The earliest Bushwick groups were booted from the Lower East Side and begun formulating some of the world’s most famous cultural sectors in a neighborhood considered by many to be the coolest place on earth. A series of archival articles exploring the strength of culture creators on the American life.

Photo courtesy by BangOn! NYC (cc)

Photo courtesy by BangOn! NYC (cc)

      LES, New York, Sept. 2011: THE SHIFT.

Equipped with a Ludlow Street Radio station and a new record deal with Universal Music Group, Ariel De Lion, known Intellectual and touring musician, felt the sky’s the limit, however, happened to realize, the unfavorable trade being new to Manhattan. Ariel, an Israeli subculture pioneer with reputed projects such as Hostel Ayalon, Casino Ayalon, Showdown Festival, came to New York to visit his girlfriend during her student exchange program in the Cooper Union. The couple rented a warehouse on 347 Maujer Street in Bushwick, and in one month of preparation, the Lower East Side Radio was on the air and Ariel had to find a way to take this opportunity forward. Especially when Marco, the building owner, is in a gloomy mood sitting on his famous piece of sidewalk, smoking one tick of the time until a flash of a camera woke them up to Clayton Patterson. Clayton is the LES folk archivist, exclusively documenting the Lower East Side. With Clayton’s supervision, it was only a matter of time for the radio to attract attention. However, nobody expected a grand political movement to occur that same month.

      Lower East Side, New York-October 2011 – Occupy the Radio.

Freedom and mayhem ensued after the movement grew out of New York. More than two million youngsters were joining the protests. Kennedy Yanko, a young actor at The Living theatre, introduced Ariel to Brent Wellington Barker III, Brad Burgess, and Kyle Ryan, members of The Living Theatre, and the radio captured an opportune time to exercise political power.

“I got connected with Ariel de Lion and appeared on LES.FM radio, through being active in the meetings of an Arts And Culture committee of the political protest at the 60 Wall Street public-private space, where many people met in the attempt to articulate a Velvet Revolution for people power of some crucially needed sort in the fall of 2011.”

      Johnny Sagan(Snowy Wilderness)

De Lion gained trust and took the creative direction in contrary to the advice he received (to maintain a unified musical and cultural direction) into a multicultural radio. Ariel wanted to represent all layers of society equally, from hip hop to Jazz, multiple females anchors, heavy metal live shows and Electronic music pioneers and everything that makes a metropolitan radio cosmopolitan.

Lower East Side Radio, Photo by Clayton Patterson

Clayton Patterson came every day to connect Ariel with the right people, and the radio grew out into a new celebration of many kinds. At 2011, the nature of the Internet was for ‘the Youth only, ” and everything was Kosher to discuss. Every day, anchors from The Living Theatre, The Stone of John Zorn, Raw food specialist Wendy Eden-Harris, native voices from the Lower East Side and many political activists, came to play live music and talk about the movement, drugs, conspiracies, rich-poor, racism and everything that was not on the mainstream radio. For all its faults and failures, the fall of 2011 still proved to be the exit from indifference and overwhelming to a cultural shift embarkment. Encouraged by the new age Axis Mundy weapon: Internet and streaming. The new tool succeeds in creating echo chambers for people with the same paragons, like a cyber rock festival, irritating the essence of capitalism and creating new alterations to pursue:

“I share my entire self on the network, I have nothing to hide. The network knows everything about me and anyone connected to the network. Those who do not share their entire self on the network most likely have something to hide!”

      Eran Hadas

“If we consciously live the Living Presence, our lives become the very abode of eternal bliss. This bliss is not far, far away in some transcendent realm. It is right here, right now.”

      Menas Kafatos

      Lower East Side, New York-January 2012 – The History of The World.

The sky’s the limit as long as you never look down and as you do, you’ll see how the landlords take your sandals off your feet because the place where you stand is not your ground. Marco and his partner got an offer for the building they could not refuse, over market value and just sold the building. The Ludlow Studio, which became Lower East Side Radio, was Debunked, Gentrified, and Shifted. A new set of DGS presented to the Lower East Side. The culture, the communion, the symposium; perhaps they were, or perhaps there might have been few of them under the horizon. The LES soothed into an opium-like idleness of philosophical zombie, unconscious reverie. Laundered with shoals of absent-minded youth, blending decadence with symbolism, that at last lost its identity.

Photo by Clayton Patterson

The LES.FM broadcasting tools moved to The Living Theatre, on 21 Clinton Street, the oldest experimental theatre group in the United States, founded in 1947 by Judith Malina and Julian Beck. And what could be more ironic, when the first broadcast from the new temple of the radio was “The History of The World.”

The Living Theatre – History of the World. Live on LES.FM (embed the youtube video)

      Lower East Side, New York-August 2012- the last of the Phantoms

Even The Living Theatre, which championed Anarchism and Utopian experimentalism for 66 years, could not survive the heavy gentrification weaving the Lower East Side. Even Al Pacino and Yoko Ono donations couldn’t save it. Malina had exhausted the $800,000 from the sale of her late husband’s art collection in a matter of years. The rent was too damn high for an immersive theater, and Judith had to spend her remaining days in an unfortunate retirement.

      Bushwick, New York  2012: New Hope.

