20 Years of Antifolk: A Look Back at Sidewalk’s Show Flyers

While one Monday-night open mic is just beginning, another is celebrating two decades.

Sidewalk Cafe’s Winter Antifolk Festival returns Feb. 19, and this one promises to be special: it was just about 20 years ago that singer-songwriter Lach, who had established the first Antifolk Festival back in 1983, brought his weekly Antihoot to the back room of Sidewalk. Since then, the open-mic series — a showcase for the genre-bending musicianship that Lach dubbed “antifolk” — has featured the likes of Regina Spektor, the Moldy Peaches, and the Avett Brothers. Lach moved on in 2008 (he now lives in Scotland), but not before tapping musician Ben Krieger to continue booking shows at Sidewalk.

As you can see from the lineup below, this year’s 10-day festival will bring back some recognizable names: Jeffrey Lewis will perform with the great Peter Stampfel of the Fugs, Jason Trachtenburg will play with his big band, and Seth Faergolzia of Dufus will be there with John Ludington.

To celebrate 20 years of antifolk, Sidewalk has sent us a sheaf of show flyers from years gone by. Click through the slideshow for a trip down memory lane.
Read more…

Art That Survived Sandy Debuts During Nemo

KeeganBuildingFramesNatalie Rinn Keegan building frames.

While Sandy’s unforgiving surge forced dozens of Chelsea gallerists into frenzied damage control, Brooklyn-based artist Ray Smith, whose own Gowanus studio held five feet of water, made the best of a bad situation.

Tonight, a series of ten ink-on-rice paper drawings formed by Mr. Smith, his assistants and a loose network of around fifteen fellow artists and friends will go on display at Parade Ground gallery on the Lower East Side. Most of the work was exposed to Sandy.

“To begin with, the idea was already sort of damaged,” said Mr. Smith of the paintings, which evolved thanks to a process of “organic chaos.”

From a distance, the bursts of images and text on white backgrounds resemble the jumbled composition of Picasso’s “Guernica.” But up close, the viewer sees something different: the artists’ reactions to social and political news fodder, and musings on their daily lives over the course of two years. Succinct insights on Occupy Wall Street are pitted against lewd fart jokes and reflections on a breakup. Read more…

Remembering Yossarian, ‘Original Hipster and Legendary Cartoonist’

yo4Collection of Coca Crystal

Underground cartoonist Yossarian (a.k.a. Alan Shenker, Captain Stanley, Mr. Buddy) died on Jan. 14 at Beth Israel Hospital. He had a rare cardio-pulmonary condition known as pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). “Only about 900 cases of PAH are diagnosed in the US each year,” he had told me. “So the pharmaceutical company, specialty pharmacy, and pulmonary clinic all treat you as a big fish that they’ve caught and don’t intend to let go. This means they are highly motivated to keep you going, but it’s an all encompassing program that feels sometimes like joining Scientology.”

A few years ago a PAH sufferer had only about a 15 percent chance of survival for five years, and it amused Yossarian that the drug they used then was Sildenafil—Viagra. “It was PAH patients taking sildenafil having erections that caused Viagra to be prescribed for erectile dysfunction.”

Yossarian was switched to a new drug, Tracleer, which raised the survival rate to 64 percent. But it too had side effects. Although it was keeping him alive, it also made him feel awful most of the time. His head was constantly swimming from the drug’s effects. When he got a pacemaker last summer, he had to stop taking Tracleer and things seemed to go downhill from there.

He wasn’t complaining, though. “Too many people we knew didn’t get to live in my state of disrepair,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Yossarian lived on St. Marks Place for the last 35 years, and before that on Second Street, between B and C, for several years. An audacious and sharp-witted cartoonist for the East Village Other (EVO), New York Ace, Screw and many other underground papers in the late ’60s and ’70s, he had stopped drawing several years ago—but he was writing. He wrote a piece last year about One-Legged Terry for The Local in honor of the East Village Other (EVO) exhibit at NYU. Read more…

Nevermind the Nor’easter: ‘Summer’ On Clinton Street Tonight

Summer-JnrlStrLeah Tinari

Forget the impending snow storm: tonight on Clinton Street, it’ll be “Summer.” That’s the name of a multi-venue exhibition of paintings by Leah Tinari, owner of neighborhood hangout Fatta Cuckoo. Her art — along with food, drinks, and music by DJ Vlad & DJ Cles — will be showcased at her restaurant as well as at Kupersmith, and at shops JnrlStr and Blake Scotland.

