East End art/performance space Super Happy Fun Land, which recently relocated from the Heights to 3801 Polk, was shut down by the fire marshal last Friday for failure to display an occupancy permit. That’s because, as owner Brian Arthur told Houstoned Rocks earlier today, they didn’t exactly have one. He hopes to have the situation straightened out soon.
Houstoned Rocks: I was at this house party yesterday, and a guy from the band playing there said they were supposed to play Super Happy Fun Land last weekend but y’all got shut down. What happened?
Brian Arthur: We just have an issue with our occupancy, but we’ll be open this weekend. When we came in here, there were still some things we wanted to get done. We didn’t have a lot of time to move, and we wanted to fix up some things before we went ahead and got our occupancy card. In the meantime, we had a few shows scheduled, and we kind of ran out of time. So we were running without an occupancy permit, but we’ve got an application in for that.
HP: So what exactly happened then? Did the fire marshal come?
BA: Yeah. He just gave me a citation for not having my permit. It’s just one of those things where they want you to go with the official thing.
HP: When did this happen?
BA: This happened Friday night.
HP: Who was playing that night?
BA: That was Bobbindoctrin, that’s a puppet show. We were wondering if Bobbindoctrin had someone out to get them, because the same thing happened at Freneticore when Bobbindoctrin had a show over there. They had to shut down for a while.
HP: I was over there for that Gram Rabbit show. It looks like it’s going to be a pretty good-sized place when y’all get finished.
BA: Yeah. We’ve come a long way since then, even. Right now we have like 75 theater seats built out, but we have 250 of them, so we’re hoping to get our occupancy around 250. That was another thing – we wanted to get all our seats finished so we can say, ‘Well, we have 250 seats, so that’s what we’d like our occupancy to be.’ It’s just that they came in and said, ‘This isn’t the right way to do this. You have to go through this,’ and that’s what we’re going to do.
HP: Are you guys going to get some sort of temporary permit so you can be open this weekend?
HP: And that’ll be Friday?
BA: Yeah. Friday night.
HP: Who’s playing this Friday?
BA: It’s Rise Over Ruin. Have you heard of the Riff Tiffs?
BA: Some of them went to school, so Rise Over Ruin is some of the guys from that band. Another band is Shades of Blue, and Searching for Signal. It’s a younger crowd, so it’ll be an early show. Usually they’re done before midnight.
HP: I hear hammering in the background.
BA: Yeah, we’re trying to get some of our stuff together before people come shine their flashlights all around. We’re pretty confident. We’re saying it’s like 80 percent all ready, and we’re just trying to get everything else ready before they came in, and we just ran out of time.
Moving was a really expensive thing. It was a big hassle for us. We had a certain budget, and we went over budget. If we’d had a bigger budget, we could have gotten more stuff done before we started having shows.
HP: You guys really do have a great space over there.
BA: We haven’t really been widely broadcasting this because when we moved, as soon as I said Super Happy Fun Land is relocating, all of a sudden all this stuff came out on the Internet that’s like, ‘Oh, those guys are closing for good. Don’t schedule any shows.’ We still had more than two months of shows there, and immediately people were like, ‘Don’t go to any more shows – all their shows are canceled.’ I’m like, ‘Where in the hell are people getting this?’
When the fire marshal came in, there were only 10 people in the building. That amount of people, it’s already got out to the press, so you see how these things work. We hope people aren’t going to start the rumor mill again.
HP: Hopefully we can clear all that up.
BA: We’re confident this isn’t going to cause a problem for us. Before we were always kind of underground, and we moved to this location with the intention of becoming a more prominent, official place. – Chris Gray