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Culture Clash of Art, Music, 3-D Light Mapping Coming to Freret St. Spot
An old Freret favorite will be back on the block soon. This spring, the former Breezy's is set to be reborn as Gasa Gasa. The collective's founders talked to Sarah Esenwein about the new space.
Locals may remember Breezy’s, the impromptu art exhibition and performance haven on Soniat as a do-it-yourself speakeasy known only by word-of-mouth. The laid-back, non-judgmental venue stopped having events recently, but it didn’t so much close as go into hibernation. The spot at 4920 Freret St. is now transitioning from a small collective into a full blown community talent co-op.
Founders Mike Collins, Micah Burns, Mike Seaman, Mike Twillman, Gavin MacArthur, along with creative directors Mika Revell, and Pam Blackmon, wanted to expand the concept into a permanent, promotional establishment. After finding the perfect space, the Mike’s sat down over beers and started formulating the fruition of this foundation; the newly evolved "synergy of artists," called Gasa Gasa.
The name ‘Gasa Gasa’ comes from Japanese origins, describing something restless and always moving. Co-founder Gavin MacArthur suffered a stroke while surfing and in his rehabilitation of re-learning how to walk, he was all over the place…his Japanese doctor describing him as ‘gasa gasa’…or ‘You do too much’.
“The name was born out of sheer chaos, kind of like art itself," Gavin said.
“We wanted a place where musicians, artists and artisans could come together all under one roof combining a music venue with an art gallery and vendor space with an ever-evolving personality. It is a Culture Clash coming together here at Gasa Gasa," said Pam Blackmon.
The new Gasa Gasa will be entirely art. From the exterior and interior murals, the smoking alley awning (G.G. will be a non-smoking venue) to the light fixtures and barstools, it will all be created by local artists and available for sale.
“Breezy’s was that underground artists coffee shop, and we will maintain that integrity, with the club being a conglomerate for artists that delivers a certain comfort level of acceptance to those who may not fit the traditionally ‘art gallery’ rigidness. We didn’t want to just be that traditional New Orleans music club, because the spirit of New Orleans is to be regenerational,” said Mika Revell.
“With New Orleans housing so many different types of art mediums, it’s like we’re digging into the couch cushions and bringing out the treasures for the city to behold.” said Blackmon.
Heightening the visual experience of the artwork, Gasa Gasa will employ a 3D Projection Light Mapping system that is remotely operated by two iPads, controlling the audio and visual projections. This new technology makes it possible to create optical illusions through laser lights.
“We’re creating something that’s never been done before. The venue itself will be a living piece of art. The lighting matrix pivots and makes it possible to bend lights around objects," said Mike Collins.
The 3D mapping makes it possible to project multi-image creations on the walls, forming around the geometrical three dimensional wall art. Triangles and other geometric forms will be mounted on the walls, as well as the prow and hull of a ship with a female figure head. On the opposing wall, a navigational map mural is painted and ships can be projected, sailing through sky.
“Its almost like finger-painting with lasers lights. We can even turn the entire space into looking like a jungle, you just have to come see it to experience it,” added Micah Burns.
The walls themselves are not only pieces of artwork, but an instrument in the acoustics for the music. Local bands will find they’ve never sounded better thanks to the innovative build out of the interior.
“The construction of the room has no right angles. Our sound system is state of the art and we are built to recording studio standards. Every performance will be recorded. We will actually do a recording of the bands at sound check, then those recordings can be posted to social networks for the bands to use as promotion before their actual set," said Burns.
The band’s performance can be recorded and posted to Facebook. There, people can vote on the band and if the video garners enough ‘likes’ that band will be admitted into the Gasa Gasa music discovery program.
It is Gasa Gasa’s mission to bring together music, art and the community. They strive to be more than just a nighttime hot-spot, they’re goal is to also be a daytime destination serving the surrounding neighborhood and hosting community events, offering everything from a place to spend the afternoon enjoying music to taking art classes. Their scope is expansive.
“We want to be a conglomeration of all things art for everyone…a co-op of epic proportions,” said Burns.
Gasa Gasa's new frontier is currently being forged, with construction ongoing. Organizers are projecting a grand opening date sometime at the end of May, close to Memorial Day weekend, but they are planning on inviting the public to come check out the space at Feret Fest on April 6 for a soft opening.
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