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Jazz Loft Project

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jazz loft.jpgHave you been listening to the Jazz Loft Project radio series airing this week on WNYC? If not, it's not too late to catch up. Episode Three's coming this afternoon. The whole thing is highly recommended.

Here's an overview from the station's site:

"Photographer W. Eugene Smith moved into a loft at 821 Sixth Avenue, in the heart of New York's Flower District, in 1957. The place had already become a hangout for artists, writers and especially jazz musicians, who rehearsed and jammed there. Among the visitors to the loft: Thelonious Monk, Zoot Sims, Bill Evans, Steve Swallow, Mose Allison, Bob Brookmeyer and hundreds more, over a period of about 8 years." (Read more here.)
Smith eventually recorded over 4,000 hours of life in the Jazz loft, from jam sessions to conversations to what happened to be playing on the radio or television. The tapes are an audio supplement to the 40,000 photos he took during the same period -- or vice versa: maybe the photos supplement the audio tapes.

Either way, the series makes for a fascinating slice of New York's arts scenes in the late 50s and early 60s. Sam Stephenson of Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies discovered the tapes in an Arizona archive in the late 90s. No one had listened to them in the 20 years they'd been housed there. In addition to producing this radio series with WNYC's Sara Fishko, Stephenson's also written a book that's due out next week, and the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts will host an exhibition of Smith's photography.

Start listening here. Much more, including a blog, at the project's home page.

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A while back I wrote here that, like the American Songbook guru Jonathan Schwartz, I feel pretty confident saying that my musical unconscious was more shaped by Richard Rodgers than any other composer or musician. The Sound of Music alone probably sealed that deal, but Oklahoma!, Carousel, and South Pacific are right up there as well, especially the latter two, for which I played in the orchestra for high school or community productions.

The other contender for the title, though, would be Sesame Street's Joe Raposo. Over the last week or so I've been floored to realize how many of my favorite Sesame Street sketches feature his songs. Not all of my favorites below are Raposo songs, but enough are that I'm giving the guy a big fat shout out. I think my early encounter with his music for Sesame Street (and for The Muppet Show, too) primed my brain for a certain strain of rock and roll that stretches from David Bowie to Destroyer, what I lovingly refer to as Muppet Rock. (More often than not bands with animal names fall in this category.) One of my grand unfinished schemes is to curate a Muppet indie rock opera, starring Gonzo, for WFMU's listener hour.

But enough of that. For your Monday afternoon music needs, here's a playlist of my fifteen (well, sixteen) favorite songs from Sesame Street, the ones so deeply burned into my brain there's no hope of ever shaking them. Most are from 1969-74; I may have picked up some later ones from a 25th anniversary VHS collection I watched with my daughters a decade ago.

In descending order:

15. Grover and Madeline Khan sing "Sing After Me (The Echo Song)," after she rebuffs Grover's advances. This is a Sam Pottle tune, first aired in 1977:
 


14. The Count, "Doing the Batty Bat." I remember this song a little better than the other famous song by the Count, and unfortunately this one doesn't have such a brilliant parody to go along with it. (Please click that link. You will not regret it.)

Raposo wrote this song in 1985:



13. "Would You Like to Buy an O?" This shady character reminds me of my friend Scotty G out in the LBC. Raposo wrote this; first aired in 1971:
 


12. "What's the Name of That Song?" Another Sam Pottle tune (1974):
 


11. Bert and Ernie sing "I Dance Myself to Sleep." This is from '81, which means I probably watched it with younger siblings. I know I watched this with my daughters when they were little but I'm pretty sure I knew it in the 80s too. Classic Bert and Ernie, this one written by Christopher Cerf:
 


10. "Mah-Na Mah-Na." I don't actually remember this version (1969), but it was later a staple on the Muppet Show with different characters. According to Muppet Wiki, it was "written by composer Piero Umiliani for an Italian documentary about life in Sweden, titled Svezia, Inferno e Paradiso (Sweden, Heaven and Hell)." This was Henson's first pass at it:
 


9. "Martian Beauty" (1972) was designed to teach the number 9, so I'll let it clock in here. Written, sung, and animated by Bud Luckey, who would go on to work for Pixar. Lyrics by Don Hadley:
 


8. Ernie sings "Rubber Duckie." I don't know if I love or hate this song. When I was a kid we had a Sesame Street songbook for the piano, so I also grew up playing and singing this and a few of the others on my list. Written by Jeff Moss, performed by Jim Henson. I was in my mother's womb when this first aired:



7. "The Alligator King" (1971). Another Bud Luckey song and cartoon w/ Don Hadley lyrics. I'm putting it, appropriately, at number 7, but this was one of my favorite sketches of all as a kid. Still is:



6. "C Is for Cookie" (1971), by Joe Raposo. My best friend had this on a Sesame Street LP. His older brother called us babies for listening to is and then put "Love Is Like Oxygen" on the record player. At least that's how I remember it. The brother also had one of those big Farrah posters but his mom made him cut it off at the waist.



