Going Silent: The Last Party At Silent Barn

silentbarn_august31.jpg
Maks Suski

"This is totally normal," G. Lucas Crane says as he drags an amp and a box full of cassettes into his former kitchen. The experimental musician (and occasional tape manipulator for Woods) studies the giant plastic balls hanging from the ceiling, which change color as people talk, and pauses. "What's up with those orbs?" (They're by Peter Edwards.)

All of Silent Barn's sound equipment is long gone. What wasn't stolen in an ugly break-in following their mid-July shutdown by the Department of Buildings has been put into temporary storage. And the venue's one-time residents have spent the day giving away what hasn't been stored—which is a fair bit. Showpaper editor Joe Ahearn, wearing a policeman's cap, stops a girl as she walks away with a maybe-working amp. "We need to take a picture of you with that."

With about $3,000 needed to fulfill the ambitious $40,000 goal of its Kickstarter campaign, the residents of 915 Wyckoff have decided to split their Ridgewood home for a barn less silent, or at least one more zoned for use as a residence and performance space. Where? They're not quite sure yet.

"The Silent Barn has been a live-in space for its entire history," read a posted statement. "'Living in the stew' has been part of our mission as a venue, but it's also necessary financially—with rent dollars subsidizing the venue's costs, we were able to run Silent Barn with little regard for how much money we pull in through shows. ... Given the amount of support we've received through Kickstarter, we need to be certain that when we reopen Silent Barn, we will be able to keep our doors open for years to come. There is simply no way for The Silent Barn to continue at 915 Wyckoff."

Crane (who performs under the name Nonhorse) sets up his cassette decks and delay pedals on a keyboard stand among the orbs, sticks some incense between boxes, pulls a table over, and spreads out the cassette archives of the Party Lab, the microphone system that captured the venue's shows, as well as street fights, drunk babble, and lots more. The last tape pulled from the decks was a recording of police breaking up what would be the final show. A crowd of 50 or so mills about, eventually arranging themselves among the couches.

First talking into the nearest orb and watching it change color, Crane announces that his set will be a "deconsecration." When it is over, he says, the building will cease to be the Silent Barn, itself now a free-floating idea looking for a home somewhere in Manhattan's vast grid.

The delay pedals turn the archives into buzzsaw noise. The occasional echoed voice is audible within the muck. A chord structure fights its way out once in a while, before disintegrating back into a full-circle wash. A mutated brass band plays, and a recorded crowd cheers. Crane twists a knob. The claps twist into abstraction and decay very, very slowly. Then real people clap. He puts on a cassette of Black Sabbath. It's no longer Silent Barn, but it's still a party.

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61 comments
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chrrax
chrrax

Agreeing with LLoy.What Joe Ahearn has done by abandoning the original goal of the Kickstarter (that is, to re-build the Silent Barn) is turned this charity into his personal start-up for a new business. This trick psychologically manipulated the supporters of the charity into thinking they were rebuilding an establishment (think what you will, but the Silent Barn is not an "idea"). After raising close to $40,000, the mission of the charity was completely re-written without any consent from most of those who donated, myself included.I have no doubt that the money will go to the creation of a new venue. However, the new goal to make the Silent Barn a lawful venue will require it to be a sustainable business, not some off-the-charts art space. This means that in some way, a few individuals will profit.

bub
bub

well... they're doing it. and a ton of people are supporting them and believe in them..I'm bummed that Silent barn wont be at 915 Wyckoff anymore. It was a cool space. Not the best, but it was a nice alternative to many of the bigger show spaces in the city.  There's a lot of shitty clubs, bars and venues popping up all over the city all the time. That's a given. I'm willing to gamble a few bucks on these guys that they'll do something better. 

chrrax
chrrax

I'm sure they will, but that doesn't make it ethical. If I made a kickstarter to rebuild the market hotel, and then -after raising 40k, decided to use the money to open up the best ice cream shop in Brooklyn using the same name, that would be unethical no matter how cool the new space is.

