Dayton Dirt Collective Goes 6ft under

The thing about ad hoc communities is that they are exactly that- ad hoc. Without strong leadership, focus and some kind of payoff, they disappear as quick as they come.

This announcement appeared the other day on the Dayton Dirt Collective site:

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the immediate closing of the Dayton Dirt Collective. All scheduled events have been cancelled and we are working to transfer some of our resources to other arts organizations in Dayton. Thanks to everyone for your continued support of our venue and the Dayton music and arts scene. We think back on the countless hours devoted to making the space work and we want to especially thank all of the past and present board members and volunteers for your dedication and friendship.

The current members of the DDC intend to continue to work to showcase and support arts and music in Dayton and we encourage you to do the same. You can be sure that you'll see us around. In places like basement shows, Front street, or C}space, Dayton will continue to offer unique and compelling expression, art and music.

via Dayton Dirt Collective.

Dayton media and leadership will often blow things out of proportion- that this closing is a symbol of something else, but, today’s reality is that change happens faster than before, things are less permanent, and getting attached to the way things are is as archaic as using phone books, reading a printed newspaper or folding maps.

The Dayton Dirt Collective was a fun space for a party, but all parties have to end. Thanks to all of you who made it happen- it was a great time while it lasted.

We now have the South Park Tavern, growing it’s rep as a listening room- where it’s still possible for kids to go, eat pizza and listen to music- right next to people drinking a beer.

There will be something new- and, it won’t take very long….

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jstultsIce BanditDavid LauriJimlisa Recent comment authors
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The statement that you  posted from our Myspace page was from someone who volunteered to upkeep websites and scheduling for us. He lives in Cincinnati and was not a member.
There is a piece on the DDN site taken from a phone interview between Terry Morris, myself and another DDC director, Jim Tarjeft. Jim Tarjeft and I pulled the plug on this together on Sunday night. (1/17) I cannot make myself go to to read the piece because I cannot endure some of the jughead comments that are so common on that site.
On that note,  if you would like perspective of a director of Dayton Dirt Collective, read my statement on DaytonMostMetro where I have been keeping Lisa and Bill in the loop during this whole process.

Jeff of Louisville
Jeff of Louisville

…heh…and Dayton gets just a little more sucky. 


This is my family and I resent your comment “You trashing your own site- makes no sense.” It really REALLY upsets me that you made that assumption. And, as much as people like to throw around the word “failure” It has no place in this context. This was not a failure. At the bottom of our by laws it states “This Too Shall Pass.”  Our experiment was a bigger success than we or the city expected. The statement on the Myspace and the DDC dot com site was a quick soundbite to get something out there so it looked like we didn’t just leave like some irresponsible renters who leave town in the middle of the night. We all made statements. Any statement from any DDC member is that members right. I posted you the link to my statement because I am the member you have the most contact with. I was also the member who educated and encouraged other DDC members to vote for you. “It really doesn’t matter- this post wasn’t so much about the DDC….” why was your topic then titled “Dayton Dirt Collective goes 6ft. under.” ?  The title lead me to believe it was about a place that mattered, or at least mattered enough to write about it.  I didn’t know it was a lead in to another story about another closing, oh here we go again, etc….  We (DDC) will end up in other buildings across the city. Is paying rent and taking up space the only thing that validated us? That is limited thinking, the kind of thinking we are trying to get others to break free from, by leading by example. That part of the experiment will also take time to build. One last thing, this was by no means just “a fun space for a party.” Parties happen in bars. People don’t work their asses off like we did for a party. We were there to serve and serve we did. (pointing again to the DMM post for more on that subject.) We fed people, we helped people break through some… Read more »


I gotta admit, you were overly harsh here.
Saying the DDC is six feet under is a false statement. We are still operating, simply without a fixed geographic home. I’d think you of all people would realize that an idea, is more powerful than anything … and that keeping the idea alive is more important than anything.
You’ve ran for office numerous times, and you’ve never won. However, to say that your ability to enact change and have influence in your community failed would be a false statement. Actually, I think it is very close to something the Dayton Daily News may have said.
I think you have a lot of great ideas … most of the time your blogs make my day. However, in this particular instance you called something a failure that in no way failed … because the idea lives on and so do the people who were pursuing it the evening the physical manifestation of this idea was determined to be standing in the way of the idea.
The Dayton Dirt Collective did not fail, it adapted. It will continue to work within the city, without a fixed address. Just like your campaigns to enact change within this city didn’t fail when you weren’t elected … they simply were forced to adapt to new parameters for existence.
Do yourself a favor David, talk to the people who were involved and write a follow up on this one.

