Keepaway playing under the Glasslands tubes. Photo by Dylan Johnson
|Location||289 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249|
|Type||Concert Hall and Nightclub|
|Closed||January 1st, 2015|
Glasslands Gallery (or simply Glasslands) was a music venue, dance club and art space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn founded by Brooke Baxter and Rolyn Hu. Hu and Baxter owned and ran GlassLands from 2006-2012. In 2012 they did a turn key sale to Rami Haykal and Jake Rosenthal. Rosenthal and Haykal ran the space for two years until the occupation of Vice Media's office headquarters. As a concert venue, it was one of the longest-running of several experimental and DIY spaces in the vicinity of the Williamsburg waterfront, which included Death By Audio, Secret Project Robot, Monster Island and 285 Kent.
Glass House Gallery and the beginning of Glasslands (2004-2006)
In 2004, multi-media artists Leviticus and Brooke Baxter, associated with the Freestyle Family, founded Glass House Gallery at 38 South 1st St as an “experimental venue” for visual art, performance and music geared towards their friends in Williamsburg creative community. Naturally Glass House attracted musical acts from within Williamsburg's scene and sometimes beyond, including Grizzly Bear, Kyp Malone of TV On The Radio, Matt and Kim, Deerhunter, Adam Green, Kimya Dawson, and Julianna Barwick. Chairlift's Caroline Polachek recalls, “It was a graffiti-covered warehouse space without a stage, and people watched from a rickety loft balcony that I was sure was going to collapse while Japanther was playing.”
Visual artists that exhibited at Glass House Gallery included Erica Magrey, Brooke Borg and DNA (Aaron Almendral and Mariano Delgado). On Friday nights, the gallery held free “art jam hangouts” where all who attended were encouraged to collaborate. In May 2006, Baxter partnered with musician and artist Rolyn Hu to open The Glasslands Gallery at 289 Kent Ave, a larger partition of the same warehouse complex where Glass House was located. A monthly lecture series, concerts, rotating art installations, community fund-raising events, workshops and a free after-school program were all part of space's stated mission. The layout at the time included a “typewriter room”, a “painting room” and the “lounge/conversation room.” Practice rooms for bands were also incorporated.
Brooke Baxter and Rolyn Hu open The GlassLands Gallery (2007-2012)
Glasslands was double in size to Glass House and more hospitable for performances, with better sound and seating. Some of the earliest performances included Vampire Weekend, a secret show by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, as well as emerging acts like Pterodactyl, Bon Iver, MGMT and Dirty Projectors. DJ Jonathan Toubin would hold his New York Night Train parties and Soul Clap Dance-Offs at the venue. The Village Voice dubbed Glasslands the “Best Arts Venue Conjuring Avenue A in The 80s”.
In 2008 Rami Haykal and Jake Rosenthal of the upstart PopGun Presents started organizing shows regularly at Glasslands, which was gradually starting to place more emphasis on music programming. In late 2009, around when Baxter and Hu were opening the Manhattan Inn restaurant and lounge in Greenpoint, PopGun was made the in-house talent buying team at Glasslands.
2011 saw major renovations, including the movement of the stage, from the wall to the right of the entrance, to the far back corner, removing some of the prior rehearsal space to allow for a greater audience capacity. During these early years at Glasslands, the venue had a penchant for booking artists that promulgated an often noisy or psychedelic brand of alternative pop, a sound that would become one of Williamsburg's major cultural exports. These acts included Yeasayer, Toro Y Moi, Blood Orange, Chairlift, Tanlines, Twin Shadow, Das Racist, Bear In Heaven, Titus Andronicus, Phantogram, Caribou, Jay Reatard, Wild Nothing, Lemonade, Suckers, Keepaway, Phosphorescent, Passion Pit and Gang Gang Dance. In 2011, Lana Del Rey played a secret practice gig under the moniker Queen Of Coney Island.
Fully functioning venue and club (2012-2014)
In 2012, ownership of GlassLands was transferred to PopGun's Rosenthal and Haykal. In the years prior to the transfer, PopGun had increased the volume of shows, eventually reaching a point where Glasslands was booked with events virtually every single night save holidays. A green room for artists and coat check were installed as well.
Glasslands' continual improvements and augmentations allowed for it to book some national touring acts looking for an intimate space with some underground credibility. FKA Twigs, Disclosure, Wu Lyf, Angel Olsen, Charli XCX, Darkside, Grimes, Alt-J, Franz Ferdinand and Nils Frahm were some of these acts.
Vashti Windish's paper clouds installation, which had hung above the stage since 2008, was declared by the New York Fire Department to be a fire hazard. It was replaced with a large array of controllable LED tube clusters, designed by Noah Norman of Ancillary Magnet and built by the Glasslands management and their friends. The clouds were memorialized in the design for Glasslands' first T-shirts, made available at the venue and online shortly after the installation's removal.
