Prism closes, blames Hook

Tonight's Jay Unger and Molly Mason show at the Prism Coffeehouse will be the last hurrah for the historic music hall, according to a lengthy unsigned open letter briefly posted on the Prism's website on April 21. Although the news may come as a surprise to some, there was a clue that the end the smoke- and alcohol-free venue might be near.
Last week, the Hook reported that the Coffeehouse's planned move to Gordonsville might be in jeopardy, since the two-building parcel (that once housed O'Dell's restaurant) was back on the block as of Monday, April 17.
Although listing agent Stu Rifkin confirmed the $750,000-priced property had been relisted, he said the Prism was still working on a deal with the parcel's' owner.
Now, it seems the Gordonsville deal has fallen through, and the landlord of the Prism's Charlottesville spot, Westminster Church, said last week that the church had already lined up a new tenant. Those combined factors, it seems, delivered a fatal blow to the organization that celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.
Although the letter has now been significantly edited, certain passages stood out.
"After this concert the Prism will suspend its activities as a concert presenting organization indefinitely and concentrate upon organizing and editing the extensive archive of live concert recordings we have made here since 1992," says the unsigned letter, which goes on to thank "those of you who have truly appreciated and supported in any way you could the Prism over the years."
From there, however, the letter goes on to blast a litany of alleged rapscallions including "certain nonprofit radio announcers," Westminster Church, "certain members of the local music community," and perhaps most vociferously, the Hook, which reported the behind the scenes tension and controversy at the historic venue in an April 1, 2004 cover story and in several subsequent articles.
As revealed in those articles, multiple Prism volunteers and former board members objected to artistic director Fred Boyce's management style and accused him and his partner, Kenyon Hunter, of "hijacking" the Prism's board by eliminating open elections. Boyce's temper (supporters might call it his artistic passion)– displayed at one time on a six-minute, expletive-filled answering machine message to a former board member– led some longtime volunteers to leave the Prism.
Although neither Boyce nor Hunter returned the Hook's repeated calls for comment for any of the articles, the letter reveals their disdain.
"The Hook staff has absolutely no knowledge or understanding of this music, or of what the Prism is about, and have simply attempted repeatedly to create an impression of disharmony and controversy where none really exists...."
And as for why neither Boyce nor Hunter returned any of the Hook's calls, the letter offers a simple explanation: "There is no way for us to respond without having to sound defensive, when we have absolutely no reason to be."
In the end, the letter says, the Prism was done in by those who meant it harm:
"We will not be relocating to Gordonsville, as we had planned... it's apparently just not far enough away from Charlottesville for us."
Full text of letter
"This concert will mark the end of the Prism's 40th Anniversary Season and
the last time the Prism or Fred Boyce, artistic director, soundman, etc.
etc. since 1990, will produce a concert at 214 Rugby Rd. in Charlottesville.
After this concert the Prism will suspend its activities as a concert
presenting organization indefinitely and concentrate upon organizing and
editing the extensive archive of live concert recordings we have made here
since 1992. We hope to eventually make some of these recordings available to
the public.
For those of you who have truly appreciated and supported in any way you
could the Prism over the years, we say thank you.
To all those who have enjoyed for the past 16 years countless opportunities
to see some of the most memorable, best-sounding and unique concert
performances ever to take place in a room this size (for what are amazingly
low ticket prices, when you consider it), and who have not been obiged to
drive to Washington DC or other areas to find this music... and to all those
who have stayed at home and enjoyed our 12 years of free live radio
broadcasts, we say, "you're welcome."
And to those vociferous few who, for bizzare reasons of their own, have
worked overtime to undermine our efforts and cast false aspersions upon a
very fine and historic organization that has simply tried to do everything
possible to provide, in this commercially-driven age, a good, solid home for
all the misunderstood and under-appreciated types of music that comprise the
essential fabric which underlies practically all other forms, we say: "Get a
life." This particularly applies to certain nonprofit radio announcers who
have, for their own selfish reasons, gone to ridiculous lengths to avoid
mentioning concerts at a local nonprofit venue by artists whose music is a
staple of folk radio programs everywhere. Meanwhile, and in direct violation
of FCC regulations, they enthusiastically and heavily promote for-profit
Venues such as the Prism are hard to find, and for very good reasons: they
are hard to run, hard to maintain, hard to promote and hard on the people
who try. And there is virtually no money to be made doing this. Hence,
music, our highest art form, is most often relegated to inappropriate bars
and nightclubs filled with smoke, noise and alcohol. Places like the Prism
need to be supported or they will go away. We have been saying this for
years, and now it is happening.
We particularly take exception to and condemn the series of outrageous,
hurtful, unfounded and malicious articles that have appeared since April
1st, 2004 in The Hook, a local gossip-rag which has always managed to avoid
writing anything positive about all of the wonderful events that the Prism,
against all odds, has continued to provide to the area year after year. The
Hook cares little, and knows even less, about the musical heritage we have
strived to preserve, strengthen and protect. It is a shame that the Prism
has been forced to operate for so long under these conditions, when there
are so many communities around the nation that would love to have a venue
like this. We are mostly, however, shocked and dismayed by the stunning lack
of appreciation or gratitude from certain members of the local music
community whom we have served so well and often over the years, directly and
indirectly, and who have contributed so remarkably little to the Prism's
ongoing success and vitality. "Ask not what the music can do for you, but
what you can do for the music" is about all we can say.
The Hook staff has absolutely no knowledge or understanding of this music,
or of what the Prism is about, and have simply attempted repeatedly to
create an impression of disharmony and controversy where none really exists
by printing very misleading and pointlessly repetitive articles based mostly
on rumors and hearsay, with what little amount of factual information there
is being distorted beyond all credulity. There is no way for us to respond
without having to sound defensive, when we have absolutely no reason to be.
We have been at a loss to know how to handle this unbelievable, unjust and
surreal mess, other than to just keep doing what we do, which is what we
have been trying to do for over two years now.
Nonetheless, the truth is the truth, no matter how squashed, distorted,
denied or ignored it may be, and we have faith that it will eventually come
out. We can only hope and believe that, to most people, our work speaks for
itself, as it should. It is much more difficult to build up than to tear
down, and the people behind this ongoing smear campaign have done
inestimable harm, not only to the Prism and some very nice people who have
worked incredibly hard for its benefit, but to the music itself, which is a
tragic shame. Hopefully The Hook, and Westminster Presbyterian Church, which
is unbelievably out of touch with the wonderful thing that has been
happening just next door since 1990, will hear from those of you who truly
value and understand this music, and the importance of the few, fragile
venues around the country such as the Prism which support it full-time.
We will not be relocating to Gordonsville, as we had planned... it's
apparently just not far enough away from Charlottesville for us.
A fool hath no love of understanding - he is only interested in expressing
his own opinion. -Proverbs
Wrath is cruel, and anger outrageous, but who can stand before envy?
A journalist is someone who guesses her way to the truth and then dispels it
with a flurry of words.
You will know them by their fruits.

So long, Charlottesville!


The message on the Prism's site is filled with deep-seated bitterness. That's one angry man. Since the message was attached to the listing for the final show, which was last night, it is no longer there. When I read it yesterday, I was struck that there were no thanks for the many artists who played there for practically nothing, or for the artist management companies who had to complete the deals with said artists. I guess the Prism just felt the artists owed them, instead of the other way around. There were also no thanks for certain nonprofit radio announcers at the "other" community radio station (WTJU) who promoted the ever-loving daylights out of the Prism, and often broadcast parts or all of their shows.

I guess it's just easier and more natural for some people to blame the world and just be pissed.

Fred needs help. It would be irresponsible as a community to ignore Freds ongoing cries for help. If fred can not bring
himself to seek counseling then perhaps a responsible community should help fred find the resources that this amazing
city has to offer. Fred's history of violent outbursts both verbal and physical have been tolerated for entirely too long
As anyone who has witnessed one of Freds psychotic episodes can tell you, he needs to stay on his meds. The rantings
of his letter are only testiment to his latest non compliance with his medications.
Fred, help others to help you.


It is time for change. We all know it. The Prism doesn't exist any more. The prism used to be a non-profit organisation, run by its members, with an elected board.
In its place came a for profit organisastion, run by two people. A couple that has (unsuccesfully) tried to
soil the reputation of some of our most dedicated community oriented people in the greatre Charlottesville area. Big donations have been made to The Prism, time wise,
knowlegde wise. I know of one fine German bass being donated by Jim Quarles, who's reputation was dragged through the mud by the current"owners".
The Prism doesn't exist anymore. Only the name is a faint reminder of the flamboyant place it once was. For the people and by the people of Charlottesville and surroundings.
Not for and by 2 people. I truly hope that West Minster Church has the stamina to put this era to an end. To give the community a chance to show that music unites.

Self-appointed managers and board members of a PUBLIC entity are destined for failure. It has been proven time and again and written about extensively throughout the decades, if not centuries. The "Freds" and their rubber-stampers, i.e., those who chose to remain on the board and drink the KoolAid the past two years and allow "them" to crash and burn our beloved historic PUBLIC folk club, should be ashamed. Yes, GOODBYE to all the disciples of that misguided prophet; not to mention that prophet and his foul-mouthed partner muse. Good riddance!

Big Daddy Dan is insulting people with actual psychosis by associating them with
Fred. Fred might benefit from anger management, but he's not mentally ill. He's just angry. All the time. That's not a mental illness, that's a character flaw.
The For Sale sign on the building in Gordonsville was a big clue this deal had fallen through last week by the way.

No newspaper or church brought down the Prism. Mental illness did, via Fred Boyce. I hope that this guy gets the help he needs. This letter is just delusional paranoia. My thanks goes to the Hook for trying to get the word out 2 years ago that Boyce was running the Prism into the ground. As it turns out, you guys were right. I haven't been to a show there in at least 5 or 6 years but I'm going to miss the place just the same.

Wow... I think you all are very harsh...
Imagine if you put your heart and soul into something like Fred & his partner did to keep a long lasting tradition alive, without and TRUE help from anyone?>... I'm talking about more help than some volunteers just selling CDs or taking the door...

As far as the radio station battle... one person, I mean ONE person wanted Fred out of WTJU, simply because she thought his folk music was not true, she rather be playing Pop-Folk, like Jewel, Hootie, etc... not traditional folk, which is what FOLK stands for!

They're not just blamming the world and being Pissed, I know for a fact that no-one from the Hook went to go see a show there until the last night and that it's true that nothing positive has come out of these papers for The Prism, only negative... Tell me you have never gotton passionate about something?... and were ANY of you there when Fred stated his voice to DEFEND himself?... so how angry was he?... damn, go ahead and tell me my painting are terrible and that I shouldn't sell them, then you'll see angry... Charlottesville has not appreciated this fine venue enough... it's true, some of the artists out there do deserve to give praise to The Prism... The venue was up there with Club Passim in Cambridge, MA, Godfrey Daniel's in Bethlehem, PA, The Ark in Ann ARbor, MI... it's not like gravity lounge... c'mon...

Let me ask you this... Do you really want to have ANOTHER venue that hosts open mics with people who can barely play their instruments and sing the same story that thousands and thousands of people have sang about?...

As much as I love this town, it's hard for me to think of it as the #1 place in the country or even think of it as such an amazing music town when people have no respect for a place like The Prism... I find that we're in a time right now where everyone's looking for "new" music and the "what's new and cool" in music, The Prism kept TRADITIONAL FOLK alive... and i GUARANTEE you will not find that anywhere else... Other businesses in town want mostly acts who will bring in the most people and buy the most drinks, so they can pay there rent...

You all are too harsh... too too harsh... have you no sympathy?...

Mark R. Brown

Mark Brown says "You all are too harsh”Š too too harsh”Š have you no sympathy?”Š"

C-Ville is a very harsh and heartless community (if community can even be used in such a situation). As I was told by someone that has lived here his entire life, "People in the south put up a front that they are friendly and would help you, but inside they hate you and hope you go away."

So much for bowing out graciously. It's rather sad to read that farewell letter. The obviously has a lot of anger.

Mark R. Brown wrote: "As far as the radio station battle”Š one person, I mean ONE person wanted Fred out of WTJU, simply because she thought his folk music was not true, she rather be playing Pop-Folk, like Jewel, Hootie, etc”Š not traditional folk, which is what FOLK stands for!"

