“It’s been a great season,” Avi Werde said, reflecting on the third series of ‘For Locals, by Locals,’ a weekly talent showcase in Crown Heights. “Being able to interview and photograph all of the performers, before their event, has been the real treat for me this time.”
It was about a year ago that Werde and two friends renovated a property on Rogers Avenue and kicked off the recurring series, featuring talent curated by the Hoover Dam Collective. The mission was to showcase local artists, attractions and acts in and around Crown Heights, at gigs designed specifically for residents as a place to hang out, meet neighbors, drink locally and eat local bites.
Werde, of Event Connection Source and Franklin Avenue’s Cool Pony, is the brainchild of the showcase. Each week during the ‘season,’ events are held at ‘Mister Rogers,’ an unassuming converted storefront between Union and President Streets (the original signage of the prior business has been left intact). “We use the space for a multitude of purposes,” Werde said. “Anything that involves community-based affairs is welcome here.”
With a hipster aesthetic but loosely-affiliated Chabad-Lubavitch backgrounds, Werde and his partners, Shnay Menaker and Ruvi Leider, say the space is open to anyone. They are not strictly observant, and welcome anyone from the secular to the religious. The only qualification is possessing a talent that can entertain the audience.
The final ‘For Locals, by Locals’ this season, held Tuesday evening, featured a return of the Courtesy Gang, as well as performances by David Pollack, The Locksmiths, Gushue Moving Arts, and comedy curated by Mike Fox.
“I love meeting the performers and getting to learn their world,” Werde said. “Getting to reinterpret it, to share it, and have people come out and enjoy it. It’s a really big high.”
Werde said that ‘Series 4’ of ‘For Locals, By Locals’ would be even more exciting, with an extended multimedia platform–essentially a television show of the artists based on their performances at the venue. Prospective attendees stay in the loop simply by following the event series on Facebook and paying $5 at the door.