Part gallery opening, part block party, the event is the brain child of Doug Jaeger and Kristin Sloan, who have recently expanded their creative studio, JaegerSloan, into a gallery and retail shop called JnrlStr. The partners became fast friends with Ms. Tinari and her husband, Martin Kirchoff, when they first popped into Fatta Cuckoo a few years ago.
Read more…

Chloe Sevigny Comes Out to Hear Peter Hook Talk Joy Division, New Order

hook4Anthony Pappalardo. Peter Hook signs books.

On Tuesday, the last 30 years of British music collided in the East Village. An appearance by Peter Hook, bassist for Joy Division and New Order, was followed by a performance by Drowners, a new band named after a song by Britpop champs Suede. The Local went to The Strand and then bounced over to Mercury Lounge to experience the British invasion.

Mr. Hook was driven to write “Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division after he watched several tomes about the band get published. “What annoyed me about all the books was that none of these people knew us,” he said. “I’d see another one and go, ‘Who is this person?’”

Speaking in a croaky Manchester accent, the musician marinated in his ego before a crowd of about 200, often citing himself, and not his co-conspirators, as the main reason for their many successes. Did you know, for instance, that he wrote the melody for Joy Division’s most popular song, “Love Will Tear Us Apart”? Another fun fact: “Blue Monday,” New Order’s most successful track and the best-selling 12” single of all-time, took six months to write, but “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was composed in only three hours.

Mr. Hook, or Hooky as many audience members addressed him, spoke with Sasha Frere-Jones, music critic at The New Yorker, for close to an hour before fielding questions from fans. The audience, nearly all dressed in some shade of black, spanned generations: weathered punk veterans in leather jackets sat next to middle-aged goths and teenage girls. Even Chloe Sevigny came to worship. Read more…

Gallery Scene | Ladies, Girls, Dolls, and Toys

The Local’s occasional round-up of what’s new and interesting on the art scene.

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 3.01.58 AM

Ladies. Dina Brodsky and Bonnie De Witt curate a show of images that “tease and blur the lines between innocence and knowing, between the daydreaming of young girls and the certain knowledge of women.” The all-female lineup of artists includes Lynn Albanese, Julie E. Brady, Maya Brodsky, Diana Corvelle, Michelle Doll, Heidi Elbers, Candace Goodrich, Kathleen Hayes, Maria Kreyn, Amber Lia-Kloppel, Susan Seaton, Hilary Schmidt, Melanie Vote, and Mitra Walter. Opening reception Feb. 13, 9 p.m. to midnight at KGB Bar, 85 East Fourth Street, (212) 505-3360. Show at Kraine Gallery in the same building.

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 3.32.46 AM

Ayse Wilson: Recent Works. Ms. Wilson, a Turkish-American artist who worked as a painting assistant to Jeff Koons, paints cartoonish yet somber images of children against monochromatic backgrounds. Jack Geary Contemporary presents this show at the Site/109 pop-up space at 109 Norfolk Street. Feb. 8 to 24; Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 6 p.m., Mondays and Tuesdays by appointment.

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 3.19.24 AM

Valentine’s Day Reenactments. During this offshoot of the “Art in Odd Places” festival, artist Rory Golden will ask passersby for romantic stories so that he can use dolls to reenact their tales of love and loss. The resulting vignettes will be filmed and sent out via Facebook and other social media. Premieres in and around Madison Square Park, Feb. 12, 13 and 14, 10 a.m. to noon and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Read more…

Rockers Reading: Peter Hook, Richard Hell Look Back

Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 11.17.45 AMEcco Press

Time for another installment of rock stars reading!

