The Strange Range Tweetup: the aftermath

The Strange Range tweetup featuring the styling talents of the late Edward Hopper!

The Strange Range tweetup featuring the styling talents of the late Edward Hopper!

The Strange Range Tweetup is history; the question now is, will the Strange Range be?

YOU can help answer that question by showing up at City Hall on Monday, August 22nd, 7pm sharp, when there will be a public meeting on the bylaw to buy the entire block. Here’s the sign that was hanging by the bar; once I explained what we were there for, the bartender practically begged us to take pictures.

Strange Range Hearing Monday at 7pm

Strange Range Hearing Monday at 7pm

I called the tweetup to hear the stories of the Range, to get a real sense of its history and what it means to the town. Unfortunately, literally everyone else who showed up showed up for the same reason, not because they had stories to share. That’s unusual, given that some of them are lifelong Knifers.

If you have a story, even an apocryphal one, about the Range, please please please PRETTY PLEASE post it in the comments (you can use a fake name: what the hell do I care, I’m not Google+) or hunt me down in person and whisper it to me, but if you do that you’re probably gonna hafta buy me a martini to calm my nerves down, and if you REALLY alarm me, probably a couple for yourself, too, besides the wound dressing for the compound fractured arm.

But where was I? Oh yes. As you can see from the slideshow below and the pix on Flickr, we didn’t exactly have to fight for space. The crowd outside was, as the bartender pointed out, about twice the size of the crowd inside; the Range has a problem like the Carnegie Centre in Vancouver: the scary throngs that block the door and hang out on the sidewalk, looking for all the world as if they’re going to pounce on you. And they might, too.

If it didn’t get down to -40, I’d suggest putting in one of those garden-misting apparatuses to keep the entranceway clear, but it does indeed get to -40 and besides, where else are these people gonna go?

If you axe me, which I note you did not, the problem isn’t the Range: the problem is that black hole of a parking lot across the street. Clean it up, make it into a park, put on some activities there so there’s something to do other than get high or drunk, and suddenly with eyes on the street and stuff happening, it’s not such a nexus of dysfunction. As for the throngs outside the door, well, does -40 not take care of that?

So ends today’s “lessons from an uppity Southerner”. See you Monday at 7?

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The Strange Range Tweetup!

The Gold Range from Celebrate Canada

The Gold Range from Celebrate Canada

Attention, Yellowknife! In particular those parts of Yellowknife with a vested interest in the survival (or otherwise) of the most infamous dive bar in the North! In furtherance of Week Five of my Infinite Week Plan, and because we don’t have much time left, we present: The inaugural Tweetup at the Range!

So, you may have heard (in fact, you almost certainly heard it, and well before me, in fact) that the future of the Strange Range is in doubt.

  1. It may cease to exist.
  2. It may get a moderate upgrade and a handout and stagger on as before.
  3. It make get a facelift and some lipo and run around trying to pass itself off as a thirtysomething hookah lounge. God only knows, really. Once they start with a nip and tuck, there’s no telling where they’ll end up.

Sooooo, I got to thinking. I’ve only been there once, but it seems to me that Yellowknife without a dive bar (and a famous one at that: it has a Wikipedia page! Can the same be said of any of the people wanting to close it down?) isn’t quite as…Yellowknifey, if you know what I mean. When Devin and the others from Kellett took me there in the Springtime, whispering blood-curdling warnings all the way, the tense atmosphere lasted exactly long enough for my eyes to focus in the gloaming and me to realize it was WAY UPSCALE from what I was used to on the Downtown Eastside. Not even any glass shard embedded on the tables!

And then an Elder walked over and said, “I just want to thank you young people for coming in. It’s good to see you here” and that was it, I melted. And then I told everybody about the time I went for coffee with Willy Pickton, just to restore the goosebump factor.

Which is neither here nor there. So here:

Who? You, me, and whoever else dares!

What? A Tweetup: meaning a casual gathering around a loose purpose, in this case to discuss/experience the Strange Range for what might be the last time. Tweetups are called via social media, that’s where they get their name, but you don’t have to be geeky to attend. Pay your own bill, order what you like. What, you think I’m your liver doctor?

When? 6pm Thursday, August 18th, 2011.

Where? The Gold Range Tavern. Don’t worry, you’ll recognize me. I’ll be the chubby, short blonde one with the black laptop with the sticker that says “SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER“.

Why? To tell stories, to hear stories, to become part of the legend of the Strange Range before it’s too late.

Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I shall fear no evil.

For I’m the meanest Sonofabitch in the Valley.