New Long Wong's Music Venue: What Does It Mean?

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OK, by now you've perhaps read on our food blog that there's a new Long Wong's planned for Apache and McClintock. "Big Deal," you may be thinking, "those wing joints are everywhere."

Not so fast. A close inspection of the zoning documents reveals that this Long Wong's is planning to have music up to five nights a week, on both indoor and outdoor stages. According to Michele Laudig, our food editor, some of the people involved in this Long Wong's are the same people involved in the old one, which is, shamefully, now a parking lot.

So, yeah, the wings aren't really a big deal. The real issue here is that someone is apparently planning to resurrect the most notable music venue in Arizona's history. The old Mill Avenue location has been the subject of a zillion articles (I like this one) and the venue's last night takes up a chapter of Laurie Notaro's excellent book We Thought You'd Be Prettier.

I have to admit, I dared not dream of this when I wrote that "Downtown is Ovah." This could be even better. As I said before:

From what I've observed, music venues tend to operate best with synergy. Drop one cool venue someplace and more will follow. Remove the heart? I'll answer that question with a question: How many shows have you seen on Mill since Long Wong's closed?

Now, I know Kimber Lanning has faith in downtown's Wolverine-like healing powers or she wouldn't make this move. And, true, Lanning knows a shit-load about urban planning and I do not. But I've read Richard Florida's The Rise of the Creative Class and I've lived a few places. From what I'm seeing, it looks as if it's Tempe Time -- for local and indie music, at least.

Yucca Tap Room's expansion is about to open. The Rogue, which is just a few miles north of the proposed new Long Wong's, is booking a hell of a lot of shows. Now a true "name" venue is re-opening? I could yet be wrong, but it looks like the "Tempe Time" I forecast back in October is nigh.

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