Wes Kaplan is a resident of the Whitehaus and makes music with The Carters.
In the recklessness of better-late-than-never, I’m throwing down my own little year end bit for 2012. My shot before the annual buzzer for actually doing something cool (as in positive) with my life was moving into the third floor of the Whitehaus, the room with the outdoor staircase, taking up the mantle of more than a few legendary family boarders.
The walls are beat up and the ceiling slant is a considerable challenge to my freeness to stand straight. And as some many / most know by now, the Haus’s future status (at least within these walls) is ever less certain. But these were all things I knew before my new roommate Max and my totally gracious former roommates helped me haul all my shit down and up three flights.
Because who wouldn’t want to live with the most committed DIY community in the city? Totally avant garde creatively, totally down to earth personally, internationally esteemed and absolutely apart from the disposable buzz scene.
The first two weeks were a total joy ride – shows here or there every night, a river of positive faces flowing thru, and always something insanely cool in the works.
And then the show that, as Sam P. astutely put it, will go down in infamy. What a hell of a show too – BABG! BROS. and the Pats had just corroborated my case for living in the coolest haus on the planet when – before anyone knew it – there were like 10-20 intruder cops in every room with psychedelic flashlights. Friends split, bands packed up in spite of bald threats of gear seizure (for “evidence”) and within moments the show was moved to Gay Gardens (where it was shut eventually down a second time).
The mood was fucked up. I had no idea what to do so I asked one of the cops for a ride to the show which made things funny for a split second. I was afraid to say anything definitive in response to the lingering cops’ questions, fearing the worst, although I remember sensing that at least a few of them understood this was not their typical slosh party shut down. Plus Kate Lee played it wicked cool which made everyone feel a little better, even the nervous cops.
But you could hear the bullshit coming from the basement downstairs – cop-claims of like 200 people clearing the haus (are you kidding me?), insistence that we couldn’t “party like this” any longer.
By the end of the night it was already clear that this was not the typical noise check in – all shows at the haus were indefinitely postponed. Sam, who shouldered the heat like a champ, (and who to this day could theoretically be arrested next time a fuckin’ band practices too loud), was still facing uncertain consequences. And I was just barely getting straight who my actual roommates were!
But there was lots of sober discussion of the event, which was taken all the more seriously when similarly questionable BS went down at the Gardens and Wacky Castle. Early on Morgan Shaker summed up the feeling as well as anyone and I hope he doesn’t mind if I paraphrase: you can’t stop rad people.
And so it has been a true privilege to climb out of my hole and be a real part of this whole thing. There’s a lot to be said for the intimacy of close quarters. My feelings about whatever true artistic temperament / independent ethics / creative integrity totally evolved in the face of people who do the real thing as a matter of course. And that seems to be the thing that they consistently respond to in their peers. I see I’ve said “they” a couple times so I’ve decided my goal for the new year is to finally say: “we.”