www.whyville.net Mar 23, 2008 Weekly Issue

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Emmy's Logo Here: What's Up With 924?

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924 Gilman.

If I could live there, I would.

I've been fascinated with the 924 Gilman Street project ever since I heard of it when I was thirteen. It's thousands of miles away from where I live, but it doesn't stop me from dreaming of when I'll finally be able to visit the legendary, straightedge, all ages music club in Berkeley, California. There are so many factors that make Gilman, as the venue is called by us fans, such an amazing and unique place to visit and for bands to play.

That is why I have decided I will share it all with you this week, ladies and gentleman. I was pondering what to write about; something inspirational and tasteful, something that many of you don't know about, something that will surprise and inspire you. I lay in bed for hours thinking about it. It took me awhile to realize that I didn't want to write about fear or love or individuality or whatever feelings I usually drag out in this column. I want to talk about a place. I want to talk about 924 Gilman.

"Gilman is located in North Berkeley, about 1 1/2 miles from the North Berkeley BART station. Walk north on Sacramento until it dead ends. Make a left at the dead end, and then a right onto Gilman. Walk down until you get to 8th. Gilman is located at 8th and Gilman." - 924 Gilman Street Project's website

There you go.
Go to 924 Gilman now, or you'll regret it.

What is 924 Gilman, anyways? You ask. I would love, love to tell you. 924 Gilman is a punk rock/pop-punk/alternative/hardcore music venue that is located, like I said before, on Gilman Street in Berkeley, California. "There aren't a lack of venues in the world, Emmy. Why are you telling us about some random one in California?"

You see reader, 924 Gilman is different in many ways, all of which I will get to and explain thoroughly after a bit of a history lesson. Shall we go on?

924 Gilman was established in April of 1986. We're going on 22 years in just a couple of weeks, which is a long time for any music venue. Just about eight months after Gilman was founded, they held their first show. December 31st, New years Eve. And what a show it was. Soup, the first band to have ever played at Gilman, blew everyone away.

924 Gilman was in business.

There are countless reasons why 924 Gilman is so popular. First off, 924 Gilman opened when two of the area's most famous punk clubs closed, so any new venue was attracting fans by the truckloads. 924 Gilman also sets itself apart by being a straightedge-no drugs/alcohol/or violence on the premises.

"We strive to provide a violence, alcohol and drug-free environment. We will not book or support racist, misogynist, or homophobic bands or performances." - 924 Gilman Street Project's website.

The venue provides a safe area to hang out for all ages, which is the main reason the club has become so huge. There aren't many places were a fifteen year old can go legally to see some good bands perform, not to mention with parental permission. 924 Gilman is a place for these type of kids to go. Heck, some young parents with 5 or 6 year old children have been seen at the club. Gilman is one of the few places that pulls off amazing shows with great bands, along with a secure place for music lovers of all ages to experience the shows.

924 Gilman isn't one of a kind by being an all ages club, there are a couple of others out there, but 924 Gilman is truly unique in the fact that the club is run by volunteers. You can buy a two dollar membership to the club, and help with organizing shows, work around the club, help improve Gilman, and attend member meetings. Plus, you get to see a bunch of fantastic shows for almost free ( I mean, two dollars a year? That's cheap!) while helping out the music community and bringing great bands to great people.

Even if you aren't a member, you can show up at the club an hour before the doors open and volunteer and help out for a night, while experiencing the music free, like I mentioned before. That's always a big bonus.

Membership meetings are held at the first and third Saturday of the month, and this is where members can share ideas and the main decisions about the club are made. If you aren't a member of the club, to get in to the shows are generally five to seven dollars. Not much at all to see a good night of underground and some more popular, influential bands play, too.

Speaking of the bands, there have been a ton that have played there. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds. There are a couple I could name that I'm pretty sure you'd be familiar with.

924 Gilman does not book bands with major labels, so before these bands got really popular, they played frequent shows at the music venue

- Green Day
- Rancid
- The Dead Kennedys (Have some of you heard about Jello Biafra's little incident at 924 Gilman? What an incident it was . . . look it up.)
- Jawbreaker
- Tiger Army
. . . and so, so many more. In fact, on the venue's official website, www.924gilman.org, it lists the upcoming shows. Here are some of the shows for March and the bands rocking the house.



Friday 21 Seven Dollars
DOORS OPEN at 7:30
7 Generations (L.A.)
A Better Hope Foundation (L.A.)
Dukes Up
The Separation
Deepen The Wound (NV)
Fell Voices

Saturday 22 Eight Dollars
DOORS OPEN at 7:00
Despise You (L.A.)
Lack Of Interest (L.A.)
Pretty Little Flower (TX)
50/50 (TX)
In Disgust
Noisear (NM)
Superbad (OR)
Self Inflicted

Friday 28
Acts Of Sedition
Sojourner (WA)
Marrow (WA)

Saturday 29
Rock n' Roll Adventure Kids
No Bunny
Traditional Fools

It looks like a fine time to be had by all.

I'm sitting at my computer, flipping through the 924 Gilman book, wondering how I could convince my parents to let me come to the gritty, fun Gilman Street. Speaking of the 924 Gilman book, I think you should all pick up a copy. The book tells the whole history of the amazing venue, along with the odd, odd, stories and humorous events that have taken place over the years.

Written/put together by Brian Edge, the book is a great way to learn about 924 Gilman and get a few laughs in, too, along with a whole lot of inspiration.

Like I said, I'd live there if I could. To be surrounded by such culture, such fun and people who like the same music as you, who believe in some of the same things, would be amazing.

I'll just take the #9 bus down from downtown Berkeley to 8th and Gilman . . . Someday . . . It'll be like coming home.



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