During an examination two years ago, Bresler suddenly discovered that PhilaMOCA had evolved away from its original zoning. His predecessor, Gavin Hecker, started PhilaMOCA as an exhibition space 20 years ago. Under Bresler, it was primarily a venue for performances and films, involving more people and therefore with different zoning designations.
Bresler sought to obtain a difference from the city’s zoning coordinating committee, but found that the new zoning designation meant a new set of fire protection codes from the licensing and inspection departments: new electrical systems, new exits. Doors, emergency lights. He also needed to soundproof the front window to comply with the assembly license.
When Bresler approached the neighborhood association to prepare for a zoning decentralized hearing, he discovered that the neighborhood association he had been dealing with for ten years was actually in the wrong neighborhood. He hired lawyers and architects while maintaining rent and utility bills for non-income-generating buildings. Breathler, whose first baby arrived just a few months ago, was pouring his personal savings into PhilaMOCA and had to take another job to pay his bill. He spent his leisure time documenting, preparing for hearings, and overseeing $ 25,000 worth of upgrades to the building.
“I’m from the underground punk rock show and the independent filmmaking DIY world, where I didn’t rely on anyone to raise money. I never followed the rules,” he said. Said. “This experience was the exact opposite. I thought it was miserable.”
Breathler’s Odyssey Trials had a silver lining. People stood up for help. Crowdsourcing fundraising has generated about $ 50,000. This is enough to cover most of the rent for the last two years.
“The public reaction was great. It was the first time I had evidence that PhilaMOCA and its programming were appreciated by people,” he said. “Thinking about it still warms my heart.”
PhilaMOCA resumes after two years of darkness
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