This weekend, local record shops (at least, those haven’t morphed into DJ nights) are sure to be mobbed for Record Store Day’s Black Friday. One highlight in particular: To coincide with the 40th anniversary of Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ Blank Generation, there’ll be a limited-edition, double-LP rerelease of the seminal album, remastered by original engineer Greg Calbi. Now comes word that Hell himself will leave his book-filled East Village apartment and make two rare public appearances, signing copies of the record on Friday, Nov. 24 at 1pm at Generation Records in Greenwich Village and Saturday, Nov. 25 at 2pm at Rough Trade in Williamsburg.
Have you been by Other Music’s former home on East 4th Street? It’s now inhabited by Broken Coconut, an on-trend, tropical-themed cafe serving poke bowls, tap kombucha, and avocado toast. Those who mourned the loss of the hallowed indie record store last year couldn’t have imagined a more fitting replacement: Where Neutral Milk Hotel was once on the speakers, coconut milk is now in the chia bowls. But, wait! Other Music ain’t dead yet.
Over 75 bike riders sprinted around Manhattan’s supermarkets in the cold rain on Saturday for New York City’s 19th annual Cranksgiving charity bike ride. The informal “alleycat” race, held in cities across the world, was described by this year’s organizer, Austin Horse, as “a sudoku board manifest of supermarkets where certain foods have to be bought in specific places with both long and short versions that riders of all levels can follow.” The food went to The Bowery Mission.
Every year, the people of Tultepec, Mexico gather for a fireworks festival that culminates in the burning of colossal, handcrafted toros. As it turns out, the running of these papier-mâché bulls is more dangerous than the running of the real ones. Since 1910, 15 people have died during the festivities in Pamplona. Meanwhile, some 56 people have lost their lives in recent years at the National Pyrotechnic Festival. This is no gathering of privileged pseudo hippies, a la Burning Man– even if vividly painted effigies do go up in smoke. Many of the families in Tultepec have worked in the pyrotechnics industry for up to 150 years, and the festival, which dates back just as long, is a point of pride.
In his Off-Broadway show In & Of Itself, magician Derek DelGaudio has no interest in pulling rabbits out of top hats or turning wands into bouquets. His show, which is directed by puppeteer and filmmaker Frank Oz and produced by actor Neil Patrick Harris, tackles the subject of identity and the artificial limits that are set when someone or something is labeled.
DelGaudio, a specialist in sleight of hand, is widely regarded as one of the most talented magicians and was named this year’s Magician of the Year by the Academy of Magical Arts. He’s capable of performing magic so compelling that audience members are left in disbelief. But in In & of Itself, the magic that’s present serves only as a backdrop to DelGaudio’s storytelling and larger points about identity and how illusory identity may be.
Bedford + Bowery spoke with DelGaudio about the production, his collaborators and the problems with creating a show that’s so difficult to describe.
I initially knew I wanted to make a show about the duality of identity and what it means to be and be seen by others. I also knew that in order to illustrate that idea the show needed to have its own identity and kind of embody the complexity and the paradox of the idea I was trying to express. I knew the show couldn’t be easily defined, in other words. The show needed to be an example of the point I was trying to make. That’s where I started.
I knew what I didn’t want it to be, which is I didn’t want it to be a traditional theater show. I didn’t want it to be a magic show, I didn’t want it to be a one-man show. I wanted it to be something that hadn’t existed yet. I started there and slowly built the pieces.
When people enter the theater, the first thing they see is the wall of cards, each with a label that begins “I am ___”; they’re asked to pick between options like “a teacher,” “an immigrant,” “a failure.” Can you talk about the idea behind having the cards be the first thing an audience member is confronted with?
[I did that] in order to start the dialogue before people even sit in their chairs, and get people in the headspace of thinking about what it means to be labeled, to choose a label for yourself or have labels forced on you. I wanted people to have those thoughts in their heads before they take their seats. And also, to not just have thought about it but to be confronted with that choice and forced to make that decision and think about that decision. That confrontation can spark a real crisis in people, like: “Who am I? Who do people think I am? Who do I want to be in this world?”
