Big Easy No More? 

Big changes are coming for The Big Easy.

The popular Boise concert venue is now completely owned by Knitting Factory Entertainment, a New York City-based promotions company with clubs there and Los Angeles. Knitting Factory bought majority stock in the Boise-based Bravo Entertainment, parent company of The Big Easy, last year, but only recently purchased the rest of the controlling stock.

Bravo will continue work as a music promotions company, although under the umbrella of Knitting Factory. Bravo founder and president Paul Thornton will continue with Bravo as president of Knitting Factory's concert and tour promotion division, adding the title of senior vice-president of development.

Early reports are a little unclear as to the future of The Big Easy, although it looks as though the club will likely undergo a makeover and name change, according to an Associated Press story. General Manager Dean Hanson said little is known about what changes will come, although he said staff changes are unlikely.

One thing that won't change is the ongoing dispute between The Big Easy and Idaho State Police's Alcohol and Beverage Control Division.

The club was among eight cited earlier this year for "prohibited acts" (BW, News, "Down By Law," March, 14, 2007). While other businesses targeted were more traditional "gentlemens clubs," including Spearmint Rhino, The Torch and The Kit Kat Klub, The Big Easy seemed like an odd inclusion.

The Big Easy incident stemmed from a Jan. 5, 2007, "The Men of Las Vegas" review held at the club. Because of the charge, ISP issued intentions to revoke the clubs' liquor licenses, effectively shutting down those businesses.

The Big Easy took the issue to court to stop the revocation, but the judge in the case ordered it to go through the standard administrative process. Rick Ohnsman, ISP public information officer, said representatives of The Big Easy were scheduled to have a hearing with ISP on Tuesday morning. Results were not available by press time.

Plans are still moving forward though. According to an AP story, Knitting Factory will use Bravo to increase offerings in what are considered under-served markets. Knitting Factory officials also plan to build several new concert venues each year, which will accommodate audiences of 1,000 to 2,000 people.

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