I can't speak for anybody else at TJU, but that station was a longtime supporter of the Prism, often broadcasting parts of shows. Announcers regularly promoted shows coming to the Prism. If you think WTJU is guilty of not promoting shows at the Prism, I can assure you that there's no "there" there. Any such claims are pure fantasy.

I'm thinking Fred's referring to another local "non-profit" radio station, but he isn't referring to WTJU, 91.1. Judging by Mark R. Brown's references to Jewel and Hootie, I don't think HE was referring to WTJU, 91.1, either.

first of all i take personal offense to being included in the negative comments about the hook and its staff. so, here is a big middle finger to the angry man who wrote the nasty letter which has spawned this insidious bloggery. in the past, i have a made a point to address the importance of supporting the prism.

that's all folks.

thanks for your time.

ps the chocolate chip cookies were great and i will miss the rice crispy squares.

-howard hughes

Mark Brown obviously misses the entire point.. Is the Westminster Church (landlord) wrong? Has Brown read between the lines in regard to what their representative has been quoted as stating to the award-winning Hook reporter? Are the long-standing former Prism members all wrong? No. No and No. The Prism was taken over via hostile methods by one, then two and ultimately a few selfish individuals who could neither afford to buy or start a venue independently. So, they took one which belonged to a large group of dedicated members (some of whom did much more than wash dishes and handle tickets at the door), i.e., a folk music club of sorts, cancelled the vote by legitimate Prism members, annually appointed themselves and a board of directors and made the Prism into what they wanted it to be. How did Boyce do all that and get away with it for so long? By threatening and basically scaring people with the type of behavior he demonstrates in the recent letter posted on his website. Think about it... if he can behave that way publicly with his paranoid obnoxious ranting. Imagine what he might be like behind closed doors, screaming, or hiding in the bushes yelling at passersby, chasing at least one woman to her car and striking her windshield. Open your ears and listen to those folks.. They are plenty of them out there, whispering about what they experienced first hand because they believe Boyce is capable of even worse actions. How did it finally get to the point it is currently? Legitimate Prism members finally had had enough and took him on. Then, a responsible publication followed and reported the story. So, now... Boyce is "venue-homeless" because, as was the case in the beginning of his 16-year reign, he cannot afford to acquire a venue. Yes, he'll keep the 40 year-old name and recordings, thereby carrying his negative legacy and the grossly tainted and cracked "Prism" with him. Perfect, really! How appropriate. Meanwhile, those former Prism members will start over, with a new name, possibly in the same space, providing a comfortable, congenial, non-threatening environment in which to hold workshops, jam sessions and perhaps host the occasional inexpensive concert by local talented performers, of which there are many in this town (who can play their instruments and sing quite well, actually). Meanwhile, the fine for-profit/no-profit music venues in town, including Gravity Lounge, will continue to host national and international touring performers and receive an increasing level of community support because, low and behold, they're managed by reasonable, mature people with modest egos, healthy self-esteem and a TRUE love of music and what it can do for folks. What a concept!! Sometimes, it just takes time for things to work out as they should.

It's really a shame to see The Prism implode in this way. As a grad student and volunteer over there in the early 90's, I got got to see some incredible music while running sound. With little budget I was also able to bring Fred's idea to broadcast the shows on WTJU to fruition. But there was an ugly side to Fred, which, simplified, was that if you weren't 101% with him on every issue, then you were an enemy.

He decided to make WNRN an enemy early on. As a paid employee of WTJU, he basically had carte blanche to schedule huge amounts of free advertising on that station, including ticket prices, which is a specific FCC violation unlees a show was a benefit for the station licensee (UVA). We made it clear early on that we would work with Fred any way we could --non-profit discounts, interviews of artists, ticket giveaways etc.-- but that as an independent radio station that wasn't almost totally University supported, we could not run saturation campaigns for no compensation for Prism shows. So since we weren't ready to go whole-hog for no compensation for him (and yes, he did make it personal), we were the "enemy."
In his parting shot here, he accuses WNRN of violating FCC rules for pushing acts at for-profit venues. What
rule, or rules, this is supposed to violate is (are) not specified (None have been, and some of those same venues are also pushed on WTJU, perfectly legally.

A "chicken or egg" question to ponder is whether Fred became the personification of The Prism because not enough others ever made consistent enough commitments to its operation (he most certainly did), or whether his personality drove those people away. Since the latter was true in my case, so I'll go with that explanation. At some point, commitment and artistic vision can become a straitjacket and even a justification for violating norms of behavior that wil drive other people away. This is what happened at The Prism; Charlottesville won't be a better place without it.

Mike Friend got it 99% right. There were dozens of volunteers and some financial supporters who were simply run off by Boyce. These people loved the Prism and poured their hearts and souls into it but the slightest difference of opinion with Freddy (yes, Freddy..) always resulted in child-like temper tantrums at best and sometimes the threat of violence, with the occassional reality of violence. Many simply were forced out by Boyce, yet he almost made a living by telling everyone who would listen "NOBODY HELPS US AROUND HERE!"

The only point Mike got just slightly incorrect is that, because over the course of more than one-third of the its existance, the Prism became Fred and vice-versa. The two unfortunately became one in the same. Consequently, Charlottesville WILL be a better place without the Prism/Boyce. Its former location will remain right there at the corner of Gordon and Rugby and a group of smart, dedicated and fairly well-adjusted folks will raise from the smoldering ashes left of what Boyce crashed and burned, a new folk club with a new name and possibly, most importantly, a wealth of knowledge gained.. by learning what not to do. Boyce wrote the book on the latter.


you all are sure respondin' to me around here!!!... well, I find that you all are so funny... you are focusing on 1 thing and one thing only, that Fred is some kind of lunatic, where he was just trying to run the HARDEST working venue in Cville...

This is sooooooo funny Mr. Monroe, that I a RISDY & Shenandoah University alum read YOUR response as to how Gravity lounge and OTHER venues in town bring world class PROFESSIONAL acts? HAHAHAHAHAH... that's hilarious... Local musicians?... there are quite a few AMAZING musicians, but for the most part, Charlottesville thinks almost everyone should be a musician, and does that make them pleasurable to listen to?... I tell you, I definitely would not pay $10 to $25 to go see some of these local musicians play at the former "Prism Coffeehouse," you actually would have to pay me to go see anyone except for a few truly talented acts. Those acts were not even local, they just live here and truly do something with their music, that's why the Prism hosted some real amazing local acts and not just anyone who wanted to "play a song for their mom."

You all think of The Prism like just another venue, but you have to understand that it was MORE than that... I mean, no one else knew how much went into performing and the music itself as much as Fred. The Prism brought more than just national & International acts, for the most part other venues in town bring what "sells"... bottom line, HARDLY any true ROOTS instrumental music... and that is what the Prism did... Yes, there are MANY MANY great new and exciting acts coming alive, weird, feminist, folky-jazz, queer, whatever!, but the Prism didn't feed into a trend, it stayed true to tradition... my god, you all really really are clueless...

let me ask you this... what is in YOUR CD player right now?... and can you sing ALL the tunes in your head?... The Prism wasn't about "sing-a-longs"... "jam-sessions"... "open mics"... don't you all see that?... we have a BAJA bean already! we have a place for singer / songwriters... we have a place for Jam Bands, we have a place for HUGE acts... well, what about the smaller Irish acts, Griots from Africa, would love to know where they'll be playin'... you JUST don't see it... Please let me know where Cheik Hamala Diabate, Crooked Still, Mohammad Koyate, John Cephas, Flook, Pierre Bensusan, John Renbourn, Alex DeGrassi PLAY? You find the perfect venue... I guarantee you a HUGE percent of them will not play there even though some others may take over the same space! It's just not the same... Fred had a HUGE relationship with ALL the artists he booked and he is the one who brought the real amazing acts like DOC WATSON to CHARLOTTESVILLE!...

Thanks for the responses and thanks for seeing all sides...

M. R> Brown

Mark obviously drank the KoolAid, as served and has likely never played a note of music himself, just listens to it on his CD, thereby an authority! Impressive CV, though.. Shenandoah University and all. Wow... where is that again? I forget. Whatever... his hero has left the building. Any Elvis sightings, lately?
Harvard University

No kidding, Mark is a trip, ain't he.. with too much time in his hand. I wonder where those HUGE relationships are now. I doubt many give a crap one way or the other. Those performers who are still getting around, come next season and/or the one after, will be back in Charlottesville, performing at one of the venues here. The beauty of time is that it tells... We'll see.. Either way, adious, Fred.

I have a question for Ralph Stanley...

AS far as playin' a note of music... I'm just curious... are you a musician?... do you have a PHD in music? and where?

Thank you for your time..

M. R. B.

Was this not provided to award-winning (just out of curiosity, what award?) journalist Courtney Stuart? If not, is it not her responsibility, as a journalist, to get the facts straight? I cannot believe that this matter has not been put to rest. Let's please just be done with it. These poor, honest, hardworking people should not have had to waste their time and energy digging this up and going to court in the first place, but since they did...


Articles of Incorporation
of the Prism Coffehouse, INC

8th: The Directors of the Corporation shall be elected by a simple majority of the Corporation's existing Board of Directors at the Corporation's Annual Meeting. Vacancies on the Board of Directors shall be filled at the earliest possible time by a majority of the Board.

9th: In addition, the Corporation shall have the power to do any and all acts which may be necessary, useful, suitable or proper for the furtherance of the goals of the Corporation.

uh oh... we've got one on here who doesn't know the difference between Doctor Ralph Stanley and Raphael Stanley..

I'm sorry... I really thought it was Ralph Stanley... He's written soo many comments on "" c'mon... sorry I was typing so fast... thanks Mr. Bradley... I know RALPH STANLEY played at The Prism... I

Mr. RAPHAEL Stanley, do you have a PHD in music?...

Thanks for clearing it up...

M. R. brown

Mr. Mark Brown,
Would you like to lick my weiner?

whatever ya all

cville sux

have fun at the pavilion!

... that i can only listen that music from now on!

jo ranson

I have read all of these opinions and that is all they are. You know what they say opinions are like....very fitting in this case.You think you know and that is all. I would venture to say none of you have put in any time in Prism...that probally goes without saying, but just in case.You didn't get your way with the Prism or Fred and you are all bitter and hateful, you lack understanding and facts, you should all be ashamed of yourselves, you should all be on meds and in straight jackets! You just sit back and judge...oh, you high and might hypocrits, the lot of you. You are all disgusting.... to talk about anybody like this. About someone who, no doubt , has no idea this blog shit even exists, because, he is one of the beautiful people. And you all hate him for it. Who can stand before envy? There are uniters and dividers in this world. You are all dividers and that is all you are capable of. Spreading your crap, which is all hearsay, gossip and definitely all bullshit!! There are two sides to every coin, my friends. What have any of you done for this community that makes you so all so great and all knowing? Who is talking about any of you in the press? Have you served any greater good? I hope you all feel better. I cannot express how happy I am that I do not have to be any of you and deal with your karma.

By the way, when someone donates something to a non profit, they get to write the value off of their taxes. Fair and square. Also, this original bullshit was taken to the press in the first place by Mr. Quarles, as I recall. He managed to get himself called a f***ing poseur" in the press, how many times? He chose to make a private message public. This was none of any of our business.I have volunteered for Harvest Shelter (and the Prism for that matter) and it is simply a garden and a small one at that, not to mention that there is not any true knowledge of organic gardening. To say it is a Foundation for battered women shelters, etc., is the same as saying it is a Tax Shelter. Perhaps Mr. Boyce is correct....if the shoe fits.

How could anyone not get angry? How can anyone not drink the KoolAid? You all should drown on it and see the error of your ways. How much bullshit is someone supposed to take before they show their ass? All I know is that if you pissed off Fred, you must deserve it. And if he went off on any of you people, I'm glad. Think about it(all you other) people, he would not have been able to make the Prism what it is and has been all these years if he has all the issues you all claim him to have. Please.Fred has made the Prism a place people give a damn about, including all of you. People love the Prism all over the world. It is way bigger than him, and most certianly any of you. How many of you have spoken to him directly about your opinions, concerns,etc? You all seem to be f***ing poseur" wanabes. Just saying something does not make it true, you spineless jellyfish. Where are your efforts on display every weekend, year after year. Does anyone know for sure who wrote that letter on the Prism website? No. That's right, you just think you know. Oh, you omnipotent fools. Sticks and stones, loves, sticks and stones.

