I first heard about the Rhizome several years ago. There had been several restaurants and cafe in that East Broadway space beforehand, but this time the friend/s who suggested meeting there did so with much insistence; they said it was an awesome space, with great vegetarian/vegan food, amazing desserts and awesome chai. It was also an incredibly relaxed, open-minded, progressive space. And so dinner with friends it was. That evening and every other time I was there up until this past Thursday night was everything my friends had said it was ... and more.
It was where I performed my last gig as Miss Penny in 2008, and where I began coming out to friends as trans; it was where friends and I got together for rounds of Christmas holiday cheer, where I grabbed a quick bite while passing through the neighbourhood (I'll never forget the miso and tofu rice bowl and the vegan orange cake with a very rich white frosting), where I attended a going away party for a friend who was moving to Ottawa and where I recently attended a board game night.
There were also many events that I wished I had gone to: queer salsa classes, various speakers, poetry nights, mini film festivals (though I did go to the Trans Film Festival there in 2010) and countless music shows featuring local artists.
And tonight, on my bus ride home from the movies, I saw that the space formerly known as the Rhizome Cafe had been cleared of its tables, chairs and couches, all of the art on the walls gone. Soon, there will be a new community hub/cafe in its place which will try to revive the best that the old place had to offer. But, no doubt, some things cannot be replaced.
Adieu, Rhizome! Thanks for being there!