[We did it! Thank you everyone! Watch the backer updates for construction progress -- and here's the permanent web home of the Gemini & Scorpio Loft: http://www.geminiandscorpio.com/loft.html ]
You are invited to participate in the creation of something unique and magical.
We are Gemini and Scorpio (@gemini_scorpio), creators of immersive themed costume events with live entertainment and editors of a weekly underground NYC events list. More on G&S is in our bio below, if you've not heard of us -- but we hope you have: from our events, which have ranged from Brooklyn warehouses to Lincoln Center; from the NYC creative types, whether artists, performers or burners; or from our many press accolades -- from The New York Times and New York Magazine to TimeOut and The Village Voice.
In our 10 years of creating events, publishing the list, and being in the overlapping communities of producers and performers, the one consistent issue we've encountered in NYC is lack of affordable arts space. When cities have large cheap spaces, the arts thrive. But when all available spaces are turned into luxury condos, artisanal cocktail bars, and bottle service clubs, the makers of alternative, artistic culture have nowhere to go. We could count on one hand the number of remaining functioning underground arts spaces in NYC.
We'd been looking for the perfect spot for nearly four years. When we walked into this one, we knew right away this was home. And with G&S turning ten years old on Feb 14, 2013, we knew this was the time.
Here is a location we can finally use for all those events that are vital to building community but don't generate much income, created by us or others: all-ages brunches with live music and dancing, theatrical performances, art shows, benefits for causes/artists/communities, talks on curious topics, hands-on artistic experiences, costume sales, dinner parties, movie nights on our giant roof, music showcases, activist gatherings, art & science lectures, yoga/dance/capoeira/acro classes… Many of these types of events have already taken place here over the last year, and more keep getting booked all the time. The loft is also where we can focus on elevating the experience of our own immersive themed parties, instead of wasting time on venue hunting.
We make a big effort to keep the prices of G&S events affordable while paying all our artists, as we believe the arts should be both accessible and sustainable. Of course this means that there isn't much money for us to create as complete a transformation of the space as we would like. We hope you, our community, both artists and arts lovers, will join us in building a new home for what we do, so we can continue to protect and present the arts, grow audiences, and make magic happen -- together.
WHERE YOUR MONEY IS GOING
G&S has already invested close to $30,000 in the space: demolition, trash removal, insulation, finished floors in parts of the space, partial sanding of the floor in main event area, building of multiple rooms and bathrooms, partial electric & plumbing, new window installation, etc.
Here are the next scheduled improvements, and where your donations will go:
- Sanding and sealing main event space floors, $8,000
- Removing paint, re-mortaring & refinishing main space walls, $10,000
- Removing old tin ceiling, installing insulation and new ceiling in main space, $8,000
- Fixing skylights, $1,000
- Fixing/replacing roof and fire escape doors and adjacent flooring, $1,000
- Window finishing & insulation, $1,000
- New hot water heater and related plumbing, $2,000
- Completing two toilet stalls (walls & floor tile), $2,000
- Completing main bath (shower, tub, walls & floor tile), $7,000
- Electric & lighting in main event area, $4,000
- Central air / heat, $6,000
As you can see, even this total is greater than our asking goal -- and that's not yet factoring in professional sound and lights, kitchen and office buildout, and of course ongoing venue decor improvements, which easily adds up to another $30k. In the future, we even hope to look into putting solar panels, an apiary, and possibly even a small farm on our 3,000sq ft roof. The more we can raise, the better we can make the space, faster.
We've been working on the loft bit by bit almost every day for the last year, but the financial reality of the space hasn't allowed us to pause long enough to make real change happen -- and whatever savings we'd put aside for the project have long been spent. With this campaign's financial boost, we'll finally be able to do the big renovation. The current plan is to go dark in July-August, and return, sparkly and new, in the fall.
We need your help, community. For 10 years now, G&S has been bringing together the arts and the audience: getting artists paid and known for their work while giving audiences one-of-a-kind nightlife experiences. This space will enable us to do more (and better) of the same, and we hope that you will support our mission, whether you may benefit as performer or guest, or simply get joy as an arts supporter. Thank you.
The rewards you see here represent just a small fraction of the community we have supported over the years (the artists who've performed at our parties, the producers whose events we list in our newsletter, etc) and hope to continue to support via the space. Follow these generous and talented people's links to learn more about the magic they create. Now, for some additional info...
- The $5 reward (thank you card, backer updates, etc) and the $15 reward (music download bundle) are included with ALL donations above those amounts, respectively, and the $75 Champagne "Thank You" Gala ticket is included with all rewards over $200.
