Cactus Cafe’s Closure Shortened

When The Alcalde went to press with its November|December cover story, “Encore for the Cactus Cafe,” the special little music venue was set to close down for four months.

Sprinklers were to be installed and the HVAC system improved in the Texas Union, which houses the cafe. Union officials said the installation would require closing down for the spring 2012 semester.

Public radio station KUT manages the Cactus after last year’s controversial near-permanent shutdown. And despite the chances of losing visibility, enthusiasm, money, and momentum during a four-month closure, KUT said it was committed to reopening.

“We know it’s a challenge,” general manager Stewart Vanderwilt said. “But that’s also why we’re working on a radio program, we’re in discussions with Longhorn Network about a video program, and we’ll launch a new website this fall with content as well as ticketing. All of those things we’d be doing anyway, but those things I think will help keep the Cactus in front of people during that time.”

Now they have a little less to worry about.

Robert Lawrence, the Union’s director of business and support services, recently told KUT the work will now take place mostly after hours.

As it stands now, the Cactus will be closed Dec. 15 through MLK Day for work on the HVAC system, re-opening on Jan. 20.

“The construction project is not being abbreviated,” Lawrence said. “The sequencing of the HVAC unit affecting the Cactus worked better for the project as a whole to be done over the University winter break.”

Now it’s up to manager Matt Muñoz to fill in these short-notice but very welcome slots for booking. Luckily, he is by all accounts up to the job.


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