Pink House makes landlord see red

When Scott Horn and Peter Berard decided to host concerts in their living rooms, many Lawrence music fans thought it was a great idea.

The owners of the property didn't see it that way.

Since opening up their rented home at 1131 Tenn. to local and national touring bands two years ago, these residents of The Pink House have started to attract quite a reputation in the music community. But a feature in the May 23 issue of the Lawrence Journal-World ("Lawrence music fans move into Pink House") did more than just promote the novelty of their venue.

"We actually got shut down because of the LJW article," Horn says. "It was kind of stupid of us to give an interview about something we're doing that's technically illegal.

"The owner of the house who is this crotchety old man, I guess read the article and called our management company and flipped out. They sent us a letter saying that they would take 'further action' which I read to mean that they'll try to evict us if we have any more shows. They were like, 'The article stated there were damages, so we'll be coming over to assess those, blah, blah, blah.'"

Property Management Services was contacted for this column but said it had "no official comment" about the situation. The owner of the dwelling has remained anonymous.

The PMS threat compelled Pink House tenants to patch holes in the walls and repaint. It also meant the May 24 show featuring Washington, D.C.-based Beauty Pill (and locals Volara, In Medias Res and hookandladder) was the last event to be held there.

"Officially, we're done," Horn emphasizes. "We talked to KU Legal Services and it doesn't look like we can (do anything about it). They're within their rights to say, 'No, you can't do this.'"

He adds, "The problem is they can call us on breaking the fire code and we absolutely are. There's no way that 40, 50 or 60 people can stand in our living room and be legally within fire and building codes. There's technically two exits, but the front door is closed for noise purposes."

Adding to the dilemma is that Horn just signed a new lease two weeks before the crackdown.

"I would have moved someplace else to try and have more shows," he confesses. "Hopefully, somebody else will take it up and start having shows in THEIR house."

In absence of that somebody, the KU senior has some other options. Together with founder Peter Berard (who provides photos of every Pink House show on his Web site), Horn and Adam Mitchell formed Front Room Productions to bring indie rock concerts to atypical venues.

Next up, the trio is tackling an even loftier goal.

"We're working on starting an all-ages venue," he says. "We're pretty serious about it ... but everything with that is a little up in the air right now."


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