Scholes Street Studio: Making my day in all kinds of ways

I did an interview a few weeks ago with the lovely human beings Anita Mercier and René Pierre Allain, long-time Williamsburg residents, accomplished parents, and co-owners of Scholes Street Studio, a gem of a music space in our fair neighborhood.

The fascinating couple took more time than was necessary to show me around their beautiful and impressive live/work/performance space, and we enjoyed talking about their collection of African masks, the benefits of a metalworking background in the context of a major building renovation, and the ever-changing arts landscape of NYC.

Artists By Any Other Name performance

Artists By Any Other Name perform in 2015 (photo courtesy of Scholes Street Studio)

I felt the story I wrote about it for Bushwick Daily basically did the conversation, and Scholes Street Studio itself, justice. Plus it came together pretty easily once the interview was done, which always feels good from the ol’ craftsmanship perspective. But I was totally and wonderfully shocked when Bushwick Daily’s managing editor Emilie Ruscoe sent me the following feedback a couple of weeks after it was published:

“This is way overdue, but I have been meaning to email you back regarding your amazing work on the Scholes Street Studio piece! It was outstanding! Seriously beautiful, thoughtful, elegant features writing that, in my estimation, made up a story that seems like something the most discriminating news outlets I read would have been proud to run. I feel so lucky that you wrote it for us and so proud to have something so great among the stories I’ve edited for this site. Thank you so much!!”

Jeez, Emilie—you made me blush! You also made my day. Heck, my week! While trying to write well is its own reward, it’s a huge, huge help to get thoughtful pats on the back like this from time to time (as well as thoughtful critiques, which Emilie is also good at!). Helps make all the time spent staring at the screen totally worth it.

So this is pretty much a win-win, right? Memorable conversation, solid story, and morale-boosting accolade. (Well, if my math is right, that actually constitutes a win-win-win.) Just had to share.

Fellow writers (or anyone else): Tell me about a notable compliment you’ve received!

What Trisha Brown calls the “bees going into your face” part

In June, I had the pleasure of writing for one of my clients about BEEcosystem, a modular honeybee hive made for today’s urban lifestyles. It sits inside your apartment!! You let the bees out to frolic and pollinate through a tube. You have to see it; it’s great.

BEE

BEEcosystems at work in State College, PA

I interviewed the invention’s founders, awesome Pennsylvania dudes Mike Zaengle and Dustin Betz (I really do love Pennsylvania), and they had lots of interesting and important things to say about reestablishing our connection to the origins of our food, Colony Collapse Disorder, and how one in every three bites we eat was probably produced by a pollinator.

But what’s stuck in my mind most since then was Mike saying, “I had thought being outside in the yard with the BEEcosystem tube coming through the window might make me nervous, but after I worked with honeybees for a while, I realized they’re much friendlier than I thought. You can definitely walk around doing yard work all afternoon and they won’t bother you!”

Hot damn.

BEEcosystem is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to get this shizz off the ground. Throw a little dough their way, honey, and help grow the buzz!

Oh, and what was that about Trisha Brown at the beginning? It’s an all-but-unrelated quote (especially now that Mike’s weighed in about the bees not going into your face) from a wonderful interview with her by the inimitable M.J. Thompson—titled “Dancing? ‘It’s Awesome’ “—in one of my erstwhile stomping grounds, The Brooklyn Rail. I read it in 2009 and haven’t forgotten it. An excerpt:

Bob [Rauschenberg] and I were very close. I had the best dialogues with him. Bob had a fix on me like no one else. He called me at least once a week, especially when he was in New York, and said, “I’ve got an idea for you.” And I’d say, “Wait, I’m already working on the piece. Write it down, save it for me. And if you have another urge to talk to me call my office, it’s four in the morning.” He had a sterling vision [Thinking for a moment, then demonstrating: hands and arms cutting downwards quickly, away from her face]. Do you remember that part? What I call the “bees going into your face” part? I was working the edges of what was acceptable but at the same time the piece was a study in structuralism and scale and bees going into face.

Trisha

Love you, Trisha! (photo from artsalive.ca)