Sound & Fury: DIY hardcore punk, radical politics, and grassroots activism.

Sound & Fury: DIY hardcore punk, radical politics, and grassroots activism.

I was recently interviewed by some folks interested in my involvement in the Holland Project and was asked what are the other art collectives, DIY music venues, and community spaces inspired the Holland Project. My response to these questions was – none. There are no existing entities like the Holland Project that inspired the Holland Project. The Holland Project is inspired by the vibrant arts, music, and activist scene in this town, not by an arts or music project in some other place. Of course, there are things that we can and surely will take and learn from projects like Holland in other cities, but I think Holland will truly be directly spawned by the energy, enthusiasm, and talent that the Reno youth bring to the table. No doubt there are models to look at to get ideas for our big project. In this blog, I’m going to describe a few similar projects that have been successful in this country, and some ideas that I think Holland Reno can aspire to embrace, or at least learn from.

#1 – ABC No Rio – New York City, NY

From their website…
ABC No Rio is a collectively-run center for art and activism. We are known internationally as a venue for oppositional culture. ABC No Rio was founded in 1980 by artists committed to political and social engagement and we retain these values to the present. We seek to facilitate cross-pollination between artists and activists. ABC No Rio is a place where people share resources and ideas to impact society, culture, and community. We believe that art and activism should be for everyone, not just the professionals, experts, and cognoscenti. Our dream is a cadre of actively aware artists and artfully aware activists.

Our community is defined by a set of shared values and convictions. It is both a local and international community. It is a community committed to social justice, equality, anti-authoritarianism, autonomous action, collective processes, and to nurturing alternative structures and institutions operating on such principles. Our community includes artists and activists whose work promotes critical analysis and an expanded vision of possibility for our lives and the lives of our neighborhoods, cities, and societies. It includes punks who embrace the Do-It-Yourself ethos, express positive outrage, and reject corporate commercialism. It includes nomads, squatters, fringe dwellers, and those among society’s disenfrachised who find at ABC No Rio a place to be heard and valued.

ABC No Rio has DIY space for computer access, a darkroom, printshop, a zine library, photo classes for youth, a community arts partnership program, and supports work done by Book Through Bars (NYC), Food Not Bombs (NYC), and The Lower East Side Biography Project. A truly amazing community activist resource.

ABC has Saturday hardcore / punk matinees, and the booking committee is selective to support a truly inclusive environment.

From their website…
For fifteen years ABC No Rio’s Saturday Matinee has been run by a volunteer collective dedicated to providing an all-ages venue for the independent punk and hardcore music scene. We are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive scene where all can feel welcome and comfortable, regardless of race, gender or sexual identity. We do not book racist, sexist or homophobic bands.

Check out their website for tons more information (

#2 – The 924 Gilman Street Project – Berkeley, CA

Gilman is another project that we could look at for some more ideas. They have been a mainstay in the DIY hardcore and punk touring circuit of over 17 years. One of the longest running volunteer run all ages DIY venues that this country has ever seen.

From their website…
The 924 Gilman Street Project a.k.a the ‘Alternative Music Foundation’, is an all-ages, non-profit, collectively organized music and performance venue. We do shows on Fridays, Saturdays, and occasionally on Sundays. It is located in North Berkeley, about 1 1/2 miles from the North Berkeley BART station, at the corner of 8th St. and Gilman. All shows are $5 or more, with a $2 membership card (that is good for a year). We strive to provide a violence, alcohol and drug-free environment. We will not book or support racist, misogynist, or homophobic bands or performances.

They have even published a book called “The Story So Far.”
The Gilman Book Is Out! It’s entitled “924 Gilman: The Story So Far.” Compiled by Brian Edge and published by MAXIMUMROCKNROLL, it is available here at the club during shows for $15, or you can mailorder it $20 ppd in the USA, $25 ppd to the World.

They take their band-booking quite seriously…
We are generally willing to consider most bands, within reason. However, we do not book racist, misogynist, homophobic, or major label bands. Our “no major label” rule also applies to bands that are on record labels where 95% of their sales are done through major labels or major-owned distributors within the United States. More mainstream or “college rock” bands will most likely not be booked, but that is also up to the interpretation of the individual booker of what that means. We like to keep our underground scene as far out of the corporate eye as we can. We do not do monetary guarantees, nor have we ever. Certain booking agents like to think otherwise, but the truth lies here. We generally do not do written contracts, although we have in the past. We also reserve the right to alter those contracts where applicable, i.e. crossing out everything that does not apply to the regular Gilman process. We do not do food riders (don’t even ask), but you are entitled to one free bottled water per band member.

