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Tim Murphy, Author of Christadora, On the East Village Then and Now

Tim Murphy (Photo: Courtesy of Edwin Pabon)

Tim Murphy (Photo: Courtesy of Edwin Pabon)

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the East Village in the 90s? Junkies passed out on Avenue A while runaway kids hung out in squats on St. Marks? CBGB and other classic punk bars still going hard, only to be priced out of their leases less than a decade later? Punk heads and artists sharing studios in derelict tenements? For Tim Murphy, the New York-based journalist and author of the new novel Christodora, it was all of these things, but above all it was the home for a community of diverse people from different backgrounds, sexual orientations, and experiences who were searching for a place that would accept them just as they are.

As a young man who arrived to the city in 1991, the East Village represented a haven for an alternative gay scene that was way less polished and more grungy than the one in Chelsea and the West Village. “Courtney Love was the patron saint of the gay East Village in the ’90s,” Murphy told us with a laugh.

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Comedian Hits the Motherlode, Plays 16 Moms Onstage

(Photo: Courtesy of Carrie McCrossen)

(Photo: Courtesy of Carrie McCrossen)

Carrie McCrossen has moms on her mind. More specifically, she has about 16 moms on her mind. There’s hardcore career mom, there’s “overtly accommodating of her children” mom, and then there’s “still wants to be seen as a sexual creature but also is a bit nervous about that” mom. And she gets to play them all.

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Co-Owner of Glasslands Heir, Elsewhere, Talks Fixing DIY’s ‘Sustainability Problem’

(Image via Elsewhere/ PopGun Presents)

(Image via Elsewhere/ PopGun Presents)

Yesterday we told you what we know about Elsewhere, the new venue from the Glasslands crew set to open in East Williamsburg sometime this fall. As we speak, the owners are wrapping up a $3 million makeover on the 24,000-square-foot warehouse they’ve landed that, when complete, will boast a 5,000-square-foot music hall, among other performance spaces, all of them rigged with a superb sound system, plus a rooftop party zone, an art gallery called the “Skybridge,” a courtyard, even a “loft bar.”

It all sounds pretty grand, especially as a follow-up to Glasslands, which closed just as 2015 began, and in the course of its existence traded in and out some classic DIY features: homemade art installations (those clouds, tho), labyrinthine lofting, and swinging saloon doors between your bathroom break and the impatient line waiting behind you.

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The Knitting Factor: New Documentary Weaves a Tale of Yarn Artists

Olek's Yarn People (Photo: courtesy of Matt Hirsch)

Olek’s Yarn People (Photo: courtesy of BOND/360)

At what point does something stop being beautiful once it becomes functional? Can something you use every day be made into art? Does art need to hang in a gallery to be recognized? And, perhaps the biggest question of all, how much can sheep really contribute to the fine arts?

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Lakeside Lounge Owner Releases a Musical Homage to His Old Dive

Eric "Roscoe" Ambel (Photo: Courtesy of Johan Vipper)

Eric “Roscoe” Ambel (Photo: Courtesy of Johan Vipper)

When the Lakeside Lounge closed in April 2012, East Villagers mourned the loss of another quintessential dive bar in the rapidly changing neighborhood. For Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, a musician, producer, and the former owner of the Alphabet City bar, the venue’s departure from NYC’s live music scene was a symptom of the greater economic forces at play in redefining the character of the city’s neighborhoods, and served as an inspiration for his newly released solo album, Lakeside, which takes its spirit from Ambel’s bar-owning days. With Ambel playing a live show of his record at Hill Country Brooklyn on June 25, Bedford + Bowery caught up with him to chat about Lakeside Lounge and live music in New York.

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Unlocking the Truth About the Teen Metal Band’s New Album & Documentary

(Photo: Courtesy of Falco Ink)

(Photo: Courtesy of Falco Ink)

Since first gaining internet stardom as a precocious metal trio, Brooklyn’s Unlocking the Truth has gone through seemingly every loop on the rollercoaster ride of fame. They’ve gone from playing for change outside the subway to booking major festivals; they’ve recorded and now re-recorded their debut album; and, most of all, they’ve dealt with miles upon miles of corporate red tape.

