Cliche Magazine June/July 2018 - Page 116

ENTROPY/ENTHALPY 116 The Golden Years of DIY in Philly D o-it-yourself (DIY) garage rock may have started in New York City, but that’s surely not where it’s ending up. In recent years, the hiking prices of rent, the gentrification of artist hotspots, and the prevalence of labels have done all but physically push DIY artists out of the city. The question remains: where are they going? There isn’t one definitive answer; there are, and have always been, pockets of artist-friendly spaces across the country. But perhaps one shines a bit brighter than all of the others. To insinuate that Philadelphia’s music scene is bursting at the seams because of a decline elsewhere (read: New York) would certainly be an oversimplification. But to say that this is not what’s happening would also, in a way, be false. Through no fault of their own, New York seems to be succumbing into the natural order of things. Order becomes disorder, and vice versa. There’s a basic chemistry happening between these two cities—it’s entropy and enthalpy. Both are necessary for DIY culture to continue. As artist-run venues like The Silent Barn close their doors in Brooklyn, Philly staples—like First Unitarian Church and PhilaMOCA, among others—are holding their ground. Not only that, but there aren’t enough grouchy neighbors or finicky landlords in the world that could take down the city’s vibrant house show culture. Matty Klauser—owner of house venue the Tralfamadore, booking manager at Connie’s Ric Rac, co-founder of Paper Scissors Media, and general jack-of-all-DIY-trades—attributes this to a few factors: affordability, access to spaces, police activity, straight-up exhaustion. “I think New York has become too demanding while giving too little to the artists. I don’t think there’s any time to build a community,” they said. “I think that people are so exhausted that the community is hard to build. And then, when you do build a cool DIY space, what’s it gonna last? A year, tops?” Klauser grew up in Brooklyn not too long ago (“I’m thirty-one. I’m not young, I’m not that old,”) and remembers a much different environment. One where “there were weird DIY venues…there were underground places, there were places you could be seventeen and drink.” There was a certain unpredictability—a disorder. “There were weird things to still be found.” Like a Balkan dance club where they “didn’t check IDs and…sixty-two year old Russian women [walked] around serving vodka.” New York didn’t always play the role of the big, bad wolf of the emerging-arts world. For a while, “it was very wonderful. It was a beautiful time. There was just like this air of circus and fun and who gives a shit.” Now, things have changed—and rather unceremoniously at that. Klauser spoke extensively about licensing laws and the immense burden that inflated rent and gentrification have placed on New York’s once-thriving DIY scene. “What helped support the art scene was the crime, the lack of police presence, was the fact that it was expensive, but it wasn’t unlivable,” they explained, stopping themselves in the early steps of a good rant. “I think when New York started to bounce back really hard in its economics, and the money moved in, and the corporations moved in, and the rents went up, those little places that were doing this suddenly were under the eye of the policies and under the ^YHوH\[X[\˸'B[Y[XKH]H[Y]X\]ܙX[B[YK\[X[ \X\H][[\\YB[\\وHVKX\[\H\ܚXYH]\\%Xو[ZY[Y\\\[ۋ\H\Z[[ۛ^][ۈوXKH\X[ [\K\[\]\Y B[\\ܛY\^H[ݙYH]HYH][YX\˜YY\Y[[Y[H]Y]YHH8'] BۙY ]\ 8'HYX] Yܛو\X[]\X%\B'[\\Y[ZYH[[HH][x&\HZ\[\YK[Y^H]X[HXYY []ZB] 'H^HY] [XY[[ݙK8'ۙHقH[]X[H]YZ\H][[ۈ\HH\˜[][]Y\[[x'H[HX]H]H8'\\Bۋ]YX\[\Hۙ\˸'BY][[\ܝ[ۛX]X]H]\\\] \HY[Y\^H\YHYX\H8'Z[K[]\X™\8'H܈Z\Y[HY[Y8']\Y\ 8'B\[HZ^\][[HHZ\\[]YHYY[[ܙ[^\[H\ ^H]ZXHX[YH[Y[[][H]ܚ]\ZH[HXYKH\K[ۛYx&\XXˈYHYX\Y%ۘB^H[ݙY]و[\\Y[[[H\x%B[[XYܙH\ܛ \[H\H[YHZ^\X[ܚX\HYY[YX\]\H[YYY\HYB[]و\ۛY] X[ۘ[[Y[XKH[YH\HX[ۘ\[ۈ]\\&\\^H\[\\ ]X\Y\Hܙ\]Hܙ[X%\[]H[\]YHXB[VH܈\\[ܙ[^][ۋX[[\[ۜ\[B]Z\K[]8&\[HY[ۙH[\[]]\ZBHۈY\وHZXܛۙK][\\\ۙHوH[X\H][ۜو\H[O\ HYK^YX\[]\X\][\YHHYYXH\[K\\X]KܙXܙX[ [ BXHܘH\\\ܜYYXKHHY\B[[YHH]Xܙ]Y\Y[\\[B\X[8'[XYو^Z[8&[8&HH[\˘X[XY˘