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Clayton Patterson Brings Back the Clayton Cap With a Little Help From His Friends

claytoncap_skull_black-1_2048x2048The most exciting thing to happen in fashion this month has nothing to do with Fashion Week. Far, far away from the uptown tents, Clayton Patterson is bringing back the Clayton cap.

In case you missed the history lesson in Captured, the documentary about the Lower East Side documentarian, the Clayton cap was created in 1986, when Patterson discovered a couple of mom-and-pop shops on Avenue A that did iron-ons and embroidery. “A lot of the street gangs would go in there and cut out their letters and iron them on their jackets,” Clayton remembered. When Clayton realized the shop could also make custom baseball hats, the first Clayton cap was born.

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From the Allen Street Boys to Satan’s Sinners, Street Gangs of the Lower East Side

Clayton Patterson's new book with Jose "Cochise" Quiles, cover photo by Clayton Patterson (Image: Nicole Disser)

Clayton Patterson’s new book with Jose “Cochise” Quiles, cover photo by Clayton Patterson (Image: Nicole Disser)

Last week, Elliot Caldwell was fatally shot outside of Campos Plaza, the NYCHA public housing project where he’d grown up. An EV Grieve commenter noted that the 23-year-old had been arrested in 2013 when the Manhattan DA busted alleged members of the Money Boyz, a coke-dealing gang based out of the East Village housing project. DNAinfo wrote that a woman claiming to be Caldwell’s aunt told reporters: “He was a great father. He changed his life for his son. He just got caught up in a bad situation.”

The NYPD told B+B that the suspect in Caldwell’s shooting is described as a “black male wearing a red hoodie,” who “fled from the scene on foot.” So far there have been no arrests, and police say the investigation is ongoing.

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‘Helen Keller Was an Asshole,’ and Other Things You’ll Learn at the Acker Awards

(Flyer via ACKER awards)

(Flyer via ACKER awards)

Helen Keller was an “undisciplined wild child who nobody could contain, and that’s what makes her heroic,” said Clayton Patterson as he explained the quote in the headline to this story.

I’d heard the unofficial elder-guardian of the Lower East Side say plenty of controversial things like this before, it’s usually part of a strategy of illustrating his radical points– how he disapproves of feminists (for often ignoring the need for the advancement of all women) and gay marriage (also for a reason you might not expect: because legalizing gay marriage does not necessarily signal that all queer people will reap the benefits of mainstream approval). The point with Helen Keller was that real adversity breeds character and makes for interesting art, and that the “wild child” can be a marker of artistic purpose. It’s all connected to how, as an artist-activist, Patterson considers almost everything he does to be both a work of art and an expression of solidarity with the underclasses, the maligned, and the avant-garde. Enter the Acker Awards, a way of recognizing members of the avant-garde arts community for their achievements and influence, happening Thursday, March 17 at Howl! Arts in the East Village.

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Clayton Patterson Fights ‘Homogenization, Destruction of Anything Independent and Outside’

Outside In at Howl! Happening (Photo: Nicole Disser)

“Outside In” at Howl! Happening (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Last year, Clayton Patterson announced that he and Elsa Rensaa, his partner and collaborator of more than 40 years, were moving from the Lower East Side to a small spa town in Austria. Lucky for anyone who admires his unflagging commitment to keeping it real and his tirades against the processes of gentrification and corporatization (see: his damning of Taylor Swift as the city’s cultural ambassador), the 66-year-old outsider artist, photographer, tattoo artist, dissident, and haberdasher who is known to many as the neighborhood’s “last bohemian” is not just still residing there, he also has a new solo exhibition. If you haven’t had a chance to see “Outside In” at Howl! Happening, tonight is the night to do so: the gallery will be screening Captured, the must-see documentary about Clayton’s obsessive documentation of the city as it once was.

