Leopard Skin! Cult Movies! Candid Photography! Logue's Black Raven Emporium Is Open for Business



Today I visited a Seattle boutique, an Austin printshop/DVD store, and a 42nd Street grindhouse — and they're all in a Gallatin Road storefront in East Nashville.

Before the holidays, the Scene's Randy Fox set the switchboard alight with news that printmaker, photographer and former Royal Court of China/Shakers member Robert Logue was opening a combination vintage clothing/bookstore/print gallery, with the basement devoted to a 40-seat cinema screening cult movies on DVD. Yesterday, we got a tip that Logue's Black Raven Emporium had launched with a soft opening, and we went to check it out.

What we found ... well, barring only an ice chest full of frosty IBC root beer and a year's supply of Cool Ranch Doritos, it's as if someone built the 17-year-old Jim Ridley his dream clubhouse.

The space looks deceptively small from the outside, but room upon room winds through Black Raven in a layout as meandering as a Halloween haunted house. The front rooms are devoted to the vintage-clothing business run by Robert's wife, Cemile Bagci-Logue, whose eye for leopard prints and funky hats shows why she's been tapped by local theater companies as a resource.

Logue's macabre sensibility — equal parts Tim Burton, Irving Klaw and absinthe-fiend Victoriana — takes over as the shop crooks around the corner. One room houses his prints, whose subjects range from William S. Burroughs to sinister pin-ups; another functions as a modest bookstore with a variety of coffee-table studies, paperbacks and movie books (Michelle Clifford and Bill Landis' grindhouse guide Sleazoid Express seems particularly at home).

Just as we spot a shelf full of cult-movie DVDs — too much Bill Zebub for our timid tastes, but hey, there's Dario Argento's The Bird with the Crystal Plumage! — in comes Logue's partner, Bob Slendorn, who's in charge of the DVDs and the downstairs cinema. A cult-movie collector who met Logue on the horror-convention circuit, the tall ex-New Jerseyite leads the way downstairs to the cinderblock parlor that will serve as lobby for their theater, Cult Fiction Underground.

It's intended as a replica of a 42nd Street fleapit, studded with posters for the likes of Phantasm III. When completed, the parlor will house a concession stand that will serve beer, if the permit comes through. Logue and Slendorn hope the cinema portion will be up and running within a month. Slendorn's even picked the movie he wants to show first: the uncut version of John Llewellyn Moxey's 1960 shocker Horror Hotel, known to horror fanatics as the first feature by British horror studio Amicus.

Logue's Black Raven Emporium is at 2915 Gallatin Road, and its hours tend to run about 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the soft opening.

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