EVERETT — Black Lab Gallery has expanded from 1,200 square feet to 6,000 square feet by moving a block on Hewitt Avenue.
The gallery’s grand opening is Oct. 15, but if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have noticed that owner Isabella Valencia has been scheduling shows since Sept. 18.
Valencia said the soft openings enabled Black Lab to fine-tune its new cocktail bar and figure out how to split up the space for all-ages events.
“We’re ready,” she said.
Since moving from Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood in 2016, Black Lab has become one of Everett’s go-to spots for live music, from folk-rock to hip-hop.
It was a tiny art gallery but a huge player in the local music scene.
With its move, Black Lab now has five times the space to support all artists as a visual, performing and literary arts venue.
“We have room to make all our ideas come to fruition,” Valencia said. “We’ve always wanted a bar, we’ve always wanted a bigger performance space.”
Black Lab is housed in the former Horseshoe Saloon — though it was most recently Trilogy. The building was rebuilt in 1909 after a fire destroyed the original structure in 1902.
The venue at 1805 Hewitt Ave. is next to Tony V’s Garage, the Independent Beer Bar and the Angel of the Winds Arena.
There’s a cocktail bar and kitchen with tables on the first floor, and a wine and beer bar with a stage and a dance floor upstairs. The basement serves as a green room for musicians.
“We get a lot walk-ins just because they can see the lights and hear the music from the sidewalk,” general manager Marcus Chavez said. “The stage is right up against the windows on Hewitt.”
Black Lab will soon be the new home of Sol Food, which had to close its restaurant at 1405 Hewitt Ave. because of COVID-19. The Mediterranean-influenced eatery is subleasing Black Lab’s kitchen and takeout window.
The cocktail bar specializes in drinks that were popular in speakeasies during Prohibition, such as Ramona Flowers, which is rye whiskey, elderflower liqueur, creme de violette and lime juice.
Valencia’s daughter, Nicole Valencia, managed the bar and booked musicians until the pandemic made her look for work. Now Chavez manages the venue, Ashley Perry manages the bar and Ron Taffi books musicians. They’re Valencia’s new team.
“No matters the style of art or the style of music you are pursuing, we can offer a space for you,” Perry said. “We’re a space for the artists.”
“The Six,” an exhibit featuring the work of Jaci Kajfas Alvarez, is on display through December. Alvarez is showing a series of 5-by-5-foot acrylic paintings on canvases on the first floor. Her work focuses on color, movement, spirit and pause. An artist’s reception is scheduled for Oct. 21 from 6 to 10 p.m.
On the second floor, also through December, is an Artspace Everett Lots group show. It features the work of resident artists Christine Shannon, Patricia Ariel, Anna Balivet Jordan, Vicki Hammond, John Hales, Kathy Lynott and Cassandra Reed.
Musicians are scheduled each weekend. Hi Wasted, Counterproductive and Asterhouse will perform on Oct. 15, followed by Cosmic Wrays and The Viking Surfers on Oct. 16, and The Fully Realized, The Harper Conspiracy and Space Whales on Oct. 17.
As was the case at the former location down the block, almost all the money taken at the door, most of the time a $10 cover charge, goes to the musicians. Valencia does that because of her mission to support the artists.
Also at the Black Lab this weekend: Jason Webley and Grey Filastine will give an “Art Afloat” talk about their floating art projects — Webley’s Flotsam River Circus of Everet and Filastine’s Arka Kinari of Indonesia. The two met in the 1990s when Webley was asked to open for Filastine’s band TchKung! The free talk is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 17.
The gallery hosts Really Serious Literature poetry events almost monthly, as well as Ghetto BLSTER Cyphers freestyle hip-hop open mics. The next Serious Lit event is 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24; Cyphers open mics are scheduled for the first and fourth Thursday of the month.
