“I'd have to say the biggest change, among the many, would be the freedom to finally have free shows a lot more often," says Jump the Shark owner Garo Gallo ahead of this weekend's one-year anniversary party. "Allowing even the most niche and fringe artists and performers a chance to do their thing without there being the pressure of needing large turnouts all the time. Like it says in that old Operation Ivy song, sometimes, ‘We need a gathering instead.' And as far as the challenges, they've been numerous and continuous, but that's what happens when you choose a labor of love that includes avant-garde art and loud rock 'n' roll.”
Slightly over a year ago, then breaking from the Independent Working Artists Network (IWAN) that he cofounded in ’09 and ran as the Bubble, Gallo has had one full spin around the sun to further establish Jump the Shark as the perfect amalgam of art and music the Fort Lauderdale fringe scene needed. If art and weirdness seem like the new norm, it’s because Gallo’s hard work is paying off.
Part of the reason is because he has kept his mission simple and heeded his patrons as well as would-be detractors in an effort to maintain an even-keel on his operation.
“There have been some warranted critiques, and some that are subjective,” he explains. “All very useful information. Bottom line is, every time we have a function, almost without exception, there is more than a handful of tuned-in, wide-eyed, smiling faces that have never been there before. That is very encouraging.” Winding up for its second year, Jump the Shark looks to celebrate their successful start with some of the very creatives who have come to call the place home. Bands like Haochi, Fat Sun, Milk Spot, Party Flag, Ben Pachter, Pocket of Lollipops, Volcano Cvlt and Gallo’s own Dooms de Pop will be joined visually by the art of Maitejosune Urrechaga, Tony Kapel, Franceso LoCastro, Young James, Alice Acedia, Taylor Cohen, and many others.
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The Modern Alcemist, On You, and Amanda Reth from Stuff and Things will also be on-hand at Saturday's event, selling their products in the communal fashion that has made JTS a compelling and fun Fort Lauderdale destination. With some things still slated to change (for the better, we’re sure), Gallo doesn’t give it all up at once. “I don't want to let the yack out of the sack just yet," he says of future plans, "but our frequency will be more frequent, and people’s calendars will start filling up quicker with cool things to look forward to.”
That sounds pretty good to us as we wish Gallo and Jump the Shark another year as one of our finest purveyors of musical and visual weirdness.
Jump the Shark’s 1X Around the Sun
With Haochi, Fat Sun, Milk Spot, Party Flag, and more. 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 28, at Jump the Shark, 810 NE 4 AVE, Fort Lauderdale. Free admission. Call 954-667-4126, or visit facebook.com/jumpthesharkevents.