Cat S 
Member since Dec 5, 2016


Stats

Favorite Places

  • None.
Find places »

Saved Events

  • Nada.
Find events »

Saved Stories

  • Nope.
Find stories »

Custom Lists

  • Zip.

Friends

  • No friends yet.
Become My Friend Find friends »

Recent Comments

Re: “Artists Who Survived Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

George: "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."

Black-and-white blame statements like this are so deaf to the reality of what it's like to try to attain "assembly space" occupancy, which most state fire codes require for spaces that host concerts. For starters, venues that seek assembly occupancy are required to install fire sprinklers, which cost tens of thousands of dollars. Try convincing you slumlord (in any state, in any housing market) to spring for that, just to keep the artist community they could care less about from closing its doors. Try raising that money yourself, from other minimum-wage workers like yourself, for a building you don't own. If you somehow managed to do that, try preventing your landlord from kicking you out for a commercial nightclub tenant who can pay higher rent now that the space has sprinklers.

If you manage to contact the fire department without being immediately shut down, good luck navigating their interpretation of the fire code, which (in any state) is incredibly nebulous, and up to the interpretation of your local fire marshal. Each venue, depending on square footage, layout, levels, etc. is required to construct different numbers of exits, at various ends of the building, at enormous cost. Again, try "standing up to your landlord" to "demand" those kinds of renovations, when your landlord doesn't even care if you have steady electricity.

George, you said, "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."

Wouldn't that be a luxury??! Ask anyone whose life has been changed whose life has been saved by the communities that thrive in spaces like these across the country: if they had the means to buy a building outright, get it up to code, and throw incredible shows without fear of repercussions from the neighbors or police, believe me, they'd jump at the chance. Try finding a corporate investor that wants to donate a million bucks to a bunch of broke, avant-garde young artists.

As long as there's a lack of funding for unconventional art and music (that prioritizes excellence in creativity over monetary gain) at the local, state, and national level;

As long as big private donors don't understand that these scrubby, vibrant spaces are as culturally valuable as the symphony and the ballet;

As long as cities see underground art and culture as -- at best -- a cute side-note to the for-profit businesses that generate their tax revenues, marginalized people of all kinds will continue to come together to operate spaces like The Ghost Ship in less-than-ideal conditions because they're THAT desperate to find solace from the sterile, soulless, money-driven, self-constricting mainstream, to have the freedom to truly express themselves freely. That's what the FUCK America is about.

They'll take these terrifying risks because their broader society including their cities and their landlords aren't hospitable to them, and have deemed them unworthy of their support.

And until that changes, these beautiful, creative people will continue to operate these spaces on the margins of the society that's rejected them.

Like dandelions in the sidewalk.

Posted by Cat S on 12/05/2016 at 7:40 PM

Re: “Artists Who Survived Oakland Warehouse Fire Discuss The Tragedy, Those Missing, Need for Safe Underground Spaces

George: "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."

Black-and-white blame statements like this are so deaf to the reality of what it's like to try to attain "assembly space" zoning, which most state fire codes require for spaces that host concerts. For starters, venues that seek assembly zoning are required to install fire sprinklers, which cost tens of thousands of dollars. Try convincing your slumlord (in any state, in any housing market) to spring for that, just to keep the artist community they could care less about from closing its doors. Try raising that money yourself, from other minimum-wage workers like yourself, for a building you don't own. If you somehow managed to do that, try preventing your landlord from kicking you out for a commercial nightclub tenant who can pay higher rent now that the space has sprinklers.

If you manage to contact the fire department without being immediately shut down, good luck navigating their interpretation of the fire code, which (in any state) is incredibly nebulous, and up to the interpretation of your local fire marshal. Each venue, depending on square footage, layout, levels, etc. is required to construct different numbers of exits, at various ends of the building, at enormous cost. Again, try "standing up to your landlord" to "demand" those kinds of renovations, when your landlord doesn't even care if you have steady electricity.

You said, "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."

Wouldn't that be a luxury??! Ask anyone whose life has been changed whose life has been saved by the communities that thrive in spaces like these across the country: if they had the means to buy a building outright, get it up to code, and throw incredible shows without fear of repercussions from the neighbors or police, believe me, they'd jump at the chance. Try finding a corporate investor that wants to donate a million bucks to a bunch of broke, avant-garde young artists.

As long as there's a lack of funding for unconventional art and music (that prioritizes excellence in creativity over monetary gain) at the local, state, and national level; As long as big private donors don't understand that these scrubby, vibrant spaces are as culturally valuable as the symphony and the ballet; As long as cities see underground art and culture as - at best - a cute side-note to the for-profit businesses that generate their tax revenues, marginalized people of all kinds will continue to come together to operate spaces like The Ghost Ship in less-than-ideal conditions because they're THAT desperate to find solace from the sterile, soulless, money-driven, self-constricting mainstream, to have the freedom to truly express themselves freely. That's what the FUCK America is about.

They'll take these terrifying risks because their broader society including their cities and their landlords aren't hospitable to them, and have deemed them unworthy of their support.

And until that changes, these beautiful, creative people will continue to operate these spaces on the margins of the society that's rejected them.

Like dandelions in the sidewalk.

Posted by Cat S on 12/05/2016 at 7:02 PM

Readers' Favorites

Most Popular Stories


© 2017 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation