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6 Things to Know About Making DIY Spaces Work

Detail view of suggestions made to the DCA Commissioner by members of the DIY community in late January (image via NAC)

Detail view of suggestions made to the DCA Commissioner by members of the DIY community in late January (image via NYC Artist Coalition)

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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Week in Shows: Teen Dreams Abound, Discover Digipoetics, and More

(Flyer by Alec Lambert)

(Flyer by Alec Lambert)

The Night Before: Retail, White Rope, Deli Girls
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.

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3 Ways to Lend a Small but Helping Hand to those Impacted by Oakland Fire

Fire that killed dozens of people trapped inside the Ghost Ship, a DIY art space in Oakland December 3 2016 (Photo: Julianna Brown, via Wikipedia Commons, Flickr)

Fire that killed dozens of people trapped inside the Ghost Ship, a DIY art space in Oakland December 3 2016 (Photo: Julianna Brown, via Wikipedia Commons, Flickr)

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.

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Secret Project Robot Will Return, Rewind Time to When ‘All Parties Used to Be Art Parties’

(Via Secret Project Robot Art Experiment/ Facebook)

(Via Secret Project Robot Art Experiment/ Facebook)

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!!!”

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Week in Shows: Fresh Newgaze, Disco Misnomers, and Phish Swims Up Livestream

(Flyer via Sunnyvale)

(Flyer via Sunnyvale)

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.

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Soap Library’s Outer-Space Tape Set to Launch into the New Year

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.”

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Trans-Pecos Is Settling a New Frontier With an ‘Annex’ Called Juarez

Trans-Pecos/Instagram

Trans-Pecos/Instagram

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.

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JEFF Bros. and Three Other Shows Not to Miss This Week

(Flyer via Aviv)

(Flyer via Aviv)

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.

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Don’t Plan Their ‘Funeral’ Just Yet, Aviv Promises ‘Amazing’ Last Stretch and Resurrection

(Image via Aviv/ Facebook)

(Image via Aviv/ Facebook)

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.

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Death By Audio’s Residents Dish on the DIY Venue’s Final Freaky Streak

"We've Come So Far" a new book of photos by Ebru Yildiz documenting the last days of Death By Audio is out now, available at Rough Trade

“We’ve Come So Far” a new book of photos by Ebru Yildiz documenting the last days of Death By Audio is out now, available at Rough Trade

To celebrate the arrival of Ebru Yildiz’s new book, a hefty collection of black-and-white photos from the final 70 or so days of Death By Audio, the photographer and nearly everyone from the bygone Williamsburg DIY venue’s inner circle descended on Rough Trade on Thursday night for a panel discussion. But really, it was more like a bunch of friends telling great stories from the venue that reigned for seven years, and was known for its wide array of amazing shows with lineups that weren’t so much about making money (uh, tickets were around $7 and a friend who played there several times told me that DBA was known for taking care of its touring bands).

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RIP Palisades, Long Live the Palisades Replacement

(Photo: Gustavo Ponce)

(Photo: Gustavo Ponce)

Last week, the possibility that New York City music fans feared the most became a reality: the space at 906 Broadway that since April 2014 had been known as Palisades– the DIY venue with a bar, shows almost every night of the week ranging from punk to noise and underground hip-hop, and Ariel Bitran, the co-owner/booker with a heart of gold and ears that were open to even the littlest of bands– had a “For Rent” sign placed in its window.

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KPISS Radio Wants to Dribble their ‘Golden Stream’ Right into Your Ears

Sheri Barclay, founder of KPISS radio inside the studio (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Sheri Barclay, founder of KPISS radio inside the studio (Photo: Nicole Disser)

You’d be a fool to think that KPISS radio is some ramshackle operation. Sure, they might be tucked away in the far-back confines of Punk Alley– an assortment of shipping containers right along the Bushwick/ Bed-Stuy border where you’ll find a record store, used book purveyors, and even a mini-shop dedicated to paraphernalia from local punk bands. One by one, they’ve opened up over the last couple of years, joining maybe a dozen more smalltime vendors that were already there every day doin’ their thing, and about a year ago KPISS joined them. There’s no doubt that the KPISS.FM digs– a rectangular box with a couch and some turntables, mics, and other broadcast equipment behind a sheet of plexiglass– are pretty humble. “The last tenant was this guy who basically pissed all over the studio,” explained the station’s founder, Sheri Barclay. “No one would rent it, but I would. I called it KPISS in his honor.”

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