Sunday Singalong Doubles as Fundraiser for Old Cleveland Club

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The Velvet Underground played La Cave back in the day. Impress your friends -- tell them you were there.
  • The Velvet Underground played La Cave back in the day. Impress your friends — tell them you were there.

Many old-timers have fond memories La Cave, Cleveland’s first significant long-running rock-music club. Opened quietly in 1962 as just another coffeehouse, it quickly took advantage of folk-music boom that was then going on by bringing in nationally prominent folks acts like Josh White, Judy Collins, Buffy Sainte Marie, Odetta, Gordon Lightfoot, Tim Buckley, Phil Ochs and Arlo Guthrie.

As the ’60s progressed, it expanded its bookings to include cutting-edge rock acts like the Fugs, the Youngbloods, Moby Grape, the Hello People, the Stone Poneys with Linda Ronstadt, Blood Sweat & Tears, Iron Butterfly and even the Velvet Underground — at a time when there were few venues in the country for presenting acts like those.

Initially owned and booked by Stan Cain, the club was later booked by Larry Bruner who did its marketing and promotion. Located on the north side of Euclid near 105th Street, the club closed in 1969.

There are now plans to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the club’s closing — a year late but still welcome. It’s scheduled to take place June 25-27 at a venue yet to be announced. Meanwhile, the nonprofit La Cave Reunion committee is starting to raise money to make it a truly memorable event.

This Sunday, they’re launching their “Super Second Sunday Singalong and Supper” series of dinners/hootenannies. Five dollars gets you a full chili dinner (with three options, including vegan) and a chance to singalong with veteran Cleveland folkie Gusti. When you RSVP to organizer David Budin (whose own band often opened to national acts at La Cave) at popcycles@sbcglobal.net, he’ll send you the address in Cleveland Heights.

You can learn more about the club and the reunion plans as they develop, at clevelandlacave.com. —Anastasia Pantsios

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