I’ve decided to buy a house of douches

    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:

    Screen shot 2014-03-02 at 9.43.10 PM

    [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.]

    This entry was posted in Ideas, Mark's Life, Media, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

      21 Comments

      1. GG
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 12:16 am | Permalink

        Too late. Quack Media bought Arbor Vitae earlier this morning.

      2. Eel
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:18 am | Permalink

        “For our generation of artists, we realize that we are each our own brand, but not everyone knows how to manage this.” So sell yourself to a corporation.

      3. Frosted Flakes
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 6:18 am | Permalink

        I don’t understand why anyone would have a strong negative reaction to a group of artists/performers choosing to live together in the way described in this article.

      4. anonymous
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        Can we all now agree that Brooklyn is officially done?

      5. Posted March 3, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        Last week, Mark was hating on “rich kids.” This week, he’s hating on “hipsters.”

      6. Elf
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        Who will he hate on next? It’s the question on everyone’s lips!

      7. K2
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        Frosted, I think what people are reacting to isn’t the fact that creative young individuals have chosen to live together, but that they are turning their endeavor into a brand, and treating it as though it’s never been done before. People much more clever than Dickman III have been doing this since the beginning if time.

      8. Mr. X
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        All the talk of “cool factor” the purchasing of “street cred” brought to mind the PBS Frontline documentary Merchants of Cool. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should.

        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/

      9. XXX
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        I like how you’re all assuming that Mark is kidding.

      10. Bob
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        I couldn’t even get through this but I assume Peter Larson hates tacos?

      11. Facebook Stalker
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        MARK MAYNARD: “I should add that you don’t have to be douches already. I can turn you into douches.”

      12. Posted March 3, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        Mark is just jealous because these people don’t live at Water Street.

      13. Sam
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        The hat pictured above only costs $25. I was expecting more.

        “A modified five panel construction gives the product a high-profile silhouette, and green fabric beneath the bill creates a retro vibe.”

      14. Elliott
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        When I read about these men “braving” the cold in their knitted beanies, I started crying. The life of an artist can be so difficult.

      15. MCTrashpedal
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Arbor Vitae is *not* for sale. :)

      16. GG
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        Correct. It’s no longer for sale, as it just sold yesterday morning. In fact the Arbor Vitae action figures, beard combs and branded beanies are already in production.

      17. double anonymous
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Why not buy a house for cheap and import Brooklyn douches? They could either live at the house themselves or they could train local reenactors to play their parts.

      18. oklndchris
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        i am commenting under my pseudonym (and in all lower case letters), my “sister to a bigger city” by birth so that they won’t know its me…but help me please! i am being held captive in the beating heart of the marketed burrough beast aka “arkpay opeslay”. please get me out of here. it will be easy to spot me bc I am the ungainfully employed not skinny woman of color whose caucasian appearing underachieving kids are actually her own. you will know its me bc they will whisper “mom” at me when no one is looking at the arkpay opeslay oodfay o-opcay.

        the code questions will be 1)does your husband run a hedge fund? I will whimper my response, “no”. 2) are you a freelance documentary film maker stay at home mother, to which I will kick disdainfully at the littered plastic screw tops of organic baby food pouches at my feet and pout, “no”. 3) do you have a jumbo mortgage? At which point my non-palstic micro beaded scrubbed, tear streaked face will peer up at you (as I am clearly the shortest woman for miles) and slobber the word, “yes”.

        Or conversely, look for the only woman NOT wearing yoga pants under a long patagonia down jacket AND an arctic fox kepe. (oops…CAPS!)

        when you find me I promise you all of my summer bus passes to the 7th avenue hamptons jitney that i clearly do not posses or the keys to my porsche cayenne that I also do not own, if you just get me the. fuck. out. of. here. then, when we get to ypsilante i will open up a combination ephemera shop fronting as an olde timey dry goods store and make you a partner. i promise you that the store will run at a loss so that you can write the losses off against your husband’s taxes against his “bonus” compensation.

        just don’t blame me if, as a result, within five years public school teachers will not be able to purchase their own home. because fuck those entitled wannabe commies! my kid goes to private school. bc, seriously? i do not want to burn in hell alone…

        OMG did i just say all that? help me…help me before its too late! to help you…
        btw-i live equidistant from gen. westmoreland’s son and henry blodgette, just in case you can’t find me.

      19. Chelle
        Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        I might actually know some people. I’ll send them to talk to your people.

      20. Facebook Stalker
        Posted March 4, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        MARK MAYNARD: “If you could assemble a quality team of hipster douchebags, and get them all into a house together, I’d pay $100 for naming rights. And, as I said earlier, they don’t have to be douchebags as of right now. I can train them… We could name it something like Mark Maynard’s Authentic Cool Street Cred Brooklyn-like House.”

      21. Meta
        Posted March 6, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Well, that didn’t take long.

        Today’s headline in the New York Observer: “Brooklyn Is Now Officially Over: The Ascendance of Brooklyn, the Lifestyle, Above All Else”

        It has been a long time coming, creeping ever closer with each new luxury condo and $8 million townhouse sale, every $17 bowl of ramen, $10 latte and cup of cold-pressed beet-and-kale juice, but now the end is finally upon us: Brooklyn is over. Done. Finished. Brooklyn as brand has overtaken Brooklyn as place, turning itself over fully to the project that was always its greatest work in the first place: the cultivation of a luxury lifestyle.

        Last week, The New York Times profiled a so-called artists’ commune in Ditmas Park that would seem, at first glance, to be just another group of idealistic twentysomethings willing to forgo the solitude and serenity of a studio apartment for the stimulation of living with other like-minded individuals. The 29-year-old founder of the Clubhouse, as it is called, tells the Times that he had dreamed of recreating the kind of artistically fertile space described by Gertrude Stein in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. “Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas created this environment where artists empowered each other to be more creative.” The cooking of vegetarian meals, edgy hairstyles and friends crashing on the couch all receive prominent mention.

        Only, what the artists of the Clubhouse are producing is not work that aspires to the heights of Hemingway, Picasso or Stein, but branded content for their corporate sponsors—a new media company called BKLYN1834 “dedicated to selling the borough’s image beyond its borders.” BKLYN1834 seeks to skim the cream from the residents’ “artistic” collaborations, a relationship that the residents refer to as a “mutually beneficial partnership.”

        Or in the distinctly dystopian phrasing of one woman: “If you give to the Clubhouse, it gives to you.”

        Of course, corporate America has long been adept at co-opting the radical, the revolutionary and the cool, using the anti-establishment chic of countless social movements to sell everything from jeans to SUVs, but BKLYN1834, so named for the date the borough was incorporated as a city and the target demographic that the company is seeking to reach, is something altogether different—not a co-optation of a lifestyle, but a collaboration, a state of affairs that has long been fermenting in the county of Kings.

        Yes, Brooklyn has been a brand for some time now and a global one at that, with Bedford-Stuyvesant cafés in Amsterdam and food trucks in France (très Brooklyn!) but there has, at least, been a distance between the thing and the representation of the thing, some kind of authentic existence underpinning the aesthetic, even if the authenticity of that experience has, of late, been in question. But the point at which the experience is lived expressly to create the brand, rather than the other way around, is the point at which the jig is up.

        Read more:
        http://observer.com/2014/03/so-much-for-that-brooklyn-is-now-officially-over/

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