D. Greene
D. Greene

gladgirl: come off it, everybody knows the DDC had been struggling financially for months, and Jim Tarjeft had been talking about shutting it down for the last couple weeks, so i don’t know why you feel the need to be so combative/hostile. But maybe [name deleted by editor] is more interested in spending his free time bedding 19 year olds (i mean he’s 27 so i guess it’s not THAT creepy or weird), which seems like more fun anyway than dealing with all this silly Dayton emo drama that people like you bring wherever you go, lol. Can’t say that I blame him for shutting it down.
Oh, and the DDC DID fail. It ran out of money. If y’all hadn’t run out of money, it would probably still be open. Just like the Pearl, and the Nite Owl, and the (insert club name here), and so on ad infinitum.
It’s pretty obvious what happened, and what you are doing is akin to freefalling while the chute won’t deploy, all the while screaming “this is a controlled descent, this is exactly what I meant to do!”


In the positive spirit of those that are trying to do good in this town, I will not say the negative things I am thinking about saying in response to the person above me. Out of respect for everyone who worked so hard, including Jim, I’ll keep my mouth shut cause this could get real ugly. Hey, D. Greene, (Mr or Ms?) That was a real low blow to say personal things about [name deleted by editor]. Real low. Yes Jim AND I had been talking with members about this for weeks. We were trying to make RESPONSIBLE decisions. Staying open was not going to be responsible to the community, the bands or the landlord. Jim was talking about it publicly, and as a member, he had the right to do so. I chose to keep it in the family until everyone was heard, rather than put things out there so people could start some drama. Your post is a prime example of that…..bringing someones personal life into it, etc…. Now, is that helpful in any way? Other than making you feel good, what purpose does that serve? Take that to the Vishnu Den. Not that I owe this response to anyone but, the DDC did NOT run out of money. We were a month ahead on everything and are giving the surplus of money and the PA, etc…. to other non-profits in the city. We were coming up to a large insurance payment in March, which I had raised money to pay, and we weighed the costs vs. benefits of staying in a space that had too many limitiations and safety issues, according to the Dayton Fire Department. This is called integrity. Something you don’t compromise when you care about others needs over and above your own. It’s a really neato thing, you should look into it. So, what do you know about people like me? Do you even know me,  my age and what I have contributed to this city in say, oh, the last 25 years?  I have a teenager. And that teenager tells me the word… Read more »

Jeff of Louisville
Jeff of Louisville

Well, the place lasted longe than Stone Soup Cafe.   The post at Dayon Most Metro indicates there was some issues with insurance and fire codes:
Looking past the immediate expense of renewing our liability insurance policy, we considered the costs vs. benefits of staying in the space at 144 E. 3rd. Street for another year.  After much deliberation we concluded it would be irresponsible to sign on for another year of insurance to cover that particular space. We have been working closely with the City of Dayton Fire Dept. since May to ensure that we met all the requirements to be compliant with the city ordinances and fire codes.  In doing so DFD would increase the max. occupancy they issued us in May of ‘09. We exhausted all those efforts and sadly our goals were not met


