December 5, 2016

"When people told him it was a deathtrap, he would laugh. In Derick's mind he was creating this amazing art space..."

"... and everything going on there was the most amazing thing ever."

Said one friend of the captain of the so-called Ghost Ship, where at least 33 people died in a fire Friday night. The man, who sublet space in the rented warehouse, is Derick Ion Almena, who reacted to the fire with a Facebook post that is the most perverse display of sensitivity I have ever seen:
Confirmed. Everything I worked so hard for is gone. Blessed that my children and Micah were at a hotel and safe and sound…it's as if I have awoken from a dream filled with opulence and hope… to be standing now in poverty of self worth.
Here's a description of Almena's art space:
Visitors have described a squalid scene where cat faeces and used condoms litter the limited floor space, junk and 'art' is piled high in every room, nails protrude from stairs made out of old pallets, brick work crumbles in the walls and drug use rife among the party goers who came and went.
The photo of the place (from before the fire) looks like a perfect stage set for a tragicomedy about aging hippies:



In the upper right corner is a spider plush toy the size of a lamp shade. To the left is a sad, bowed-head figure that reminds me of the No Face character in the movie "Spirited Away."

Spirited away, in a vehicle called Ghost Ship.

ADDED:
So I was down there and I was having trouble finding the exit... the lower level is like a fucking maze. The stair room had three different exits and only one would have been the way to outside. Horrifying....

Some dude who had already gotten out stood right by the exit with all the billowing smoke and was repeatedly yelling "this is the exit" "exit." I can say without a doubt that that dude saved my life. If he wasn't there yelling I would have never found the exit and I probably would have died.
AND: From the comments at that "ADDED" link:
I fear that the authorities will now, and justifiably so, come down hard on all the warehouse space venues in our wonderful creative city and in other cities as well. No one wants Oaklanders to create or host in death trap situations and the Ghost Ship venue sounds like it was out of hand for quite a while before the terrible tragedy of this weekend.

I was at a concert at the Anderson Theater in NYC MANY years ago (when we were young and foolish) before the building closed (was likely condemned) - Patti Smith - and there were open flame heaters heating the space in January. Outside temperature was in the low teens -- windy outside and freezing inside. We went in, saw the flaming heaters, and proceeded up to sit in the balcony WAY against our better judgment - but we did it. We knew how we got in and how to get out but totally knew the scene was WRONG and DANGEROUS but we froze in line for hours and were damned if would miss this event. When the show started, Patti sang three songs and the NYCFD came on stage to stop the show because the building was a fire hazard. Duh. No surprise there - Patti tried to speak to them then kept on singing and was dragged off the stage screaming out "Rock and Roll N...." with the entire audience shouting along and booing the emergency personnel who were of course 100%CORRECT. It was a crazy, unsafe and unforgettable experience BUT everybody lived to tell the tale.

We were lucky that night. Luck ended at the Ghost Ship this First Friday of December, 2016. My neighbor's friend lived there, smelled smoke, so opened his door, saw stuff falling from the ceilings and ran out. He was in his room watching a movie on TV, and not upstairs. No young people should be put in danger BY ANYONE to listen to music or create their art simply because they allow themselves to be in that situation. When we are young we think nothing bad can happen. But it can and it did this weekend. We have to do better.

42 comments:

rhhardin said...

A casualty of regulation. No affortable spaces because you can't build them.

Rob said...

There will probably be criminal prosecutions of the people who owned the building, rented the space and conducted the event, but it's unlikely they'll prosecute the Oakland city officials who looked the other way while this "art space" was allowed to operate and to house squatters--and that's wrong. They were complicit.

David Begley said...

How in the world could this open and obvious public safety threat be allowed to exist? Surely this was known to the City for years. And this post suggests there are more such places in Oakland! Astounding.

Answer? There is a Culture of Lawlessness in Oakland and it starts at the top. The Mayor should be recalled. Criminal investigations of City of Oakland officials should begin.

And the fact that Oakland is a sanctuary city is all part of this Culture of Lawlessness. Start enforcing the law.

