The Projects 

What's next for Gwar? A lot.

click to enlarge Gwar guitarist Michael Derks shows progress on first-floor renovations at 217 W. Clay St., where GwarBar will open in the former Crossroads.

Gwar guitarist Michael Derks shows progress on first-floor renovations at 217 W. Clay St., where GwarBar will open in the former Crossroads.

GwarBar: The group is undertaking the restaurant with Travis Croxton of Rappahannock, who will be managing. At 217 W. Clay St., in the old Crossroads bar, an early fall opening is planned. But major renovations are underway, redoing the floors upstairs, and the first floor and kitchen only may open first. There will be 50 seats on first floor with outdoor dining.

The idea is to serve intergalactic junk food, or gourmet junk food with a sleek interior theme of Antarctica using a lot of metal and stone. "Like the interior of our Antarctic fortress," Michael Derks says. "There will be a big shield behind the bar that looks like ice." The band raised a little more than $20,000 on Indiegogo for the project.

The second phase will open the second floor and an extended deck off the back, hopefully by next summer. Ultimately the band wants to close off the parking lot and make it into a beer garden, but that will require zoning changes. He adds that the band hopes to hold an event around the next Gwar B-Q in Abner Clay Park, directly across the street.

"I think I'm going to bring back the RVA Happy Meal," Derks says. "A can of PBR and a shot of whiskey for $5."

"Let There Be Gwar" a Documentary": Directed by Don Drakulich, it focuses on the first three years of Gwar, but also paints a period portrait of Richmond, which was fairly dangerous in those days where the band used to practice in Jackson Ward. "It's powerful stuff," producer Bob Gorman says. "We're looking for the right distributor now."

Slave Pit Recording Studio: Run by Buffalo, N.Y., native John Angelo, the small recording studio at the Slave Pit now has top-notch equipment and has been recording bands such as Lost Tribe, U.S. Bastards, and Gwar's own "Battle Maximus." Angelo has worked live sound for Gwar for a few years, and he does mastering work in the studio, as well as sound engineering for Gwar projects (albums, DVDs) in-house.

Gwar graphic novel: Illustrated by Matt McGuire with help on the story text from writer Jim Reed, the book tells the mythos of Gwar. "We're pitching it to Dark Horse Comics right now," McGuire says. "They have inroads to movies, which is an ultimate goal."

Gwar coffee-table book: A 300-page book of the band's career filled with unseen photos and oral history. Every show by Gwar and related groups is listed in the back. "We want to get this directly to fans, we're thinking about self-publishing," Gorman says. "I've been lugging this shit around for 15 years."

Gwar exhibit at the Valentine Richmond History Center: The problem with archiving Gwar's prop department is that the stuff made of natural rubber disintegrates after 20 years. So Gorman has been getting the early artifacts made of wood, hard Styrofoam or fiberglass to the Valentine. It will be the museum's duty to take care of the materials, he says, and Gwar can get them back on loan for future art shows. Gorman gave old wooden helmets, robes and banners, which will go up pending review by the Valentine's board of trustees.

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