The funding failure leaves the cabaret with little choice but to evacuate an 1884 building that's plagued with zoning code violations. City fire marshals first shut the doors on Patrick's 506 E. 24th St. site for six months in June 1996. When the theater reopened last year, city codes prevented more than 49 people from attending any one performance. Those numbers make staying put a financial impossibility.

"It's to our advantage to move sooner rather than later," explains Patrick Scully, the cabaret's founder and artistic director. "It's hard to draw a lot of attention to a place that's only halfway reopened." The cabaret has been in discussions with other local arts organizations in search of a new stage, but the cabaret's scheduling demands--two weekends a month--have blocked some seemingly logical pairings. And Scully admits to being a little reluctant to move in with a stranger. "We're already on the radar screen of the city of Minneapolis," he says "so we don't want a hornet's nest [of inspectors] to come down on any possible partner."

Expect the cabaret to stay on the Minneapolis side of the river, though. "Traditionally it's been hard to lure an audience to St. Paul," Scully says. But if St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman suddenly wanted an edgy revue featuring performance poets and transgender dancers in his so-called cultural corridor..."Hey, I'd consider it," Scully says.

Another matter for consideration is the use of funds collected under the failed capital campaign. About one half of this approximately $100,000 sum has already been spent on architects, construction consultants, and related staff expenses, and Patrick's Cabaret has plans for the rest. "We'll spend it on capital improvements we can take with us," Scully says, "like a portable riser system, sound system, lighting equipment, and a dance floor."

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