Bug Wheel Keep on Turning | Reinventing the ‘Wheel

Welcome to this first issue of our new thing, Flypaper. 

This past trip around the sun has been both eventful and, ironically, pretty much event-less for your friendly neighborhood Flywheel. It turns out, Covid and collectively-run all-ages show spaces do not mix.

For folks who have been not-rocking under a rock, the BIG HEADLINE is: As b%llsh&t-2020 came to a close, with heavy hearts, and after an epic amount of deliberation, Flywheel collective decided not to renew our lease at Easthampton’s Old Town Hall. After 10 years of hustling to keep the lights on, we spent December clearing out of there, and turned in our keys Jan. 1.

For “HEADS” in the know, the “YOU-LINE” is: We are still here.

Fun fact: Technically, our last event in the old space was the March 14, 2020 finale to our regular winter series of pancake breakfast/dance parties for kids and fams. Wisely, no one showed. We pulled off a few virtual concerts, as well as a Zoom talk with rock-and-roller Ian MacKaye. It’s been a low-gear year, for sure.

Maybe the way to think about it is last year was about wrapping up an era in Flywheel’s history. There was some grieving and stock-taking to get done. Also, it took us some time to arrive at the conclusion that we want to keep going.

And now, here we are: March 2021, one year from our last official event at the old Flywheel. Dawn is breaking over a weird new horizon, and we are liking where we are at.

Not having to make rent means we can focus the volunteer hours we are putting into this thing 100% on supporting and promoting local, grassroots arts and culture. So that kind of rules.

Another great thing is, Flywheel’s core collective, who had been holding it down for many years, made a really smart choice last fall when it became clear that it was time to make some big, hard decisions. They invited a wide array of Flywheel stakeholders into the process.

That expanded group is now carrying Flywheel forward. Having watched folks grapple and grow over those months, I am here to  boldly assert that Flywheel—as a group of people committed to working together to support and promote local grassroots arts and culture—is probably as strong, capable, and dynamic as it has ever been.

And that works out great because, frankly, we are in that delicate, flux-y space where who knows what Flywheel—as a structure—is going to turn out to be? Right now, it’s looking like it might be a monthly zine, chock-a-block with profiles of local bands; archival footage of iconic performances; event listings, regional ‘scene’ news and all sorts of other cool stuff.

Folks have been kicking around other heckin’ rad ideas, too, like a monthly virtual local-music showcase; or maybe a big old clanger of a variety-show/film-fest to send the Town Hall space off in style…And then you have to think, eventually live music is going to return, right? What then? Will a new Flywheel space rise? Will the collective revisit its roots as an itinerant show-production collective? Who knows!

The news is: now is the time to join up and make it happen!

In conclusion, consider this: Squares get all weird about  ‘reinventing the wheel’, but have they ever actually tried?

Anyway, here is what’s going on in this, our inaugural issue:

No Further Questions: Jeremy kicks things off with an expansive interview and earful of rock from Holyoke-based band Landowner .

From the Archives: Joe digs up video, and shares his memories of this epic set by Bush Tetras from Flywheel’s 20th Anniversary celebration in 2019.

Artist Spotlight: Our visual arts editor, Jeff treats our eyeballs to his evocative portraiture.

Event Listings: James sets a wicked high bar for event-list-curation, if you are into awesome stuff like Wendy Eisenberg,  Godspeed You Black Emperor, Lookout Records, environmental justice, prison abolition, June Jordon, local music fests, etc.






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