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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A brand new “DIY done-right” venue, as booker Nelson Antonio Espinal calls it, has been operating (at half-capacity anyway) in the J train’s shadow these past few weeks, while most of us probably had no idea. The secretive new operation, aptly called The Gateway, is located just off the Gates Avenue stop on the Bed-Stuy side of Broadway. Late nights, it’s pretty quiet around here, save for a Crown Chicken knockoff, a newish vegan diner called Toad Style, and the twice-a-weekend shows at Bohemian Grove, just north on the Bushwick side of the border.
While DIY music venues are pretty much done for on the waterfront, a new independent comedy club– run by comics, for comics– has popped up amongst luxury housing and sprawling new developments in Williamsburg. The Experiment Comedy Gallery isn’t located inside a gritty warehouse, but this former furniture store is an equally barebones kind of deal (for now anyway), save for a monochromatic psychedelic window mural.
The space is much closer to the Silent Barn than it is to, say, Caroline’s– and that’s very much intentional– the founder Mo Fathelbab and his artistic director, Eliana Horeczko, are trying to keep ticket prices at a minimum. “If there’s one word to describe what we’re really all about, it’s accessibility,” Eliana explained. “We’re really focused on giving people the opportunity to perform– like, all people, not just a small group.”
Justin Rice was called the “first heartthrob of the mumblecore era” in Marc Spitz’s new book, Twee, and indeed the last time we enjoyed his work it was on screen, starring alongside Leo Fitzpatrick in Doomsdays. But before Rice played the fictional frontman of the Bumblebees in Mutual Appreciation (“the first time the new, young, Indie Brooklyn was captured on film”) he was the driving force behind Bishop Allen, an actual Brooklyn band that won acclaim with its three LPs and its many EPs, and scored a soundtrack hit with “Click, Click, Click, Click.”
It seems the dust has finally settled over at 285 Kent following a farewell weekend packed with frothy debauchery, nostalgia-tinged obituaries and, of course, jaded shoulder shrugs. Emerging from the haze is a consensus that the Man, in all its frightening manifestations — aka the police, stroller-pushing Williamsburg yuppies, the city’s ever increasing wealth gap, and what’s known as the Bottle Club Law — can’t kill the spirit of the underground, after-hours, and DIY that inspired 285 Kent.
So what’s next?