Mark your calendars: Richard Hell’s long anticipated autobiography, “I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp,” comes out March 12. The punk-rock pioneer best known for his work with Television, the Voidoids, and the Heartbreakers is reading at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square two days later, on March 14, and he’ll appear at Bookmarc, in the West Village, March 19.

The memoir of his life up to age 34 (or the year 1983) was five years in the making when Ecco Press acquired it in 2011 and issued a press release describing the book thusly: “From his early days as a struggling writer to the opening of CBGB’s and his subsequent endless nights with the club’s denizens, such as The Ramones, Patti Smith Group, Blondie, and The New York Dolls, to Hell’s encounters with literary luminaries like Susan Sontag and his relationship with high school friend and Television co-founder Tom Verlaine, to a long procession of vividly evoked girlfriends, to the heroin addiction that threatened to derail him completely, ‘I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp’ is an acutely rendered, lyrical portrait of a life as lived in a particular city and era and the people who defined them.”

You can get more of a feel for the memoir’s content by reading Hell’s personal timeline, which starts with the young Kentuckian escaping school and hitchhiking with his buddy and future Television bandmate Tom Verlaine. It wasn’t the first time Hell ran away from home; an account of an earlier incident appeared in his autobiographical collection “Hot and Cold,” and can be read online.

As it turns out, Hell (who, by the way, recently made a cameo in Tom Tom Club’s ode to the CBGBs crowd, “Downtown Rockers”) isn’t the only endlessly influential musician who has penned a tell-all. Read more…

Designer Turns Creatures Into Couture

Designer Jonathan ChauCourtesy Sleep Terror Clothing Jonathan Chau

For Jonathan Chau, sleep brings terrifying bright-blue monsters, freakishly enlarged canine teeth, and half moons with huge, glaring eyes. While suffering from sleep paralysis in college, he began documenting his vivid dreams and nightmares in a journal and eventually created clothes depicting the freaks that haunted them. The 24-year-old designer launched his first line, aptly named Sleep Terror Clothing, last August, and his new winter line will be released Friday. We spoke with the East Village resident earlier today.


What was the craziest nightmare you ever had?


I was being chased by a giant troll with a lot of eyes and gigantic teeth, while exploring a crystal cave. I woke up afraid and in panic. I literally thought the troll was in the room with me.


What’s the story behind the T-shirt with the frightening blue monsters?


When I was a kid, I was always afraid that something was hiding under the bed, waiting for me to climb out of my bed so that it could grab me by the legs and drag me into the abyss beneath my bed. Before going to sleep every night, I would make sure the corners of the sheets were securely tucked in to ensure that neither my legs or arms were over the sides. To me, my bed was the only thing keeping me safe from the monsters below. Read more…

Tomorrow, ‘Throwback’ a Few at the Found Footage Festival

Poorly chosen superimposed fonts, the flick of tracking being adjusted, and a hazy analog fuzz.

These are the hallmarks of VHS, and the absurd instructional videos, home movies, and public service announcements that Joe Pickett, Nick Prueher and Geoff Haas often screened for their friends in high school.

In 2004 the trio created the Found Footage Festival and toured with it to fund their first documentary, “Dirty Country.” This weekend, the sixth installment of the festival hits Anthology Film Archives.

If you’re among the many who frequent sites like Everything Is Terrible!, you’re well aware of the forgotten, personal, and downright bizarre things that have been committed to VHS tape. But while that site often relies on creative editing and splicing to solicit laughs, the videos in the Found Footage Festival are mostly untouched.

“Our philosophy is that the videos are weird enough on their own,” said Mr. Prueher. “We don’t need to weird them up at all. In fact, the more straightforward we are in presenting the videos as we found them, the funnier they are.” Read more…

Music Venue and ‘Wonderful Listening Room’ Coming to 45 Bleecker

photo-22Daniel Maurer

Those changes at The Stone aren’t the only thing that will shake up the East Village music scene come April: a new venue is slated to open in a former black-box theater underneath the Culture Project at 45 Bleecker Street.

