Party space House of Yes has been out of commission since closing up its East Williamsburg warehouse last summer, but the spangled nipple tassels and acrobatics are soon to return. They've leased a space in Bushwick proper, promising a new venue complete with a full-service bar and restaurant—and unlike the DIY Williamsburg spot, the whole venture is completely legal! Brooklyn's all grown up now.
House of Yes co-founder Anya Sapozhnikova tells us that one half of the new space, located at Jefferson Street and Wyckoff Ave and expected to open in November, will function as a rehearsal space and aerial studio during the day, with the restaurant and bar running separately in a soundproof section separated by big double doors. At night, performance space and food service become one. "Those doors opens and the space is either used as all one big space, kind of like a chill lounge in the restaurant, or there could be a cabaret show happening, and you can open the doors and come in and see what's going on," Sapozhnikova said.
The restaurant's not the only noteworthy change, though. Like fellow former DIY space Silent Barn, House of Yes will be reopening as a fully licensed venue, a move Sapozhbikova says will be far better for them in the long run. "Our past business model was, basically, that we would run an aerial studio and do these shows that obviously didn't make any money, and then we would rent the space to shoots, private events, whatever people wanted to do," she said. "As the neighborhood matured, and as Bushwick changed, you could no longer do things like that on a consistent basis. Hence our business model evolving to be something a little more sustainable."
It does seem like the city's seen a decline in down-low DIY venues lately, particularly with more and more mainstream attention being paid to former DIY haven Brooklyn. "There's not really a place to wing it. There's more at stake, there's no area that's dirt cheap anymore, that's accessible," Sapozhnikova said. "And once it's actually valuable to somebody, people start paying attention to it more. You can't just have a weird art installation if it's not in compliance with the FDNY standards of egress. Before, it was a completely forgotten area, where no one would really go or care about."
But though the dirt cheap Budweisers and "underground" parties may disappear, Sapozhnikova doesn't think legal venues means the art world has to suffer. "Even with the old space, we always felt that there was an expiration date," she said. "It was cheaper, but how long is that going to go for? And how much effort are you going to invest in something if you don't know when it will randomly be over?"
House of Yes has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help cover some of the new venture's costs—rewards include a complimentary performance or event, spandex unitards, tickets to events run by fellow party groups Gemini & Scorpio and Rubulad and a private aerial class. They need $60K to fund the campaign, which ends on August 8th.