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Want Free Socks? A Man Named Skullphone Wants to Give Them to You

Screen shot 2012-04-19 at 4.07.51 PMDaniel Maurer

Thought the Hole’s indoor garden was wild? Fuse Gallery may just give it a run for its money when its latest exhibit, “XOS / SOX” opens May 2. Skullphone, the Los Angeles-based street artist last seen purdying up construction containers on East Fourth Street, is piling 1,000 “custom produced” socks in the gallery behind Lit lounge, for everyone to take. Street-art inspired footwear sure is a thing lately. Is this going to hurt business at Sock Man and Sox in the City? Dunno, but we’re definitely snagging a pair to toss in the drawer with those pink tiger-print aNYthing socks…

“XOS / SOX,” opening reception May 2, 7 p.m.; through May 30, Fuse Gallery, 93 Second Avenue, (212) 777-7988 

‘Nose Bleed’ at Lit

Anton_Perich_mapplethorpe-chelseany1971Fuse Gallery Anton Perhlich in Chelsea in 1979, one of the artists participating in the upcoming exhibit.

Normally, a nosebleed at Lit is just another Monday night. Starting on March 28, it’s art.

“Nose Bleed” is an upcoming exhibition at Fuse Gallery (in the back of Lit) of artists nurtured in the neighborhood. “Nosebleed takes its name from the prevailing motto of that sensibility, that we wouldn’t go up there (up being anything north of 14th Street ) because we’d get a nosebleed,” writes Erik Foss. The co-owner of the bar adds that to him and his cohorts, there is nothing more than “a void” outside of the neighborhood. “Downtown may have been colonized by money and gentrified into something way white and polite, but the attitude persists.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Foss’s own art is on display in SoHo at the Munch Gallery as part of a group show, “Night,” which opens tomorrow. Earlier this week, Ray LeMoine looked back at the illustrious 10-year history of Lit Lounge.

The Three Lives of Lit Lounge

Lindsay Lohan at LitOlvier Zahm In 2009 Lindsay Lohan, looking somewhat stressed, showed up at Lit Lounge.

“The new Lit.” The expression has been used countless times to describe a club that might just be as cool as Lit when it opened a decade ago. Many of the venues that have vied for “new Lit” status have come and gone, but the original gallery/bar/club hybrid, improbably, is still going strong on Second Avenue. It’s still the best place to splash your beer all over the place while dancing to Britpop and punk at 3 a.m. It’s had its slumps, to be sure, but these days Lit is enjoying what can only be called a flare-up.

You might say Lit has had three lives. Its first golden age lasted for a few years after it opened in February of 2002. Then things slowed down around 2006 when the cool crowd moved on to the newly opened Beatrice Inn. But when that club was shut down in 2009, some of its DJs moved over to Lit, bringing a new generation with them.

The First Golden Age 2002-2004
Dave Murphy used to run around downtown and now, at the age of 36, owns Towne Deli in Summit, New Jersey. “Mondays were the big night in town,” he recalled. Lit was always the last stop after you made the scene at Max Fish, the Lower East Side’s perennial art bar, and Pianos, another cool newcomer.

Big Ups at Lit Lounge, New York, NYAdrian Fussell Big Ups performing at Lit Lounge last year.

“Bjork was at the Monday Pianos party one night, in some furry outfit, just sitting at the bar looking like a giant mouse,” said Mr. Murphy. “This was right after we’d seen somebody get shot in the foot outside Lotus. D.J. Clue laughed at the guy, who was bleeding from one foot and hopping on the other. That night ended in the cave at Lit.” Mr. Murphy recalled watching a member of a well known band from San Francisco snorting cocaine off of one of the couches in the cavern-like basement.

At the time, two local music scenes were converging and about to go national: dance pop and retro rock.

Electro-clash, a punk-techno hybrid that drew inspiration from Germany, was at its peak. Fischerspooner’s single “Emerge” was played at clubs as often as Rihanna’s “We Found Love” is today. James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem was DJing at Meatpacking District lounge APT, honing the DFA sound that sprung to life in 2003 with The Rapture’s ubiquitous single “House of Jealous Lovers.”

