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Austin's popular Red River club Cheer Up Charlies reopening Saturday

Eric Webb
Austin 360
After being largely shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, Cheer Up Charlies will reopen on May 15.

Let the music play. Popular Austin venue Cheer Up Charlies will reopen to the public on Saturday, as the city's music venues slowly return amid growing vaccinations for COVID-19.

The Red River Cultural District cornerstone, which is known as an LGBTQ-friendly space for performance and nightlife, has been largely dormant since shutting down in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, the venue held a "friends & family welcome home party," and it will be open this weekend to the public from 4 p.m. to midnight, according to a post on the Cheer Up Charlies Instagram account.

DJs on Saturday will be Winona Grindr and Mouthfeel & Dylan Reece; on Sunday, Suxxy Puxxy & Lilith will provide the music, which starts at 6 p.m. both nights.

The club will limit its capacity to 300 people at a time, raising it from the 150-person limit announced in earlier social media posts about reopening. There will not be a cover.

Cheer Up Charlies also unveiled new neon artwork of a "Friendly Spirit," the face of which spells out the venue's initials. Co-owner Maggie Lea will explain the origin of the artwork on opening night, according to the venue's post.

Masks will not be required for people who are vaccinated and the DJ will move inside the club in case of rain this weekend, the venue commented on the Instagram post on Saturday.

A few people dance at Cheer Up Charlies on March 15, 2020, right before the club shut down due to the pandemic.

On April 30, the venue announced its reopening dates and the thinking behind their return celebrations.

"Thanks for understanding that we did not want to rush a reopen, as women in an industry full of male-dominated ownership, and y’all probably know this but it can be dangerous and harmful for us to bend and move at the pace of the patriarchy," an April post on Instagram read. "We appreciate you all letting us arrive at our own pace and allowing folks in our spaces again at our own unique comfort level. We care about our health, on all levels, and we care about yours too."

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The post continued, "As we are getting back into the world of shared space, we’ve been exchanging lots of conversations with folks, and we are so surprised by the way we’ve been remembered during the year we’ve been closed. We honestly got so lost ourselves, we weren’t really sure if we were going to make it through the winter months as we pretty much ran out of funding and sometimes when you run out of monetary support you get even more lost and lose the meaning of why you started something in the first place. In light of that, a huge-hearted Thank You to everyone of you for the life-support, for remembering who we were when we were the most lost, for not being afraid to let us know what the space meant to you, and for showing us the way back."

Follow updates at the Cheer Up Charlies Instagram account.