-hand. Many of those artists, people like Moi and Melissa Loera, Christian Thomas, Reid Jenkins, Scott Hillis, Brad Bokay, Alex, and so many others got exposure in the courtyard and in the walls of the cafe which served as a gallery which had some fine shows. Bohemia birthed and nurtured many an artist in the area. And behind the counter. Matt "Stoic", to be specific. Once a week, there was movie night, where political and socially conscious movies were shown. Jimmy, his everpresent smile and energies inspired people to become informed, speak out, vote and love the future and each other. Poets gathered and sang and read about what it means to be human. Musicians tried out their newest and filled the courtyard, sometimes to standing room only. Lost-looking teens found solace and love in each other and realigned their lives there. I got it alright, driving there all the way from Tampa a couple of times a week. The place and people were far larger than the sum of its parts. There's other hot venues, and I write about them here, but when Bohemia was at its best, there was nothing else like it. Nothing that felt like home to so many from such a wide variety of backgrounds, talents and needs. I loved the place and the people who made it come alive, and always will. Thank you, Cafe Bohemia, for so many beautiful friendships and evenings. 

I will remember you.

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