Lit was essential in helping this music find an audience. It was also one of the first clubs to embrace Euro DJs like Soulwax a.k.a. 2 Many DJs, and Erol Alken, who were inventing the mash-up, where the vocals of one song are played over the music of another song.
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Lit Lounge Owner Headed to Williamsburg

Add Max Brennan to the long list of East Village business owners who have opened outposts in Williamsburg. Gothamist reports that Mr. Brennan, an owner of Lit Lounge, will open a new “swinging 60s-type jazz club” called The Flat on the other side of the East River later this month. Mr. Brennan, whose fellow Lit-owners celebrated the bar’s 10-year anniversary last week, will join familiar East Village eateries like Max, Crif Dogs, Mama’s and Cafe Mogador that have followed the L train east.

Video: Nick Zinner and Company Celebrate Ten Years of Lit

On Friday, Second Avenue lounge Lit celebrated its ten years as a gathering place and showcase for downtown’s musicians, artists, D.J.s, and plain ol’ cool kids. The Local managed to squeeze a video camera into the crowded house and spoke to owners Erik Foss and David Schwartz, along with Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (one of the night’s many star D.J.s) and Alli Pheteplace and Ryan Macdonald of the Bootblacks, who performed downstairs. Stay tuned this week as we look back on ten years of bands (everyone from Panthers to Japanther), art shows, and bathroom hijinks, and feel free to share your own Lit stories (if you can remember them?) in the comments.

Watch Retna Paint the Latest Mural at Houston and Bowery

Photos: Tim Schreier

Marquis Lewis, better known to the street-art world as Retna, has been painting one of his signature hieroglyphic works on the wall at Houston Street near Bowery for the past two days. Our photographer Tim Schreier stopped by yesterday afternoon and earlier today to document his progress. The artist was still at work when we last checked in with him at 6:45 p.m. this evening – we’ll show you his finished mural once it’s completed.

Fun fact: Retna recently participated in the Boneyard Art Project in Tucson, Arizona, for which artists such as Faile (creators of the previous Houston Street mural) and Erik Foss (the owner of Lit Lounge and Fuse Gallery on Second Avenue) made art out of decommissioned military aircraft.

Update: And Now, Retna’s Finished Mural at Houston and Bowery

Gallery Scene | ‘Raw Spaces,’ ‘Remnant Memories,’ and More

If you missed the opening of “Two Heads Are Better Than One” at The Hole earlier this week, don’t worry: there’s a shindig at Gathering of the Tribes tomorrow and three more openings next week. Here’s what’s new on the gallery scene.

Screen shot 2012-02-16 at 2.27.14 PM

Occupy Tribes Friday (Feb. 17 to March 4) Steve Cannon’s homegrown gallery soldiers on despite an eviction notice and lawsuit. Ama Birch curates an exhibition of artwork inspired by housing issues; proceeds from all sales will go toward Mr. Cannon’s legal bills. Opening reception Feb. 17, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Gathering of the Tribes, 285 East Third Street, 2nd Floor, (212) 674-3778

Screen shot 2012-02-16 at 2.15.11 PM

Raw Spaces (Feb. 23 to March 31) Lisa Lebofsky’s first New York City solo show. The painter, who has studied art at the New York Academy of Art and SUNY New Paltz, depicts natural scenes using oil on sanded aluminum. Opening reception Feb. 23, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Milavec Hakimi Gallery, 51 Cooper Square, (817) 975-5488.


Remnant Memories (Feb. 24 to March 11) Graffiti artist John Matos, better known as Crash, presents aluminum pieces, watercolors, and silkscreens inspired by his salad days of painting murals on subway cars. Opening reception Feb. 24, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. TT Underground, 91 Second Avenue, lower level, (212) 673-5424.

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The Post-Punk Painter

You may remember David Yow as the shirtless and sudoriferous showman that fronted The Jesus Lizard (if not, think of him as the Iggy Pop of the grunge era). As Brooklyn Vegan points out, Mr. Yow is also an accomplished visual artist. His paintings and digital drawings will be on display at a reception tonight at Fuse Gallery, adjoining Lit.