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.
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).
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.
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.”
Tuesday, August 2 at Chinatown Soup, 16 Orchard Street, Chinatown. Opening reception 6-9pm, show on view through August 9. More info here.
Gallery and art space Chinatown Soup will host this event that’s part art show, part pop-up shop showcasing the work of 10 local companies who make pins and patches. Don’t expect vintage band logos or anything of that sort, as this is a show of new, original work by artists. The first 50 who come to the opening will receive a free pin or patch from Strike Gently Co., and free PBR will be a-flowing. Get there feeling eager, and leave full of beer with a slew of cool new accessories for your denim vest, tote bag, or whatever you’d like.
Daniel Menche, Container, MV Carbon, Eartheater, Greg Fox, Ben Vida, Horse Lords, Profligate
Saturday, July 30, 5 pm at Pioneer Works: $20.
“A $20 show?” you’re probably saying doubtfully. “At Pioneer Verks no less?!” Well, yes, people– this superbly lined and fine-art surrounded setting might be an affair that’s just a tiny– ok, huge– step up from your usual scum-dwelling listening experience and therefore cooking up some wallet anxiety in you, but stay with me for a moment. For an Issue Project Room affair especially, we’re talking about a steal right here. Maybe more convincing for money flinging is the lineup, which is damn close to overflowing and replete with some of the best artists out there right now doing danceable, shapely noise-techno, including Profligate, and Eartheater.
It’s not just a Bowie song. Suffragette City, a new intersectional feminist zine, aims to marry the DIY spirit of zines with the production value of a full-fledged magazine. Spearheaded by editor-in-chief and graphic designer Gwynn Galitzer, Suffragette City smartly combines the best of two worlds, resulting in an independently-produced yearly publication that has entrancing visuals and spirited content, like essays on gender activism, interviews with witches, styled photo spreads, poetry, hand-drawn lettering, comics, and more.
As they gear up to release their second-ever issue, they’ve been throwing monthly fundraising shows that double as parties, and will launch a formal fundraising campaign soon. I sat down with Gwynn, fresh from organizing and styling the zine’s cover photoshoot featuring model Angel Rose, to find out what’s up and what’s next.
Zines are one of the few forms of print media that are relatively thriving at least on a local scale, thanks to shops like Molasses Books and Bluestockings, maker pop-up shops at places like Shwick and Catland, and events such as the Bushwick Art Book and Zine Fair and Brooklyn Zine Fest.
- Magazines, on the other hand, are far less prevalent than they once were. Written media and photos within print publications have mostly moved to the internet, which doesn’t allow as much for glossy photo spreads and sharply designed editorial layouts.
“It’s a super DIY zine, but the production level is really high. We do all the fundraising and everything so we can print this in such a high caliber. I love print, I love working on paper, I love collage. I love having a tactile thing. There’s something about having your work physically printed. It communicates to someone else that someone has invested the money to physically publish your work,” she says. “[And] the work deserves it. It’s all done through fundraising, it’s all volunteer-based, it’s all advertisement-free, and it’s clearly expensive to make. ”
Suffragette City‘s first issue, which was all about hair, came out in 2015. They printed 300 copies and had a kickoff event at Silent Barn, and now sell copies at Bluestockings. The second issue (the theme is Politics) is slated to run the week before Election Day in November. Naturally, there will be an appropriately-themed release party, also at Silent Barn.
The content and people in Suffragette City reflects Galitzer’s multifaceted community; she grew up in the city, studied Fine Arts at SVA, sings in a band, and has spent several years curating and producing art events throughout the city.
“I didn’t just grow up in the city, I went elementary school through college in a five-block radius in Chelsea. It’s a small town,” she says. “I have a lot of my childhood friends in this. [Design Director] Nicole Ruggiero and I [have been] best friends since we were 4 years old, as well as Harley Kinberg who is our illustrator. It’s the first time we’ve been working on a creative project together, it’s been really awesome.”
She got the idea for the zine from the monthly event she helps run with her boyfriend, a workshop-based reading and music series called Having A Whiskey Coke With You that’s now been running for five years.
“I noticed there was a lot of really powerful female-identifying readers, but the events were very male-heavy. Mostly because the reading scene is very male-dominated. I was talking to my boyfriend Jesse, saying that he should do a female-centric [event], and he was like, ‘I think you should do something.”
Since the reading series was already producing a monthly zine and she grew up doing “music and zines” all throughout high school, Galitzer figured this would be similar, made in the classic DIY Xeroxed style she was used to. She soon realized that the project was moving in a sleeker direction. “All the sudden it started snowballing, the quality of the work was going up and up and up. So I realized I needed to step this up more, I needed to make this high caliber.”
Galitzer works as a graphic designer and concentrated in printmaking at SVA, so she felt strongly that the quality of the publication needed to be up there with the pros. “We printed with one of the industry leaders in the city. Because I’m a graphic design nerd, I want everyone I know who does graphic design to look at it and go, yes, you did it right,” she says. “It was also investing in the people involved. I can’t have everyone put all this work in it and not make it the greatest thing I could possibly do. It felt necessary.”
