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Re: “Artists Who Survived 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 bay 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 probably wouldn't throw a hip hop show in a line dancing 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

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