Tag Archives: 924 Gilman

924 Gilman landlord speaks

2 Jun

by Jessica Boudevin

Venues Today is keeping tabs on the situation at 924 Gilman in Berkely, Calif. After yesterday’s story about how the punk club was in danger of losing its lease after its rent went up $2,7000, we received an email from  landlord Jim Widess explaining his side of the story.

Widess owns both the building at 924 Gilman and The Caning Shop next door. He admits that the economy has been particularly hard on The Caning Shop, which has been in operation for 42 years, and that the rent increase is a sort of compromise to avoid selling the buildings. Widess insists that he has “been supportive of 924 Gilman since it’s inception,” and though he considered selling the building on the advice of realtors, maintained his viewpoint that, ” that was not an option for us.  The club is too important – and the chances are slim that they could really open anywhere else.”

He “looks forward to better times” for both his shop and the club; considering the compromise on rent the only option that would allow his properties to function. As far as opinions that Berkeley is ready to forget 924 Gilman altogether, Widess attests that “the neighborhood has always been supportive of the club and what it brings to Berkeley as a resource.” He brings up the fact that nearly everything on the street besides 924 Gilman, The Caning Shop, and The Pyramid Brewing Company are closed; and other businesses near there close by 10 o’clock at night—long before the punks are ready to call it a night. “So as long as the members are considerate of the neighbors when going home, there is really no conflict at all.”

He insists that “there is only one side of the issue:  How to keep 924 Gilman and The Caning Shop both prospering and growing in these difficult times.  We really want a win-win for both of our concerns and with the excellent leadership of the club, it’s happening!”

We hope that he’s right and that both 924 Gilman, and the other businesses on Gilman street, will thrive soon!


Legendary Punk Venue Might Be Forced To Close Doors

1 Jun

by Jessica Boudevin

Editor’s Note: 924 Gilman was a favorite teenage hangout for VT editor Dave Brooks. Growing up in Contra Costa County, just across the Caldecott Tunnel from Berkeley, he attended dozens of punk shows at this small cooperative venue. Two of his close college pals made a documentary film about this small club, and carloads of friends would meet at the club to see bands like A.F.I., Redemption 87 and the Swingin Utters — all Bay Area bands. The Gilman is one of the reasons that Dave got into the music business. If you’d like to share your stories about the Gilman, please email dave@venuestoday.com. We’ll be posting individual stories about the Berkeley club on our blog throughout the month.

Iconic Berkeley, Calif. punk venue, 924 Gilman, might have to permanently close after facing drastic rent hikes. On July 1, 2010, rent will jump from around $4,300 per month to almost $7,000.  The venue will have to come up with an additional $31,000 each year just to cover the difference, and that’s before the other expenses of putting on shows.

With the neighborhood around the venue being built up, and cleaned up, the dingy punk haven is having trouble fitting in. Though the club has dealt with steady rent increases in the past, but organizers at this not-for-profit organization are unsure how long they will be able to meet this sudden, much higher rent.

At the moment, 924 Gilman is asking for donations, even offering incentives like tote bags for those who can afford to donate over $25. However, begging for change can only provide assistance for a short period of time. The long-term strategies to combat the rent increase is for the club, which has long called itself non-profit, to officially attain non-profit status, according the club’s MySpace blog. Once considered a non-profit , 924 Gilman will be able to apply for government grants to keep their punk-rock dreams alive.

Named after it’s street address, 924 Gilman has served as the hub for up and coming punk artists since the 80s. Many bands, most notably Rancid, Green Day, Bad Religion and NOFX, used the venue to get their start in the punk scene.

Check out the latest update on the rent situation in this blog post from the official Gilman St Booking myspace.

A typical rowdy crowd at 924 Gilman.

Green Day at 924 Gilman.