"Save the Warehouse" campaign!

 Warehouse Alliance Mission Statement“The Warehouse Alliance will support and promote the growth of the music & arts community of the Greater Coulee Region through events, shows, workshops, classes, volunteerism, and immersive learning opportunities.”   
The Warehouse resides in La Crosse, Wisconsin. It is a non-profit, for all-ages concert venue located in the heart of downtown on the historic Pearl Street. The Warehouse is also known for its long history of concerts since the early 1990s with the likes of Everclear, Fall Out Boy, All-Star Weekend, and Hawthorne Heights, just to name very few bands that have performed here. There have been over 6,000 bands that have performed in this particular venue.  

What is so special about this venue? Well, it stands against the same stigma of the town it resides in that I stand against. As Wisconsin sits at the #3 spot for the most bar per capita in states, La Crosse is well-known for the largest bar per capita city in the United States. Even before the ban of smoking in bars and restaurants was passed in 2010 here in Wisconsin, the Warehouse stayed smoke free.  As I am coming up to my one-year anniversary of sobriety, I am celebrating by reaching out to the Warehouse crew, who are working hard to save this precious historical place. There are not many venues or places in La Crosse, let alone Wisconsin, like the Warehouse.  It truly is a one of a kind.  

I think the coolest part of this concert venue is the availability of soda pops it holds. The Warehouse stocks over 75 types of soda pops from all over the World from countries like Japan, Canada, Ireland, England, etc. It’s almost like the sober-edition of the tavern, Bodega, here in La Crosse.  
As great as the story and history is with the Warehouse, each story has a climax. Right now, the Warehouse is at its own climax with their current financial situation as a non-profit organization. The owners are being threatened by the bank to put up the good fight, so they can turn the venue into condos downtown. Unfortunately, the climax is at the tip of the iceberg, as the deadline of October 19th is coming to a close for donations and the mission to “Save the Warehouse.”   
I talked with Steve Harm and asked him a few questions on the mission and the concert venue:

Please, share with us your story and how the Warehouse got started? 
During high school (in the late 70s, early 80s) I was in a local band, and we had nowhere to play.  So we toured quite a bit, across the US, released some records, and finally put it to rest in the late 80s.  I took a job working for a sound company, doing everything from announcement systems at demolition derbys to auction systems in pig barns at fairgrounds to full concert systems for events.  Between gigs I would hang out in the basement of a building in downtown La Crosse, where a couple buddies had a tanning salon.  One day I asked them if they had keys to the upstairs. I loved old buildings, and thought it would be fun to explore.  Once I got inside I feel in love with the woodwork and the spaciousness, but especially the big open room upstairs.  Then something clicked in my head and a little voice said “How hard could it be to open a venue?”  That little voice was mighty inexperienced. 

1.  When and if the Warehouse is saved and given another chance, do you have a new rendition or plans in the making to draw in more crowds and possibly older crowds, so the kids you draw in has older influences?   We have never really focused on “kids” past the age of 20, because this town grabs kids after high school and chews them up.  The lure of booze, which is EVERYWHERE, is too hard for us to compete with once kids hit that age.  While they are in high school, we can make a difference. But once they move out on their own, the pressure from media, peers, and every business (from grocery store to restaurant), billboards, sporting events…. EVERYTHING tells them to drink.  We can only do so much.  That being said, we DO get plenty of kids over 18 in the venue, and they’re not drunk, because they know we can and will throw them out.  We won’t mix drunks with kids, unlike some other venues that do all-ages and simultaneously sell alcohol.  That has never worked anywhere that I have been — kids are always peer-pressured into drinking, and they find a way.  We bring in big older bands like Meat Puppets, Frank Black, etc., and the crowd can range from 14 to 50.  They’ll have at least two things in common: they love music, and they won’t be drunk. 

2.   As I research your history of concerts, I am aware that majority of the bands you book are of the Rock genre. Do you ever consider booking other artists, of other genres, who support the same mission as you do with the existence of the Warehouse?  That’s another misconception about the Warehouse: its all metal.  We had someone complaining online about that a couple months ago, and I pointed out that within a month of that complaint, we had metal, rock, alternative, ska, punk, acoustic singer songwriter, and Americana bands.  The thing that limits us a bit is that we are at the mercy of whomever is touring.  We can’t just book local bands every week — those locals will burn themselves out, no one will come see them, then we kill the scene instead of growing it.  Left to their own devices, local bands will play 7 nights a week all over town, and destroy themselves quickly.  We try really hard to manage that. Close-minded bands think we’re meddling in their business, but eventually the ones who survive thank us.  In a town this small, managing the scene is critical, and other venues usually could care less about the big picture.  I find it incredibly important.  We like to help up and coming national bands on their tours, and add local bands to the shows.  The local bands (if they have not overplayed) help with the draw, and they get a fantastic opportunity to befriend national touring bands and learn about what it really takes to succeed.  The national bands that come through are everything across the board from That 1 Guy to Born Of Osiris.   

