Holland Origin Stories: Keystone

Holland Origin Stories: Keystone

From time to time we get asked about certain names, phrases, stories, titles – and sometimes we gotta prove or bust some myths!

Keystone Avenue was Holland’s first venue – a big warehouse space next to the train trench that had no real walls (just corrugated metal), no heat or ac, birds nesting in the rafters, and a slew of left behind construction materials in the front. The zone also had some history – the building next to it used to be an indoor skate park called Stoney’s and used to have shows as well back in the day. We loved it.

After hosting a Double Dutch Battle to raise $6k to insure the space, the City of Reno handed over the keys. We spent a very cold beginning of 2007 building out the space – Austin Baker built a gallery as part of his BFA show at UNR, Clint Neuerburg provided us all the soundproofing materials he could take from his job at Wild Oats at the time, we took old cardboard newspaper rolls from the dump to line the metal walls, Angie Watson lead an effort to outfit the library, Mel Berner and Jen Graham took on a bathroom as an art project, Tim Lamaire donated our ginormous stage, Shane Forster and others pieced together a sound system, Erik Burke painted a mural on the side along side some kids from Rainshadow Charter School.

With lots of help, the space officially opened in April of that year – and then in a snap – the trouble started. After a handful of shows – a complaining neighbor and fire code issues (namely, no sprinkler system) brought closure to the space in a blink of an eye. We had no money to invest in sprinklers or to fix the code issues, and were too young/new to take on such a huge endeavor ourselves and to fight with a neighbor that didn’t want us next door. Because the building was all metal, it sorta became it’s own speaker – no matter how quiet a show was, sound amplified through the walls and roof. We held on for a while, but in late summer of that year, we closed the space.

Despite the brief time, it’s a space that’s emblazoned in our hearts and minds. Countless people worked endlessly to transform the space, some very magical shows took place there (like an unforgettable performance from Seattle’s Degenerate Art Ensemble that was forced to go unplugged in the 11th hour after a stand-off with the neighbor; the show where everyone got on the stage because it was so big; a very cold show where a 16 y/o Clark introduced himself to us by telling us he was going to haunt the space if he died from freezing; a beautiful evening of site-specific performance curated by Cari Cunningham; seeing actual teens like Julian Jacobs, Alex Korstinsky, Bryan Jones, Rachel McElhiney, Zack Teran, Casey Conrad, Morgan Travis and so many more play for the first of many times to come; and course – Who Cares? filling the entire hangar-like space with 500 or more people on opening day). It’s where we met so many people that would become integral parts of our story and our journey.