Posted in NYC | music | venues on April 16, 2007

DOWNLOAD: Shannon Murray And Ryan Harvey - Bread and Roses (MP3)

Now that I finally got my own post up about Tonic's demise, I went out and looked at what other people were saying, and I found this amazing post by photographer Bob Arihood, who, unlike myself, was still inside when the cops got there:

Marc Ribot @ Tonic, NYC - April 14, 2007 (evening)
Tonic

Rebecca Moore
Tonic

Tonic

According to Mike Wolf at Time Out, "Bread and Roses" was "the last piece of music played at Tonic." According to Rebecca Moore, in the comments of that same Time Out post,

Just updating this story that Marc and I were indeed arrested that day, in our attempt to keep the music playing at Tonic, the performance space this music community had raised over $100,000 dollars in funds to try to keep open and attempt to keep the rent paid. Nothing can pay these insane rents in NYC, no art or community can survive under these circumstances. Brooklyn and Queens are not exempt and falling prey to the same circumstances. It is not a coincidence that the Blue Building Luxury Condo building is now finished, people are moving in to their million dollar residents there, and Tonic has had to shut down. I submitted myself to arrest for this reason, and hope word spreads and others are moved to stand up against real estate being the sole determining factor of what culture and art and music and people get to stay in NYC.
More arrest pictures here.

Previously
* Tonic's final day (Marc Ribot & Rebecca Moore arrested)

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Tags: Tonic

Comments (46)

That sucks. And on top of it, that blue condo is so retarded, its bad 80's architecture.

Posted by Etty | April 16, 2007 3:42 PM

Hats off to the owners.

What can really be done though? That's capitalism, right? And also the reason that parts of Brooklyn and Queens are flourishing.

Posted by Drugs Delaney | April 16, 2007 3:48 PM

just to be clear, Marc and Rebecca are not the owners.

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 3:51 PM

amazing photo of marc getting arrested.

as many great shows as i have seen at tonic, im honestly starting to not even care anymore about venues closing. it is sad and i feel terrible for the oweners but this is what nyc has become. it really hasnt had much of the true art scene since the 90s...everything with personality in manhattan is gone and you literally need to be rich to enjoy most of its ammenities. these club owners should just move to brooklyn and queens which now has the feel that the city used to.

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 4:03 PM

The Tonic protesters want "to ask for public and political intervention to protect new music/indie/avant/jazz in New York City"

They seriously hope to accomplish that? Why should an indie club have more of a right to exist than some other business? Furthermore, why should people devote their political efforts to this cause, rather than something that would benefit a greater proportion of the population?

Posted by Constant Dater | April 16, 2007 4:31 PM

Constant Dater, please stop it, you are making too much sense.

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 4:49 PM

Constant Dater, it's called the arts. It's called people's livelihoods.

It's called creative people that played music on a block you probably used to be afraid to walk on, but now live on thanks to those very creative people paving the way.

You are what's wrong with NYC.

Everything is not "business". Tonic was more than a "business", but you'll never understand that.

I hope you're happy when NYC is one big Starbucks Duane Reade McDonalds Dunkin Donuts Barnes N Noble Whole Foods "business".

You can talk about how cool it is that the Ramones once played in the building that you now call your $3000 a month home.

You can sip your lattes, attend your Live Nation-sponsored events, and when you're feeling really crazy, attend something edgy put on by NYU.

P.S. what political cause are YOU working for?

Posted by andy | April 16, 2007 5:06 PM

Who cares...the so called artsy parts of nyc are a joke anyway

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 5:35 PM

RETARDED!

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 5:40 PM

music venues are businesses. they may represent something culturally significant or worthy, but make no mistake, they exist to make money. real estate owners and investors are also businesses. they also want to make money. this is what makes the world go round.

what do you suggest be done about this?

force the owner of the property to not get (or try to get) more money for his investment if someone is willing to pay it? or force the owners of tonic or other venues to run their business smarter so they can make more money so they can pay more rent or to negotiate better lease agreements...such that they could stay where they are forever?

