Well, it’s been quite the ride, gang. For years we’ve been meeting up after school here at the Youth Center—the only place that a couple of misfit kids like us can just hang out and be ourselves. When we heard the Youth Center was going to be bulldozed to make space for a bunch of luxury condos, we refused to give up. Our big “Save The Youth Center” Benefit Concert was our hail mary—an unforgettable night of music at the Youth Center that would raise enough money to buy back the building from the heartless developers. The wily spirit of youth vs. capitalistic grown-up greed.
I am sad to report that we fell completely short of the 20 million dollars that we needed to save the Youth Center. Just not even close at all.
I really believed that a gang of scrappy, oddball teenage underdogs like us could pull this off against all odds, but our concert wasn’t very good and everyone hated it. We decided to book ourselves as the headlining act even though we’ve never played music before. We didn’t rehearse very much and we’re bad at our instruments. I guess Joshy is pretty good on bass but we didn’t give him much to “do” in any of our songs.
I am only just now realizing that “Come watch an adolescent rock band that was formed three days ago play live for the first time in a very small recreation center” is a hard sell. Not a lot of people came and we only charged $2.00 for tickets. In hindsight, we would’ve had to sell 10 million tickets in order to save the Youth Center. I think our “No adults allowed” policy was a bad idea, as was our “No posers” policy, “No jocks” policy, etc. We probably should have welcomed everyone in with open arms since we needed 10 million people to come. That is the population of the entire state plus a bunch more.
I know we are only children but I still think we could’ve done a better job planning this.
We actually lost quite a bit of money on the benefit. The various games and attractions we put up for the benefit were very expensive, like the all-you-can-eat pizza buffet, the rented arcade machines, and the skate ramp. In addition to failing to save the Youth Center we personally owe several thousands of dollars to various local vendors. We are completely in the red here.
Also, it seems like we all had our own personal “coming-of-age” stuff going on in the background that sort of crescendoed at the benefit—we all got up on stage at different points throughout the event and gave impassioned speeches to our crushes, our bullies, our dads, etc. This was a solid two-thirds of the benefit. People hated this.
We actually sped up the closing of the Youth Center by racking up a bunch of fines and citations. We didn’t get a live music license, for example. The Youth Center will now be condemned by the town this afternoon, rather than shutting down in 6 months like originally planned.
We started a small electrical fire in the Youth Center while trying to set up the sound system. Ray, the owner of the Youth Center, has been charged with criminal negligence for letting us do this and is currently in jail awaiting trial. There’s been talk of doing a “Free Ray” Benefit Concert, but given the outcome of this benefit concert, I can foresee a scenario in which our “Free Ray” benefit concert results in Ray being sentenced to death.
Side note: I just noticed that the fliers we made to promote the benefit say “Cave the Youth Center” and not “Save the Youth Center.” People might have thought this was a benefit to tear down the Youth Center sooner, which, ultimately, I guess it was.
Also, our complete failure to pose any sort of challenge to the developers in any way whatsoever has inspired them to also tear down that other Youth Center we sometimes hang out at.
We had plenty working against us from the very beginning (we accidentally booked our benefit on the same night Bruce Springsteen headlined that world hunger benefit down the street), and I’m proud of us for fighting despite it all.
Although the Youth Center is being taken away from us, they can never take away the memories we created here tonight—those will haunt us forever. We’ll find a new home base. I guess we could just sort of hang out in the parking lot of the luxury condo complex? Anyway, we’ll have to regroup and figure that out later—I hear the bulldozers starting up.