By Michael Eilers
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tucson has a new late-night hangout for those tired of the espresso-and-cheesecake routine: this cafe serves up attitude and art in equal doses. Last Saturday night saw the grand opening of the DPC Cafe, an annex of the alternative performance haven known as the Downtown Performance Center.
The performances at the grand opening varied from the merely unique to the truly bizarre. "The Small Band" opened the show with fierce vocals and lead guitar from the 8-year-old singer, followed by a half-dozen performances ranging from spoken word to the enigmatic blues shuffle of Doo Rag. One thing is for certain: the shows happening at the DPC Cafe are unlike anything else in Tucson.
Nadia Hagen, who books bands and performers for the cafe, wants it to stay that way. "The opening was really chaotic, crazy, the way it was meant to be," Hagen said.
Once a bar known as "Tally Ho," the DPC Cafe is now a bright, garish carnival of colors and sounds. Artwork from local artists and students covers the walls, decadent vinyl-upholstered booths hug one wall, and the ruddy tones of bare brick add to the atmosphere.
Along with the requisite cafe fare, including muffins, sandwiches, coffee, and soda, the menu features a few politically-correct selections such as vegetarian burgers on Small Planet Bakery bread. The prices are excellent, with specials every night and 25-cent refills on coffee.
Acquired two years ago by Steve Eye and Bruce Momich, the bar needed major renovations and cleanup before it became the DPC Cafe. Along with a small grill and some refrigerators, the Cafe has a record store in the back (stocked with vinyl LPs) and some very clean bathrooms.
Hagen visualizes the bar as a place to allow crossover between diverse groups of people.
The cafe will also be a place where artists can try new material and gain stage experience.
"I want things to be nuts, for people to have a place where they can really push it, and a place where they can suck, where they have room to grow," Hagen said.
A schedule of performances hasn't been set, but Hagen would like to see shows every night. Bigger performances will be saved for the weekends, with spoken word on Tuesdays and special events on Sunday.
"Cabaret Margritte is also happening here, and we want some of everything Ä even one-act plays" Hagen said. Artwork on the walls will be changed every three to four months, and anyone can offer works for exhibition.
Two years in the making, the DPC Cafe is destined to become a part of the Tucson night scene, more angst-ridden than Denny's and up all night.
The Downtown Performance Center is at 546 N. Stone, on the corner north of the DPC. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 a.m., call 882-4488 for information.
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