Tonic or any another venue (CBGB's...) that looses its' lease can surely open up somewhere else if they've planned appropriately. surely they knew the day of reckoning would come and they would have to consider such a move. i think that is the issue that one should attack - their lack of planning or just plain bad business sense. the owners of these establishments have let us down, not rising real estate prices.

one business or neighborhood changes or goes away, another replaces it...THAT IS WHAT NEW YORK IS ABOUT...and this is nothing new.

Posted by a | April 16, 2007 5:41 PM

constant dater's polical cause is searching for more cock.

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 5:43 PM

"the owners of these establishments have let us down, not rising real estate prices."

yeah, blame the owners of these places for not making enough money booking shows that have artistic merit. what a dumbass...

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 5:49 PM

"You can talk about how cool it is that the Ramones once played in the building that you now call your $3000 a month home."

GOD, I would love to have one of those luxury apts down in the bowery for 3 grand - that would be cheap compared to what I am paying to live down there. Andy - do you have any leads?

Posted by jimmy jamz | April 16, 2007 5:52 PM

It comes down to this...what do you value?
If you do not see the value of a thriving community of artists having an place to call home, then bring on the checkbook and snap up all the venues in sight and turn them into money making machines. If you can't afford to but them, then patronize them with a clear heart and mind.
If you see that atrists and musicians are a vital part of any community, then fight! Get political! Get involved!
To just sit there and say "That is the way it is" lame.

Posted by musicmattersman | April 16, 2007 6:09 PM

It comes down to this...what do you value?
If you do not see the value of a thriving community of artists having an place to call home, then bring on the checkbook and snap up all the venues in sight and turn them into money making machines. If you can't afford to but them, then patronize them with a clear heart and mind.
If you see that atrists and musicians are a vital part of any community, then fight! Get political! Get involved!
To just sit there and say "That is the way it is" lame.

Posted by musicmattersman | April 16, 2007 6:09 PM

It comes down to this...what do you value?
If you do not see the value of a thriving community of artists having an place to call home, then bring on the checkbook and snap up all the venues in sight and turn them into money making machines. If you can't afford to but them, then patronize them with a clear heart and mind.
If you see that atrists and musicians are a vital part of any community, then fight! Get political! Get involved!
To just sit there and say "That is the way it is" lame.

Posted by musicmattersman | April 16, 2007 6:09 PM

The Ramones never played at Tonic.

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 6:13 PM

"yeah, blame the owners of these places for not making enough money booking shows that have artistic merit."

Exactly. Why should taxpayers support a business that can't make money on it's own? In the cases when taxpayers do provide subsidies, it normally goes toward the greater good of the public. I loved Tonic, but it's patrons do not constitute the greater public by far. Keep the government out!

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 6:18 PM

go Marc and Rebecca!

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 6:33 PM

re: "...if you do not see the value of a thriving community of artists having an place to call home..."

i personally do see the merit, but that is not the issue here. i don't want these things to happen anymore than anyone else. but, these "save the community" comments presume that what we are discussing is public space. it is not, this is one business renting out space to another business. it just so happens that this involves the arts and facilitates a community.

what do you suggest to fix this? give me a solution that can prevent this from happening again and again (as it has done with Tonic, CB's, Filmore, etc...). this is difficult at best as these are all private business interests at play.

i know of one solution that won't work...these "getting angry at the man" comments and discussion. bemoaning the demise of a private enterprise and somehow blaming another private enterprise for that demise will not change a damn thing.

i've got a solution--the neighborhood (or city) could open community centers that foster the arts and allow for the community to flourish, for the greater good of all. but i bet they wouldn't be 1/4 as much fun as any of the various establishments that have gone under recently...

Posted by a | April 16, 2007 6:38 PM

There's a petition asking the city to give Tonic new space on
http://takeittothebridge.com/cgi-bin/petition_tonic.pl

Posted by joly | April 16, 2007 8:53 PM

andy: FYI I currently donate my time and money to supporting mental health research, NOW, the ACLU . . . Please feel free to stand corrected.

