When I showed up at Silent Barn last Saturday, there were three guys standing in front of a huge yellow fan, staring at a black control box in the center of it.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“It’s a big ass fan,” one said as he pointed at a label on the control box that read in all caps BIG ASS FANS. “Someone just gave it to us.”
There are very few places where I’d think to just drop off a BIG ASS FAN, but after spending a good hour touring Silent Barn with their press chef* Katie McVeay, I’d now rank the place near the top of the list. Like right beneath a NASA training facility.
Silent Barn is a performance space, an artist collective and studio space, an interactive gallery plus it has a record shop, a bar, a recording studio, and people live there. In the last month, Silent Barn has hosted countless bands, a sound and light synthesizer building workshop and an adventurous dinner club.
Every free surface is covered with art of some kind – from the gorgeous photos of Bushwick heroes that line the upper stairwell to a penis piñata in an artist’s workspace. Out in the front courtyard, there was a makeshift table covered with cut mirrors created by artist Jane Dickson, each mirror was a proposed band name from an old Google group thread called What I’d Name My Band. A few included VWLS, Zip the Cat and NETWERK, and each will soon hang in the courtyard for you to enjoy.
There’s a lot going on at Silent Barn and they want to get the word out, so they decided to form a gang of local bikers (though they’ll also accept walkers) to put up flyers and take down old ones. “I really like the idea of taking down flyers,” said McVeay. “We’re really trying to up our community outreach and we don’t want to leave trash around.”
As a volunteer, you’d get some nice perks (like possibly free entry to show or a barn-acle**), but the real reward would be joining this crazy community and becoming a part of the Silent Barn world. You might just get to play with a BIG ASS FAN.
They’re holding a HUGE BLOCK PARTY Friday from 11AM to 7PM in partnership with Warper. It will include performers like dancer Storyboard P, bands like Little Howlin’ Woof, street art, and ten video screenings.
*That’s not a typo! At the old Silent Barn in Ridgewood, the performance space was in the kitchen and a whole Silent Barn lingo was created around that. Volunteers are “chefs,” discussions are “stews” and the Silent Barn guide is called “the cookbook.”
**Barn-acles are a type of currency to encourage fundraising. For every $10 you give, you get a barn-acle, which is worth $3 inside Silent Barn. They can be used at the bar or to buy small creations from resident artists and chefs.