City puts the kibosh on Artini, other events at Ix

For those who enjoyed the recent Artini party, part of the allure was the venue– the old bombed out Frank Ix building that created a unique, other-worldly atmosphere for the event.

In this world, however, it appears the old building has become a fire and safety hazard. Until the Frank Ix space is brought up to code, say city building officials, events like the Artini party and Shentai will have to look for other locations.

"I've been monitoring the floor for years and decided that it was time to stop the public access to the space before someone was injured or killed," says city building code official Tom Elliot.

Elliot says the roof has leaked on the two-story northern section of the Ix building for years (indeed, water from a thunderstorm pouring through the roof in torrents was part of the allure of last year's Artini), and the leaks have finally weakened the interior wood flooring and floor supports. In addition, he says that because the windows were removed years ago, the perimeter flooring inside is failing due to storm damage.

"The flooring was not as bad last year, but it's much worse this year," says Elliot. "I was concerned that someone would fall through the many areas of the floor that have been weakened from the roof leaks."

Elliot says the general contractor responsible for the renovation efforts, Caliper Construction, has been told what needs to be done to bring the building up to code. Until then, there will be no more events at the building, Elliot says.

"The owners have expressed an interest in using a smaller section without a wood floor and without roof leaks," he says.

Previously, Elliot says, he and fire marshal Steven Walton made numerous inspection visits to the site before and after each event, and gave permission for the events only after they were convinced the public would be safe.

Ironically, what made the event so much fun for so many were the hints of danger, and a roof made of stars. One wonders what safety officials might have thought of the open sandpit in the middle of one room that served as an ashtray, or all the candles and curtains, or the bikini-clad dancers and other revelers heating up the place as they consumed huge quantities of alcohol.

Ah, but we live in an era where safety rules, where even the hint of danger requires a response. It's official: Fun in Charlottesville must be shut down.