I don't think anyone can argue that Fred Boyce didn't put his heart and soul into the Prism. It is his methods that are disagreeable. He is a bully.
Violence and threats of violence, irate and unreasonable phone messages and ranting letters are not the methods of a stable person. I know that if it had been me or a loved one that was a victim of Freds hostility, it would not have ended well. The venue will start anew and will learn from its mistakes.

Jeez, I guess peace and love was just a dream some of us had. You all ought to try listening to David Rovics and channeling this misdirected animosity at the Bush regime where it might do some good


Do you know who will be running the new space?... Blue Ridge Irish Music School... they can't even teach some of those kids how to hold a fiddle or even play in tune! I can't wait to NOT go and see what they do... they have 1 good teacher there and that's it... all they'll have is irish jam circles and an occasional Irish act, I doubt you'd see musicians from all over the world playing there... but i guess all of you all will see...

"ALL BULLSHIT's" COMMENTS were PERFECT... thank you thank you ALL BULLSHIT! you all just hear about what was said and weren't even inside what happened... he's so right on... maybe people like to just lash out at Fred, because they don't have the balls to see their own problems and adress those in their own lives, so i guess it's just easier for ALL of you to take it out on someone else... I'm sure you all are PERFECT Humans that NEVER get angry or passionate about something.... well, then your lives must be as dull as the BRIMS


June 20, 2003

To The Harvest Shelter Foundation,

On behalf of the Prism, and its extended community of musicians, volunteers, friends and patrons, I would like to thank you for your ongoing generous support of the Prism and its artists. The ability to offer comfortable and inviting accommodations has been a vital component in our efforts to bring some of the world's finest performers of traditional folk, acoustic and related music to Charlottesville. In addition, your significant financial and in-kind contributions of musical instruments, etc., rank among the most selfless and generous in the Prism's entire 37-year history.

With greatest thanks,

Frederick S. Boyce, Artistic Director
For the Board of DIrectors/The Prism Coffeehouse, Inc.

Dear "Start New"--

Clearly you didn't think through your comments about BRIMS enough to realize that instead of attacking the organization, as you seem to want to do, you attacked the students. Since its founding in 1999, BRIMS has offered its students a chance to play in ensembles from a very early point in their musical educations. Please be aware that your snarky comments may be directed toward a child who picked up a fiddle only months before you saw him or her--not the organization you find so dull. Such comments are not fair to any student, child or adult.

If you don't enjoy BRIMS' activities, it's your right to avoid them like the proverbial plague. But please, before you run around indicting organizations, at least run a Google search to find out what the organization is *trying* to do. BRIMS' mission statement does not make any claim to producing concerts--but I urge you to visit the website,, to find out what BRIMS *does* do.

With all due respect,

Tes Slominski
co-founder, The Blue Ridge Irish Music School
former Artistic Director, BRIMS
current Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology, New York University

I am really sorry to see the Prism end this way - I grew up with it, and went to many, many concerts there, well before Fred Boyce arrived, and after. I had hoped it would start over - that the folks who'd split with Fred would step into the space and form a new operation to take over the space. I wonder what plans the BRIMS folks have for it. Both Fred and Quarles seemed to be newcomers fighting it out. Fred definitely did put an awful lot into it, and I'm sorry that good work was tainted or undone by the negative stuff.

Mr. Barden - thanks for creating this place - it was definitely part of the fabric of "home" for me, at a bunch of different times through my life (I'm two years younger than the Prism).

I started volunteering at the Prism in 1975, when it was condemned and only able to hold weekly poetry readings and not much else. I was there when it reopened in the late 70s after major, MAJOR volunteer effort spearheaded by Rob Craighurst (Cockrell). I volunteered there for twelve years, from the reopening to the early part of Fred's term as artistic director in 1991. I was one of the board members who elected him to his position, and I held just about every single volunteer post the Prism holds at one time or another, and sometimes all at once: kitchen manager, booking agent, newsletter editor, cookie maker, poster maker, poster distributor -- you name it, I did it, and never received a dime. I have been volunteering again for the last two years.

I know what a Prism volunteer is, and it is not someone who comes to a show and makes a few pots of coffee so they can get free admission to next week's show. What those people are actually doing is just exchanging their time for free tickets. A volunteer does one or more of the many, many jobs that have to be done in order for a music venue to keep operating, from cleaning to yard work to postering to running sound to a multitude of other tasks, and makes a committment to do that job consistently and well, and not just for their personal favorite performers.

The Prism, in the late 70s and 80s, never had more than about a half dozen committed true volunteers, just as it has now and has had throughout Fred's term. There were always another couple dozen people who just hung out there, "rented" space that they never fully paid for, and objected to the shows we put on though they never lifted a finger. Jim Jones and others may think the Prism is a "public" entity because we always have somehow managed to make the music business, which is naturally a very ugly, difficult, and painful thing, look so easy. It is not easy, it has never been easy at the Prism or anywhere else, and believe me, the Prism has never at any time since at least the mid 70s and probably from its inception been the sweet little local socialist utopia that many people seem to think it was. There were always fights and outbursts among the volunteers, and always one person who was stuck doing pretty much everything while everyone else enjoyed the place. Every year or two that person would get completely "Prismed out", as we called it, and someone else would allow themselves to be suckered into the job. There were always people who left because of disagreements, well before Fred ever came to town.

In 1983 we incorporated the Prism so that we could seek non-profit status to get a discount on postage for mailing the newletter. The bylaws, which music appreciator so sensibly quoted from above, said nothing about letting self-appointed "volunteers" attend steering committee meetings and elect the board. What kind of nonsense it that? Does any other non-profit in this town, or anywhere, operate in such a grossly stupid way? Can you imagine the Piedmont Council for the Arts behaving like that? Please! The "by-laws" that allowed that nonsense were written up in the early 90s by god know who and passed off for years as legitimate, when they had never even been submitted for approval to the State Corporation Commission. Those new "by-laws" would never have passed their review because they conlicted with the Prism's Articles of Incorporation. When the nay-sayers caused their big ruckus two years ago, the ACTUAL Prism volunteers researched the situation and discovered the old, VALID by-laws and realized that they had been intuitively following them, not violating them as the disgruntled people claimed. Both of the lawyers involved in the case agreed on this, and stated that Fred, since he had been elected by a board that was, in the late 80s, still acting in accordance with the valid by-laws, was actually the only legitimate board member at that time

Over the years of Fred's term, the rent on the Prism rose from $60 per month to nearly ten times that. Fred continued to slave on at his paltry commission (I wonder how many people writing to this forum could begin to live on what he makes) and made enough money for the Prism to not only cover the rent increases, but also have significant funds in the bank. We never had more than about $300 on reserve at any time, once expenses were paid. Under Fred's leadership, in spite of money going out to him in commissions, there have generally been MANY THOUSANDS of dollars on hand. Performers are treated to free meals and lodgings, which they never were before, the sound system is no longer a homemade, welded-together 3-channel amp with two channels burnt out and two moldy old speakers run in sequence off the remaining channel that we prayed would keep working because we couldn't afford an actual sound system. The Prism today is a world-class and world-famous folk music venue.

I have known Fred Boyce for 17 years and have never once been the object of his temper. I think most of the ACTUAL volunteers at the Prism could probably say the same thing. It is the people who want only to take from the Prism, and to criticize the work of the actual volunteers, who feel the brunt of Fred's anger. The actual volunteers, who are immediately recognizable to each other, have a halo of protection around them because all of them know who is actually doing the work of the Prism. They have remained silent throughout this debate and I seriously doubt if most of the posters to this forum could name even one of them. Fred and Kenyon are the biggest volunteers there, in spite of the money Fred earns on commission when and ONLY whenthe Prism makes money. Fred gets nowhere near the pay he would get for doing the same job elsewhere, and Kenyon does not get paid at all. I would say they probably put in well over a hundred hours a week at the Prism between them, and might get paid for about ten of those hours.

If you want to kick my ass about anything I've said here, please qualify yourself first by answering two questions:

1. What is, and always has been, the real purpose of the Prism in the eyes of Westminster Church? (Hint: it has nothing whatever to do with producing music concerts.)

2. Who is Tom Barden?

Yeah, yeah, yeah... so what. They're gone now. AMF..

What's important to Charlottesville is that the performers will continue to perform in Charlottesville at other venues, such as the Gravity Lounge. Those performers have been playing the Jammin' Java for a few years now, as well as other small venues in Virginia. John Renbourne, Alison Brown, Tim O'Brien, Susan McKeown, John Doyle, Liz Carroll, Andy Irvine, David Grier, Chris Thile, Mike Marshall, Darol Anger and many others who played the Prism Coffeehouse, play the Jammin' Java in an atmosphere of booze-swigging, cigarette-smoking, music-loving listeners and they'll be back in Charlottesville, happily. Musicians are out there to make a living and as they acquire more fame (read: Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, Sam Bush, Alison Krause, Bela Fleck, Dave Matthews, they leave the smaller venues behind and advance to larger ones, such as Starr Hill and on up to the Paramount Theater and sometimes way beyond.

It ain't rocket science. Get over it..

Interesting that Fred used "All Bullshit" as his username for his post here this morning.

Nobody sabotaged the Prism. Not the Church....not the ex volunteers....not Harvest Shelter.....not the radio stations...and certainly not the Hook. To believe so is nonsense. The Prism is gone either because the community did not support it, or because it was not properly managed. Since this whole string started because of an angry, maniacal posting to the Prism website blaming the Hook and a local radio station for the demise of the Prism, I suspect the latter. If it was run so well, why is it gone? Sorry Ms. Manuel, I can't answer your silly little qualifying riddles. Does that mean I dont win what's behind door number two?

Time to start anew: It means you don't have enough information to have an intelligent conversation about the issues and you are wasting the time of people who do.

The Prism is not "gone". It remains a legal non-profit entity with an artistic director and a governing board that decided as a body not to renew a lease that would have reduced the availability of the space to the Prism Coffeehouse, Inc. from seven days a week to three, and in addition raised the rent further. That's right. From seven days a week to three, and yet the Prism Coffeehouse would have had to pay more per month than they had been paying for seven days a week. I wish BRIMS all the luck in the world meeting their rent obligation if the church offers them the space under the same terms.

I respect Kathleen's Hogan's remarks because I know that she - like Fred Boyce, like many dedicated volunteers, and unlike me - has put in lots of hours of grunt labor at the Prism over the years.

I was a Fred supporter for many years because we all benefited from his efforts to make the Prism into a first-class venue for acoustic music. However, I personally stopped attending Prism shows two years ago and haven't set foot in the place since then. With all due respect to Kathleen - who is right on on almost every point she makes, especially in disabusing people about the "good old days" that never were - I do not see how she can overlook the plain fact that Fred Boyce has an abusive personality. I work for a non-profit, and there is no way I could keep my job if I treated people as Fred has. His aggressive tirades - one of which I witnessed - should have led to his firing years ago. The sad, angry parting shots in the letter on the website are indicative of his troubled mental state.

The Prism board has done a great disservice to the Prism and to Fred by not, at the minimum, sanctioning him for his highly unprofessional behavior. Because they enabled him to continue alienating many,many people, they are directly responsible for the current unhappy state of affairs.

Fred Boyce himself needs to take a hard look in a mirror and take responsibility. He has undone all of his early good work through sheer hubris.

at least they're outta charlottesville... that's getting close to being good enough..

The "old geezer" gets it! The so-called "board" totally blew it.

Thanks, old geezer, for your thoughtful response. Rest assured that every member of the board has let Fred know that his behavior has at times been unproductive. But please understand that the board is aware of just how small a pittance Fred is supporting his family on, and just how talented he is at the job he does. Every board member is aware, even if some members of the community are not, that no one of Fred's caliber is out there waiting in the wings to take over the job of Prism artistic director for the excruciatingly small amount of money and the inordinate amount of time that go along with it.

Nor does anyone at the Prism want it to revert back to what it was in the eighties when it was strictly volunteer. That would, in my opinion, be the death of the Prism. Back then we had no competition and very low expenses, but today things are very different. I remember one steering committee meeting when we were all quaking in our boots because the Baptist Student Union was opening up a coffeehouse on Saturday nights on JPA. The Baptist Student Union! We were so spoiled by being the only show in town that did anything at all like what we did that we were afraid of the Baptist Student Union.

