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From The President: Remembering “The Cat’s Head”

The “Brooklyn Night Bazaar” planned for Dec 15-17 at 149 Kent Ave with DJ James Murphy, and bands Fucked Up and The Hold Steady takes me back to a similar extravaganza on the Brooklyn waterfront in 1989, the Cat’s Head*. Of course there are significant differences. The Cat’s Head was completely illegal. As I recall, it was created by a group of early Williamsburg settlers –Robert Elmes, Jessica Nissen and Fred Valentine. They squatted in an abandoned industrial building on the waterfront. No one had insurance; no one had any official approval from the Building Department or the Fire Department or the Police Department. No one had a beer license, but they somehow managed to buy and sell Brooklyn Lager. There were radical art installations, towering sculptures, exploding watermelons, nude performance art, even a tennis match between Paul Campbell and Reggie Hodges in a grain silo, when the event was held in the Mustard Factory on Grand. There were great bands. It went all night. It was utterly raw. As I recall, there were two such Cat’s Head happenings. The shadowy organizers took the profit and went to Berlin and did a Cat’s Head there.

The Brooklyn Night Bazaar will be much more buttoned up, but it continues a great Williamsburg party tradition.

– Steve Hindy, President & Co-founder

*I seem to recall a severed cat’s head on the property gave the event its name.

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