Heidie McCall: Rehabbing new venue a labor of love

The iconic 1980s transmission shop is changing gears, shifting into something rather unexpected in the City of Vancouver.

Detailing is in the hands of artist and musician Heidie McCall. A few years ago Heidie started the band Old Rock ’n’ Roll Queen. She faced push back from clubs that expected bands to play covers, instead of the original music Heidie prefers.

“What most places want in the main is for us and the bands they hire to sell booze,” Heidie explained. “That’s OK, but we don’t want to hawk drinks, we want folks to come to our place and actually listen for 30 to 40 minutes to what we have been working on.”

That’s why Heidie is opening Queen’s Vortex, a club where musicians can showcase their original work – a place where people go to experience someone’s art and hear serious music up close, and maybe meet and have a conversation with the performer, too.

“Back east these types of ‘clubs’ are called ‘listening rooms,'” Heidie said.

It’s a complete labor of love for Heidie, including rehabbing and outfitting it from purchases made at the Habitat Store.

“We’ve purchased tables, stools, chairs, fans, display case, paint, carpet, dressing table, dishes, glasses, mirrors, sink, sink pedestal, dishwasher, cement repair stuff, many tubes of caulking paint brush handle that has really helped me paint, and I know I am leaving out something.  Holy cow, and what a joy it is to re-use resources and the happy feeling shown to us when we buy something absolutely a great time is being had by all.”

The old building’s faded blue and white striped exterior is now gone, replaced with broad black and white strokes -the quintessential illustration of a piano keyboard. Inside, the motif is repeated in the red, black and white carpet she discovered at the Habitat Store.

There’s still a lot of work to do before Queen’s Vortex can open to the public. Heidie plans to have the interior finished this winter. That means Wednesdays and Saturdays you might find Heidie McCall browsing through the Habitat Store.

“This simply would not have been something we could have financed without the Habitat for Humanity [Store],” she added. “In fact Habitat for Humanity was the final reason we took this on.

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