Underground music, arts venue Whitehaus to shut down

November 9, 2012
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JP CENTER—The Whitehaus, an artist commune and influential underground music venue at 10 Seaverns Ave., is facing its final months after a police raid of an October show and the landlord’s decision not to offer a new lease, according to Whitehaus member Sam Potrykus.

“Our time has come…It’s over,” said Potrykus, who was summoned to court last month on a complaint of “keeping a disorderly house” following the police shutdown of an Oct. 12 show there.

No more concerts will be held there, and the lease situation will probably force the residents, who call themselves the Whitehaus Family, to move out by next spring, he said.

The Whitehaus Family has been active in Jamaica Plain for years and lived at 10 Seaverns for about six years. It has been a major player in the Boston music scene, holding large concerts in Cambridge and releasing albums on its own record label. Many members are in prominent local bands. That includes Potrykus, a member of the Needy Visions, which played the JP Music Festival this year. Potrykus also publishes the Boston Counter Cultural Compass, a well-known listing of underground shows, from the house.

But the house also regularly drew noise complaints for its slate of concerts by local and touring musicians. That history finally caught up with the house with the raid by about 20 police officers on Oct. 12. Potrykus was not charged with any crime at the court hearing, but was told he will be if he stages another concert there between now and next June.

And the house’s landlords, the local Stamatos family, will not renew the annual lease in a move apparently unconnected to the police raid, Potrykus said.

“Plain and simple, they’ve told us they have plans for the property that don’t involve a hippie house,” he said, adding that the group guesses any redevelopment would start early next year.

Christ Stamatos of the Stamatos real estate business did not return a Gazette phone call.

Potrykus said the Whitehaus Family intends to stick together and is maintaining a positive attitude about the future. He is also exploring the possibility of creating an officially permitted, though still do-it-yourself, music venue through his Boston Hassle event promotion effort. He said some supports of the house have proposed a petition calling for it to remain alive, but that he is not interested in that effort.

The Whitehaus Family understands the house-as-venue was “illegal even though it’s noble,” Potrykus said.

“I’m not fighting for a dying venue,” he said. “In the end, it’s not a legitimate venue and it had a good run. Let’s face it, it’s a home. It’s not a community center.”

Potrykus added that he has no hard feelings toward anyone who complained about noise or toward the police.

Meanwhile, the house’s residents are only beginning to figure out where they might move and still live together.

“If anyone has a big house in a not-too-densely-populated area in Jamaica Plain, let us know,” Potrykus said.

For more about the Whitehaus, see whitehausfamilyrecord.com.

The Whitehaus at 10 Seaverns Ave. (Gazette Photo by John Ruch)