|Ah, memories: 924 Gilman Street is/was an all-ages (mostly) punk club in Berkeley, California. It’s an unusual place. No alcohol is served, no drugs are allowed, and to go to a show you have to buy a $2 membership card which is good for a year. The club, a collective run by volunteers, opened in 1986. The band Green Day formed in 1987 as teens and played there for several years before hitting commercial success in 1994. When I moved to California that year, they had just been banned from playing at Gilman because they had signed to a major label (meaning, they had “sold out”). The ban was later lifted.
Coming from a sheltered Cape Cod existence, Gilman wasn’t really my scene. But I did go to a few shows there because it was my boyfriend’s. Before we moved to the East Bay, Pol had been in his own punk band, playing shows at AS220, an indie venue in Providence, Rhode Island. He and I moved here together in our early twenties and ended up getting our first apartment less than a mile from Gilman (for those who know the area, we literally lived behind the Ivy Room.) So, he was there a lot. One of my first jobs was right around the corner from Gilman at an imports warehouse. At that time, the club was becoming increasingly more popular. The internet was changing how information was shared and once “underground” events and places were being seen by more and more on people. For context, I first heard about Burning Man in 1994 and attended a year later.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, earlier this month, Chris Rummell, a local miniature model artist, announced his new solo show at Nielsen Arts in Berkeley. The standout piece? An incredible true-to-life model of Gilman. It sure brought back some memories!
If you want to learn more about the 924 Gilman scene, there’s a 2017 documentary on it called, Turn It Around: The Story Of East Bay Punk.
Related: The Instagram feed, @PunkHouseOakland. Its story.