Pastime Rising? Darktown Strutters' Kara Howell Explains Her Plans For Pastime Tavern.

If you didn't already know by now, Kara Howell of Darktown Strutters has become quite the local booking maven.

But, in case you haven't heard about the recent kefuffle, Howell's no longer booking for Tradewinds Social Club. Many of the bands Howell had booked for the Oak Cliff dive bar have voluntarily canceled their shows and re-booked their gigs with Howell's new home d'jour, Pastime Tavern.

In the original e-mail that we received from Howell announcing the move, she said TWSC told her that things weren't "going in the direction they want it to go in." Looking for more info on the matter, we reached out to Howell. No luck on any comments, though--her phone wasn't accepting calls or something like that.

Tradewinds' Ken Arkwell, who owns and manages the spot, was a little more forthcoming when he was asked about the recent booking changes at the Oak Cliff dive and the circumstances that transpired prior to Howell's leaving the employment of said establishment.

"That's a personal issue as a personnel issue, quite honestly, with Tradewinds and not something that we'd like to discuss with the press," he told us late last week. "I just think it's inappropriate to discuss, you know, individual situations like that."

So, that was that. Until we finally reached Howell this week and she told us she'd rather not talk about the past.

"I really want to start putting all of that stuff behind me," she says.

Oh well, Pretty much all we could get outta Howell about the issue--on the record, at least--was that "things went sour." But she was willing to tell us about her plans for Pastime...

Like, for starters, how she ended up there in the first place. Howell says it started when, in the wake of her separation from Tradewinds, she called Chris Vivion of PVC Street Gang to tell him that she wouldn't be at Tradewinds for the band's scheduled gig last week--nor would she be promoting the show. Vivion then asked her if she'd thought about calling Pastime and booking shows over there.

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"[Vivion and John Iskander] had started Parade of Flesh there, and then they both decided to go their own way and do their own things," Howell says. "But I don't think it's ever been known as a really solid venue."

It could be, though. Or so Howell is now convinced.

"It wasn't necessarily like I was looking for a dive bar, per se, but I do prefer that atmosphere," she continues. "I like the intimacy and the people are real and there's no pretension. It's easy to come in and do something original there because it's like working with clay, you know? These places have real, raw potential."

But Howell's not just going to be booking at Pastime, turns out.

"Pastime is just where I'm making my nest," she says, pausing for a few seconds before adding "like a cockroach" with a laugh. "I'm kinda working a little bit of everywhere. I'm doing some light booking at City Tavern, light booking at Rubber Gloves, and there's the Texas Theater, you know? I'm just trying to get shows where they'll go well."

And, together, Vivion and Howell are in the process of forming a yet-to-be-named "booking entity."

"We're not trying to compete with anybody," Howell says. "We really just want to do our own things."

And she promises that they have "a few surprises" up their sleeves. We'll, of course, keep you posted.

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