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Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

I urge those who have posted things like "moron" and "greedy", especially those who have no direct link to the artist community in the east area. In your heart of hearts do you think it is kind or appropriate to be calling people names and passing hard judgments right now? People grieve differently and there is going to be a lot of anger but make sure your anger is justified in your relation to the tragedy and propels change for positive and not just being a judgemental outlast.

I also do not like a couple of things in this article, or rather I think they were poorly worded and not the point right now. I think adding the comment of race or sex in this is it too early, is provoking, and should be discussed in a more calmer platform once we have all had a chance to grieve and think straight.

To give some outside people perspective, there are many artists who live in these warehouse spaces because they can't afford to live alone or if they did it would be outside the city, disconnected, and probably in a shoe box appt. These are people that works together and share supplies and resources as the rent continues to increase in urban settings. The bay has always been expensive so that's why these places have been around for so long. Yes it also is an ideal for many outside of practicality but the fact that more legit safe spaces are beyond their reach financially still remains. The over all understanding of everyone is that in community we find a more meaningful life and often takes big risks to keep our community alive and strong. Those who are directly involved are not just loosing their individual friends but a large chunk of a community we regard to family. For some people REAL family.

I've been going to underground parties for a long time and I can think of many spaces I've been to that are unsafe. In our 20's full of blind fearlessness we don't really think about these things as hard as we should. A culture is based around these gatherings and remain an integral part of our scene. I can play out lots of horrible scenes in my head in hind sight of places I've been to. There was even one recently I refused to go to anymore because I didn't want to be there if things go bad but I'm also older now. Paying rent to keep these spaces open does play a factor in why the limits get pushed, which is negligent to safety, but it's understood from attendees that if it weren't for these spaces there would be no or very very few gatherings that we all basically live for. There's were some really young kids though who I feel for deeply as they may have been a lot more naive as far as the situation they were walking into and expect their families to want justice.

It is very difficult to find legit venues to host these events becaude A) Commercial venues are mainly not open to hosting the music and performances we do. For some or many depending on the act, it's weird, hard to understand maybe, and even sometimes disturbing to a lot of the general population. It's not very profitable because it's not simplified or polished down enough to be commercially marketable. it's in its rawest form. We make the sounds larger commercial artist rip off or borrow. Artist playing to artists. B) We like to go later. There's very few commercial venues that's go till 4am-6am. C) We can't afford to buy into a venue. Venues cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 from my experience. The way we are able to pay for the talent and the space is by having undergrounds, supplying our own space and systems. People also grow attachments to spaces so that helps perpetuate their existence.

There's always that small bar that understands and can make money off alcohol enough to be worth their time. While we can't go late in these bars we know we can book an international artist and that the show will still go on and not get busted and have had someone fly out for no reason. There's also a larger issue of the need to have an autonomous space. One where we can be free to express ourselvss openly without someone governing what we can and can't do or say and feeling exposed or out of place. Like you would throw a hip hop show in a line dance country bar.

Even with all those reasons and even some listed above in the article, it is our scenes' responsibility to hold ourselves accountable, to ourselves and our friends, and the danger we put all of us in. This particular venue was being very negligent in my opinion with the pallet stairs. It bothers me the owner did not say for even a moment "I'm so sorry. We should have fixed the stairs." or something like that taking some kind of responsibility. Or maybe he did and it didn't get into the article?

One thing is for sure. Everything will be different in our community from now on and I hope things will not be done the same way we've been doing it.

Please remember to be kind and respectful as people morn and cope.

Posted by untitled on 12/04/2016 at 11:40 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

Kelley. Skilled people like you do need to come together to help some venues and educate promoters, patrons, performers, etc., but the Ghost Ship was so below safety standards that only a padlock on the door was the safe solution.

