Bushwick/Bed-Stuy venue The Gateway was forced to close on May 23 and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money to reopen, according to an email from the space’s owner Ned Shatzer. Keep Reading »
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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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!!!”
Tucked inside a densely industrial corner of East Williamsburg, there’s a not-so-easy to find new “cultural space” called 99 Scott. With a name like that, not even newbs, or those not yet acquainted with the neighborhood’s winding corridors and sharp triangular street-traps, should have a hard time finding the space. On a dead-end industrial street where garbage trucks and cement mixers outnumber humans, sits a newly renovated, sparkly building occupied by a swarm of new tenants–99 Scott included– who make up one of the most sophisticated and concrete examples of the push toward light-industry happening across Brooklyn.
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.
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.
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.
After just four and a half years on Grand Street, Williamburg venue the Grand Victory closed its doors last night, finishing things out with a hardcore matinee during the day and a nighttime show to say “Bon Voyage” to the space. The first show was headlined by local punks Subzero, after which several DJs and surprise guests played one last show that lasted into the first couple hours of Monday. That last show was closed out by Andy Animal and his band STALKERS, who were also playing their final show as a band.
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 all sounds pretty grand, especially as a follow-up to Glasslands, which closed just as 2015 began, and in the course of its existence traded in and out some classic DIY features: homemade art installations (those clouds, tho), labyrinthine lofting, and swinging saloon doors between your bathroom break and the impatient line waiting behind you.
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.
Before the Acheron opened on a quiet block in heavily-industrial East Williamsburg back in 2010, the building was little more than a “black box” housing a barebones ska venue, as owner Bill Dozer remembers it. Within two weeks of signing the lease and taking over the place, it was transformed into a punk and metal show space, a speakeasy-style DIY operation with cheap cans of beer, the occasional “plastic handle of liquor,” and a remarkable sound system with a bar next door. “We were able to get off the ground with basically nothing— just a bunch of sweat and, like, four people working there,” Dozer recalled.
Over the years, the Acheron has grown into the de facto homebase of Brooklyn punk, which has made something of a comeback itself as the venue expanded and went legit, welcoming in local acts and touring bands from across the country to play everything from straightedge punk to psych metal. But as of July 9, the East Williamsburg venue is putting all that to rest when they close their doors for good.