The residents of legendary Queens DIY venue Silent Barn lugged their plastic palm trees, velvet paintings and tons of cassette tapes to a storage locker yesterday as they plan the fate of the venue.
Back in July the Barn residents got served an eviction notice for violating city ordinance and zoning laws. Two days later they returned to find their door ajar, a moving dolly on the sidewalk and $15,000’s worth of sound equipment missing. Only now have they come back to clear what remains of their home. A Kickstarter campaign has since raised a whopping $37,000 to help rebuild or relocate the Barn. “It’s weird global house madness,” says G Lucas Crane, the oldest SB resident and the tape-effects technician for the band Woods. “The support we’re getting is making the new Barn possible.”
Where that will be is yet to be determined. The gang at SB wants a place where living and performing is one and the same; anything less would sabotage the vibe it feels made SB a cultural flashpoint. “One’s house is still the most flexible space in our society,” says four-year resident Joe Ahern.
The burglars certainly found the front door flexible. According to the residents, security footage taken from a bridal shop across the street shows three large white men emptying out the Barn. On a Sunday afternoon in July they must have looked like moving company men, unassuming and maybe even a little inconvenienced for having to work on the Sabbath.
There won’t be any rest for those resilient SB residents until the Barn reopens, they hope, this fall. There’s the possibility of staying at their current location, but it seems unanimous after all their recent problems that things could never quite be the same. The city is after $15,000 in fines for things like building without a permit and residency in a commercial space, and Ahern and Crane are working toward a resolution with their landlord.
The steady support for SB makes its reincarnation almost certain, says Crane. “We talked a lot about it: Do we walk away or appeal to all these people?”