Arts + Culture

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‘He Treads Kind of Softly’: Two Musicians Remember Working With Lou Reed

Genya Ravan with Lou Reed at Bottom Line. (Photo: Chuck Pulin)

Genya Ravan with Lou Reed at Bottom Line. (Photo: Chuck Pulin)

The leather jacket and moody persona were only a part of the puzzle that was Lou Reed. Musicians like Steve Katz of Blood Sweat & Tears and Genya Ravan of Ten Wheel Drive remember him as a friend with a wicked sense of humor and a gracious heart. Katz was the producer of Reed’s live album Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal and the rocker’s highest-charting LP, Sally Can’t Dance. Reed rarely performed on other artists’ albums, but he agreed to join Genya Ravan on “Aye Co’lorado”; Reed would later invite Ravan to sing on his “Street Hassle.

Bedford + Bowery today asked Katz and Ravan to share their memories of Lou Reed.
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New Yorkers Remember Their Random Encounters With Lou

(Photo from June of 2011: Scott Lynch)

The stories of Lou Reed’s encounters with the Bowies and Bangses of the world are the stuff of legend, but more than anything, his passing yesterday made clear just how many everyday New Yorkers treasured their random, often wordless encounters with him at East Village restaurants, movie theaters, and on the street (yep, despite his 1980s Honda scooter commercial, he often did settle for walking).
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The Day Lou Reed Went Back to the East Village

Velvet Underground lyrics posted on the window of the Bedford Cheese Shop yesterday: "No kinds of love are better than others."

Velvet Underground lyrics posted on the window of the Bedford Cheese Shop yesterday: “No kinds of love are better than others.”

When he was in his twenties, Colin Summers was a computer consultant whose clients Penn & Teller introduced him to other notable New Yorkers, like Lou Reed. Summers, now an architect living in Santa Monica, shares a story about strolling through the East Village with the late musician. 

In the early nineties I returned to New York City to live with my girlfriend, which turned out to be a mistake. One of the highlights of those years of torture was the time I spent with Lou Reed. He was going through a divorce and had a LOT of time to spend with his computer hacker (me). We had many dinners and lunches and it was only at the first one that my hands shook because I was having a burger with an artist who had helped me get through the hell of architecture school. He was such a hero to me.
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Here’s a Preppy Lou Reed Rocking Out With His College Band

yearbookIn the wake of Lou Reed’s death yesterday, Laurie Gwen Shapiro, a Syracuse alum, dug up this amazing photo from the university’s 1964 yearbook. “Lou Reed was a student of Delmore Schwartz,” she told us. “Also friends with cheerleader Betsey Johnson (look at her here!) who went on to become the fashion designer and was briefly married to John Cale.”
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Watch ‘Here’s the Kicker!’ with Dave Hill, Greg Barris and More

Tonight at the Newsroom, Natalie Shure is hosting Here’s the Kicker!, a night of comedy with Dave Hill, Greg Barris, Matteo Lane, Sara Armour, and Neal Stastny. The yucks start at 7:30 p.m.; you can read more about the comics here and watch them live above. Update: The event has passed but you can watch an archived recording above.

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Monday, Join Our Conversation With the Editors of Vice

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Last week, Ad Age named Vice its Publishing Company of the Year and neatly summarized the bohemian behemoth’s acid-laced ascent: “What had started in Canada as Voice of Montreal in 1994 has now morphed into a Brooklyn-based multimedia empire that can land a deal with HBO — for ‘Vice,’ the Emmy-nominated documentary ‘news magazine’ series that was renewed this summer for a second season — while also playing with the magazine-world big boys (Vice was a 2012 National Magazine Award finalist in the General Excellence category).”

Monday at the Newsroom, top editors Jason Mojica (editor-in-chief of Vice News) and Rocco Castoro (editor-in-chief of Vice Media) will stroll over from their Williamsburg headquarters to tell us how, exactly, the skate-brat rag you used to pick up at Beacon’s Closet rose to such prominence that 21st Century Fox recently bought a 5 percent stake for $70 million. (That’s right, Murdoch is IN.)

Incidentally, we’re told the company has no plans as of yet to expand next-door into the Beacon’s space, as was widely reported — but it’s expanding just about everywhere else: the magazine boasts 25 editions covering 30 countries and a global circulation of over 1 million, the record label has over 50 artists, the publishing arm has put out a dozen books, and nearly 3.5 million subscribers watch YouTube shows like “Fresh Off the Boat with Eddie Huang,” in which the East Village chef bounces from Mongolia to Detroit.