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‘We Have Lost Our Mind’: Clayton Patterson’s Response to Taylor Swift

Just in case Chico’s cheeky memorial doesn’t get the message across to Taylor Swift and the New York trolling tourism board, another LES legend, Clayton Patterson, has come up with a video response to her appointment as the city’s Global Welcome Ambassador. Above, check out Taylor celebrating Patterson’s footage from the ’88 Tompkins Square Park riot, GG Allin’s last show, and drag and hardcore shows at places like The Pyramid (which recently experienced a corporate co-opting of this own). Patterson emailed it to us along with the thoughts below.
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The Story of Kim’s Video & Music, Told By Its Clerks and Customers

(Derek Wang for New York magazine)

(Derek Wang for New York magazine)

When the last remaining location of Kim’s Video & Music announced it was closing for good, most agreed it was just another nail in the coffin, the latest reminder of what the Times called “a downtown culture now largely lost.”
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Looking Back at the First Tompkins Riot Reunion, on the Eve of the 26th

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 11.49.21 AMIt’s going to be a throwback weekend off of Tompkins Square Park. Not only is Clayton Patterson holding court Friday at Pyramid Club, but on Saturday and Sunday, the annual concerts commemorating the Tompkins Square Park Riot — which he so famously documented — return to the park.

In addition to performances by hippie holdover David “The Pope Smokes Dope” Peel and the usual array of hardcore/punk bands with names like Nihilistics and Transgendered Jesus (no Porno Dracula this year?), parkgoers will be treated to a free installment of The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, courtesy of the East Village’s own Kembra Pfahler. 
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Clayton Patterson Will Be at the Pyramid, Not in the Alps

Back when The Times triggered laments of “RIP LES” by reporting that Clayton Patterson was leaving the neighborhood for the Austrian Alps, we knew we wouldn’t be seeing the last of the legendary documentarian — and he told us as much. So it’s no surprise to hear that Patterson is teaming up with DAMEHT — the band that put on his farewell exhibit, “The $16 Dollar Burger Show” — for a show at Pyramid Club this Friday.
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Clayton Patterson Had a Farewell Show: Is It Really Goodbye For the LES Legend?

Word that Clayton Patterson was leaving the Lower East Side for Austria really rattled those who considered him the neighborhood’s “last bohemian,” as the Times headline dubbed him. Could the man who documented the Tompkins Square Park riots and the underground scenes of the ’80s and ’90s East Village, founded a gallery of “outlaw art,” and edited epic histories of LES radicalism, filmmaking and Jewish culture really be leaving the hood whose denizens he’s photographed religiously? We, for one, had to find out.
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Read Jill Freedman’s Epic Rant About Photography and the ‘Mechanized Mindlessness’ of Today’s NYC

We only crop square and we ONLY use the Earlybird filter. (Left to right: Dunn, Freedman and Patterson)

We only crop square and we ONLY use the Earlybird filter. (Left to right: Dunn, Freedman and Patterson)

It’s tough to out-talk Clayton Patterson, the Bloomberg-bashing photographer with the Santa beard who’s basically the Mayor of the LES. But Jill Freedman managed to do just that following a screening of Everybody Street last night at the Apple Store. The acclaimed photographer, whose black-and-white shots of cops, firemen, and street denizens (many of them from the ’70s and ’80s) appear in Cheryl Dunn‘s excellent new documentary about NYC street shooters, joined Patterson and Dunn in a panel discussion, and immediately stole the show by bitching about the bright stage lighting: “Does Apple sell sunglasses?” she winced.
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Catch a Free Screening of This New Doc About NYC Street Photographers

If you missed Cheryl Dunn’s new documentary about New York City street photography when it played at Nitehawk last month, don’t worry: you can catch Everybody Street at the Apple Store in Soho for free. After the screening, Sunday at 7 p.m., there’ll be a q&a with Dunn and two of the 13 fellow photographers who are featured in the film: Lower East Side documentarian Clayton Patterson and Jill Freedman, best known for her black-and-white photos of gritty ’70s and ’80s NYC.

Reserve a spot here. Or if you can’t make it, rent or buy the film on Vimeo.