At the end of a busy pre-holiday weekend, it was good to start poking through Sunday’s New York Times. I pulled out the Sunday magazine, and saw a cover photo of Max Harris. It grabbed me. So did the headline: In the Ashes of Ghost Ship, by Katherine Weil. (The image here is on the magazine’s cover, a photograph by Katy Grannan for The New York Times.)
It is a harrowing story about what happened in December 2016 in Oakland, California, where 36 people died in the Ghost Ship. The story on Harris is complex and troubling; he is one of two people who will stand trial in April for the deaths, although it appeared that Harris was more like a helper to the building’s master tenant, Derick Almena. Almena also is set to stand trial. A judge had thrown out a plea deal for both men, although they played quite different roles. The building’s landlords were not charged. The fire department ignored issues. The city sort of dithered. But Harris, the person who collected rent and did chores, is one of the two who will go to court. My skin crawled.
I posted this because last Monday, I posted a piece on the troubles facing some DIY artists’ spaces in the Denver metro area, including a link to a Westword update on what’s happening to Glob. It is one of two spaces shut down by the city in December 2017. Cities all over the country — including Denver — were responding to what happened in Oakland.
Below is the link to the Times magazine story (a good read, but a tragic one), and a link to that recent Westword piece.