DUMBA in DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY
Arts collective at 57 Jay St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
(Photos/words © urban75, Dec 2006
DUMBA queer arts collective is a living space and anarchist community centre which played a pivotal role in the queer, riotgrrl, punk, and independent film scene in Brooklyn, New York.
Based at 57 Jay Street in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), the space operated from 1996 to late 2006, and was a popular venue for gigs, performance, activist conferences, political fundraisers and film shows (despite the NY Press describing it as the 'the worst live-music venue in New York,' it hosted the first-ever concert by Le Tigre on April 21st, 2000).
The space was used by Queeruption during October, 1999, and the venue hosted the notorious Lusty Loft Parties in 2000 and 2001. They also filmed Short Bus there.
It reminded us very much of the seminal Cooltan squatted arts centre in Brixton, London.
Dumba is currently fighting closure (Feb 2007), and this, apparently, formed part of their landlord's petition to the court:
"The court can see that these people operate parties
under a business name D.U.M.B.A. COLLECTIVE.
These are run almost every weekend and people pay to
get into the parties. The court can see that the sex offered is deviate sex, i.e. Lesbian and/or
Gay. When they are running their parties they have tremondous (sic) loudspeakers that you can almost
hear all over Brooklyn and these parties run almost to dawn. After the party on Monday morning
you can see loads of empty beer bottles that is (sic) left over by them. I cannot say that they are
running a house of prostitution because I personally did NOT see such activity. However, the
advertising they do can certainly lead one to such conclusions."
Here's some photos of one of their last nights, a fundraiser for Green Scare.
Entrance to the venue.
This hillbilly band were hilariously anarchic, with members occasionally collapsing off stage in a drunken stupor.
With the hillbilly band showing little enthusiasm for ever stopping their set, the 20-strong Rude Mechanical Orchestra moved in en masse and after a slight scuffle claimed the stage.
The Rude Mechanical Orchestra is a New York City-based radical marching band with a mission statement saying that they, " exist in order to serve the efforts of progressive and radical groups and causes."
The Orchestra was described as "a bonkers radical marching band (about 14 musicians, a flag / baton twirler, band leader w/ fancy hat and megaphone.. And dancers!)" by blogger Goldtop, who added, " Any band that can include Mano Chao, Salt'n'Pepa & Le Tigre into a marching band format gets my approval."
Here's our mate Matt, giving it some major oom-pah action on his enormous tuba!
Update 2007: DUMBA, by the way, was still going strong as of a few weeks ago -- one of my bandmates was involved in a 'Turkish oil wrestling' match they held (it was lesbians and transgendered folk only, so I didn't attend, but I'm assured it was a riot). Far from laying low, it seems they're going out with a bang!
Matt 12th Feb, 2007
Queers in Space DUMBA Takes Off; Village Voice, May 12, 1999
Where the Bois Are, NY Mag, Jan 2004
The final days of the DUMBA collective, NY Press
Shortbus the movie
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