Though many of the people featured in Suffragette City are people Galitzer knows personally, this does not make for any sort of lapse in legitimacy. Joanne Petit-Frere, who created the wigs and hair sculptures featured in one of several beautiful photo spreads shot by Alannah Farrell, has done work for celebrity clients. “Joanne gets hired a lot for these big deal photoshoots and performers, she’s done hairpieces for Beyoncé and all these crazy music videos, but she doesn’t get billing for it. I thought it was important to give her some spotlight,” says Galitzer.
The Hair issue also features journalist and nightlife figure Gerry Visco (Galitzer calls her one of her best friends), “gender capitalist” androgynous model Rain Dove, and “masculine-of-center and/or genderqueer” activist Lucy Parks. Notably, Suffragette City features a diverse spread of minds and bodies often absent from the pages of glossy productions. “I’m very adamant that we are really an intersectional thing,” she says. “You can’t say you’re a feminist and not be intersectional. [It’s] definitely not all cis, heterosexual, white women. That’s also not representative of the people I know.” And it’s not just local; they put out a submission call via Twitter for their next issue and got a many responses, including someone currently living in the Philippines.
Suffragette City has been doing fundraising events monthly, and their next one is this Saturday. They’re starting at Williamsburg’s Two Boots Pizza for a “mini zine fair,” where they’ll also have handmade buttons featuring “strong female lead characters from the ‘90s with pizza.” After that, everyone will head over to the Gutter Bar for a rock show of female-fronted bands, including Galitzer’s own band, No Ice. She’s been committed to involving as many women as she can for these events. “If the venue has women on staff, I request they work that night,” she tells me.
“It’s not like I have investors or I personally have money. I don’t have any experience with how it’s supposed to work at a magazine. It’s just me. It’s literally run out of my living room,” she says, telling me for their last photoshoot they moved all the furniture in her house and shot everything in the zine in 17 hours. She rented a room for a shoot this time, for her sanity.
Despite the immense work it takes to put out a publication like this, Galitzer shows no signs of stopping, and is considering starting a podcast and making miniature zines with Nicole Ruggiero in addition to the big yearly publication.
“I want more than anything for someone to give it to a 16-year-old girl and have her be like, ‘Yeah!’ And then for her to make a zine,” she says, grinning. “Also, I would like to get enough funding to pay everyone involved. I’d like to raise enough money so that everyone that put in hard work can get paid for it. And it’s going to happen. I have faith. If not for this one, then the next one.”
Brace yourself, it’s gonna be a hot one. With temperatures wavering in the ’90s this weekend, some people might not want to leave the sacred space of their air conditioning, despite how many of these very same people’s fashion choices reflect that they actually love the ’90s. But for those who want to be so occupied you forget about your melting and/or boiling flesh, here are four music and art festivals this weekend to spend your day and/or night at.
Surfbort, Promise Land, Casey Hopkins, Flasher
Tuesday July 11, 8 pm at Elvis Guesthouse: FREE
It appears that live rock/other non-laptop-fronted music bands have returned to Elvis Guesthouse, which is definitely something we can get behind. Coz let’s be real, as far as cool, newer venus go, it’s slim pickins’ in the East Village. Plus, other than being the hipper more underground bar to the owners’ other venture, Baby’s All Right, (literally– at the end of an unsuspecting staircase to conceivably nowhere, Elvis is subterranean), the place was designed by that dude who does the Boob Pots. Which, if they don’t ring familiar, a liable to sound like a holdout from the days when being “King of the Road” actually meant an embroidered jacket and livin’ coast-to-coast on PBs-and-just-sometime-Js. But throw some fried bananas and bacon on that bish and you’re actually not too far from what the designer guy was going for.
In less than two weeks, Rainbow Hugs and Kisses: a Doomsday Celebration, the final closing ceremony/bye-bye art show at Secret Project Robot, will open as a “greatest hits” celebration of the last five years at their current space, 389 Melrose Street in Bushwick. Rachel Nelson, who co-directs the long-running DIY art and music venue with her partner Erik Zajaceskowski are moving on to their fourth (to be determined) location since the couple started an underground party place in Williamsburg known as Mighty Robot way, way back in 1998.
It’s only been about a year and a half since the closure of Glasslands Gallery, the other DIY venue on the Williamsburg waterfront– the one that was the button-down oxford (second-hand, but you couldn’t tell) to Death By Audio’s torn-up band tee. It wasn’t so surprising– after 8 years of hosting indie rock, R&B, techno, you-name-it shows in their cavernous, blackened industrial confines, their neighborhood along Kent Avenue no longer felt like the “forgotten backwater” it did when they opened in 2006. Today the Glasslands team announced that it’s returning with a new venue in East Williamsburg, Elsewhere, set to open this fall– and it’s not just any old ramshackle DIY establishment, but a 24,000-square-foot affair in a former warehouse. It’ll be #blessed with $3 million worth of pure sparkle, including a sprawling roof, food and drink service, and an adjacent art space.
After a fitful start back in January 2013, the official zine for the roving “independent events collective” AdHoc went digital. In doing so, it joined countless more mini-publications that had chosen, either by design or by circumstance, to be available online only. But being relegated to an online existence wasn’t a great fit for the zine, especially considering that AdHoc already has a yin-yang sort of balance going on with a blog that feeds off the live music and in-person experiences they organize. “More and more I find myself experiencing life through a screen and it’s a terrible way to interact with the world,” AdHoc’s co-founder Ric Leichtung wrote to us in an email. “So much gets lost there.”