Another View on the Woodshed
The battle has been framed as the bohemian artists against the gay porn star (actually Peyton was known for doing straight as well as gay porn). However another local business owner who neighbors the performance venue has spoken up and though he's not a huge fan of Peyton's tactics his view of the venue (which has allegedely been in violation of city codes for some time) are fairly close.
Here is what the business owner submitted to us:
Re: Kulaks Woodshed
Just to give you another perspective on this controversy. This battle has been going on for over 3 years and Paul has constantly made this out to be a battle between himself and his neighbor to the south of him because he can portray it as a battle of Porn vs. Music which generates good press and sympathy from his fan club. Mr. Peyton also makes himself an easy target because he is quite outspoken, doesn't mince words, and has a short fuse. Paul also has attacked him with lies and false charges which I know on 2 accounts to be completely false because I was with Mr. Peyton at the time 2 of these incidents supposedly occurred and one of his patrons came forward and testified that he had asked her to falsely lie that she witnessed an attack. You should also realize his work has been disrupted the most due to the fact that he routinely works 7 nights a week at his place of business and his work requires a certain amount of solitude. He has been a neighbor for ten years and his nightly presence and his surveillance cameras have curtailed a lot of the graffiti and trash dumping in the alley that went on before he arrived. But enough defending him.
I am the neighbor on the north side and I have spent a considerable amount of time fighting this operation over the last 3 years. I, and others in the neighborhood, have testified at Neighborhood Council meetings (who voted against the variance), sub-committee meetings, variance hearings, appeal hearings, and City Council as to the detrimental effect it has on my business. The Woodshed started out as a small place (1/2 the space it is now) where after hours a few musician friends would stop by a couple of nights a week with their guitars and sing. Nice quiet music. Paul's own e-mail states "that he went to the city for permits to open the Woodshed but they told him that the area was not zoned for this type of operation but he decided to do it anyway, opening only nights and weekends in order to stay under the city radar". In a short time realizing the money making possibilities of having musicians playing for free he expanded it into the adjoining space, illegally knocking down walls and remodeling without the necessary permits. The Woodshed became an overnight success, suddenly operating seven nights a week and daytime Saturday's and Sunday's. And instead of just acoustical guitars it suddenly had amplifiers, sound boards, drums, pianos, bongos, electrical instruments, tubas, etc. It used every opportunity to hold fund raising events and attract bigger crowds. Patrons and musicians who take up all the parking on both sides of the street and into the adjoining neighborhood. I cringe when a patron states that "parking is never a problem" of course not, they come gradually until every spot is taken and stay for hours while my customer who arrives after has no place to park.
I often make evening appointments for my customers who work during the day and want to shop after regular hours. In addition I often come back to the office to work on blueprints and bids that I haven't finished during the day and if you look in my window you will see the work table I use three feet away from our common wall and maybe realize how hard it is to concentrate with all that thumping going on. In addition, my son, who was working part time while finishing college finally graduated and became full time. Our plans were that we would begin staying open evenings a few nights a week, as my competitors do, which we did during July and August 2006. It was a failure due to no parking and we have currently put our plans on the back burner.
In the meantime, a couple of years ago, the city found out about the Woodshed and has cited him numerous times for building, safety and fire violations. He has ignored them and twice been found guilty in court, ordered by the Judge to not operate, and put on probation. In spite of this he continues. Due to the support of Councilwoman Wendy Greuel the variance was granted over a year ago even though it was full of lies and deceit and went against the written Variance Law. Thanks to the Neighborhood Council and other testimony there were several conditions placed on the variance. Every single condition of the variance has been violated by Kulak and it has now been voided. I think it's ridiculous that Kulak has convinced some that the porn guy is responsible and all the city personnel involved are doing his bidding.
Although it's a lot of tedious reading and not all of it in the best of taste I suggest if your searching for the truth look at the 3 years of documentation at http://www.charlespeyton.com .
I think there are many fine musicians and patrons of the Woodshed but I also think that they have had the wool pulled over their eyes so that their donations keep on coming. The Woodshed never should have been here in the first place and it has long since outgrown it. Instead of donating to "SAVE THE WOODSHED VARIANCE" how about a "MOVE THE WOODSHED (to a legal location) " fundraiser. There are sure a lot of other venues in this city that seem to have done it. As one Neighborhood Council Member said " It’s not the building that makes Kulaks Woodshed but the musicians and the patrons".