In July 2013, Glasslands announced that they had upgraded to a Danley Labs Inc. sound system. Under PopGun's leadership, the venue took on more late-night parties with a DJ focus. These included select dates with DJ Jonathan Toubin as well as a monthly residency with the neo-disco and house collective Discovery. The themed Cat Face and Rebel Bingo nights found a home at Glasslands, as did the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival. The Adventure[s] team also put on a number of notable parties including the season Robyn-themed party, an emo Valentine's dance and a Twin Peaks-themed Halloween party. Major electronic acts and DJs including Jon Hopkins, Baauer, Mister Saturday Night, Omar S., and Sophie (PC Music) all made memorable stops. Bands that made repeated stops during this period include Unknown Mortal Orchestra, How To Dress Well, Crocodiles, Lower Dens, Dum Dum Girls, Le1f, The Range, DIIV, Trust, Shigeto, MØ, Hooray For Earth, Zambri, The Yellow Dogs, King Krule, Light Asylum, THEEsatisfaction, Cloud Nothings, Anamanaguchi, Kelela, Mon Khmer, Air Waves, Majical Cloudz, Peelander-Z, Slow Magic, Mykki Blanco and Chrome Sparks.
In the summer of 2014, rumors started circulating the press that Vice Media had its eye on Glasslands' warehouse complex for its new headquarters. Reportedly, the pulp mag-turned-conglomerate was receiving a large tax incentive from the State of New York to remain in New York City. As foretold by the shuttering of both Death By Audio and next-door neighbor 285 Kent, Glasslands announced on October 21 that New Year's Eve 2014 would be its last night of operation.
While neither Glasslands nor Vice publicly stated the exact reason for the venue's closure, the announcement resulted in an outcry against the media company, with many alleging that it was cannibalizing the alternative culture that allowed it to flourish. Others chalked it up to the inevitable onset of gentrification, pointing out that the landmark Domino Sugar Refinery across the street from Glasslands was being demolished to make way for luxury condo high-rises. Columns and features on the closing were published in The New York Times, Billboard, Paper Magazine, Gawker, Gothamist, The Fader and other outlets.
In its final weeks of operation, Glasslands harkened back to its art gallery roots, bringing in Collective Craft NYC to install works by visual artists Jillian Siegel, Courtney McKenna, Grant Guilliams, Ashley Blanton and more. Glasslands bartenders Luiza Kurzyna and Zachary Clausen also contributed new pieces, as did James Devito of Anamanaguchi and Kengo “Peelander Yellow” Hioki of Peelander-Z.
On December 15 of 2014, Glasslands announced its final event “Lastlands” for New Year's Eve, and when tickets went on sale two days later they sold out instantly. The show's line-up – DIIV, Sky Ferreira, Smith Westerns and Beverly - was not revealed until doors opened for the event. Recapping the night, Jen Carlson wrote, “RIP Glasslands. RIP Williamsburg. RIP Brooklyn. Etc.”
- Glasslands was the setting of a scene in the episode "I Saw You" of the HBO show Girls. Scenes were also filmed for Blue Bloods, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll starring Dennis Leary, and the movie Song One starring Anne Hathaway, as well as a number of music videos and other productions. Footage from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' secret performance at Glasslands was used to create the official live video for their song "Isis", released in 2007.
- Comedians that performed at Glasslands included Trevor Noah, Hannibal Buress, Sasheer Zamata, Jo Firestone and Dylan Marron.
- A number of the venue's night staff were also musicians and artists, notably Celeste Cruz, Kitty, Cameron Hull of Suckers, Matthew Scheiner of Oberhofer and Mon Khmer, Angus Tarnawsky of Apache Beat and Flowers of Evil, Joe Stickney of Bear In Heaven, plus members of True Womanhood, Bodyparts, Klaus, Infinity Shred, Call of the Wild, and Candide.
- Coscarelli, Joseph; Woolfe, Zachary; Kourlas, Gia (25 December 2014). "Raise a Glass to Glasslands: Times Writers Share Last Chance Music and Dance Picks". New York Times.
- Peck, Jamie (26 December 2014). "Brooklyn Concert Venue Glasslands Closes After 8 Years". Observer.
- Leckert, Oriana (19 May 2015). Brooklyn Spaces: 50 Hubs of Culture and Creativity. The Monacelli Press. ISBN 978-1580934282.
- Baxter, Brooke. "About/Mp3". Brookebaxter.com (via Wayback Machine). Archived from the original on February 7, 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
- "Grizzly Bear at Glass House Gallery". FreeWilliamsburg. 11 February 2005.
- "Kyp Malone, Stars Like Fleas - Todd P Event Today". BrooklynVegan. 28 August 2005.
- Friedlander, Emilie; McDermott, Patrick; Clarke, Sam (17 December 2014). "10 NYC DIY Venues That Closed This Year and Why We'll Miss Them". The Fader.