Today, Charlottesville has the Gravity Lounge and the Mudhouse at one end, the Paramount, the Pavilion, and the Performing Arts Center at the other end, and Starr Hill in the middle. We have competition at every level now, and vastly higher expenses on top of it. It is very unlikely that the Prism could have survived as long as it did if Fred had not taken it the direction he did.

At the big public meetings two years ago when members of the community tried to elect themselves to the board, I confronted one man who had spoken at length to the Hook and had his picture in one of the Hook articles, and I told him that if got the position he was aiming for (artistic director) that his life would no longer be his own. That was when it came out that, although his name was on the list of candidates for that position, he was not actually running for Fred's position but instead wanted Fred to continue as artistic director and he and others to sit on the board and tell him what to do and who to book. I can't imagine that he would have had the gall to try to pull a stunt like that on any other non-profit, but the delusion that the Prism is somehow "public" and owned by "the people" is apparently pretty firmly entrenched in this town. I suppose it is part of the Prism's appeal that it appears that way, part of it's "schtick", you might say; but the reality is very different.

At any rate, the Prism is not moving out of Westminster's building because of the Hook articles, public opinion, disgruntled volunteers, or Fred's anger. The church has said publicly that it hoped the Prism Coffeehouse would stay in the building. That's not surprising when you look at the major amount of structural and maintenance work that the Prism has performed over the years on the unairconditioned, 19th century building, most of it spearheaded by Fred Boyce. Of course they wanted the Prism to stay. The Prism is moving because it would not have been able to continue proper operation of the organization under the terms of the new lease, which included higher rent, fewer days of operation, and a requirement that the Prism Coffeehouse provide janitorial services after events sponsored by the Church.

She just doesn't get it.. enjoys the smell of her own long-winded gas.. Tolerance of the threat of violence and reality of violence because one is perceived to otherwise be "doing a good job" is about as ignorant as can be. What's all this about "competiton" between "non-profit" venues, when it's really supposed to be about the music, those who play it and perform and those who watch and listen? This gal, Kathleen.. whew.. I believe very little of what she says or writes. Thank goodness to google..

I have never seen either the threat or the reality of violence from Fred, Chris. I am not aware of any police reports filed or hospital admissions documented by anyone at all in connection with Fred Boyce. I do not tolerate the threat or the reality of violence, and neither do I tolerate slander.

"The music", "those who play it and perform", and "those who watch and listen" are one side of the equation. The other is the people who produce the concerts and give performer and audience the opportunity to interact. That side has everything to do with competition and finding a niche that will serve the community and enable the interaction to continue.

I wish to stay out The Prism discussion, except to respond to statements in the discussion that refer to gravity lounge.

Kathleen Hogan Manuel...have you ever BEEN to gravity lounge, and if so, how could you in any way compare it to the Mudhouse? Your misunderstanding of our venue is so great, I can't let it pass without comment, lest someone think your perception is accurate. The Mudhouse is a coffeehouse, in the truest sense of the word, that sells coffee beverages, pastries and smoothies. It's a casual place where people hang out, that also happens to host musical performances on occasion. Gravity Lounge is a concert venue that has, in three years, presented more concerts than Starr Hill, The Paramount, The Prism and The Pavilion COMBINED. Interestingly, Shawn Mullins, who performed at Starr Hill last week, performed at gravity lounge last year. Livingston Taylor, who performed at gravity lounge last month, will perform at The Paramount in November.

Our upcoming calendar includes such musical legends as Odetta, Johnny Winter, Tom Rush, Fairport Convention, Roomful of Blues, Holly Near, Janis Ian and Jesse Winchester. We're also presenting notables such as Patty Larkin, Steve Forbert, Chris Smither, Lucy Kaplansky and Eliza Gilkyson, such rising artists as Ember Swift and Girlyman, international performers such as Luka Bloom, The Glengarry Bhoys, FRUiT, and many exceptional local talents such as Devon Sproule, Jan Smith, Paul Curreri, Danny Schmidt and Scuffletown. As was the case with much of the talent brought to town by the Prism, you probably won't read about any of our shows in the local press, and our posters are probably torn down before you have a chance to see them.

Support live music. Support musicians. Buy CDs. Buy tickets. Artists are struggling, venues are struggling; we all lose substantially when we lose one as impressive as The Prism.

Bill Baldwin

There are those who experienced Fred's violent behavior first hand, one woman even had the guts to speak of her experience publicly, as was reported in the paper. Ever look up the definition of violence? You offer so many contradictions in your long-winded essays, it is laughable. I believe very little of what you say or write. Thank goodness for google.

My apologies to Gravity Lounge. I have been to a number of outstanding concerts there with name acts, and also to several no cover concerts that I also enjoyed. I was referring to relative sizes of local venues and not to the caliber of their offerings and should have made that clear, and should have had four categories with Gravity in its own.

Chris, I know the woman personally. I have read her version of events and heard Fred's version as well. I know the details of their disagreement and the underlying factors and precipitating elements and I've made up my mind about it based on all of that. I have never seen or heard of a police report or a damage estimate in relation to the incident. Since Fred was gracious enough to refrain from filing a slander suit against her or a libel suit against the Hook, I guess we will never know any more details about it.

Right -on to Bill Baldwin! You want to talk/write about the "hardest working venue in Charlottesville" write about the Gravity Lounge. They host top talent almost every night of the week. The Gravity Lounge is run by a gentleman. That's right, a Gentle Man, who has earned the respect of top talent nationwide and it's just going to get better for him. He doesn't need to post descriptions on his website of how hard he's been working, or how fantastic he is. One rarely hears a word out of him. His reputation does the talking AND the walking.

Quite a contrast to the "myth" of Fred and Kenyon who do the talking.. foul-mouthed, screaming, crying, yelling, self-promoting, rumor-spreading, disgusting talk, talk, talk.

This fantasy about how hard the Prism works is a joke. Give us a break, please! Those people who ran that place into the ground would not know hard work if they fell into it, unless you consider sitting in their former hang-out/listening room, smoking dope drinking too much booze and talking about how hard they work, hard work. Staying awake is hard work to them.

Will someone please, please lick my weiner?

I propose post #47 (from "a very concerned citizen") be the official end of this blog string, as it pretty well sums things up in regard to the Prisn. All in favor? Any opposed? Motion carried. Meeting adjourned. Good luck to everyone.

Nothing bad?...

I remember a few months ago checking the Gravity Lounge website and saw that when Steve Smith & Hard Road decided to play the Prism instead of the Gravity Lounge, the webmaster posted some remark stating "Think about who you're supporting if you go see Steve Smith & Hard Road at Theprism, I'm dissapointed in all parties involved"... Steve Smith obviously decided that he wanted to play at The Prism instead of the Gravity, , for reasons unknown, but whoever posted that comment isn't a saint either!

I've personally attended many great shows at almost ALL the true venues in town and Love The Gravity Lounge, Starr Hill, The Paramount, etc... but The Prism (a non-profit org., educational establishment), you all just don't get... I give the best of luck to all the rest of the venues, and I hope I still get to see much great acts, but Mr. Baldwin is right... we all lose when we lose a venue like The Prism... have you other folks no sympathy?... At least The Gravity can see that even if they were in some kind of competition with the Prism...

ronald mayer

I first played at the Prism during it's first year of operation, and played quite a few more times in the following decades, for at least four different organizers, and always enjoyed it, but as time went on It got more and more difficult dealing with Fred. He was always disorganized, and a few years ago just stopped responding to my requests for gigs. This hurt, not only because I felt that anyone lse running the club would have been glad to book me back into what was sort of a home gig for a boy who grew up in Richmond and even lived in Charlottesivlle for a while, but because, as I told Fred, my mother was ill and I needed to be back in Virginia often, and not being booked back at the Prism (by someone I then thought of as a friend) cut out one of the only gigs I could have had to help cover costs. After years of not getting any response at all, I responded to a mass mailing from the Prism with the simple phrase "Any chance of a booking next January?" After a few weeks, I got back a wild diatribe from Fred about how rude this was onmy part, and a very imperious message to the effect that, if I asked very nicely and apologized, he might be willing to book me, providced it was on a bill with a person that I used to work with but now have no contact with at all, for personel reasons with which Fred is very familiar (and don't bear going into). I had been innocent of Fred's growing reputation as detailed in articles in the Hook, etc., but can certainly say that in 40 years as a musician, I have never seen anything comparable to this outrageous behavior. Don't tell me, as Fred did, how much he did/does for the music and musicians; I know better. I've since talked with other people who played there and found that Fred alienated others in ways I won't go into in case he does get something going elesewhere. Obvioulsy I can't risk costing other people gigs. Whether he's a psycho or not, he certainly commandeered what was a long-running community-based venue and turned it into his own little bailiwick. Good riddance to Fred, C'vile will miss the Prism but not Mr.Boyce. Meanwhile, The Hook might note that there's a germ of truth in the criticism that your paper didn't support the Prism as much as it might have, and make amends by trying to support whatever venues do present honest, non-commerical music of all kinds in the future.

Some people would be surprised to know how many musicians who have repeatedly performed at the Prism, including some who've done so in the past couple years, share Duck Baker's opinion of Fred Boyce. They've "put up" with Fred because, like Duck, they want to work and Charlottesville is a nice stop between Northern Virginia and North Carolina and a few towns between.

Maybe there wasn't a spot for some of these musicians' shows at The Prism... it's hard to get back into a place, so people book way way in advance and some places even "hold" dates for favorite national acts that come through town... i know many musicians who've played at Starr Hill and Gravity Lounge that can't find a fitting date for them except for some openers, if that...

maybe the venue went in a different direction and simply wasn't interested in having some of those performers... though those performers might be very good, sometimes the stars just aren't aligned... i know Duck Baker found a show at Gravity Lounge instead one time here in Cville. It's not like The Prism had EVERY night to do shows... the place was known for acts like Corey Harris, Darol Anger / Mike Marshall, Pierre Bensusan... and many dates were held for them because they were the most popular shows at The Prism...

Paul Matthews

I have been the music editor at The Hook since May 2005, and we began running feature-length articles designed to promote concerts that July. The Prism has refused to respond to my phone calls and emails since late October.

Nevertheless, they were consistently included in our weekly concert listings and I did a couple of longer writeups on a couple of their shows -- when I was able to get in touch with the artists, that is. In addition, we previewed Pierre Bensusan's two concerts earlier this month with a very prominent full-page interview in the April 6th issue.

Note that this was about two weeks before that delightful diatribe appeared on the Prism's web site. But that's OK; perhaps they didn't even notice the article. After all, we were only able to make it happen because someone else stepped in on Pierre's behalf and did some competent media relations work.

In addition, Damani Harrison has written about the Prism several times in his weekly column.

I can see it from their perspective and don't begrudge them for having decided to cut us off, but it's unreasonable for them to then turn around and bitch about our lack of positive coverage. It's hard to write articles supporting the venue when the people in charge won't cooperate.

drop fred's name to a performer at merlefest sometime and watch the eyes roll. many of the "national acts" think he's a jerk, too.. they put-up with him because even national acts need the money. those mid-tier performers are earning far less than what one might think, after paying travel expenses, etc. all that which is transpiring now, has been predicted by performers and their agents for years. was just a matter of time before it finally caught up.

Let's all remember that this is the MUSIC BUSINESS we're talking about here and it's a nasty dirty scene pretty much everywhere you go. The Prism didn't suspend concert productions because performers wouldn't keep dealing with Fred, it stopped because of a lease dispute and the need for a new physical venue. Competition for a spot on the Prism's schedule has always been huge.

Flapdoodle can lick my weiner, too.

concerns presently being taken care of. thanks for caring.

WOW... I do remember that, The Gravity Really had that posted about Steve Smith & the Prism...then why was the guy so nice in his earlier post? it's Charlottesville... everyone's in competition with someone...


