Inspired by an article in the New York Times, I’ve decided to purchase a house full of douches in the greater Ann Arbor area. If you feel as though your household might be sufficiently douchey, please call my people and set up a meeting.
Here’s a clip from the Times.
On a recent Tuesday evening, Dickerman Cade Sadler III was in the kitchen making tacos for his roommates, sautéing beef in a frying pan and setting aside a bowl of rice and beans for the vegetarians. In the living room-cum-recording studio, Denitia Odigie was sitting at the drum kit tapping out a beat, her back to the wall papered with old-fashioned damask, while a man who calls himself Sene (his real name is Brian Marc) set up a mike under the glass and bronze chandelier. Standing outside, on the quiet cul-de-sac, two 20-somethings in clunky glasses and knitted beanies braved the freezing winter air to smoke a cigarette.
It was a typical weeknight at the Clubhouse, as the shabby Victorian home in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, is known to its inhabitants (it also goes by the name Club Casa). A collective that some might consider a commune, eight roommates, most of them musicians and artists, share meals and expenses, use a Google doc to keep track of their chores, and pitch in to shop for groceries and stock the bathrooms. In addition to the core members, there is a vast network of friends and former residents — a total of 35 people have lived at the Clubhouse since it was established five years ago — who crash on the couches, often for indefinite periods. There’s a waiting list for residency, and the application, as it were, includes having to “vibe out” with current members, including the house’s founder and de facto president, Andrew Thomas Reid, 29.
An expression of today’s entrepreneurial age, the Clubhouse is closely aligned with a new media company called BKLYN1834, which is dedicated to selling the borough’s image beyond its borders.
“Brooklyn is cool now. If you go to a department store in Europe, they are selling Brooklyn T-shirts; a Brooklyn Bowl just opened in London; and Belgium has a Brooklyn Brewery,” said Glenn Markman, 51, a founder and the president of BKLYN1834. He was miles from Ditmas Park, at the Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue, known for its power breakfasts, sipping a cappuccino with his fellow founders.
They included his wife, Jan Testori-Markman, 48, a painter; Stacey Panagakis, 50, a former executive at the financial services company TIAA-CREF; and Adam Quinn, 32, a former employee at Gensler, an architecture and design firm. The Markmans and Ms. Panagakis are friends who live in the same building on East 88th Street. Mr. Markman, a commercial real estate broker by trade, met Mr. Quinn, who lives in Midtown, through his work. Together they have invested $300,000 in the company, and an angel investor has put in another $100,000. They hope to raise $2 million more, which they plan to spend, in part, on creating houses similar to the Clubhouse, possibly based around technology or fashion.
Already, BKLYN1834 has been hired by Converse to create a video series for its Jack Purcell sneaker brand, and has set up a YouTube channel, stocking it with videos that are largely the result of its Clubhouse connections.
The company will officially be launched at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Tex., which starts Friday…
“It is a mutually beneficial partnership,” said Ms. Odigie, 30, whose band with Mr. Marc, Denitia and Sene, released an album recently that became an iTunes Top 10 Release on the R&B chart. The band has contributed a video to the BKLYN1834 channel, a stripped down version of its single “Trip. Fall.” It features Ms. Odigie singing in the shower and Mr. Marc, 28, playing the xylophone. “They came to us for content and we brought them the concept,” she said. “It worked because they provided us with resources, like a RED camera, while they benefited because of the cool factor, the street cred.”
Or, as Elizabeth Reid, an artist and Mr. Reid’s sister, who at 24 is the youngest member of the group, says, “If you give to the Clubhouse, it gives to you”…
Projects extend beyond music: Ms. Reid, who wears her hair mostly long except for a shaved area along one ear, is currently creating plastic action figures based on all of the clubhouse members. She keeps a 3-D printer owned by BKLYN1834 in her room rigged to a rotating platform and an Xbox 360 Connect, which acts as a 360-degree body scanner…
And if the idea of trying to monetize cool might once have been called selling out, the concept is all but meaningless in the Clubhouse.
“For our generation of artists, we realize that we are each our own brand, but not everyone knows how to manage this,” Mr. Reid said. “Our business is to equip artists with these tools, which feels like a natural, organic progression of what we already do at the Clubhouse”…
Sadly, they don’t offer branded knitted beanies, but they do have baseball caps:
[note: It’s probably worth noting that, however douchey the residents of this house may be, their douchiness is eclipsed by that of the people who set this whole disgusting thing in motion.]