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Help Dig Out The Black Cat on 14th Street Saturday

by Prince Of Petworth February 13, 2010 at 1:58 pm 18 Comments


From Neal Becton of Som Records:

“Neal Becton is calling all shovelers to come down to the Black Cat today and help us dig out some more space in front of the club so we can have a dealer unloading area for the record fair tomorrow. Merci!

Right now there are two four foot wide paths from the sidewalk to the Cat. In the next few hours (and once some customers leave the shop) I’m going to hollow out one or two more. Would love a little help so we could clear the whole thing.”

  • ogden

    Isn’t this a for-profit business? Why are they asking for volunteer labor?

  • Neal – Som Records

    The Black Cat isn’t asking for this help, I am (I sent out the call for help on my own). The Cat has cleared their sidewalk and some of the berms between the sidewalk and the street. I (one of the organizers of tomorrow’s record fair) am just trying to get a bigger unloading area for the over 25 dealers we have coming (many from out of state). Any appreciated and not really expected.

  • Martha

    Ogden: All of DC still has 2 – 6 foot burms of snow blocking traffic lanes, sidewalks, bus stops and parking spaces.

    Why can’t an event that brings local business to our neighborhood (which is needed after missing so many revenue days from the very snow that caused the current burms) ask for additional help beyond the folks who work at the venue (who have their own digging needs both at work and at home)? All kinds of people are helping each other dig out, mostly volunteer. We’ve shoveled our walk way beyond our own house, how is this request for help any different? Help DC put a good foot forward for some of the out of town venders and patrons who are driving to DC for this event.

    Besides, the Black Cat is an excellent citizen among local businesses, they could use a break on digging out.

  • Neal – Som Records

    Had a few helpers, thanks!
    Thank you POP for helping get the word out! Its tough coordinating 25 vendors with no loading dock access and waist high snow and ice blocking the sidewalks. Enough of my belly-aching, please come by tomorrow and hang out (and maybe buy a record or two).

  • Matvey

    Black Cat’s sidewalk looked pretty normal when I walked past yesterday. Isn’t the record company putting on this fair also a for-profit business? If the organizer wants some help running his for-profit event, I’m available at a reasonable per-hour price.

    • x

      this person is clueless

  • Neal – Som Records

    Thanks for supporting the neighborhood Matvey. Its folks like you that give Washington its reputation for cynicism.
    There is no “record company” sponsoring this. Its my store and three individual record collectors who work for free. The fair barely (and not always) breaks even after all our costs are factored in. Yes the vendors (and yes I’ll have a table) and the venue make some money but we’re basically doing this as a labor of love. I could make a lot more money doing something other than running a small independent record store believe me. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for over 22 years and wanted to give something back to the neighborhood in addition to doing as well doing something I love. I still love it and hope to be here for a while.
    The next time I ask for neighborhood help I’ll do it privately because there are way too many cynics and haters on (even the best) blogs..

  • neener

    Usually record pressing plants are located outside of major cities, like around Nashville, TN where the country music is. How did the ANC approve this industrial record pressing plant for 14th st and won’t they run afoul of the union by requesting free snowshovels? This just sounds fishy.

  • Jim

    Can’t wait for the record fair tomorrow! I was wondering how you guys were going to load in. I know the alley is wrecked and saw the wall of snow between the sidewalk and street this morning. My neighbor was out with an ice axe this afternoon, I’ll see if I can borrow it and swing by in the a.m.

  • Not a Communist

    You are a for profit venture. Maybe you can’t afford to pay people, but you should at least offer some sort of discount to people who help instead of calling them cynics for pointing out that you are asking people to work for free so you can profit. “I can make more money elsewhere” isn’t a reason other people should do your work for you. So instead of helping my neighbors or some elderly person or doing work for an ACTUAL CHARITY I should help you lower your overhead. Maybe you should try renting a snowblower.

    • neener

      um, how is a for-profit venture trying to maximize their profit via “community marketing” not uber capitalist?

      you call yourself “not a communist” but then you kind of write like a communist. what’s up with that?

  • E-Rich

    I went to this today, and enjoyed the record fair. But come on, Black Cat was charging $2 at the door to get in, and it seems to me that 25 vendors and Black Cat employees could have easily handled this all by themselves if they were really motivated to get out there and earn everyone’s business. This was an unnecessary post.

  • oh yeah

    And they talk about the lack of DIY community around here. Pusssh.

  • kan’t

    can’t ya’ll just say “no” instead of being whiny philosopher pricks?

  • Matvey

    Proprietor gave philosophical reason why we should volunteer for his entity, I gave philosophical reason why I said “no.” BTW, who kept the $2 admission fee?

  • Neal – Som Records

    The $2 fee was split between the Cat and the organizers. Our half went mostly to cover expenses. We’re going to take our share of the surplus (we had more attendees than we expected) and put it towards the next show which should be in June.
    I’ll never ask for volunteers again!

  • Vinyl Fan


    Totally reasonable request and I’m glad there were enough folks willing to lend a hand.

    I miss rummaging through wax and commend your commitment. It’s great that you were able to hold this event at all (I spent Sun. hosting my toddler’s birthday party). Good to see there was enough support for this event to happen and be a success.

    I don’t get the nasty comments at all

    Not a cynic in DC

  • Mr. WTF?

    I am amazed that every single one of you here is misguided. Clearing safe pathways to his business was ENTIRELY Black Cat owner Dante’s responsibility. He should have had the shoveling work professionally done (i.e. paid someone to do it) a week+ ago.
    The Black Cat hit record attendance numbers and did a brisk business at the bar.
    Instead a promoter using the owner’s venue had to take on the responsibility himself.
    There is no way to justify this negligence by calling on community responsibility.


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