SubCulture, a 180-seat performing arts and events space, will be a “really wonderful listening room,” according to co-founder Marc Kaplan.

The 34-year-old music educator (also a conductor of musical theater and choirs) is opening the venue with his brother Steven, 31, an amateur trumpet player and pianist who makes his living as a financial consultant. They’re currently remodeling the subterranean space into what they hope will be an ideal environment for intimate performances.

“While we could feature an artist with a 10-piece band, it might also be a great opportunity to have that artist in an ensemble set-up,” said Mr. Kaplan. Read more…

All That Jazz: Stone Ends Curator Series After 8 Years, Winter Jazz Fest Returns

photo(53)Daniel Maurer

Some news to note in the world of East Village jazz: first, the NYC Winter Jazz Fest rolls into the neighborhood this weekend, bringing 70 groups to six venues in the East, West, and Greenwich Villages. The ninth installment of the festival aims to bring jazz back to Bleecker Street and the Village — and the Bowery will jump, too: among the artists taking the stage at Bowery Electric on Friday and Saturday are Bobby Previte, Erik Deutsch, Frank Lacy, Mario Pavone, and Red Baraat. Other venues include Sullivan Hall, (Le) Poisson Rouge, Zinc Bar, The Bitter End, and Culture Project Theater. Peruse the full schedule here.

Several of the artists performing at the festival — including Previte, Deutsch, and Pavone — have also played John Zorn’s non-profit The Stone, a homespun haven of avant-garde and experimental music. As you know from reading these pages, the club gives each month’s schedule over to a guest curator (next month’s is Vernon Reid, best known as the virtuoso axeman from Living Colour). But that will change in April.

A notice on The Stone’s Website reads: “Since April of 2005 The Stone has presented over 5,000 concerts and workshops booked by over 130 different curators from the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia, the Caribbean and beyond! March 2013 marks the last of our curatorial series. In April and for the next several years we are proud to present a variety of distinguished cutting-edge artists in week-long Stone Residencies, performing their own work 6 nights a week, two sets a night.” Read more…

Next Week, See the East Village and the Beats as Allen Ginsberg Saw Them

Cat. 38 Myself seen by William Burroughs, 1953© 2012 The Allen Ginsberg LLC. All rights reserved. Ginsberg photographed by Burroughs, 1953.
Cat. 101 I sat for decades, 1984© 2012 The Allen Ginsberg LLC. Outside of Ginsberg’s 12th Street
kitchen window, 1984.

Next week is going to be a special one for fans of Allen Ginsberg: Wednesday evening the poet’s friends and colleagues will gather to celebrate the reissue of “First Blues,” and Monday, an exhibition of his photos will open at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery.

“Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg” originally showed at the National Gallery of Art in 2010, and gathered photos taken from 1953 (when Ginsberg documented his friends William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Jack Kerouac, and Neal Cassady in their salad days) to 1996, when he photographed himself turning 70.

Now Sarah Greenough, the D.C. gallery’s senior curator, has gathered 80  photographs that appeared in the previous exhibit’s handsome catalogue and will display them alongside 14 additional photos on loan from the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York.

Many of the black-and-white shots show the East Village as Ginsberg saw it, starting with a 1953 shot of “the first shopping cart street prophet I’d directly noticed” alongside Tompkins Square Park. The caption, added later, reads: “Leshko’s Restaurant was cheap and popular as at present on the corner a block south, I had my snapshots developed at a drugstore near Park Center eatery across the street on S.W. corner, & was living with W.S. Burroughs a few blocks away 206 East 7th Street– working as copyboy on now-defunct ‘New York World Telegram,’ my apartment rent $29.00 a month, three small rooms.” Read more…

A Moment With Truman Capote

tru-20121031181303243-v4-smIllustration: Tim Milk

“My most persistent dream,” he once told Gloria Steinem, “always took place backstage in a theater. I have a very important part to play. The only trouble is that I’m in a panic because I don’t know my lines…”

Truman Capote then elaborates: “Finally, the moment comes. I walk onstage… but I just stumble about, mortified. Have you ever had that dream?”

