I was wandering around Wyckoff Avenue for a while Friday night trying to find the entrance to Scapegrace, the site for Olive Juice's first "Juice Box." event. I finally saw Jen and Uchenna of The Fools and followed behind them.
Major Matt discontinued the OJ All Day Fest, this year, which I thought was kind of too bad. I'd just assumed those would go on forever and that when we were all old and grey we'd be pulling together to schlep amps, set up the merch tables, write the press releases, whatever needed to be done. Of course it's easy for me to say that when I'm not the one bearing all the burden of organizing the whole thing, so I understand Matt's decision. But the event Friday was a nice alternative.
First, the Scapegrace space is amazing. I didn't have any idea at all what to expect when I entered this long hall that was in a state of half-decay. But when I paid my three bucks and turned the corner I was in this incredible large room that was flanked on both sides by gorgeous walls of pressed tin, painted a kind of milky green. The walls seemed as if they emerged straight from a hundred years ago and they showed the wear of all that time. While my fantasies of time travel will undoubtedly never be fulfilled, I always love finding situations where real elements from the past are part of the scene. Julie Delano explained later that they'd discovered the tin after removing layers of unattractive panelling. Artwork by Preston Spurlock, Toby Goodshank, and Angela Carlucci was on view throughout the room and added a lot to the feel of the room. Preston's and Toby's work was on one wall framed in old windows from the house. Angela created a set of amazing intricate cutouts that were posted on the other side of the room.
The space has a large backyard where lots of folks congregated between music sets. Beverages and merchandise were available back there along with lots of good conversation. The humidity had trailed off by that point and the weather was perfect for hanging around out doors
Inside three groups played. First up was Brian, a group of three gals playing what I thought reflected a kind of surf-music feel. The Wowz played a great set, and Schwervon was solid as usual and got the crowd moving. Although I enjoyed listening to the bands, somehow the music seemed to be more of a general part of the ambience than the main focus of the night. DJs continued after the bands played and a small group of enthusiastic dancers were still going at it when I left. Yoko Kikuchi took some photos documenting the night, which you can see be clicking here: Yoko's pictures.
Part of what made the night so enjoyable was the laid back vibe of the whole scene. There was a lot of hanging out and catching up. Although I saw a lot of the regular OJ crew, there also were a good mix of new faces too--at least new to me.
Wycoff Avenue seems to have morphed even since the last time I was there, which doesn't feel like it was too long ago. There are a handful of upscale restaurants, bars, and shops that have popped up. It's inevitable, I guess, but it would be nice to think that the neighborhood could stay accessible to folks who have been there for a while. About two years ago the Forgotten New York site documented the entire length of Wycoff Avneue and you can read about it by clicking here.
Scapegrace is conveniently located a few steps from the Jefferson Street stop on the L, but why is it that late on the weekends the L always seems to be replaced by a shuttle bus? Luckily the other night one came right away and I was able to get moving.