Under new management

Officially, parents tell their children they have to go to university to make it in the real world. Students tell their parents they’re going to learn. But everyone knows university is for keeping the kids busy and out of the house so ma and pa can make up for 20 years of missed bondage. With that in mind, the University of Calgary Students’ Union is set to launch the third year of That Empty Space, giving students one more place to hang out that isn’t their mom’s basement.

Started up by former SU vice-president events Alex Vyskocil, this year will be the first time the venue is under another’s control. That Empty Space’s mandate certainly leaves room for change, but doing so could anger the faithful group of attendees.

“It’s not going to be very different,” says new VP events Eric Jablonski. “It was a good system. Alex did a good job.”

This year, That Empty Space is destined for success. While he’s new to the events position, as drummer for Calgary punk mainstay Knucklehead, Jablonski is no stranger to the music scene. As such, he seems intent on keeping up the tradition of bringing in acts from near and far, of all different shapes and sizes, but more importantly: different genres. There were concerns at the beginning of Jablonski’s reign that all anyone would hear all year would be punk. Not so, he insists.

“Always something different,” he says of the line-up. “It can go from a week of rap and hip-hop to folk and rock on the next. Punk bands in that space would be very inappropriate.”

Thanks to a combination of local acts and calls from booking agents, a wide assortment of acts will shortly be making their way to Mac Hall. Edmonton’s golden boy, hip-hop artist Cadence Weapon and Calgary’s Pants Situation are among the confirmed.

“It makes for a good mix,” Jablonski explains. “We get to showcase what our city has to offer and have people play in a space they wouldn’t usually play.”

On top of the usual friday afternoon sessions, this year That Empty Space will be used for more events, including mini film fests and some club events. Last year, the space was host to speakers like Green Party leader Jim Harris and the Remembrance Day film festival. It all means there are even more reasons to make your way to the moth-bitten couches, no matter what the venue is playing host to.

“There are people who come every week no matter who plays,” says Jablonski. “I say keep an open mind–it’s a good place to hang out.”

This year new acts will join the ranks of such past performers as Chad Van Gaalen and The Summerlad, while there are hopes veteran bands like The Dudes will return. But, if good music and couches aren’t enough to sway the Empty Space virgins, Jablonski has one last card up his sleave.

“There’s definitely beer,” he grins. “Cheap beer, and it’s still no cover, but remember it is licensed, so don’t forget your ID.”

That Empty Space is yet again giving students a reason to stick around campus on a friday afternoon, contributing to their college experience and giving parents a couple more hours of quality BDSM time.

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