THE SHORT OF IT
From July of 2008 to August 2013, Anya Sapozhnikova and Kae Burke ran a circus theatre and creative event space in East Williamsburg Brooklyn called the House of Yes, hosting aerial classes, creative events and circus theatre. Although the original space was lost to rising rent, House of Yes did not lose its passion and dedication to making amazing performance for amazing audiences.
The current location of House of Yes was opened by House of Yes co-founders Anya + Kae, in partnership with their new collaborators Justin Ahiyon and Ilan Telmont. Located in Bushwick right outside the Jefferson Street L train stop, the location of the newest House of Yes has brought us full circle, back to the neighborhood where it all started. The space was designed as a temple of expression, and forms the creative base of House of Yes operations – which now extend far outside Bushwick. New Orleans, Miami, Los Angeles, Tennessee, London have all tasted our magic – stay tuned to see where we pop-up next!
HOW IT BEGAN
The First House of Yes came to existence in April of 2007. A friend of a friend was looking for someone to take over their lease on a 2,500 square foot second floor loft located at 19-49 Troutman Street. The place was a wreck, a hippie-punk squat house complete with hallways filled with trash, leaky ceilings and curious odors. “It is perfect” said Anya Sapozhnikova. She signed the lease.
And so it began. This was a project driven by passion, not dollars. The goal was to build a true creative live-work space that could host an occasional dance party or circus class. Walls were torn down, kitchens were installed, studios were created, stages were built. After deliberating names such as “Crystal Palace” and “Troutwick Bushman” the House of Yes was eventually dubbed “House of Yes”.
The rooms were rented to artists, musicians, dancers and creatives who became family, collectively hosting dinner parties, movie screenings, yoga mornings and monthly dance parties. Every week, the House of Yes collective invited the extended community over for Make Fun Sewing Nights (Tuesdays) and Circus Skill Share nights (Wednesdays). Anya’s Best Friend from High School Kae Burke had moved in, and everyone lived happily forever and ever… until April 22nd, 2008 when a kitchen fire turned the candy-colored bohemian paradise into a blazing inferno. It required 8 fire trucks to extinguish the fire. The House of Yes lasted less than a year.
Sound systems and sewing machines became molten plastic and costumes and bedrooms turned to colorless ash. The beloved cat pilgrim could not be rescued. Although the rest of the residents made it out alive, they had lost not only their possessions but also their creative homes and art space.
AND THEN THE REAL MAGIC STARTED TO HAPPEN!
Inspired by the encouragement and support of New York’s underground arts community, House of Yes continued and decided to seek a new home. The response was overwhelming, as people came to epic fundraiser events and donated funds that created just enough money for a security deposit on a new space.
In June of 2008, less than 2 months after the fire, House of Yes had found a dilapidated former ice-house off the Grand Street L train in East Williamsburg. It was for rent. It had 30 foot ceilings. A lease was soon signed, and so it began…again.
And so the warehouse was taken over by Anya and Kae in collaboration with Lauren Larken of Artistic Evolution, Hassan Spruill, Keelan Kelly, Jordann Baker and Aaron Goldsmith with the help of countless friends. Walls were torn down, kitchens were installed, studios were created, stages were built.
The new House of Yes was double the size, which meant double the potential for creativity. It was a project built on passion with the intention of creating a more professional version of the first House of Yes. The newest incarnation would be home to Make Fun costume studio, a music studio an event space and an aerial circus school known as Sky Box with classes 6 days a week. As time passed, the space developed into a center for creative culture events and began hosting fashion shows, movie screenings, birthday parties, private events, launches, classes of all sorts, aerial theatre shows and circus spectacles. Once again, people from far and wide would come to House of Yes to support by taking classes, seeing performances, coming to events or volunteering their time to be with like minded creatives.
5 years went by in a flash. In the meantime, things changed, people moved, events happened, shows opened and closed. Performers kept performing, audiences kept coming. Elena Delgado joined the team. House of Yes grew beyond its walls, and became a community comprised of performers, creatives and friends.
So of course, everyone lived happily ever after…. until June of 2013 when a raging inferno known as rent increase ended the second chapter of House of Yes. After a final two months of epic performances, the second House of Yes closed its doors. Yet again, fueled by the love of fans and the support of friends, the House of Yes began to seek a new home.
After six months of searching for a new space, House of Yes finally signed a 10 year lease along with new collaborators Justin Ahiyon and Ilan Telmont. Located in Bushwick right outside the Jefferson Street L train stop, the location of the newest House of Yes has brought us full circle, back to the neighborhood where it all started.
Thank you to everyone who has stuck with us.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible.
Thank you to everyone who has ever come out to a show.
Thank you to everyone who will stick with us as we move into the next space.
We look forward to writing the third chapter of House of Yes with you.