The term “nightlife” can get a bad rap—at least when it involves velvet ropes, bottle service, and black-out drunkenness. But Kae Burke and Anya Sapozhnikova, artists, performers, and co-founders of House of Yes in Bushwick provide an inestimably relieving and straight-up exciting alternative to all of that.
Sapozhnikova and Burke met at 16 and bonded over an interest in performance art and forming a community around it. Nightlife, they felt—and feel—should be about acceptance of ourselves and others and an openness to new things; in short, a mantra that begins and ends with the word “Yes.” Since they reopened House of Yes on New Year’s Eve last year, that is the kind of space they have provided: immersive, and, quite frankly, thrilling late night parties involving aerial acrobatics, sex-positive vibes, film, dance, food pairings, and drink. Rather than waking up hungover and existential in the morning, you’ll open your lids with a brand new idea of what is possible when community, art, and positive energy collide, late at night.

Anya Sapozhnikova

Where do you live, how old are you, and what is your official professional title?
I live in Bushwick, I’m 30, and I’m co-founder, a creative director, and performer at the House of Yes.
What made you first interested in your profession, and how old were you when that happened?
When I was 17 I saw grounded aerial do a  performance on Halloween with Medeski Martin and Wood at Hammerstein Ballroom. It was the most impacting, affecting, sexy, mind-blowing beautiful thing, and I remember thinking to myself ‘I want to do THAT, and make people feel the way that this makes me feel.’
Do you feel Brooklyn is still a viable place for a young person to build a career?
I think its probably the MOST viable place for a young person to build a career. Brooklyn has the highest concentration of talented ambitious people out of any place I can think of. Its a breeding ground for entrepreneurship, and creative freedom.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
In 10 years I want to continue to be surrounded by brilliant people with whom I am creating art I care about, with more resources to make things bigger and better. But honestly, I would be lying if I told you I have any idea what my life is going to be like in 10 years. Where I’m going is beyond my wildest dreams.
Have you ever felt like leaving your career path?
On hour 15 of some workdays, I consider leaving my career path to pursue watching Netflix in my bed. When I wake up, I always decide to continue on the career path I currently am on.
What’s felt like you’re biggest professional accomplishment?
House of Yes becoming a sustainable venue.
What’s some advice you’d give to people trying to get a foothold in your industry?
Follow your gut and don’t be an asshole.
Who are your role models in your industry, and what do you hope to see happen or change in the industry in the (near-ish) future?
William Etundi, Simon Hammerstein, Randy Weiner, Steven Klavier. I want nightlife and live entertainment to move away from consumerist culture and go back to being a community oriented culture: I wish NYC Nightlife would stop being synonymous with wealth, celebrities, big names and selling bottles, and instead be a platform for arts and culture to evolve and a safe space for humans to come together and celebrate life.
Who would be your pick for a 30 Under 30?
Ryan Clover DJ; Françoise Oranger (insane acrobat, part of Cirque du Soleil)
Kae Burke
Where do you live, how old are you, and what is your official professional title?
Bushwick, 29, Co-Founder & Co-Creative Director of House of Yes, Performer/Comedic Host
What made you first interested in your profession, and how old were you when that happened?
Anya and I became friends/partners/collaborators at 16 so I guess you could start there. Running House of Yes isn’t something we really chose to be interested in as a profession, it blossomed over time just from making art in a bunch of different ways.
Do you feel Brooklyn is still a viable place for a young person to build a career?
Yes for sure—especially because creative careers these days are all about blending and mixing skills together, BK is a gaddamned fertile paradise for anyone who is down to collaborate and challenge themselves.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Traveling the world, making art, and safe creative spaces for children and refugees.
Have you ever felt like leaving your career path?
Of course I have, but I’ve felt like doing a lot of crazy things over the years. Luckily, my friends have always talked me off the ledge whenever I wanted to run away.
What’s felt like you’re biggest professional accomplishment?
Opening the weirdest coolest nightclub ever and having people actually show up and have fun.
What’s some advice you’d give to people trying to get a foothold in your industry?
Just don’t stop. Even when you want to. And drink plenty of water. Its a gaddamned marathon. Put on your spandex and start running.
Who are your role models in your industry, and what do you hope to see happen or change in the industry in the (near-ish) future?
Anya is my role model. I just want people to drink more water and wear more costumes.
Who would be your pick for a 30 Under 30?
How old is Ryan Burke? If he’s under 30 I’d choose him.
To learn about more sub-30 standouts, visit this year’s list of 30 Under 30
Image by the glorious Jane Bruce

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