Archive for the ‘LES’ category

10th Street – A good street for a good street fair

May 30, 2008

I usually hate street fairs. If I need a pair of socks, I’ll go to a store. I don’t like to eat the food at them as it looks…a little unclean.

But there are some good street fairs. They’re the ones that keep out the sock merchants and the gyro places and the like. I’ve really only known one: in the West Village.

And now I know a second. The 10th Street street fair between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue was quite good and nicely done. They had a couple of the usual horrible merchants. But mostly it was artists and homeowners selling stuff out of their homes like a garage sale. Well, this was pretty good garage sale stuff.

I saw a bunch of LPs and the like. I think a number of the people were artists. The area is pretty artistic, so I presume that they were the participants.

The most interesting stuff was some presentations by actors and poets. They seem to be associated with the Theater for the New City, which is where each of them emerged from to give their recital. This guy was doing a Shakespearean-style speech. I came in late on it and didn’t recognize it. He seemed very sort of old-school Shakespearean. That is, very deliberate and systematic recital; a recital for a real audience and not for the inner muse sort of thing.

There were a couple of poets that came up afterwards. Very…typical. This poet gave a recital of a work about people who accomplish things and ends with a Wall Street type who is mulling over who to put out of business.  Bleh.

And then there was the poet in the picture below. He’s the very first poet I have ever heard who used sound effects as part of his recital. He seems to have hooked up some sort of echo process to the amplifier. It was nifty, but awfully artificial. Of course, maybe that was his point.

-H

Bad Apple in the Big Apple

May 25, 2008

We’ve all seen the cool Ipod ads from Apple. You know the ones: the dancing silhouettes. Very funky, right? Nah. It’s not even close. They are as stodgy and as corporate as an ad for a Ford truck. At least, that’s what came to mind when I was wandering through a very, very cool area of the Lower East Side and saw that Apple had put up a billboard right on top of some local art.

Tell the truth. Which is better? Which is the true bit o’ “art” here? I don’t think it is even close.

Look at all the local art and how the Apple ad doesn’t even begin to fit in. Who’d a thunk that Apple would look so…horrid?

You know the solution someone will find, don’t you? White paint on the old stuff and a few more corporate ads that pay the owner as opposed to the local art. I’ll be sad to see it go. And go it will, don’tchaknow?

Come to think of it, for Manny’s Auto Repair, a Ford truck ad wouldn’t be bad. Not if the same artist did it.
-H

Tribeca Film Festival…In The East Village

May 1, 2008

On Saturday, I did some wandering around the East Village area and, while on my way toward Union Square, ran into the Tribeca Film Festival.  (Simple NYC geography lesson:  Tribeca lies about 20 blocks south of Union Square which is a long, long ways in NYC.)

Well, it is part of the Festival, but you have to remember that it has grown tremendously and they apparently just scoop up every theater they can find to do some of their screenings. I was there around 1:30 or so and a line or six were starting to form up.

To be honest, I didn’t know any of the shows they were planning to screen. At 2:30, they were showing “I Am Because We Are”. Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s great. But Rene Decartes would probably find some way to improve the logic.

At 3:30, they were showing “Charley”. There were actually two lines for that show (lines “2” above and “C” below), but maybe not that showing. I presume one line was for voters/writers/critics/filmmakers and the other line was for the ordinary folks. Actually, there were also two lines for “I Am Because We Are”, but line “B” was empty. (A closer look at the pictures has the bigger line for “Ticket Holders and Badge Holders” and the other line for “Rush Tickets”. That’s about what I was expecting.)

It’s interesting to see such events and have the opportunity to go just because I’m walking by. I guess I should be a bit abashed for talking about it without trying it out. But I don’t think I’ve gone to a movie for a year and going to one in the hopes of seeing a great film seems like a poor reason to break that streak.

-H

Tompkins Square Park Protest

April 29, 2008

I was recently down in the Alphabet City area and wandered through Tompkins Square Park.  While there, I saw a protest in progress at the southern part of the park.

The protest seemed centered around a bunch of mailing boxes with slogans.

Forgive me, but I couldn’t figure it out.

Some of the slogans were about Washington Square Park (undergoing renovations and no longer the center of protest activity).  Others were about “stop strangulation in higher education” and “power to the sheeple”.

 I do know that there was another sort of “park protest” going on in Union Square (I’ll post on that separately), so there is a point to the protest.  If I had to guess, the authorities (yeah, those guys) are starting to crack down on the protestors in Union Square just like they did in Washington Square Park.  That’s sad, if only because there are a lot of New Yorkers who really, really, really need a place to do their rants.

-H

Pearl Theatre Company and the LES Handprints of Fame

March 29, 2008

St. Mark’s Place (aka, 8th Street between 3rd Avenue and Avenue A) has some of the most interesting places in the Lower East Side.  I really enjoy it down there.

Recently, I was walking past a place I’ve seen a number of times, Pearl Theatre, and looked down and saw that they’ve got a sort of Mann’s Chinese Theater handprints and footprints thing going on.

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Below are Dom DeLuise and Joan Crawford.  Now, that’s a strange twosome.

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Next are Hildegard(?) and Myrna Loy.

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Next are Gloria Swanson and Lillian Roth.

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The next hold the prints for Ruby Keeler and Joan Blondell.

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Next, Kitty Carlisle Hart (who recently died and was a NYC theater/opera/philanthropic legend).

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Next Allan Jones (an actor and the father of singer Jack Jones).

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I just can’t read the next one.

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There are two names on the next, but the only one I can read, sort of, is “Wimi Shawn” or “Shaw” or “Shaun”.  It almost certainly is not “William Shawn” as he was the famed editor of the New Yorker and it is hard to believe he’d put his handprints alongside people he may have covered.  It could be “Wallace Shawn” (son of William Shawn) as he has some association with the Pearl Theatre, but it sure looks like there’s an “i” or two in the name.

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Of course, it is likely there’s only one name (the Shaw/Shawn/Shaun one) and a mysterious message.  Well, what’s life without some mystery?  (EDITED TO ADD:  thanks to reader “Brian”, it appears to be Winifred “Wini” Shaw.)

Under any circumstances, they haven’t taken great care with these names and prints. Too bad.

-H