|Location||289 Kent Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249|
|Type||Concert Hall and Nightclub|
|Closed||January 1, 2015|
Glasslands Gallery (or simply Glasslands) was a music venue, dance club and art space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Glasslands was founded by Brooke Baxter and Rolyn Hu in 2006, as a relocation of Baxter’s earlier art space in the same building, Glass House Gallery. Hu and Baxter held the lease on the Glasslands space until 2012, when they made a turn key sale to Rami Haykal and Jake Rosenthal of PopGun presents, who had been managing bookings since 2009, and day-to-day operations since 2010. PopGun owned the business and lease for two years, until the venue was displaced to be converted into Vice Media‘s office headquarters. As a concert venue, Glasslands was one of the longest-running of several 2000s independent creative venue spaces in the vicinity of the Williamsburg waterfront, which included 285 KENT, Death By Audio, Secret Project Robot, Monster Island Basement, B.P.M., Live With Animals Gallery, the Rock Star Bar, and many others.
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. The space featured a fluid and frequently changing layout as well as free expressionistic painting, and hosted performance art and music initially geared towards the founders’ friends in the Williamsburg creative community, but soon incorporating rental events featuring touring musical acts booked by local promoters, principally DIY promoter Todd P. As notoriety grew with increasingly higher-profile touring acts, Glass House began to attract attention within Williamsburg’s music scene, and the venue became sought for local bookings by bands, such as 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 (2006–2011)
Glasslands was double in size to Glass House and more hospitable for performances, with better sound and seating. The newly dedicated concert-hall venue operated “all ages” and without a liquor license for its first year, with events booked by Todd P, as well as by Akwetey of the band Dragons of Zynth. Todd P parted ways with Glasslands after a decision was made that the venue would become "21+" for entry, following issuance of its liquor license . 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 late 2009 Baxter and Hu opened a piano bar and restaurant called The Manhattan Inn in Greenpoint. At this time, Rami Haykal and Jake Rosenthal of PopGun Presents were made the in-house talent buying team at Glasslands.
2011 saw major renovations, including the movement of the stage to the far back corner, along with the removal of rehearsal spaces 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 (2011–2014)
In the years prior to the transfer of ownership, PopGun increased the frequency of booked shows, eventually reaching a point that Glasslands was booked with events virtually every night, save holidays. In late 2010, DIY concert promoter Todd P acquired the commercial unit directly next door to Glasslands and began booking all ages events there as 285 KENT. The neighboring venues competed directly for bookings, with 285 KENT offering nearly double Glasslands’ standing capacity, as well as challenging Glasslands’ 21+ entry policy. This competition inspired PogpGun to seek advantage and upgrade Glasslands’ sound and facilities. A green room for artists and coat check were installed as well. In 2012, ownership of Glasslands was transferred to PopGun’s Rosenthal and Haykal.
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, The Clean 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.
After the sudden closure of neighboring venue 285 KENT in early 2014, as well as the announcement that Glasslands’ building neighbor Death By Audio would also be closing, rumors circulated in the press that Vice Media had its eye on the whole of the warehouse complex that contained Glasslands for its new headquarters. Press accounts reported that the print magazine turned-conglomerate received a large tax incentive from the State of New York to remain in New York City. 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. Annalise Yuri Murphy, a projection artist, created a mapped visual installation projecting all the Glasslands Posters from opening to close. 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, 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 (December 25, 2014). "Raise a Glass to Glasslands: Times Writers Share Last Chance Music and Dance Picks". New York Times.
- Peck, Jamie (December 26, 2014). "Brooklyn Concert Venue Glasslands Closes After 8 Years". Observer.
- Leckert, Oriana (May 19, 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 October 25, 2015.
- "Grizzly Bear at Glass House Gallery". FreeWilliamsburg. February 11, 2005.
- "Kyp Malone, Stars Like Fleas – Todd P Event Today". BrooklynVegan. August 28, 2005.
- Friedlander, Emilie; McDermott, Patrick; Clarke, Sam (December 17, 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. November 6, 2010. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
- Kelefa, Sanneh (June 18, 2007). "Preppie Afro-Pop and Other Odd Blends". New York Times.