5. "Sing" (1970). Another one that's as old as I am. Raposo wrote it. It's been performed any number of ways. I liked the Carpenters' version when I was a kid. I remember a filmstrip at church when I was a kid that held this up as the "right" kind of music. This version, the bilingual one, is from '71. Luis was always trying to squeeze Spanish in there.



4. Bert and Ernie, "The Imagination Song" (1972), by Joe Raposo. I love how Bert wakes up:
 


3. Oscar sings "I Love Trash" (1969). This was my favorite to play on the piano, and I loved the lyrics, too. They gave me license never to throw anything away. Here's the original version from the first season, when Oscar was still orange:



2. (tie) Two songs about 12: "The Pinball Number Count" and "Ladybug Picnic." I couldn't dispense with these all the way back at #12, though. These rank so high simply because once you hear them you can't shake them for days. Probably the most memorable of all those animated sketches. The first one's by the Pointer Sisters. Written in '72 but debuted on SS, apparently, in '76:



And the other is another Bud Luckey/Don Hadley number (1971):
 


1. And, finally, Kermit singing "Bein' Green," also from the year I was born, and perhaps Raposo's best song. They were lefties at Sesame Street in the early days, those wacky kids.
 


You have seen the version Big Bird sang at Jim Henson's memorial, haven't you?

What would be on your Best Of list?
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Monday morning music

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Over the weekend my copy of Tim Lawrence's Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Scene, 1973-1992 arrived. I had been otherwise engaged during the conference/book launch a couple weeks ago, much to my disappointment.

Thumbnail image for ARbio.jpgI started reading last night and had to force myself to stop and go to sleep at a reasonable hour. It's hard to put down: a rich and personal narrative, much like Matt Wolf's documentary about Russell, and also a rich tapestry of music history. The opening sections on Iowa and California set the stage for everything to follow by offering insight into a web of musical influences that swirled about Arthur during his formative years. The rest of the book promises to be a wide-ranging history of the many downtown scenes Russell stitched together in his work and via his influence, from his first recording sessions in New York (backing Ginsberg with Bob Dylan) to the underground disco scene to his time as curator at the Kitchen to his short-lived stint playing cello with Talking Heads. This is the material I wish had been more fully represented in Wolf's Wild Combination, and I'm glad now to have Lawrence's book now as an extensive and indispensable companion piece. Plus it's the best guide I've yet encountered to the full range of downtown music in the 70s, something I'm thinking a lot about as I gear up to write about Television's Marquee Moon.

foursongs.jpgThe book blurb by Swedish lush-popster Jens Lekman made me finally sit down at the computer and buy the EP Four Songs by Arthur Russell, curated by Lekman a few years back. I'm sorry I took so long to get around to it. The four songs are uniformly great renditions that showcase Russell's ability as a song-writer. Lekman and Joel Gibb (the frontman for the Canadian indie-pop ensemble Hidden Cameras) come closest to mimicking Russell's own tone and vocal style; Vera November (formerly of Electrelane, one of my favorite bands of the 2000s) and Taken by Trees (Victoria Bergsman, formerly of the Concretes) put more original stamps on their arrangements, but all the tracks are equally beautiful.