On the face of it, the horror of stage fright fuels a man’s dreams. That seems straightforward enough; but you wouldn’t need to be Sigmund Freud to find meaning in a writer forgetting his lines. For a writer, such a dream speaks to what one might call the Artist’s Dilemma: the what? why? and how? of the creative act. These are the questions every artist must face. Capote based his career on having the answers to those basic questions.

For his smash hit “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and the non-fiction blockbuster “In Cold Blood,” Mr. Capote became the brightest of the many stars who formed a seemingly unstoppable literary movement whose epicenter was here, right here, in unstoppable New York. One could say their success was typical of the 20th Century, when Hollywood, and then television, made household names of authors like Tennessee Williams, Harper Lee and Truman Capote, modern masters of the creative act. Furthermore, it didn’t end there.

Throughout the go-go 1960s, Capote continued to dazzle the world from his rounds of the talk-show circuit. That was where Truman and I first met: he was a sensation, and I was a wide-eyed kid addicted to television. Unlike the usual talking heads or dancing-poodle routines, Capote spilled on the nature of art as well as the art of life. These were the things I wanted to know, you see, because I too aspired to live life to the fullest and soar on the wings of art.
Read more…

For Ginsberg Fans, Christmas Comes Back Next Week

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 5.33.56 PMGinsberg Recordings

“Christmas, come back,” Allen Ginsberg sang at St. Marks Church in 1971.

Christmas ain’t coming back (heck, even Ukrainian Christmas has come and gone), but next week Ginsberg fans will get a nice little gift: “First Blues” will be reissued by Ginsberg Recordings, a collaboration between the poet’s estate and the Esther Creative Group, which manages Lou Reed and other artists. To celebrate the reissue, fellow poets and musicians like Anne Waldman, CA Conrad, Steven Taylor, Hettie Jones, Ambrose Bye, Ginsberg’s longtime assistant Bob Rosenthal, and yes, maybe even Mr. Reed (he’s “tentatively scheduled” to read, says a rep) will gather for an evening of readings and song at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe on Jan. 16

“First Blues,” a compendium of songs taped from 1971 to the early ’80s, was originally released in 1983 as a two-record set. It included collaborations with Bob Dylan, David Amram, and Ginsberg’s East Village neighbor Arthur Russell, among others. (Arthur’s Landing, a tribute band made up of the late Mr. Russell’s friends and colleagues, will perform at the Housing Works event.) That edition quickly went out of print, as did a CD reissue released in 2006, and now the only thing available is an eight-song version. The latest edition will gather 24 songs: seven will appear on a vinyl record packaged with the newspaper-style insert that accompanied the original; the rest will be available as digital downloads.

A limited number of copies of the new edition will be available at next Wednesday’s event, which is co-sponsored by the Beat-happy eyewear brand Warby Parker. It’s free, and runs from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

JonBenét Ramsey: the Musical Comedy

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 3.27.37 PM

Frigid Festival, the annual fringe festival that is not to be confused with Fringe Festival, is back. This year’s lineup includes a new “true crime musical comedy” from the team behind the bawdy “Bayside: The Unmusical.” Tastefully titled “JonBenét Ramsey: Murder Mystery Theater,” it promises to “boldly recreate that fateful night of the fateful murder in that fateful town of Boulder, Colorado. With music!” Oh, boy. If that’s just a bit much for you, dozens of other out-there productions will run Feb. 20 to March 3 at the Kraine Theater, The Red Room, and Under St. Marks. See the full lineup and get tickets here.

Dead Poets Society: Lorca on Stage and Neruda in Song

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 2.20.59 PM Javier Beltrán and Robert Pattinson as Lorca and
Dali, in “Little Ashes.”

