Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 | midnight
The Canvas Cafe is located at 430 E. Silverado Ranch Parkway Suite 100. The venue's next scheduled event is a CD release party for psychedelic and soul group Re-Write Dept. beginning at 8 p.m. Jan. 23.
A life-sized cardboard cutout of Barack Obama sporting a curly-haired red, white and blue wig and an equally patriotic lei on the patio of the Canvas Cafe smiled at concert-goers Monday as they entered the inside stage area that was bedecked in ribbons, stars and flags.
The mood was happy and hopeful among area residents, many in their teens, who gathered to watch local bands perform and to celebrate the upcoming change of command during the cafe's Inauguration Show.
Barack Obama will be sworn in as the nation's 44th president Tuesday morning.
"Obama is president -- make some noise for that!" yelled lead singer of Dyslexic Duo, Henry Sneider, who is also known as "Neone."
Chef and cafe founder Aaron Schropp said the event was the culmination of efforts that began with debate-watching parties, punk shows and an Election Day concert aimed at getting locals, especially the area's youth, involved in the political process.
Schropp said he wants young people to understand that the most important thing they have is their vote.
In addition to celebrating the upcoming inauguration, Schropp said the underlying theme of the evening was accountability. He stressed the importance of people staying involved with leadership, even after ballots are cast. "President Obama is an amazing man who has come a long way, but he has a huge task ahead of him," he said. "He has made some great speeches ... Now let's see him follow through."
Scott Amirrikkah, who was at the cafe to read poetry, said it's important to hold our leaders accountable for their words.
"You have to make sure the people running your lives are running them to your standards," he said.
Amirrikkah said Obama needs to focus on health care reform and on fixes for the faltering economy.
The economy was also on the minds of David Maple and his wife, Kimberly, as they shared a bottle of wine at a table in front of the café.
David Maple, a business owner from New Hampshire who came to town for a job interview, said he is hopes a lot will turn around once Obama takes office.
"We're in retail, so our industry has just been decimated by the economy," he said.
His wife said she remains hopeful for change but is guarded.
"(Obama) is one man in the middle of a whirlwind disaster," she said. "I'm hoping he can do something, but can it really happen?"
Jesse Control, the lead singer of Social Control, a politically-oriented ska band, said the economy should be Obama's top priority.
"First things first, help get our economy back on its feet. There are a lot of people struggling," he said.
While the music played inside, local artist Mike Biggs, known for his zombie scenes, worked on the outside patio creating an apocalyptic depiction of the Lincoln Memorial.
He said the plan for his work in progress was for it to show the memorial with the head knocked off and someone drawing a replacement face on the wall behind.
"It represents hope," he said.
His friend Joey Grave stood by as the transformation of the canvas took place.
"I think everybody's optimistic," said Grave, a recent transplant from Los Angeles who said he's excited to see President Bush leave office.
Silverado High School student Zoe Meraz, 17, said she too was looking forward to the transition.
"We really are ready for change," she said.
Ashley Livingston can be reached at 990-8925 or email@example.com.