When I was thinking, who could direct it, it was a very delicate, fragile show and I thought Frank would be perfect because when everyone thinks of Frank Oz, everyone thinks of a different thing. Some people think of Yoda, some people think of The Muppets, some people think of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, some people think of What About Bob? Everyone kind of thinks of something different and the only way to really describe Frank is to say his name. So I asked him and he said he might be able to help. So I flew out to New York, I walked him through what I thought the show could be, and he understood it. And he was there from the beginning and he helped shape it, make it legible, make it accessible – because a lot of the ideas are really abstract and conceptual.
I worked with Glenn Kaino, an artist in LA. He helped shape the show and the aesthetics of it – he made sure it was beautiful and poetic. Mark Mothersbaugh [former frontman of Devo] did the music, which was great. He was amazing and he’s super talented. When we were moving the show from Los Angeles to New York is when Neil [Patrick Harris] came on and he helped us navigate the theater landscape out here and figure out where we should put the show and putting a team out here together, and all that stuff.
One thing that’s quite difficult is describing the show. Most magic shows have some element of storytelling, but this show takes it to the point where it stops really being a magic show – I’m curious, how do you personally describe the show?
I describe it as a theatrical existential crisis, and a shared one. But the idea behind the show is to acknowledge a thing– whether that be a thing or person– and not have to categorize it, to not have to label it. To just let it exist. I mean, we have to, for communication, but my hope is that we can see things for what they are rather than try to force a label on it.
It’s not commercially very wise to have a show that’s difficult to describe but conceptually, it’s what it needs to be.
Yeah, that’s right. Which is why everyone who is involved in the show, from the top, down. Starting with me, and the producers and the director, needed to believe in the show and now just want it for commercial reasons. Everyone believed it should exist and that’s what was needed for it to exist.
This interview has been condensed and edited.
East Village residents and activists want to keep their neighborhood from becoming “Silicon Alley.”
Around 50 people gathered yesterday evening across from the site of a “boutique office building” that will replace Continental Bar, Papaya King (which has already closed), and other businesses on the corner of St. Marks Place and Third Avenue. Elected officials and preservationists called for Mayor Bill de Blasio to take action to rezone a small stretch of the East Village.
Congratulations to the people of Bushwick! Your neighborhood was just named the second hottest in the United States, falling closely behind The Mission in San Francisco. So, we hit the gritty, graffiti-stained streets to see how locals feel about being one of the “25 coolest neighborhoods in America.” (That’s right, it’s hot and cool!) Is that ranking just right? Totally bogus? Does landing somewhere on a coolness ranking preclude you from actually being cool? Click through the slideshow to find out.
Work continues apace as Orchard and Broome Streets turn into 1970s Little Italy for the upcoming filming of The Irishman. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the Netflix film stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel and Joe Pesci.
Yesterday we showed you the replica of the original Umberto’s Clam House. The mob favorite, at 129 Mulberry Street, at Hester Street, was where gangster Joey Gallo met his fate. Era-correct yellow street signs that will be used for the film show the attention to detail Scorsese is famous for.
Many of the other faux storefronts also depict real businesses. Forzano Italian Imports and E. Rossi Italy Music & Book, from Friday’s story, were Mulberry Street mainstays back in the day.
Click through our slideshow to see the latest reveals.
It’s been just a little over a week since the Continental revealed that it would close and now another scrappy holdover has announced that it’s not long for this world. Hank’s Saloon, the live-music dive in Boerum Hill, will close at the end of next year to make way for redevelopment, according to a Facebook post.
I gotta tell you something. It’s about The Disaster Artist.
In case you didn’t see the billboard, James Franco’s adaptation of Greg Sistero’s tell-all book about the making of The Room opens Nov. 30 at Regal Union Square, and it promises to be the best movie ever made about the best worst movie ever made. The trailers are out, and Franco does a pretty decent job channeling Tommy Wiseau, the international man of mystery who poured millions of dollars of his own money into a film that ended up serving as target practice for spoon throwers.
Fourteen months before the 1929 stock market crash, a 1,516-seat theater struck someone as a good investment. Most of a century later, Park Slope is a good investment once more. Nitehawk Prospect Park Cinema will open a refurbished version of the theater in March.
Yesterday, Matthew Viragh, founder of Nitehawk, gave Bedford + Bowery a tour of the construction site.