The Maze

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There are dozens of concerts, exhibitions and performances in Williamsburg each week. But starting today through Oct. 2, the club Death by Audio will host something completely different — an interactive space designed to challenge the predetermined roles of both audience member and performer.

You Are Here [aka The Maze]” was conceived and created by TROUBLE, the Bushwick artist duo and married couple Sam Hillmer, 31, and Laura Paris, 41. Death by Audio, normally just two rooms with some in-between areas and a long hallway, is now a Maze complete with tall walls, confusing turns, and dead ends.

“The goal is to heighten your awareness,” Hillmer said. “To understand and think about what you normally do.”

Hillmer and others have booked bands to play at the Maze, Paris and others have built sculptures out of aquaresin and spray-painted stencils on the walls of The Maze, and now it’s up to audience members to see a performance in the disorienting venue.

The experience will be unconventional in every sense. The stage will be part of the maze, leaving it up to the performers to figure out how they can work in the space. There are many bands and artists up for the challenge, including Dan Friel (Sept. 10), A Place to Bury Strangers and Sian Alice Group (Sept. 11), Ty Segall (Sept. 18), Calvin Johnson (Sept. 14), Screaming Females (Sept. 26), The Coathangers (Sept. 29) and Zs (Oct. 2). Most of the acts performing are experimental in nature, which may or may not help them as they improvise in the altered space.

This is not the first time TROUBLE has designed and implemented a Maze as a performance piece. Last year they built one at Chashama in Times Square, but Hillmer said that experience, though interesting, was very much about “importing” a Brooklyn scene across the river.

“This maze is way more for us, by us,” Hillmer said. “There’s a homegrown style and approach to music-making here. Brooklyn is aggressively about community and networks of people.” More than 80 musical acts, dozens of dance and theatre groups and hundreds of fans are expected through the month, where on any given night there will be more at least two different artistic mediums presented.

Hillmer plays in the Brooklyn band Zs and is also the founder and administrator of Representing NYC, which matches underprivileged Brooklyn youth with established Brooklyn producers. The project has a record deal with local label True Panther, and put out one album by the Fly Girlz, a group of young MC’s and singers from Brownsville. Another record by Nine 11 Thesaurus is due this fall. That group is performing Friday, Sept. 11. Also on Friday (and Saturday and Sunday), the Brooklyn-based alchemists behind Delicious Beverages will be on hand giving out free, usually fruity and alcoholic drinks from 8pm until the well runs dry (get there early!).

Hillmer and Paris are quick to point out that The Maze is not just another in a long line of “festivals” and that The Maze is completely anti-corporate and free of sponsors.

“We’re not giving out sneakers. It’s possible to do something like this with no real backing if you have the support of the community.”

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BB Sponsored Link: This Sunday, New Amsterdam Market begins the first of its monthly market days at the Seaport, where you can sample cheese from more than a dozen cheesemongers and makers, taste local North Fork wine and Finger Lakes hard cider, try fresh fare from chefs like Sara Jenkins of Porchetta, and attend jam-making and mixology workshops in partnership with The Brooklyn Kitchen. The market coincides with Harbor Day, which NY Water Taxi is honoring with free service, so you can skip the subway and cruise to lower Manhattan instead! South Street between Beekman Street and Peck Slip, 11am-4pm, newamsterdammarket.org.
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You are Here [aka The Maze] begins tonight. All shows $7 and all ages, doors 8pm, Death by Audio, 49 S. 2nd St. between Kent and Wythe.

Sent by Nicole. Text and top photo by Georgia Kral, bottom photo by Laura Paris.

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