|Volume I||May 18, 2023||Issue 3|
All the news, if you can believe it
Now that you have found us, you can get to know us.
We’ll be launching a new website and offering ways to join our community and inhabit Baker Falls (as a nomad, a local or kin—you can decide for yourself)…
But for now, here are some moods and vibes:
Humans imprint on nature, sometimes good and sometimes bad…just as your life experiences imprint on your memories.
Perfectly imperfect…or beauty in imperfection…wabi-sabi or some other mystical shit (as King Missile might say). Baker Falls will be about creating memories while losing perspective and losing time. It will be about dimensions and portals…things that distort your memory when your entire life is not captured on social media feeds forever.
Living life, seeing bands, telling stories, crafting hazy older experiences into more interesting tales…fluidity of time and space…linear and non-linear…flat and three-dimensional…old and new…
This photo above was taken a few weeks ago at 101 Avenue A once we took down the back wall behind the stage.
Surely the arches above the window pre-date the Pyramid Club, but who added the rest and why? That story has been lost…or maybe it hasn’t, maybe there is a faded newsprint article explaining the windows were shot out during a heated debate while it was a union meeting hall, or maybe someone threw a beer stein out the window as a Bavarian gathering space in the late 1800s? Maybe Tito Puente blew the windows out rippin’ it up when it was The New Rican Village where Eddie Figueroa wanted a stage to support a “Puerto Rican Renaissance” on the L.E.S.
But who filled in that window and why? Is there a rapacious Harpy imprisoned behind the wall…doesn’t really matter, just make up your own story for it, or follow ours…
Above is a ghostly shadow hand reaching out to the bricks like the most ancient form of cave painting: when early Neanderthal’s decided there might be an after-world or another realm…
Look up and you’ll see the ancient beams and brick window arches are still there, but the reality of current soundproofing technology means they are frozen in time for another era or space in time…
While Baker Falls is part ancient and part contemporary, 101 Avenue A is going to be “many things to different people” or maybe “different things to many people”…it is hard to say at this point. When we open this summer, it will be you that breathes life into our walls…any way you see fit.
Founder’s Note: How I remember it
Here is a quote that I made up based on what folks that were at the Pyramid Club in the 80s told me:
“Hey RuPaul, we’ll book your band, come up from Atlanta with the rest of the folks in your punk band Wee Wee Hole and after the band leaves you can live in the basement til you get settled in New York.” (If you hang out at Baker Falls you can ask an older person from downtown about it.)
Ask yourself: can I watch this entire YouTube video, or just 20 seconds? I am pretty sure if you were in that crowd at that live show you would have watched the whole set and been blown away.
Thank you for indulging us, and next time we are hoping to announce some acts that we teased out in the title of this dispatch.
Keep an eye on www.bakerfalls.com for more.
|Volume I||April 27, 2023||Issue 2|
All the news, if you can believe it
Life is returning to the legendary and historic space at 101 Avenue A. The demolition phase has been completed and construction is moving along rapidly. We will be using the misty memory of what you might think of as The Pyramid Club and creating new life as Baker Falls.
As the new stewards of this almost 150-year-old gathering place at 101 Avenue A, we can’t tell you how much it means to us that you are with us on this project. We take very seriously this responsibility to honor the East Village performance scene and inspire the next generation to create and meet other open-minded individuals.
After the proper notification above to our neighbors, on Dec 13 2021, we unanimously passed the Community Board as the new operators of this neighborhood cultural staple and the birthplace of Wigstock. We were aided by many allies such as Kembra Pfahler—whose band The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black made me realize I belonged Downtown—as well as Jeffrey Lewis who grew up across the street from Lach’s anti-folk scene at the Sidewalk Cafe.
The above image is what we were finally looking at when we got the keys on November 15, 2022.
I just kept wondering how The Pyramid had become this: a nondescript afterthought of a dance club… What happened to The Pyramid’s prime as one of the few cultural gathering places where there were no judgements? Everyone was welcome. And all things considered to be on stage…
As we began to write the first chapter of Baker Falls, we started to uncover clues of color and vibrancy within the faded glory of the latter day Pyramid Club.
