Fortune Sound Club will host a fundraiser for the beleaguered venue in November.
Often dubbed a "cultural wildlife refuge," the arts space and occasional music venue on the outskirts of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside neighbourhood was a hub for the artistic community for over 30 years. Once home to Vancouver's famed JC/DC recording studios, it also hosted a comic book shop and other various independent businesses. The venue closed in early 2012, as ongoing gentrification of the area led to developers buying up property.
Since the closing, members of the Red Gate Arts Society have been searching for a replacement space while raising money to secure one. This fundraiser will be one of the most prominent events yet, featuring many of Vancouver's most respected electronic artists. RA Horizons alumnus Max Ulis—who primarily plays house and techno these days—will headline alongside Taal Mala, known for his eclectic mix of drum & bass, hip-hop, grime and more. Big Feelings (the duo of Tusk and MattyFromLife), local band Nam Shub, analogue hardware enthusiast Ace Decade and hip-hop collective Rap Goofz are also billed. Rounding out the lineup are sound artist Holzkopf and experimental techno producer Hitori Tori, with MC duties handled by Late Night Mike.
RA spoke to board member and organizer of the Red Gate Arts Society Matty Harris to discuss the fundraiser and the future of the Red Gate.
What made Red Gate so special, what were some of the memorable things that would happen there?
It saw the birthplace of new movements in visual arts, dance culture and experimental music. Most notable to me was The Bug playing there back in '06, thanks to Michael Red and Lighta! Sound. There were so many incredible shows I've lost track of some. We had kids; birthday parties, film nights, art shows, rehearsals, shows, dance parties. What made it special was that it was a place for anyone who wanted to make something happen, they could. There was no limit put on creativity and expression. Furthermore it was a second home to many artists, a haven for folks to let their minds be free.
What's the proposed new space like, and how will it continue Red Gate's legacy?
The new space we have applied to use alongside Vancouver Co-Lab and The Vancouver Hacker Society is at Station St and Industrial Ave, and has 15,000 square feet of warehouse space and another 2,500 of office space. We want to create a space that fosters the widest possible range of collaborative, creative activity. We see culture in the broadest sense as the apex of human expressions and aspirations, the root from which all branches of human activity grow; the sum of all the stories we tell ourselves and each other about who we are and what we're doing. Culture is often considered narrowly as a somewhat marginal and impractical activity, somewhere down the "hierarchy of needs" to be enjoyed only after our real, practical tasks are accomplished. We think that culture is the reason we do all the other stuff. There's nothing more practical than having a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Culture in this broader sense is always an organic synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and social elements. Therefore we see any functioning cultural space as requiring zones for these three overlapping spheres of activity. Accordingly, we intend to partition the building into areas set aside for the advancement of these three elements of culture, with the social element providing the crucial role in integrating the technical and the aesthetic. Some areas will be reserved for workshops devoted to a wide range of technologies, from wood and metal working to electronics, 3D printing and fabrication, and software/interface design and development, to be managed and operated by the VHS and VCL collectives.
How will the Fortune show contribute to "raising the Red Gate" exactly?
Our intention with a show was, as a collective we had not produced a show in over a year, and we wished to maintain the momentum built by our Indiegogo fundraiser campaign. We want to remind people we are still here and we are not going to give up.