J. Price
J. Price

@Shelly – I love you, but cool your jets, the internet is fake, and it doesn’t seem to me (except for perhaps dragging personal business into the mire, which, having only seen the edited posts, I’m not capable of being upset about) that anyone is drastically out of line in any of their statements (man, I’d so rather be the gunslinger than the diplomat, but my head is full of all this stupid prevailing reason). @Everyone: It seems that the prevailing indignation here is based in outrage at the notion that The DDC failed or ceases to be. I don’t think you, Mr. Esrati, intended to imply such a thing, and I agree with your notion of that in modern society, everything should be viewed as inherently transitory. The bottom line, and I think everyone will agree once it is stated, is that the DDC was a success for staying open for so long and doing what it did. I personally did more physical work for the Dirt than anyone (if you ever attended one of the straight-edge hardcore  shows and wondered who the skinny guy dodging fists and kicks in the pit while politely asking people to stop trying to hurt one another was, that was me) and have certainly seen it open up new opportunities for bands, performers, and show goers, opportunities that would not have existed otherwise. I don’t think Lvngs (put out a great 7″ on Mylean Sheath records, and, IMHO, the most promising band in Dayton [ooooo take that Captain of Industry, heh]), Rad Company (recently returned from yet another tour and are planning yet another album), Hospital Garden (recently moved to Chicago to pursue bigger and better opportunities both musically and professionally) or any of the poets or comedians (who are currently tearing up Wiley’s amateur nights) we hosted would have the confidence and drive to be in the positions they’re in now without the DDC (sources cited, take that). The DDC isn’t dead, but I wouldn’t expect it to attempt to again be located in a permanent venue unless it were to be… Read more »


I have been talking with jim for months about sharing resources and combining efforts if possible and it seems that lack of support was a huge part of this as well.  There are far too few people out there willing to sacrifice time and money for the good of the community without much if any personal compensation.  Instead of mudslinging and blaming i suggest that everyone find a way to help make Dayton a better place, roll up their sleeves and get to work.

Jeff of Louisville
Jeff of Louisville

Yeah, a lot of that sour Dayton negativity out there, but the DDC was a great little space while it lasted, from what I saw of it …


1. Sean held the Public Relations position on the DDC administration and was in fact a member.   It was his position to post that the DDC was closing and I am supremely grateful for all the work he put in, without which I couldn’t have even attempted to keep the space open.
2.  There was always a person in charge.  Before me it was Nick Anderson, after Nick left it was me.  Though Nick didn’t officially hold authority.  Everyone listened to him as he is definitively the person who has put the most into the organization.  I set up a more traditional method of administration and was the CEO.
3.  The DDC is dead, it died from a lack of support.  the people that made it up, which were the only important part of the DDC, are not dead.  When you recognize individuality it is a very potent thing.  This is not sad, it just is.  The people that chose to move on are what killed it and ironically, what made it in the first place.  the people that chose to move on suddenly have a lot of opinions about it.
it is just the way of things.  The same as they were when we closed Cannon 6 years ago.  The recent administration, those that worked to provide the infrastructure rather then just use it, still exists but under a new name.

Ice Bandit
Ice Bandit

Now that the eulogy has been read and the last shovel of dirt thrown on the DDC, a postscript. Some edgy entrepreneurs opened a computer store at the site of the old DDC offering some nifty new desktops, laptops and peripherals. The Old Bandito was one of their first customers, walking out of the East Third location with a  refurb 360 gig external hard drive (at only $60, a yard sale price), a smile on his face and a song in his heart.  Dude says they could have opened earlier, but there were issues of graffiti and other maintenance issues left by the DDC. Downtown gets a new and vital business, and the owners get a great location near a library and a business college, a win-win. As the Old Bandito’s grandmother was fond of saying, “from giant piles of manure, beautiful roses may bloom….

David Lauri

a  refurb 360 gig external hard drive (at only $60, a yard sale price)
For only $15 more, $75 will get you a brand new 1 TB hard drive from Amazon, though there’s something to be said for instant gratification and for supporting local businesses.

Ice Bandit
Ice Bandit

For only $15 more, $75 will get you a brand new 1 TB hard drive from Amazon, though there’s something to be said for instant gratification and for supporting local businesses. (David Lauri)

Thanks for the tip DL. Gotta’ admit, that ain’t a bad price to a terabyte. But Amazon would have required three days before arrival. And when the Old Bandito’s disk drive went down it had to be replaced mucho pronto. The water breaking heralding the arrival of his first born didn’t arouse such a panic. Ran stop signs, violated red lights and a high speed chase ensued. Was on the way to the Beavercreek Worst Buy when the new store was spotted open. Innocent bystanders and fire marshals swear fire shot out of the Old Bandito’s posterior entering said emporium. Several witnesses exiting the main Library and Bingers Bar were extremely traumatized by the sight, and will require further and extensive psychotherapy…..


Apparently they do recycling too.