Kitschy Spirit Records growing into new space

Chris Judy, co-owner of Kitschy Spirit Records poses with a box of records in their new location at 307 6th St. in Calumet.

Kitschy Spirit Records in Calumet is growing. Early this year owners Chris and Anna Judy left their second floor perch on 5th Street for a more spacious street level accommodation at 307 6th St. The expansive new space is not only more accessible, it also opens the door for musicians and the community to meet, perform and embrace music.

Over four months, the Judy’s sanded and scraped the space removing old carpet and glue and adding a fresh coat of paint.

“Blood sweat and tears,” Chris jokingly said motioning to a scar where he was cut removing carpet. “It’s all in here.”

The upgrade in space was due in part to the growth of the business as well as the Judy’s vision to be accessible to a wide range of potential visitors.

“We wanted the store to be for everybody so [the old space] was not congruent with our vision. We did have some live music in here and that’s something we couldn’t have done at all in the old space,” Chris said.

The shop is much more spacious, Judy estimates at least four times as much. Part of the vision for Kitschy Spirit is to cultivate and bolster the region’s music community.

Judy says he’s taken cues from other record stores he’s visited and admired over the years, from which he’s drawn tenants for his own, “having all ages shows, trying not to charge too much for records and trying to have something for everybody. Being a community hub, not just a retail space, but being a place you can come hang out.”

A glimpse of the vision was realized Friday, March 1, as a crowd of approximately 40 people gathered at Kitschy Spirit’s first in-house show.

“We did do a tape release show for Bongo Frontier from Wisconsin, some experimental synth music and maybe something you don’t see all the time up here. It was definitely different. And we had Mr. Cesar play, local surf rock legends. Newly minted legends and the legend is growing in a short time. All those people, in Mr. Cesar, for the most part have been big supporters of the store since we started. It was really nice to have them.”

The surf outfit even took a moment to thank Chris for having introduced two of its members. Chris was happy to have played a part helping to unify musicians.

“That’s exactly what we’re trying to cultivate. If you want to start a band, put your phone number and your email on that board and say, hopefully someone will see it and you’ll start a band up and have the time of your life.”

The show was a success as people danced to the pulse-pounding surf rhythms of Mr. Cesar and then embraced a flowing set of electronic synthewsizers and acoustic drums by Bongo Frontier.

By the time the show was over, the crowd milled over shelves of records and congratulated the bands on their performance.


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