Greg Hlatky said...

A manhunt is now underway to find a Republican on whom this can be blamed.

traditionalguy said...

And most Progressives in Berkeley stubbornly believe the Holocaust is only Israeli propaganda. So it is karma they would ignore open dangers of fire wholley incinerating people's bodies, while they cooly lit up marijuana roaches.

Michael K said...

Oakland is not the city where you would expect law to be followed closely.

Quaestor said...

Build things out of the earth. Build barns, and houses, and evolve.

I think that says it all.

Kellogg's delenda est.

Arthur James said...

Aside from legalities, symbolically and compassionately through brutal honesty, a social statement struck hard: the Death of the Adult is a tragic drama. Creativity, the proliferation of artists—way too many artists—masses upon masses viewing themselves as artists--lives given over to self-indulgent artistic endeavors lowers into squalor and escapism. An inability to grow-up, delusion motivating while group think grants confidence, it is amazing the creative process has created destructive individuals who will never second guess themselves based upon the self-assumption of genius. As the Greeks, St Theresa of Avila, and many spiritual masters will proclaim: ‘Know Thy Self’.

jacksonjay said...

I think Oakland needs comprehensive code reform. As everyone knows, when city codes are not endorced, the logical solution is more city codes to ignore. I'm also reminded of the school that ignored the complaints about the bus driver. Then six babies were killed.

campy said...

A manhunt is now underway to find a Republican on whom this can be blamed.

Why hunt? Blame it on Trump.

Lost My Cookies said...

If they were making money this would be a scandal, but it's art, so it'll be a tragedy.

It's a terrible thing that happened, and I'm sure someone will be held responsible and they should be. But it won't stop this kind of thing, my inner twenty year-old thinks that that sounds like the coolest place ever. He'll, when I was a full fledged married adult with kids my wife and I went to party where three people were electrocuted trying to pull power from a streetlamp. And just last year we were at a graduation party and everyone was throwing fireworks on the bonfire and somehow a whole box of shotgun shells ended up on the fire. People do stupid things for fun, sometimes they call the fun art.

Freder Frederson said...

This is really confusing for you all, isn't it? Government regulation is bad, but then again we can't let people build unsafe spaces.

What's a conservative to do.

Robert Cook said...

"And most Progressives in Berkeley stubbornly believe the Holocaust is only Israeli propaganda."

Really? That's always been a hobbyhorse of the John Birch Society and other such kook right-wing cults. I don't think they'd be happy to be slandered as "progressives."

Freder Frederson said...

And most Progressives in Berkeley stubbornly believe the Holocaust is only Israeli propaganda.

Even though this is completely off topic, I cannot let this bullshit pass. Holocaust denial is exclusively a lie of the right. Show me one progressive who denies the Holocaust.

Arthur James said...

What's a conservative to do. (?) Freder

Point at the destructive social element liberal consciousness has created within young people. Look through the photos of those killed in the fire. Sad, heart-breaking how empty and pitiful they appear. Conservatives will morally view them as the sad depiction of the lowering of potential and lives wasted by liberal thinking. It is horrible.

madAsHell said...

Show me one progressive who denies the Holocaust.

You are swimming in denial.

Quaestor said...

That's always been a hobbyhorse of the John Birch Society and other such kook right-wing cults.

As usual Robert Cook shoots from the hip and misses everything except his own foot. I had never heard of the JBS being accused of Holocaust denial, which would be odd indeed if even vaguely plausible seeing as they are accused of so much evil by the myrmidons of "progress". So I Googled "John Birch Society" + Holocaust and got this this top hit.

Larry J said...

Freder Frederson said...
And most Progressives in Berkeley stubbornly believe the Holocaust is only Israeli propaganda.

Even though this is completely off topic, I cannot let this bullshit pass. Holocaust denial is exclusively a lie of the right. Show me one progressive who denies the Holocaust.


The Anti-Defamation League would like to discuss the issue of Holocaust denial on college campuses with you.

JAORE said...

"This is really confusing for you all, isn't it? Government regulation is bad, but then again we can't let people build unsafe spaces.

What's a conservative to do."

Wow, that worn out argument again? Are you not even trying?

Please keep this for further reference FF, I think you'll need it.

Conservatives are NOT against all regulation. Sensible ones, like fire safety are fine.

BUT:

A rule, law or regulation should serve the purpose for which it was intended (i.e. keeping people from dying in fires, not as opportunities for graft, nor to stifle things like construction of necessary infrastructure.

(Assuming the above) It should be enforced, equally for all, not just in some areas and for some citizens.

Periodically the rule should be reviewed to see if it still makes sense, is outdated, or could be made more effective. It should also be reviewed to determine if a massive bureaucracy has grown up around the rule that is bloated and inefficient for the enforcement of the rule.

You are welcome.

gspencer said...

And the cherry on top -

Every one of the very-well paid Oakland public officials has IMMUNITY from any lawsuit based on the idea that he/she/them failed to do their job. Only the City can be sued (if at all) for the alleged negligence of its employees.

Unions forever! Government employees forever! Democrats forever!

Arthur James said...

This blog filled my morning, this story my heart. Althouse pointing to the 'Spirited Away' animated movie, which I know nothing about, and will now watch, appears appropriate. The scene in the website depiction displaying No Face horrendous and devouring appears appropriate, while also advancing forward to No Face learning, changing, and become something better.

YoungHegelian said...

@Lost Cookies,

If they were making money this would be a scandal, but it's art, so it'll be a tragedy.

Oh, but someone was. On NPR's report this morning, they said that those "spaces" on the bottom floor were being renting for $500-1500 a month. And I'm sure those folks who used the top floor for concerts, raves, etc weren't getting the space for free. Someone was making big money off that poor, God-forsaken, hippy-dippy "artist colony".

It's amazing how California will try and regulate what a porn star must wear on his dick, but an egregious example of breaking the rules of public safety for profit like this seemingly can go on forever. Apparently, this isn't the only example of inhabited warehouse spaces in the Bay Area.

Sydney said...

If it's true that he was warned it was a death trap and that he had multiple doors marked as exits that weren't exits, then this is going to end badly for him.

Lost My Cookies said...

I'm not confused at all. Regulate all you want, some people will ignore those regulations. Especially if those regulations are onerous and expensive. For example; the city has decided that discharging firearms within city limits is against the law. I don't really have a problem with that, I think that law will stop a lot of people from shooting guns in the city, but it also means that in order to rid myself of the skunk in my yard I have to trap it or poison it and poison is also illegal, so trapping it is the only option. So I spent a lot of money trying to trap this skunk and a lot of money cleaning my dog because I wasn't successful at trapping said skunk. So one evening I spent an additional $.30 and shot him. So while I don't want you shooting guns in town, that skunk needed to die and I was prepared to mount a vigorous legal defense if in the process of blasting around like Elmer Fudd I managed to wound maim or kill more than three of my neighbors.

Lost My Cookies said...

@YH Well then its probably Google's fault for driving rents up with the busses and free coffee in the break room.

Mike said...

Freder: This is really confusing for you all, isn't it? Government regulation is bad, but then again we can't let people build unsafe spaces.

What's a conservative to do.


Easy! Follow the rule of law but work to reduce unnecessary existing regulations. Simple!

In fact, conservatism is the simplest of all ideologies. No need to create lawless "sanctuary cities" or firetrap "artist colonies" like progressives do, only to see innocent people die horrible deaths so that lowly progs can signal their "virtue" by ignoring The Law.

MayBee said...

Yes, it is a crime that Oakland officials looked the other way. It's interesting that also, in the name of being "artists", many of these people think the city owed them the space. I don't mean the people who died, but the people who were living there.

Oh, but someone was. On NPR's report this morning, they said that those "spaces" on the bottom floor were being renting for $500-1500 a month. And I'm sure those folks who used the top floor for concerts, raves, etc weren't getting the space for free. Someone was making big money off that poor, God-forsaken, hippy-dippy "artist colony".

