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Glasslands to Host Dance Party Funeral for Death of Williamsburg

By Serena Dai | November 14, 2014 5:51pm | Updated on November 17, 2014 8:37am
 Art collective and party organizers CHERYL will be hosting a funeral dance party to mourn the death of Williamsburg.
Art collective and party organizers CHERYL will be hosting a funeral dance party to mourn the death of Williamsburg.
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CHERYL/Margo Hagopian

WILLIAMSBURG — This is one funeral where skinny jeans will be encouraged.

Artist collective and party-organizing group CHERYL is mourning the death of Williamsburg next month with a funeral dance party at DIY venue Glasslands, one of the casualties of the neighborhood's transformation, said CHERYL co-founder Nick Schiarizzi.

Glasslands will be closing at the end of the year as Vice Media moves its headquarters to the area.

"After all the changes that have happened in Williamsburg in the last several years, this felt like the nail in the coffin," Schiarizzi said.

Williamsburg — a neighborhood once celebrated for its creative art scene — has recently become attractive to big box chains like J. Crew, Whole Foods and Starbucks. In turn, homegrown enterprises like Glasslands, Death By Audio and more have announced their closure, a trend that CHERYL members said they were "disturbed" by.

The party is way to "make light of" the situation that's happening in Williamsburg and, on a larger scale, all over New York, Schiarizzi said.

In that vein, suggestions for costumes include a mourning Starbucks barista, Whole Foods employee, Mast Brothers conquistador or Scrooge McDuck, embodiments of what the neighborhood has become, Schiarizzi said.

People looking to remember the history of Williamsburg, he suggested, could dress as goth versions of hipsters from 10 years ago.

And those who show up at the party on Dec. 6 without a costume can hit up a craft table, where paper masks, makeup and Sharpies for temporary tattoos will be offered for an on-the-spot funeral get up.

"Everything’s being pushed out," Schiarizzi said. "It’s becoming a shopping and luxury residential area. We’re just making fun of how it’s not a real neighborhood anymore."

Of course, CHERYL knows that mourning the loss of Williamsburg comes from a level of privilege.

When artists came in, "a whole wave of people" were replaced, he said. Since then, the artists have been replaced by the wealthy, he added.

"It is part of a bigger process," he said. "Us, we're just mourning that it has so rapidly and so clearly completely transformed an entire neighborhood."

CHERYL: A NAIL IN THE COFFIN will take place on Saturday, Dec. 6 between 11:30 p.m. and 4 a.m. at 289 Kent Ave. Cover costs $10. Costumes are encouraged.