Café Istanbul is a 3,800 square feet performance hall with a mission of fostering, encouraging and promoting performance art in New Orleans.
The line up of events will include live music, dance, theatre, poetry, comedy, film and visual arts. Located at 2372 St Claude Ave, in the New Orleans Healing Center, a 55,000 square feet building formerly Universal Furniture, Cafe Istanbul joins the St Claude arts district as it latest partner providing coveted and needed space for the ever burgeoning NOLA theatre and performance community.
From its inception, Café Istanbul has been designed to be a top notch platform for local artist. It will provide a high quality sound system with great sound proofing. Around the perimeter of the balcony’s ceiling there is a two inch wide bass trap built to prevent bass sound from bouncing all over the room. Additionally the ceiling is packed with 5 inches of Quiet Batt insulation and 10 inches of regular home insulation. The aluminum paneling that wrapped around Universal Furniture for the last 50 years has been used to create a beautiful Wains Cot around the first floor of Café Istanbul. The panels have been turned backwards to allow sound boards wrapped in fabric to be placed in each of them. The higher walls on both floors will have over 50 wooden sound panels, two feet by four feet down stairs and four feet by four feet upstairs. With a cost of more than $100 each, these panels will encase 4 inch fiberglass hull board (a material used to insulate ships). This hull board will also wrapped in fabric.
The balcony will be dedicated as gallery space displaying the work of local painters and photographers on a monthly rotating basis. Café Istanbul plans to be a part of the St Claude Arts District Gallery Openings that happens the second Saturday of every month. Meryt Harding is a local artist who has been hired to develop a roster of visual artist and facilitate the gallery space.
Café Istanbul has a beautiful oak stage that spans 12’ by 24’ with a 4’ add on that can increase the stage’s size to 16’ by 24’. We were informed that dancers need bigger stages and that the city has a scarcity of assessable venues to host them. Subsequently, the add-on was created with dancers in mind. The stage has been filled with 14 yards of sand to eliminate any reverberations, and it has the capacity to be reconfigured with a 12’ run way that would host fashion shows. A Yamaha Baby Grand Piano calls the stage home and it be framed by traditional red velvet fire proof curtains and lit by colorful stage lights.
Café Istanbul will have the capacity to show movies, a much needed asset for the New Orleans burgeoning independent film industry. Lately independent movie producers, including two who have made movies about Mardi Gras Indians, have had to show their movies in Chalmette. Istanbul will offer these independent film makers an inexpensive option that will allow some of them to show their movies within the city.
Live music is more connected to the cultural fabric of New Orleans than any other city in the country and perhaps any other city in the world. Café Istanbul will be a musical platform for New Orleans’ musical super stars of tomorrow. Austin Texas refers to itself as the live music capital of the world, but this is a laughable proclamation for those who know music. New Orleans is the rightful holder of this title, if there is any doubt; one only has to watch the HBO series Treme. Unfortunately, while the city has reaped the benefits of the cultural economy with music being a huge part of it, we have invested very little in its infrastructure. Very few venues assessable to local musicians are equipped to adequately showcase their talents. Many of the current live music venues were houses never built with the intention of having music or any other performance art. Many top ranked local musicians don’t perform as much in New Orleans because acoustics and sound are not up to par in many places and most of the better performers refuse to play for tips and/or a certain percentage of the bar. Many of the current music establishments are bars that have music; Café Istanbul will be a performance hall that has a bar. New Orleans deserves Café Istanbul and the musicians of New Orleans deserve it as well.
Café Istanbul as been designed from it’s inception with performance art in mind. There isn’t a bad seat in the house. As stated earlier we have gone through great lengths to ensure that the aesthetics, acoustics, and sound will be worthy to host the prodigious talents of the many artists who call this place home. The hall will enjoy a positive, symbiotic relationship with the other silos of the NOHC. The Street University, Affordable Healing Arts, and other Silos will provide lecturers and speakers from around the world. The Spiritual/Interfaith silo members can perform ceremonies, open to the public. In return, the Performance Hall will provide outreach for the Center as a whole and its events will catalyze revenues for the restaurant, grocery store, arts and crafts bazaar, and retail boutiques, as well as other business on the St. ClaudeCorridor.
Suleyman Aydin, Management
Phone: (504) 329-5483
Chuck Perkins, Booking
Phone: (504) 975-0286