- Brooklyn Informed: Manhattan Inn & Glasslands Gallery. Vimeo. SHFT. 6 November 2010. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
- Kelefa, Sanneh (18 June 2007). "Preppie Afro-Pop and Other Odd Blends". New York Times.
- Dodero, Camille (10 May 2007). "Live: Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Glasslands". Village Voice.
- "Bon Iver February 23, 2008 Glasslands – Flac Download". NYCtaper. 28 February 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
- Lindgren, Hugo (8 November 2009). "Brooklyn Calling". New York Magazine.
- "Best Arts Venue Conjuring Avenue A In The '80s". Village Voice. 2008.
- Tedder, Michael (13 December 2011). "The Record: PopGun Presents". NBC New York.
- This Is Glasslands. YouTube. This Is Melo. 25 February 2015.
- Jesse Cohen (22 December 2014). "No Effects with Jesse Cohen: Glasslands Special (with Rami Haykal and Jake Rosenthal)". iTunes (Podcast).
- "Glasslands". QRO Magazine. 9 July 2009. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
- A history of Glasslands shows can be viewed at "Songkick.com".
- "Photos: Lana Del Rey in Brooklyn". Pitchfork. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- Caramanica, Jon (17 April 2014). "Clinging to Minimalism, in Shadows and Whispers". New York Times.
- Caramanica, Jon (25 October 2012). "Nostalgic Sounds Dating to the Early 21st Century". New York Times.
- Grimes performs "Symphonia IX (My Wait Is U)" at Glasslands Gallery, Brooklyn. Vimeo. BlearyEyedBrooklyn. 27 March 2012.
- "Wise Blood". New Yorker. 25 June 2015.
- "The Depreciation Guild reforming to play debut LP in full at Glasslands (which got a new sound system)". BrooklynVegan. 21 June 2013.
- Baysa, Heather; Ried, Skyler (2 November 2014). "A 'Twin Peaks' Halloween Party at Glasslands". Village Voice.
- Fishbein, Rebecca (2 July 2014). "Vice Taking Over More of Williamsburg for New Offices". Gothamist. Archived from the original on 29 February 2016.
- "Goodbye For Now..." Glaslands. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
- Sargent, Jordan (22 October 2014). "No One Wants to Say It, But Vice Is Displacing Brooklyn Institutions". Gawker. Archived from the original on 2014-11-08.
- Hawking, Tom (22 October 2014). "The Death of DIY Williamsburg Is Not Your Fault". Flavorpill.
- Gregor, Alison (19 December 2014). "Brooklyn: New Towers for Williamsburg". New York Times.
- Moynihan, Colin (23 February 2015). "Vice Media vs. Brooklyn Indie Music Clubs". New York Times.
- Brown, Harley (22 October 2014). "Vice Media the Driving Force Behind Underground Venue Closures". Billboard.
- Bassford, Clay (30 December 2014). "Why The Closing of Williamsburg's DIY Venues Doesn't Really Matter". Paper.
- Yakas, Ben (15 November 2014). "Commemorate The Death Of Williamsburg At Glasslands Funeral Dance Party". Gothamist. Archived from the original on 9 May 2015.
- Pearis, Bill (22 December 2014). "Glasslands adds art installations for its final run, throwing free holiday party tonight with Jonathan Toubin & more". BrooklynVegan.
- Carlson, Jen (1 January 2015). "Scenes From Last Night's Last Ever Glasslands Show". Gothamist. Archived from the original on 9 May 2015.
- Marnie and Desi Singing "Bet On Me" on HBO's "Girls" . Youtube. Joe Harrington. 27 April 2014.
- "Stereogum's Tumblr". Tumblr. 6 March 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- Cook-Wilson, Winston (31 July 2015). "'Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll' Recap: 'Lust for Life'". Inverse.
- Stewart, Sarah (21 January 2015). "'Song One' a love letter to NYC's live-music scene". New York Post.
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Isis (Live). Youtube. Polydor Ltd. 1 December 2009.
- "What's going on Wednesday? (Royksopp & Robyn, Brooklyn Comedy Fest, Midnight Masses, Kevin Gates & more)". BrooklynVegan. 20 August 2014. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
- "Open Mike Eagle & Hannibal Buress "Doug Stamper" (Live @ Glasslands Gallery ,Brooklyn,NY)". Youtube (Podcast). Warrententertainment. 15 October 2014.
- Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite @ Glasslands 4.1.13. Youtube. Dylan Marron. 15 March 2013.
- Reynolds, Megan (7 July 2014). "Bartender Chronicles: Meet Cameron from Glasslands". Brooklyn Magazine.
- Glasslands website
- "The Boys of Glasslands". The Manifesto. 18 March 2014.
- Caramanica, Jon (27 December 2014). "Another Demise in Williamsburg". The New York Times