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No Quarter at the Guggenheim Lab, Pt. 2: Rebuffed at Roberta’s

IMG_3239Kim DavisRoberta’s staff had time on their hands while patrons were locked out.

Yesterday, two downtown residents were surprised to be turned away at the BMW Guggenheim Lab, the self-described “part urban think tank, part community center and public gathering space.” Following the first story about a woman and her dog, here’s the second— about a man and his stomach.

Yesterday’s launch of the cafe at the BMW Guggenheim Lab was a wash-out, but not because of the rain.

The cafe is operated by Roberta’s, a Brooklyn-based restaurant with a dizzying buzz factor. Opened as a casual wood-fired pizza joint in a former garage in a bleak, industrial corner of Bushwick, Roberta’s has steadily built a reputation not only for more ambitious food (think tripe and sweetbreads) but for a locavore ethic including herbs grown on the roof, home-baked bread and a Heritage Radio studio in the backyard. A collaboration between Roberta’s and a project to promote “innovative ideas for urban life” must have seemed a no-brainer.

So why did Roberta’s fans find themselves locked out of the compound last night, peering through the railings in the driving rain? The answer given by a door-tender around 6pm was that the screening of “Blank City” in an adjacent tent was sold out. “But we don’t want to go to the screening,” people cried. “We want to eat at the cafe.” Read more…

What’s The Guggenheim Doing in the East Village?

guggenheimlab_004Lauren Carol Smith

In exactly an hour, at 6:15 p.m., The BMW Guggenheim Lab will kick off its film programming with a screening of Blank City. The Local talked with Paul Dallas, the project’s film curator, to see what’s in store for the neighborhood.


How does Blank City reflect the history of the neighborhood?


The film is really a document of the “No Wave” and “Cinema of Transgression” arts scene that happened in the East Village and Lower East Side in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was the time when people were squatting in buildings, before the real-estate boom of the eighties, and the moment when artists could live in close proximity and foster this anti-establishment sort of art scene. It shows what was happening in music and art at the time through rich moments that have had an effect on artists and filmmakers since.

Read more…