Welcome to Damon Dash's DD172, New York's Last Line of Defense Against "Wack World"

under100office.jpg
The Under 100 office, not to be confused with this new DD172 thing. Photo by Rebecca Smeyne.
Under 100, the DIY showspace run out of rap mogul Dame Dash's basement, may have disappeared into a December maelstrom of unwanted publicity, never to be spoken of again. But DD172--the suspiciously similar sounding enterprise being run out of the exact same Tribeca loft--apparently lives on. "People come and go at all hours," writes the Observer. "A thick cloud of pot smoke makes you think you've wandered into a building on fire." Wait, what?

When we wrote about this venue back in December, we were swiftly notified that we'd scuttled the whole enterprise--"You just killed the last DIY venue in Manhattan," went the angry phone call from Under 100 promoter Ariel Panero. Supposedly, the whole thing was done, over, finished. But according to David Levine's "The Wannabe Warhol" Dash profile in this week's Observer, the 172 Duane Street spot never stopped moving. Mos Def and willowy Edie Sedgwick blondes wander the halls of what here is termed a "hippie art collective." Outside is Wack World:

    That's the name Mr. Dash, and most of the other people in here, use to describe everything outside these walls. "Everything is wack world out there," Mr. Dash said. "Every corporate infrastructure--it's like we're a bunch of circles trying to fit in square pegs, and it doesn't work. And that's what everyone here feels. Like, I don't fit in that world. Because the way it's built, only a certain amount of people will win, and everyone else will lose and get exploited."

    It's Mr. Dash's own reality, where he is the unchallenged philosopher king.

Indeed. Inside DD172's protective halls, Dash's famed financial troubles take on a new cast entirely. "Every business model created before the recession is defunct because it's based on a healthy economy," the mogul tells the Observer. "Now there's a new economy, all these business models are completely brand-new." How illegal, unlicensed venues are a sensible business model in the middle of downtown Manhattan, Dash doesn't say. What he does say: "If this is financial trouble, I like being broke."

So what is "this," exactly?

    DD172 is essentially an umbrella organization housing a number of different projects, among them Creative Control, Mr. Dash's online-content-production arm; America Knew, a forthcoming culture magazine; and VNGRD79, the Web-design arm. There's also a gallery on the first floor.

And in the basement, a showspace that seems conspicuously still active, though Levine doesn't make a big deal about it, beyond a passing mention to "the indie band Darlings" playing a show downstairs. That'd be the These Are Powers/Dan Friel/Darlings show that took place in early December, exactly a week before Under 100 called to tell us we'd gotten them shut down. Rumors we've heard since suggest that the space remains active as a venue. Maybe. But Under 100 is still dead of course--long live DD172!

The Wannabe Warhol [Observer]

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