Who said punk is dead? The DIY scene is alive and well in Bushwick. Here are the Bushwick DIY venues where you can check out live music, comedy, theater and more this year.
Wet Spot, founded by Rebecca Friday with support from her partner and “sound daddy” Graham Banfield, is a DIY outdoor performance venue off of the DeKalb L in an apartment complex dubbed The Tea Factory.
Friday and Banfield’s 1,000-square-foot private deck behind their apartment serves as a salon for a variety of artistic performances, including music, readings, comedy, poetry, dance and theater.
Friday, who has been hosting events out of her various living spaces in Brooklyn for the last three years, moved into her current space during March of 2021 and began hosting events under the venue name “Wet Spot” in May.
“My partner and I got lucky,” said Friday. “We had an idea that we wanted to make a venue, and now we live in a place with a gigantic outdoor space.”
As a producer and filmmaker with a background in art history, Friday feels strongly about providing other artists with a gathering space that feels inclusive for all.
“Any excuse to put together a party, event or celebration is my favorite thing in the whole world,” she said. “I wanted to be able to meet weird, magical people and go, ‘I have a space for you.’”
With a safer space policy in place, Friday hopes all artists who perform at Wet Spot “feel that they’re safe to do the things that they’ve always dreamt of doing.”
Be sure to check the venue out before it closes for the season in November. “Everyone who comes here talks about how special it is,” said Friday. “They can’t believe it exists.”
Location: 175 Stockholm St.
10/16/2021: Tenderheart Bitches album listening party.
10/14/2021, 10/21, 10/28: Sacred Circle Theatre presents Living Tarot.
Putnam Palace is a DIY music space founded by local artists Michelle LoBianco, Cade Weidenhaft and Jason Wornoff in May 2021. LoBianco and Weidenhaft are “partners in life,” according to LoBianco, having met at an art show curated by LoBianco two years ago. Weidenhaft and Wornoff play together in the band Television Overdose. LoBianco is deeply involved with the music scene as a photographer for local bands and Reckless Magazine.
“Putnam Palace is a love story from Cade and I to the community,” said LoBianco. “I felt it was absolutely necessary to have a space for my friends to have shows safely.”
When COVID hit, LoBianco felt the absence of live shows ripple throughout the music scene. “I am extremely close with many of the bands I shoot,” she explained. “They are dear to my heart, and watching them not be able to perform really hit me hard.”
The trio’s motivation to open their home to local bands was fueled by the desire to create an outdoor communal space for everyone to enjoy amidst the life-changing circumstances of COVID.
“We did it to survive a pandemic and a lock down with music!” enthused LoBianco.
According to LoBianco, there are two upcoming shows in the works, with the bands “Gorgeous, Sharkswimmer, Safer and hopefully a few more!” said LoBianco. “I do all the booking, so we will have an announcement soon!”
Putnam Palace does more than host shows – the venue upholds the values of independent music and the DIY ethos by providing a supportive gathering place for all. “Our space is our home,” said LoBianco. “It’s our heart. I’m excited to share music, love and community.”
Location: RSVP to find out
Keep up with Putnam Palace and all upcoming shows on Instagram.
Velednistky and Weiser, who met while doing improv as New York University (NYU) sophomores, are both comedians with backgrounds in acting and stand-up, respectively. They kicked off Backyard Show in June of 2018, hosting it for a year through Bushwick institution Pine Box Rock Shop. The following summer, the pair “decided to move it to [their] backyard and make it a DIY vibe,” according to Velednitsky.
They’ve been living in their East Williamsburg apartment for four years, converting the “jungle” that is their backyard into an entertaining space for comedy of all kinds. “We were doing things outside before it was cool,” joked Velednitsky. “Nothing happened in 2020, since we were all in our feelings, but summer 2021 we decided to bring [Backyard Show] back!”
“It’s been really great as we curate that space for people and welcome them into our little home,” said Weiser. “We try to keep our show as energetic as possible. It’s nice to be outdoors, especially during the pandemic. The whole experience has been really special.”
With their array of comedic sensibilities, Velednitsky and Weiser enliven the night with a mix of characters and stand-up throughout the show. “There are lots of interactive bits,” said Velednitsky. “That’s what people enjoy about our show. We create something together with the audience.”
A crowd favorite includes “zany trivia” via PowerPoint slides where “there are no right answers,” according to Velednitsky. “When people shout out answers, we throw candy at them.”
Running their show from home has provided Velednitsky and Weiser with creative freedom that might have otherwise been more difficult to achieve in a traditional venue setup. “In our backyard, we’ve been able to have a show and then a party afterwards,” said Velednitsky. “We make the rules. It’s nice to be in charge and do our own thing. DIY gives you more control.”
Location: RSVP to find out
The next show will be 10/30/21.
Stay up to date via Instagram.
Featured image: Kate Hoos
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