Carla DeLellis is still not sure what to do with all this… stuff.
The owner of Johnny D’s Uptown Restaurant And Music Club, which closed earlier this month after nearly 50 years of live music, Sunday jazz brunches, and a who’s who of performers, has spent the past several days sifting through everything from old press photos and show posters to glassware and tabletops to signage and banners. And it’ll all be available for purchase this Friday and Saturday when the Davis Square venue opens its doors once again for a public garage sale.
“I’ve yet to uncover everything, honestly,” DeLillis says with a laugh as she sorts through old boxes of black-and-white press photos, tucked away for an unknown number of years in her booking office. “I know that whoever is going to take them values them, and that makes me happy.”
All of the items are indelibly tied to Johnny D’s, and have been for years. A handful of old photos DeLillis pulls out all represent a specific show, a certain time and place; images of Leon Russell, Kim Richey, Paul Rishell & Annie Raines, and The Greyboy Allstars all reflect a time when the performers took the Johnny D’s stage. There are stacks of old menus from the restaurant side of the business, and she’s already gotten a few inquires about the table tops that used to fill the main floor in front of the stage and around the club’s perimeter.
“Everybody wants the tabletops, but I’m not sure I want to sell those,” she says, suggesting there might be a permanent place in her kitchen at home for a college-like mural of the displays.
When T.T. The Bear’s Place closed last summer, the Cambridge rock club sold off most of its items over the course of a June afternoon. The line extended down Brookline Avenue, as longtime fans of the club wanted to take a piece of it home with them. DeLillis isn’t sure what to expect, as far as reception and interest in this weekend’s garage sale, but she’s coming up with unique ideas to create memorabilia out of not only the usual stuff, but actual parts of the venue itself.
“There are a lot of things that are practical,” she admits. “We are working hard to give great deals and even trying to figure out ways to give more memorabilia, such as ripping up the floor boards.”
Say what — the floor boards?
“Yeah, we’re making coasters out of the floor boards,” she says with a laugh.
DeLillis knows that it’s the little things people will likely have the greatest interest in, and that reminder in their homes will help the Johnny D’s legacy live on. “When my aunt died,” DeLillis says, “I didn’t want jewelry. I said ‘give me the wooden spoon she used to cook with.'”
JOHNNY D’S MEMORABILIA AND WARE SALE :: Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2 at Johnny D’s, 17 Holland St. in Somerville, MA :: 10 .m. to 6 p.m., all ages, free admission, 617-776-2004 :: Johnny D’s on Facebook