Here are two takes on Lekman's contribution. The first, directed by la Blogothèque, was named one of 2007's best videos by Pitchfork, though I missed it at the time. The setting for the video reminds me of paintings by the young Brooklyn artist Ryan Mrozowski, whose work I hope to own before it's completely out of my price range. The video is as disarmingly simple as Lekman's arrangement for African thumb piano:



The other video for Lekman's take on this song is, I think, even more intimate, thanks to repeated close-ups. And you get a better sense of the how the instrument works:



Here's the Arthur Russell original (via an unofficial fan video). His ghostly cello playing somehow makes the song a little sadder, more ethereal, even though it has a faster tempo than Lekman's cover:



If you're like me and you can't get enough of Arthur Russell -- and I seriously can't! -- you'll rejoice to learn that Chris Taylor, the multi-talented Grizzly Bear member (aren't they all?) who oversaw production on last year's phenomenal Russell compilation Love Is Overtaking Me, has just released another long-lost Russell track, "Come to Life," as part of a split single with his side project, CANT. You can find the Russell song here; the CANT track here. Or you could be a good doobie and order the 7" directly from Taylor's Terrible Records.

come to life.jpg

"Come to Life" seems an especially apt song title for this particular moment in the ongoing Arthur Russell revival. More life! And more life for Russell's extraordinary music. That's what we want.

Previously.




KISS ME AGAIN: THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF ARTHUR RUSSELL

Saturday, Oct. 10

NYU Tisch Performance Studies, 721 Broadway (at Waverly Pl.), Suite 612, NYC


9:30 - Coffee

ARbio.jpg10:00a-10:30 Keynote - Tim Lawrence, author of Hold on To Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene

10:30-11:30 Panel 1: Musical Variations

Chair: Sukhdev Sandhu
Peter Zummo: "Pop and the Multi-Pentatonic, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Whole Steps and Minor Thirds"
Elodie Lauten: "Lesser-known Relationships: In the Singing Tractors Nexus, a Sense of Freedom and Exploration"
Ryan Dohoney: "The Experimental Assemblages of Arthur Russell and Julius Eastman"

11:45-1:15 Panel 2: Arthur Russell: Recording and Legacy

Chair: Peter Gordon
With Mustafa Ahmed, Bob Blank, Joyce Bowden, Gary Lucas, Bill Ruyle, Peter Zummo.

2:00-3:15 Panel 3: Arthur Russell and the World

Chair: Simon Reynolds
Joyce Bowden: "Impermanence and Non-Duality: Buddhist influence in the music of Arthur Russell"
James Thomas: "I'm Sorry, But This Is How I Learn" (Theme: repetition and language in Russell's collaborations)
Ernie Brooks: "Arthur Russell: Creativity and the Business of Music, Resolving a Pursuit of the Ineffable with the Need for Recognition in Worldly Terms"
Daniel Portland: "I Touched You on the Arm: Cruising as Epistemology in the Life and Work of Arthur Russell

3:30-5:00 Wild Combination screening and Q&A with Matt Wolf

5:00-6:30 Panel 4: Remembering Arthur Russell

Chair: Steve Knutson
With Alan Abrams, Ernie Brooks, Peter Gordon, Steven Hall, Elodie Lauten, Tom Lee

6:30-6:45 Wrap-up ¾ Sukhdev Sandhu


EVENING EVENTS

7:00-9:00 Solo and duo performances of Arthur Russell music plus book launch


Reception & book launch at Housing Works Café, 126 Crosby Street, NYC, with performances by Mira Billotte, Alex Waterman, Nick Hallett, Rachel Henry, Peter Gordon, Peter Zummo, Joyce Bowden, Steven Hall and others. Tim Lawrence will read from his new biography of Arthur Russell, Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene. $10 admission to benefit Housing Works, a nonprofit AIDS-service organization.

10:00-late Dance party with Arthur's Landing at Public Assembly

Play It Loud presents Arthur's Landing (with Jerry Harrison) at Public Assembly at 70 North 6th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Live dance music! $10 admission to benefit Gods Love We Deliver.

BIOGRAPHIES


Alan J. Abrams is an independent producer, director, and writer with film credits including The Rook, Paradise Falls, Charles Bukowski's, 900 Pounds, and Larry Brown's Leaving Town. During more than 20 years in the industry has also produced Tibet, A Culture In Exile with Richard Gere and Professor Robert Thurman. His editorial credits include Academy Award nominees Never Cry Wolf, Blue Velvet, and The Mosquito Coast.

