Old feel is gone

I was interested to read about discord at the Prism, because the Prism is a wonderful place. It was important to me as a student at UVA in the late 1960s– some folks I met back then are still in my life now.

The current management has made a lot of improvements. The place feels more professional and mature, and it's a great listening venue for professional acts. It's really a gem now that it's polished up. But I feel it has also lost something.

When the Prism started, it was focused on young people – particularly students (like me) who weren't comfortable with the UVA social scene. In those days, it was a lively, funky, political kind of place. After the '60s, it became more subdued, but it continued as a kind of clubhouse for musicians who taught there, learned there, played there, and had the opportunity to perform there.

These days, few local musicians play at the Prism. Even fewer young people have the opportunity to meet, grow, learn, and create new music there.

Young musicians can travel to Rapunzel's in Lovingston for a taste of the Prism's former feel.

If change comes to the Prism, I hope it will look outward more, to the community. As an institution and as a community resource, it's really not just about the music. Maybe some of the old spirit could be recalled, and that would take the focus away from specific individuals and back to the original purpose of the place.

John Dean
Charlottesville
jd01@earthlink.net