Posted by LJ Schneider on 12/04/2016 at 11:36 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

SO MAKE them safe!!! I am an environmental, health and safety auditor and would be more than happy to come and see these sites and give folks the information they need to prevent tragic events like this from happening! email me if you want HELP!!!! kelley@sonic.net

Posted by Kelley Keogh on 12/04/2016 at 10:37 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

Really? Nobody should be punished? Depending on how you look at it, it's murder, and even if the law doesn't look at it that way, In my opinion at least somebody should sure as hell better be punished, unless these kids lives didn't mean anything, but I think do, and I don't want to see it happen again. I experience this writer as wanting to take off any responsibility that might cause him to feel grief or guilt. I'm sorry but if you ever went to this venue and saw how unsafe it was and didn't do or say anything, then yeah, you are responsible. You suggest that the underground music scene isn't to blame because marginalized people need a place to gather, so the answer is to stuff them in a building that's a fire hazard? Is that a good answer to that problem? Let's not try and find another way? Yes space is at a premium, so your blaming the city landlords for being greedy for these kids dying? In a away we are all responsible, being responsible is different than blame. Now, building and illegal second story with wooden slats leading up to it, that's irresponsible, just because it was built without a fire code examination doesn't mean that who ever put it up couldn't have thought to him or herself, maybe a sprinkler and a fire exit or two would be a good idea. It's sad to me that this persons response to this tragedy is wanting to not blame people who really are responsible and to worry that other venues might be effected by it. What about the victims and their families and friends. And one other thing, in order for a place to be "safe", external safety does counts, sure these people might have felt safe in that to a certain degree they felt loved and accepted, but they were not safe. If people are going to have a venue they need to make the safety of the people who come a priority otherwise all that love and acceptance is just an illusion. I understand you probably do care about these people,we all need to look at how this happened, and come up with a solution, so people aren't putting their lives in danger. And yes the people in the underground music scene need to be part of that. That's the best way I can think to honer their lives.

Posted by Sara B James on 12/04/2016 at 10:04 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

Angela Talbot, some people will miss the point of an article on purpose to support their confirmation bias. I am guessing you are one of those people. Communities gather in underground spaces because they are made to feel unsafe and are unsupported in above-board venues. Safety is a fluid concept, and does not always refer to physical danger. While I am mad as hell that people died here due to the profoundly dangerous conditions, the mere fact of the tragedy will not obviate the need for friendly, supportive, and non-traditional creative spaces. The expected crackdown on illegal venues will only force this community further underground. My hope is that the people in charge of creating these events will find a way to place more of a premium on the physical safety of attendees, and not replicate these conditions.

Posted by Teal Good Heise on 12/04/2016 at 9:02 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

I don't think my heart or gut will ever get used to the rush to blame, the judgment and the scapegoating that instantaneously follows tragedies like these. There will be lots of time to find the meaning and sort out the distribution of blame. It doesn't have to happen today or tomorrow.

I've never been to this spot. But I've been to probably 50 similar spots in cities all around the US and a few in Europe. They are often death-traps. But this the first time I've ever heard of one actually burning down.

Since around the turn of the millennium and for many reasons, spaces like these have kept a very particular part of the counter-culture alive. There will be endless mockers of statements like this one, but I believe it's true. Sure, there were aesthetic or perhaps even sort of entitled reasons why kids and young adults chose to live, work and party in spaces like this one but there are also profoundly legitimate economic ones. We all know the basic story - wealthier people have returned to cities long after the period of white flight. Cities are once again associated with status and prestige. As a result, what we used to admiringly call "Bohemia" has been displaced.

Much of the America that is not connected to this world mocks it; sees it as a choice to be poor, etc and does not value the commitment to art. Many don't care about the 23 yo white girl from a privileged background who chooses limited means and income in order to make electronic music and populate her Instagram feed. This is a bit of a weird historical anomaly - in the West, it is somewhat new that elites devalue the artistic/bohemian/creative class.

It would be great if American cities began following the model of some European ones and froze rents when gentrification moved too quickly and ensured arts funding and spaces for its production. If zoning had been relaxed, the operator of this space (however culpable he may be) might have been amenable to an electrical inspection without feeling the world he had created was threatened by working with the city.

Apparently 40 lives may have been saved.

