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DIY Venues Put On Badass Shows for Brooklyn’s Broke-Ass Audiences

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Across the country, performers are forgoing traditional routes to stage time, opting instead
to set up DIY shows. Even network shows like Crashing, Lady Dynamite, and Maron have
illustrated how unusual spaces like laundromats, living rooms, and art studios are converted
into spaces for artists to hone their craft.

Many artists turn to creating their own spaces in NYC, where it seems with the number of open mics one could create a hopeless epoch, eternally drifting through a sea of 3 minute routines or single song sets that could drive the strongest constitution insane. In order to grow, artists need spaces to really be able to dig their proverbial heels into their work.

Recently I decided to seek out these spaces in Brooklyn, and find out how they came to be. Here is what I found:

The Garage

This tasteful, low-key performance venue run by four professional musicians/roommates is opening up in Crown Heights. The row comes with a detached doublewide garage, which has since been converted into an artsy, comfortable studio/stage for performance art.

“We’ve had this idea for the last two years,” stated Ines, a co-founder and roommate, “It’s such a unique thing to have this garage with your apartment in Brooklyn, so we thought of having it as a safe space for artists to collaborate and work on their art. Whether it’s music, writing, comedy, or poetry or whatever.”

The show consists of a scheduled playlist of performances, with the second half available for whomever wants to perform. I myself did a five minute comedy set, and while it was an intimate setting, the audience couldn’t have been more receptive. The official opening will be in the first half of September.

Follow @thegarage.bk on Instagram for dates and times.


In what I would describe as the physical manifestation of the essence of punk, Rubulad is a
series of shows at different venues across Brooklyn. I spoke to Chris, a co-founder about how these venues came to be:

“Our shows got started 25 years ago by bands looking for a place to play. It was a difficult time to get venues, so we wanted to have our own shows. And we discovered that we could then do different themes that we couldn’t do at regular venues. We weren’t able to make it an interactive or immersive experience. We spent years finding our locations. There were many one offs, or short term. We aren’t picky about our spaces. So, if we can find it and afford it, we’ll use it.”

They went on to say,

“It’s been exciting and rewarding. You get to see artists of all varieties grow and evolve. Wetry to be a cauldron of different mediums when it comes to booking performers.”

Rubulad showcases can consist of a variety of acts and spectacles. 16 mm animated film showcases, musicians, comedy, dancers, etc can all be found at one of their showcases. Currently they have three venues, and occasionally will rent out larger spaces.

Follow @rub_ulad on Instagram for dates and times.

Your Neighbor’s Back Yard

A cross-country partnership has led to this venture of creating seasonal DIY charity events.
Dominique, co-founder:

“We first started putting on shows in LA in February of 2015, and in NYC in August 2018. Lauren and I put together an event in my backyard for Girl Up!. In June 2017, I moved from LA to NYC, and stated running YNBY shows. I started reaching out to friends with spaces, and to people that would possibly perform. It’s always so amazing to see how many people are willing to help once you just ask!”

Proceeds for their events go to range of charities including RAICES, Girls Impact the World Film Festival, Girls Leadership, and most recently International Girls Ensemble.Their showcases include comedians and musicians, and they host events all over the city. They also accept submissions for new performers to play to
new audiences, with inquires available on their website.

Follow @yn_backyard on Instagram for dates and times.

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Sonny Curtin

Sonny Curtin

Sonny Curtin is an absurdist, and not particularly tall. Their hair color changes frequently to avoid paternity suits.

Once Sonny watched a sea catch on fire. The reflections of the embers beamed off the Red Sea in the Saharan night, as they tried to remember a past long forgotten. They felt the heat from the flames as the wind swirled around them, thrusted up sand and seemed to reshape the dunes in front of their eyes. It was then that they knew. It was time to move on.