The Cain's Ballroom

Submitted By Harrison-Herdade
Words: 928
Pages: 4

What Is The Cain’s Ballroom? There are many places across Tulsa that hold the title site of memory. “A site of memory is anywhere a culture or city memorializes an event, place, or person” (Nora). Across Tulsa you will find many places that are sites for public artistic expression, a place where the artwork bleeds out into the community. But, it is much more challenging to find a place that is both a site of memory and a site of public artistic expression. Located on Main street in downtown Tulsa, the Cain’s Ballroom is one of the few places in Tulsa that could be labeled as a site of memory and a site where public art is expressed. In 1924 a garage was built for Tate Brady, Tulsa’s biggest entrepreneur, which was later bought by Madison Cain. After being transformed from a garage to a dance academy, the legendary band, the Texas Playboys, used the building for their first radio broadcast. Following that broadcast, they began performing there on a regular basis popularizing a genre of music called Western Swing. From that day forward the Cain’s Ballroom was no longer just a dance academy but a site for public artistic expression. During the Rock and Roll period of music, Cain’s business faltered, significantly. In 1976 the property was purchased by Larry Shaeffer in hopes of refurbishing the building. He later re-opened the building under its current name Cain’s Ballroom. “In 1978, Cain’s Ballroom was one of the only few venues to host the Sex Pistols in their only American tour. In addition, Cain’s has played host to such performers as Van Halen, the Ramones, Ted Nugent, among the other rock acts.” (History). It could be argued that there isn't another place in Tulsa that holds the amount of artistic history that the Cain’s Ballroom holds. According to Nora, The purpose of sites of memory is “to stop time, to block the work of forgetting”. Additionally, Nora suggests that all sites of memory share “a will to remember” (Nora). From the spring loaded wood floor, to the historic photographs on the walls of artists who have preformed, the Cain’s proves to the community that it is a site of memory. Without venues like the Cain’s, many modern-day bands would not have evolved into the big bands that they are today. The Cain’s is a stepping stone for many bands to take their talent and performance to the next level and attain music immortality. For example, bands like the Deftones, The Flaming Lips, and The White Stripes would not have the opportunity to make it in the music industry if it was not for venues like the Cain’s. But the Cain’s isn't just a stepping stone, it is also a favorite among many famous bands because of all the history that the venue holds within its walls. The Cain’s was not built to be just a pretty place, it was built for artists to use and make it a showcase of their creative expression. One of the truest ways for a band to express themselves is through their unique voice. Regarded by many artist’s such as Wilco as their favorite venue in the US, Cain’s provides a venue for for that expression. If a lawsuit similar to what happened at the Jefferson Memorial occurred at the Cain’s prohibiting people to express themselves, the Cain’s would close down immediately. The main purpose of the Cain’s is for people to express themselves. Luckily, nothing like that would happen to a place like the Cain’s since a