Posted by Ming Krang on 12/04/2016 at 8:18 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

"Bhatt and Butler wanted to emphasize in their interviews with the Express that the local underground music scene isnt to blame. The counterculture scene gravitates toward these potentially unsafe and illegal venues because of the mercenary local housing-market and the premium on space."

I understand passion for one's craft. But nothing is owed and nothing is guaranteed as far a place to live, or a place to perform. SAFETY must be of primary importance. It is ultimately the responsibility of individuals to make a risk assessment for themselves and leave an unsafe place.

But in a community, it is imperative that people putting on these concerts, people who manage places where these concerts are held, people who rent these places, and the city that monitors public safety, insure that places are SAFE. People who take responsibility for others - by having a place, by renting a place, by promoting a place, and by those who regulate a place have to live up to their respopnsibilities and avoid blaming others. Or expect others to do what the responsible person or entity should do. It's time to think of ways to work with the larger community and the regulatory agencies to make sure this never happens again.

We all live in situations not totally of our doing or our control, but when lives are at risk, it makes common sense to work within those situations. It's abhorant to read in this article that people are saying these concerts will continue even in unsafe places. Very disappointing. Very irresponsible. It's not worth it to those who lost their lives, who lost loved ones, and caring people in the communnity to say life is so unimportant. Those in positions of responsibility need to asssure their community members and all the people around the world who are concerned and saddened that they will work, and work hard, that this never happens again.

My condolences to all affected by this tragedy. I pray people in places of authority learn from this tragedy. Be safe. Peace. Om.

Posted by Michel Jones on 12/04/2016 at 8:03 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

The young, the poor and the rebellious have been using unsafe spaces since A/E left the Garden. How many children will die this year in Christmas tree fires? If the city boarded up all of the unsafe spaces there would be an outcry from the street and the landlords.
Where possible the community needs to take things into their own hands to save themselves. Who in their right minds looked at that staircase and thought it was acceptable? I've done events. What a b**ch to do things right. This was not even close.

Posted by LJ Schneider on 12/04/2016 at 7:57 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

The transgender people and people-of-color comment seemed ridiculous, this fire was not about any of that. I have to say that it hurts to read of such a tragedy, I have a niece who is a singer songwriter in the Berkley, Oakland area and know how much having a venue means to young artists, but it's unfathomable to me that you can have a space like this that's touted as safe and inclusive emotionally yet be so dangerous physically. If this is Oakland's answer to safe spaces, then something needs to be done to fix what is clearly broken. My condolences go out to those affected by this tragedy, and may those we lost rest in peace...

Ken C, North Carolina

Posted by Ken C on 12/04/2016 at 7:57 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

" Sadly, some of the dozens of attendees who remain unaccounted for are transgender people and people-of-color. " weird. what does that have to do with anything? people are not accounted for because they are still trying to access and ID the bodies. Why are we bringing race or sexuality into this? They are human victims who lost life. Its all these labels that hurt society as a whole

Posted by Tina Techen on 12/04/2016 at 5:55 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

"Sadly, some of the dozens of attendees who remain unaccounted for are transgender people and people-of-color."

Does this infer that happily not all the victims were transgender or people of color? Who cares what their gender or color was! The tragic death of anyone is sad! All of us whoever we are have the same emotions and dreams as well as family and people who love us. What the hell was this line doing in the story? This is a tragedy not another chance to drive a wedge between humans!

Posted by Professor Reed in Lansing on 12/04/2016 at 5:19 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

RIP to the people who passed from this tragedy and I'm so sorry to friends victims and families.

What a horribly written article.

Posted by Jax707 on 12/04/2016 at 3:50 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

I agree with you Bruce. I am upset that so many young people had to die for no reason other than neglect of safety concerns. I grew up in the Bay Area, but haven't lived there since 1975,before most of you were born.

I now live outside the USA for personal reasons, but a think this was a tragedy and not the first to occur at at a large gathering of young people looking for meaning in their lives and just trying to enjoy themselves. People are dying all over the world in wars and other causes, but it hurts me to think that a tragedy like this could happen in my beautiful Northern California.

