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Published: 2007/04/16

Marc Ribot Arrested After Tonic Protest Performance

On Friday New Yorks Tonic , a haven for avant-garde and experimental music since 1998, closed its doors after a long struggle with gentrification. Saxophonist John Zorn, who helped put the club on the map with his various jazz projects, hosted the evenings final night of music, an improv-jam featuring club veterans like Marc Ribot, Marty Ehrlich, Anthony Coleman, Gerry Hemingway, Annie Gosfield, Sylvie Courvoisier, Vijay Iyer, Ned Rothenberg, Chris Speed, and Elliot Sharp, as well as DJ Spinoza, who hosted the clubs regular Bunker dance party.

Though Friday featured Tonics last set of music, a number of musicians appeared at the venue on Saturday as part of a public protest organized by Ribot. The all-day event culminated, according to The New York Times, in Ribots arrest, when he refused to leave the premises. Since Tonic announced its closure Ribot has voiced his opposition and cited the need for a new space in New Yorks Lower East Side to fill its void. As the New York neighborhoods profile has increased thanks in part to venues like Tonic, the areas cultural centers have slowly been priced into the neighboring city of Brooklyn. We will gather to fight the eviction of this crucial venue, the diminishment of our livelihoods, and the destruction of our culture by peacefully resisting, Ribot posted before his protest. We are making an appeal to the City to either give us this space or one comparable in size for the use of the avant/jazz/new music/indie community.

The protest also featured free performances by Ribot, who according to the Times, played Cold, Cold Heart and The Nearness of You, among other selections as workers removed Tonics equipment. Rothenberg, Matthew Shipp, and Butch Morris also performed. A number of Tonics upcoming performances have relocated to over areas of the city, including the Abrons Art Center, where Zorn will play on May 4 and 5.

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