Meanwhile, Vice.com continues to probe everything from sex on the Lower East Side (by B+B contributor Taji Ameen) to Obama’s drone strikes, via long-form video and gonzo reporting that — for better or worse, depending on where you stand — delivers a Fightland-style kick to the face of conventional journalism.

Join us Monday at 7 p.m., at 155 Grand Street, off of Bedford Avenue, as we explore Vice’s evolution from the fringes to the front lines. The event is free but seating is limited; let us know you’re coming.

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Sunday: Here’s the Kicker! A Night of Free Comedy With Dave Hill, Greg Barris + More

comiti8Join us at the Newsroom tomorrow, Sunday, as Natalie Shure – the creme da la Greenpoint comedy creme – hosts a night of stand-up. It’s a family affair! Shure, a grad student at NYU Journalism, will welcome Dave Hill, a New York magazine contributor who you also know and love from This American Life and just about a zillion other things. Plus East Village comedian Greg Barris, last seen debriefing a psychedelics expert, will be back fo mo, fo sho. We’re hoping he recycles his Holy Mountain Halloween costume for the occasion (see below). It’s all FREE — just let us know you’re coming.

DAVE HILL is a contributor on This American Life and has appeared on Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, TLC and other networks. He is the writer of the book Tasteful Nudes, and his writing has appeared in NY Times, GQ, Salon, Vice, McSweeney’s, and others.

Screenshot_2013-10-26-02-32-55GREG BARRIS is a staple in New York’s downtown stand-up scene and is the creator of Heart Of Darkness: a psychedelic showcase of comedy, live music and fringe scientists that has been a frequent Time Out New York critic’s pick, much loved by BrooklynVegan and hailed as ‘excellent’ by The New Yorker. Paper describes him as “the perfect combination of very good looking, hilarious and super-weird.” The next Heart of Darkness is Dec. 5 at the Bell House.

MATTEO LANE has performed on Keith and the Girl, Sirius XM, and the TBS Just for Laughs Fest in Chicago. He’ll be in the NY Comedy Festival and is headlining at Caroline’s Nov. 19

SARA ARMOUR is a recent NYC transplant from DC, who has performed in clubs and festivals nationwide.

NEAL STASTNY is a writer for MTV. He has performed at Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Brooklyn Comedy Festival and will be at the Hell Yes Fest in New Orleans.

NATALIE SHURE is a comedian, journalist and grad student at NYU. She has performed at Cape Fear Comedy Festival and has written for several publications.

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Here’s Why This Guy Was Giving Free Haircuts On Bedford Avenue the Other Day

On a recent Thursday, Steven Chu and Parker McComb were posted on Bedford Avenue with a white folding chair, scissors, buzzers, and a sign offering “free haircuts for art.” Chu — who learned how to cut hair in 2008, by watching YouTube videos — was offering up his services to promote a new art project, called Hourships. “The premise is hour-long apprenticeships for youth, ages 5-18, interested in the arts,” the 28-year-old explained.
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Meowzers! There’s Going to Be a Cat Painting Takedown

1378803_629586530412143_503297906_nMatt Timms, organizer of legendary amateur-chef competitions, is hosting his third Painting Takedown. This time, instead of velvet paintings, talented artists — well, anyone with at least some confidence in their ability to wield a paint brush — are being challenged to smear canvases with their best interpretation of cats. It’s the next best thing to a cat cafe!

Don’t worry, if you “can’t paint cats” — the exact words of one tattoo artist whose unfortunate work will never see the light of day again, thanks to one SUPERB cover-up — you can still mow some spicy chili, alternate with swigs of ice-cold beer, and bid on paintings to support local animal shelters.
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Adam Green Thinks Virtual Reality Will Bridge the Manhattan/Brooklyn Divide

As you can probs guess from our name, Bedford + Bowery is all about uniting the neighborhoods on either side of the Williamsburg Bridge and the L line. But East Village musician and artist Adam Green has another idea. Earlier this month, we spoke to him at the Newsroom after a screening of How to Act Bad, a documentary that follows the singer-songwriter over the course of two years of touring Europe, getting cozy with the Shining Twins and dabbling in ketamine and DMT. Green told us, “I tried this virtual reality helmet the other day. Have you ever tried this? Oculus? I feel like it’s going to bridge the divide between these two neighborhoods.” According to Green, we could all be chilling in a French chateau instead of wondering whether life is better on the other side of the bridge. “When they took the helmet off of my head, I didn’t want to go back,” he said.

Watch the rest of the discussion between Green and the documentary’s director, Dima Dubson, above.