The Manium has always been a mystery to me. Though I lived only a stone’s throw from the visually unimpressive building on Olympia’s Fourth Avenue, I never understood exactly how the club ticked. Sometimes I’d hear about the shows at the Manium. Sometimes they just seemed to happen. Sometimes there were no shows. When the Manium closed early in the year, once again, I had no idea what was going on.
When news broke that the Manium had booked two shows in early April, I decided to take the opportunity to finally figure out the story behind the all-ages warehouse in downtown Oly.
Or at least try.
I spoke with Chris, who’s involved with the Manium, and did not wish to give his last name. Oly’s like that. Chris was able to provide a lot of information:
WEEKLY VOLCANO: Why was the Manium closed? When did it close?
CHRIS: We closed in January in order to make improvements to the show space and to turn another part of the building into something that generates more money than an all-ages venue (a cafe, bar, restaurant, we’re still not entirely sure what it’s going to be). We wanted to make it safer and more aesthetically pleasing. Our goal is to have one of the best venues in the northwest, and when we’re done it will be.
VOLCANO: Why is it re-opening?
CHRIS: For all intents and purposes, we’re not reopening. We booked shows for the first weekend in April (one of which fell through, so there is only the show on the 6th: Joey Casio, Abiku, Moose Giganticus, Murder of Crows and The Blind Physics 9 p.m. $5) to have a test run of the new set-up. There are still a few changes that need to be made and quite a few finishing touches.
VOLCANO: What has changed?
CHRIS: I’m not going to give any of that away. You’re just going to have to wait and see.
VOLCANO: Who books it?
CHRIS: Different people rent the space every night and throw events. We, the Manium Collective, simply facilitate this by organizing the calendar and staffing every event. As the new space progresses, we will be doing more in-house booking.
VOLCANO: How does the Manium operate? Can anyone have a show there?
CHRIS: Manium is an all ages, collectively organized music and performance venue. We created Manium in order to provide a sustainable and well run performance space for the underground community, with rental costs low enough for touring and non-touring acts to get a little money to help sustain their art. MANIUM DOES NOT SUPPORT SEXIST, RACIST OR HOMOPHOBIC EVENTS. We are here to support underground music and art, not to be an extension of mainstream culture. We’re here for the weirdoes, freaks, gays, lesbians, trans, homeless, and various other downtrodden and maligned members of our society.
[Manium, Joey Casio, Abiku, Moose Giganticus, Murder of Crows, The Blind Physics, Friday, April 6, 9 p.m., all ages, $5, 421 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia, www.myspace.com/ manium]