EXCLUSIVE: Tony Conrad, Yasunao Tone @ ISSUE Project Room's 10th Anniversary
Be it Eli Keszler and Sō Percussion under the bridge downtown, Nate Wooley and friends up on Seven Storey Mountain, Ben Vida losing control or all of John Cage's HPSCHD, the last three months alone would've been reason enough to celebrate Brooklyn's ISSUE Project Room.
The fact that Suzanne Fiol's place has been around for more than ten years, though, truly is an inspiring story.
In fact, no other venue in New York City continually offers more exciting programming, more forward-hearing sounds than the groundfloor of the McKim, Mead and White building at 22 Boerum Place.
To wit, ladies and gentleman...Tony Conrad.
Of course, the Project hasn't always been there.
ISSUE Project Room began in 2003, on the Lower East Side, with a concert by Marc Ribot and ISSUE's late founder, Suzanne Fiol, honoring the life of Franz Casseus--Haiti's première classical musician. Performances by Elliott Sharp, Anthony Coleman and even Deborah Ann Harry followed suit.
Always keen to the needs of artists within her community, Fiol committed herself to developing ISSUE into a year-round space where artists could present their most challenging new work.
A scant two years later, ISSUE was offering some 100 annual events, featuring pioneering artists across the muses. Having outgrown its LES digs, the Project up and moved to Brooklyn--to a two-story silo barely on the margin of the Gowanus Canal.
Success in the silo proved bountiful. However, as things so often do in the city, the rent had nearly doubled. The ISSUE Project Room was pressed to move elsewhere.
In 2007, the Project relocated to the Old American Can Factory, where it continued to thrive--becoming one of Brooklyn's brightest lights, bringing tens of thousands of people to the Gowanus' "shore" each year.
Come 2008, now supporting more than 200 innovative artists each season, ISSUE entered (and won) a competition for a 20-year, rent-free lease on the 4,800 square feet it presently calls home.
Alas, in October of 2009, Suzanne Fiol lost her fight with cancer. From the Lower East Side, across the river, to downtown Brooklyn, everyone felt the blow.
And while neither Tony Conrad nor Yasunao Tone explicitly dedicated their Tuesday night set to Fiol, they didn't really have to.
After a decade of moving, inside the members-only ISSUE Project Room that evening, her ghost was surely in both men's machines.
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