Now, after months of delays, the band’s first full-length album, Chaos, is finally coming out this Friday through indie music distributor Tunecore. (Watch the video for “Take Control” below.) Plus, Breaking a Monster, the documentary by Luke Meyer that we caught at SXSW, is set to premiere later this month. (There’ll be a preview screening at Museum of the Moving Image on June 21, followed by a performance by the band.)  Keep Reading »

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Founder of PETA Talks Dangling Naked in a Meat Market and Other Victories

(Flyer via No Filter)

(Flyer via No Filter)

Later on tonight, you might be brushing your teeth and instead of that familiar googly-eyed likeness staring back at you (everyone has that problem, right?) you’ll see nothing less than an animal abuser, or perhaps even a slave owner if you choose to be really honest with yourself. Your French bulldog Greg will suddenly seem like a sullen prisoner in that skin-tight raincoat you force him to wear on the reg, even when it’s a cloudless, sweltering 90-degree July day and he’s emitting piercing, parrot-like screams as he struggles to escape. And those Bob Evans sausage griddles you chased with a tall glass of heavy whipping cream for dinner? Well, your Wienerwurst Wednesday tradition might seem, suddenly, very disgusting.

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Meet the Mad Puppeteer Who Brought ‘Hillary’s Nose’ to the March For Bernie

(Photo: Lilly Maier)

(Photo: Lilly Maier)

Elliot Crown is an actor who likes the political, an activist who loves creativity. Mash that together and you get one of New York’s only political puppeteers. His puppets have been widely covered, but people rarely see the man behind the mask. Aside from his political theater, Crown also works “about 14 jobs, like all actors in New York” and appeared in the movie Isn’t It Delicious. Crown, who has been “45 for quiet a while,” shares his East Village apartment with many of the papier mâché masks he created – like the Donald Trump with $-eyes or Hillary Clinton’s Pinocchio nose.

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Comedian and Activist Elsa Waithe ‘Could Have Easily Been a Hashtag’

Comedian and activist Elsa Waithe (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Comedian and activist Elsa Waithe (Photo: Nicole Disser)

There are maybe more comedians in New York City than anywhere else. And while material can vary a lot, stand-ups tend to have similar backstories, or at least in what they feel like dishing. But Elsa Waithe is a comedian like not many others. Sure, she’s a transplant from Virginia who said she “dropped everything” and moved here to “follow my dream.” She’s also of the opinion that “comedy quite literally saved my life”– another common story. But instead of squeezing her way into the big clubs, Elsa is carving out a place for under-represented comics, something she considers part of her work as a civil rights activist.

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Olek Says She Has a ‘Crazy and Twisted’ Mind, And She Isn’t Stringing You Along

(Photo via Olek)

(Photo via Olek)

Olek is the prolific crochet artist known best for disrupting public spaces by swathing dull stone, concrete, and brick with enormous, sometimes intricate yarn hoods. While she’s spent the last 15 years living in Brooklyn, her reach as an international artist seems to be expanding ever outward from the city where she started her art career.

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Judah Friedlander On His New Book and His Evolution From World Champ to World Champion

(Photo: Melissa Hom for Grub Street)

(Photo: Melissa Hom for Grub Street)

I was sitting in the Olive Tree Cafe, upstairs from the Comedy Cellar, flipping through Judah Friedlander’s new book. Largely single-panel cartoons, the book’s drawings run the gamut between The Far Side and The New Yorker, offering plenty of belly laughs and a few head scratchers. My favorites include one captioned, “Then one night, the dishes did Jeffrey,” a dark mass-jumper routine about a “building’s semi-annual suicide race,” and a sketch of where to meet women in Manhattan: yoga studios and $50 cupcake shops.

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Richard Hell Is Not Interested in Ideology, ‘Punk’ or Otherwise

richardhellMost downtown Doc Marten stompers probably connote the name Richard Hell with his former bands—Television, the Heartbreakers, Richard Hell and the Voidoids—but for the last 30 years he’s mostly been writing. Hell essentially retired from music after 1984’s compilation album R.I.P., with the exception of 1992’s Dim Stars experiment with Thurston Moore et al., and he told us, “People have lots of reasons for going back on the road. It’s not tempted me for a long time.” Instead, he’s produced a stack of books, including the well-received autobiography, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, and the collection of poetry, prose, and essays (and lovingly-produced penis drawings) Hot and Cold. Hell’s latest is a collection of his nonfiction writings, Massive Pissed Love: Nonfiction 2001-2014. We caught up with Hell (see bottom for info about upcoming local appearances) to talk about the new book, analog versus ebooks, and people stealing his haircut.

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