HARLEM — A goth singer "capable of the most unnerving vocal terror" and whose albums include "Litanies of Satan" is performing a series of shows in a Harlem church.
Diamanda Galás, an avant-garde vocalist and performance artist, is bringing her show to the former St. Thomas the Apostle Church at 258 W. 118th St, which is being renovated as a community arts center.
Galás is the lead performer of the Red Bull Music Academy Festival. The first show was Tuesday, with encores slated for May 12 and 14.
Galás billed her concerts as “Death Will Come and Will Have Your Eyes,” according to a profile in The New York Times.
The gothic design of the church was a draw for the performer with organizers billing the venue as “an appropriately dazzling setting.”
But her using the venue has caused concern among residents in the area.
David Shamoon, who lives in adjacent building The Fitzgerald and whose apartment window faces the church, said holding what he called a “Satanist” concert in the area is bad judgment on the part of its owner, Artimus.
The company paid $6 million in 2012 for the building and agreed to preserve the 109-year-old church’s features, according to a 2014 article by the New York Daily News.
“The developer promised to convert the church to a community center,” said Shamoon. “This developer now turned around and is doing something distasteful to the community.”
A spokesperson for Artimus did not respond to a request for comment.
Community members are particularly concerned about high noise levels since the concerts are planned to take place into the late evening.
“We’re appalled by this breach of community trust as this space was presented as a place to host community events, and not to serve as Madison Square Garden Harlem,” said Robert Grgurev, who is on the board of The Fitzgerald, in an email sent to Fitzgerald tenants and shared with DNAinfo.
“We’re checking into the legality/permitting of all of this.”
A spokesman for the city’s Department of Buildings told DNAinfo that since the venue is technically still a church there is no requirement for the organizers to file a certificate of occupancy.
A spokesperson for the Red Bull Music Academy Festival did not respond to a request for comment.
Concert attendees posted to social media praising the singer: