A cancelled event at BRICK at Blue Star has spilled over into a social media feud over whether the venue backed out over the organizer's pro-gun views.
Local clothing company Bexar Arms announced on its Instagram account that a fall fashion show it scheduled for Tuesday night at BRICK was called off because "the owner does not want to associate with guns in any way and booked something else the same day, even after a $750 deposit was paid."
Bexar Arms markets clothes printed with images of assault rifles, including some parodying the Star Wars, Nike and Spurs logos. Its social media accounts include photos of firearms and pro-gun memes.
Michael Martinez, the company's owner, said he doesn't condone violence and would have been happy to explain that to BRICK's owners — if he'd had the chance.
"I feel like they went off their own perception without talking to us first," he said.
BRICK partner Elizabeth Ciarfeo said she scrubbed the event — billed as a "Battle of the Brands Fall Fashion Show" — two weeks ago, after organizers failed to meet a Sept. 30 deadline to pay the rest of the rental fee.
In a response to Bexar Arms' posting, Ciarfeo took to BRICK's Instagram, saying she returned the deposit "in hopes (the organizers) would reimburse their vendors." The group also misled her on the nature of he show, she added — namely by failing to mention it would include gun-themed merchandise.
"That type of event was inappropriate from day one," Ciarfeo said. "I'm really sorry I missed that. I'll have to be more careful in the future."
BRICK has since cancelled a replacement event to avoid any friction with patrons who show up expecting to see Bexar Arms' show, she added.
A Bexar Arms representative offered to deliver the rest of the money on Monday, but Ciarfeo declined, telling him it would be inappropriate to host a gun-themed event so soon after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that left 11 people dead.
"As soon as he got the refund, he started in on social media," Ciarfeo said.
Martinez said he's since refunded his vendors and may reschedule the show somewhere else at a later date. For now, though, he's frustrated about the wasted effort he put into promoting it.
"First (Ciarfeo) said it was for nonpayment, then she said they had another event booked, then she said we were promoting violence," he said. "She changed her reasons three times. If she'd stuck to one... I'd have been more understanding."
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