As we told you last month, major media company Vice (whose average salary is allegedly $70,000 a year), will be displacing several beloved institutions in the South Williamsburg area in order to build out its own 75,000-square foot new office space. The first to close, on November 22nd, is DIY music venue Death By Audio.
Impose Magazine (full disclosure: I was once an editor there) has compiled stories from people who performed, attended shows, or worked at Death By Audio, one of two venues in the area that Vice is unceremoniously and silently pushing out. (The other venue to close, announced in late October, is Glasslands.) In a "living tribute," Impose has collected eulogies from dozens of voices who contributed to keeping the venue the inclusive and welcoming place that it was—without the sponsorship or approval of any major corporations to keep it afloat.
As so many point out in the tribute, it seems nearly impossible for DIY venues to maintain longevity in a city where affordable real estate is a practical impossibility. Josh Intrator, a DBA employee and member of punk band The Sleepies, thoughtfully noted, "By nature, DIY spaces are born with an expiration date."
The stories are touching, funny, and sad, and reveal how an arts community can be successfully fostered in a warehouse space near the waterfront. "I could never overstate how freeing this was, to have a spot like this, a group of friends like this, a community like this. I can't imagine it'll ever really be the same again," Travis Johnson of Grooms wrote in his contribution to the tribute. Accompanying the post are pictures taken over the years by Impose photographers, who diligently held ground in the space since it opened in 2007.
Interestingly, Ad Age reported yesterday that Vice had struck a deal with concert company Live Nation to launch a "digital music site" as early as next year, which is surprising given the fact that Vice already ostensibly has one in Noisey.
Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino told Ad Age that the future site will offer something different than Noisey:
"Original programs are the secret sauce that differentiate the offering," Mr. Rapino said, adding that Vice and Live Nation will stream "a bunch of tentpole events like festivals or certain [concert] shows."
Planned programming includes "Earthworks," which relates music with nature by bringing performers to places like Jamaica; "Hometown Heroes," featuring how-they-got-their-start stories by artists like A$AP Rocky; a music variety show pairing bands such as Arcade Fire with comedians like James Franco and Michael Cera; and another program that will film music videos as live events and involve Spike Jonze and MIA.
While all of that sounds perfectly thrilling, it's beginning to seem even more likely that Vice will use its gargantuan office space to build its own venue in place of the others they pushed out, which would be fucking stupid.