HouseShowsZine (HSZ) is a website site with a triple purpose. First, its aim is to collect, share, and display information about house concerts/shows from around the USA and internationally. Second, it endeavors to connect people who organize, attend, and perform at house shows and thus ascribe to similar world-views. Third, this site is also a part of a research project about house shows in the US, conducted by me, David Verbuč, the editor of HSZ and a PhD student of ethnomusicology/music studies at UC Davis (read more about the research here). My aim is to share my field-work research and data gathered through research methods, such as interviews and observations, with interested audiences, and simultaneously to glean additional information about house shows for my research through this alternative, interactive, and online method. Therefore, everybody who is willing to share his/her experience or knowledge about house concerts is encouraged to do so at this place (click here). Your contribution is double: you can participate in sharing your information with the house concert community, and additionally help me with my ongoing research on house shows in the US. You can also just read and enjoy the site, without any additional involvement, or perhaps simply comment on the site’s content and organization. By contributing in any of these ways, you can become a part of an international house concert community.
Contributors to this site can be a members of house show audiences, musicians, neighbors, residents of concert houses, or any other type of persons who have any connection to or knowledge about house concerts. Contributors can participate in many ways (see Categories): write about specific houses, local house scenes, or experiences from music tours, create and send tour maps (with lists of houses you played at, or know of), review house shows, share stories and anecdotes, conduct interviews with people related to house shows, write about legislature or politics that impact house shows in different countries and states, give advice about organizing shows, provide links to other similar sites, add to the growing house show bibliography, provide photos or links to video clips, and create and share art related to house shows (songs, graphic art, comic books, movies, fiction stories, poems …). Contributors can also write or provide information about other unconventional forms of organizing shows (warehouse shows, guerrilla shows, concerts at unconventional performance spaces …). In addition, visitors of this site can leave comments and participate in the discussions at the site forum. If you want to make any type of contribution, send it to my email (find it here), and additionally provide your name (or nickname), date, location, and any other relevant info with it.
My research focuses primarily (but not exclusively) on alternative house shows in the US. Therefore this site will have a stronger emphasis in that direction. However, HSZ is a place for the sharing of information, links and materials relating to any and all types of house concerts and other unconventional concert venues and musical spatial practices (anywhere). Thus you can expect (and contribute) anything here.
HSZ has two man sections: 1) “Categories” that represents main topics of interest, and 2) “Places” that organizes some of the same posts from “Categories” also by place (either in the US or Internationally). In addition, there are other sections such as Links, Discussions, Editorials, Tags by Genre, About Research, and Archives. I hope this kind of organization is transparent and helpful enough to provide an effective search and navigation system for visitors.
Finally, I want to make a few comments about the terminology I use on this site. The designation “acoustic/folk” seemed the most suitable for the type of house concerts that are oriented toward acoustic, folk, traditional, singer/songwriter and Americana music genres, especially since the house concert organizers and authors of various house concert websites use these same terms to define their own activities. The term “alternative,” on the other hand, designates house and basement shows and scenes that have a distinct social and cultural character and that are directed toward younger audiences with a variety of musical interests, from various indie rock (and punk) subgenres to singer/songwriter and experimental musics. It would perhaps be better to use the term “indie” instead of “alternative,” but that would be partly misleading since all types of house concerts are in one way or another independent endeavors. By “alternative,” I don’t mean reference the “alternative rock” genre often used by music industry and media. “Alternative” in this place points to alternative options in terms of social and cultural organization and in terms of music genres and practices that are not represented (or underrepresented) in the mainstream social outlets (media, venues). However, all of these categories are to a certain extent superficial and fluid, so there will probably be some music practices and posts that will fall somewhere in between the category boundaries. In that case, you will be able to find them on various places on this site; this will also be addressed in the editorials, if needed.
p.s. There are 8 header photos on HSZ that randomly change while navigating the site, so you have to press several links on the HSZ before you see all!