Editor’s note: This article was originally published February 24, 2014
Flipnotics, a small but significant venue for acoustic music in Austin for more than two decades, plans to close in late March, booker Lauryn Gould confirmed Monday night.
A coffee shop and cafe that opened at the corner of Barton Springs Road and Kinney Avenue in 1992, Flipnotics was renowned for presenting intimate shows by local artists in a room that held just a few dozen people. Reasons for the closure appear not entirely clear, according to somewhat conflicting quotes from Flipnotics manager Drew Jarden and building owner Laura Joseph in an Austin Chronicle report. Flipnotics business owner Naji Abi-Habib did not immediately return a call Monday evening.
Flipnotics mostly has catered to local players whose musical style and/or audience are suited to the room’s small size, though typically higher-drawing acts such as Alejandro Escovedo also have played memorable shows there. Its confines are cozy enough that musicians can perform without amplification.
The closure apparently was not an immediate decision. "I have known about it for a while, though ‘officially’ word is out today," responded Christy Palumbo Foster, a board member of the Austin Friends of Traditional Music, which presents a monthly show at Flipnotics. "Our last showcase will go on with the Carper Family on March 5. AFTM will be exploring new venues to continue showcases."
Though the venue’s website makes no mention of an impending shutdown, its live music calendar lists shows only through a March 24 date with the Bluegrass Outfit and Bottom Dollar String Band. Other regular performers include Erik Hokkanen’s Laboratory on Tuesdays and Wild Bill & the Lost Knobs on Fridays.
Gould, who met her husband, Hokkanen bassist Ryan Gould, at Flipnotics a decade ago, called the closing "heartbreaking."
"So much of my musical education came from sitting in that listening room and trying my best to be a sponge," she replied Monday evening. "Austin boasts so much live music, but very few true listening rooms, especially those which can host purely acoustic music. Flips was one of those rare venues, and it’s incredibly sad to be losing the space."