Mills
Mills

I read this in a thread on another website. I'm cutting and pasting it here because it's important:

this campaign seems contemptuous of the community.They have been dishonest about why they were broken into, and dishonest about what really would be necessary to be legit, and dishonest about how much money they need & what's going to happen with the money.This is all happening because "they were robbed," but there's no police report to be found.The night before they were robbed, the building was raided and CONDEMNED by the fire department and they were physically removed form the building by cops. Where is that mentioned in their Kickstarter pitch?http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bis...

Turk
Turk

it is seriously fucked up to raise a ton of money to reopen a specific place, and then use that money to find a new house for yourself elsewhere ion the city

they should start a new kickstarter and cancel the original one

Sassymildred
Sassymildred

what? how would that be different? it's still rebuilding. it would be "seriously fucked up" if they weren't being up front about it. but it seems like they are....if they are rebuilding the silent barn, does it really matter where in the city it is? these people threw shows where they lived for years and now they cant because of fucked up shit. the original goal is still sound. It would be fucked up if they moved somewhere and didn't have shows. this seems like a fucked up complicated situation. lets see what happens... sounds like you a haterrr and didnt care anyway....

LLoy
LLoy

c'mon, you're kidding me!

It's a COMPLETELY different project if they move.

They can't just take the money they raised to reopen that space and use it for something else. That is fraudulent.

The community loves that venue, and the community doesn;t know enough about the beneficiaries of this Kickstarter campaign to simply blindly follow them into an unspecified new project. 

They should cancel the Kickstarter that was about saving a place called Silent Barn, on Wyckoff Avenue in Ridgewood, and launch a new Kikcstarter that's specifically about funding these individuals and their conceptual project.

Bob Bellerue
Bob Bellerue

it isn't fraudulent - they have been up front and honest about their decisions.  i have witnessed the internal arguments they have been having about how to honor the support they have been receiving from so many people.  ultimately the most important thing was to invest in a space that has long-term stability.  the community is supporting them because we each individually know them, we have been to their space, we have performed their, we have swept up the dirt at the end of the night.  they aren't hiding behind nicknames on comments boards griping about people who are working harder to make their world a better place. 

right now Silent Barn is a memory, an idea, and i for one am hoping they can get the funding, maintain the support from their community, keep the momentum and motivation going to do the miles of paperwork, to become legitimate and legally established, to find a better space that will last longer than this one.  it's been a good time but the old Silent Barn is dead.  LONG LIVE SILENT BARN!!!! 

jp
jp

Kathryn killed new york city :-(

helsabot
helsabot

Dang I didn't know that NYC DIY venues or Williamsburg were places that Tea Partiers frequented! Also, homeowner's insurance is way expensive, and 915 Wyckoff wasn't supposed to be a residential building anyway - getting insurance for it would have necessitated the residents moving out and then paying rent AND non-homeowner's insurance on an expensive piece of property. And the whole reason SB worked was that the residents' rent kept the operational cost near zero. Kathryn, do you think it was wrong for SB to open as an arts space because they couldn't obtain insurance? 

Kathryn
Kathryn

Yes, it completely works the system and manipulates it in their favor. I'm contemplating filing a complaint to city officials to ensure that individuals operating there are not also living there.

helsabot
helsabot

Ok, serious talk now. Kathryn, I don't really understand your vendetta against Silent Barn (though I guess I sort of understand your vendetta against hipsters). But what is trying to get them in trouble doing for you? I can tell you that what it would do for other people is destroy an incredibly valued and special place that provides space for arts and community-building. Silent Barn didn't and never will hurt anyone or really even affect those outside its community. Calling the cops on them for no reason other than disliking their operational methods is cruel and strange. 

square
square

I used to live at Silent Barn... no one living there makes any financial gain and everyone has "real jobs". You have to pay rent to live there and rarely, if ever, make any profit off the shows that doesn't go directly back into operating costs.I had a 9 to 5 in Manhattan when I lived there and went straight home every day after work to help run the venue.the only gain residents get out of the shows is community and the love of doing it. And as I said, I'd know, I lived there.

Kathryn
Kathryn

Oh my god, I just realized you actually get something for your donation. Wow, I feel like a fool now :( But when the Kickstarter fund initially started, I don't think you got anything. It was just donations. Kudos to those who stepped forward with the donation packages. Sorry everyone for this sprawling rant of nothingness. I might just donate a few hundred myself now...

