SEARCH: The Ghost Ship Fire

The Ghost Ship Fire
by Sumiko Saulson


ghostshipFriday, December 2, 2016 marked the tragic loss of 36 lives in a fire at the Ghost Ship, a warehouse near the famous Jingletown art district in Oakland’s Fruitvale community.

Ghost Ship was a live/work art and event space and, like many such spaces here in East Bay, home to an eclectic group of creative people. Many of the people who lived there were integral parts of the Bay Area’s underground art scene. They included both members of the synthpop act Introflirt, Nicole Renae Siegrist and Ben Runnels, DJ and beatboxer Billy Dixon, and Ara Jo, a key member of the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest’s organization team.

The SF Zine Fest made this official statement regarding her passing. “Ara’s work in the zine community asked us to hear the least heard voices and to value the least valued lives—in other words, asked us to remember the society that zine culture says is possible.”

James Leon, a DJ and underground horror filmmaker, once spent nine months as a resident artist and event organizer at Ghost Ship. During that period of time, he produced a musical event called Fabrik Haus at the ill-fated venue.

“The artwork within was amazing,” said Leon. “They were actively involved with making a positive difference within the community. They had all …continue reading the Spring issue of SEARCH Magazine.


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