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We Love You, Papaya King, But You’re Wrong About Zeppelin and the Stones

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

No, they didn’t. (Photo: Daniel Maurer)

The Papaya King that opened in the East Village last month is all about St. Marks Place. There’s a dog named after St. Marks resident Jimmy McMillan, who scored the King’s endorsement for mayor; and a sign on the back wall tells us that Lenny Bruce once lived on St. Marks (strangely, there’s no sign giving props to Crif Dogs for being the first place on St. Marks to combine hot dogs and video games).
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Tim Kent On Painting Nudes: ‘It’s Just Like Sex But Without All the Sexy Stuff’

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

IMG_6545

IMG_6545

Tim Kent

Tim Kent

Tim Kent (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

Tim Kent's home studio (Photo: Eric Reichbaum)

“This year is a mess,” says Tim Kent as sweat drips from his head. “Nothing is done, everything is unfinished, and I’m not happy with any of it.”

It is the Friday night of Bushwick Open Studios, and there is less than half an hour until the start of a reception for friends and supporters. The artist – and former bassist for the Giraffes – is stretched out on a brown leather sofa under his loft bed. As soon as his girlfriend Charlotte, clad in black, begins cooing about the library he built for her, he makes an anxious beeline for his workspace at the far end of the apartment and continues cleaning, clearing.
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‘There Weren’t Any Pie Shops or Knitting Shops’ Last Time These Guys Rocked NYC

During some between-song banter at Red Hare’s live debut at the Knitting Factory last month, the band’s frontman Shawn Brown marveled at the contrast between Williamsburg today and his first time playing CBGB in the ‘80s with his DC hardcore band Swiz.

“I definitely remember the city being a little grittier,” Brown told Bedford + Bowery backstage. “There weren’t any pie shops or knitting shops, or anything like that on the Bowery.”
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A Tale of Two Thrift Shops, Side By Side and Worlds Apart

Precious and Shauna (Photo: Erika Smith)

Precious and Shauna (Photo: Erika Smith)

On Knickerbocker Avenue, two neighboring thrift stores have nearly identical prices — and yet there doesn’t seem to be a heck of a lot of crossover between their clientele.

At Urban Jungle, artfully arranged bric-a-brac (a toboggan! a skateboard!) hangs from the ceiling and the colorfully painted walls. Twenty-somethings snatch up the type of cut-off jorts and camo jackets that are featured on the store’s blog (sample post: “Vintage Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch Cassette Tape”). Outside, they pose against one of the nearby murals for Instagram shots of their own. Keep Reading »

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Nightclubbing | Strange Party, 1980

Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong are sifting through their voluminous archive of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library.

Described by the Soho Weekly News as “New York’s best party band,” Strange Party was a witty, stylish group serving up a fizzy cocktail of performance art with a dash of Latin-infused new wave. They were a huge outfit with six backup musicians and four vocalists upfront. And what vocalists! Led by downtown art star Joey Arias, the quartet was rounded out by Tony Frere, Paige Wood, and Janus Budde. They were eccentric and compelling — their guitarist George Elliot once described the band as “a little like heavy metal Ricky Ricardo.” Joey suggested they were just trying to turn art into fun.
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Nightclubbing | John Cale Band, 1979

Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library.

John Cale on the road. (Photo: Robert Medici)

Five Favorite Facts about John Cale:

  • He studied musicology at London’s Goldsmiths College in the early 1960s, where his teachers dubbed him “Most Hateful Student” before awarding him a prestigious Leonard Bernstein scholarship to study with the Boston University Orchestra.
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Nightclubbing | Student Teachers, 1979

Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library.

(Photo: Steve Lombardi)

It’s that time of year again: Spring break! While college students are streaming like lemmings to the usual spots — Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean — there’s been an uptick of revelers heading for New York this year. You can see them — earbuds in, texting and stumbling around the Lower East Side and Williamsburg, updating their absent pals. We hope they’re enjoying themselves.
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Nightclubbing | Richard Hell and The Voidoids, 1979

Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library

(Photo: Nicole Batchelor Regne)

Well, it is officially Richard Hell month. His newly published book, “I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp,” has enjoyed a glowing review in The New York Times. There has been a flurry of personal appearances in bookstores and a string of interviews in print outlets and on the radio.

It has probably reminded this self-deprecating and essentially very private man why he dropped from the public eye to begin with. The tension between his introversion and the will to perform has always been Hell’s biggest conundrum. And what better way to help relive that dichotomy than a book tour? Maybe it’s a form of therapy. We have the feeling he would rather chew glass.
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Nightclubbing | Human Sexual Response, 1980

Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library.

It is hard to overstate the giddy hedonism of the early ’80s. Riding the tide of the ’70s sexual revolution, when feminism and gay power met the “if it feels good do it” ethos of the era, it was a great time to be young and on the prowl.
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Nightclubbing | Lounge Lizards, 1979

Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library.

Lounge Lizards (Photo: Pat Ivers)

We finally shot the Lounge Lizards at CBGBs in the spring of 1979, just a few months before we bought our first color camera. Good thing, too. They just looked better in black and white.

Some called what they played fake jazz but we loved their sinuous stew of no wave, be-bop and cinematic soundscape that Robert Palmer of The New York Times famously described as “somewhere west of Charles Mingus and east of Bernard Hermann.”
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Nightclubbing | The Offs

Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library.

LP cover.

Looking back at the cover of the L.P. that The Offs released in 1984, we didn’t remember that Jean-Michel Basquiat had designed it. But the image of their lead singer, Don Vinyl, face down, his bicep glistening with the tattoo of a .45 pistol — that we had not forgotten.

We recall Don coming to our apartment the day he got the ink, his arm still red and a little bloody. “Paul Simonon is getting the same one!” he told us, excitedly. It was the summer of 1981 and everyone in the East Village was getting tats, even The Clash. Bob Roberts, The Offs’ saxophonist — and also a tattooist — had done the work for both.
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Nightclubbing | Ballistic Kisses

Pat Ivers and Emily Armstrong continue sorting through their archives of punk-era concert footage as it’s digitized for the Downtown Collection at N.Y.U.’s Fales Library.

(Photo: Emily Armstrong)

In 1980, Ronald Reagan ushered in a long cold winter of conservatism in America. But a little bit of heat was generating on the Lower East Side. Over on the Bowery, the Ballistic Kisses were in their loft, practicing. With a sound that combined post-punk and politics, they brought something new to the downtown club scene.

Michael Shore, rock critic for The Soho Weekly News recalls, “In those days we did not even have a name for electropop, synth or what they were doing. And their lead singer, Mike Parker was very intense. They were the first NYC band with genuine, serious political thought, but with an interesting difference from the Sex Pistols — they seemed to be more street level. The Ballistic Kisses had an honest, urgent, sincere political thing going on.” Keep Reading »