Yes the music Biz is tough, but I hate how the Hook has made Fred out to be The Anti-Christ... even if some people had some issues with him, they still have portrayed Fred like a MONSTER, like he's Osama... and he's anything but that... the Cartoon this week in the Hook is terrible!... Just like they did when DMB's bus let out their toilet waste improperly, they made it seem like it was ALL Dave's fault... The Hook is Charlottesville's "Star" magazine, looking for the WORST gossip on folks, not journalism, but GOSSIP... it's not like the people here are Britney Spears having another kid, even that's not our business, but for a Charlottesville, so called "Paper" to attack people as much as this paper does is unfair...

go back and look at how the press handled The Inner Stairway back in the late 90's... they made EVERYTHING so public that the founder took his own life... is that what the Hook's trying to accomplish?... do you really want people to take their own lives, go down in deep depression over some few Private and some Personal conversations ?.... it was NO business of the public's to read about Fred's phone conversation, but the dumbass who made it public did, because he didn't know how to handle what he did wrong, so he had to make the press know before Fred did, which Fred would never do...

we tear down some peole, but praise others... I also had read the statement on The Gravity Lounge's website when Steve Smith went to play the Prism, I also heard the doorman that's always there said to a young teenage girl who was trying to take a friends' band's poster from the wall (who had just had their show a day earlier) say... "What do you think you're doing?... You can't have that... and don't be a little bitch about it either..."
But no one brought his name to the paper...

converned citizen is right...

Amen. The asswipe who turned over Fred's phone message to the Hook cared nothing about the Prism, or he would never have endangered the Prism's relationship with it's landlord by causing Westminster Church to be publicly associated with obscenity. I don't think there's anything in the Prism's by-laws that prohibits the artistic director from calling someone a poseur or any other term that fits.

and, of course, Fred's poor relationship with the landlord had nothing to do with his and Kenyon's vulgar behavior over the course of many years, including his shouting expletives and "I am the Prism" as supporters and non-supporters (including two church representatives) exited the building one evening. At least he got that correct. Fred is the Prism, the latter being just a name now, belonging to him. Fortunately, the 40-year old spirit of 214 Rugby Road will remain and a more mature, kind and responsible group of true music lovers will restore the positive vibes of good will that existed there long ago. A place where people can convene, feel welcome, safe and enjoy the music, without being overwhelmed by the contorted ego of two or three. Yes, Fred - goodbye. We won't miss you.

He/She/They got it right. For years Fred Boyce has blamed all his mostly self-imposed troubles and failures on everyone but himself.

Oh, I am so depressed. My eyes are aching from reading the blogs. I don't mind any one knowing who I am. I am no musician. I am a register nurse who loves The Prism. My heart is sickened that the best thing musically speaking is gone. I sleep too much, I cry and cry. I see it as the most historical place musically speaking in Charlottesville along with WTJU. They have been around along time. It should remain a part of our culture. I really did enjoy the radio broadcst and Fred doing 'Acoustic Windows' on WTJU. Most of my knowledge on folk music came from him. He had much passion and lve in what he did. All of the folks are going to miss The Prism. Even the 'angry' ones. What is wrong with the emotion, anger, as long as it is handled properly. We are human and we do make mistakes. However, each person is accountable. I am just so upset about The Prism leaving Charlottesville. I would accept them going to Gordonsville. At least it was in Virginia. We are missing the point. The most treasured music venue that offerred traditional acoustic music with a true listening room is gone, gone, gone. From a historical perspective this is awful!!! We were the second coffeehouse of its kind in the United States. I have never blogged before and I feel like my words are being cut off. I think what I have to say is very important. The 'freedom of expression ' wall won't cut it. The other venues won't cut it. Oh, I will go and muse around but it won't be good enough. Only The Prism so far has been sound for music. I hope all intolerants are happy now that the ones who love wonderful listening room with a small up close and personal view of their favorite talents as well as favorite locals are happy that The Prism is gone gone oh gone!!!

I don't know whether people have finished commenting. I find it very difficult to 'let it go'. Time does heal all things. I will have fond memories. What I liked the best was the live broadcast. I knew that when it was too cold or I had to work, I could record the show and play it back later. It is so nice to have a quiet room to hear music. A small intimate room.
I just wished their was more monetary funding for it. Maybe Fred's outburst is a cry for help. He needed community support. He did a wonderful service for our community. I have seen abuse, Fred's style doesn't cut it. Some people are so dishonest with you. I would rather have someone raise their voice and tell me what they think as long as they address the subject and it is not attack on my character. I am going to mourn the loss for quite some time. I do care and yes, I am lazy and I don't confess to have done much for the Prism as a volunteer. I just loved the music that was performed there. I do care and I can't dismiss the place that easily. I will have my memories and I feel blessed to seen so many artist. I won't drive any where to see them now. Especially since I don't like to drive and gas prices create another excuse. Karen

Karen.. You're soooo right!~.... Fred's style doesn't cut it for an abusive person, but more like a passionate person... i presume most of these people live alone with a very very mild to low lifestyle, where nothing passionate happens to them... shame on them, i'm sorry for their un-happy lives where they make someone a Devil in this town... they are the true shames in Charlottesville... Fred did need more community support, not the community telling him he was terrible or needed to change the way he was running the Prism, for the Prism would truly not be what it was without him... and yes, he was the Prism, that was the beautiful part about him... the Prism would be another "venue" in cville like the many that we already have... like it will probably be when it is taken over... just another place where people stum their guitars and mandolins, but really don't have a place to play for true performance, but something that is a hobby... The Prism wasn't for "hobby" or "beginner" or even "intermediate" musicians, it was for crafted educational musicians...

i agree agree again again, especially with you Karen!


The Prism was originally founded by a group of UVA students in 1966 as an off-grounds escape from the conformity of the University of Virginia. There they could hang out, listen to poetry and folk music, smoke unfiltered cigarettes, and converse, feeling free to discuss hot topics of the day (such as the Vietnam War and the virtues of co-education) with their professors. Up until the mid-70s, the Prism remained a popular venue for local and regional folk performers.

214 Rugby Road isn't leaving town and it will soon be filled with well-balanced, healthy people seeking to put it back to fair community use, rather than being dominated by one man's oversized ego and abusive, ugly, threatening behavior. A groupie, masquerading as someone other than a paranoid man who has made many enemies over the course of his sixteen years there. Do you not find it odd that so many dislike the guy? You seem intent upon denying that fact. If he's as great as what he claims to be, then he should have no problem getting established in another building somewhere "far enough away from Charlottesville." He chose to leave 214 Rugby Road. Made his bed. Let him sleep.

When the Prism was started it was not a 501-C-3 non-profit and in fact was not even incorporated until 1983. It actually had no legal existence whatsoever and therefore no obligation to the state to be or do anything in particular. It's expenses were tiny and it was part of the beginning of a HUGE movement that carried it forward on the tide of folk music and volunteerism until the building was condemned and the draft and the war ended. People came out in droves in hear unknown and local acts, and a few nationally known ones, and talk about the draft. Mostly probably to talk about the draft.

Guys, it hasn't been 1966 for forty years now. Everything is different. The last showcase of local talent that I went to at the Prism, there were about 15 people who attended it and even the performers didn't stay to hear the other acts. This is not going to pay the rent in a venue that can't compete by being able to sell alcohol. People say they want more local acts, but they don't actually support that.

I know some of the BRIMS folks and they are top-rate. Contrary to an earlier post, they do a fantastic job teaching young people Irish music and dance. They may have some way in mind to cover the rent and expenses, perhaps by expanding the teaching aspect of their organization, but it's not going to be by letting people "hang out, listen to poetry and folk music, smoke unfiltered cigarettes, and converse", or making sure "the community" gets "fair use" out of a venue they're footing the bill for, I guarantee it. That's not going to pay the bills. It was Westminster Church who financially supported that whole 60s Prism thing, not the community, and they have long since bowed out of that role.


Listen, if anyone can, please tell me about another venue of its nature? Forget the temper of Fred. How many of you guys really had to communicate with him? Most of the time he wanted to do his job and not be messed with. Isn't that human nature. Don't we want to do a excellent job and not be antagonized? He mostly stood to himself. I really didn't see him get in someone's face. It was generally the other way around!!! People always wanted to pick his brains including myself. I finally just backed off. I thought of him as a knowledgable person who I respected. I have actually worked in places where I saw emotioanl and physical abuse and neglect. We are all adults that are proablably corresponding on this blog. If one can't stand the head, including myself, I bailed out. Give a person due space. He, Fred, has it now. Well he proably was 'burned out'. It happens to the best of people. I am a loyalist. I wanted him to step down so that possibly someone else could take the artistic director job. I was hoping and praying. Rationale was because I thought that he wasn't getting the community support and dollars that was needed to continue The Prism. This is ignorant that this has occurred. I wished that this process could be reversed. Fred is talented and he will survive. If someoene was always pissing you off, would you just take the abuse. Someoene treated me the way Fred was treated, I would probably cry. I don't confess to be 'tough'. One has to be in the music business. It is a want not a need. Fred Boyce was actually not in the business, he was in it for the true love of the music. I may never see this kind of commitment again.

I knew that in my professional life and because of this crap, to get into a need profession!!!!!! Karen



Hook Cartoonist sux... that's why he/she's drawing for the Hook, not the Washington post!

rock on Karen!... The Prism's gone,because it's gone... leave it be, you all are wasting time putting your rants about fred on here... go impeach Bush, the real enemy, or coran capshaw

But ranting about Fred is the unspoken purpose of this blog, isn't it? Otherwise, who would bother starting this string by republishing (obviously against the writer's will) "BRIEFLY POSTED" open letter which otherwise people would not notice or even car about.

Countney rocks, too!

It really is a shame the deal fell through for Fred at the Gordonsville location. Moving his Prism from Charlottesville would have been good for him and Charlottesville, as he suggested in his post on his website in February. He would have had the opportunity for a fresh start and Charlottesville's folk music community could have breathed a sigh of relief, after enduring more than a decade of his personality. While many have been fortunate to have never witnessed the extreme anger Fred has regularly displayed over the years, he has "shown his ass" to many. When he shows it to Kathleen, she'll be ready, as she has proven to be qualified to wipe it for him; utilizing a paperless technique. Maybe, after taking a long reflective look in the mirror and accepting his reality that he did bring many of the hassles upon himself and the community and, subsequently, change his orientation, Fred's luck will change for the better. Of course, there are two sides to every story and both sides would benefit from just backing off and moving on. Get back to the music... write a song, sing it, listen to it, love it.

Countney?... you can't even spell her name!... Courteney is how she spells it, and sorry, but she sux... she just re-wrote the whole article of the prism this week that she did last week with a few minor suggestions...
The Hook is just a publication that likes to air people's dirty laundry...

Willow Hunt


""No one ever kicks a dead dog.

Yes, and the more important a dog is,
the more satisfaction people get in kicking him. The prince of Wales who later
bacame Edward VIII...was about 14....officers found him crying and asked him
what was wrong...he was being kicked by the naval cadets. The
commodore...wanted to find out why the Prince had been singled out for this
rough treatment...the cadets finally confessed that when they themselves became
commanders and captains in the King's Navy, they wanted to be able to say that
they had kicked the King!

So when you are kicked and criticized, remember that it is often done because
it gives the kicker a feeling of importance. It often means that you are
accomplishing something and are worthy of attention. Many people get a sense of
savage satisfaction out of denouncing those who are better educated than they
are or more successful...I received a letter from a woman denouncing General
William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army...The charge,of course, was absurd.
But this woman wasn't looking for truth. She was seeking the mean-spirited
gratification that she got from tearing down someone far above her. I threw her
bitter letter into the wastebasket and thanked Almighty God that I wasn't
married to her. Her letter didn't tell me anything at all about General Booth,
but it did tell me a lot about her. Schopenhauer had said it years ago: 'Vulgar
people take huge delight in the faults and follies of great men.'"

Other victims of such treatment mentioned in this 3-page chapter include a
30-year-old president of the then 4th richest university in America, Thomas
Jefferson, George Washington, General U.S. Grant. And an Admiral Peary.

"Would Peary have been denounced if he had had a desk job in the Navy
Department in Washington? No. He wouldn't have been important enough then to
have aroused jealousy."

No. of comments for all articles on first five pages of as of 8:00 PM Friday 4/28:


I know that a paper's success these days, circulation-wise, is in part determined by number of clicks on their website. Pretty clever, actually, no denying that.

Congratulations on all of your successes, Fred. $100 tickets sold out! Amazing. Wish I could have caught the last show, but I hear you were given the warmest of farewells and kindest wishes from over 100 people who love you and the Prism, and have for years thoroughly enjoyed everything that has happened there under your direction. We are all very lucky to have had the opportunity to have you and the Prism in our community, and I'm sure you will be just as successful and appreciated in the next community that is lucky enough to have you. Just keep in mind, the better you do, the harder the nobodies will attack. Ignorance, idiocy, envy, and malice exist everywhere. No one can blame you for being upset, and under the circumstances, we all (those of us who know you) agree that you handled yourself admirably. Next time do even better. Don't let it bother you at all. Be flattered.

