Management, Ads & Bookings

We met, and George and I agreed that Harvey could become a partner of one third of Le Hibou by investing the same amount as we had: $800.00. As I had not booked the second week after Tom Kines, Harvey, who was managing The Courriers at the time, booked them for the second week. The membership fee was kept and we added a door fee. But to allow for one-time walk-ins, we charged an extra 50 cents or $l.00 according to the performer. We needed more tables and chairs, so it was off to Al’s second hand store. To create the illusion of space, I decided to paint everything black, including the tables and chairs. We set up a work party and painted all the chairs and tables black. Then we wondered, with the ceiling, wall, chairs and tables all painted black, how would patrons find their seats? The red and white tablecloths and the Chianti fiasco candles helped.

I had managed Le Hibou on Rideau Street, and continued to do so on Bank Street. With paid entertainers every week the task became more onerous. As manager, I was responsible for staffing, buying the food, hiring, paying the staff, doing the books, paying the bills, plus promotion and publicity, along with some of the bookings. In the first few years, Harvey Glatt did most of the folk bookings and I concentrated on the French chansonniers and the English and French theatre.

Over time I ended up doing most of the bookings, as Le Hibou also got into blues and jazz. Every week, press releases and ads had to be placed in the Ottawa Journal, the Ottawa Citizen and Le Droit, as well in the university student papers, The Fulcrum and The Raven. Many times, as photos arrived late, I had to deliver them to the newspapers in the evening. Luckily, the Ottawa Citizen was then on Sparks Street, and the Ottawa Journal was on Kent.

John Lee Hooker
John Lee Hooker

The first year we ran our newspaper ad with the headline “Le Hibou in association with Treble Clef.” We did this so that we could benefit from the Treble Clef high frequency, low advertising rate. But after a year, since we advertised every week, we had a higher frequency than Treble Clef. I then removed the Treble Clef designation since I thought it created confusion, and did more advertising for Treble Clef than for Le Hibou.

We now required one extra person to tend to the door. As I was now working for the CBC, sometimes in the evening, I could no longer be there consistently, and so we needed night managers on a daily or weekly basis. Although Harvey Glatt never managed to work at Le Hibou, George Gordon Lennox, the other partner, did work the door or night manage occasionally. But when he got a job as a journalist with the Ottawa Journal, and later as an editorialist, there was less and less involvement. A few years later George accepted a job with a United Nations agency and moved to Geneva.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *