The interior of this place was unbelievable. Or unfathomable. But mostly it was criminal. It was as some of it’s patrons called it, a work of art itself. Since art is in the eye of the beholder, I think it looked like a filthy attic. This deathtrap tinderbox was run by a delusional, selfish and greedy couple and was apparently some kind of cultural mecca airbnb for struggling and successful artists and a record label specializing in EDM music. There were living and working quarters that resembled a barnyard version of a floor at WeWork. There were trailers on the first floor (!), a makeshift maze which made it difficult to escape and pallets for stairs which served as the only means for escape from the massive flames, which certainly collapsed under the weight of people trying to flee. There were antiquated old lamps, electric butane and oil and christmas tree lights strewn in certain places which may have triggered the blaze.
There is an investigation proceeding and 33 are dead and counting. There have been various complaints and warnings to the proprietors, Derrick Ion and his wife Micah Allison that were met with abject refusal and mockery, two idiots who clearly spent all the money they made from illegal rentals and saved stealing electricity to design their hoarder’s paradise than to buy a regulation sprinkler system or even fire extinguishers . The landlords Chor and daughter Eva Ng, denied people were living there, which makes their complicity in this more concrete. Supposedly there were a hundred revelers, even kids, partying there which was suppose to be a launching party for a tour for that record label. Since summer festival season has ended a while back, it’s highly likely that these “musical” “artists” are probably playing in venues similar to this one in addition to genuine niteclubs that follow fire codes.
This reminds me of an incident decades ago in the Bronx. It was called the Happy Land Social Club, it was filled over capacity and was torched by some jilted boyfriend whose ex happened to be working there. Over 80 people perished because of that lowlife and the total lack of fire exits. It also reminded me, considering the mind blowing stupidity of the aforementioned art entrepreneurs, of the Great White concert disaster over 10 years ago, where that crappy band thought it was a grand idea to set 0ff pyrotechnics in a small indoor venue with exposed insulation on the ceiling.
This also reminded me immediately of the Millenial mindset. Which real estate barons and city and state governments are trying to please at the detriment of middle class and working poor people at the expense of the towns they reside in. Which Derrick Ion subscribes to and ultimately exploited to enrich himself and to shirk his responsibilities. Here’s what this douche had to say when he first learned of the tragedy:
The only thing confirmed is what a scumbag this hipster is. And that he finds opulence in garbage collecting.
If there is a significant comparison being that this mutant hybrid warehouse, settlement and art gallery is the concert at Altamont. It doesn’t have as high a bodycount but because of poor planning and bad judgement it symbolically ended the hippie counter-culture.
Hopefully this generation of artists will finally wake up and realize the dangers of hooking up with scum like this and start being less self-involved and self-serving and aware of the environment around them. But judging by the lengths cities go to attract this demographic in the past decade and the decline of edgy and quality art, film and music, I am not holding my breath.