Last month, I reviewed the brand new album by Dave “Ziggy” Deitke’s C-Level, Burn Your Own Gasoline, released just before lockdown. (Listen to it on Spotify.) And here again, I find it would be remiss not to mention what Dave has been working on since the change of circumstances.
Art Is Our Refuge – Negative Space Fundraiser
Negative Space, on Cleveland’s near East Side close to Tyler Village, has been a seminal location of late in the local scene. In 2019, it hosted release concerts for two of my favorite local bands: for Lea Marra & The Dream Catchers‘ debut album, and a music video premier for Shelby Sangdahl’s Reginleif. In the art world, it hosts gallery events and serves as the studio for Tessa LeBaron (who I have featured in Postman Press in the past, and who designed the poster for my birthday party) and Gadi Zamir, who founded Negative Space in 2010 as a nonprofit art gallery to support rising artists in Cleveland.
As lockdown set in, Zamir was forced to cancel all of his events at the gallery. Realizing he was going to miss budget if he couldn’t rent out his space and sell his paintings, he quickly started a GoFundMe to try to keep going.
This is where Ziggy stepped in. He has had a close-knit relationship with Negative Space and the team there for years, including hosting his podcast there, and playing shows with C-Level. As soon as he heard about the GoFundMe campaign, he began organizing a virtual concert series on Facebook Live to raise awareness.
Dave enlisted fifteen acts, mostly composed of musicians who had performed at Negative Space, to play. Acts included many friends of mine: Michelle Gaw, Mikey Silas, Shawn Brewster, Taylor Lamborn, Rob Kovacs, Lea Marra, yours truly, and more. For the closing concert, C-Level performed the entirety of their new album Burn Your Own Gasoline live from Negative Space, accompanied by live painting by Gadi and Tessa, and finally a tour of the facility.
Gadi started the fundraiser on April 15, hoping to raise $5,000. The concert series took place from the 20th to the 24th. On the 30th, it finally succeeded, and as of writing has raised $5,445. Dave’s idea to host the concert series was instrumental in the fundraiser’s success.
Zig At The Gig Podcast
In partnership with the show, Ziggy has been using his podcast, Zig at the Gig, to interview artists featured on the show. To help promote, he’s been releasing those interviews during the week leading up to their performances.
This has lead to an influx of new information about local musicians, delivered firsthand and in a personal way. This created an effective, easy entry point to becoming a new fan of the artists on the show. I can watch the show, discover a new artist I like, and immediately go listen to an hour-long interview with them.
For example, I watched the Virtual Shows Cle episode with Gretchen Pleuss. I was immediately enamored with her songwriting. So I went on Spotify, listened to her album, and loved that too. Then, wanting to know more about her personally, I listened to her interview on Zig At The Gig. It’s impressive how much you can get to know about how somebody thinks in just an hour.
This week, I was featured on Zig At The Gig. I got to speak in-depth about things that are important to me, some of it outside of music. So while someone listening to my album can get a peek into my life, this podcast can open the door much further. I think it’s one of the best snapshots of me as a character I’ve ever gotten. And though Zig and I have been friends for a long time, there were things he learned during the interview that surprised him.
So it’s a match made in heaven: Virtual Shows Cle introduces us to people as musicians, and Zig At The Gig introduces us to them beyond music and reveals their purpose and motivation. Together, Dave and Michelle have teamed to produce an environment where we musicians lucky enough to be on the show can generate honest, real fans. I’m incredibly thankful for the work both of them have put in to create this.