Cory
Cory

From now on if anyone who was a part of this seized comment board meets someone named Kathryn in NY they will get a shiver down their spine. 

There is a new name for Trolling, and that name is "Kathryn".

Sdfhgg
Sdfhgg

Hm, do some research before making a sprawling rant of nothingness public

Guest
Guest

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform.  There are a few ways to get enough investment to establish a highly functioning, on-the-radar live-in art venue, which is what Silent Barn is now trying to do.  If one or two people bankroll the project, ownership can only happen by the people that have $100,000 to invest, which is nearly nobody in the USA ( though I'm sure Kathryn would have trouble reconciling that reality with her bizarre experience experience on Bedford Ave ), and it serves the interest and perspective only of a very rich class of people ( Kathryn would run the Silent Barn ).  If the city funds the project, the ownership becomes municipal - which is theoretically the public at large, but funneled through whatever corruption in political process.  Kickstarter is subversive technological alternative to financial power by the rich, or financial power by the political class : It allows about 600 - 700 people to decide to facilitalte, own, and direct a very large project that they would otherwise not in power to make happen.   Right now, like EBAY , most of the jurisdiction of ownership and direction lies outside of the law entirely, a private, unmoderated conversation amongst 600-700 people, and relies on a a tiny community of trust to really function without causing injury.  Which is what the Silent Barn is, and has become over several years - a stew of trust.   This closing party was fucking awesome.  Thank you Peter Edwards for the SPECTRE installation.

Kathryn
Kathryn

Spare me the poetic financial bull. While Kickstarter can be used to crowdfund many great projects (i.e. a musicians wants to record a new album and when they are able to, they send you the finish product based on how much you donated or a group wants to put on a festival and when they meet the goal, you receive a ticket to it, etc.), Silent Barn and people like Kevin Seconds who needs a new van are abusing it for their advantage because they screwed up financially or made some really poor business/security decisions. It's selfish and pitiful the Silent Barn is asking for the public's money all because they forgot to put some extra locks on their doors, install a security camera or what have you for additional safety and had the place trashed. That's not on your supporters, that's on YOU. They don't owe it to you to replace the personal possessions you lost so that you can continue operating. They only owe it to you to show up at the shows. I attended the benefit put on by Bomb the Music Industry! I had no problems with that and donating my money since I got a show out of it, but to just expect free money to get you out of a rock and a hard place is the definition of lazy. What you're doing is setting a precendent now for anyone out there to pull this same stunt. Next thing you know, my unemployed neighbor or the Wal-Mart that got broken into will be having Kickstarter funds to keep them afloat. Silent Barn should be embarrassed of itself.

Jess
Jess

wow. you sound like an extremely negative and hostile person. this was a very personal thing for many, many people... you sound like Reagan attacking the welfare state... perhaps you should harness yr energies toward elsewhere.

Guest
Guest

The Silent Barn is run and managed entirely by volunteers.  Not to be selfless, but because there isn't enough money to go around.  All the management has external work, and all of our cultural volunteer work at the space helps us be lucky enough to qualify for, find, and maintain paid work elsewhere.  Meanwhile, staff positions at Silent Barn events do help fund the lives of a large pool of neighborhood and community folk, and is often the only job available for a lot of people in this economy.  If you look at the municipal records for the 915 Wyckoff Avenue building, you'd notice that it actually already had a complaint filed at us against 4 SRO's at 915 Wyckoff.  You'd see that the building itself was shut down as a result for the construction of some walls - all preceding our involvement at the space, but vacating our activity at the premises therefater.  The place was burglarized and destroyed within 48 hours of the vacate notice, resulting in about $15,000 in theft, but we are not raising money to recover from theft.  

We are raising money towards continuing the Silent Barn as it is, a live-in art venue, in a way that it is not as vulnerable to political changes, real estate agendas, burglary.  This includes large investment architecture, renovation, safety, security, yes - insurance, and venue equipment, with the majority of the spending on renovation. The kind of investment this will takes is well beyond money raised by operations at the space, and also stretches beyond the kind of donations most individuals can make personally.

