I guess this provides some brief ideas about the kind of environment we live in, if not a detailed outline of how collective living works. As well as some ideas about how the D.O.B. as well as other city departments will just kind of pull anything out of their collective asses to hassle the poor or just any hub of people deemed “undesirable”. Recall that I was specifically asked and specifically said there was a residence two comic strips back.
I don’t want to become one of those people who pronounces New York dead or over, despite my earlier desire today to escape to Berlin today and avoid a soul-eating current transmitted CIA engineered virus. But it can’t be denied that much of what does not suck about New York has taken a few punches in the face these past few days. I’m sure we’re all well aware by now that the D.O.H. moved in and closed down the Mars Bar very unceremoniously. It was sadly slated to close anyway, & they sped it along with a citation of…fruit flies. Not the bathrooms, astonishingly, but fruit flies. Mars was the sort of spot where you could fill a sketchbook while occupying a barstool between derelicts, down & out artists, and other social misfits. Very often the same person would fit more than one of those descriptors, and I include myself in that. Where the bartender’s evening duties could vascillate between warning the guy dancing on the bar that an Irish skinhead is setting his pants leg on fire, calling the paramedics for that unconscious heap in the stall with the busted lock, or control the jukebox from behind the bar because who the hell put in Roky Erickson’s “Night Of The Vampire” 8 times in a row anyway? They also had a constantly rotating art show throughout the bar at any given moment:
When I got back into painting, this razor blade wedding is one of the first things I painted. And Mars Bar was the first place I showed it.
And following hot on the heels of that, The Silent Barn another collective space of artists in Ridgewood, has been plagued by troubles, on the heels of a rather triumphant Ende Tymes Festival of notable experimental sound artists. Following a break in and theft of most of their sound gear, they were forced to temporarily close shop for some massive renovations. (Was it just a theft? Did someone also trash the place?) Eric has performed at Silent Barn in the past, and I was delighted to find copies of Too Negative in their zine & comic library. (I was especially delighted because I don’t recall putting them there myself.) It’s really a nice little loft space. They’ve got a Kickstarter going to help raise money to replace the equipment and make the necessary renovations, if anyone reading this would like to help out:
So yeah, we need places like these, places for the artists who live and struggle. The long dead ones housed in museums should by no means be forgotten, but New York City has always been a place of ever living and growing creativity, not just collections of what has gone before. I imagine both Mars Bar and Silent Barn, though different spaces in feel and aesthetic, challenge the comfort zones of the suburban yupster who moved here thinking it would be like their own version of “Sex & The City”, but they were places that added a unique character to this town. We’re not here to look for Mr. Big.(quite frankly I found Eric, or he found me or whatever. The point is, he’s a lot better than Mr. Big.) We’re here to survive, thrive, and create.