Skystage opens today + Landless Theater’s last stand at East St Arts Center

One alternative performing arts center comes alive; another alt venue starts winding down to a magnificent death – using artistic license to say the place is going dark.  Birth / death, cycles within the Frederick performing arts scene all happening in the span of a day.  Let’s start first with Landless’ Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, which looks like a hilarious take on the teen angst of the Peanuts gang following the death of Snoopy. From what I can tell, tonight (Sept 17th show) looks like the last hurrah event for the short lived East St Arts Center, the new-ish name for the space the Landless Theater has occupied since late June.  For the uninitiated, the Landless has been doing pop up edgy/metal reimagined musicals in DC metro area, including the Mystery of Edwin Drood [the metal symphonic edition] with performances tonight and tomorrow at the Gaithersburg Art Barn (Sunday’s matinee will host the author/composer of Drood, Rupert Holmes).

Landless is apparently muli-tasking with a separate event tonight, the aforementioned Dog Meets God show at their soon-to-go-dark East St Arts Center – the old Hobbytown space on East St.  However, over the course of the summer, they were unable to convince other organizations in Frederick to come in and co-share the space to split the large monthly rent. Other revenue streams just didn’t materialize, and the big name ‘patron of the arts’ in Frederick passed on providing financial assistance or sponsorship. I hesitate on blaming/shaming as I haven’t spoken directly to organizations like the Frederick Arts Council on reasons for not being able to assist the East St Arts Center (which Landless hoped would be a reincarnation of the former Frederick Arts Center -now 15 Sq, owned by Marvin Ausherman and absent of any arts activity). Until that happens, no judgement shall be passed by WM, but quick editorial: it’s a damn shame this place, with so much potential for the Frederick performing arts scene has to go dark.

Just last week, Middle Kid & friends (Tina, Cheshi and Bested from B’more) put on a spectacular all ages indie rock show that showed those who came out just what is missing in a permanent mid-size versatile alt venue.  Here’s a pic from last Sunday’s show:



photo: Pants Marie
photo: Pants Marie



Moving on to the birth part: Skystage comes online today and the public finally gets to see the unveiling of a neat ‘socially engaged art’ project of Heather Clark starting at 5pm.


img_9195Pretty visionary is how I’d describe it. While it’s only projected to be a temporary 2 year part-outdoor alternative performing arts venue (outdoor as in it’s a converted pre revolutionary war building -burned down in 2010 and now has no roof), and part-installation art -it will be another option for the time being for the Frederick music scene to showcase their stuff.  In some respects, Artomatic Frederick had much to do with Skystage as volunteers from Arto were recruited to build the stage / stands, along with bukos of help from the ubiquitous Anthony Owens and his crew.   Artomatic Music Fest’s Jake Warrenfeltz was recruited by the Frederick Arts Council (FAC provided much of the legwork, behind the scenes organizing and ferreting out of grants and financial assistance), to book the more eclectic Frederick based bands ranging from alt folk to underground hip hop. Those concerts start in October, and many of the bands were alums of this summer’s Artomatic Music Fest. More on that in an upcoming WM post. Tonight’s soft opening at 5pm has F.A.M.E. =Frederick Acoustic Music Enterprise, is free, events lasts until 10pm and your first opportunity to witness Heather Clark’s wild 2 story installation art, which M.I.T. (yes that M.I.T.) lent a hand with their structural integrity analysis – just making sure no one gets smushed Mario Bros style (see photo above for a peek into the structure).  Transforming / repurposing the old (or abandoned) and turning that into something rad, I suppose that could be a blueprint into how Frederick can transform itself going forward into the 21st century…


Other options tonight include a fabulous show at Cafe Nola,  with Spirts (indie pop from WVA), My Friday Anthem (post alt indie feat. Ryan Knight of Knight Castle), and the dark-indie rock total embrace of Cheshi (who, after playing 3 shows in 3 days last weekend overtakes the title: hardest working band in Frederick), doors at 9 (show at 10 maybe?).  This poster gets my attention:

Emily Jessee
Emily Jessee

If you’re bummed like me about Landless/East St Arts Center going dark, there’s another glimmer of hope about the downtown landscape, but it comes in form of a different cultural expression:



Sustainable fashion / ethical wear designed by Frederick’s own Aj Naylor, aka DJ TwoTeks.  They’re pairing with a barber company – dare I say for the hip and wannabe hip?  Will there be live DJing? Possibilities, exciting possibilities  -this is coming to 308 North Market St soon. I wrote about Aj Naylor & his crew at Fred & Co 1745 in a piece for the FNP last April entitled From Hip Hop to Futurism : Frederick’s Part in the Slow Fashion Movement.

Extra Time: Sam Tressler IV has been on a tear on local social media with his bonkers plea & thank yous for those who contributed to the kickstarter campaign for LEDA, which started filming last month.

Check these out (and contribute when yr done, support indie experimental cinema)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *