New York's Historic Webster Hall Is Closing And I'm Crushed

New York's Historic Webster Hall Is Closing And I'm Crushed

There's nothing else like it in New York.

Say it ain't so. Alive and kicking since 1886, Webster Hall is closing its doors this week for a few years of renovations and will reopen under new ownership afterward. It's safe to say this is certainly the end of an era.

Webster Hall was recently sold to Brooklyn Sports Entertainment and AEG Presents (think, The Barclay's Center and Terminal 5) and in May, all employees were served termination notices. It was announced in recent months that the space will reopen under corporate management and will feature less of the world famous dance and club nights.

A breeding ground for New York City's finest musicians and the thriving bohemian culture of the Village, Webster Hall saw talents such as Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and more throughout the 1950s and 60s. And in recent years, it has seen names like The Killers, Green Day, John Mayer, Charli XCX, Good Charlotte, Bleachers, and more.

The Greenwich Village Historical Society said it best: "Webster Hall’s played an extraordinary role in the cultural development of the Village from the start. The labor leaders, activists, intellectuals, musicians, artists, and bohemians that danced, cheered, argued, and reveled under its roof and in front of its façade all added to and, in some ways. created the notion of the Village as a place on the forefront of social issues and of entertainment. The intact, elegantly detailed façade of Webster Hall has sheltered some of the Village’s most infamous moments, and this first modern night club deserves to be an individual landmark.”

In 2007, the building and its annex were marked a New York City Landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and in 2008, the venue expanded more and opened The Studio at Webster Hall at the basement level of the venue, accessed through a cellar door on the street level.

The historic East Village nightclub and concert venue sits on East 11th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues, and the walk from the Union Square subway hub to the corner of 11th and Third is one I know well. If it were a sunny day or a nice night, you could probably catch my friends and me making the trek from Penn Station all the way there, just for fun.

I've seen my favorite band, Paradise Fears, play Webster Hall four times in the past four years. Once in the Grand Ballroom, with a capacity of 1,500, as they opened for Andy Grammer on his 2015 tour.

Once in the Marlin Room, which has a capacity of 600, but the band only released 200 tickets to make the show feel more intimate. It was 2014, I was 15, but I said I was 16 to get into the show.

And twice in The Studio, which quickly became my favorite concert spot in the city. An intimate performance space with low ceilings and a capacity of 400, I can't think of a better spot to see your favorite band perform. In January 2016 and 2017, Paradise Fears played one-night-only shows in New York in The Studio, since they are not as active in touring or making music as they used to be, but still have plenty of loyal fans willing to come see a show. This was the best spot in the whole city to host it. But now that it's closed, where will the annual show be held?

So yes, Webster Hall is closing, and I'm kind of devastated. Sure, it's reopening in a few years and we'll all be grateful for the updated bathrooms, but the grime, the dirt, the look, the tight spaces... that's all that makes Webster Hall, well, Webster Hall. And now it won't really be the same.

Luckily, the Ballinger Brothers (long-time owners of the club) went out with a bang. The "End of an Era" celebration shows have been closing out the beloved space over the past two weeks, and according to Metro NY News, there was "no curfew. Skrillex, along with other artists, led a crazed all-nighter beginning on Saturday and lasting into Sunday until almost 7 AM, when security staff shut down the music."

Now that's Webster Hall in a nutshell. See you in 2019.

Cover Image Credit: Annie Condodina

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31 Reasons Why I Would NEVER Watch Season 2 Of '13 Reasons Why'

It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.

When I first started watching "13 Reasons Why" I was excited. I had struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for a long time and thought this show would be bringing light to those issues. Instead, it triggered my feelings that I had suppressed.

With season two coming out soon, I have made up my mind that I am NEVER watching it, and here is why:

1. This show simplifies suicide as being a result of bullying, sexual assault, etc. when the issue is extremely more complex.

2. It does not effectively address mental illness, which is a major factor in suicide.

3. The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention has guidelines on how to portray suicides in TV shows and movies without causing more suicides.

"13 Reasons Why" disregarded those guidelines by graphically showing Hannah slitting her wrists.

4. It is triggering to those who have tried to commit suicide in the past or that struggle with mental illness.

5. It glorifies suicide.

6. It does not offer healthy coping solutions with trauma and bullying.

The only "solution" offered is suicide, which as mentioned above, is glorified by the show.

7. This show portrays Hannah as dramatic and attention-seeking, which creates the stereotype that people with suicidal thoughts are dramatic and seeking attention.

8. Hannah makes Clay and other people feel guilty for her death, which is inconsiderate and rude and NOT something most people who commit suicide would actually do.

