By Jonny Grave
It’s like a living room in a group house with seven roommates. A space that’s not too big, but deceptively spacious, with limitless potential. Dance parties and DJs, bands from all over the country, yoga, crock pots and NFL games on the projector screen, dozens of artists sketching away at fold-up tables, art on every blank wall…
Last night was the end. Alex Tebeleff shot me an invite earlier in the week saying “One last show at the Dunes.” There’ll be an official farewell party next week, of course. The Dunes is still booked with private parties until May 1st, naturally. But last night was the last night The Dunes did what it set out to do.
What I found uplifting about last night’s show was the attitude of the people in the crowd. Instead of walking around with a “Well, this sucks,” attitude, everyone maintained an attitude of “Okay, so what’s next?” People seemed to be holding hands a little more than usual. They seemed to dance for the sake of dancing, because dwelling on the eventual and inevitable closing of the door was too much to bear. At least, that’s what I chose to believe when I was walking through the crowd with my camera.
Spaces like the Dunes are a necessity for creating an environment that fosters creativity and artistic initiative. This is a city whose skyline is dotted with construction cranes, erecting a new cookie-cutter condo every quarter. House concerts, DIY-style shows, art for art’s sake help drive the creative forces of the town beyond the expansion of the Stavropolous and Hilton empires.
The Dunes did that for us. The Dunes was more than a venue for performers like me. It was a blank canvas. There was no idea too wild, there was no concept too impossible. I play anywhere between twelve and twenty shows a month. There is nothing like a show at the Dunes, and I suspect there never will be again.