Beloved Bushwick DIY venue/housing cooperative/artist colony Silent Barn has been in a bit of a financial bind of late. The popular concert venue, which also functions as an art collective of sorts, has struggled to navigate a coldly indifferent capitalist world, and Silent Barn — technically a for-profit LLC but operating more or less as a non-profit and in the process of transitioning to one — has put out an urgent call for donations as well as paid members.
It’s true that one of the saddest sights in the world is a lifeless party struck down by under-attendance. We’ve all been there, at some point, and the sorry scene is always the same: a mostly empty room forms into a joy-sucking vacuum, where laughter feels forced and boozing looks like desperate denial. But nightlife veterans know that parties too big for their britches can be just as bad, and that even great parties will start losing their collective spirit as more and more people pack it in.
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Tournament, Big Huge, Barbed Wire, Dealer
Saturday April 15, 8 pm at The Glove: $10
Grow a pair (or a pear?) and show your face at this pair of shows featuring some unfamiliar faces and others you know well. But don’t expect some double-mint/doppelgänger situation either, as these shows are mirror images of one another in a variety of ways.
Last night, dozens gathered in Greenpoint event space Magick City to discuss the current state of DIY spaces in New York and to brainstorm ideas they could offer the Department of Cultural Affairs that would help keep DIY arts and culture spaces operating safely without being prohibitive financially to those running them.
The meeting was organized by the NYC Artist Coalition, “an emerging coalition of artists, creative organizations, community leaders, activists, policy makers, and specialists providing mutual support and advocating for informal and affordable community spaces in NYC.” The Magick City discussion was a follow-up to a packed meeting about DIY spaces two weeks ago with the commissioner of Cultural Affairs. This willingness to formally cooperate with a city that is so often seen as actively working against DIY spaces comes hot on the heels of the Ghost Ship fire tragedy in Oakland, an event that shook up the DIY community nationwide and led to increased crackdowns on other homegrown venues.
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Thursday January 19, 8 pm at The Gateway:$5 in advance/ $8 at the door
Well, there’s a super compressor of shows happening this week between now and, as The Gateway calls it “the inevitable.” And we can’t think of a better way to keep your spirits up and get the ol’ body machine moving than a Retail show. You’ve probably seen retail, since they’re one of the hardest working bands in Brooklyn, a borough full of musicians who churn out records, shows and, in Retail’s case, self-replication by way of march, at a grind-till-death pace.
The question is whether that has been in the form of a sticker stuck to a dive bar bathroom door, or at an actual show— but if you know, then you know. If you don’t, you gotta go. The band’s new record Dead cranks it up by nearly every measure, with face-blasting screams that have the kind of sharpness shaped only by scar tissue. It’s majorly fast, unadulterated hardcore. In other words, total catharsis.
Whenever someone compares Brooklyn to Oakland, an angel loses its wings, and is sent plunging straight down to hell where the sexless being is reborn as an enormous phallus– imagine, like, a hedge fund manager or, in some cases, a real-estate developer.
That’s because the observation usually has to do with the proximity of a relatively much more prosperous place like Manhattan or San Fransisco (actually those are mostly just super fancy places no matter how you slice it) and based on dumb facts like that you can take a train between the two (the BART, the MTA respectively). Oh, and there’s also that whole gentrification thing– like parts of Brooklyn, Oakland has been declared fabulously “up-and-coming” (barf).
The truth is that, aside from stupid comparisons like these–usually found in real-estate ads, or grunted between high-five’ing bros–Oakland and our beloved borough actually do have some real stuff in common.
No matter how much you love your favorite DIY venue, there’s no sense in getting too attached– as anyone who’s been in the game for a while will tell you. But having lost seemingly countless art caverns and show spaces in the last year, we’ve reached a certain moment where posi vibes and healthy acceptance of the city’s natural ebb and flow, suddenly feel less like rational bits of wisdom and more like things we say to make ourselves feel better because everything is terrible right now.
Whether by force of landlord, party police, or unnatural disaster, we’ve lost some of the greats– Palisades is gone (for good), Market Hotel (indefinitely, save for some vegan markets here and there) maybe too, and Secret Project Robot went away as well. Since the beginning, the duo behind the latter, Rachel Nelson and Erik Zajaceskowski, have vowed to return in one form or another, and now good things are finally happening. “Secret Project Robot just signed a new lease!!” they announced on social media last week. “the art zombie rises!!!”
Guilty Giraffe, Disco Cream, Sooner, Yairms
Wednesday December 28, 8 pm at Sunnyvale: $10
Welcome back friends, orphans, Santa assassins, and gainfully employed. This is our time to shine. Join us in grabbing life by the tender parts while everyone else is still blubber-stuffed and belly-up on their parents’ couch, where life has little meaning, and existence sits somewhere between sleep apnea and dreams invaded by Wilford Brimley, who himself is napping, bloated and spread-eagle on a powder blue La-Z-Boy while diabetic sugar-plum fairies shimmy across his spittle-soaked mustache.
Last week, we told you about Soap Library, the “holistic” tape label specializing in cassettes that are not just objects to behold with your with your eyes and ears, but with your nose too. The brains behind this operation, Kerry Santullo and Rachel Barnhart–former co-workers at the Greenpoint-based Mexican Summer and, uh, current friends–decided to branch out from the predictability of the music industry machine, and go it alone with releases that are anything but “mechanical,” and instead occupy “more of a softer space.”
It was a tough summer for Brooklyn’s DIY scene. There was the sudden shutdown of Palisades, followed by the closure of DIY-gone-legit venue the Acheron; then we lost Secret Project Robot, and soon enough, we’ll be saying RIP Aviv. The troubling number of ousters makes the latest news all the more welcome: Trans-Pecos, last night, announced that a new “annex” is on the way.
Dream Crusher, NAH, Girlpusher, Tony Seltzer, Hounds
Wednesday September 21, 8 pm at Aviv: $10
It’s just about time to start gathering your crew for the last stretch at Aviv as we know it. The venue is closing at the end of October and fingers crossed they find a new space, but until then me and you and everyone else who does the Brooklyn DIY thing should get it in while we still can.
It’s only been about two years since Stuart Solomon, Zack Wheeler, and Olivia Russin first secured a barebones warehouse in Greenpoint’s small sliver of an industrial corridor and turned it into a DIY show space called Aviv, so it’s been something of a shock to hear that the venue will be closing its doors at the end of October. Add the fact that Brooklyn recently lost another one of its heaviest hitters, Palisades, and Aviv’s passing will almost certainly mean that, as far as indie/underground/punk shows are concerned, there’s going to be a period of relative quiet to follow.