‘Noise music,’ art-supply exchange part of community spot

Doing the Charleston in the 1920s meant a type of jazz dance. But over 100 years later, in Bremerton, it means going to a community gathering place in town to do things like listen to “noise music” or exchange art supplies.

Reama Bubblez, owner of Spread Supplies, worked with Bremerton’s People’s Exchange (PEX) to put on an outdoor music gathering called Bremerton Noisefest May 4 in the Charleston Business District.

Bubblez, whose business is approaching its one-year anniversary, said that she’s hosted bands in the store’s parking lot as a means of providing exposure to her shop and as a way to enhance community involvement. She said her store is a community enrichment tool. It’s a clearinghouse for all things art supply, which Bubblez (herself an artist) found to be prohibitively expensive.

She offers free, exchange, pre-owned, and new art supplies, and said that providing the community access could enrich it and help develop cohesion. Given Bubblez’s experience hosting bands, PEX approached her about playing host to bands during the upcoming Anarchist Book Fair.

Mary Phelps, one of the creators of PEX, said that the group’s mission was to create a “third place” in the community, in the wake of the 2023 closure of Charleston’s Hi-Lo’s 15th Street Cafe, a local gathering place since 2006.

She explained that a third place (a sociology term) is a place other than work or home where community members can congregate, collaborate and socialize. She emphasized the importance of offering those community resources in a non-commercial, not-for-pay manner. PEX hosts group meetings, kids’ activities and other community activities throughout the week.

Both Bubblez and Phelps spoke of the growing sense of community and involvement in Bremerton, but especially the Charleston neighborhood. They mentioned other businesses, like Cafe Corvo, and Slippery Pig Brewery that are indicative of the thriving nature of the area.

As for Noisefest, it featured local “noise music” bands like The Manholes in the parking lot outside both businesses in the Charleston Business District, which runs north/south around Callow, west of downtown Bremerton.

“Noise music” is “a genre of music that is characterized by the expressive use of noise,” Wikipedia says. Bubblez added that noise music was “amelodic.” But Manhole opened its second set with a recognizable version of War Pigs by Black Sabbath. So, despite its unconventional approach, noise music might also be approachable by many listeners of more conventional rock-n-roll.

Manhole performs at Noisefest in Bremerton.

Manhole performs at Noisefest in Bremerton.