It happens to many a Brooklyn parent: Little Hugo starts having trouble reading the labels at Whole Foods Williamsburg and accidentally picks out an item that has GMOs. Clearly it’s time for a Lyft to the eye doctor, but what if the kids at Forest Explorers start calling him Four Eyes?
Last week, Richard Lloyd’s reading at the Strand turned into an unexpected fact-checking session when the son of CBGB impresario Hilly Kristal questioned some of recollections shared in Lloyd’s new memoir, Everything Is Combustible: Television, CBGB’s and Five Decades of Rock and Roll. There was some debate about whether the three-tiered stage at CBGB was built for Television, as Lloyd remembered it, or for Patti Smith, as Dana Kristal claimed.
Ray Alvarez, the East Village hall-of-famer who has made generations of neighborhood kids and late-night revelers happy with his fried Snickers, chili dogs, and soft serve cones, turned 85 yesterday. As has become the tradition, Ray’s eponymous Candy Store on Avenue A was transformed by his friends and groupies into a burlesque house, as dozens of locals packed inside the tiny shop and a string of dancers got (tastefully) raunchy up on the old, sagging counter.
Beloved bar Red Hook Bait and Tackle said farewell to its tight-knit family with a party that raged well after the cops came, as advertised. Owner Barry O’Meara, who’s closing the bar after 14 years due to the neighborhood’s “different financial demographics,” hosted an all-day affair that started with a chili cook-off, continued with a full concert and ended with a dance party where locals mixed their sweat and tears till the doors finally shut for good at 6am.
The late Fred Bass, longtime owner of the Strand Bookstore who died January 3 at age 89, is getting posthumous bear hugs from the City of New York, which is expected to name a bench after him in Washington Square Park. It has also named January 26 “Fred Bass Day,” said U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who on Friday night presided at a public memorial for Bass at the iconic East Village store.
On Saturday afternoon this past weekend about a dozen teams of intrepid idiots went careening through the streets of Brooklyn for the 14th annual running of that ridiculous race for no reason, the Idiotarod.
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Richard Lloyd of Television Wrote a Memoir, But Not Everyone Remembers His CBGBs Stories the Same Way
At some point during Richard Lloyd’s appearance last night at the Strand’s Rare Book Room, he scanned the audience for his Television bandmate, Tom Verlaine. “He’s probably outside looking at the dollar book rack,” Lloyd cracked.
Verlaine, who is often spotted browsing the discount books, famously worked at the bookstore years before he formed Television with Lloyd and Richard Hell. It wasn’t a huge shock that he wasn’t among the many CBGB scenesters that showed up last night. In Lloyd’s new memoir, Everything Is Combustible: Television, CBGB’s and Five Decades of Rock and Roll, he writes that Verlaine and Hell “felt that they were the ‘special two,’ and other people were nothing but insects bothering them. I received some of that treatment.”
On the other hand, things were nice and friendly between Lloyd and the moderator of last night’s Q&A at Strand. Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz got the singer-guitarist to recall hanging out with Jimi Hendrix and John Lee Hooker, and got him to bitch about today’s “pay to play” model of gigging (Lloyd will play Bowery Electric again in April). But things got really interesting when Mark Dana Kristal, son of legendary CBGB impresario Hilly Kristal, spoke up during the audience participation portion of the evening.
Kristal started right in: “When I heard you were here— we don’t always agree— I was a little pissed off,” he told Lloyd, before softening his tone: “But when I went to the bookstore, I looked at your book— I gotta say, you really wrote a very good book.”
Still, Kristal, who has made it a point to debunk CBGB myths, had some quibbles– namely, about Lloyd’s account of meeting Hilly for the first time. In the book, Lloyd describes coming upon Hilly, in early 1974, as he used a stepladder to affix the iconic CBGB logo, designed by his ex-wife Karen, to the dive bar’s new awning.
Dana recalled it differently. “He couldn’t reach the canopy,” he said of father. “I held [the stepladder] as my mother [Karen] drew the canopy.”
That wasn’t his biggest gripe. In the same chapter, Lloyd describes how Television talked Hilly out of putting the stage in the front of his then-obscure dive bar. “I just remember him showing us around,” Lloyd told the crowd at Strand, “and he said, ‘I’m going to make it like a drive-in movie, where you pass the stage as you go in.’ And I said, ‘Look, nobody will be able to hear when you’re taking money at the door.’ And he said, ‘Oh, I’m not having loud music.’”
