If you’ve read our blog lately you’ve heard a lot about the Des Moines Social Club, which is because Shawn and I sit on the Board of Directors for the Social Club and, obviously, we are passionate about their mission. But, I wanted to take just a moment to look at the Social Club from a different angle on a day when the future of the Club will be greatly effected.
My experience with the Club goes back to the very first Subjective Circus event at the 1408 Locust space. I decided to volunteer at that event mainly because I had no idea what to expect and I didn’t want to be the only person in the city who missed it. My role was as the ticket taker at the front door where I saw just about everyone who passed by during my shift. Now, if you went to that event, or the subsequent Circuses, you can probably get a picture in your head of your experiences to paint the picture much better than I am about to do. I saw people young and old, rich and poor, artistic and clumsy, curious and stuckup. Pretty much I saw the heart of our city interested in an event that was the first of its kind; an event that truly changed the scape of our city in just a few hours. I can go on and on about what that event effected me, but you get the picture and that is not the point of this post. Rather the point of this post is a look at the people behind the scenes at the Social Club who organized and inspired people to believe in the arts in Des Moines, an area that had been sorely neglected previously.
The two people most often referenced in the press surrounding the Social Club are Zachary Mannheimer and Matt McIver, and rightfully so, Zach and Matt are the founding “fathers” of the club who both left the art scene in New York City to come to Des Moines to start something new. But, there are others, like Alexandra Tatge, the Director of Development at the Club, who moved here as a direct result of the Social Club. Alexandra was living in Colorado when she started researching Des Moines and, specifically, the Social Club. All of these guys are transplants who came to Des Moines because they saw something special, yet still undefined in Des Moines. They are outsiders who have invested their hearts, not to mention their blood sweat and tears, into growing the culture here in Des Moines. They are the guys who sparked the community to attend the Team Trivia nights or the many free shows or the Dance Baby Dance events or signing the petition to get the Social Club into the Firehouse. If you look further, you will see there are more people on staff at the Social Club who are transplants to Des Moines or the “boomerang” classification who may have grown up here but moved away to find something more, yet came back to pour their hearts into the Social Club.
My point is these are the people influencing the movement at the Social Club. They are all people who decided to move to Des Moines, not for the fresh summer corn, but to build something to better the community. They inspire me because they picked up their lives and moved to Des Moines to enrich my life, which is quite possibly the coolest thing to consider when looking at what the Social Club is. After all, we are all members, but the people who are leading the charge are doing so because it is their true passion. Imagine what our city can be with the Social Club in a permanent location where they have the resources to develop all of their plans instead of limiting their vision due to space restrictions or the fear of losing their roof in a days notice. The time has come, tonight, at the Des Moines City Council meeting, where the Council will vote on the future of the Firehouse. It’s time to sound the siren Des Moines, time to get out and support this organization so we can truly see what they have up their sleeves.