It is my understanding, after wading through Facebook posts of the Dereik Ion, his wife, and many of their friends yesterday, that Ion was renting the warehouse from the owner and then charging rent to other inhabitants. He was the one who built the ghost ship, and he was the one holding parties there.

He had a group called Satya Yurga that many of the people familiar called a semi-cult. He apparently used a lot of meth, and spent the rent money on that rather than the improvements he was told (by his friends) he had to make.

I read somewhere that they also made structures for Burning Man.

Freder Frederson said...

Easy! Follow the rule of law but work to reduce unnecessary existing regulations. Simple!

"unnecessary" is a very vague term. I'm sure your concept of an unnecessary regulation is starkly different than mine. And you added "existing" which indicates that you don't believe we need any more regulation.

Freder Frederson said...

The Anti-Defamation League would like to discuss the issue of Holocaust denial on college campuses with you.

Being anti-Semitic is not the same as Holocaust denial. I will grant you that the vast majority of Holocaust deniers are anti-Semitic. I would be foolish to deny that all antisemitism is on the right.

MayBee said...

Here's a sample Facebook post from the wife:
https://www.facebook.com/micah.allison1?pnref=lhc&hc_location=ufi
======

Yo G... I don't see you often , when I do... It's good... We build, we make music , we create and change the world daily... And in that moment it's a better place. At this moment you are an interesting reflection... Because my brother died dead gone forever fucking passed around same time as yours and I been dealing with the same dark wave of grief and the tide of loneliness and despair. Except now I hear you say thank you to so many good friends that care .... And this is where your blade ends and the one in my side continues to rust and fragment... Because I have no friends. I have no fucking passerby's that give a fuck for my or my families well being.... No well wishes or care package or check ins .... After 20 years of building this community and fiercely protecting it..... Doing my best to delay the black pyramid of death.... I have been rejected by those closest. If I mentioned names.... It would be the who's who of the Bay Area scene.... Because I am Derick Ion the baby killer.
And in this moment of self reflection upon Mr Cochino's wall..... I Am done. Undone. Used up. Tired and at the peak of my greatest creation. I'm trapped with a few other soldiers .... Within the walls of the most beautiful temple living tribute tied bound nailed erected and held together with love and blood. It is the center of the universe. And as much as it can be the tender portal of your escape into the revolution of clarity thru the freedom of expression.... It is also an infinite fanged fissure falling in on itself constantly.... Not a club not a cloud 9 not a defunct rec center not a pay to play not strate or gay not a 2 am go away..... A fucking vanguard chalice temple hideout bomb shelter of the soul.... And we are starving to death building it for all of you. So fuck Geno Cochino.... !!!! I ain't dead.... And I and Elijah Sage , and Muad'dib Melange and Derick Ion could really use some fucking help.... Some muscle and laughter... Some food and help to pay the rent.... On this 15,000 sq ft. Satya fucking Yuga next level. I missed my brothers funeral to instead erect the opening gateway and stairs.... While they burnt his body ,,, I broke brick and had the last of my self respect sold out and slaughtered by jealous fools drunk on self hate.
So big up Geno... Call me when you wanna get dirty and be blown the fuck away... Throw down the heavy DUB plates and raise warriors from their graves.
1309 31st ave @ Fruitvale and International.
The true crossroads of culture and revolution in Oakland.
Ion.

Bay Area Guy said...

First, it is terribly sad. At least 33 people died in the Fruitvale so I don't want to lose sight of that.

However, probably there was criminal negligence involved. Certainly, there was left wing disorder involved. The articles about this Ghost Ship remind me of the Hippie communes in the 70s: squalid, disorganized, unpleasant, and ultimately unsafe: Fighting against against the ordinary middle class American existence - marriage, family, home, gardening, work, church, community, little league, PTA meetings, holidays, and BBQs is not a good organizing principle of one's life.

MayBee said...

Berkeley has had a tough year. They've lost students in many of the tragedies this year, starting with the terror attack in Bangladesh and now with students dying in this fire.

MayBee said...

"unnecessary" is a very vague term. I'm sure your concept of an unnecessary regulation is starkly different than mine. And you added "existing" which indicates that you don't believe we need any more regulation.

