© 2015 oriana. All rights reserved. Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 12.35.56 AM

the spectrum

[I’m counting down to the release of the Brooklyn Spaces book by doing one mini-post per day, sharing teasers of some of the places you’ll find in it.]

neighborhood: east williamsburg | space type: performance venue | active since: 2011 | links: facebook

In late 2011, several queer community and collective living spaces were all shuttered in a row—the most high-profile being Mx. Justin Vivian Bond‘s House of Whimsy in the East Village. Artist Gage of the Boone and Mx. Bond’s former roommate Nicholas were looking to start a new space for queer and queer-friendly artists to gather and present their work, and they found what would become the Spectrum tucked behind a cheap diner in East Williamsburg. A former aerobics studio and after-hours bar, the space was painted black, walled with mirrors, and adorned with a stripper pole and two disco balls. “It was grimy and sleazy,” Gage says, “but also so weird and beautiful.”

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photo by Shannon Carroll

Three years on, the Spectrum has hit its stride. During the day, the space is used for dance and theatre rehearsals as well as classes, like disco yoga, queer pilates, dance, and meditation, all of which have a focus on inclusivity for any identity of body type. Then there are the nighttime events, showcasing all types of art and performance. Some recurring shows include Cloud Soundz (a music showcase), Revolting Grace and Execution (performance and dance-based work), Mama Said Sparkle! (performance art), Dick-tionary (poetry readings), and Ova the Rainbow, and Dizzyland (elaborately themed late-night dance parties). “I feel like this space is my radical duty, my everyday activism,” Gage says.

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photo by Kit Crenshaw

Want to learn more about the Spectrum, and 49 other incredible Brooklyn Spaces? Buy the book!