Sunday, May 13, 2007

Space Opera : the View from May

Here's a frame shot of our rapidly morphing surreal estate scene:

Space 1:
616 Cambridge St., Hard-nosed landlord is putting it on the market at 13Gs, but renting to us on an ad hoc basis @ $7 (both floors), with 2 months free, and 3 month notice. He also seems willing to rent the 2nd floor separately for 3 Gs. The dollar store is clearing out, and should be outta there by 1 June. A large housing development near Lechmere that was to galvanize the district seems stalled. Our view is that what he's asking is so hopeless given the market that we're likely to be there for a while, barring angry, torch-bearing mobs or regulatory equivalent.

2nd fl:
A test party we held on 27 April resulted in the cops responding to a noise complaint from the family adjacent to 2nd fl rear, who live above their fish store, the New Deal ("nude eel"). An acoustician I brought by says that the most cost-effective way to damp the sound is to fill in the 2 existing walls between the performance area and the back wall. When doors are closed, this would in effect create 2 rooms of 'dead air', which are considered most effective means of sound insulation. Rough estimate for materials for this is 2G, sheet rock & framing. Labor will be largely donated from gallery work pool.

Concept
Long term plausibility index of this space for our purposes is unknown, but sufficiently intriguing to check out. Being able to have even a modest schedule of events (without benefit of constabulary) would build public momentum towards opening space 2 in Sept/Nov range, not to mention the invaluable boost that having a clubhouse would be for the ever-parlous Zeitgeist morale.

Rent to be covered largely by tenants. Ben Vigoda's computor company is the prime commercial tenant, and we will share performance with him.

1st fl.
The dollar store should be vacant by 1 June. Our ability to do events there will depend on neighbor & civic response to 2nd floor doings. We're thinking of just letting the city know that this is a transitional space, and not throw the entire licensing & zoning book at us - they'll have plenty chance to do that at Space 2. If we dont try to do a lot of performances there it could be worth holding on to as a gallery-annex. The landlord may decide after awhile that the path of least resistance is to let us have it for what we can pay, the space not otherwise going anywhere. It is certainly not worth putting a lot of dough into without a lease, and would be fairly expensive to get up to code for occupancy, requiring sprinklers & fire-coded corridor wall for 2nd egress. In short, this could be a Groovy Underground Scene, transient by nature, but may have some longer term potential, as various issues play out.

Space 2:
The former Portuguese Social Club, just in from the corner at Prospect on Cambridge St, Inman Sq. Landlord, mellow cat, down with the concept of an Arts Center. Has already begun renovations, and has made verbal commitment to install full sprinkler and safety systems. Rent is $6k for 5K+ sf 1st fl plus basement, 4 months free buildout, 20 year lease.

The main space is 1st floor and fully handicapped access. Concept is to have 1200/1500 sf Zeitgeist type perf & exhibition space, cafe, recording studio, community fm/web radio, silkscreening studio, various retail. Varying commitments exist from these tenants to date.