Vinyl, the Scorsese-Jagger production we’ve been looking forward to with bated coke-breath ever since it filmed in the East Village, finally hit HBO last night with an epic two-hour episode, and the critical reaction has been pretty much love it or hate it. Even if you’re with the East Village’s own Richard Hell in the latter camp, you’re probably going to watch at least another episode or two, just to bask/wallow in the ambience of the early-’70s New York City music scene. So here are some fun facts about the show that we’ve culled from around the net, and from our own archives.
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Kembra Pfahler’s archive was recently acquired by NYU, but that doesn’t mean the East Village firebrand is gathering dust in the halls of history. Tonight, the performance artist, future feminist, and frontwoman of shock-jock outfit The Vulptuous Horror of Karen Black will launch a weekly party at Jesse Malin’s subterranean hotspot, Berlin.
While Jesse Malin expands his portfolio by opening Berlin underneath 2A, another East Village proprietor, Darin Rubell, is making moves a couple of blocks away. This Wednesday, Rubell (owner of Boulton & Watt and, more recently, Forrest Point) will replace his old spot, Ella, with Drexler’s, a cocktail bar serving meats, cheeses and spreads.
Jesse Malin talks about the East Village like a wayward old friend, something he’s definitely earned having seen the neighborhood shift and transform since the early ’80s when, as a 12-year-old kid, he fronted a hardcore band called Heart Attack. And you better believe what was maybe, probably the youngest band playing shows in the city at the time recorded a song titled “Toxic Lullaby.” Malin grew up in Queens, but would steal away from the burbs whenever he could to hang out at CBGB and other Lower East Side haunts. Though he tours regularly, and like most city veterans, laments the sterilization of his former haunts and the neighborhood as a whole, he still very much identifies downtown as home.
Avenue A seems more like Bourbon Street some nights, but this Thursday a hardcore show with several reunited New York bands will evoke the spirit of a grittier time. Once the location of the A7 club, where bands like Agnostic Front and Bad Brains played, Niagara will host a record release show for a band that hasn’t played in 30 years: The High and The Mighty.
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Even with a longtime CBGBs bartender and one of the founders of Brownies behind it, Dream Baby caught some scorn from old-school East Villagers when it took over the space that belonged to beloved Lakeside Lounge for over 15 years. (Knee-jerk scorn from old-school East Villagers? It’s been known to happen.) A year later, it looks like the hatchet has been buried, because the bar is all thanks-for-the-love as it celebrates its anniversary. “We are humbled and proud to have so many great friends, neighbors, and customers,” it wrote on Facebook.
To show some love back, they’re doing an open bar from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight, so can you keep the free booze rolling after beers at that .
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