The downtown scene in New York City has witnessed its fair share of great venues come and go over the years. The latest loss, or change, occurred in March, with the shuttering of the original Stone, an East Village venue launched in 2005 by saxophonist-composer John Zorn. A new Stone has risen at the New School’s attractive Glass Box Theater, at 55 West 13th Street, and it has thus far retained the first venue’s eclectic, experimental and artist-centric focus.
From its beginnings, the Stone was built on a curation model that gave the musicians who performed there free rein. At first a single artist curated a full month; later that shifted to weekly residencies, but musicians were always encouraged to play in a variety of different, often wholly novel contexts. To say that the space was all about the music is an understatement. Not only was there no bar to distract from the music, there were barely any concessions made to comfort or promotion. It was quite simply a black box where boundary-pushing music was made—a space that was easy to walk by without noticing, but one that promised something new and bold to those drawn to the unusual.