9. This show treats suicide as revenge.

In reality, suicide is the feeling of hopelessness and depression, and it's a personal decision.

10. Hannah blames everyone but herself for her death, but suicide is a choice made by people who commit it.

Yes, sexual assault and bullying can be a factor in suicidal thoughts, but committing suicide is completely in the hands of the individual.

11. Skye justifies self-harm by saying, "It's what you do instead of killing yourself."

12. Hannah's school counselor disregards the clear signs of her being suicidal, which is against the law and not something any professional would do.

13. The show is not realistic.

14. To be honest, I didn't even enjoy the acting.

15. The characters are underdeveloped.

16. "13 Reasons Why" alludes that Clay's love could have saved Hannah, which is also unrealistic.

17. There are unnecessary plot lines that don't even advance the main plot.

18. No one in the show deals with their problems.

They all push them off onto other people (which, by the way, is NOT HEALTHY!!!).

19. There is not at any point in the show encouragement that life after high school is better.

20. I find the show offensive to not only me, but also to everyone who has struggled with suicidal thoughts.

21. The show is gory and violent, and I don't like that kind of thing.

22. By watching the show, you basically get a step-by-step guide on how to commit suicide.

Which, again, is against guidelines set by The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

23. The show offers no resources for those who have similar issues to Hannah.

24. It is not healthy for me or anyone else to watch "13 Reasons Why."

25. Not only does the show glorify suicide, but it also glorifies self-harm as an alternative to suicide.

26. Other characters don't help Hannah when she reaches out to them, which could discourage viewers from reaching out.

27. Hannah doesn't leave a tape for her parents, and even though the tapes were mostly bad, I still think the show's writers should have included a goodbye to her parents.

28. It simplifies suicide.

29. The show is tactless, in my opinion.

30. I feel like the show writers did not do any research on the topic of suicide or mental illness, and "13 Reasons Why" suffered because of lack of research.

31. I will not be watching season two mostly because I am bitter about the tastelessness.

And I do not want there to be enough views for them to make a season three and impact even more people in a negative way.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
Cover Image Credit: Netflix

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7 Reasons To Get Excited For The Orlando Fringe Festival

Aside from the obvious draw of 100+ shows to choose from, there are so many more reasons to check it out.

The Orlando Fringe Festival is a two-week performing arts extravaganza featuring all kinds of acts from this city and others. It is also the longest-running theater festival in the United States, so it’s had plenty of time to get great. If you want the basics on how to attend, there is an article in the Orlando Sentinel that breaks it down for first-timers. But as we gear up for what is basically Coachella for theater nerds, here are just a few more things to get jazzed about.

1. You’ll finally be able to support your artist friends.

We all have that friend who is constantly involved in some sort of production. Of course you’d love to go and see them all, but who has the time? At Fringe, there are plenty of chances to see a show, since there are performances at many different times for two weeks. And if you have a lot of friends who are performers in Orlando, then I have good news! They will all be in the same place.

2. Two words: food trucks.

There is pretty much no other time when it is socially acceptable to eat a bunch of fried Oreos than at a carnival or at Fringe. Carnivals seem dangerous though, so you might as well just hang out at Fringe, where it’s safe.

3. There’s something for everyone.

Even if theater isn’t your thing, there are more than just a few alternative options available. You can also find concerts, stand up comedy, storytelling, and a whole lot of things that will make you say, “I didn’t know that was a thing."

4. This year, planning is easy.

In their 27th year, the Orlando Fringe has introduced a new way to plan which shows to see. The Fringe-o-Matic allows you to input the shows you’re interested in and create a personalized schedule so you can make it to (almost) all of them.

5. You’ll never have to travel far.

Most of the shows at Fringe are located in or around Loch Haven Park, and venues include the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, the Orlando Repertory Theatre and the Orlando Museum of Art. These are all within walking distance of each other, and are separated only by a parking lot (which, by the way, is free to use). The only other shows are BYOV, or Bring Your Own Venue, in multiple locations in Orlando.

6. It’s not just local acts.

Maybe if you’re an Orlando native, you’re a little tired of the local scene. This festival includes production companies from lots of other states and countries, so it’s a great opportunity to see fresh faces and shows that are the best of their respective locale.

7. Things will get weird.

Even if you’re a veteran Fringe-goer, you’re definitely in for a quite a few surprises. Last year, I saw a Canadian male burlesque troupe led by a Justin Trudeau impersonator (caution: link NSFW), and it wasn’t even the craziest thing that happened.

The Orlando Fringe Festival runs from May 15th to the 28th, so it’s right around the corner. It’s all happening so fast! But if you’re not hyped yet, maybe you should take a trip to the beer tent.

Cover Image Credit: Orlando Fringe

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