Nope, you didn’t accidentally click on an Onion article; this is actually a semi-serious tale of an iconic punk venue 924 Gilman and their creative attempt to fund replacing a door.
The famous Berkeley, California venue is a staple of the DIY punk scene and has also hosted its fair share of underground metal bands, and then some. The spot prides itself on being all-ages, volunteer run, and as much the part of the local scene as bands and fans. It’s also a sober space.
There were other times in the past when 924 Gilman has had to raise funds for building repairs and other necessities. Now, they re trying to raise money to replace their side door, which would also double the club’s capacity from 225 to 550 and make it more accessible. This would help it grow while sticking to the ethics the venue stands by.
The spot has a Kickstarter goal of $20,000 for the replacement, and they’ve come up with a unique way to possibly get those funds. For those who donate, 924 Gilman is offering “wall chunks” from the interior wall to be torn down around the current door. The wall being sold off has been tagged by many fans over the years. The chunks come with a certificate of authenticity and a zine signed by a volunteer. In total, 200 pieces will be given out.
Gilman volunteer and the person behind the fundraiser, Alex Botkin, tells KQED in an interview:
“After coming back from being closed during COVID, we’ve seen a growing increase in costs just to keep the venue running. And we’ve always tried to operate within legal capacity, which has been 225, and for much larger shows that’s really difficult to accommodate. This will help with getting as many people in as possible.
“People come by Gilman from far-away places just to see a little bit of East Bay punk history, and they always talk about how amazing the actual building is. So this is giving people a chance to have a small piece of it in their home.
“Also it’s just funny. Like, can we sell people rubble?
If the campaign is successful, the original door will go to the Punk Rock Museum in Las Vegas.
The venue says about the campaign:
“For those who may not know, 924 Gilman has been around for over 35 years, providing all ages shows since 1987 and also serving as a key community space for recovery groups and anyone else in need of somewhere to meet. We’ve always welcomed newcomers into our doors, so help us build a new one! One of the most longstanding put off projects at Gilman has been the need for a new side door. Our legal capacity is determined by our exits, and installing a new double door on the side wall will nearly double our legal capacity. We will also be able to have much safer evacuation routes in the case of emergency, and increase the ease of bands loading in/out of the venue.
“But we need your help! Building permits are expensive, contractors are expensive, and doors (shockingly) are expensive! We’ve completed most of the permitting process, but we need your help to raise the rest to get this door installed. Our goal has always been to keep shows safe for all ages, so please consider donating to help us push that mission even further.
“We don’t want you to walk away empty handed though, oh no no no. WHO DOESN’T LOVE CHUNKS OF WALL!?! Well, lucky you! You yourself can be the proud owner of a piece of Gilman history (and whatever else the wall is made of).
“Thank you for the decades of support; we’re so grateful to everyone who comes to a show and our incredible volunteers who keep this place running.”
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