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Film: “Pool Party” by Beth Aala

  • Center for Architecture (map)
  • 403 NW 11th Ave
  • Portland, OR
  • USA

An abandoned swimming pool becomes one of New York’s most significant music venues since CBGBs.

When the McCarren Pool opened in Williamsburg in 1936, it was the size of a football field with the capacity to hold 6,800 bathers. When it closed abruptly in 1983, it became a hang out for gangs, junkies, graffiti artists and the homeless.

Fast-forward nearly 25 years and this neighbourhood boasts a vibrant international music scene – the result of a canny choreographer identifying the potential of the empty pool as a performance space. Since its redevelopment in 2005, bands like The Beastie Boys, Black Lips, The Breeders and Yo La Tengo have all performed at the wildly successful Pool Party concerts.

Beth Aala’s debut documentary is an inspiring and enjoyable tale of an urban renewal success story, charting an inevitable journey from decay to gentrification to commercialization.

Runtime: 75 min. 

Thanks to our sponsors: Portland Japanese Garden

Tickets available 9.9