What was Monkeytown you ask? Monkeytown at its essense was space inside a cube (made of four large projection screens) that featured film, dining, music, and other art performances. Created by Montgomery Knott, it began in a loft space at 222 Leonard St. in 2003 and ended up making stops in cities all over the world.
Monkeytown’s longest iteration was in Williamsburg at 58 North 3rd street from October 2005 to January 2010. In the front was a restaurant and bar area with art installations hanging from the ceiling. If you went to the back and followed a pink hallway you would end up at the featured attraction, the cube.
With the projection screens surrounding you, you could dine at the tables that were around the outside of the space and the center of the room was used for the performances. At that time in my life I was not looking to spend money on any of the wonderful dinner options they offered, but later in the evenings you could grab a $5 beer from the bar and get your dance on to a late night DJ or chill on a couch and watch a performance (of course paired with video on the projection screens).
While at the North 3rd street space performers included The xx, Dirty Projectors, Sharon Van Etten, Colin Stetson, Twin Shadow and many more. There were also many film screenings and various art performances by artists like Cory Arcangel. If this sounds like something out of a “Williamsburg was so cool” fever dream you would be correct. It was.
Unfortunately, most of the videos/photos/memories from this time are fairly grainy. Here’s a video of The xx performing Basic Space in 2009.
Monkeytown eventually closed in January of 2010 due to the “Landlord issues” that we’ve come to know so well in Williamsburg.
Over the next several years Montgomery Knott took Monkeytown on stops to Manhattan, Denver, Barcelona, and Los Angeles in 2016.
More recently Monkeytown made a one night stop in Seoul, Korea and may appear in Mexico City later this year.
The North 3rd space where Monkeytown lived is now a Mexican restaurant that has projector screens on three walls of the back room.
What are your memories of Monkeytown?