924 Gilman Street is easily located at the corner of 8th Street and Gilman Street on the northwest side of Berkeley, CA. in a light-industrial and commercial area just a few blocks down from a quiet neighborhood and park. It shares a building with a canning shop. Across the street from the building is a Krav Maga dojo and a Whole Foods (a controversial addition due to the company’s role in gentrification). North of the venue are generic commercial buildings. Walking farther north reveals an entrance to a local creek which is a popular hangout spot for Gilman youth.
Inside, the stage occupies a corner of the building instead of an entire wall. The main entrance is on the building’s northern side. To the left of the entrance is Gilman’s concession stand (known as the “Stoar”), to the right is the office. The sound booth is located in the center of the building. Just right of the sound booth is the restroom area. Left of the booth is the side door which is manned by security during performances. The ceiling is convexed, moderately high, and provides decent acoustics.
(Early arrivals walk around before a show starts. Photo by Mark Hilton.)
(A piece of graffiti that accurately summarizes the Gilman mentality. Photo by Silas Jones.)
As one walks through the door and around the crowd control barrier, one will see a wide collection of art and graffiti spread across the walls of the venue. In the venue proper, one can see murals and spray paint art. Some is political, and some is purely artistic. The bathroom walls are also a canvas, covered in many layers of tags, some readable, others in the style that only other taggers will understand. Other examples show drawings and mini comics drawn in the local punk style, drawn in Sharpie and White-Out.
Walking around Gilman’s interior reveals it has been heavily used since it opened. The stage and furniture is heavily worn. There is a balcony on the wall near stage left, however, it is now mainly used for equipment storage. There are some oddities, such as a basketball hoop, and strings of Christmas lights on the sound booth. While the interior is covered in the aforementioned art and graffiti, the exterior is currently clean, as outside graffiti is forbidden. The exterior walls do not say “924 Gilman Street” or advertise its existence; it shares the building with a canning workshop (926 Gilman Street), which has its logo painted on the exterior. Gilman’s punk “vibe” is constrained to the inside only. The building was seismically retrofitted in 1995.
Posted on December 9, 2015, in 924-Gilman, Anthro136kF2015. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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