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Watch the First Five Minutes of Jonas Mekas’s Mars Bar Movie, Opening Friday

With its former home at First Street and Second Avenue now a hole in the ground, a couple of Mars Bar’s neighbors are paying tribute to it in the next days.

Tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (to the dismay of some bloggers) upscale boutique Blue & Cream will launch an exhibition of photos that Debby Hymowitz took at the old dive in 2010 (you can see some of them online). And tomorrow, Jonas Mekas’s love letter to the watering hole, “My Mars Bar Movie,” opens at Anthology Film Archives. It’ll be its first screening since an underattended premiere at the Greenpoint Film Festival in October.

From the film’s first five minutes (excerpted exclusively above), it’s clear this isn’t a traditional documentary. The director said as much yesterday afternoon, nursing a beer and a double shot of vodka at Anyway Café. Read more…

Hang With Lou Reed Tonight

If you’re looking for something to do this evening, here’s a last-minute option: two legends of the neighborhood, Lou Reed and Jonas Mekas, will appear with actor and martial artist Stephan Berwick during tonight’s short film program at Anthology Film Archives. They’ll be introducing Mr. Berwick’s 15-minute film “Final Weapon,” featuring Mr. Reed and his music, with a q&a session to follow. The program also features Bryan Felber’s “University of the Streets,” a martial arts short set in the East Village.

Bob Simmons on Timothy Leary and the Raid on Millbrook

Screen shot 2012-02-18 at 11.36.42 AM

The only time I really ever wrote anything for EVO was when Walter Bowart, high on something, called me up and said, “Bob, you are the only straight-looking guy we have around the office. We have to do something for Leary. He just got busted up in Millbrook.” Hmm. So Walter and I cooked up this scheme. I would call up the sheriff of Dutchess County, one Lawrence Quinlan, and I would put on my regular work suit and drive up to Poughkeepsie to interview him.

Of course we knew that the sheriff wasn’t interested in talking to anyone from a hippie rag like EVO. So what did I do?  I called up the sheriff and told him my name was Bob Simmons, a stringer for Look magazine, and that my editor asked me if there was a chance I could come and do a short interview for the magazine about the arrest of Dr. Leary. You would think God had called for an audition. “Certainly,” came the reply. “Sheriff Quinlan would be happy to talk with you.”

So, there on a weekend in the spring of 1966, Walter Bowart, Timothy Leary, and Bob Simmons crammed into my Karmann Ghia VW and buzzed up to Poughkeepsie to the headquarters of the Castalia FoundationRead more…

Jonas Mekas on His Mars Bar Movie

Last night, just a couple dozen people braved the rain and cold to help kick off the first Greenpoint Film Festival with the premiere of Jonas Mekas’s new documentary, “My Mars Bar Movie.” The film, which Mr. Mekas, 88, said he had recorded during trips to Mars Bar over the course of fifteen years at Anthology Film Archives across the street, begins with a close-up of the archivist and filmmaker’s first name carved in the bar, followed by admiring shots of an insect-ridden fly strip and then the first of countless clinking tequila glasses.

Throughout the documentary, Mr. Mekas’s camera darts frenetically – almost kaleidoscopically – from the graffiti on the walls to the ceiling fan to the pinball machine to a cigarette perched in an ashtray (later in the movie, after years have passed, bar-goers complain about having to smoke outside), stopping only occasionally to concentrate on the stoney-eyed female bartenders and the international array of fellow filmmakers and artists that serve as Mr. Mekas’s drinking companions. Read more…

The Day | Jonas Mekas Gets His Teeth Into Mars Bar

JR InsideOut Project: East VillageScott Lynch Inside Out Project, East Village.

Good morning, East Village.

Per an obituary in The Times, Swami Bhaktipada, a controversial ex-leader of the American Hare Krishna movement, has died near Mumbai at the age of 74. A Times article from 2004 tells more: “Mr. Bhaktipada was one of the first American followers of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, an Indian holy man who opened a temple in the East Village in 1965. His organization, the International Society of Krishna Consciousness, was seen by young members of the counterculture as a thrilling novelty. Known as Hare Krishnas, his followers were famous for dancing around Tompkins Square Park in saffron robes, beating drums and chanting.”

The Post reports that a man was arrested after posing as a realtor and getting a woman to hand over $3,500 for the key to an East Sixth Street apartment. Problem was, the apartment was occupied and the key didn’t work.

Speaking of property disputes, Bowery Boogie points to an interesting BlockShopper item: It’s reported that the Charles D. Saulson, the sculptor turned developer who was accused of flinging feces at an art gallery next door, has sold his condo at 259 Bowery for $2.321 million. Read more…