Collective Hardware Burns, Prime Turns

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Since the house is on fire, let us warm ourselves. — Italian proverb

The street-smart, ultra-cool, and uber-hot art gallery, performance venue, and creative space Collective Hardware just got hotter. The heat came in the form of a fire which devastated the top two floors of this ultimate downtown experience. Part Warholian factory, part bazaar, often bizarre and frequently edgy and enlightening, Collective has been a cauldron of forward fun for over a year. The fire started with those always crusty old faulty electrical wires. The damage from the fire and firemen’s hoses and axes seems to be survivable — the Collective crew are above all survivors.

The fifth floor, the domain Erik Foss (of my favorite watering hole Lit and the Fuse Gallery), was hit hardest. The amount of his work lost is still being assessed. Paul Sevigny was painting in a studio on the floor for awhile, but I was told he had nothing there at the time. Ninety percent of the equipment from the recording studio just below was saved and “absolutely no art from the gallery spaces and offices was lost … people are getting their hair cut now,” answered co-owner Stuart Bronz when I queried about the salon. The fire has quickened the move to “Collective Hardware west side annex.” Savior Steve Maass, not to be confused with former Mudd Club owner Steve Maas, has made his ginormous west side loft/studio available to the crew. Steve apparently had a tiff with man about town Izzy Gold, and they parted ways, creating an opportunity. Collective will still maintain its Bowery presence and now needs a helping hand from its friends as they rebuild. The best thing about the move for Collective and all their fans? The new space boasts showers.

image Rendering of Quo (click to enlrage).

Say it ain’t Quo! Prime, that midsize club people used to walk past on their way to Crobar/Mansion, is going to reopen using the old name Quo. Of all the joints that operated in the space, Quo is the most memorable. It’s like when they changed the Limelight name to Estate, then Avalon. Everybody still called it Limelight. Everybody always called it Quo. An insider tells me:

They renovated it so many times in such a short time that we feel they have overplayed the name change hand — and everyone refers to it as the Quo space anyway. After the change to Myst, Retox, Prime on a yearly basis — who is going to trust that this is a real renovation or real change? In my book — another new name will be lost in the shuffle again and a waste of everyone’s time and money. That said, the project is not about the name, but the product. It is a performance-driven nightclub driven with live interactive and integrated performances choreographed by Raven O (from the Box), as well as what we hope to be a strong calendar of live acts.

The renovation and nightclub design was done by Stonehill & Taylor. They hope to move away from the table/bottle “ultra lounge” era with a bigger dance floor and by taking away tables. They have taken down the wall between Myst/Retox and replaced it with a clear glass wall, creating a big-club experience. Mike Heller will handle PR/celeb bookings, and Antonio Fuccio of Georgica fame will be the day-to-day managing partner. M2 is doing well down the block, as the West Chelsea hood seems to be coming back from the abyss. Pink Elephant with Rocco Anacarola still on board, seems to have been annexed by its roommate M2 and celebrated its fifth anniversary with a nice crowd. Scores brings all the boys to the park, and Marquee is more than just stable . 27th Street is still a destination. Is it fabulous? Certainly not as it was, but it still brings in crowds. Just like that little electrical spark can start a big bad fire, as long as the cabarets are there, a revival can happen.

[Photo: Brian Caulfield]