3.  Ever considered also to expand the business to the likes of an “Open Mic” for local artists? Root Note has an open mic.  We can let them deal with that.  Since they’ve opened, we have tended to send a lot of the acoustic type stuff to them anyways.  It just works better there, unless it’s a Teddy Geiger or Ari Herstand etc. 

4.  What other non-profit organizations and/or charities is the Warehouse known to collaborate with? In the past we have donated to WAFER FOOD PANTRY, COULEE REGION HUMANE SOCIETY, CHILDREN’S MIRACLE NETWORK, JAYCEES, UNITED WAY, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY, HABITAT FOR HUMANITY, SALVATION ARMY, SIERRA CLUB, WORLD WILDLIFE FUND, WISCONSIN PUBLIC RADIO, MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO, YWCA 

5.  Other than donations, what other options are there to help meet your goal in the “Save the Warehouse” campaign?   To meet our goal right now, which is intended to stall the foreclosure proceedings and keep the bank at bay, the ONLY thing that is going to have any significant difference is monetary donations.   

6.  Is there anything we can do between the deadline of October 19th – 31st, i.e. continue donations outside of Pay Pal? If so, where can we send those donations?    At the last bank meeting (yesterday) the Bankers set the next meeting for Nov 6, so we will continue fundraising as long as possible, and try to pay down some of the back taxes and mortgage payments.  There are vulture developers already eyeing this building without any concern whatsoever for the history and impact of the Warehouse.  We’re fighting to save that. 

7.  And last, but in my own eyes, most importantly, remind us, in your own words, why the Warehouse should be saved?   Well in a city full of alcoholics, we are an oasis for kids to not feel any pressure whatsoever to drink.  Over the past 2 decades, we have also been a place where kids who aren’t into high school sports or high school music programs or other school activities to come and find a sense of community with like-minded kids.  For those kids, we ARE their baseball field or football field or showchoir room.  It would be easy to sit up on our high horse trumpeting how important the Warehouse was, without anything to back it up.  But we’ve been here for 22 years.  Warehouse Kids from the early 90s are bringing THEIR kids here now.  The kind of comments that were coming in during the fundraiser, from kids would been a part of the Warehouse for 4-6 years, then moved on, but wanted to reflect back with us on how important it was to them, was staggering.  Kids who were now in their 30s and their entire current circle of friends were people they met at the Warehouse.  Kids who met someone at the Warehouse who they are now married to.  It is a community for misfits and “normal” kids, where everyone can fit in and feel at home and enjoy great bands and most of all, discover who they are.  
8.  Anything else you want to add, Steve? Only that we have a really solid plan for our 501c# Warehouse Alliance non-profit, but that the non-profit is irrelevant if we cannot get past the current financial troubles.  Fundraising now is our biggest priority, and we all hate having to do it.  

 
As the time runs low, we can only hope for a miracle right now for the “Save the Warehouse” campaign. If you support for a more positive influence and for a strong music bond for the younger generations, head to the following link,  Save The Warehouse, and give any donation as low as $5. Every dollar counts for this precious moment. I want to thank Steve Harm for taking the time to answer my questions for my readers and fans out there, so I can spread the news and lighten intentions to help with the mission.

 

Until next time,

H.M. Gautsch

Wolfe Chronicles presents… "The Lost Daughter"