For example in the picture above: behind the wall where Wendy Wild used to sell her artwork from the coat check, we found remnants of the stepped Pyramids in the previous tile work that inspired an Avenue A mailman known only as “Richie” to name his new watering hole The Pyramid in 1979.
But it wasn’t doing so well after the Polish and Ukrainian day drinkers were done with happy hour, so Bobby Bradley started booking some shows. Attending the first performance on December 10, 1981 was Brian Butterick who would go on the nurture a creative explosion embracing Bobby’s slogan from that very first flier: “DOWNTOWN for DOWNTOWN.”
With these new performers came an insanely functional and weird wooden DJ set up near the roof that Craig Overbay had built for his soundboard and so resident DJs like Dany Johnson could spin vinyl records which they kept in lockers above the bathrooms. In the picture above we briefly exposed these blue-green walls to the light from the darkness, but the lockers were long gone.
And in order to continue the dancing legacy from 1800s Union hall meetings to Wigstock, the first thing we needed to address was sound proofing in the 147-year-old space designed to be a gathering hall in 1876…and known over the last 40 years as The Pyramid with cheap and cheerful do-it-yourself sound mitigation like carpet and egg crates. Exposing these ancient beams with no need for columns was simply breathtaking…only to realize they would need to be covered up once again by modern materials to be a good neighbor.
I could not have done it without the passion and support of my new partners Morgan Margolis and The Knitting Factory who responded to my “call to arms to buy the Pyramid Club.”
The picture above is Knitting Factory Brooklyn, minutes before I handed over their keys to the landlord on September 1st 2022. “The Knit was eager to return to their roots Downtown where they began life as a tiny music-centric cafe on Houston Street in 1987.
“DOWNTOWN for DOWNTOWN.” We cannot wait to welcome downtown back to this legendary space at 101 Avenue A.
And remember: downtown is a state of mind.
|Volume I||March 17, 2023||Issue 1|
All the news, if you can believe it
Punchlove at New Colossus Festival NYC 2023
LA new community-based, all-inclusive cafe/bar/performance venue rises from the ashes of the historic Pyramid Club in New York City’s East Village, manifesting Summer of 2023. It will be a face-to-face mystical vibe that plays out in a hamlet called Baker Falls (pop. 298).
We will be inspired by the spirits of the space where RuPaul, Lady Bunny, and other beings of the night lurked under the floorboards, crafting their looks before hitting the stage for their first drag shows…where Andy Warhol hosted transmissions on MTV…where Madonna and Keith Haring rubbed elbows—and other body parts—with the downtown punks…and where Nirvana played their first New York show cheered on by Iggy Pop—it was a legendary night, but the band felt it went so badly, bassist Krist Novoselic shaved his head out of shame…
Nestled deep in the woods, Baker Falls is a gathering place full of surprises:
Plants that can be heard whispering.
Howling winds that smell of vanilla bean.
Waterfalls that defy gravity.
You will hear people who’ve come from all over the world to perform their music.
You will discover handcrafted food and drinks.
You might stumble upon a decrepit subterranean hideaway and slip into a Fever Dream if you are permitted to wander down at the right time.
Anyone can pass through this scene…or sign up to become a resident and enjoy all the village has to offer.
It’s the ultimate break from the virtual world, where the forest spirits will make you feel more alive than ever before.
In a post-COVID world, concerts are very much back, but the old music venue model is in jeopardy. Clubs across the country went broke and disappeared during quarantine, and many more were saved only by a federal government bailout.
Baker Falls will be something different.
Backed by our partners perched along an ancient river at the paddle-wheeled Knitting Factory, an ever-changing community grows and grows.
You won’t find it on a map…although we have always been here. The story begins now.
The road to Baker Falls (Judy Bodor)
You have already discovered the path into town.
To find out what’s on the calendar, become a resident, and watch/read/listen to the latest…keep an eye out for the next dispatch.
In the meantime, read what New York Magazine has to say about Baker Falls:
“The East Village Is Getting Its First New Rock Club in Decades”