At that, the audience laughed, no doubt thinking about the Ramones and other notoriously amped-up bands that would come to be synonymous with CBGB.
As Lloyd describes it in the book, Verlaine convinced Hilly to move the stage to the opposite side of the room and rebuild it in three tiers. “That was my idea,” Lloyd writes of the multiple tiers, “because I thought it would put the drummer far enough back that he wouldn’t drive us crazy. It was also a kind of drum riser that would make the drummer look like Ringo because the Beatles always had a very tall drum riser.”
Dana begged to differ: “The reason [Hilly] built the new stage was because Patti Smith was playing and he had to build a bigger stage.”
“Hell no,” Lloyd countered. “Patti didn’t play for about two years. We were the ones who were playing there.” (Television played its first show at CBGB on March 29, 1974 while the Patti Smith Group debuted there on Feb. 14, 1975.)
As always with rock lore, it’s hard to know who or what to believe. Lloyd admits to being a “raging alcoholic” during the time he was hanging out at CBGBs nearly every night, but he also writes that he wasn’t yet using heroin during Television’s early days and has an “eidetic memory.” He did concede one thing. Dana asked him why “in the book you say my father was the owner”; in a lawsuit filed in 2008, Karen claimed she was the rightful owner of CBGB per an agreement struck with her ex-husband before the club opened.
“Boo boo!” Lloyd conceded, clearly losing patience with the fact-checking. “Mistake!”
“I wish she got a memorial,” Dana said of his mother, the club’s taskmaster. “Because she did a lot for everybody.”
“She pulled the plug a few times,” Lloyd couldn’t help but grumble.
On that, at least, they can agree. In a Facebook post commemorating his mother, who died in 2014, Dana once wrote, “Ramones and several other bands were consistently too loud, she warned the Ramones to turn their music down, they ignored her, so she pulled the plug on them!”
The novel is a Dickensian bildungsroman; it tells the story of Theodore Decker, who becomes involved in art theft and forgery after a troubled childhood. Ansel Elgort is reportedly set to play the adult Theodore, while Finn Wolfhard (yes, of Stranger Things fame) has been cast as the younger version of Boris, Theodore’s childhood friend. Sarah Paulson, Luke Wilson, and Jeffrey Wright are all supposedly part of the cast as well.
While the film unfortunately won’t be released until 2019, you might as well get started on the book in the meantime– it’s a whopping 784 pages long.
In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, the storied Strand Bookstore accuses utility companies and the city of New York of negligent behavior that allegedly caused a series of manhole explosions and fires in the early hours of March 31, 2017. The explosions shattered the Strand’s windows, forcing the business to close for the day and resulting in significant property damage and loss of income, according to the suit.
Magical Girl Burlesque Presents Birthday Battleship Burlesque
Friday, January 26 at Bizarre Bushwick, 8 pm: FREE (suggested donation to benefit Southern Poverty Law Center)
Ah, Battleship. That classic game of pegs, coordinates, and nearly naked bodies. If you’re confused about that last part, perhaps you’ll have your memory refreshed on Friday night, when the performers of Magical Girl Burlesque take to the stage and somehow reenact an entire game of Battleship with a burlesque twist. Here’s how such a thing will work: each performer on the lineup represents a boat piece. Audience members will play the game in the classic way, and when the battleships are sunk, the performer will perform. So in this case, losing the game is actually winning the game. The show is free, but donations will be collected for the Southern Poverty Law Center. Keep Reading »
Something fishy is happening at Russ & Daughters Cafe. The gussied-up Jewish delicatessen is hosting performances by top-tier jazz musicians and they aren’t charging a single cent for them.
Not that we’re complaining. The cafe’s Smoked Fish & Pickles series is hosted by none other than downtown maestro John Zorn, the composer-saxophonist with a penchant for wild improvisation and experimentation as well as the studious exploration of traditional Jewish music.
Last year, rumors floated that an Ace Hotel was opening in a former Salvation Army shelter on the Bowery. Now the team behind the hipster hotel chain, Atelier Ace, has announced that it’ll instead be launching a new brand, Sister City, in the fall of this year.
The hotel, at 225 Bowery, will offer “200 intimate, efficient rooms, a ground-floor restaurant and a rooftop bar,” according to today’s announcement. Rooms will range in size from 126 to 262 square feet and rates will start at $259, a spokesperson told us.
The hotel’s minimalist aesthetic is inspired by “the functional perfection of Finnish saunas, Japanese bento boxes, rock-cut cliff dwellings of prehistory and John Cage’s 4’33,” per the announcement.