Special Project – Live At The Archway!

It’s that time of year where we want to feature each of our Special Projects so that you, the Make Music New York community, can have a better understanding of the many great ways to enjoy Make Music New York on Thursday, June 21st (mark your calendar!). Look for regular blog posts outlining events across neighborhoods and boroughs, featuring amazing and engaging musicians from the New York area.

Make Music New York’s Executive Director, James Burke, is back! This week he spoke with ​Clara Schuhmacher from the DUMBO Improvement District about partnering on a special project for the popular “Live At The Archway” series​.


James Burke: Hi Clara, thanks for joining me!  Make Music New York has a long history of activating special projects in the DUMBO neighborhood in partnership with the DUMBO Improvement District. Perhaps you could share how the relationship began?

Clara: We’re always down to do crazy and amazing things in Dumbo, and especially in the Archway, which is an epic public space in an epic city (no, we’re not biased or anything). So when an interesting project comes our way, we’re game – and MMNY always has interesting projects!

We were first connected to MMNY in 2011, when Nick Franglen proposed playing a 24-hour-duet with the Manhattan Bridge and its cyclists (he played Theremin). Two years later, MMNY helped us turn the Archway into a giant string instrument, for the premiere of a piece by Eli Keszler featuring So Percussion. Those two projects have lived on as office legends, but there have been many other wonderful projects, both in summer and in winter.

It’s been great fun working together from the Dumbo perspective. And of course my personal connection to MMNY runs deep. My brother was one of the original volunteers, and I got looped in organizing Bushwick when I first moved to Brooklyn. Fast forward to 2013, when I joined the organization as Director of Operations for three festivals. And now here we are, continuing to work together to make magic happen in public spaces. I love how New York works this way.


JB: Live At The Archway provides such a cool vibe for the community to enjoy live music. What is your philosophy in curating the space and celebrating the community?

Clara: Thanks James, appreciate the kind words! One of my favorite things about my job is that I get to spend most of my days out and about, chatting one-on-one with retailers, business owners, artists, residents – everyone who touches the neighborhood in some way. It’s the best way to get direct insight and feedback into what the neighborhood needs and desires. A lot of my curation comes down to gut. I know this place, it’s my place now too, and I trust my instincts on what works and what doesn’t work.

What’s fun – but also challenging – about curating Live at the Archway is the diversity of the audience: all ages, all kinds of relationship to the neighborhood and myriad musical tastes. It’s always a balance, thinking through acts who will offer something to such an audience. Of course, I can’t appeal to everyone every week, which is why the season is so eclectic–my core audience comes back week after week, and they know that if they’re not super into an act one week, chances are the next week will be their favorite. And then there’s the practical side: the Archway is massive, and acoustics challenging. I’m looking for acts who will sound beautiful in the space, and who are dynamic performers, have that extra bit of stage flair, and can hold the “room.”

What really makes #LiveAtTheArchway a celebration of community, however, is that it’s not just a concert series. It’s music, it’s visual art, it’s spectacle, it’s tech. We build a pop-up gallery on site every week, show the work of a different DUMBO artist inside, and lead the audience in a community art project on the outside. We feature a different creative company from the neighborhood weekly as well, and invite them to bring their work out into the public, test it, show it off. And of course, we program a lot of DUMBO musicians too.


JB: We’re excited to be partnering with you to present Natalia Clavier as part of our June 21st music celebrations. How would you describe her music to Make Music fans? What can Make Music New York expect of the show?

Clara: The question all musicians dread! I’m not sure if Natalia would agree, but to me her music feels very tango electronica, without being tango. (Full disclosure: I’m Argentine and love this kind of stuff.) It’s got great beats, it’s a little hip hop, it’s a little jazz, she sings in Spanish and in English. Really: it’s all chill, summery vibes – perfect for sitting in the Archway with a drink on the longest day of summer! Bring a picnic, get a drink from our Archway bar, and enjoy. Show is early, 6:15pm. And if Argentina wins their World Cup that day, get ready for some cheering too! 😉


Feature Profile – FMLY Fest / McKibben Park

FMLY is a collective of artists, musicians, organizers, friends and good-spirited collaborators from around the country (and the world) who come together to turn big ideas into big happenings.