“Since my days in Ballard, this is exactly what I’ve always wanted it to be,” Valencia said. She said Black Lab is named for a photography dark room, not a dog. “I always wanted it to have this many facets of opportunity (for artists). We had to grow, we had to get bigger.”
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Now who’s tiny but mighty in Black Lab’s former 1,200-square-foot spot? That’s Lucky Dime.
Alex and Amber Vincini opened their Black Lab Gallery-inspired venue without fanfare on Aug. 28 — but their inaugural event was the Fisherman’s Village Music Festival on Sept. 9-11.
In addition to Black Lab, the husband and wife also were influenced by Seattle DIY spots like El Corazón and the LO-FI Performance Gallery.
“We pride ourselves on an almost punk-retro aesthetic,” Alex Vincini said. “We have checkerboard floors, we have red lights and collage and graffiti in the bathrooms. All the furniture is the same, but it’s more simplified.”
The Vincinis had been talking about opening their own venue in downtown Everett for four years. When Black Lab Gallery moved, they jumped at the opportunity.
“It feels like the space was meant for that,” Amber Vincini said. “We couldn’t imagine the building being anything different.”
The venue at 1618 Hewitt Ave. is between a Subway and Yummy Banh Mi.
Lucky Dime is where you’ll find up-and-comers. Its small size means the Vincinis don’t worry about turning over drinks to make money, and bands don’t fret about playing to an empty room.
“We’re definitely trying to get new artists in,” Amber Vincini said. “We’re searching a little deeper.” They’re also willing to help artists who may need a mentor as well as a space. “We’re trying to take people under our wing in that way.”
The gallery space is in the front, with the performance stage in the back. About halfway down the length is a partition that allows the place to serve beer but stay an all-ages venue. Near the partition is the sound booth, where an audio engineer can manage the levels during a show.
Artists themselves, the Vincinis share a space at The Rockafella Artist Studios on Hewitt Avenue, and in the past have shown their work at Black Lab Gallery.
The Vincinis also worked for the Valencias at Black Lab. Amber was a bartender; Alex ran the door and helped curate art shows.
At Lucky Dime, their team includes sound engineer Adam Bagley and projector artist Sidney Penland.
“Sidney makes projections with a microscope and ink, so she makes the bands look cool on stage,” Amber Vincini said.
Musicians also are scheduled each weekend. The Lion & The Sloth, Rather Ordinary Dudes and Ty Giese will perform Oct. 15, followed by Wildcat Click, Razklot and Ryry425 on Oct. 16.
On exhibition through November are works by Barbs Kinney. Kinney is showing a series of oil paintings inspired by viscera. Her work borders abstraction and representation. The Lucky Dime exhibit includes nine paintings, three of which are 5-foot-by-5-foot.
Lucky Dime hosts karaoke, generally every other Friday. The Vincinis hope to also host monthly open mics and poetry events.
A Halloween party is scheduled for 4 p.m. Oct. 30; a poetry event featuring Thomas Ahneesan, Jill Bergantz, Barracude Guarisco and Kim Vodicka is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 13.
Lucky Dime is named in honor of Alex’s father. After Anthony Vincini died in 2015, Alex’s mother kept finding dimes when she missed her husband the most. When she told Alex and Amber about her lucky dimes, they started finding them whenever they thought of Anthony, too.
Actually, the punk-retro aesthetic is for both of the Vincinis’ fathers — they both were in punk-rock bands in the ’90s. Alex’s father played bass in the band Bumpin Uglies, while Amber’s father, Tom Pulley, played the drums in the band Big Top.
“We’ve got a couple new venues on Hewitt now,” Amber Vincini said. “That’s really cool.”
If you go
Black Lab Gallery, 1805 Hewitt Ave., Everett, is open 3 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Thursday, and 3 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Call 425-405-3198 or go to www.blacklabgalleryeverett.com for more information.
Lucky Dime, 1618 Hewitt Ave., Everett, is open 4 to midnight Tuesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. Call 425-512-9476 or go to www.luckydimewa.com for more information.
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