My point was that it's not the government's purview to intervene in making it affordable for Tonic (or whatever club) to stay in business. And if the protesters had their way, why is keeping a rock club afloat more worthy than a theater, or an art gallery, or hey what about all those old-school mom and pop businesses (yer pickle-makers or tortilla-makers or hat-makers or candlestick men, etc., etc.) get pushed out in favor of opening Douche Bar #432 or Daddy Buy Me a Boutique #785?

And who would honestly trust the government to decide the fate of any small business, artsy or not? Bloomberg's gonna be all about nurturing dingy little clubs, no matter how culturally significant? How would most of the rest of the city feel about the city's time that'd be diverted to this cause, instead of issues like affordable housing, improving public transportation, health care, pollution, crime, education. I mean I am a fan and a participant in the arts but even I know art doesn't jump the queue in the hierarchy of needs. Too practical, maybe, but a little practical keeps things going well enough to allow the creativity that makes living more worthwhile.

Posted by Constant Dater | April 16, 2007 8:56 PM

But then of course if ya want collective government run property, that's a whole other can of political worms, isn't it? ; )

Posted by Constant Dater | April 16, 2007 9:03 PM

some of you idiots are such douchebags its not even funny. the point isnt preserving somethign specific like tonic or even indie music venues in general. it is preserving mom and pop shops, stores, music venues, markets, bookstores, record stores, whatever. you know quite well that whatever opens there is goin to be some corporate bullshit and not another small time shop. you can respond with whatever bullshit you learned in your economics class at nyu but this isnt a matter of simple business like you make it out to be. its a matter of anythign with personality in nyc (which is what made nyc nyc)being forced out for big companies, high rise luxary apartments, and a generic feel that will make nyc eventually feel like the bullshit town you moved from before comin to new york.


nobody here is retarded...we understand that the propety value rises and landlords want to make the most money. the issue is that in doing that, its really taking away most of the charm that made the city so appealing in the first place.

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 9:15 PM

so anon 9:15pm, instead of criticizing, why don't you offer a suggestion? Let me guess: raise taxes so that the government can subsidize Tonic and other venues that cater to YOU.

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 9:29 PM

its sad that rents are too high and that the more interesting, indie businesses of nyc can't survive. its truly unfortunate. tonic made a valiant effort, but failed. i think the only thing that can be done (apart from our collective venting/mourning/bellyaching) is to create something new...

it makes me think of a youth program i used to work with. a big part of what we learned working with the kids is that its really hard (almost impossible) to stop violence (or anything else, drugs, drinking). what you can do is create new alternatives. so we use dance, theatre, music, etc to get the teens doing things other than violence.

i think the connection i am trying to make is that we can try and undo what happened, or bicker about injustice, etc.... but apart from getting out into the world and creating something new, its not as constructive as we have the potential to be.

if people like the art of the city is dying, we need to get out on the streets and make more art/music and/create forums for these expressions, which i think could look a lot of different ways. i don't know if it will do any good but i guess we won't know unless we try.

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 9:51 PM

its sad that rents are too high and that the more interesting, indie businesses of nyc can't survive. its truly unfortunate. tonic made a valiant effort, but failed. i think the only thing that can be done (apart from our collective venting/mourning/bellyaching) is to create something new...

it makes me think of a youth program i used to work with. a big part of what we learned working with the kids is that its really hard (almost impossible) to stop violence (or anything else, drugs, drinking). what you can do is create new alternatives. so we use dance, theatre, music, etc to get the teens doing things other than violence.

i think the connection i am trying to make is that we can try and undo what happened, or bicker about injustice, etc.... but apart from getting out into the world and creating something new, its not as constructive as we have the potential to be.

if people like the art of the city is dying, we need to get out on the streets and make more art/music and/create forums for these expressions, which i think could look a lot of different ways. i don't know if it will do any good but i guess we won't know unless we try.

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 9:51 PM

that was supposed to read "if people FEEL like the art of the city is dying..."

