If Todd P. and Babycastles rent a space on 42nd Street just past 3rd Avenue and set up a video arcade and a free, all ages DIY venue, it’s going to be exactly like Monster Island and Market Hotel and Ms. Bea’s, just…in Manhattan. Right? I was pretty surprised on Friday night to find out that that assumption isn’t true. In fact, what Todd P. has done in his new pop up gallery is actually pretty brilliant. For the first time in a really long time, I heard conversations between kids there for the show where many of them actually lived in Manhattan. I was completely unawares that anyone under the age of 30 and not in their parents’ house actually lived in the borough anymore. Walking from Grand Central past the Rite Aid and tall, tall buildings is not the same as walking from the L past Rosemary’s and L.A. Burrito to Monster Island. And most of all, listening to music in an old store on 42nd Street does not feel that same as listening to music in a basement on Kent.
The fact that the idea of a DIY venue/art space has now grown so foreign to Mid Town, proves its own point at the Showpaper Gallery. Being inside, then, feels like you’re part of a group warming their hands over a comforting fire in the middle of the wilderness. Sometimes it might even feel like you’re roasting marshmallows and singing Kumbaya. What I’m trying to say is that Todd’s venture doesn’t come off as an ironic recognition that Mid Town is not cool and so he’s doing something cool in Mid Town, it comes off as a genuinely sincere gesture to make a truly remarkable space. Not an easy task to pull off.
This was Quiet Hooves’ night at the venue, a band that I recently saw and really liked at The Knitting Factory. I didn’t stay late enough to see them perform Prince, but I did manage to catch about a million other iterations of the band (there are several members, each with their own side project it seems). I really liked most of the music I saw, but unfortunately didn’t catch any band names. I particularly liked the fellow playing noise music with a Jewish cantorial tinge to it; he was also an exceptional oboist. Bubbly Mommy Gun, who also played with Quiet Hooves last time, did a short set, as well. Pictures are as follows, regretfully unlabeled. And I highly recommend you make the trek to the gallery to check it out.