But the Silent Barn, to many of us, is what makes New York City a really great home.  So many of us feel the same way that it is actually, somewhat miraculously, possible to overcome a lot of huge obstacles as we rebuild this defining part of NYC art life.  It's awsome to even be able to try, when this whole thing and all its ideals could have simply been left forever in the dust of Wyckoff Ave.

Tim
Tim

And if you drop her contact info to silentbarn4kathrynscousin@gmail.com, I'll try to collect up money to get her admission for a year. We're 30% there already and that's just my contribution!

Tim
Tim

Yeah, I totally agree. It's her decision. If you could let me know as soon as possible, that's be great. There are only 16 more days to donate, and I might have to get clever to get the reward to her.

Kathryn
Kathryn

I'm going to let her know and if she feels comfortable, then you will hear back.That's really her decision to make, as I believe she donated selflessly without expecting anything in return and she's a rather modest person.

Pinko Commie
Pinko Commie

So glad there's only one of you!

No but really, isn't the whole deal with Kickstarter that you GET things for being a backer? Pretty sure 100% of the people who donated will be totally happy with "getting" a new venue that is anywhere near as amazing as SB was. The people who lived there put their entire lives into running that place and took only enough money to barely get by. But despite this "selfishness" on their part, the outpouring of support they received after their robbery seems to indicate a lack of anger over that... hmm...  Maybe it's because they succeeded in creating a real community around art and music and NOT around personal and financial gain, something that is almost impossible to find today.

But you know I guess we can just continue to live in a society where people think like you and no one supports each other - seems to be working out pretty well so far! (*Hides from impending natural disaster under debt and plastic bags*)

Kathryn
Kathryn

Fucking Hipster, there's a fine line between helping a potentially terminally ill person and family member and helping a group of people who don't want to work real jobs and have the public support their hip leisure endeavors and lifestyle. With my cousin, it's helping her live. With the Silent Barn, it's helping them be "cool."

Tim
Tim

 Seriously, though. Your cousin is an inspiration. I'm upping my pledge from $50 to match hers.

helsabot
helsabot

So...you're gonna go yell at her for supporting hipster bullshit? Clearly people feel deeply connected and indebted to SB even though you think it's stupid. 

Kathryn
Kathryn

She's a financially responsible adult and tells me she's going to be okay although she may find herself living paycheck to paycheck or a few grand in the red if her next test doesn't show signs of improvement but I appreciate your generosity. I and my family members are more than willing to help her out.

Pinko Commie
Pinko Commie

Oh man, I thought you were anti-socialism? Cause I'd totally vote for a bill that would allow us ALL to help support your cousin (I am totally serious). But I guess I'm just a dumb hipster who doesn't care about anything important. 

Tim
Tim

I'm glad to see that your cousin supports things she cares about even when dealing with something difficult on her own. Is there a way someone could donate to her?

Kathryn
Kathryn

Hipsters always support the shit that doesn't deserve to be supported. God save the trustfundarian hipster DIY venue but to hell with my 26 year old cousin battling breast cancer (fully insured, still working full time albeit with a smile each day with medical bills mounting up), who actually gave $150 of her own to this Kickstarter fund.

Kathryn
Kathryn

However, if the Silent Barn is offering a year or two's worth of free shows to all its supporters, that would be a different story.

Tim
Tim

Pledge $500 or more

Free admission to Silent Barn for a yearPledge $1,000 or more

Free entrance to Silent Barn for life.

It's a different story.

Also, I think it's telling that at the bottom of the slippery slope presented in your argument, your neighbor, someone physically close to you and with whom I hope you would share a sense of community, asks for help in a time of need on a platform supported by voluntary donations from people who are free to spend their money however they want. I mean, God forbid that should happen.

Gross Girl Problems
Gross Girl Problems

I think the moral of the story here is that kathryn is boning her korean grandpa. thoughts?

Kathryn
Kathryn

I'm so fucking sick of these hipsters and punks asking for money on Kickstarter simply because they decided to take up a line of work that doesn't pay or they failed to get proper insurance. Kickstarter has some good uses, but lately I've been seeing more musicians and venues asking for handouts after something financially burdening happens to them. What is this, hipster welfare? Get a fucking real job or use common sense and acquire an insurance plan. Or are you to fucking cool for that???