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 10:05 PM

>>>so anon 9:15pm, instead of criticizing, why don't you offer a suggestion? Let me guess: raise taxes so that the government can subsidize Tonic and other venues that cater to YOU.

hahaha you make it seem as if it is so one sided and that the city is just doing business. why do you think the city has suddently started changing so much in the past 10 years?? because the big time developers, companies and property owners have their hand in the city's pocket and the lobbyists from these development groups basically run the show. the city could easily do something without "subsidizing tonic with my taxes" as you so cleverly stated. the big corporations and developers just about run the city but im sure you already knew that. its not just tonic or cbgbs you fuckin fool, every day shops are being forced to shutdown due to overdevelopement, gentrification and you yuppie bloomberg-mentality idiots who think everything is as simple as dollars and cents, who has it and who doesnt.

but anyway, stick to your genius idea that its tonics fault for not running a sucessful enough business and that if they were booking dave matthews instead of your friends band they would still be in busineess. nyc should be really enjoyable in another 5 years when dickwads like you are running around manhattan.

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 10:05 PM

Your tax dollars subsidize a lot of things. They have subsidized things, like the construction of condos in this city, the Iraq war, and the oil companies. These "free market" people seem to have no problem with those kinds of subsidies and regurgitate this crap that obviously has not benefited the country over the last six years. It amazes me that these same people get upset over simple government subsidies to perserve the arts.

Experimental music has a place within the community and is necessary to push the boundaries music. Bands and musicians like David Bryne, David Bowie, Bjork, Cibo Matto, Sonic Youth and Deerhof come from or are influenced by experimental music. Any musician who is worth anything listens to other genres of music and experimental music.

This is a chance for citizens to decide whether or not they want to make it a priority for the city to preserve its artistic communities (not just music) or not. If it does not, some other city will. It would be a great loss to the city.

Remember that Canada and Sweden subsidized their music communities, and you are now listening to the results.

Posted by SG | April 16, 2007 10:41 PM

More on what we value:
Bottom line...we value money and people who have a lot of it. We are encouraged/forced to jump in the race, on exsisting terms, and get lots of it too. This way we can have a voice and we can compete in this free market.

G-d forbid a person of little means screams foul as they are rolled over by laws that protect big bucks. They are told to just shut up and get a real job.

Ironically, sometimes all the money in the world can't help your cause in the face of insane politics. Bruce Springsteen can buy out the town of Asbury Park if he wanted to save The Stone Pony AND the little people who have lived there for years and years and are being pushed out. However, they keep changing laws to the benefit of builders. Even if he owned the Stone Pony, he could not protect it from the wrecking ball.

So who loses out in this city and others:
The art community.....loose their venues/spaces

The Poor.......lose their homes to developers

The Just starting out.....If your mom or dad can't help you out with 12,000 for a few months deposit on a crappy rent share apartment, good luck!

So what should you do:
Vote for people who speak for you.
Run for local office.
Be in any position of political power if you are not in a position of financial power.

Posted by musicmattersman | April 17, 2007 6:45 AM

"so anon 9:15pm, instead of criticizing, why don't you offer a suggestion? Let me guess: raise taxes so that the government can subsidize Tonic and other venues that cater to YOU."

Hey genius, this spate of luxury development is a direct result of tax incentives. Your tax dollars are paying for it, as well as the new Brooklyn stadium.

Posted by emptypockets | April 17, 2007 7:25 AM

yes, why don't you all have a problem with tax inentives to big developers?
I'll always remember that the independent business died in NYC during the Bloomberg years. The condo era.
The loss of the indie venues are most upsetting to me- Tonic, Sine, CBs, North Six (which I think is the greatest loss).
These venues have been or will all be replaced with other venues, but no longer run independently and experimentally.

Posted by Anonymous | April 17, 2007 9:11 AM

But Hasnt it always been the case that when things become prohibitively expensive in one part, they tend to move to another. These venues should look for locations further North (Harlen, Washington Heights, the Bronx). They have not been affacted as much by these price increases in the rest of Manhattan. Artists can probably even afford to live in the Bronx if venues start moving there isnce Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan are too pricey now. The 6 train runs right through it and its easy to get to from Manhattan.

It is sadly how things work in most economies and has been happening throughout history.

