Don't be surprised one day if you come across a Life Cafe — here or elsewhere in the country. In an email, Kathy Kirkpatrick (aka Kathy Life), president of Life Cafe Inc., said that she is retiring and selling the trademark to her 30-year-old Cafe.
As you'll recall, Life Cafe abruptly closed "until further notice" last Sept. 11, as we first reported. Kirkpatrick said that she'd stay closed until the landlords completed long overdue repairs. That closure became permanent after the two landlords decided to cut the cafe in two, with 9th Street Espresso moving next door into one of the spaces, as The Villager first reported.
"It's been a full life and it's now time to move on and retire. It's been my dream to have someone else take the legacy of the Cafe on to the next level, but that opportunity to do so at that location was suffocated," said Kirkpatrick, who's working on a book titled "FIGHTING FOR LIFE: the Life and Death of Life Cafe." "Since 2008 I struggled to make the renaissance happen but the two landlords obstructed my every move."
"Life Cafe was to me and to most others more than just a cafe. That is why I put the brand out there in the expectation that someone would carry on the Cafe in the tradition of the original. It's a brand that will work throughout the U.S. and the world (in fact it's known worldwide). I have always had international patrons coming, making special trips to the East Village just to eat and drink at Life and connect with a piece of New York history."
Here's part of the ad that she has placed on Craigslist:
The Trademark for Life Café, the East Village, New York restaurant/bar immortalized in the Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway musical RENT is for sale.
Included with the trademark is:
International Class 042, Restaurant Services
International Class 021, Tableware, namely, cups
International Class 025, T-Shirts
-- Domain name, website, code
-- Copyright of marketing collateral
-- Story/history/NYC origins/RENT connection
Owner willing to build into a deal an offer to have John Sunderland, creative designer and graphic designer of the current designs/logos/art, etc. on retainer to continue to produce visual marks in the style of the IP ...
She said that because fans of "Rent" no longer have a place to visit in the East Village, she is soon launching a website — RENTheadRegisters.com. She described it as "a virtual place of pilgrimage like the Cafe was." The site will be based on the original eight physical RENThead Registers that Life began in 2008 for fans to share messages.
"We're recreating each volume virtually on the site for people to read," said Kirkpatrick, who reported brisk business at the Life outpost in Bushwick. "And we're inviting people to submit more messages, which will be entered into new virtual volumes. We've estimated there are about 10,000 messages in the first eight volumes, and expect that number to grow."
"In that sense, in the connection to 'Rent,' Life Cafe will go on."