DIY Community creates local art, dialogue

David DeHart, Multimedia Contributor

Students and community members looking for vibrant local culture interwoven with political engagement may find what they are looking for in the Corvallis DIY community.

Wisconsin-based band Tenement recently came to Interzone, along with local bands Abolitionist and Dumb Luck, on Sept. 28, in a show put on by people involved with Corvallis DIY. This community is connected to a broader DIY culture that exists all over the world, and works to encourage direct participation in local culture by setting up music events and various other artistic activities, according to Donald Orr, a sixth-year student at Oregon State University.

“DIY stands for ‘do it yourself,’ so booking your own shows, having it in safe spaces for folks, and just being really inclusive and inviting for local music,” Orr said.

A primary purpose of the Corvallis DIY community is to build local engagement in punk culture and radical politics, according to Corvallis DIY participant and member of Dumb Luck Caitlin Garets.

The Facebook group, ‘Corvallis DIY’ has made the scene more visible since it was created in 2015, but it is not a structured organization. The DIY community has been present in various forms in Corvallis for decades, according to Indiana Laub, a long time participant in the Corvallis DIY community and member of Dumb Luck.

“I think that ‘DIY’ connotes a sense of political consciousness as well as a connection to other likeminded communities,” Laub said via email. “Cities all over the country and the world have similar groups that are just called ‘[City Name] DIY,’ and most of them share very similar values and practices—accessible shows, a general focus on punk, indie, and other related kinds of music, and an emphasis on community and political activism.”

One of the most notable upcoming DIY events is a Halloween cover show, according to Garets. On Saturday, Oct. 28 at Interzone, five bands will play 20 minute tribute sets, each dressing up as another band and covering their songs. This year bands will cover music by Green Day, Blondie, Weezer, Pixies, and the Cure, according to Garets

People involved with the Corvallis DIY scene engage in a variety of activities, including producing zines and hosting radio shows as well as supporting one another in organizing and performing in musical events, according to Garets.

“It’s not a top-down, band or promoter versus audience binary, but a participatory, mutually supportive environment that allows space for tons of different projects that are all loosely related to punk and anti-capitalism,” Garets said in an email.

Part of what makes participation in the Corvallis DIY community exciting is the opportunity to introduce new artists to the local scene, according to Laub.

“A lot of those bands end up asking to come back here every time they tour through the Northwest, and they tell their friends in other bands, and suddenly a bunch of people in Corvallis get to be friends with a bunch of rad people from another state or another country,” Laub said in an email.

Creating an inclusive environment is a high priority for the Corvallis DIY community as part of being a subversive political art scene, according to Garets. Their shows are all ages to make them available to anybody and they intentionally make efforts to center marginalized voices.

“Corvallis DIY is important to me because this type of community empowers people to step up and participate in creating culture, rather than just consuming it,” Garets said in an email.

Shows put on by the Corvallis DIY community happen regularly, and information about upcoming events can be found through the Corvallis DIY Facebook group or website.

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