"Remember that unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment. Remember that no one ever kicks a dead dog."

That's true, the applause for Fred and Kenyon seemed like it would never stop. What a great post.

What'd ya'll expect from a banjo player? The difference between a banjo player and a vacuum? The dirt bag can be removed from a vacuum.

Thanks again, "Dale Carnegie". Since you posted I'm really starting to notice the difference between the quality of the posts from the pro-Freds and the anti-Freds. Some really stupid stuff coming out of the anti camp.

Right. Every below the belt childish insult is nothing but admittance that they have no legitimate grievance - if they had a point to make, would they not make the point? But this is common sense to intelligent people. Let them keep making asses out of themselves, I'm enjoying it.

What? No more fifth grade potty humor from the Fred bashers?

I worry that poor Courtney is feeling sorry for herself and wishing she was gossip-worthy. She has worked awfully hard on this. Anyone care to oblige her? I don't have time.

Yeah, she's not Gossip Worthy?... that's why she responded with "Rocks..." because she has nothing else to say except to defend herself... no thanks... and you Obviously don't believe in her that much if you can't devote enough time to write a simple Blog about her defense! yeah right... she may be the 'next to' senior editor, but she has enough problems in her own life, that's why she has to bring other's problems into the Public eye... Thanks Courteney!... can't handle the heat?... sux to be brought out doesn't it?... sucked for Fed too!

sorry 'For The Bored'- let me know what YOU think, I'm sure it's in Defense of Courteney! because she has the whole truth, since she re-writes the same articles week after week--- I do agree with "Countney?"... The Hook: Cville's Tabloid... Courteney Stuart: "i can't write how bad she is here..."... talk to me in person!

jerry smtih

Oh it seemed weird knowing that there wasn't going to be music coming from that beautiful house at 214 Rugby. I saw that place, The Prism as such a beautiful place and I had such a warm feeling going there. I loved the place!!! This bickering will not bring it back. I remember how upset Fred and Kenyan was when someone cut down the tree in the backyard several years ago. Also Kenyan really added beauty to the place too, when she decorated the bathroom with the flowers, looking at that old bathtub, the rustic look of the place. I also liked the half moon above the door entrance ways Oh I am not so literary that I can possibly describe in words what the place and the music meant to me. The type of performers that Fred booked, many of them out performing this weekend at Merlefest, even Cheick Hamale Diabate' is there!!! Oh Lord, I know that Iran can nuke us to death and that should be one of our main concerns but meanwhile
I wish the Prism could return to its rightful home, Charlottesvlle Karen

I'm concerned about BRIMS or any organization that has the nerve to rent that space. Now that Fred is gone, the parasitic pseudo liberals who have somehow managed to rewrite the Prism's history are going to be insinuating themselves again. Their agenda is pretty simple: get as much use out of the Prism for their own benefit as possible while contributing as little as they can. Take, take, take. That worked pretty well for them for the first 23 years -- really well, actually -- and they are still around and haven't forgotten their glory days.

Contrary to what they think, Fred actually continued the real tradition of the Prism. Try showing up at 8 pm at Gravity, Starr, or Paramount and telling them you want to volunteer so you can hear the concert for free. Shove a few chairs around and then park your fat butt and enjoy. Yeah, that'll happen.

The Prism, which has been located at 214 Rugby Rd. in Charlottesville since its founding in 1966, is preparing to move its operation to the historic and scenic village of Gordonsville, located about 19 miles northeast of Charlottesville.

The new property, located serendipitously at 214 N. Main St, is incredibly well-suited to house a world-class listening venue, and offers the Prism an almost limitless scope of new possibilities and potential to grow.

ââ?¬Å?We would never enter into such a thing lightly,” says artistic director Frederick S Boyce, who has booked the acts, provided live sound, coordinated publicity and generally presided over the remarkable revitalization of the venue that has taken place since 1990.

Boyce has applied years of experience as a performing musician and teacher, employing his many previous contacts in the music business to bring more and better artists to play at the tiny venue, enlarging and enhancing its reputation, and that of the Charlottesville music scene as a whole.

ââ?¬Å?The Prism really deserves this after 40 years”Š to be in a well-equipped place where it can finally come into its own as one of the finest and most respected cultural arts resources in the state, if not the entire east coast.”

The new facility will greatly increase the Prism's capacity to serve its artists, patrons and the overall community, offering more seating, more room, better sight lines from the audience, a much larger stage and two separate restrooms (as well as a private one backstage for the performers).

ââ?¬Å?We've been forced to do what we have done so far under a very narrow and restrictive set of limitations, and it's remarkable, really, that we've been able to bring the Prism as far as we have,” says Boyce, who adds that the old house on Rugby Road, built around 1894, is starting to feel its age and can't take much more of the heavy crowds the Prism attracts each weekend without a heavy investment in its infrastructure, which Boyce maintains the Prism is unable to raise for a building it doesn't own. Increased traffic, noise and congestion in the Rugby Road neighborhood has become another issue.

ââ?¬Å?We wouldn't dream of moving the Prism just anywhere”Š it has to be the right place, and this new location has everything a venue could ever want,” says Boyce. ââ?¬Å?It has history, charm, fantastic acoustics”Š everything the Rugby Road location has always been renowned for, and much more. It's larger than the old Prism, but not so much as to lose the intimacy and warm ambience that are so identified with our concerts.”

The new building, which most recently housed Odell's Restaurant and Gourmet Grocery, was built in 1908 by widows of Confederate soldiers who had died in the war. The women, who had wanted the building to house a museum, originally named it ââ?¬Å?Confederate Memorial Hall” and collected pennies to pay for its construction. It was later used variously as the town hall of Gordonsville, a dance hall (and was something of a speakeasy during prohibition days), a movie theatre and a host of shops and other businesses.

ââ?¬Å?The best part,” Boyce points out, ââ?¬Å?is that the address is 214 North Main Street in Gordonsville, while the Prism has always been at 214 Rugby Road in Charlottesville. The Prism has always been guided by serendipity, so when we saw that, we knew this was the right place.

There is a lot more going for the new location than that”Š not only is there plenty of parking, with its own spacious lot out back and additional parking available on the street, there is also an ideal spot alongside the concert hall for the musicians to park their buses and vans and load in equipment. It also has a private, secure place for an artist greenroom, which is something the old Prism never really had, as well as plenty of space for a much larger stage and audience.”

The property is actually comprised of two adjoining buildings, which are separated by an interior courtyard-patio with connecting passageways at either end. The other, more modern building contains a fully equipped restaurant and bar facility, and even an apartment where performers can stay.

ââ?¬Å?The previous owners put an enormous amount of work and resources into restoring and upgrading the entire premises, so everything is in excellent condition and up to all codes, and the building is equipped with a modern sprinkler system and air conditioning, as well as new plumbing and wiring.”

The Prism plans to keep the concert side non-alcoholic and all-ages for superior listening, and there will be no smoking in either building. Alcoholic beverages, including local wines, will be available in the pub next door for adults, along with food catered specifically to suit each concert.

ââ?¬Å?We're really not at all interested in getting into the restaurant business,” continues Boyce. ââ?¬Å?What we intend to do is book chefs ââ?¬â? culinary artists, as it were ââ?¬â? to use the on-site kitchen, much as we book musical artists to use our performance facility.”

The chefs will prepare a limited number of prix fixe dinners designed to complement the music being served� French food with French artists, Cajun dinners with Cajun music, barbecue with blues and fried chicken, of course, with bluegrass.

ââ?¬Å?Gordonsville has this wonderful history of being the ââ?¬Ë?Fried Chicken Capital of the World,'” says Boyce. ââ?¬Å?African-American women used to come out with platters of hot chicken on their heads and serve the passengers on the trains as they came through. The passengers would just reach out the windows and help themselves, paying a dime for wings and thighs, or 15¢ for a breast or drumstick. We're hoping that the descendants of original Gordonsville fried chicken vendors, who still live in town, will come in and prepare fried chicken and fish on a regular basis.”

ââ?¬Å?We are very excited about the potential to collaborate with other organizations in the area, especially the 1860 Exchange Hotel and Civil War Museum, a great attraction which hosts a medical reenactment weekend each year in June. We could easily come up with some fantastic music to go with their events as one of our board members, banjoist Joe Ayers, is considered to be the world's top authority on antebellum music and minstrel banjo. There is also a chapter of Alliance Francais now in Gordonsville, and we definitely hope they will participate in our French-language presentation by Pierre Bensusan this spring, as well as other events.”

The new site is ideally located in the heart of historic Gordonsville, right on Main St., which also happens to be the combined routes of 33 and 15, offering direct and easy access from many parts of the state, and beyond. It is also an easy 10-minute drive up Rt. 15 from the junction of Interstate 64 and 15 at Xion's Crossroads, where a new visitors' center and a Days Inn are being constructed.

Although it has always been located in Charlottesville, the Prism is a national venue that already draws a large number of listeners from all across Virginia, as well as surrounding states to hear the most renowned artists in their fields. ââ?¬Å?We tend to book artists who have seriously devoted followers”Š people who think nothing of driving several hours to attend a good concert. The entire burden of attracting an audience at our old location has always fallen squarely on the booking”Š people really have to battle a lot of hassles to get here, and once they do, there's little else we can offer aside from the concert itself, so they have to really want to see a certain artist. There's practically nothing in terms of restaurants, shops or bars within easy walking distance. Gordonsville's Main St. has so much else to offer besides, it will really help make it all worth the trip.”

The immediate Gordonsville area is also home to three major Virginia wineries, which attract a large number of visitors to the area on a regular basis. The Prism's varied, first-class presentations will undoubtedly offer an ideal (and presently non-existent) musical entertainment option for these and other visitors to the region's many attractions.

ââ?¬Å?We'll be able to operate year-round in this location, and not have to be so tied to the University schedule as we are in Charlottesville. Plus, Charlottesville just has so much going on now, so many new venues. We used to be sold out for practically every concert, but it's been more and more of a struggle to achieve that lately. We really don't have any direct competition, but with things going on every night of the week, the overall audience tends to get diluted or just burns out. There's only so much live music that one town can handle before it starts working against itself. Also, a large proportion of our audience already comes form outside of Charlottesville, and they get tired of battling the University traffic, football games and parking problems.”

View from stage looking towards main entrance. ââ?¬Å?We really feel that the Prism will be embraced and fully appreciated by the folks in Orange County as it never has in its entire history. We already feel very welcome there.”

Yes, it's too bad that didn't work out, mainly because of structural problems with the Gordonsville building. The Prism may rise again some day in another location, or it may dissolve and give its possessions away to another non-profit. It's future is wide open right now.

Actually, it could also remain what it is right now, an artistic director and a governing board with no venue. Anyone ready to volunteer to find an appropriate place for shows? Anyone want to let the board know they're willing to deal with name acts and their hideous agents for poverty wages? Anyone want to be the janitor, volunteer coordinator, house manager, and bookkeeper for no money at all?


Well, to be honest, its not actually wages, even poverty ones. It's a small commission. Prism doesn't make money, you don't make money.

Anyone at all?

No takers.

Gosh . . . I guess Fred WAS the Prism.

re. Fred Heads....
What's the difference between a vacuum cleaner and a lousy joke-teller? They both suck, but you can unplug the vacuum cleaner. And if that's you, Bill Giltinan, since you're the only one I ever heard tell that lousy banjo joke, you should be ashamed of yourself after all the times Fred has put your fat no-talent ass on the Prism's hallowed stage with the Mando Mafia. How many of you have ever helped HIM get a gig, or plugged in HIS mic cords? He's at least three times the musician of all of you put together. Without Kelly, you all sound like shit.

All of the people who have posted to this blog put together would not even half-fill the Prism (as it usually was in the days before Fred). He has packed the place more times in a single season than anyone in the entire 23 years before he arrived, and you negative idiots think you represent the majority opinion out there? Think again!

I don't care which side you take - can we just try to be helpful? Instead of attacking each other like children? Fred-haters, want to help him move out? Any suggestions for BRIMS to help make the place like you want it? Suggestions for how to make sure Courteney Stuart and the editors at the Hook practice ethical and truthful journalism from now on, or never write again? What can we do now to help this town's music scene? Now more than ever it needs all the help it can get. How about just brainstorming ideas about ways in which people can be helpful? Jesus Christ, I am so embarrassed for this town. I'm gonna go beat off.

