The Witches Titties at the now defunct Josephine. Keith Johnson


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Ballard venue the Josephine, a longtime bastion of adventurous underground music and other species of unhinged performance arts, ceased operations on February 3. However, Josephine leaseholder and show booker Malaki Stahl says in an e-mail interview that the tenants who live in the space and work for the venue have not been evicted. "We are there at least until the end of this lease and may continue to rent there depending. The people who live there will remain, as far as I can see at this point." Stahl and fellow booker Olivia Mendez do not live at the Josephine, but they have been crucial to its existence since June 2011. Both staffers are diligently working with artists who have gigs scheduled there to relocate them to other spaces.

This turn of events, says Stahl, occurred when "the city investigated us (allegedly they have a few times, covertly) and then talked to the land owner, [and] he stipulated that we cease shows. The city didn't make overtures; in fact, the surprise inspection was exactly that, a surprise. We have learned that someone complained about noise and separately about building usage, i.e., the building having shows (which we maintain were private parties in our private residence). The city has only responded to a complaint; we complied with the codes to the degree that we could, but it wasn't enough to keep them from continuing to contact the owner.

"In the end," Stahl continues, "everything that is clandestine or between the cracks of legality will eventually be uprooted, so it isn't a surprise that we are under scrutiny. The landlord making the decision to fold to the city's recommendation that we cease is another matter."

Stahl calls the Josephine's closure "inevitable and very sad for the scene, mostly." In the aftermath of the demise of the Josephine, which was a steadfast haven for outlier acts that more conventional venues wouldn't take the risk of hosting, Stahl and Mendez are generating some benefit-show ideas that they hope will carry them through the next financially precarious months. Stahl adds, "We may also need to do a benefit to be able to afford starting a nonprofit gambit."

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On February 4, burglars broke into the studio of renowned producer/musician and 2014 Stranger Genius Award nominee Erik Blood and stole an Apogee Duet, Arturia KeyLab, Axiom 25 keyboard, MPC100, Maschine controller, and a Maschine Mikro controller. "The thieves attempted to remove the door to the studio [which is located in the Old Rainier Brewery building], but were only able to pry it open a small amount, hence the lack of items missing," Blood wrote on his Facebook page. He added that the intruders removed his monitors but ended up leaving them on the floor, although they ran off with some power cables. If you have any info regarding Blood's pilfered gear, please e-mail recommended

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