Art Rock Cafe / New Armageddon

Art Rock Cafe

The Art Rock Cafe came into existence in 1993 when Cliff McCarthy came up with the name. Subsequently a logo was designed, and thenceforth all music-listening gatherings (usually consisting of just Cliff and me) came under the banner of the Art Rock Cafe.

Since then, those associated with the original Art Rock Cafe have scattered. At this point, it's not so much of an organization (never was, really) as a mindset.

The whole point of the Art Rock Cafe is to listen to weird music, preferably late at night, preferably under unusual lighting conditions, preferably quite loudly. Lava lamps, colored "party" bulbs, and strobe lights have been employed. The music played is generally (but not necessarily), 70s art or prog rock, often on vinyl for aesthetic (if not fidelity) reasons. Listening to Relayer by Yes on LP with the gatefold cover open on the chair in front of us is a good example.

We don't limit ourselves to art rock, though. Any sufficiently weird music will do. To get an idea of what I'm talking about, check out my musical tastes.

The most recent alternative stimulus at the Art Rock Cafe is my new oscilloscope. It's from the 70s, and runs on vacuum tubes, so it fits in nicely with the overall aesthetic. I just hook up the inputs to my stereo...kind of like a laser show only smaller, and you don't need a laser.

Current Art Rock Cafe Locations:

New Armageddon

Back at Harvey Mudd, I lived in Armageddon Suite, which was originally founded by Mark Wilkins. Mark used to blast Front 242, Ministry, and other great (and not so great) industrial music in his lounge, and decorated his lounge in wonderful white and black sheets. He asked me to carry on the tradition when he graduated, but my suitemates the following year weren't really into it (we ended up as "Close to the Edge/Meifumado" and our lounge decor was even worse than Mark's: magnetic tape streamers lining the walls).

My senior year, I ended up in the original Armageddon Suite with two crazy underclassmen, so I felt it was appropriate to continue the Armageddon tradition. We supplemented the industrial music with other weird stuff (always played with the volume set to eleven) and lived up to the name in several senses (see the Armageddon quotes).

As far as I know, Armageddon lasted another year under the guidance of Matt Morse, but Matt found no suitable successors.

When I came to Ithaca, I decided that New Armageddon was appropriate as a name for wherever I happen to be currently living, and it got incorporated as the place name on my Art Rock Cafe sign. If you want, you can read about the New Armageddon speakers.

John Stimson / Art Rock Cafe, New Armageddon /