Posted by Loop | April 17, 2007 9:24 AM

to constantdater and other haters:

in your eagerness to instruct others about what (you understand to be) the government's "purview" in the case of wanting a space equally conducive to the creative music tonic presented, you frankly demonstrate your own lack of understanding about what the protestors are asking for, and how culture works in nyc.

newsflash: for some for-profit businesses, tax abatements and other revenue enhancements are the rule in the city, not the exception. broadway theaters and the larger (read: more expensive) jazz clubs currently receive tax forgiveness up to a certain level. and this doesn't begin to approach the government support elite culture gets in the city -- how many museums and classical ensembles would have died a long time ago if they took a purely mercenary view of late capitalist culture like some of you? tax abatements and outright glad-handed government cash being proffered is pretty standard across many different industries. ask donald trump and bruce ratner.

there are some musicians and arts groups that have been working for DECADES in the city to try and bring about a center for experimental arts, including music, and have been stymied at every turn. once tonic closed, it quickly became the canary in the coalmine for many people who, while they don't volunteer for NOW, have devoted countless hours to ensure that innovative music mostly born in NYC doesn't disappear from the city of its birth entirely. a backroom holding 20 people in brooklyn isn't gonna cut it. and now issue project room on mighty gowanus will be forced to vacate soon. maybe NOW can take it over!

the reason so many of these musicians tour overseas is precisely because governments outside of the US are dedicated to ensuring a vibrant culture, even when it is not native to the country in question. even small spaces in these countries get enough money to sustain themselves and the musicians who come through.

i recommend that people who wonder why this protest is happening read the following article by british jazz journalist stuart nicholson, who lays out pretty well what those of us here mourning tonic and wishing for a brighter future here for experimental arts (and small arts groups generally) hope to accomplish:

http://www.sima.org.au/2006/10/23/how-big-business-can-kill-jazz-if-were-not-careful

educate yourselves. and, no matter how much you might volunteer for others, don't mistake uninformed, facile disdain for incisive critique.

see you all at city hall in a few hours!

solidarity forever, james keepnews

Posted by jameskeepnews | April 17, 2007 9:44 AM

First of all, I would like to point out that I am a native of NYC, not some transient hipster like yourselves that moved here because your friend told you it's "cool".

Clubs have been closing down even during the recession years. The Ritz, the Grand, Tramps, old Knitting Factory, and countless others. Clubs will open and clubs will close, it's the economic cycle. Interests will flourish and wane. And let's face it, experimental music will only happen in marginalized neighborhoods. Forget LES, think Jersey, Queens and Brooklyn.

"I'll always remember that the independent business died in NYC during the Bloomberg years."

Somewhat wrong, but since you just moved here from the midwest, I won't fault you. It was during the Giuliani era that national big box stores receieved the approval to build in NYC. Before that, everything was independent, even large stores like Macys, Gimbels, and Alexanders. I believe the Home Depot in Flushing was the first big store to be constructed. What happened afterwards? Giuliani made the city safe, and all of those to scared to come before (such as yourself) begin to come in droves. It was all the newbies that wanted the same ammenities back home demanded KMart and whatnot.

All the German Oompa bands and venues, wildly popular a century ago, are now gone. Should the government have protected them to?

I am against most types of government subsidies, including condo development, baseball stadiums, and especially the Atlantic Yards. Musuems serve the public good for a larger portion of the population. Tonic only served way less than 1% of the population.

Arts are happening everywhere, look beyond Tonic and the LES. I have no problem finding gigs with my band if my goal is to play out (making money is a bit harder).

Posted by native | April 17, 2007 10:31 AM

"Forget LES, think Jersey, Queens and Brooklyn." -- as noted, issue project room in brooklyn is closing, and we'll see about the other boroughs, including the presumed sixth in jersey city. once these go, i guess there's always lindenhurst and plattsburgh...

"I have no problem finding gigs with my band if my goal is to play out (making money is a bit harder)" -- res ipse fucking loquitur...

