On Ghost Ships and Housing Crises
The housing crisis is very real, it cost me my home back in May and was a huge factor in the deterioration of my relationship. I am very worried about the future for lower income people in Austin, especially people of color, queer Austinites, and artists as young professionals flood into this city from Chicago, LA, and NYC to strip Austin of its culture .. yet simultaneously package this culture to sell to people who already live here. It’s so bizarre. I think the only people who can relate to this are people in Portland, Brooklyn, and Harlem.
American cities used to be places where creative people could scrape together a living off of their art. No more. Now artists and creatives in cities work around the clock, often at multiple jobs, while their creative life is squeezed around the schedule of being a fkn wage slave so you can just make rent. Affordable housing in places like New York and San Francisco is too small to construct art projects. Studios are expensive. What are people supposed to do??? Not be artists? Go get 9–5 jobs and deny themselves what brings them pleasure just so they can afford an apartment they’re never in because they work 60 hours a week to pay for that apartment???
That being said — — — i think it’s really sad that places like the Ghost Ship are run by drug-fueled narcissists like Derick Ion. Granted I didn’t know the fucker …. but the stories I am hearing from people who did are not impressing me and I have been unfortunate to know many “artists” like him — self-serving, irresponsible, pretentious asshats who care more about drugs and curating a free-spirited facade than the safety and comfort of those around them. How many shows at that venue could have been used to raise funds to pay for permits? To fix stairs? To install sprinklers? To install fire alarms? If you are the organizer of an artist collective you owe it to the artists to whom you are providing a safe space, workplace, and often a HOME to take things seriously.
I urge my artists friends, especially those in collectives, to root out people like this. I am so sick of watching beautiful, creative lives and careers cut short by the prevalence / glorification of drugs, reckless behavior, and corner-cutting in artistic communities. I’m of the unwavering opinion that creatives are the most important people in society, we have such a rare gift, and we owe it to ourselves and to others to take self-preservation a little bit more seriously … especially if you are in a position of responsibility for the safety of others.
I’m so shaken by this news. Looking at pictures of survivors … they all look just like my friends. All the amazing painters, poets, DJs, party planners, comedians, musicians, and performance artists i have met in my own short life as a creative person. Bright, unique, clever, and full of hope.
Rest in fucking power.