Katerina Gaita and a few pals set the ball rolling to attempt saving the Dancing Dog building as a community space/asset little more than a week before the mid-week meeting I attend but the campaign is already gaining momentum.
I filled in the contact form – “How can I help?” – form on the new group’s website and have been duly contacted.
I proffer my services, suggesting that maybe – just maybe – I can offer some help by way of media savvy.
The truth is, though, I feel a bit redundant …
… because the sale of the property at 42 Albert Street and the campaign to keep it “in the community” has already scored the front page splashes of BOTH local newspapers.
Katerina assures me, however, that this is because the story has captured the community’s imagination and not necessarily because of any top-rate media hustle by herself or anyone else.
You can read the Star Weekly story here and the Leader story here.
As well, The Age has also been busy in the form of story in its Domain section, which you can read here.
But time is short as the auction is scheduled for 1pm on Saturday, April 18.
I am one of 13 people who attend the meeting in Seddon and one of only three blokes on hand.
I feel even more out of my depth when the complexities and work involved in setting up such a project – administrative, legal, financial, crowdfunding and more – are grappled with.
Luckily, we have among us a number of what I suspect are very capable community activists and it is all addressed, and roles and aims allocated and decided, within a couple of hours with a minimum of fuss.
There is wine and Easter eggs on hand to grease the wheels.
Everyone is on board but all those present, without exception, have busy lives and a gazillion other things to deal with.
My offer of putting Consider The Sauce at the campaign’s disposal is readily accepted.
So while #letsbuythedog has a Facebook group (see here) and a website (see here), CTS will work as a sort of clearing house – on a needs basis – for news, links to media coverage, stories, comments, conversations and notification of events, happenings and meetings.
Hopefully, we can all have some fun while we’re at it!
So why have I chosen to become in this when so many other similar campaigns have passed me by?
I’m not really sure, to tell you the truth.
I’ve certainly never been a regular habitue of the Dancing Dog.
I think it comes down to a comment left by regular CTS comment-leaver Jane on the Footscray eats goss post I put up a week or so ago:
“It’s going to kinda suck when Footscray is just another Yarraville…”
The group as whole, however, is determined that the campaign be promoted as community-positive rather than anti-development.
Check out the real estate listing for the property here.
“It’s going to kinda suck when Footscray is just another Yarraville…” Yup. Look what happened to St George’s theatre in Yarraville. I don’t think that development is at all beneficial to the community, culture and heritage of the Village. Although I imagine it’s been financially very beneficial to the developers.
I love the Dancing Dog. It’s one of the few places in the West that has a regular poetry gig, and they’ve certainly helped keep Westword poetry alive over the years. It’s also a gallery, where local artists can exhibit their work, and a great live music venue. Moreover, it’s historically significant-it’s an architecturally sound Edwardian building and there aren’t too many like it left. It’s got a lovely beer garden, bar and cafe and it’s a really friendly, community minded venue. If it goes the way of the St George development, it will be a real loss to the local Footscray community, particularly to the local artists.
I saw a piece on this on the ABC news last night and thought of you Kenny. Good luck to all involved.