  Wolfe Chronicles Presents:
“The Lost Daughter”
Written By: H.M. Gautsch


This new short story series is a spin-off of the hot series of “La Femme Nikita”. This new twist in the world of Section will surely keep you on the edge of your seats or so I hope! This story takes place during the events of Michael & Nikita going rouge in Season 4 of #LFN, so they will be mentioned, but not in the story itself. I took the privilege to focus more on Operations’ and Madeline’s secretive love affair and made it my own, in the eyes of Alison “Ally” Wolfe 🙂 
*Disclaimer: Infringement not intended. Character names owned by La Femme Nikita Production & USA Network. Most of the terms are known terms based off the show, if you want a resource of what a word means, you can visit the LFN Forever website’s encyclopedia at     http://lfnforever.tripod.com/id36.htm.
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Chapter One: The Introduction
Hello. My name is Ally, short for Alison, Wolfe. I question everyday why I was stuck living a nightmare. I’m always on the run like a true hobo. Do I approve of this life?  No. Can I change it? No. How does one with very successful parents end up on the streets as the folks who are supposed to nurture you are abandoning you for their own protection and supposedly yours? My father is Paul, the Operations of Section One. My mother is Madeline, the Head Strategist of Section One. What is Section One you may ask? Well supposedly there is a counter terrorism organization above Interpol in this twisted World and Section One is a part of it. The organization is one of the most successful branches of the mother ship called Oversight. George runs Oversight and my mother reminded me in the past that if George finds out about my existence, not only are my parents going to be burned to ashes, but so am I. So not only is my existence a ghost to terrorists Worldwide, but also to the one man I should fear the most aside from my father. So how do I stay so low key and avoid any confrontation from the parents? I live on the streets and bounce from city to city, until further notice.
I guess it is part of conditioning me for the “survival of the fittest” of this World. The Darwinism of humanity, so to speak, until the time comes where I can live out my own actual dreams of being just a common city cop in the Bronx, my hometown, as well as, my old man’s hometown. Living on the streets sucks, especially when you have to beg and plead for a dollar just to make sure you eat at night or if you are lucky, you can get a five dollar or a ten to get a new shirt or pair of pants. It’s my life. I try to make the best of it. Enough of this pity shit, though. Let’s get on with the story.
Oh great, my brother, Stephen, is coming to visit me.
“Ally!” Stephen yells from the end of the street. I open my eyes and lift the blanket to vision the cardboard box around me just to remind me the luxury my family has while I struggle for survival. Well, this blows.
Agitated by the wake-up call, I reply, “What the hell do you want, Stephen!?”
“Just a small gift for you,” he replies. “Now come out of there.”
See, what people don’t understand. Father has strictly made it clear that Stephen isn’t allowed to assist in my living, but small gifts won’t hurt the factor. The small things have made my life a bit easier. Stephen has given me my companion and guardian, who I named Jax, a Rottweiler. Stephen will sometimes loan me the money to give Jax his essentials as well like dog food, enough money for a vet visit, etcetera. Stephen also has hooked me up with my small MP3 player. You’d think we’d be a bit more high-tech considering the resources that were possibly available for us.
I make my way out of my so-called home, as Jax follows me close.  Jax and I walk towards Stephen at the end of the alley where I have been staying the past month. As I walk up to a familiar face, a feminine face appears from the darkness behind Stephen. Jax starts growling at the woman who comes out into the street light. Starting from the ground, as my eyes scan the woman, I notice the all black business attire, from high heels, to the fancy dress, the long trench coat. Then I look at myself as in a comparison. The ripped, faded blue jeans and 80s style sweater and my beanie hat to keep my head warm at night. Damn. I can’t help but wonder what Stephen got himself into this time.
“Who is this, Stephen?” I didn’t hesitate to get the conversation started.
Stephen remains silent as the woman walks closer to me. Jax backs up a bit to be imitated by the woman, but continues to growl at his own expense.
“Heal, Jax.” I demanded. Jax sits, but keeps his eyes on the woman.
            “Alison.” The woman spoke with no hesitation.
The first thing that came into thought was the only person who called me by my first name. Then and there I knew who the woman was.
“Mother, is that really you?” I replied.
“Yes, Alison, it is.” After Madeline replied to me, she turned her attention towards my brother. “Stephen, make sure security is established at all angles.”
            “Yes, Ma’am.” Stephen replies.
“What is going on?” I helped myself into the conversation with curiosity and concern.
“We need to take all precaution prior to our meeting. You need to listen, Alison. This is not what I want for you. This homelessness you are experiencing was not any of our intentions, but in order to assure your protection, your father and I had to take extreme measures. Do you understand?” My mother explained.
            “Somewhat, but why come to me now? What’s the difference?”
“Things are changing in Section One. I can’t explain it now, but someday I hope I will be able to explain all the events and bring you out of the shadows.”
“So now what, is it time to relocate me to a new city or a new country?” I replied.
            “Possibly, but that is only if you are ready. Only one condition, get rid of the dog.”
Jax stands up and starts to growl at the woman.
“I don’t think that is a good idea.” I replied as I looked down at Jax, being just as bit disturbed about the request Madeline is making.
“I’ll take him.” Stephen smoothly joined the conversation. Madeline and I turned and looked at Stephen. “It’s either that or putting him down and I don’t want that.” He added.
Is this for real? What is going on in my own world? Is this really reality? Am I awake? I pinch my face to make sure because one moment I was homeless and the next my own mother comes out of the blue and just throws a life’s chance in the air like there was no tomorrow. Hell, we only live once right?
“Fine. I’ll do it, but I will have visitation rights, Stephen.”
            “It’s a deal.” Stephen suggested a hand shake to seal the deal as he offered his hand towards mine. I hesitantly returned the favor. The shake was formed.
Chapter Two: A New World
Mother, Stephen and I stroll in an emergency pace into Section One, where the first person we see was my profound father, Paul Wolfe, or as the Section One operatives would call him, Operations. He was pacing the hallway outside the entrance point like a nervous dog. Father didn’t waste any time when entering himself into a conversation with my mother.
            “What the hell are they doing here!?”
            “It’s time, Paul.”
Father stopped his pacing right in front of mother and studied intensely into her face.
“Not as long as George is still around, Madeline. We already have too much on our hands with Michael and Nikita on rouge!”
Stephen interrupts, “Whoa. Nikita and Michael flew the chicken coop!?”
Father didn’t hesitate to change his focus on Stephen.
“I suggest, Stephen that you go on your way for now.”
Stephen exchanges looks with mother before she supported father’s comment.
            “It’s okay, Stephen. I’ll take it from here.”
Stephen turns himself around and leaves Section out of the entrance/exit access. I was keeping my mouth shut, so I didn’t receive any backlash from the old man.  Stephen warned me about this personality, and now I see where my snaps come from now. All I can think of now as mother continue to exchange words with father, Great, I am in a family of snapping turtles, always snapping at each other.
Mother finalizes the discussion with my father by cutting him off in his rants.
            “Alison has been living on the streets for years now, she needs to be cleaned up, dressed and fed a hot meal. She’ll be in the tower with me whether you like it or not, Paul. I suggest you get use to your daughter now.”
            Mother switched her attention to me.
            “Come on, Alison. I’ll give you a tour after you’re cleaned up.”
            I still remained with my mouth closed, however exchanged looks with my father as I followed my mother down the hallway towards her office. I was day dreaming of the days I was living on the streets. Suddenly, I hear my name.
            “Alison. You okay?”
            I did notice her leverage she does have on father, and even though he didn’t show directly, he does respect her choices in Section. I perk up to become alert towards reality again. I was a bit hesitating to reply to her, but I did, respectfully.
            “I am fine. Just adjusting and observing this new World you have introduced me in.”
            As we walk by the Communication Center, I noticed a cute, young nerdy techy working away. He looked up from his computer screen and closely watched my mother and I walk by. I passed with a slight smile at him.
            When we walked into the tower, it was like a huge wardrobe closet. I swore a billionaire could comfortably live in this place. It was beautiful though. I stopped in my tracks to take in the scenery and scent of cedar wood surrounding the room. Mother reached her desk and turned around to watch me as I close my eyes and expand my arms. This wasn’t just an old cardboard box down an ally. It was an actual room in an actual building that I never been able to experience before. It felt good to finally be home with my family.
            I opened my eyes and looked over at my mother. She had a smile on her face just by watching me absorb the moment of serenity in my Savior’s presence, my own mother. With no words, I returned the smile.  Mother than grabbed a towel and showed me a new outfit of mine sitting on her desk that she was leaning on.  She tossed the towel at me, as I caught it.
            “If you have any questions, you can push this button here on the desk and that will page me. Take your time, if you want. Just let me know when you are done and we can eat dinner.”
Mother helps herself out of the tower and closes the door. I look around the room once again and walk through the numerous racks of clothes as my fingertips embrace the tingle of the numerous materials the clothes collection are made of. Then I make my way to the clothes she sets out for me. I also noticed the high heels. I’ve never walked in them before and not about to start, so I walk over to the shoe section in the wardrobe fiasco and found the most comfortable shoes I could find. I guess I have a lot to teach my mother about her daughter and the compliment of switching shoes is one place to start. 