There were lots of regulations for these warehouse spaces. Number one was they weren't for habitation. That seems completely reasonable. I would feel comfortable guessing there were plenty of regulations to keep these people alive, but none of them were being followed.

When I was living in California, there was a move to make it a requirement to have a sprinkler system in new private homes being built. That would be my idea of over-regulation.

whitney said...

These warehouse spaces exist in all cities. They generally congregate near an art school. They are remarkably similar, old rugs, old couches, dim lighting and mannequins. The parties are fun, it's wild and out of control. I think they will always exist. And sometimes, there's tragedy. It's all very sad

Mike said...

Freder Frederson said...
Easy! Follow the rule of law but work to reduce unnecessary existing regulations. Simple!

"unnecessary" is a very vague term. I'm sure your concept of an unnecessary regulation is starkly different than mine. And you added "existing" which indicates that you don't believe we need any more regulation.

I did not offer an opinion on future regulation so you can only assume what I believe and like all progs, you assume incorrectly.

Are you being intentionally obtuse?

What part of "follow the law" tripped you up?

Are you unable to grasp the idea that some regulations are good and needed (like fire codes) and others are overly burdensome and harm society (like the Dodd-Frank provisions that are intended to kill small independent banks on behalf of the progressives who do Wall Street's bidding and are doing so)?

Tell me, what regulations made Volvo include more airbags and safety restraints than US law? Trick question. It was the profit motive of the Volvo company that led them to position the car as extremely safe. Ditto Subaru.

Why is the largely unregulated and non-insurance-driven dental industry so easy to deal with? Free clinics for poor people, affordable care for the rest of us, added services like whitening and straightening can be had relatively cheaply when compared to highly regulated and insurance-driven pricing for medical care. Hmmm.

Why is food so cheap and plentiful notwithstanding the myth of "food deserts" created by urban master planners? Is not food a human right? Should we not take all the profit out of food? Wouldn't that make it even more plentiful Freder?

Jason said...

Even though this is completely off topic, I cannot let this bullshit pass. Holocaust denial is exclusively a lie of the right. Show me one progressive who denies the Holocaust.

LOL!

MayBee said...

These warehouse spaces exist in all cities. They generally congregate near an art school. They are remarkably similar, old rugs, old couches, dim lighting and mannequins. The parties are fun, it's wild and out of control. I think they will always exist. And sometimes, there's tragedy. It's all very sad

Agreed.
Some people just want to be underground.

What's tough is the business person who wants to do the right thing finds a lot of barriers and expense. Then the same municipality that enforces all of the burdens looks the other way when "the right" people go underground.

Adam Carolla points stuff like this out all the time. Try to have your own home remodeled, or build a pool on your own yard, and you'll get expensive regulations on how you can do it.
But be an illegal immigrant selling food out of a shady food cart, and they'll look the other way on all of it.

Rae said...

I presume an inspector was being bribed. Around here, inspectors get free work on their house. I don't know what the off the books currency is out there. Marijuana?

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

OK freder, question for you

How many people were murdered in the national socialist death camps?

You are not a denier, are you? Hmmmm?

John Henry

John Nowak said...

It might be relevant to point out that "Freder Fredersen" is the main character from Metropolis (1927), directed by Fritz Lang and written by Thea von Harbou. Von Harbou would later explain that Freder was very much like Adolf Hitler, in her mind destined to heal the rift between the workers and industry.

Von Harbou remained in Germany through WWII, where she made pro-Nazi films for the duration. After the war, she was held in a British POW camp for a few months, and ultimately released, presumably on the grounds that simply being an enthusiastic Nazi and making movies did not reach the level of being a war crime.

Picking "Freder Fredersen" as a screen name while purporting to be anti-Nazi is an interesting choice, at best reflecting a profound ignorance of the origins of the name.

JamesB.BKK said...

The death penalty would be appropriate for the proprietor. To deter him, permanently, and also pour encourager les autres. That's the kind of regulation that would stop such willful and wanton conduct.