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Placebo Space

Photo: Christian Bobak

Posted by Ben Spurr / July 10, 2011

Placebo looks like the "children's discovery room" or whatever those kiddie zones are called at the museum. There are plush couches at one end of the room and seats made out of tree trunks, with plenty of space to stretch out on the clean white floor. You could easily envision a group of field trip kids spending the day there playing with antlers or passing around bits of snakeskin.

Or at least, that's what Placebo Space looks like on a normal afternoon, which is when presumably people come in to look at the art that's hanging on the wall. But Placebo is also a concert venue, and it's also someone's apartment, and when it's full of people on a Saturday night it looks considerably more rowdy than a field trip. There's a band playing in the corner on an impressive soundsystem, the lights are low and the strobes are flashing. Because it's someone's apartment, you have to take your shoes off at the door, and soon you're standing at the makeshift bar in the kitchen surrounded by strangers, drinking rum and coke in your socks. If you go to Placebo, be sure to wear nice socks.

The people who live at Placebo are Julioramon Serrano and Yunior Marino, two artists who also coordinate the concerts and parties at the space. Serrano came here two years ago from Cuba, where he was the dean of a university until, in his words, the government started "pushing me to do things I don't want to do." He's vague on the subject but I gather he was blackballed and couldn't find a job, and so when he got an invitation from the Jane Corkin Gallery to come to Toronto he jumped on it. His pencil drawings of ruined but still inhabited Cuban buildings were hanging on the wall the night I showed up, and they were the most eye-catching thing there. He's also an extremely nice guy, so don't mess up his bathroom or anything.

The venue's set-up for bands is simple but more than adequate. There's no stage, just a large carpet in the corner with plenty of room for a full band to play. No doubt the set-up is different for each of the eclectic of acts that come to Placebo. It looks like a pretty adaptable space, and Serrano says he plans to start screening movies there as well in the near future.

The space's adaptability is what makes Placebo so hard to review. It's an event-based venue and so obviously how much you enjoy whichever event is happening is going to go a long way to shaping your experience here. It also helps if you have no qualms about laying out a seven-dollar cover charge to stand in someone's multipurpose living room. At the moment the place's event calendar seems pretty sparse, but presumably they're going to start hosting parties with more regularity as the word gets out.

For what it's worth, when I was there a capable Latin band was playing, and the vibe was great. People were not shy and were dancing happily, in their socks of course.

Additional Details

Beers on Tap:
None
Signature Drink:
Rum and coke, served off the kitchen counter
Bar Snacks:
Whatever is in the fridge
Patio:
No
Music/Genre:
Mixed, but Latin heavy
Live Music:
Yes
Who Goes There:
Unpretentious art lovers
Hours:
Irregular

Discussion

6 Comments

handfed / July 11, 2011 at 11:26 AM
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legal?

Holden / July 11, 2011 at 2:44 PM
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I'm a little confused by this. First, that address is an autobody shop. Are you sure it's correct? Second, if it is at that address, you've listed it as being in the Bloordale Village when it is in fact in the Junction Triangle (http://www.blogto.com/bars/n/122/junction-triangle-toronto)

Thank you for the interesting writeup.

likeit / August 9, 2011 at 10:35 AM
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Placebo is above the autobody shop.

Tenant / September 10, 2011 at 2:53 PM
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Frankly, I'm surprised the landlord hasn't found out about this yet and pulled the plug, what with tickets being sold via Rotate and posters with cover charges garnering their front door, I'm curious to see how long a "non profit" like placebo can stick around.

Polmo In replying to a comment from Tenant / January 23, 2012 at 2:49 PM
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The owner knows and we like him.

che / September 22, 2012 at 11:42 PM
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"legal?"
"I'm a little confused by this..."
"Frankly, I'm surprised the landlord hasn't found out about this yet and pulled the plug..."

Its comments and people like that, that make Toronto so anal retentive and a drag... those are the same people who, with a big frown of disapproval, yell at you "you're going the wrong way" when you cycle up a one way street.

I'm gonna check this place right now. It smells of love, freedom and a bit of angst... remember those things y'all?

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