DocuDrama: Gathering of the Tribes Told to Be Out Next Month

285-287 East Third StreetG.V.S.H.P.

After defying his landlord’s repeated requests to stop holding events at A Gathering of the Tribes, Steve Cannon,who founded the homegrown gallery in 1991, has received a notice ordering him to vacate his East Third Street live-work space by Feb. 1. The gallerist, who said that he had neglected to sign a new rent agreement in part because he is blind, has vowed to prevent yet another disappearance of an eccentric art space.

“I’m going to fight her,” Mr. Cannon said of his landlord. “I don’t think she has a leg to stand on.”

Earlier this month, Mr. Cannon told The Local that Lorraine Zhang, who bought the building from him in 2005, had threatened to evict him if he continued to host events such as art openings at A Gathering of the Tribes. At that time, Ms. Zhang’s business partner, Simon Chow, said their tenant was not on the verge of being kicked out. But days later, Ms. Zhang herself told The Local that her lawyer was going to send Mr. Cannon an ultimatum –  remove the events, or remove himself.

Steve CannonRuth Spencer

After the publication of that story, which documented a litany of complaints between landlord and tenant, Mr. Cannon went ahead with a planned “jazz jam soiree” featuring piano and electric guitar performances. “In spite of her telling me not to do it, I went ahead with the event anyway,” said Mr. Cannon, adding that he believed it was his right to do so under his initial agreement with Ms. Zhang. The written agreement is reprinted below.

That may have been the last straw for Ms. Zhang, who sent an eviction notice dated Dec. 21.

Mr. Cannon said he was “up on his rent” for months to come, having pre-paid with a check that Ms. Zhang had cashed, but he admitted that he had not signed a contract to renew his rent agreement. “I have these young kids helping me out and a lot of times they don’t read important documents to me because they don’t realize the relevance of them,” he explained. “So [the agreement] was not read to me, but I did send a check to cover the additional rent.”

Mr. Cannon said that he planned to talk to a lawyer; he was doubtful that he could resolve things directly with Ms. Zhang, who has not returned a call asking for comment. “I try and have what you or I would consider rational or reasonable conversation and there’s no conversation,” he said. “All she does is give me edicts – you can’t do this, you cant do that – and then she slams the phone down.”

Possession Agreement

Eviction Notice