As many as 40,000 American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) members live and play in North Brooklyn. Granted, most of them know they’ll never receive even a single royalty check, but that’s not stopping any of them from taking a shot at a music career. Finding a venue, however, is a different story. A new Greenpoint-based company hopes they can help.
Founded by Hosh Yoga’s Henry Cross and Brooklyn / Lower East Side Indie Show Meetup co-organizer Kirsten Shores, Close Encounters aims to connect local artists to audiences. They book the venues, do the promotion, provide sound equipment and generators for outdoor shows and pass around the proverbial collection hat to make sure the artists get paid.
The idea for the company developed after Superstorm Sandy, when Shores and Cross, who met in 2011, decided to organize some of their musician friends for a fundraiser. Shores, whose meetup group boasts more than 2,000 members, arranged the talent and Cross the space, at Hosh. The one-off project, at which more than 25 artists performed, led to the realization that the two soon-to-be-partners had a huge network of talent that lacked performance space, and thus Close Encounters was born.
Shores and Cross started by arranging a monthly series of acoustic shows at Hosh during the studio’s off hours. In May, they landed a gig on the first Wednesday of each month at Metropolitan Avenue’s Legion Bar. Legion was pleased enough with the result to give them a Saturday night each month, as well. They took another step forward this summer when Town Square Executive Director Susan Anderson tapped them for the SummerStarz Music Festival, where they present three acts per event at Transmitter, McGolrick and Cooper Parks.
“This summer’s been huge for us with all these shows,” said Shores, who hopes to make Close Encounters her living one day (she currently works for a law firm). “The parks events are really helping us get our name out. We are so excited to be out in the neighborhood sharing music with the community.”
So far, Close Encounters has not produced income for its partners. Despite that, Shores said, “the artist always gets paid.”
As far as the future, Shores wants “the same, but more.” She and Cross are looking for more venues for their growing roster of artists. They’ve also begun plans for a free music festival they hope to organize next summer.
For more information about Close Encounters, including their upcoming schedule, visit http://closeencountersbrooklyn.weebly.com/.
This weekend’s Close Encounters shows:
AUGUST 17, 2013
8:30 PM, $5 cover
790 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11211 (Williamsburg)
JODIE & THE NORMALS
GUITARS N BANDANAS
SUNDAY AFTERNOON – AUGUST 18, 2013, 12:00 PM – Cooper Park
SUNDAY EVENING – AUGUST 18, 2013, 6:00 PM – Transmitter Park