- Everyone who supports at the $75 level and above is entitled to request a secret G&S token, redeemable for future happenings not open to general public. The only way to get these is in person from us at any 2013 G&S party or at the Champagne "Thank You" Gala. Find Miss Scorpio, or ask the door people or bartender. And then stay tuned to the mailing list: http://www.geminiandscorpio.com/subscribe.html
- The Black and White Ball posters ($35-40) and Masquerade Macabre flasks ($40-45) can be added on to ANY reward level. Just add the correct amount, depending on whether you're in the US or not, to whatever pledge you're making, and let us know you what you're adding when filling out the reward survey after the campaign.
- Custom packages can be made from any available (not sold out) rewards. Drop us a note, and we'll put one together just for you.
BONUS: ALL campaign backers get FREE VIP preview access to our 6/2 fundraising Goldmine! shopping party ($10 value), where you can shop the closets of Miss Scorpio and burlesque star Veronica Varlow, plus fabulous others. Other backer-only perks will come after the campaign ends, so don't miss your chance to be in this special group.
Scroll to the bottom to see rewards images.
MORE ON GEMINI AND SCORPIO
G&S parties have become legendary, from wild circus throwdowns to dazzling vintage dance socials to one-of-a-kind Russian baths bashes. The events are often marked by offbeat themes, fantastic costumes, mind-blowing music, burlesque and circus performances, unique art and decor, and wild dancing into the morning. They've been written up in The New York Times, NY Post, The Village Voice, TimeOut NY, Flavorpill, Brooklyn Based, and many others, but amNY put it best in their "Nightlife Trends 2011" - "Expect a setting that’s both festive and whimsical, featuring art installations, roving performers, cheap drinks and DJ sets that run late into the night. Guests dress to the nines, whatever the theme: steampunk glamour, circus riot, faux fur or neon bling."
Here are some other select honors we've gotten from the media:
- TimeOut "Best Secret Parties in NYC" 2013
- Buzzfeed #3 in "Top 10 Steampunk Parties" 2012
- TimeOut "Best of NYC" 2011; "Essential New York" 2010
- ChloeJo "Best List of What To Do in NYC" 2008
- Village Voice "Best Of" 2006
G&S is unique in bridging the underground and high-culture worlds: we've thrown warehouse parties and presented at Lincoln Center, staged secret speakeasies and been written up in every major press outlet, planned semi-illegal outings and been hired by the likes of BBC America to curate high-end events.
In addition to our events, G&S has been running the second-largest non-commercial New York City events list for almost ten years, spreading the word on underground happenings you'd otherwise never hear about. The list has been coming out every Friday, year-round, for a decade. The best way to find out what we're up to is to get on it: http://www.geminiandscorpio.com/subscribe.html
OTHER WAYS TO HELP: MATERIALS
The more money we can save on these, the more we can invest in other parts of the space. Here's a rough list of what we're looking for:
Electric or hybrid hot water heater, capacity TBC
Ceiling material, about 2,000 sq ft - pressed tin preferred
Floor sander and other floor-finishing tools, use for one week
Moisture cure polyurethane floor finish, multiple 5-gal buckets
2x4s, sheetrock, cement board
Skylight (wired) glass
Powerful A/C & fans (ultimately looking for industrial A/C unit)
Soundproofing materials: wedge or egg crate acoustic foam / foam core panels
White subway tile
Tempered glass panels for shower enclosure
Track lighting system
Sound system components
Large projector screen
Small wood folding chairs
Grill, chairs, tables for the roof
Shade structures, umbrellas and outdoor heaters for the roof
OTHER WAYS TO HELP: LABOR
Our biggest cost is labor, so if you have any skills in construction or are just plain handy, let us know (gs at geminiandscorpio dot com)! We're working on:
Floor sanding & finishing
Brick wall paint removal, repointing, cleaning and sealing
Wall framing & sheetrocking
Risks and challenges
Construction projects notoriously take more time and money than you allot in advance. This is why we've waited a year to even ask for help: to make sure we have a plan and know that we can do this. What we've accomplished on our own in that time is taking the loft from a raw warehouse to a functional, if still in-progress, arts space. The next steps are planned out and budgeted; all we're missing is the finances to allow us to close down production and focus on renovation. With your support, we can do this. We will keep all backers updated of our progress with posts and photos via the Kickstarter site, and via the G&S mailing list: http://www.geminiandscorpio.com/subscribe.htmlLearn about accountability on Kickstarter