At his antique shop Viracocha, Jonathan Siegel has strived to offer a space for the art community in the Mission. In doing so, the business has struggled to pay its large rent every month. To cope with the expenses, Siegel and his new business partner, Norah Hoover, will begin the process of converting the secret basement into a legitimate venue. To mark this endeavor, they’re having a only sorta-kinda, secret party today.
Siegel said previously that the process of going through the Entertainment Commission to acquire permits required someone to be at the head of the operation–and he didn’t want to keep being that person.
The retail space that businesses like Viracocha and Lost Weekend on Valencia Street occupy poses a difficult journey in how to keep them afloat amidst high rents and a lack of patronizing. It doesn’t mean that the businesses are not appreciated by the neighborhood; they simply can’t make enough money. And so they have gone on to expand their business, as Lost Weekend has struggled to do with the Cinecave and Viracocha with their basement venue. As we reported earlier:
But the video store [Lost Weekend], which has been operating on 1034 Valencia Street since 1997, does get its fair share of love from the neighborhood. To combat falling revenues and expand beyond video rentals, they opened the Cinecave, a 25-person, micro-theater downstairs from the video store. They asked for community support by way of Kickstarter in 2012. The campaign asked for just $4,000 to create the Cinecave, but nearly 200 backers raised more than $9,000. Operating the Cinecave kept them in business by bringing people to screenings almost every night of the week.
However, Hoover seems to have filled in the gaps at Viracocha. After having been closed for remodeling since June, Viracocha will reopen today with a music performance by Con Brio, a soul and funk band.
The Bold Italic reports that Siegel and Hoover did some remodeling to the basement while the storefront was closed–they have created an evacuation plan and replaced the light fixtures. The business will focus on renting out the space and on holding private events.
Siegel and Hoover both stressed that their recently-approved Place of Entertainment permit was conditional. This means a few city agencies still need to sign off on plumbing, electrical, or other building work. Because of this, they’re hosting the Con Brio show as a private affair. It’s free, but requires a mandatory RSVP.
They plan to reopen the store as soon as possible but haven’t set a date yet. After the remodel, they said it will feel less like a crowded antique shop and more like an artist community store.
Today’s event requires you to RSVP since the venue is still kinda secret. Also, shhhhhh.