- Dodero, Camille (May 10, 2007). "Live: Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Glasslands". Village Voice.
- "Bon Iver February 23, 2008 Glasslands – Flac Download". NYCtaper. February 28, 2008. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
- Lindgren, Hugo (November 8, 2009). "Brooklyn Calling". New York Magazine.
- "Best Arts Venue Conjuring Avenue A In The '80s". Village Voice. 2008.
- Tedder, Michael (December 13, 2011). "The Record: PopGun Presents". NBC New York.
- This Is Glasslands. YouTube. This Is Melo. February 25, 2015.
- Jesse Cohen (December 22, 2014). "No Effects with Jesse Cohen: Glasslands Special (with Rami Haykal and Jake Rosenthal)". iTunes (Podcast).
- "Glasslands". QRO Magazine. July 9, 2009. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
- A history of Glasslands shows can be viewed at "Songkick.com".
- "Photos: Lana Del Rey in Brooklyn". Pitchfork. September 15, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
- Caramanica, Jon (April 17, 2014). "Clinging to Minimalism, in Shadows and Whispers". New York Times.
- Caramanica, Jon (October 25, 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. March 27, 2012.
- "Wise Blood". New Yorker. June 25, 2015.
- "The Depreciation Guild reforming to play debut LP in full at Glasslands (which got a new sound system)". BrooklynVegan. June 21, 2013.
- Baysa, Heather; Ried, Skyler (November 2, 2014). "A 'Twin Peaks' Halloween Party at Glasslands". Village Voice.
- Fishbein, Rebecca (July 2, 2014). "Vice Taking Over More of Williamsburg for New Offices". Gothamist. Archived from the original on February 29, 2016.
- "Goodbye For Now…". Glaslands. October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2015.
- Sargent, Jordan (October 22, 2014). "No One Wants to Say It, But Vice Is Displacing Brooklyn Institutions". Gawker. Archived from the original on November 8, 2014.
- Hawking, Tom (October 22, 2014). "The Death of DIY Williamsburg Is Not Your Fault". Flavorpill.
- Gregor, Alison (December 19, 2014). "Brooklyn: New Towers for Williamsburg". New York Times.
- Moynihan, Colin (February 23, 2015). "Vice Media vs. Brooklyn Indie Music Clubs". New York Times.
- Brown, Harley (October 22, 2014). "Vice Media the Driving Force Behind Underground Venue Closures". Billboard.
- Bassford, Clay (December 30, 2014). "Why The Closing of Williamsburg's DIY Venues Doesn't Really Matter". Paper.
- Yakas, Ben (November 15, 2014). "Commemorate The Death Of Williamsburg At Glasslands Funeral Dance Party". Gothamist. Archived from the original on May 9, 2015.
- Pearis, Bill (December 22, 2014). "Glasslands adds art installations for its final run, throwing free holiday party tonight with Jonathan Toubin & more". BrooklynVegan.
- Carlson, Jen (January 1, 2015). "Scenes From Last Night's Last Ever Glasslands Show". Gothamist. Archived from the original on May 9, 2015.
- Marnie and Desi Singing “Bet On Me” on HBO’s “Girls” . Youtube. Joe Harrington. April 27, 2014.
- "Stereogum's Tumblr". Tumblr. March 6, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
- Cook-Wilson, Winston (July 31, 2015). "'Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll' Recap: 'Lust for Life'". Inverse.
- Stewart, Sarah (January 21, 2015). "'Song One' a love letter to NYC's live-music scene". New York Post.
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Isis (Live). Youtube. Polydor Ltd. December 1, 2009.
- "What's going on Wednesday? (Royksopp & Robyn, Brooklyn Comedy Fest, Midnight Masses, Kevin Gates & more)". BrooklynVegan. August 20, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
- "Open Mike Eagle & Hannibal Buress "Doug Stamper" (Live @ Glasslands Gallery ,Brooklyn,NY)". Youtube (Podcast). Warrententertainment. October 15, 2014.
- Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite @ Glasslands 4.1.13. Youtube. Dylan Marron. March 15, 2013.
- Reynolds, Megan (July 7, 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