Sacrilege Meets Entertainment at St. James Church

Towards the end of winter break, my friend and I decided to go to a show. The line up was as follows:

MIDNIGHT: Real Estate
11PM The Beets
10PM Tony Castles (with secret special guest!)
9PM Beach Fossils
8PM Total Slacker
10 dollars & OPEN BAR FROM 8-9

For the most part, the show was like any other–gnar gnar sets, bacchanalia, familiar faces (such as my summer employer, who was making out with his new s/o, plus booking agents/band members that came to Vassar via No-ViCE). What set it apart from other shows I’ve attended was the location. Less Artists More Condos held the show at the St. James Church in Chinatown. On the one hand, it’s a lovely place for a concert, with lots of seating (pews…) great acoustics, pleasant (holy…) atmosphere, even cute little gendered markings on the bathroom doors (Adam for gents, Eve for gals).  BUT. But but but. St. James Church is not a decrepit warehouse off of Lorimer. It’s a CHURCH. A holy place of worship. Now, I really enjoyed the show, but I remember turning to my friend and asking “Isn’t it a little weird that there are sots…dipsomaniacs…drug-fiending dancers toppling all over the ‘stage’…which is actually an alter?”

Yes. It is weird. And there were people who were a little upset. One drifter of the blogosphere griped:

WAIT a MINUTE!!! Is this an article about a Roman Catholic Church holding a “Rock Concert” inside of the church itself? Not only that, but with an open bar? Is it any wonder we are being judged!!! This is one of the most INSIDIOUS articles I have ever read, with the exception of the pedaphile priests. May God have mercy on us all.

Another replied:

We deserve to be wiped off the face of the earth…please, Lord, come kill us.

Post-sacrilege, another blogger responded:

Father Tonelotto is deeply embarrassed and sorrowful for the turn of events. He has written to the Archbishop Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York expressing his remorse by apologizing for this. He also wants to apologize to the parish and everyone else that this has caused scandal to. Father Tonelotto recognizes what has happened, has taken responsibility and apologized for it.

Then later updated:

Father Walter Tonelotto will be holding a prayer vigil of reparation this Saturday (01-30-2010) at Saint James Church for what has occurred at the parish. If you are a parishioner or wish to join in this prayer vigil contact the parish here.

Ultimately what baffles me is not why they would ever hold a show at the St. James Church. I mean, it was a sick show. What I really don’t understand, is how that show managed to get booked? How did they request the holy space (or more precisely, how did they represent/color the proposed show?). Well, props to Less Artists More Condos.

Holy Water

Courtesy of Sam Smouha