I'm at the Prism right now, helping them move.

tell 'em to hang in there. things will improve with time. look at the next chapter of their lives as a new adventure. in my experience, some of the events in my life which seemed to be the worst, actually caused some of the best times to begin. they've been swimming upstream for awhile. maybe they'll soon find themselves at the edge of a tranquil lake, swimming to the other side, to find an outflow sufficient to carry them downstream.

A few things that make no sense to me:

Prism apparently had the resources to acquire a couple of buildings that cost several hundred thousand dollars.
However, they apparenly could not bring themselves to come up with $600 per month to stay in the old building.

Somehow ending up with nothing is better than continuing in a less than ideal situation. Better to stay lost than
to swallow our pride and ask directions.

Scratching my head.

The Prism Rocks... NO other place will bring the caliber of musicians as Fred did... I know Fred will rise above everyone, because he's the most educated musician in town, we were lucky to have him in this town... it's too bad every "anti" fredder will be sticking to their lame 'fiddle'tunes the rest of their charlottesville days... it's so interesting that a lot of cville folks just want to listen to their peers, don't they realize that they won't get any better if they don't hear better musicians like the ones The Prism brought?... i mean, c'mon, who are going to inspire these local musicians? and they don't even appreciate the real local musicians!... those people like the Vigors and Lameasses just want to have community events, go to church and get on the public access channel if you want that... if you want to see what music really is at the highest level you all would have supported the Prism more...

"Start New" was wrong too, BRIMS isn't trying to take over what the Prism was and will not do anything like the prism, they were more than happy to let The Prism continue to stay there if they wanted, but They were smart enough not to re-sign the lease, since The Church told Fred & Kenyon that they'd have to let the Church use their space when they weren't around and that they couldn't make any extra $$$ using the space to help pay for the rent, only their shows... well, go ahead Church, help send the prism into the ground!... that's what ya did!.... you didn't even realize what you had as your tenant!... you could host your own events in the church, why'didya have to have the Prism space too?... and like the Church doesn't get away with Tax breaks?!... We all know how much Churchs pretend they don't know about Taxes and play dumb to get tax breaks... so, you all ain't that smart!...

Prism will live forever... and Fred will show'em all up... I just hope he starts playing out more and then you all will see how brilliant he is!...

uh huh

Pat: the Prism is totally flush with money. Money was not the problem. The rent was being paid, and there were means available to swing the Gordonsville deal financially. The problem was a serious structural defect in that building, and the reason the Prism left 214 Rugby Road was because they couldn't come to an agreement with the church about the lease.

post #'s 33, 37, 41, 43, 46, 59, 62, 70, 71, 82, 84, 86, 90, 92, 93, 94, 95, 99, 103 (and undoubtedly, more coming) long on contradiction/short on credibility.

it must be frustrating for #104 to want so badly to do some damage, and have absolutely nothing to back it up with. Short on specifics/short on credibility.

suck it... where's your credibility?... THE HOOK! HAHAHA

worthy to gossip

Is it true that Courteney's calls to Fred and Kenyon, the calls which were never returned, were made on the day, a few hours, or even minutes, before press?


"To be great is to be misunderstood". -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841.

To be mis-leading is "The Hook"

Vulgar Freds + Vulgar Fredheads = No Building
A dumpster would be an appropriate new location,
slogan: "the Prism, where talking trash is welcome"

Dear 111, and all other Fred/Prism-haters:

There are places I don't like. I don't go to them. There are people I don't like. I leave them alone. The only people I have a problem with are people who have done something to cause me harm.

Fred put on shows at the Prism. That's all.

My question is a simple one: What did Fred, or the Prism, ever do to you? Not what you've heard, not Fred's overall personality, alleged temper and take-overism, nothing but: What did he do to YOU? I believe he doesn't have time to hurt, doesn't care enough to hurt, doesn't have any interest in hurting, any of you. This is what I've seen. Am I wrong? Is there something I'm missing? I'm trying to see both sides. You're not helping me see yours.

no offense but yes, there is a lot you "are missing" and apparently, you are not open to seeing and hearing the truth. he/they have more spin in him/them than Carville and Matlin combined. people didn't just make all this stuff up. no, it is not envy or jealousy. the dude has a very scary side. once the dust has settled, more info will come out, as people feel safe to more openly reveal. there are many out there who have yet to come forward due to residual fear. time will tell, as it almost always does.

No offense? Why should I be offended? Maybe there is a lot I am missing - that's why I asked. There is nothing that I "am missing" but maybe something that I am missing - the quotations just mean "I'm being sarcastic," which is completely unnecessary, as my interest is sincere. Apparently, I am open to seeing and hearing the truth, that's why I asked. And people often say "no offense" only if they are trying to be offensive. My question has still not begun to be answered - because of fear? People feel unsafe? What's this scary side of Fred, is he a murderer? Has he injured anybody? From what I read in the "news," the worst fear anyone could have is that he would curse them on their answering machines - and, the one plus side of all these Hook attacks, I don't think Fred will be making that mistake again. I've not said that anyone is making anything up - no one has said anything specific, just vague accusations, and even more insults, that's not anything that can be made up or not made up, that's just people making themselves look like stupid assholes. By the way, I am not on the board at the Prism. I am not even a volunteer. Just someone who was glad that there was, on a consistent basis, top quality music in this town, in an intimate environment where I could even meet, talk with, and learn from these world class performers. I have no reason to side with or against Fred, I owe him nothing. I just enjoyed and will miss the music. My main concern with all of these attackers is that no one seems to care that we just lost a very unique, world class venue. Don't any of these people care about music, about the fact that Charlottesville actually had something to offer musically, and now has that much less? A town that prides itself on its awesome music scene? Where is it now?

The quotation marks were not meant to be sarcastic but apologies to 114 anyway.

115: Can you please just tell us what the "scary" things are? Or is it just that he yelled at people, used obscenity, and cracked down on some of the Prism freeloaders? Yes, he rapped loudly on a certain person's driver's side window as she was rolling it up to shut out what he was telling her. There are witnesses that that's all it was. Yes, he's been known to throw things. Everybody knows this. I've done all of those things and for much less of a good reason than to build a world-class folk venue. You're not using your name, so you don't have to worry about a slander suit -- probably that's WHY you're not using your name -- so please just tell us.

I don't get all this blogging around and around. From what I've read here and at, they chose not to continue renting the old building because it is falling apart, too small, don't like the rent, etc., made plans to buy a larger building more centrally located to multiple cities, announced it via a big article in the Daily Progress, then the deal fell through and they're in need of a building. Somebody blogged that they are flush with money. I don't understand why then they don't just rent or buy a building in another central location and get on with their plan. Obviously, they don't like some people here and are tired of C-ville (based on what they posted on their website) and some people here don't like them. Okay. So find another building somewhere and follow through with what they said they were going to do in the first place. Gee whiz!

I heard Fred is moving it to Floyd.

Waz up: thank you, thank you, thank you. Somebody gets that the Prism exists in the real world and not in some communal socialist fantasy land where nobody actually has to work like a bitch to create something wonderful.

The Prism is financially flush in terms of having plenty of cash on hand to offer guarantees, maintain equipment, pay the low rent they were paying to the church, etc. A lot of that is because Fred doesn't take very much money for himself. It didn't move out because it wasn't doing well, especially compared to how it's done in the past, pre-Fred, but rather for all the reasons you cited. But they would really have to find the right place and the right location in order to make it work financially in a situation where they had a higher rent (which they would certainly have anywhere else) or especially if they had to pay a mortgage. It would have to start bringing in a whole lot more money than it ever has in order to support that. There aren't that many places around, and Fred and Kenyon are so in love with the Prism that they won't move it into some dump of a warehouse but would rather have it in limbo for awhile.

It might turn up in Floyd or somewhere else somewhere down the line, but I doubt if it will return to Charlottesville after the piggish, stupid treatment shown it by so many in this town.

Right on Flapdoodle!
you rock!

I'm still waiting for a response about what scary, fearful things Fred has done to anyone. I really want to know. If it's just yelling and cursing, and you are too much of a baby to take that without crawling behind your pc male-bashing inner child "safe place" bullsh*t, you have set the cause of feminism back fifty years.

"Democracy doesn't work all that well, but it keeps a group happy longer than any other way of doing business." John Duffey

In response to "the late/still great..."

Uh, hello? Sleeping in class again? We've already covered this ground, but since some of you seem so slow to catch on, let us review. The Prism Coffeehouse, Inc., whether you like it or not, is not and never has been a democracy... it is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation which is legally obligated to follow its stated Articles of Incorporation unless it re-incorporates, in which case it becomes by definition something else.

"Music Appreciator" in posting #21, already posted the pertinent articles, 8 & 9, but here they are once again, for the slow learners:

Articles of Incorporation
of the Prism Coffehouse, INC:

8th: The Directors of the Corporation shall be elected by a simple majority of the Corporation's existing Board of Directors at the Corporation's Annual Meeting. Vacancies on the Board of Directors shall be filled at the earliest possible time by a majority of the Board.

9th: In addition, the Corporation shall have the power to do any and all acts which may be necessary, useful, suitable or proper for the furtherance of the goals of the Corporation.

The entire Articles may be viewed at the Prism's website, (and the Feedback Forum there is also worth taking a look at).

Nowhere do the Articles say anything about "volunteer elections" or "democracy." It was actually the small group of run-amok idealogues who attempted to revise the Prism's legal by-laws out of accordance with its ruling Articles who have done something illegal, and actually could have gone to jail for it. Yes, it is against the LAW to revise an organization's by-laws in such a way as to be not in accordance with the founding Articles.

Fred Boyce did not write the Articles of Incorporation... they were written in 1983 by an attorney, some 5 years before fred arrived. He has merely tried to defend them, and to run the Prism accordingly, and legally, to best fulfill it's clearly-stated purpose as a "cultural, educational and philanthropic" organization. In 1988 the Prism was a pathetic little tea party run by a directionless, visionless clique that was reduced to holding yard sales to raise funds. It did not deserve its special 501(c)3 status.

Fred made the Prism viable and self-supporting, funding it's own activities while remaining true to its primary musical mission. In a few short years he effortlessly (or so it seemed) transformed the venue, giving it new life, direction and purpose, and actually accomplished many goals that had been just talked-about Prism pipe-dreams for years.

Rather than get behind his efforts, however, some of these same people chose to become bitter and resentful of the Prism's obvious success. Exposing their inadequacies was an unintended, and unavoidable, side-effect of doing whatever was necessary to help the Prism realize its full potential as a venue, but they took it personally. They actively sought to undermine the new director's efforts from the beginning, which became more and more difficult to do, since the Prism was obviously doing so much better. Unable to fault the indisputable and ever-increasing excellence and diversity of the programming itself, which is what the Prism is, after all, really about, they began attacking Fred personally. I find it admirable that the man could have held his temper for as long as he did, given the circumstances, and I think that if it were true that he is indeed a violent and dangerous person, as some of you are so ludicrously trying to maintain, many of you would likely be taking your meals through a straw by now. I don't consider myself a violent person at all, but I think that if this crap were happening to me, I'd have cleaned a few clocks by now.

Finally, and I hate to disillusion all you wishful idealists, but music and the arts ain't a democracy. Some people are more talented and deserving to be on stage than others, period. Mr. Duffey never made it to the Prism, but most of his former Seldom Scene band-mates did, and they all loved the place. I have many times heard Mike Auldridge refer to it as being his favorite room to play. I do not think he would have even considered playing the Prism of 1988. John Duffey was a professional musician who would have much preferred the Prism under Fred to its previous incarnations, especially since Fred brought far more real bluegrass to town, including the "late/still great" Bill Vernon, than anyone has, ever. And I don't think that John Duffey would have appreciated some twisted idea of "democracy" in the sense of being told by non-band members with no stake in the Scene that he should allow Ben to sing more high tenor, or that Mike should play the banjo, or that they should tailor their material to appeal more to students, or that he should get up with Charlie Waller and go back to being the original Country Gentlemen.... but that's precisely the type of ignorant BS that Fred has had to endure from bystanders and onlookers who have not even earned the right to have a say.

You are probably one of those idiots who sit in your cozy U.S. living room, thinking that Iraq is better off today than before our intervention, now that they at least have "democracy."

Doug T-

And just who are you, sir, and what have you done to benefit this music? You have admitted that dropping Fred's name at Merlesfest is a way to get a conversation started with musicians backstage. What would dropping your name accomplish?