If you’re a Spanish and Latin American poetry buff, prepare to be lured out of your armchair in the coming months: the life of Federico García Lorca is hitting the stage and a major exhibition is coming to town — and the poems of Pablo Neruda are being set to music.

Ute Lemper, a German actress and musician who has previously put Charles Bukowski’s poems to song, is now doing the same with the love poems that Neruda wrote for his wife upon returning to Chile after his political exile. She’ll perform “Song Cycle of Love Poems” at Joe’s Pub on Feb 1 and 2. (The acclaimed songstress already has some East Village credentials: Philip Glass co-wrote a little number for her star-studded album “Punishing Kiss.”)

Neruda and Pablo Picasso were noted collaborators, and — as made clear by the Robert Pattinson flick “Little Ashes” and by a book edited by, well, my dad — the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca and Salvador Dalí had a “passionate, tragic relationship,” or so the painter said. Read more…

An Artist-Designer Returns, Bringing a Touch of ‘Weird Clown Porn’

JR.photoCourtesy Judi Rosen

What’s Judi Rosen been doing since she closed her East Village boutique, The Good The Bad and The Ugly, about five years ago?

Clown porn.

Okay, not quite. The 42-year-old impresario of Judi Rosen New York is still designing her signature brand of high-waisted jeans for curvaceous women (she has outfitted the likes of Britney Spears, Tyra Banks, Mary J. Blige, and Chloe Sevigny). But she found a second calling after Kid Rock happened to spot her artwork at a group show at Max Fish.

“He called me at 2:30 a.m. and I always like to say that he was like, ‘I’m not really into art but this thing really spoke to me and I want to own it,’” she recalled over the phone today.

The depiction of two clowns in a ménage à trois was a precursor to the works that she created for her first solo show, opening at Fuse Gallery on Wednesday: Ms. Rosen draws images of clowns, manipulates them via computer, prints them onto fabric, and then stuffs them and sews onto them. The result, she said, has an air of “’70s weird clown porn.”  Read more…

The Bowery Gets a Shiny New Art Gallery

Monteith_March SunCourtesy Garis & Hahn “March Sun, Addison Gallery” by Matthew Monteith, showing at “After the Fall.”

The Bowery lost an art gallery last summer, but it’s about to gain one back.

Mary Garis worked on the financial side of the Mary Boone Gallery, among others, but she didn’t even consider Chelsea when she and her fellow 28-year-old Christie’s Education graduate, Sophie Hahn, decided to partner in a gallery of their own. On Friday they’ll open Garis & Hahn at 263 Bowery, a condo building designed by Karl Fischer that also houses Takamichi Hair.

“We’re drawn to the experimental, fresh nature of the Lower East Side,” Ms. Garis said over the phone today, while doing some pre-opening shopping at Ikea.

Ms. Garis, who makes her home a half-block from the gallery at Bowery and Houston Streets (her partner lives in Battery Park), is well aware of the art scene blossoming around her. “I feel like this is a good time to start a gallery here,” she said. “There are lots of different kinds of galleries – you have the established Sperone Westwater and the thriving, hip The Hole and then there are smaller galleries sprinkled all over the area.
Read more…

MoRUS Squats on Avenue C

A living archive of urban activism, the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space rented a storefront for its exhibits from C-Squat on Avenue C — and, like neighboring businesses, soon found itself clearing up after Hurricane Sandy.

Party Options, Part One

Xmas LightsMichael Natale

Here we are, hurtling towards New Year, and we have some celebratory local suggestions for you.

Tomorrow evening, Prodigy, of Queens duo Mobb Deep will be tearing up Webster Hall, along with other Plain Truth Entertainment…well, entertainers. On Saturday, Resolution 15 will be asserting their right to rock at the same venue.

Also tomorrow, punk marches on at the Bowery Electric with The Waldos, featuring Heartbreakers veteran Walter Lure.

For chuckles tomorrow evening, Zebra Cake is feeding gags to the masses at Beauty Bar on 14th Street. On Saturday night, consider “If You Build It,” Kara Klenk’s stand-up comedy compendium at UCB East.

More tomorrow.