Trash House provides safe haven for creative students

Unofficial WXTJ residence allows students to provide audiences with music

Trash House

Trash House's benefit show for DREAMers on Grounds is just one example of how the residence is a safe haven of sorts.

Courtesy WXTJ | Cavalier Daily

WXTJ is inarguably the home of music in Charlottesville. Though not officially part of the University, the largely student-run radio station gives voices to over 100 students according to, Chase Browning, third-year College student and co-director of the station. WXTJ — found on 100.1 FM or accessed via online streaming — provides something that, structurally speaking, other radio stations simply cannot execute. 

Seeing as its constituency is so multitudinous, WXTJ is able to take unique shape on the airwaves. There is no one style to 100.1 FM, precisely because it puts the microphone in front of so many different faces. The outcome is a gloriously plural, in-depth review of the music that is influencing a generation of young adults. With each DJ given a time-slot and free reign — albeit abiding by FCC rules and regulations — all throughout the day, listeners can tune in and jam out to great music and the collective voice of a subculture of the University.

If WXTJ is home to music at the University, then the self-proclaimed “Trash House” is the also unofficial home of WXTJ. Located on Gordon Avenue, Trash House is home to fourth-year College students Lona Malik, Kirsten Hemrich, Nathan Maizels, fourth-year Engineering student Lane Spangler and third-year College student Tom Sobolik. It gives WXTJ a physical space to inhabit, without which the radio station would not have nearly as much influence on students’ lives.

Last Saturday displayed a pretty common Trash House weekend. The residence was hosting one of its myriad house shows, which featured local bands such as Sorority Boy and Sweet Tooth, and it served as a fundraiser for DREAMers on Grounds. Before the show, residents of the house shared their views about WXTJ and the radio subculture of the University. 

Malik said the name “Trash House” was originally an inside joke only among the residents since the house is “trashy,” but once the house started hosting more shows, the name just stuck.

Maizels said that, despite the house’s name, the inhabitants “keep it pretty clean.” 

Not only do members of the Trash House try to make the residence a place for creativity to flourish, but Malik said that it serves a greater purpose. 

“We try to make Trash House a community space, in a way,” Malik said.

According to Hemrich, Saturday’s show at the Trash House was sort of introduction — both for the school year and for first-years interested in radio. 

Hemrich also said that the show raised over $400 for DREAMers on Grounds. As the location of this politically-oriented show, Trash House transcends the more traditional role of music venue as commodity space. It is truly a hub of the community, where young artists come and go, contributing what they choose to the culture of Charlottesville.

Trash House is much more than a common site for DIY concerts and student art exhibitions. It is both testament and monument, idea and reification of the lasting spirit of subculture in Charlottesville. At a school with such strong devotion to tradition, it is important to find and keep a pulse on progressive, underground movements. Trash House is a place of inclusion, where identity is as disparate as it is respected and valued. The residence on Gordon Avenue provides a stoop for free thinkers — it becomes an incubator for the variety that gives spirit to the home of the University.

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