“Feeling called the blues” are the words I hear while standing in Guthrie’s, a long popular folk music venue owned by Dottie Iceberg. She opened its doors on Dec. 28, 2008. Little Woodrow greets me at the door and stands by me before Dottie arrives.
Gazing at the familiar venue, I recall being in this virtual room listening to Lazarus Doghouse, or Mr. Multi Writer, while they entertained on stage. There were also campfire gatherings off to the right. It was at Guthrie’s that I landed my first writing gig with Music Matters Magazine. I meet the editor in the audience.
Then one day, I saw a group instant message to “come on down” and help make the last day of Guthrie’s special. I was caught off guard. For as long as I’ve been on Second Life, the venue had survived the ups and downs of real life economy. But time marches on and lives change.
“I tried three other venues before, but none had the luck that I had with Guthrie’s,” Dottie recalled. She’s wearing a black top and lavender skirt and her raven hair is long and worn down.
Asked why Guthrie’s attracted so many people she replied that it was a folk venue with a popular folk name and that made all the difference. She had bought the 8192m land. She didn’t feature the stores at first. It wasn’t until her third year, when funds were running low, did she introduce low tier stores to retailers. The stores and ad boards were added to the tip money.
Of all the genres Second Life offers, why did Dottie choose folk?“When I was growing up in the 60s, a lot of the music that was playing on the radio was folk,” she commented. “I followed Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, and many others. I loved Woody Guthrie because he was so gifted in all the music he wrote. He never had the chance to put the lyrics to music, but many artists of today did do just that…taking his lyrics and putting their music to it. The folk artists of today don’t stand out as well as the ones of the 60s. I guess that’s why I was more drawn to their music.”
Dottie told me that she originally wanted to find a Second Life building similar to The Guthrie Center in real life. Though, she didn’t have any luck locating one. Her venue is a prefab, which she added textures to give it the look she wanted. The size worked well as it allowed better accessibility for a larger audience. At times she had as many as 60 people attending a concert, even large dragons and critters.
And the musicians that performed there were many. On stage, at one time or another, you would find Russell Eponym, BlindBoink Parham, dakota7z7 Pluto, Eddy Penberg, Wolf N Hawks, Moses Rae, David Perdu, Winter Wetherby, Gandalf Mornington, Joaquin Gustav and Icky Flux, to name a few. The musicians performed a variety of genres, not only folk. She offered them the opportunity to express their talents and to have a chance to play for others. Her only requirement was because Guthrie’s was a folk-style club, all the gigs had to be live. The musicians hailed from Canada, the Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Italy and the US.
“I did this all for the love of music and to make people happy,” she told me.
Guthrie’s went by morning hours of operation, USA and Euro, which gave many musicians an opportunity to perform. Her scheduled gigs filled her calendar for six to seven hours a day and on weekends sometimes eight to ten hours. For the first three years, she filled the role of hostess, seven days a week.
“But then my real life work schedule got more demanding and I had to ask for help. Dottie resides in Massachusetts and cares for the elderly and disabled in their homes. “So the last year and a half I had hostesses. They were such a tremendous help. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
“It just got to be too much. I know many people understand that as well,” she said.
Guthrie’s may have closed its doors, but Dottie has memories to be proud of. She recalls the time when Arlo Guthrie was given a tour by one of the Guthrie Center volunteers during a gig at her virtual venue. Dottie said sharing the experience with him kindled a wonderful sense of folk spirit at her place.
“Arlo gave me the thumbs up on a job well done,” she said. “That was a very special day for me and all those that came here.”
In closing, she offers a most sincere note of appreciation to all the musicians who gave their time and talent to entertain Guthrie’s fans. She also offers a hug of gratitude to all those that supported her venue and made it the best it could be.
“I can’t begin to thank you all enough. I love you all.”Veronica Weksler will assume the parcel on Nov. 4 and move The Blue’s Station there. The building is a tribute to Eric Clapton and Blues Club in Columbus, Ohio. Veronica said the real life club closed in 2007. Her venue was created by Master Builder, Iga Clawtooth as a gift.
A pat on the back to Dottie for hanging in there all those years and to Veronica for helping the music live on.