Published on March 12th, 2014 | by TLV News0
Remembering Blaine “Blano” Pitzer
Celebration of Blaine’s Life at The Powerhouse on Saturday, March 15
Oxford, Miss. (TLV) – When the news came down the grapevine about the passing of Blaine Pitzer, many who had known him in years past were shocked; even Blano hadn’t known for long that he was ill. Jubilee Bar & Grill, which Blaine co-owned was a go-to establishment on the Oxford Square for many years.
This town hasn’t been quite the same since the Jubilee closed. It was our melting pot; you never knew who you’d run into at ‘the Jube.’ There are fine bars and music venues here still, but the atmosphere at the Jubilee captured perfectly a specific point in time when locals ruled and Oxford’s rock ‘n’ roll scene thrived. After his death Blaine was quoted as once having said, “If it ain’t loud, it ain’t rock ‘n’ roll.” Sounds like him. We miss live, loud, sometimes slightly lewd music blasting from those wide-open windows for all to enjoy.
People are always saying they miss “old Oxford.” To us this includes the Jubilee, to be sure. And it certainly includes The Hoka, where Blaine also worked. Of all things “old Oxford,” you just had to have been there, at that time and place in history to fully appreciate what’s changed about this beautiful Southern city as time has passed.
When Blano passed, our hearts ached to have “old Oxford” back, if just for one day.
Oxford celebrates Blaine’s life at The Powerhouse on Saturday, March 15, starting at 7 pm. Scott Caradine of Proud Larry’s is donating iced coffee so all who desire can order a “Jubilee Jack” in Blaine’s memory (a Jubilee Jack is half iced coffee, equal parts vodka, Bailey’s, and Kahlua). Iced coffee is on the menu at Proud Larry’s so you can have one there anytime. Come on out to The Powerhouse if you miss Blaine—you aren’t alone.
Blano, Blano, Blano, you mysterious soul. So damn smart, so damn impatient, could sure have that gruff exterior but then that truly amazing smile. That disarming smile. Boy could we argue. He’d chase people out of the Hoka, start stacking chairs on their tables while they were still eating. It was so UnHoka. But then again he would be so sweet and could sure work. I’m glad he carried the Beans and Rice to the Jube, gotta feed the folks. He’d spend mucho time by himself. When computers busted on the scene he taught himself. So curious. So well read, I mean like Rilke, Alan Watts, Nietzche — and understanding them. Loved Wendell Berry and truly shared his love for our beaten up and beautiful earth. I was shocked that he, like me, enjoyed silly Tom Robbins who loves women so.
He loved music, Jazz, real Jazz and anything with piano. Man did he dig The Tangents. He would drive hours to hear them and come back hours after the gig just to get that vibe. He would never go to the doctor but figure it out himself. He didn’t trust the Man. Could see through phonies like a laser. No bullshit with Blano. Totally Honest.
He did have something gnawing at him. I don’t know who Blano spent his deep time with – or was it just himself? He had a big old heart that is proven by all the responses I read and heard. So happy to know this.
I wasn’t a Jubilee guy, away for some of it. Come to find out it was a wayward station for the misfits like the Hoka, Everyone welcome. No Rules, Just be Kind.
There is a Jewish thing of my birth people and of my adopted Buddhist family that as friends are parting, treat them like this could be the last time we see one another; if that kindness and heartfelt vibe we show towards one another will spread and carry on around the world peace will be achieved.
Rest in Peace, Blano. I sure wish I had that last time to tell you so long face to face.
-Ron “Ronzo” Shapiro
People come and go so quickly in Oxford. The nature of a college town such as ours is to change, and once every few years this city seems to shed its old skin in favor of the next wave of students and faculty, friends, and acquaintances, and businesses and proprietors. Oxford, in the time I have come to know it, has become like the great phoenix of mythology that rises from the ashes of the last—an intoxicating mixture of an exhilarating freshness combined with a comforting familiarity. To me, nothing demonstrated this strange dichotomy more than a place called Jubilee Lounge.
Over the years, Jubilee saw a great variety of customers. When trying to describe it to people new to town, I am at a loss to really capture what it was to us. There are as many different adjectives to describe it as there was diversity in its patrons, and saying it was an alternative place is not really doing it justice. It was much more than that. It was a lush oasis where all the different animals gathered to drink, and drink we did.
Most of the more interesting stories that I tell begin with afternoon drinks at the Jubilee. Most of the friends I have today, I can trace back to Jubilee. It was where I began to do comedy and has the distinction of being the first home to Laff Co. almost ten years ago. When it closed its doors, I wondered where we would all go. Some have moved away, scattered across the land. Others are simply gone. The ones of us still in town have taken up residence in other bars or worse, stopped going out entirely. We pass each other and nod with a certain deference to something that we know we will never be able to experience again. We give each other soft smiles, as if to remember what used to be. And, two weeks ago, we began to divert our eyes in honor of a fallen comrade.
Although his time on Earth was brief, Blaine’s impact is a legacy that will go on far into the future. He was a unique man that lived life by his own terms and left many friends in his wake. If only everyone could be so blessed.