Friday, July 7, 2017

The plan to document the last month of Webster Hall's existence


[Photo from June]

As previously reported, the recently sold Webster Hall is expected to close in early August ... so that new owners Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment along with AEG-backed The Bowery Presents can begin renovations at the landmarked music venue on 11th Street between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue.

Now, a group of filmmakers are hoping to make a documentary on the club's final month.

Here's their pitch via Kickstarter:

Since 1886 Webster Hall has stood as a gathering place ... cultivating a welcoming environment that included anyone from the mainstream, fringe, underground, or anywhere in between to congregate in the same place at the same time.

On August 9th, 2017 Webster will be closing its doors for renovations. In 2018 it will reopen under corporate management. The Producers of this short wish to make a feature-length film documenting the last month of Webster’s current incarnation in an attempt to preserve its vibe.

You can read more about the project and it goals as well as watch a short at Kickstarter.

The filmmakers have been working at Webster Hall as stage hands since early last year.

"When we discovered that one of the city's last original music venues would be shutting its doors for a corporate clean-up, we were shocked to learn how uninformed both the Webster Hall staff and its neighbors were about the transition," Sanford Jackson, one of the documentarians, said via an email. "After speaking intimately with the staff about the upcoming changeover, we felt it necessary to utilize our talents as filmmakers to document a piece that will genuinely capture what Webster Hall represents within the East Village community and the city's rich nightlife history entirely."

And what have they learned so far during filming?

"One of the more universal themes we've found when talking to staff at Webster Hall is its sheer diversity in both clientele and its staff. On a single night you might expect a children's story book play in the basement, a death metal band in the studio, and an LGBT club night in the ballroom. Thousands of people under the same roof at the same time for remarkably different reasons," said Jackson. "That said, the stories we've heard were really just snippets of a larger tale — a simple introduction to the menagerie of bacchanalia teeming in the memory banks of it's diverse neighborhood and it's employees. We're hoping to capture as much of that as possible with this doc."

19 comments:

blue glass said...

it is too bad they are jut doing the end
webster hall has a rich history
politics included
from union hall to music hall

Anonymous said...

They should think bigger as the previous poster said.

Anonymous said...

Better yet it was called "Casa Calica" in the 60s. A latin ballroom rented out for latin performances and weddings. In addition home to "Delahanty Institute " which prep appliants for NYPD entrance exams.

Anonymous said...

We just need to work fast to capture some of the last month of the venue. The historical scope of the project is not lost on us and is also a huge reason why we want to make this film.

Anonymous said...

@10:17am: It was "Casa Galicia" not "calicia".

And Delahanty Institute did more than just prepare people to take the police exam; they had multiple locations where you could learn touch-typing, shorthand, and other office skills.

As for Webster Hall itself, I've lived a block away for 40 years and have never been inside. It would be nice to see inside the space when it's NOT in the middle of some crazy-loud performance. Maybe during mid-day?

Anonymous said...

If you don't like what they're doing go make your own documentary. The nerve of some people.

Jeff said...

Does anyone know what the future will hold for it? I haven't heard anything, but i hope it won't be a gym complex.

Walter said...

If I remember correctly, it was a primarily Spanish wedding reception hall in the 70s. The name escapes me at the moment. Then after that it became "The Ritz" which had some legendary concerts. Here's a link to their Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Ritz-rock-club/103179766403918

EV Grieve said...

BSE CEO Brett Yormark says Webster Hall will remain a live music venue with AEG/Bowery Presents booking the concerts. I'm not sure if they plan to continue any kind of club nights like WH has now...

Anonymous said...

People looking for more details on what the new owner plans can look at their liquor license application on CB3's website. Note that the CB approval excluded "lawful combat sports"

Scuba Diva said...

At 10:17 AM, Anonymous said...

Better yet it was called "Casa Calica" [sic; it was called "Casa Galicia"] in the 60s. A latin ballroom rented out for latin performances and weddings. In addition home to "Delahanty Institute " which prep appliants for NYPD entrance exams.

I was there one time when it was the Ritz, for a Polyrock concert I don't remember at all. (Hey, it was 1981—that I remember because the album they were showcasing was Changing Hearts.)

There was at least one other "reception house" (tee-hee) called "Carmelita's Reception House" where the off-Broadway play Tony and Tina's Wedding was put on.

(I say "tee-hee" because in 1981 when my friend Karen and I were passing by, she remarked that "reception house" sounded like a euphemism.)

Anonymous said...

It was Casa Galicia, which was a Galician social club, not a Latin one. Casa Galicia still exisits today but in Astoria Queens. If I'm not mistaken, the owners are three Galician men who originally ran the club way back then.

Anonymous said...

Have AEG Live who bought Webster Hall for 35 MILLION DOLLARS pay for the 15K you need to make this documentary about a club that they own that is temporarily closing, jeez.

Anonymous said...

I was at the community board meeting. Here is what it stated:
No more club/late night parties.
No more Marlin Room.
Reducing capacity due to the addition of elevators.
Minimum closure of 18 to 24 months starting August 11th

Anonymous said...

Good riddance to this place.

Anonymous said...

What about the Studio?

Sofiya said...

What?! This is aweful. I met my Swiss husband at Webster Hall and ended up moving to Switzerland bc of this place! So sad it's closing 😱

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing The Studio is done, too, cuz why would they get rid of the 500 capacity Marlin Room and not the 300 capacity Studio? There's no money in either for them.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the proposal, I would call most if not all of the changes being made improvements, the rooms will remain as is, some bars/doors/stairs/circulation spaces will be reworked but otherwise the majority of the effort will be to make the venue code compliant and most of all SAFE (think egress in an emergency). ALSO, air conditioning that will actually be able to handle the size of the space and amount of people inside. I would be more worried about Bowery Presents bringing in the same sort of performers that made Webster what it is today.