285 Kent Is Gone, But At Least We Have This Video
Local filmmaker Alexandra Stergiou shot, what could quite possibly be, the last music video filmed at the late, great venue, 285 Kent (R.I.P). The song is “I’m Forgetting,” the latest single from Brooklyn band, Heaven’s Gate (they also happened to curate a mixtape for Greenpointers this week, further solidifying their cool factor). The video premiered on Impose on Wednesday.
Shot in super low-fi style, “I’m Forgetting” is reminiscent of watching a fucked up VHS tape with an Autistic child. This is an experience I have had personally, and I can tell you that there is a lot of rewinding and fast-forwarding involved, so much so that the tape itself wears down to point of fragility and ends up eating itself. I do not speak for all Autistic children here. Just one that I happened to meet when I was a teenager on a family trip to Ohio. He used to ruin VHS tapes all day, everyday. Totally relevant.
Anyway, the video features footage of the band performing at 285, intercut with family footage and a road trip, all in the hazy, grainy VHS look that fits the band’s shoegaze-y garage sound. Impose Mag also wisely pointed out that the video’s shaky, homemade quality “has a hint of the venue itself, constructed with that same heartfelt dedication to artistic possibility and somehow capturing the hard-to-reach excitement of homegrown live music.” It’s DIY in the best sense possible.
To get that retro look, Stergiou used a Dinosaur camera, which she said, “is literally older than me. I was so happy it still worked – it belonged to my Mom in the 80’s. I wanted to place the band in the not-so-distant past and make the audience feel like they were drifting in and out of some murky memory.”
The venue has itself been the object of nostalgia throughout its final days, although some (at Vice) argue persuasively that the closing was irrelevant and predictable, given the rising prices and larger venues in the neighborhood like Rough Trade and Music Hall of Wililamsburg, part of the Bowery Presents dynasty. Vice’s Gary Suarez actually put it quite nicely: “the loss of one D.I.Y. space is not the death knell of a sprawling movement that has survived decades of aggressive law enforcement, maddening city bureaucracy, and scene politics. As adaptable and perserverent as a cockroach, punk has no reason or incentive to lie down and die.” That’s pretty punk of him to say.
You know what else is punk? Craiglist, where 285 now lies in its quest to find a new owner, for the modest price of $8,000 per month. It’s being advertised as perfect for a pop-up store or office.
So if you’re missing the times you spent sitting on a ratty couch in a sweaty loft, getting bumped around by 18-year-olds in backpacks, you can dig up $96k and buy the entire building. Or you could just watch this video.