Contrary to what it seems, the driving force behind a new independent cultural sector, are not the venues, but those who shape the atmosphere of the neighborhood, the Art Collectives. The earliest to emerge in Bushwick were Kostume Kult and Rubulad, known for sparkly costumes and veteran Burner crowds. Chris Carr, started Brooklyn Wildlife, a multicolor, sex-positive community with an average of 100 DIY events a year. Lots of the street art illustrating Bushwick, come to pass by The Bushwick Collective, a nonforprofit street gallery of Artists from all over the world. BangOn! NYC, founded by Timothy F Monkiewicz, and Brett Herman started with cyclical parties at The Living Theatre on 21 Clinton Street, and House of Yes in Bushwick, and quickly attained the status of holidays only and their events passed five thousand people, over five stages, dozens of international DJs, craft bazaars, and art spectacles. However, the backbone of Bushwick is hidden deep in the Newtown Creek, and only the few, are able to come by this portal. The only way to get near the hidden magic, is to be a victim of the infamous pirates from Newtown Creek, the Thunder Gumbo, known for self-sufficient activities comprising your betrothal.

Photo by Ian P. Clifford. Ariel De Lion

During his time on the Radio, Ariel lived in a warehouse right next door to House of Yes in Bushwick. House of Yes in its second initiation was a venue to Make Play costumes, with an event space, music studio, and an aerial circus school founded in a former icehouse on Maujer Street by two young girls, Anya Sapozhnikova and Kae Burke, soon to be the queens of Bushwick. Brent Wellington Barker III, an actor from The Living Theatre, suggested to build a staircase at Ariel’s warehouse and duplicate the size of the space for the homeless Living Theatre actors to have a new home. While Ariel was desperate to find a new venue for the Lower East Side radio, the crew came up with a conceptual radio where everyone can broadcast to the radio from their phones. Rather than locating the radio station and bear an accompanying headache, the crew turned New York itself into the radio station. For that, Ariel flew to Israel to partner with Flixwagon, a software company with a similar platform and they built for him an App and a Website. Brent bought a prison bus to convert it into a mobile radio station, and the “Music Wagon” collective and start-up founded.

      Bushwick, New York, August  2012:

Maujer Street at Morgan Ave is now an official epicenter. Musicians, artists, dancers and creative people came from far and wide to support, party, sleep and volunteer their time to be with like-minded creatives and feel the warmth of family. By the end of 2012, it became the happiest block between the Hudson and the Rockaways. A sea of people, stretching from House of Yes to the Music Wagon and after 4 am sidle to the foot of the Music Wagon to Lou Gallucci’s after hours “Bury me in Brooklyn.” Sparkly Mermaids cheering as a color guardians and clans of pirates appear from Newtown Creek to throw down the weekend’s wildest parties and brace at attention. They are not the Lower East Side People anymore, and the bass is “Sub-bass.” With no interest in any political statements.

Anya Sapozhnikova. Photo courtesy by BangOn! NYC

      Bushwick- New York – August 2013

After a final heroic two months of performances, the House of Yes closed its doors due to dramatic raise in rent. At the same month, Ariel’s Landlord gave him a four months notice to leave and the last rock to crush the block fell just after midnight on a quiet Monday in November 2013. An upset friend of The Yellow Dogs, an Iranian band featured in the movie “No One Knows About Persian Cats (2009)” climbed onto the roof of 318 Maujer St. up the block from House of Yes, where they lived and practiced. He jumped onto a third-floor dock and began firing into the apartment using a caliber rifle. He killed two members of The Yellow Dogs, brothers Sourosh Farazmand, and Arash Farazmand, along with their friend and author, Ali Eskandarian and then killed himself. A surviving band member and a fellow Music Wagon friend mentioned a tree covered with blood stains and the Music Wagon crew took it to the warehouse for a memoir.

On January 15th, 2014, during a massive ten days snow storm the Music Wagon crew moved out, and the ‘Morgan-Maujer’ Bushwick milestone terminated darkly.

DJ Myk Tummolo and Lindsay Arden, The JunXion. Photo by David Baren Photography

      Bushwick- New York – June 2014 – Coolest place on Earth.

In 2014 TechWeek, sponsored by American Airlines, nominated Music Wagon for best startup of the year 2014. But the costs to keep the App alive and the launching of Youtube-Live and then Facebook-Live closed the jar for Music Wagon, and the crew merged, with few other collectives into the JunXion, led by DJ Myk Tummolo. The new coalition opened X-Mark the Lot on 39 Knickerbocker Ave in Bushwick, a renegade outdoors space where The JunXion, became known for their team of party buses and roving “adventure parties.” Rather than leasing a space and bear an accompanying headache, Junxion turned Bushwick itself into the venue, with five buses, art cars, and portable bars. The JunXion’s events have the power to take you to Fort Tilden beach on Friday and release you on a rooftop in Chelsea after three days you been under, over and between the wheels, through hidden lofts, luxury hotels, and few parking lots. To this day people wonder how they got away with running an unlicensed venue outdoors all summer and never got busted once.

The creation of the JunXion was the natural progression of bringing diverse groups of people together. Already there was a big community of individuals in Bushwick that surrounded what was later to be the JunXion there was just no banner. With that said on a night in October 2013 the name of the JunXion was born. Ever since we have been producing events in NYC with many different communities, the Bluebyrd bus, Quetzal bus, Love Muscle, Future Clear, Music Wagon, Thunder Gumbo, House of Yes, you’re so Lucky(The Danger) and more.”

      Myk Tummolo(Junxion)

In the next part of our series, Bushwick you are Beautiful: After Hours, we will explore the dark side of the night, Bushwick’s after hours during 2013-2016.