Varsity Theater Under Scrutiny

Protesters call for boycott of the Minneapolis music venue after the owner is accused of multiple counts of sex abuse.

A beautiful venue, a great restaurant and an allegedly dark backstory.

Current owner of The Varsity Theater and Loring Pasta Bar, Jason McLean has four civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of minors at the Children’s Theater Company during the ’70s and ’80s, when he worked as an actor and teaching artist.

14445261_1204394236283429_1625766846_nAccording to the Star Tribune, the women have recently come forward due to a change in the way sexual abuse cases involving a minor were handled under the Minnesota Child Victims Act. Originally, the women would have been turned away by police because of the law previously in place stating that all claims of sexual abuse as a minor needed to be filed before the victim is 24 years of age.

With this change in the law, the Sexual Violence Justice Institute informs that “individuals older than 24 at the time of the Child Victim Act enactment (May 25, 2013) have a three-year window of opportunity from the date of enactment to bring their civil claim forward. This window period ended on May 24, 2016.”

Victims of sexual abuse and their supporters called for a boycott of McLean’s businesses. The reality is some people, long aware of rumors, have quietly boycotted the two businesses for years. On September 10, about 40 demonstrators gathered outside the businesses with signs and knowledge to share. According to The Minnesota Daily, the protest was meant to educate the campus community of sexual abuse allegations against the Dinkytown businesses’ owner, Jason McLean, said the organizer Sarah Super.

In wake of the lawsuits against McLean, a handful of acts have decided to switch venues from the Dinkytown venue. Including Warpaint, Against Me!, Baroness and Jake Rudh, a DJ who had often filled the venue with repeat events. Rudh posted to his personal Facebook page in response to the allegations, “the scheduled Transmission event that was to take place on January 27th will now be moved to Clubhouse Jager. The venue of all future monthly themed Transmissions will be determined on a monthly basis.”

The Star Tribune reports Lynn Nyman, senior manager at the Varsity Theater, issued a statement that emphasized the fact the venue’s employees would be hurt most by any boycott. Nyman states “The allegations against Jason McLean are more than 30 years old and are not related to the Varsity or its employees. I ask that the patrons let the legal process take its place which will happen in due time. I ask the patrons to stick with the Varsity, in the meantime, for the sake of the employees.”

Super, in response, noted that the boycotting of the businesses was intended to honor the wishes of survivors. “I have sympathy for the employees who I do believe are innocent and have not participated in any part of the sexual abuse around these victims. I have a lot of sympathy for the people who have come forward … I have no sympathy for Jason McLean,” she said.

With the lawsuits still in limbo, public awareness and justice for the victims are the main goal for the demonstrators. If there is a show at the Varsity that you would like to attend but also want to show support for the victims, the best advice is to let the headlining band or artist know of the accusations ahead of time. This way the act has time to move venues if they so choose. In the end, it is up to you whether you go or not.

Celebrate – Lost In The Wild

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Josh Mellman and his music. Now I want to share what I’ve found with the world.

Lost In The Wild is a one man production and is sprouting his roots from the Midwest. With a lot of soul, some poppy vibes, and a dash of rap, his music is a genre of it’s own.

Give it a listen and tell me what you think!

Listen and Connect:

Celebrate (album) | LITW site | Twitter | Download

Hotline Spring Tour – Concert Review

I attended the Hotline Spring show last night, as Magic Man is one of my top 3 favorite bands, so this review may be a little biased but I will do my best.
HOTLINE SPRING - FL ADD 2This is the first tour back for Magic Man since 3 of the 5 members left. During the long break between tours, Magic Man has been working on a new album and scrounging for new touring members. These members had big shoes to fill and I think they did an awesome job. I’ve seen Magic Man in concert more than a hand full of times, and they never cease to amaze me. Every concert, I see them gain crazy amounts of fans, I’m going to assume it’s for their music and not just their looks.

The Varsity Theater is definitely my favorite venue in the Minnesota, and I was thrilled to see that the concert was being held there.  I love that these bands are still small enough to come hang out with fans after the show and the venue allows it. The popularity of this band may sky rocket soon, so go check them out now and meet them easily while you still can!

During the sets, the audience heard quite a few new songs from both The Griswolds and Magic Man. I have been anticipating both of their albums along with many fans, with their hinting at new music on social media and both bands’ freshman album releases being from 2014.

I had a ton of fun at this concert, personally feeling the kick drum rattle my ribcage for the first time in a long time, was an incredible feeling. I am a concert junkie and although I have recently done a concert review for Vance Joy, the venue and lack of a pit made it feel less like a concert and more like a video. Another reason for my enthusiasm over this is that the show was perfectly placed during my highest stress point in my college career, the fact that I was able to let loose and dance my heart out gave me the release and escape I desperately needed.

Have you been to this tour, what did you think?

Check out the Tour | The Griswolds’ Twitter | Magic Man’s Twitter