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ISSUE 118 VOL 12 PUBLISHED 3/4/2005

Pause plugs into need for acoustic venue

By Anne Torkelson
Online Editor

Friday, March 4, 2005

While some students wonder what has happened to the games in the Pause arcade room, many more probably remain completely unaware of their absence. St. Olaf and arcade game supplier Mendota Valley Amusement Inc., both profit from keeping the games at St. Olaf. The company actually lost money on the games last year, but agreed to let the games remain at the college on the condition that they are moved to a location where they will be used more often. The games have been relocated to the pool room, leaving an empty space for the Pause to find a new use for. A committee of Pause employees gathered together and the idea of the “Lion’s Lair,” a dining room and acoustic stage, was born.

Senior Melissa Kuisle, Pause coordinator and head of the committee planning the project, envisions the space as an area where students can eat, socialize, perform and listen to music played by fellow students. A stage will be set up in the far left corner of the room and booths will occupy the remaining walls. The idea behind the Lion’s Lair is to provide additional seating for customers of the Pause kitchen and a new, cozy venue for St. Olaf student performers. The closing of the Thorson coffee house at the end of last year left many students searching for a place in which to showcase their music. Students find booking the Pause stage difficult, and its large size is less than ideal for individual acoustic musicians. The setting and stage of the Lion’s Lair, which will be constructed specifically for small groups and solo shows, are two factors benefiting student musicians.

Located in the center of campus and surrounded by the activity of the pool room, the Lion’s Pause, the Den and the kitchen, the Lion’s Lair is sure to have visitors and an audience.

Sophomore Sarah Kolb, who works in the Pause kitchen, has positive expectations for the project. “The area around the Pause can get really crowded, especially in the evenings when the counter is needed for the pizzas that are ready for delivery,” she said. “The new Lion’s Lair will be a great alternative to hanging out in front of the kitchen, and it sounds like it’s going to have a really fun atmosphere.”

The room will remain open as a student lounge during the day, with scheduled performances in the evening. The Pause committee is looking into the possibility of booking some smaller professional artists as well as student talent.

Other ideas for the room, which has housed arcade games since the opening of Buntrock, included a dining area, a coffee house and an expansion of the Pause kitchen. The committee rejected the latter two due to lack of adequate space and decided to combine the ideas of a dining area and a stage to create a room with multiple functions.

So when will this exciting new venue open?

“Things are in the works,” Kuisle said. The room concept has been agreed upon and the builders have been contacted. The committee plans to have the Lion’s Lair running next year, and is hoping that it may even be ready by the end of this year

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