With its fancy new building, it is hard for some of those who remember the old Warehouse 21 to readjust.

What was once a tiny building that forced anyone inside to huddle together and participate has become a sprawling, multi-level, multi-room space that fits more people and allows groups to cluster in different areas. A wider variety of activities and interests allows the venue cater to a more diverse audience. The only problem is it requires those inside to actively take part in what is going on.

In mid-December, W21 hosted a free night complete with DJs, workshops and visual art that was well attended by both the 21 and under crowd, and a large number of mid-20- to 30-somethings. While the younger attendees busied themselves at computers, screen printing stations and lined the walls of the dance floor—very few actually danced to the pounding techno that filled the music space—the older ones stood or sat around as they discussed grad school and work.

That's fine, but that's also what adults that age should talk about at bars and coffee shops. At W21 there are activities in which we—I confess my own guilt as one of the more active grad school-conversation participants—should have taken part.
I did wander into the screen printing room, where former W21 Board President Daniel Werwath, one of the only over-21 people there who took an active part, bounced excitedly around the space making Christmas presents.

"We want everyone to feel like they can take part in all the activities," Werwath told me. "Us adults can learn a lot from these kids, and they from us. But it's all about being equals here."

That equality, though, will not come out if there is no interaction between age groups. Not to say the older crowd needs to walk into W21 with a "meet a teenager" agenda, but observation is simply not enough. A place like W21 is about connectivity and activity. It requires those inside to be involved in what is happening around them.

So this week, instead of watching a movie at home, it's up to all of us to head out to W21 for one of three events. Poets start off the week with an open mic and, in theory, everyone who comes should bring something to read. For those who want to rock, Albuquerque's metal-core band Atlas and Santa Fe's Beyond Suffering scream into the night. For those who aren't so into the mosh pit scene, a benefit with experimental industrialists Chem.Star and Raine Vivian helps get your Thrill Kill Kult on.

It's the perfect night to dance and meet the future Santa Fe artists, who will be written about in the pages of this newspaper and, hopefully, magazines around the world, in the years to come.

Open Mic/Poetry Night
7 pm, Wednesday, Jan. 14

Atlas, Beyond Suffering, This Days Light and Remorse for the Dead
7 pm, Friday, Jan. 16

Benefit Concert featuring Chem.Star, Raine Vivian, Forever In Motion
7 pm, Saturday, Jan. 17

Warehouse 21
1614 Paseo de Peralta