Chapter Three: A Quick Discovery
I make my way down the hallway of Section to meet with my father in his office called “The Perch”, which overviews all of Section and its operatives from one area. “The Perch” is kind of a neat outlook in my eyes. Now, I see how he can easily feel like he owns the world. 
I stop at the doorway to await the permission of my presence.
            “Come on in, Alison.” My father announces.
I walk into the room and look directly out to the rest of Section, as to observe the scenery from my father’s point of view. My eyes shift over to the old man, who has his arms crossed over his chest and his eyes focus on me, all awhile he is leaning on the rail that is in front of the window that oversees the operation down below.
“You have come in a very complicated time, Alison.” 
“Please, call me Alley and I am not the one that requested this.”
“Never mind who idea it was, Alley is. I was just merely informing you that it’s going to be a bit chaotic for the time being, while we play family catch-up. I have two operatives on rogue and George breathing down my neck with this current event.”
I didn’t hesitate a response to my father. I wasn’t to let him talk down on me. 
“Listen, dad. Is it okay if I call you dad? I been living in a cardboard box, for who knows how long, to protect you and Mother? Ironically I get brought in when two operatives, who are probably the best you ever had, have gone rogue? George is breathing down your neck? Geez, I wonder why!”
I paused for a minute to examine his reaction and then continued onto the conversation.
“Don’t huff and puff down my back, like George is doing to you, Paul. I am not your puppet, like the rest of these operatives. I am your daughter, so don’t take it out on me. There has to be some kind of reason Mother brought me in.”
“There is.” My mother replied as she entered into the conversation. “Paul, the best weapon than an operative that fears us, is an operative that doesn’t fear us. We need her in Section.”
My father just started grinning at my mother like a sadistic cat that had a plan. I was kind of concerned with his reply.
            “Perhaps your right, Madeline, for if not fears us, than she shall not fear George or Oversight and possibly Mr. Jones.”     
“That is my point exactly.” My mother replies with her own smile.
My thoughts started going at a hundred miles per hour, for I didn’t know what to think at this point, but it sounds like my parents are from a coo-coo’s nest, out in the middle of nowhere. I had the look of concern on my face while I exchanged looks between my mom and my dad.
“First lesson, Alison, you will no longer be suggesting the name Ally. Your name is Alison. Second lesson, Alison, you will learn to trust us. Third lesson, Alison, you will learn to wear high heels.”
Well, my life just flew the coup right at this very moment. Let me give her my two cents.
“Well, this is just going to, suck.”
My father smirks at my response and adds his own, “Since Nikita is on rogue with Michael; we will have to improvise on the trainer then for her.”
“I’ll do it, Paul.” My mom responses. “You worry about finding the other two, I’ll worry about her.”
It’s just what I need right now, is bonding time with my own mother, as she forces me into clothes and shoes I have never pictured myself to wear. Well, this should be fun. There is nothing like living the dream that is not yours. I guess I have to learn to make it and shape it to be mine if I want to survive. 

