neXt:The next generation, covered now

Friday, October 12, 2007

Members of Fists of Phoenix are Trevor Moore and Chase Wright, on couch, and in back from left, Ian Bolton, Dan Seabaugh and Josh Keusenkothen. (Kit Doyle)

Musical enchantment: Local music venue provides smoke-free, alcohol-free space for teens

By Christina Chastain

The space above Cherokee Trails on Broadway has been a hot spot for teens for decades. In the early 1920s, it was the Ideal Hall -- one of the most popular dance and jazz spots in Cape Girardeau for teens and college students. Owned and operated by Jim Brodtman, the Ideal Hall attracted bands like The Hot Hops and jazz musician Jess Stacy.

Today, the Enchanted Forest is as hot as it was in the 1920s, but with a little modern flare.

"The Enchanted Forest is an all-ages music venue that gives kids who can't go downtown and watch live music a place to go," said Chase Wright, guitarist and keyboardist for the band Fists of Phoenix.

The Enchanted Forest is a safe place to go for any teen. There is no drinking or smoking, just an integrated love for music.

"I love going there," said Alyx Waterman, a senior at Central High School. "The bands are awesome, and the people are really nice."

The Enchanted Forest hosts bands such as Fists of Phoenix, the Holiday Formal, Catatonic and many more.

"All kinds of bands play there," Wright said. "All the way from hip-hop to heavy metal."

Wright has been with Fists of Phoenix for about three years and plays at the Enchanted Forest frequently. The band plays there this Saturday night.

"The Enchanted Forest is the perfect place to hang out as a teen," Waterman said. "I've been there at least 20 times, and it never gets old."

John Thurman, a former member of the band This is a Virtue and the networking agent for the Enchanted Forest, played one of the first shows.

"The teens used to go to The Camp, now Main Street Bar, to watch bands play, but it wasn't a very safe environment," Thurman said. "We used to hang out at the Enchanted Forest, so we thought, why not have shows there?"

And they did just that.

"There were things to do in Cape Girardeau like going bowling or going to a movie, but we saw that teens wanted to see bands," Thurman said.

The Enchanted Forest has been open for about two years and is still one of the hottest spots in Cape Girardeau for people to go.

"We attract people anywhere from 12 years old to about 90 years old," Wright said.

Recently, though, the Enchanted Forest has undergone a few changes.

"We didn't realize that by building our 26-foot stage, it would change the fire code," Thurman said. "It was no longer just a room, it was a performing room so we had to change something."

They had to install an exit in the main room of the Enchanted Forest.

"We are working on it. We need money to support it, though," Thurman said. "It should be done by December."

Admission price went from $5 to $7 and can be more if a band demands a certain price. The increase in price is to help pay for the new fire code requirements.

"We don't like charging over $5 unless a particular band requires it in their contract," Thurman said. "But this is for a good cause."

Aside from regular performances, the Enchanted Forest is hosting a Halloween show in October.

"This show features Emaciation, Ireyerta, Poor King and Iseah," Wright said.

Skater boys

Submitted photo

First- and second-place winners of each age group from last weekend's skateboard competition were pictured. First-place winners won a complete deck and $50. Second-place winners received practice boards and $25. The age groups were 15 and older, 11 to 14, and 10 and younger.

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