Posted by jameskeepnews | April 17, 2007 10:47 AM

oh, yeah, one more:

"All the German Oompa bands and venues, wildly popular a century ago, are now gone. Should the government have protected them(, too)?"

good point. let's eliminate the NEA, tax write-offs for charitable donations and government subsidies of anything with even a hint of cultural activity. we'll do it all in an omnibus bill we'll call the Oompa Law, recognizing that, if the socio-cultural norms of a century ago don't carry over into the next one, of what possible use could they be? let's get a leg up now and zero them out of the budget!

way to take the long view...

Posted by Anonymous | April 17, 2007 10:54 AM

listen, the owners of tonic were bad business owners with the right intentions and hearts of gold. they could have booked some more well-known stuff on the weekends to make their rent--many bars of equal size are able to clear 10K in a single night by catering to the LCD frat boys--and then the rest of the week provided the forum to the experimental jams that made them well known. they didn't compromise so now you're left with one less cool venue. that's so cool. not.

Posted by one who knows | April 17, 2007 1:04 PM

"Giuliani made the city safe, and all of those to scared to come before (such as yourself) begin to come in droves."

Native, please. If you believe that, then I have a bridge to sell you. I am not going to go into the Giuliani era, and the fact that Giuliani has taken credit for things that he really be responsible for. The crime rate in the city were dropping anyway. This myth is slowing evaporating, as his record is being scrutinized. And don't get me started on Bernard Kerik (the story that keeps on giving).

The fact of the matter is that all of the richest nations in the world have ecomomies that are managed. What are the richest countries in the world? They all subsidize their industries and arts communities. The one country, Columbia, is truly a free market society. It happens to be a place where you wouldn't exactly want to live.

This is not just about Tonic and the artistic community. I acknowledge that businesses come and go, but recently successful small businesses that are being put out of business due to their rents doubling. Some of the root causes is tax incentives, an interest kept artificially low and a depreciating dollar (foreigners buying NYC property on the cheap), which pushes property and rent prices through the roof.

Native and people like you need to pick up a newspaper and educate yourselves. The policies you believe in are elitest and benefit very few people, who have no sympathy for your uninformed self and would soon see you homeless.

Posted by SG | April 17, 2007 1:49 PM

native is not from the midwest so he must know what he is talking about. I'm not from here orignally, but I've lived in NYC for 13 years. Does that entitle me to have an opinion native? Or am I too much of a "hipster".

People have always been coming to New York in droves- it's no credit to Guiliani.

What's happening now to independent businesses is unprecedented. It's not normal or "cyclical". These are relatively successful businesses being squeezed out because their rent is being increased exponentially by landlords who are enticed by the profits that come when the city invites homogenous "development".

Posted by Anonymous | April 17, 2007 2:27 PM

Amazing! What courage...what vision. A true American freedom fighter. Our generation's Martin Luther King.

Posted by Eva Grubb | April 19, 2007 1:45 PM

I thought I was this generation's Martin Luther King. Getiing rid of Don Imus was just the beginning....

Posted by Al Sharpton | April 19, 2007 3:00 PM

I think that money was invented to be a way of exchanging things and be happy. I'm sad to see what it has become. Now it seems everything is designed for the majority, because it's the safest way to have long-term economic profit. Our system made us crazy. Advertising is trying to make us dance the same music, wear the same clothes, in order to create big uniform, predictable markets. There's no room for places like Tonic in our system.
On the other hand, and specially in America, people feel proud of this system and it's taking over the regulation of all human activities. It's scary.
Anyway I'd like to thank all the people that were able to keep this alive against all main streams. It's not going to be easy to bring it to life again. Courage!

Posted by MarC | April 21, 2007 1:34 PM

Careful what you type MarC, big brother is watching you.

Posted by Anonymous | April 21, 2007 2:30 PM

Big brother is not the devil, they are human beings like us. This isn't a war, this isn't a revolution against anybody. As an european, I feel that my ancestors have seen enough violence. We're peaceful people and we're telling them that it's good to leave some space to people that think different to enjoy their lives. This is the most effective way to fight frustration and powerlessness which I see as the seeds of hate.
Tonic was one of those spaces, hey big brother: help us bring it back.

Posted by MarC | April 22, 2007 1:38 PM

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