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Tonic’s final day (Marc Ribot & Rebecca Moore arrested)

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:

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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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