Chapter Four: Training In A Nutshell
  I been months into training to act and think like an operative that my father is hoping for out of me. I have met Walter and Birkoff. Birkoff is my Communications trainer, and Walter lets me play with his weapon collection from time to time. The worst part of the day is when mom likes to think twelve hours a day, seven days a week, isn’t enough training for me. The only advantage of this is I get higher training on higher levels of security than the average recruit who is introduce to our world. I hear my mom mumbling something in the distance, as she is trying to teach me the world of fashion. I am falling asleep, trying to battle my eyes to stay awake or at least look like I am paying attention. Then, I hear my name.
            “Alison.”
            “Yes, Mom?” I reply.
“Are you okay?” She continues on.
“I don’t know. I been up since 0400 hours, spent four hours with Birkoff, eight hours with Walter, and now two hours with you playing the role of the fashion police. Maybe, just maybe, I could be ready for sleep?” I insist.
I get an unappreciated facial remark, but also a silent response from my mom. I guess she just been awoken to my sarcasm and cranky ness from being over worked in one day, but can you blame me? I feel I have become a slave to my own family. I feel they are pushing me beyond my capabilities at this point. I continue on to ease the point I am trying to come across.
“Mom, I have learned to love you, but I am dying here. I haven’t had a day off since you brought me in. I want, no let me rephrase that, I need to go see Jax and Stephen. I need a day off before you kill your own daughter off.”
Before my mom can reply, her phone rings. She walks behind her desk and answers with one simple word.
“Yes.” She answers.
I observe her body language as she is talking on the phone. Her body remains still. She is good, I can give her that. One of the first lessons with succeeding in an operative status is not to give away your posture and remain calm.
“Thank you.” Was all my Mother expresses in the conversation and then hangs up the phone. She goes back to focusing on our conversation with no hesitation.
“You can take a few days off next week, Alison, but I need you to work through the rest of the week.”
“What was the phone call about, Mom?” I just have a sense something more is going on with my recruitment into the Section. My intuition speaks on higher volumes than my own voice sometimes.  
“The operatives who are rogue at the current moment have been spotted, but we won’t make a move, yet.” She pauses as she examines my tired eyes. “Any more questions?”
“I only request the permission to be dismissed for the evening, please.”

            My mom sighs at my request, but gives in.
           “Yes. Report back to me at 0500 tomorrow.”