Are you perhaps a frustrated agent who has tried for years to get sub-standard artists booked into the Prism, but haven't been able to get past Fred? Fred has never been anything but utterly respectful and gracious to the performers who play at the Prism... what's the point of being a jerk to people who are playing at your venue?

I suspect that any eye-rolling comes from musicians who, like Duck Baker, have had a problem getting a gig from Fred on demand. Are you paying him, or is he making money for you?

more anger from an enabler, consistent with the underlying Prism vibe of the past many yrs

Hey Ouch, numbers 123 & 124 read a lot like Fred, as do other posts here. He is likely writing some of the posts in the second person. Many of them ring with the same tone as his rants of days gone past. Anybody remember that late night/early morning long e-mail he sent out a few years ago, ranting about everything and everybody, including a sneer at DM? I still have that one... maybe should post it here. The "legend in his own mind" Fred.

Anybody checked out the latest one-sided posts on his website? Maybe a new website ( should be created; with the Hook's cartoon and his rantings and ravings posted there; as long as he continues to post the one-sided crap on his. How many versions of the bylaws, etc., were used at the Prism during his time? Heard he probably dug the 1983 version out of the files and re-implented it when needed. Some performers said that he'd threatened "those who performed at other Charlottesville venues will never be booked at the Prism again." So much for his "it's about the music and those who play it" motto. As long as he keeps imposing his anger on others here and elsewhere, people will be coming out of the woodwork with their Fred stories. It would seem the bitter one is not conscienous enough to take the "idea" private, quietly move it to another region and take a fresh start, applying what he's learned.

The by-laws are what they are. They have been on file with the State Corporation Commission for 23 years. The Prism's by-laws were written by a lawyer in 1983 when the place was incorporated and were never changed. Fred can't just "dig up" an old set of by-laws and start using them, nor can anyone else do that. There is no non-profit organization in this town, or probably anywhere, that operates with the kind of insane by-laws that were being used at the Prism in the early 90s. Those "by-laws" were never filed with the SCC and would have been rejected if they had because they conflicted with the Prism's articles of incorporation, under which it attained non-profit status.

How many times does this have to be said? Is there any point to arguing with this kind of ignorance?

127, Agent for Change, I don't know whether the Prism's feedback forum on their website is for any comments, positive or negative, or if they can pick and choose which comments to have posted on their website, but I do know what everybody knows, that sharing positive responses with the world is good business, sharing negative comments is very obviously very bad business, and people who want to take the time to create a website to bash others are low-down, I mean lower than snakeshit, disgusting, pathetic losers who desperately need to get a life. If I felt as you all did about the Prism, Fred, or anyone, I can't imagine spending any of my time or energy on them! My God, what it must be like to have no life whatsoever! I feel so sorry for you. Fucking varmints.

God you're good, JC. Those were my thoughts exactly about the outrageous suggestion that Fred should post negative comments about the Prism on the Prism website. What the hell? Who does that? Why is the Prism continually being held to some bizarre standard that no one else has to observe? There is some strange dynamic going on here, which has been going on for decades, where a few nutcases think the Prism exists in some ideal dimension where none of the ordinary rules of life and show business apply. Most thinking people recognize that that's not so, although the Prism does do a good job of making it look that way. But it's really just part of the Prism's schtick.

Vulgar Freds + Vulgar Fredheads = No Building

I was a supporter of the Prism and Fred for years... but then, I saw and heard the other Fred and that's all it took. I haven't set foot in his space in more than five years, even though I get back to Charlottesville several times each year. He should apply for a job with the postal service.
New Jersey

Free at last, free at last... thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!

My, it looks like every fool in town is down on Fred... and like the Duke said in Huckleberry Finn, ain't that a big enough majority in any town?

Fred is a survivor and he has survived worse than you people. He will recover from all this minor negative press, afterall the Hook is not really a newspaper or press for that matter. I guess it is to all you people and that is what matters. Well, it is certainly better to be being talked about than not. Alas, one has to be brought down low so one can be raised up high! That goes for all you people too. I suggest you start trying to be better people and find a way out of that hole you are in. It cannot be fun to be eaten up like you all so obviously are. Fred really got to you people. Wow! That is funny. Also another quote that comes to mind, you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.

p.s. If Fred had a "real job" like at the post office as suggested, he would be making good money and could legitimately ("go postal") be fired for his behavior. BUT instead Fred does to not have a "real job" and makes poverty wages and now has to take it up the ass from all you people and your "paper" for his behavior. BUT you cannot fire him! He has won out in the long run! In time, he will see that and so will all you people. No wonder all you people are so eaten up with it! Wow, that is heavy. Start climbing! And remember whenever you stir shit, it stinks!

I wouldn't worry too much, Fred.... you can do a lot worse than being called "toxic" by the likes of Mike Friend and Phyllis White, and I don't know Mr. Quarles, but if he's hanging out with them, then he's probably human poison ivy as well. And if poison ivy could talk, I doubt it would have anything good to say about the man who sprays it with Round-up.

Go Fred. Go.

The narcissist is an actor in a monodrama, yet he is forced to remain behind the scenes.

The scenes take centre stage, instead.

The Narcissist does not cater at all to his own needs. Contrary to his reputation, the Narcissist does not "love" himself in any true sense of this loaded word.

The narcissist feeds off other people who hurl back at him an image that he projects to them. This is their sole function in his world : to reflect his False Self, to admire him, to applaud his actions, even to detest and fear him - in a word, to assure him that he exists by giving him constant attention.

Otherwise, the narcissist feels that they have no right to tax his time, energy, or emotions.

What is Narcissism?

A pattern of traits and behaviors which signify infatuation and obsession with one's self to the exclusion of all others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one's gratification, dominance and ambition.

Most narcissists (75%) are men.

NPD is one of a "family" of personality disorders (formerly known as "Cluster B").

Other members: Borderline PD, Antisocial PD and Histrionic PD.

NPD is often diagnosed with other mental health disorders ("co-morbidity") - or with substance abuse, or impulsive and reckless behaviors ("dual diagnosis").

NPD is new (1980) mental health category in the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM).

There is only scant research regarding narcissism. But what there is has not demonstrated any ethnic, social, cultural, economic, genetic, or professional predilection to NPD.

It is estimated that 0.7-1% of the general population suffer from NPD.

Pathological narcissism was first described in detail by Freud. Other major contributors are: Klein, Horney, Kohut, Kernberg, Millon, Roningstam, Gunderson, Hare.

The onset of narcissism is in infancy, childhood and early adolescence. It is commonly attributed to childhood abuse and trauma inflicted by parents, authority figures, or even peers.

There is a whole range of narcissistic reactions - from the mild, reactive and transient to the permanent personality disorder.

Narcissists are either "Cerebral" (derive their narcissistic supply from their intelligence or academic achievements) - or "Somatic" (derive their narcissistic supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and "conquests").

Narcissists are either "Classic" - see definition below - or they are "Compensatory", or "Inverted" - see definitions here: "The Inverted Narcissist".

NPD is treated in talk therapy (psychodynamic or cognitive-behavioral). The prognosis for an adult narcissist is poor, though his adaptation to life and to others can improve with treatment. Medication is applied to side-effects and behaviors (such as mood or affect disorders and obsession-compulsion) - usually with some success.

An all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts. Five (or more) of the following criteria must be met:

Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion

Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions)

Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation - or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply)

Feels entitled. Expects unreasonable or special and favorable priority treatment. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her expectations

Is "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends

Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of others

Constantly envious of others or believes that they feel the same about him or her

Arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted

just a little reading on the subject will open some eyes

I think that I now understand Fred's affinity with snakes... like him they are beneficial, misunderstood and beautiful...

Hey Duck... just remember the oldest adage in the music business... don't call us, we'll call you! Why blame Fred Boyce for your failure as a musician?

Fred Haters - Fred = Haters

Won't cooperate??? Haven't you been repeatedly invited to the Prism, free of charge, to get to know the truth? Did you not decline Fred's invitation? It's one thing to write about concerts, but quite another to actually make them happen.

Mary Anna Dunn is an evil twat who has had absolutely nothing to do with the real business of the Prism and is only interested in voicing her own ill-informed opinions.

To the narcissist: I believe YOU know this subject all too well. This is not Fred, if that is your insinuation. How dare you people, pointing fingers like YOU know. You do not know Fred and that is obvious to anyone who really does. I wonder if any of you know him. Had dinner with him? Know his family? Heard his music? Been invited to his home? Anything... other than seeing him at his concerts or on the mall? You should all stop for a minute. Think. How many beautiful Prism concerts have you attended since 1990? I do not care what any of you people say because...the proof is in the pudding! I would like to say thank you to Fred for the many, many wonderful concerts that I have attended over the years. Thank you and best of luck to you and your family. I know that the Prism will evolve into something even more wonderful as long as you have the strengh to overcome all the fools and their folly.

p.s. I bet there are not that many "fools", you could probably figure out who all these peole are... if you had the time.

Posts 140 through 145 likely written by F 'n K, long with several prior.

That is obvious. They are eaten up with it. It is pitiful. I wonder if potential landlords are following this blog. It is hard to imagine any who would be interested in renting to them, with their foul language and aggression displayed herein alone. Bad-mouthing Mando Mafia, after their loss. That is low down, yet, not surprising.

Review comment #81, the numbers towards the end in particular. We're at almost double. I can't believe you're all still at it. Fred, whatever it is you're doing, keep doing it. You're obviously doing something right.

The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen, and stupidity. And not neccessarily in that order.

There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance. - Hippocrates (460 BC-377 BC)

It is impossible to make people understand their ignorance; for it requires knowledge to perceive it and therefore he that can perceive it hath it not.
- Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667)

"If most persons were half as nice as snakes, this world would be a better place."
- Grace Olive Wiley

Lynard Skynard's coming to the Pavillion

Hum personalities or principles?

Is Mr. Boyles a, shoot from the hip, personality? Is the phrase "the buck stops here" used to describe him? He possibly maybe
what the Enneagram calls a "leader" and "8" He does toilet and has loyalist? If something were to be said about his personal character, quit honestly he personally would not care? But say something about his principals, he becomes passionate or aggressive? These personalities do not hide, they call it as they see it, unfortunately without thinking of others feelings first, a a a character shortcoming.

Jim B. Quarles, appears to be a leader, but after reading the narcissistic blog, it is clear he is a "motivator" a "3". Three's
take on the persona of other which are most acceptable to their self perceived image, they are posers. In the book,
"Personality Types" By R. Ruso, and R. Hudson, in analyzing a three it states, "threes want to be noticed, They begin to
compare themselves to others. This inevitably sets up a need to compete with people, although at this point, the competition is mostly subtle and covert." Ruso and Hudson go on to say, Although average Threes seem to be coolly self-contained, they are not really insecure with themselves because their self-esteem is based not on the development of their real capacities but on the ability to capture the attention of others. A negative of this personality is; hostility and narcissism. They are more directly hostile in a wide variety of ways, from arrogantly distancing themselves, to snide humor at others expense, to sarcastic putdowns, to sabotaging and betraying people.

Note, both these men undoubtedly have a commitment to Charlottesville, its people and the folk music and the positive
aspect of both their personality styles (Ruso, Hudson describes the positive aspects also) can been of immense benefit to the people of Charlottesville and the Arts.

Thank you Charlottesville for the open forum, a lesson has been presented, unfortunately, your town now seems to be
without a tradition of folk music from the Prism Coffeehouse. Both these two main characters have the capability to make music, Mr. Boyles if he is truly a leader, is not afraid to fail. He will pick up is toilet brush and broom and his loyal steed and begin a new. And Jim too is beyond capable of the job. He will pay someone to clean the toilets and musician. So the people
of the hamlet can admire him. That is if both these men can find the courage to transcend there personalities and find a principle to work for bigger than themselves and to not get anrgy or arrogant in the process. In other words grow-up, get over themselves and stop swirling the drain and taking the culture, tradition, music and the people of Charlottesville with

Two years ago, I tried to character assassinateJim Quarles, via writing into the Hook, by describing him as, an,
ego disguised as charity. I am not without my own personality shortcomings. I am sorry for my comments.

May the good people of Charlottesville, develop a new tradition for their music, where all people are welcome, free of charge..... From the ashes new traditions are born.


Buon luogo, congratulazioni, il mio amico!


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