MINNEAPOLIS – Nearly all new rules at local venue The Front Door were created in direct response to the actions of a single individual over the last decade, according to sources affiliated with the historic music hall.
The club’s staff were allegedly reviewing documents for tax purposes when they noticed the stunning trend. “It was like, wow — this is all because of Max,” said owner Tessa Landers. “That little maniac was always annoying, but now, it looks like he’s actually done more to shape our business than I have.”
Maxwell Graves, the inspiration for the regulations, moved to Minneapolis in 2004, regularly attending shows ever since. Rules like “no hanging from the rafters,” “no standing on the rafters,” and “you may only sell merch at the merch table if your band is performing that night” were instituted following his first weekend.
Graves attributes his inspirational abilities to a sense of childlike curiosity and undiagnosed A.D.D. “I’m respectful, but creative,” said the scenester. “If there isn’t a rule that says I can’t lube myself up in cooking oil from the taco place next door and glide around the pit like a Slip ‘N Slide, you can bet I’m going to do it.”
To Landers, the hardest part has been closing loopholes. “My lawyer cousin has been a great help. Because of him, we now note that ice cubes count as outside food, a jar full of bees counts as a pet, and patrons cannot crowdsurf in a wheelchair, even if they really want to and it’s their birthday,” said the owner.
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The staff’s favorite rules are those that should have never needed writing down. “There’s a rule in our charter about how you cannot dress up in perfect KISS makeup and sign autographs as Ace Frehley without showing I.D. first,” said bartender Felicia Lisowski. “There’s also our ‘no throwing cinder blocks’ rule.”
“That was for construction purposes,” Graves said.
In spite of Graves’s antics, Landers insists he is still welcome. “We’re a venue for the whole community,” she said. “There’s a neon sign out front that says, ‘The Front Door is open for everyone.’ Even if we wanted to, adding the words ‘except Maxwell Graves’ to that sign would cost thousands of dollars. Not that we checked.”
Photo by Kat Chish.