Jesse
Jesse

Weren't Jazz musicians considered the first 'hipsters'? Sounds like your grandfather / father were a part of the same 'underground starving artist' stereotype you preach against...

Lauren Jackçon
Lauren Jackçon

'asking for handouts' is the rude way of saying they're looking for the support of a community during their time of need, just as they supported members of that same community in their, respective times of need.

do you understand the concept of "it takes a village"?

i can't tell you how many times i - a 'fucking hipster' - would get into SB shows for free or worked a show to get paid when i had no cash. that's what happens, i guess, when you're paying off student loans and you "live off your parents' money."

Tim
Tim

 Yeah, screw them. How dare they get robbed, am i right?

Kathryn
Kathryn

Should have had homeowners insurance. It costs literally nothing and can insure you for tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's not my fault they're naive to think we live in a world where burglars don't exist.

Tim
Tim

 Ask your grandpappy about his insurance options and let us know. And since insurance is such an easy thing that naivete is the only thing preventing folks from getting it, would you mind recommending some insurance to the Silent Barn? Consider it your contribution to the DIY scene you support.

Kathryn
Kathryn

Why thank you. And if you're wiener roast is on the well hung side of things, I might take up your offer :)

Gross Girl Problems
Gross Girl Problems

 What, just to have a bunch of demons flying around willy-nilly? Oh big deal like they can really protect a space of this size. I will believe it when I see it !

Kathryn
Kathryn

He'd probably have insurance to cover the cost of the damages or items that were stolen, so no, I wouldn't. He'd probably be able to use the money from the insurance claim and buy better equipment actually.

Colin Powell ✔
Colin Powell ✔

i would like to see a picture of kathryn. if she is as hot as her temper i'll take her out for a wiener roast. 

Tim
Tim

If your grandpappy got mugged during his career as a musician, you'd probably be sad, yeah?

Pinko Commie
Pinko Commie

"Sorry hipsters, this isn't socialism." LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

jenn
jenn

Go back to Bedford Ave

Herb
Herb

You've obviously never been to a show there or ever supported the DIY scene. Go back to Bedford Ave.

Kathryn
Kathryn

Earth to Herb: The DIY scene would be nothing without support from those who attend such as myself. It's cool they put on the shows and all but it's up to the venue to uphold their ability to function and operate responsibly. Then again, a bunch of hipsters living off their parents dimes playing the whole starving artist role probably don't know the first thing about a saving account or insurance.

assorted
assorted

Kathryn, has anyone told you lately how bitter you sound?  And angry?  And just plain  unpleasent?

Anyway, to paraphrase the person that replied to your comment on Brooklyn Vegan, the arts have always been about patronage, and that includes art spaces.  Kickstarter is a wonderful new way to take advantage of this, where arts spaces can rely on donations from people like me and (apparently not) you and not just large donations from, say The Ford Foundation.  So people like (apaprently not) you and me can fund the art spaces we want to flourish with many small donations.

The fact that you take this progression from art spaces looking for patronage from the rich and corporate sponsors directly to regular people via the internet as 'hipster begging' is... unfortunate - as it gives the wrong impression of what Kickstarter is all about and how it is succesfully being used.  Sorry (for you) that you don't see it that way.

Kathryn
Kathryn

I've met some of them. Believe me, they do. My grandpappy was a jazz musician back in the day who used to play at holes in the wall and later my father played in a proto-punk band at DIY clubs. I told them about this story alongside the other Kickstarter-funded jokes and both of them just shook their heads because they said back then, artists earned their money on the stage and never played the pity card outside to keep their lives off the stage going. It seems to me that venues like this and poor artists are using the excuse that since they put on or played shows you may have attended, you now should support their ability to pay their cost of living or ability to buy new things earmarked under music finances. Sorry hipsters, this isn't socialism.

jp
jp

False, the DIY scene does not need you. It has plenty of paying customers with the smarts to know that the kids who live at these venues and organize these shows are not "hipsters living off their parents' dime."

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