Nia No Longer
After a decade in business, Nia @ C'est What (the intimate club that launched the career of many a local singer/songwriter) is closing its doors at 19 Church due to a tripling of the venue's rent. Attached to C'est What, but technically in different buildings with different landlords, Nia's lease runs out at the end of August, and landlord Michael Tippin of Tippin Corporation has announced that he plans to jack up his tenant's rent to a whopping $60,000 a year - an outrageous fee for a smallish subterranean space. "It's profits over culture as far as Tippin is concerned," says general manager Brenda Atkinson. "I think it's morally reprehensible."
NOW attempted to contact Michael Tippin, but he was unavailable for comment.
In response, C'est What president George Milbrandt has posted a petition on the club's Web site (www.cestwhat.com/savelivemusic.asp), where more than 100 local music fans have been trying to sway Tippin to reconsider the rent increase. The petition features a variety of Toronto music scene notables including Kurt Swinghammer, Lindy and Karen Pace, offering their 2 cents on the decision. Milbrandt claims some local musicians even offered to buy the building from Tippin Corporation, although, he chuckles, "they have no idea how much it's going to cost!"
For now, Milbrandt insists Nia isn't moving to a new location. "There's not much in the way of openings at the moment. It would be a shame to throw it all away though, so we'll see."
The Barenaked Ladies, Ron Sexsmith and Sarah Slean have all performed at Nia. Check www.cestwhat.com for more information about Nia's music programming over the month of August. There will be swan songs performed by a slew of performers from the club's past and present and a final show on August 21.