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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rhino Rolling in Mud

Although well acquainted with Webster Hall, in 40 years of living in New York City, I had yet to step inside the place.
Webster Hall is one of New York City's most historically and culturally significant large nineteenth-century assembly halls. The building, at 125 East 11th Street, was designed by architect Charles Rentz, Jr. and constructed for Charles Goldstein in 1886-87, with an eastern Annex in 1892.

Webster Hall was the first nightclub in the United States. It has gone through numerous incarnations since its construction and currently serves as a nightclub, concert hall, corporate events center, and recording venue. It has a capacity of 2,500 people.

My first visit was on Sunday for the QAS - Quarterly Art Soirée. This extravaganza takes places on all four floors of the space over the course of an entire day, from 3PM to 11PM. There were visual artists throughout the space, along with performances on the stages and in the lounges - music, dance, singing, aerial acts, burlesque, and a big finale by Flambeaux Fire.

I was particularly impressed with the dress of many of the attendees and also with the masks of Stephan Keating - beautifully designed and crafted. The space was extremely comfortable, with attendees milling about, exploring the various art installations and performances. Overall, the event has a very festive feel. At one juncture, one of the staff members decided to wallow in a glitter spill on the floor, rubbing it over his face and rolling it, much as a rhino rolling in mud :)

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Sue K said...

Love the photos! Ah yes, Webster Hall. My bedroom window was right across the street from it. I remember in the late 70's it was a Latin nightclub and every night around midnight or so I would hear spanish music spilling into the street as the club patrons were leaving. But the crowd was usually fairly quiet and well behaved. Then it closed and some years later it opened as a rock club. Every night I was able to figure out who was playing there as the club goers passed under my window singing the band's songs! I actually saw The Pretenders there and Kraftwerk. But the street noise was a tad too much for me. There was a lot of screaming and drunken revelry. I finally changed to an apartment on the other side of my building and never heard anything again. I think you actually helped me move! But it was an amazing venue, though the last time I was there some 30 some odd years ago it was quite rundown inside. I didn't know you were never inside. This exhibition looks like it was quite interesting and perhaps a step up from what I've seen there.

Steffe said...

A great collage from Webster Hall.

Marc said...

Vos photos sont magnifiques :)

Brian Dubé said...

Marc - merci

Steffe - thanks

Sue K - I remember dealing with this was big part of your life. You were the one who acquainted me with Webster Hall. I enjoyed the place. I am sure if it was strictly a music club, it must have had some serious wear and tear. Never pretty in the daylight.