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Vic's Jazz Loft

Industrial Chic Jazz Club Rounds out Offerings in Elite Art Museum

The crowd filing into 268 West Broadway on a show night includes refined city goers, clad in the season's latest, hip millennials talking about their upcoming semester abroad, and probably lots of groups of locals. Vic’s Jazz Loft is Jim Thorpe’s premier music club. It has the atmosphere and poise to attract just about anyone: polished yet welcoming; a night out that feels oddly like home.

The Loft offers the sort of elevated dinner-and-a-show experience you'd find in Manhattan, and serves it up with all of the hometown charisma you’d hope for in good old Jim Thorpe. From the decades-old family tale that Vic's is built on, to the centuries-long history of the building where the club lives – Vic’s Jazz Loft is anything but a trend. If a gourmet meal and impressive jazz ensembles don’t already have you booking tickets, you ought to know about the business’ vibrant history.

“It really completed the trifecta we have there,” says co-owner, and founder Joan Morykin. Morykin operates a full service restaurant Cafe Arielle, and the Victor Stabin Museum with her husband, artist Victor Stabin, in the same building.

“...with the food and craft cocktails, the art, and now the music”, adds Morykin. “It has enhanced everything else we have here, and it really feels like things are coming full circle”.

It’s an ironic way to describe the fully renovated factory, where musicians play “in the round” — the stage is in the center of the room, fully surrounded by audience members.

Highlighting the artists is important at Vics, after all it’s owned by a mid career artist who essentially shares his gallery space with these creators on any given show night. You won’t ever find a band stuffed into the corner as if to play background noise to patrons chatting.

“A woman went up to {one of the musicians} and was just like ‘I feel like I’m watching this intimate performance, like I'm in your basement watching you guys jam!’” recalls Morykin. “The band was playing toward each other facing away from the crowd... Some artists walk around and work the crowd. It’s really a different dynamic that allows them to choose, and seeing those choices is just so neat”.

The co-owner also points out that audience members, too, have a choice – whether to sit near the piano, the bassist, or another member of a group. Music is meant to uplift, isn’t it? Craft cocktails and the power of autonomy are certain to have crowds smiling before the music even begins.

The immense, vaulted ceilings and exposed beams give Vic’s the open and industrial feel you’d expect sitting in a former wireworks factory, but the refinished wood flooring and neatly curated collection of modern art however, make you wonder if the aged aesthetic is pure fabrication.

The tenured 19th century brick structure was once a wire works factory used to make twisted cables used on suspension bridges. It was also “Mauch Chunk Silk Mill”, Maryann’s Dress Factory, and a manufacturing center for transformers used for toy cars and model railroads.

“I’m often gobsmacked by how far the space has come” says Morykin, who has spent the better part of her adult life giving the factory a facelift.

Morykin was a city dweller herself. Outside magazine published an article in the 90s doting Jim Thorpe as a mountain bike rider’s dream. After a single trip from the big apple, she was charmed by the fall leaves and Victorian aesthetic. It was 1998 when she bought a weekend oasis along Jim Thorpe’s historic Stone Row.

Fast forward a few years, and she was escaping the cement jungle with her then boyfriend, Victor Stabin. The thriving illustrator is best known for illustrating the cover of The Kiss album”Unmasked” (1980). It was Stabin who suggested they move to Jim Thorpe full time. It was 2003 when they threw down roots here. Victor's rented studio space at 268 West Broadway came up for sale, and the pair began building their family, and their business.

Victor’s work as an illustrator took a back seat to oil painting after receiving his non Hodgkins lymphoma diagnosis, and a sobering 50/50 shot at survival in 1999.

“One difference between fine art and illustration is that an illustration assignment begins with a phone call.” says Stabin, of the shift.

“I no longer had the luxury of time or the desire to wait for that call to get illustration assignments. I wanted to create a personal series of paintings and this was my time.”

“The Turtle Series” took hold as Victor’s main focus. Suffering from brain fog as a result of his chemotherapy treatment, he gave himself a simple assignment: create art with 3 elements. Those 3 elements were turtles, inspired (first) by a close, playful, and humbling encounter he had with a sea turtle while snorkeling, swirl shapes inspired by his love for ellipses, and the soft edge created by grass where the water meets the land, inspired by his summers spent on Fire Island (NY). (Read more about his evolving inspiration for the series, here).

Morykin and Stabin bought the studio space they’d been renting for Victor when it came up for sale in 2004. It remained Victor’s studio, and the home to their several restaurants over the last two decades. Their former restaurant ”Flow” closed in 2013, and they went on a hiatus from the food business for 5 years. The current restaurant was born in 2018, and given the name of their youngest daughter, Arielle. When they returned to the culinary world, they vowed to make Cafe Arielle a family affair. The 19 year old artist waits tables at her family business and namesake until this day.

The Stabin Museum has become a cultural destination for city tourists, and locals alike. Morykin tells us she delights often, when she overhears veteran gallery-goers likening her husband’s exhibit to a “Mini MoMA” (Museum of Modern Art).

Given a reputation for poise, creativity and success, the space set the scene for the Artists’ Gala by the Jim Thorpe Independent Film Festival in 2021. The entertainment? A jazz trio, featuring Skyler Stabin – the business owners’ eldest daughter (20). “It was like a lightbulb went off. People really loved it” says Morykin.

Post covid closures,”Vic’s Jazz Loft” began welcoming musicians on a regular basis. The owners say the addition

of a music club was natural for them. “It was almost like a happy accident, but the acoustics in that space just sound absolutely remarkable”. Family, business, and creative spirit emulsified one again. This time, the result is world class musicians coming to Jim Thorpe, PA.

Their daughter Skyler plays shows with various trios “in the round” when home on breaks from The College of St. Rose (NY).

Stabin recently hung two paintings of his daughters, Skyler and Arielle as a part of his evolving “Turtle Series”.

“To date this is the easiest and most personal connection I have had with my work” says Stabin. “It seems only natural to paint my family in the context of this beautiful mythically iconic creature….I feel these paintings give me an immortality that my children will pass onto their children.”

Victor Stabin can rest assured that the music club has given his daughter a platform for progress. Just ask her mom, whose voice softens and elates detailing world-renowned jazz Pianist Cyrus Chestnut performing, and teaching a masterclass at Vic’s. The student was none other than Skyler Stabin.

“Oh, it was just incredible.You realize this legendary person is creating, making up music that you’ll never hear again in real time.” Says Morykin, “[the audience] We all gained an appreciation for the subtitle details and the approach as he coached her”.

The elegant venue has boasted other big names in jazz, including world class pianist Kenny Warner and the Grammy nominated Venezuelan composer Silvano Monasterios. The stage at Vic’s however, also holds space for local, regional, and upcoming talent. No matter who takes the floor, there’s always a full house.

Shows typically start at 7pm, with a break for the band to eat around 8:30. Patrons and musicians can mingle, enjoy fine dining options at the adjoining Cafe Arielle, and indulge in the Stabin Museum. There’s no shortage of entertainment, or learning to be had here – even when the band wraps a set.

Morykin says their spring and summer program will likely host music events every week. Let show tickets here be the centerpiece of your weekend itinerary – no dinner reservations, or nightcap plans needed. Keep tabs on their schedule HERE.

The timeless venue has housed the evolution of family, business, and art, but for now it seems everything going on here has come full circle, or shall we say fully “in the round”.


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