Started loosely in Los Angeles around 2008, FMLY has twice presented its annual FMLY Fest there, as well as numerous concerts, festivals, and art happenings throughout the country. Foremost, FMLY is about artistic possibility.

FMLY Fest 2012 runs for three days and nights, June 21-23 at various Bushwick locations, with the first day as part of Make Music New York, at McKibben Park. The day will feature four Brooklyn acts (Alaskas, Human Resources, Max Alper, Cuddle Formation), two rappers from LA (Verbs & Alpha MC, and the NYC debut of Nova-Scotia outfit, Sea Glasses.

The goal is to bring together loosely-connected artists and musicians around a common goal, larger than any that could be accomplished alone. Noah Klein, founder/originator of the FMLY name: “every single person playing this show has gone to great lengths to build community in their neighborhood, or has offered some kind of positive vehicle for collaboration.”

While living in Berlin in 2010, Klein experienced Fete de la Musique firsthand. “It was an organic and natural part of the way people experience life in Berlin, where music is something to be celebrated in all places and at all times, not only in venues and conventional spaces, but in the streets, with neighbors and strangers.”

“Everyday can be a festival; make music wherever you want to be or can be. Bushwick is a pretty perfect place to accentuate that idea.” It’s an idea that has Klein fielding emails from around the country, with requests to start FMLY Fests in new cities in the future. The concert June 21st will also include panel discussions and participants will join in the on-site construction of a geodesic dome.

He and a few associates will be hitting the road this summer via school bus, running from New York to L.A., dotting their route with FMLY events across the country. “Just by presenting these kinds of ideas of what is possible, other people can become empowered to explore those possibilities as well.”

“Make Music is one of the reasons I feel lucky to be in this city, and it’s such a radically awesome and different experience; we’re really excited to be a part.”

FMLY Fest 2012 runs June 21-23 at various Bushwick locations, its first day presented at McKibben Park, as part of Make Music New York.

Watch the brand-new FMLY Fest 2012 trailer here.

FMLY Fest Day 1 | McKibben Park,  McKibben St. + White St. | 2pm-8pm (music 4-8pm) | fmlyfest.tumblr.com

Two more MMNY performance opportunities

All of MMNY’s permits have been filed, and it’s too late to add more performances to the schedule this year.Bedford Spike Hill crowd

However, there are two exceptions: if you’re still looking for a place to perform, two prime stretches of Brooklyn streets already have their permits for June 21st, and still need musicians!

(1) Four blocks of Vanderbilt Ave in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, will be closed to traffic and open for pedestrians on June 21st, from 12-5pm. All types of music are welcome for their main stage, and for sidewalks in front of stores and restaurants along the four blocks, who can provide electricity. (Music should not be extremely loud, however.) To sign up, call Steve Commender at (718) 398-7380. Sponsored by the Vanderbilt Avenue Merchants District, Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, and the NYC Department of Transportation.

(2) The entire retail strip of Graham Avenue in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is permitted and available for musicians throughout the day. To make arrangements, contact Betty Cooney, at biz11u72t@verizon.net. Sponsored by the Graham Avenue Business Improvement District.

You Can Make A Big Difference This Week

On June 21 the city will be alive with music!

From Rockaway to Parkchester, from the South Shore to Harlem there will be something glorious for everyone!

June 21 is as important a date as there is in this festival. A close second might be this Friday April 24: the last day to sign up for the festival on our website:


Before we get to putting on the show, we must find all those lovely locations and masterful musicians who are the heart of the festival. As amazing as it is to see all the places and people signed up, we would love to find a way for more of them to take part by signing up on our website:


How can you help?

Glad you asked. This Tuesday (Apr 21) and Thursday (Apr 23), we will be hosting phonebanks to get 2009 registrants connected with each other. We’ll provide the phones, you’ll provide that soothing voice to assist people through the process of finding a venue.

Both phonebanks are at Transportation Alternatives, 127 W. 26th Street, Suite 1002, Manhattan (map).

RSVP by emailing me at chris@makemusicny.org

If you have wanted to help out and haven’t so far, this is a great opportunity to get involved. And even if you can’t make it, make sure you send all your friends a reminder to sign up on the website (all together now):