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

Tonic, NYC - April 14, 2007 (evening) *
Tonic
* photo by Jefferson

Tonic is now closed forever. The Lower East Side home of avant garde (and occasionaly some indie rock) was priced out of the neighborhood at exactly the same time a new towering inferno of condos went up right next door.

Tonic

Officially, the final shows at the venue were Friday night (April 13) - John Zorn & friends did two improv performances, and there was a late-night Bunker party. Unoficially, Tonic kept going for another 5-6 hours on Saturday until the cops shut them down, and musicians Marc Ribot and Rebecca Moore were arrested (don't worry - only for about 4 hours).

I arrived at Tonic Saturday morning around 11:30 - thirty minutes after the scheduled post-closing concert & protest began. A few people were holding protest signs outside, the doors were open for anyone to come in where there were about forty more people. Marc Ribot (pre-arrest) was on stage performing....

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

Continued below...

outside in the morning....

Rebecca Moore @ Tonic, NYC - April 14, 2007
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inside Marc Ribot and other musicians playing....

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The people on the stage were talking about what a shame it was that cultural centers like Tonic, CBGB, and Sin-e were being lost so more Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts could open in the neighborhood. Ironically, free Dunkin Donuts coffee and dounts were being serverd in the back of the room - right next to the workers who were hauling out sinks, refrigerators, and other stuff like that....

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For posterity....

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Behind the ticket counter....

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Waiting for the bathroom....

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In the bathroom....

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near the exit...

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Respect the neighbors....

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Or burn them down...

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Packing up...

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A piano...

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Protesting...

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I actually left around 1:00 to get to the Sea of People thing, but came back later. While I was gone I missed Ned rothenberg, jerome harris, jim pugliese, John King, Roy Nathanson, Marco carppelli, Mbira, Matthew shipp, Pamelia Kurstin, members of Elysian Fields, an orchestration by Butch Morris, and more. I heard the club also filled up by the time the police came around 4:00 and made everyone leave. It was at that time that Rebecca Moore and Marc Ribot were on stage and refused to get off, even after everyone else evacuated. The police took them out in cuffs. I got back about 40 minutes after it all went down. This is what it looked like then:

Tonic

You can't come in.

Norman Yamada, musician and activist, sent out this message to his email mailing list at 6:18:

Because the landlord refused to take possession of the building unless it was completely vacant, Marc Ribot and Rebecca Moore were arrested for criminal trespassing about 4:50 this afternoon.

The police were sympathetic to us; and chances are that they will be released with desk appearance tickets in a few hours -- meaning that they will have to show up in court in a few weeks, but otherwise are free.

Thanks to all of you who came down today to make our demonstration the lively and peaceful affair that it was; and please watch this
space: we have plans for a City Hall press conference discussing the closing of Tonic on Tuesday.

Tonic

Everyone who stayed after the police came hung out across the street at Sunita's bar. It was a sad and happy scene, as musicians of all ages drank the rest of the day and night away in perfect view of the now-chained and vacated venue they considered a home away from home.

Tonic

Tonic's owners Melissa and John, and their new baby boy, were allowed to finish emptying the venue out and took off for home probably around 6:00. I didn't stay much longer than them, but photographer Jefferson did (see photo at the very top of the post).

Many of the rescheduled Tonic gigs are taking place at Vision Festival. Stay tuned to Take it To the Bridge for more action, including this one:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: 646-250-9361 / 646-244-1886
bridge3@takeittothebridge.com

Avant Jazz / Indie / New Music Cultural Crisis
CITY HALL PRESS CONFERENCE

Responding to community outrage at the eviction of
Tonic - a center of New York City's new music cultural
life for the last 9 years - an ad hoc committee of
musicians, cultural activists, and supporters are
convening to call for public and political
intervention.

When: 12:00 pm, Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Where: City Hall Steps

Why: To ask for public and political intervention to
protect new music/indie/avant/jazz in New York City

Previously
* 'Cultural Emergency' - Protest @ Tonic Saturday
* A letter from Tonic
* Tonic (NYC music venue) is closing

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Tags: Marc Ribot, Tonic

Comments (14)

sadness.

Posted by sam | April 16, 2007 2:49 PM

i was there too. what a sad day. wish there were more people there, i expected a lot more. we'll see how they do with city council - www.takeittothebridge.com

Posted by Joe | April 16, 2007 3:13 PM

Trespassers of the world, unite and take over.

Posted by Hand it over, hand it over | April 16, 2007 3:35 PM

As upsetting as this is, and as much as I too hate what is hapening to downtown (and all of NYC for that matter), why would anyone in the arts community even WANT to stay in lower Manhattan anyway at this point? There are so many other neighborhoods around now that are cooler, more artistic, more creative and have much lower rents. Let's not forget that the whole reason downtown Manhattan sprouted the arts scene and community it has for so long was that no one ever wanted to live there in the first place. Now that people want to live there (expensively), it's over for the arts. Move Tonic somewhere else, somewhere cooler, cheaper, somewhere where people don't want to live in luxury condos.

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2007 5:19 PM

But the next cool place, the place where people don't want to live in luxury condos, at least, not yet, will be taken over eventually. New York is crowded and getting more crowded. Next stop: The Bronx?

Posted by Anonymous | April 17, 2007 12:14 AM

There is now even a real estate investment slogan "go where the artists are." I've heard it being said amongst more mainstream company. It's an irony because it is recognized that people will spend money to be near culture, and in so doing will replace that culture and the reason to be there in the first place is gone. The expensive bars and restaurants will become the attraction, but it will be no different from living in any other town. As suburbs become 'uncool' in the mainstream, will this be where the next artists and culture makers come from?

Posted by anonymous | April 17, 2007 10:12 AM

It is a part of something bigger and a lot more vicious I believe; not just a new trend in real estate market. True art is not commercially efficient. It is hard to produce and impossible to reproduce. It is unpredictable and has zero loyalty to a capital.
Business which tends to subdue, rule and own everything is unable to get ownership over the ART. But it has a potential to destroy it.
This is what happening now. Things which can't be owned are being destroyed.
Bronx you are saying? :) Jungles of Amazonia or Northern Pole are safer for the time being.

Posted by Max Micheliov | April 20, 2007 9:40 AM

Very beautiful pictures top on the page. This is very good post i like it thanks.

Posted by actual test | April 18, 2009 3:21 AM

I used to collect bathroom designs of different pubs and clubs too, that was fun! :)

Posted by Bathrooms | March 29, 2010 5:23 AM

All people deserve wealthy life and personal loans or just credit loan can make it much better. Just because freedom relies on money.

Posted by UrsulaAtkins | April 26, 2012 3:34 AM

Various people all over the world receive the home loans from different banks, just because that's simple and comfortable.

Posted by mortgage loans | April 26, 2012 3:35 AM

The Vision Festival was wild. I know some people that went there all the way from Pennsylvania.

Posted by Click Here | August 21, 2012 10:02 PM

There square measure numerous alternative neighborhoods around currently that square measure cooler, additional creative, additional artistic and have a lot of lower rents. Let's not forget that the complete reason downtown Manhattan up the humanities scene and community it's for therefore long was that nobody ever wished to measure there within the initial place.

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Fantastic!

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