BROOKSIDE—Tucked behind an unassuming green front door, the Space at 128 Brookside Ave. regularly metamorphosizes into a creative art and performance haven.
Originally home to a creative co-working group called Ad Hoc Studios, the Space found its current life when one of the group members, Ken Michaels, took over the lease for himself when the group upgraded venues.
“I liked the current space much better and was honestly thrilled at the idea of having it to myself,” Michaels told the Gazette.
He started having daydreams of grand pianos, experimental art shows and other “uncool,” “unhip” things.
“I don’t know that I could say the Space has a mission of any kind. I look for people, art, music, that will be fun, enjoyable, new, interesting, and positive in attitude. Often I don’t know myself what an event will sound or look like, but [I] trust it, and look forward to it, based solely on the vibe and enthusiasm of the artist putting it on,” he said.
The Space is not for rent, Michaels said. If he isn’t interested in hosting an event, “there’s no reasonable rent that could make me want it.”
“Conversely, if I want an event to happen there, there’s no reason for me to charge someone money for it,” he said.
There is no admission for events, only a “strictly no-pressure” donation box. Money is split evenly between Michaels and the artists performing.
The Space most recently hosted Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band. It has also hosted film screenings, art shows, theater, comedy, readings and burlesque, as well as other music shows. Michaels said that, while incredibly difficult to pick favorites, piano accompaniments to silent films are a favorite.
“I have a soft spot for Yakov Gubanov’s live piano performances to old silent films,” said Michaels. “He is one of the nicest, most sincere and most talented people I have met. He plays like he has six hands.”
Yakov, a Ukraine native, is a Berklee College of Music professor and composer who has also performed at the Harvard Film Archive. He has played scores at the Space for such films as “Nosferatu,” “The General,” “Seven Chances,” “The Lodger” and some short animations.
Michaels said that he hopes his use of the venue is legal. While the Space has no liquor or entertainment licenses, he does not charge for events, nor does he sell alcohol. He advertises events on a Facebook page.
“As far as I am concerned, these are private parties for friends, even if they are friends I have not quite met yet. Money is not at all a motivator in anything Space-related,” he said.
“Through the space, I wish to provide a venue for artist and audience member alike that is as comfortable and warm and friendly and informal as a living room. I believe that a relaxed and friendly atmosphere provides the best conditions for outstanding performances, as well as for enjoying them,” Michaels said.
For more information on the Space and its events, see facebook.com/brooksidespace.