A love letter to alt. culture.
Coilhouse magazine is just that. The most beautiful love letter to a culture that has resisted the greedy maws of those that swallow any sub-culture and shit them out into the mainstream- all put together by those that love what they do and the circles they run in.
Last night, being August 21st, Coilhouse (in conjunction with their 4th anniversary and internatonal art auction which was full of amazing works of art amongst other things) organized one of the greatest love letters to alt. culture of all: The Black, white, and red all over ball.
Hidden in Crown Heights on Bergen St. the fantastic Gemini and Scorpio threw a fantastic celebration. There was music, acrobats, fire, vaudeville, art, writers, liquor, and complimentary tea. What else could you ask for?
At 5pm the doors opened to a red velvet flashback. Candles and Chinese lanterns lit the way to small tables, sofas, a stage, the bar and beautiful music composed by Kelvin Daly (on instruments he built himself, no less).
To say this was all intimate would be a vast understatement. The music was the perfect volume for table conversations. Speaking of conversations, the wonderful Coilhouse people and Miss Gemini/Miss Scorpio made the rounds and chatted with everyone. It was like walking into a welcoming, velveteen living room where all your friends were waiting. And then comes the belly dancer.
The performances begin, after lighthearted and uplifting introductions by SF Slim, with Coilhouse co-founder Meredith Yayanos (on the violin) and Brian Viglione (from the Dresden Dolls) on the drums and Thomas Negovan on guitar- they almost made me cry into my gin with their version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Seriously, add some violin to that song and this man becomes a kitten.
Not to be upstaged by, well, the stage- the first aerialist act begins. Really, aerialist? Yeah, that’s how they do. Sad you missed it yet? Emotive, beautiful, even haunting aerial dances on rope and silk set perfectly to music. One glance, this isn’t your normal party. No, this is a love letter to you. A thank you, a tip of the hat to all supporters.
Did you know it was bad luck to light your cigarette off a bar candle? IF you ever listened to Franz Nicolay (The Hold Steady) you might. Franz makes the accordion cool (cooler?). His quirky songs and humourous chatter perfectly compliment his east-village tinged songs. And to make it better, the accordion isn’t the only instrument he plays.
To raise a clamour in the crowd, to get those tea drinking feet tapping the fantastic Fishtank Ensemble comes to the stage. Upright bass. Yes. Fiddle and guitar. Yes. The saw? Bring it on.
Gypsy, flamenco, tango, jazz. This group does it all and does it better than anyone. The music was so “Get your ass up and dance” that even the bass jumped for the rafters (seriously) but couldn’t stick the landing. I hope those at the tables near the stage are okay.
Now, this venue, as amazing as it was, was really fucking hot. I mean, no matter how often or how hard you fanned yourself, you could water your own drink with your sweat. So, how do they make it hotter? how about fire dancers. Yeah, hot in more ways than one.
There is something deeply moving, ethereal, beautiful about fire dancers. It drew the crowd in and as friendly as everyone was in the beginning, we were finally beginning to become one.
Add to all of this a perfect Victor Victoria rendition and an amazing performance by the one and only Kim Boekbinder, the night couldn’t have gotten much better.
On a side note, I saw one of my favourite artists- Molly Crabapple- but wasn’t able to find the chance to meet her. Shame. Maybe next time.
After leaving the past and stepping back onto Bergen St. one felt loved. Truly loved. Coilhouse may be a love letter to alt. culture, but they also love you.
In a time where “underground” art magazines are streamline mainstream and the quirky alternative cultures are putting on shows at Madison Square Garden, Coilhouse shows you what you are missing in all of the glitz and glamour that used to be alt. culture. They open their arms to embrace you and lead you from the beaten path to a world of brilliant minds, open hearts, and the love of art and everything art is.
So, here’s to you Coilhouse. Happy fourth anniversary!