I hope that some people will learn from this event to be more careful about where they are going to spend their time, even if only for an evening. My empathy is for the people who lost friends and lovers in this tragedy. I just hope that lessons have been taken by those who might benefit from them.
Ethel

Posted by Ethel Weintraub on 12/04/2016 at 2:14 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

Soen: the only problem with your narrative is, from the photos I've seen, the victims of the fire are white (save one possible Hispanic), the party promoters are white, the residents who turned the warehouse into a death trap are white, while the fire chief is black and the property owner is Asian. But keep blaming 'white supremacy'.

Posted by Angela Talbot on 12/04/2016 at 1:31 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

So sad. My condolences to the friends, family, and acquaintances of the victims.
There is no excuse --none-- for not having a sprinkler system, accessible exits, and an up-to-code stairway. High rents, marginalized status, or persecution do not excuse the failure to foresee a catastrophic fire.
This is a wake-up call not only to those in the underground scene but to all landlords, owners, and promoters that their first priority should be the physical safety of those who use the premises.
All persons in a position of responsibility must ensure the physical safety of potential users of the space. Not to do so is not just against the law but also an abdication of moral responsibility.
Users of unsafe spaces should refuse to enter structures where the basic preventative safeguards are not in place. They should also complain, loudly, when they encounter an unsafe space and report these spaces to the fire department and relevant agencies in order to prevent another calamity like this.
Moreover, the city, county, and fire department must step up their enforcement of structures which do not comport with the building codes. These codes have been enacted, after many similar deaths, in order to prevent the exact loss which occurred here.
Again, my condolences.

Posted by George Kaplan on 12/04/2016 at 1:18 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

"Sadly, some of the dozens of attendees who remain unaccounted for are transgender people and people-of-color."

Sadly, some of the dozens of attendees who remain unaccounted for are not straight and not white.

Yeah, because this needs to be said? Screw this politicized and devicive article.

Posted by AJ Walkes on 12/04/2016 at 12:06 AM

Re: “Oakland Warehouse Fire: 'It Was A Tinderbox. I Don't Recollect Anybody Coming Out.'

Unlike you, Garry, who apparently entered into this world as a crusty adult who elected to have his sense of tact surgically removed

Posted by Andrew Cone on 12/04/2016 at 12:04 AM
Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 12/04/2016 at 12:02 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

Folks, I really am sorry for your loss and I'm angry as hell about it. They didn't even "get" to die for a cause or reason. Just stupidity and greed.
So far as I know, none of my friends were there... Time will tell.

This was irresponsible and has been going on for some time. I've been in Oakland for over 20 years. Somehow the "community" has no responsibility for this stuff. I listen to the gun battles from my home. Every time shit get's real it's always "the man's" fault. Not the half-assed delusional people pulling half thought out stuff... Cuz' most of the time it works... Except when it doesn't.

I know what safe means and it doesn't mean illusions and unicorns. It means doing something real. It means dealing with the world as it is not what we wish it were. If it sucks, work on fixing that. Yes, that IS freaking hard too. Withdrawing and blaming is easy.

Right now, there are people digging through that place, pulling what used to be alive, vibrant people out. Check my privilege? What those people are doing can't be unseen, can't be unlived. And you tell me to check my privilege?! Who in whatever deities name you believe in (or not) privileged anyone to inflict that on anyone, let alone strangers. As grand ma used to say, That's gonna leave a mark... And You can't crowd fund that away. You can't make art and make it all nice. You can't be smug about how uplifted you are for the underdog to make it ok.

I'm pissed for the 40. I'm pissed because folks were so afraid of losing the spot, they couldn't or wouldn't stand up to the guy running it and they allowed it and seem, at least in these articles, to be sainting him for it and blaming everyone else.

Check yours people. I'm tired of it. As the new guerrilla BART signs say, get your shit together.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 12/04/2016 at 12:00 AM

Re: “Artists at Last Night's Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

Right, I'm sure they are greedy, underground music shows in warehouses is where the money is at

Posted by Sean Miesen on 12/03/2016 at 11:28 PM

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