A brief history of Haven.
In 1996, at Hampshire College, two goth kids met. Penelope Silverstein and Chris Kirshner both had a love for the Goth scene and its nightlife, except they had a dilemma. NYC was the epicenter of the subculture but was too far to enjoy on a regular basis. Penelope started the Goth / Industrial night “Hell” at the Hadley Pub.
Chris suggested finding a better venue for the night. The two sat down, and after a long discussion, came up with “Haven”. Haven would be a Goth / Industrial / Fetish night which they would pitch to the new owners of Club Metro, the Zellers. The club had been primarily focused on mainstream events and music, but the Zellers were open minded and gave the two Goths a shot, on Tuesday nights. Fliers were made, handed out, and posted all over the valley. College radio stations advertised the party and on opening night… there were no more than 30 people in attendance.
Even though the numbers were so low, the Zellers had fun and let Haven continue. Each week the message was clear; bring more people or Haven would close. The end of the first night Penelope happened to play ‘Til Tuesday – Voices Carry", which has been the closing song for Haven ever since. And that’s how it went for quite some time, with Chris bar-tending and Penelope DJ-ing.
Eventually Haven grew strong enough to support live music events and performers. At this point Chris had left for California and the Zellers sold the club. Club Metro became Divas, the owners at the time did not have any interested in running a goth night. Looking for a new home, Penelope took Haven to Pearl Street, were the first event would be unknowingly held on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Shortly after, Pearl Street and Haven parted ways, and Penelope was at a cross roads.
She gathered some Havenites (an affectionate term used for Haven attendees), and asked whether or not she should keep the night going, and the answer was yes. Penelope returned to Divas to pitch the night one more time. This time they said they would give Haven a chance. Penelope met Otis, the general manager of Divas. The two became fast friends and Haven threw “Resurrection” as their first event at Divas, the party was a huge success, and Haven once again had a home.
Divas would remain Haven’s home for the next 15 years. There were musicians, freak shows, circus acts, fetish performances, and many long nights of dancing. Haven became a community, with many Havenites meeting their life partners at the club. As we know, nothing in life stays the same. Haven was no exception, and during this time Haven underwent many changes. Going from a weekly event, to a quarterly event, and then monthly again. The greatest blow came when the community lost Otis. Without his guidance, a few years later the club closed for good. Once again, Haven had outlived its venue and was now homeless.
Before Divas closed Penelope had met Hors D'oeuvres, the creator and MC for Drag Brunch & Bon Appétit Burlesque. Hors had been running her events at Divas as well, and after it closed its doors the two brought their events to the Florence FVW, which was previously an old church. Haven continues to adapt and persist, with Penelope’s desire to give her Havenites and any one else for that matter, a safe place to enjoy.