And they rely on volunteers to keep things running smoothly.
924 Gilman is an all ages, not for profit, collectively run, music/performance club and community space. We are always looking for new volunteers to help keep the space going. If you would like to get involved, there are a couple of ways to go about it.

Nightly Volunteers: We are always in need of nightly volunteers to run each show. If you want to volunteer to work for a show and get in free, arrive an hour before the doors open (generally 7pm for Friday and Saturday shows and 5pm for Sunday shows.) When you arrive ask around for the coordinator of the show for the night (they are usually found in the side office near the front door of the club.) There are several different jobs available, from assisting running the front door to cleaning up after the show is over. In addition to getting to see how the club works on a nightly basis, you also get to watch the show for free while only working either the first or second half of the performance.

Monthly Membership Meetings: Gilman has membership meetings twice a month at 5pm on the first and third Saturday of the month. Membership meetings are where we make the majority of the clubs decisions. At the first meeting you come to you can participate in the discussion, but are not able to vote on any items brought up until your second meeting. Meetings are generally attended by a lot of the people who are regular volunteers at 924 Gilman and are a great opportunity to ask for more detailed information about volunteering.

#3 – The Charm City Art Space – Baltimore, MD

The CCAS is another incredible DIY space that supports its community as a creative outlet. (

Our goals as the Charm City Art Space are as follows:
To act as a creative outlet for DIY performance, music, and art. To work as a center for independent thought, constructive discussion, and creative expression. To thrive as a headquarters for autonomous education and as a resource for community awareness. To survive as a place to talk and meet new people of like mind in comfort and tranquility. To focus our energies as a buffer to filter out negative influences including but not limited to: racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, ageism, violence and judgmental fundamentalism. To provide a space free from drugs and alcohol where all are welcome. All decision making shall be a collective effort with equal weight given to all.

Meetings for the Charm City Art Space (from hereon referred to as the space or CCAS) will be held once a month. All members are welcome during the meetings. Membership dues will be collected at the meeting, and topics that effect the space will be discussed. The meetings will attempt to be scheduled on Tuesdays or Wednesdays around the middle of the month as events permit.

The CCAS has three levels of membership.
The first level is the Observer Membership. This level costs $20 a year, and is basically a goodwill membership. The $20 will go towards rent, utilities, and maintenance. You get the CCASs appreciation, a dollar off shows, and a membership card.
The second level is the Standard Membership. This costs $20 a month. The money is used for the same things the Observer Membership is used for. With this membership, you are able to put on events, and get a dollar off any event you are not putting on or working at. You also receive a membership card. There is a probation period of one month before you can put on an event.
Both of these memberships are open to all who are interested.
The third level is the Administrative Membership. This is limited to people who are legally tied to the CCAS through being on bills and checking accounts.

During events, there will be up to three staff members working with the promoter. Two will be upstairs and working the door. One more will be downstairs doing sound. The promoter will be insuring that the event will go smoothly.
Escorts to your car are available upon request. We believe we are located in a safe, well lit neighborhood, but we also realize we can never be too careful with personal safety.

The CCAS is committed to providing a forum for the type of art that is in line with our mission statement. This includes visual works of art, and musical works of art as well. The CCAS reserves the right to refuse the exhibition of art, or let bands play that are either a risk to the space or do not match our mission. This includes bands of a racist, sexist, and/or homophobic nature.

Art Events.
Members are allowed to set up art events. The space itself is free, but if anything is sold through the space, a percentage of the sale will go to the space. The percentage should be agreed upon before the start of the art event. If art gets damaged the CCAS may be able to help reimburse the artist, but s/he must understand that this is a DIY space, and our resources are limited.

There are lots of cool DIY arts and music venues around the country that we can look at for ideas to make Holland a really awesome place. By being inspired by the creativity, talent, and enthusiasm of Reno’s young people and looking at other venues and art spaces for ideas, Holland will become exactly what Reno needs!