Mustafa Ahmed is a multi-faceted percussionist. Since the 1980's he has performed in concert throughout the United States and Europe with an eclectic group of composers, vocalists, musicians and dancers. He currently performs and records with the critically acclaimed gospel choir Total Praise, the jazz group The Phibes and Arthur's Landing. www.myspace.com/drumsongcollaborations www.myspace.com/thisisthephibes

Bob Blank has been part of the New York music scene since 1973, and from 1976 till 1987 owned and operated Blank Tapes Recording Studios, where he produced or engineered 19 gold records for artists as diverse as Sting and Instant Funk. Bob's music production company, Blank Productions, makes music for TV and film, and has provided music for shows as diverse as American Idol and Dance Your Ass Off. Bob also dances, and he and his partner Martha Estevez have been US Over 45 Latin Champions twice. He was also a principal dancer in the Nicole Kidman film The Stepford Wives.

Joyce Bowden feels lucky to have known Arthur and to have worked with him in the 1980's. Arthur was an unflinching mentor and wonderful friend. Working at Circle Sound in Raleigh, NC, turns out to be to be one aspect of a continuous connection. Recent musical involvement includes Arthur's Landing as well as the Goodnight Graces and Recent Memory (both on Moon Caravan Records). www.mooncaravan.com www.myspace.com/goodnightgraces www.myspace.com/recentmemory

Ernie Brooks is a bass player and songwriter. A member of Boston band Modern Lovers, he met Arthur Russell at one the group's last concerts in spring of 1974. Ernie collaborated with Arthur in various projects, including bands Flying Hearts and Necessaries. He currently plays in ensembles with Gary Lucas, Peter Zummo, and Rhys Chatham, and performs as much of Arthur's work as possible in the band/collective Arthur's Landing.

Ryan Dohoney is a music historian specializing in American music and culture since 1945. He received his PhD in musicology from Columbia University in 2009. He is currently at work two book projects; a critical history of the life and music of Morton Feldman and a study of the downtown music scene glimpsed through the work Julius Eastman and his collaborators.

Peter Gordon is a composer, musician and producer known for the Love of Life Orchestra (which featured Russell in the original lineup) as well as for music for performance and media. Gordon met Arthur Russell in 1975 and they developed a friendship through shared musical interests. Gordon's performances and recordings with Russell include Instrumentals, "Clean on Your Bean", "Tell You Today", "Kiss Me Again", and the legendary John Hammond sessions. Gordon and Russell co-wrote the LOLO track "That Hat". Gordon is Associate Professor of Music at Bloomfield College. www.petergordon.com www.myspace.com/pglolo

Steven Hall was born in Scotland in 1957 and wore a kilt and played the bagpipes when he was a boy--he moved the the US at age 15--went to NYC where he met Allen Ginsberg and Arthur Russell at age 18--the rest is a blur... www.myspace.com/arthurslanding www.myspace.com/recentmemory

Nick Hallett is a New York-based composer, singer, and curator working across a broad range of disciplines and genres. His music has seen recent performances at Joe's Pub, New Museum of Contemporary Art, The Stone, and ISSUE Project Room. He is composing the music for a theater collaboration with the artist Shana Moulton, playing at The Kitchen in April 2010.

Steve Knutson is the founder of Audika Records. A longtime admirer of Arthur Russell's work, and a music veteran of over 25 years, Steve Knutson, through his collaboration with Tom Lee has worked to bring the wide breadth of Arthur's musical imagination back to those that remember him, and introduce his music to a new audience.

Elodie Lauten, daughter of jazz composer Errol Parker, was born and educated in Paris. Moving to New York City, she graduated from NYU with a Master's in composition. She developed into a full-fledged composer with Lincoln Center credits, chamber and symphonic commissions, several operas, and 29 releases on more than 15 major and independent labels. She is on the faculty at the New York City College of Technology.

Tim Lawrence is the author of Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-92, new out from Duke. His first book, Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-79, was also published by Duke. He runs the Music Culture: Theory and Practice degree at the University of East London and is a member of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research. www.timlawrence.info www.uel.ac.uk/ccsr/

Tom Lee is an elementary school teacher. He met Arthur Russell in the summer of 1978 and lives in the East Village, NYC apartment that he shared with Arthur since 1980. He is honored to be a participant in the enduring appreciation of Arthur's musical legacy through the film, book, and articles and of course the songs that serve to remind him of a very special time in their lives together.

Gary Lucas is a guitarist, Grammy-nominated songwriter, composer and recording artist with over 20 acclaimed solo albums to date. He has been called "The Thinking Man's Guitar Hero" (The New Yorker), and tours the world relentlessly both solo and with a variety of ensembles including his longtime band Gods and Monsters. He is responsible for bringing Arthur Russell to the attention of both Rough Trade Records and Upside Records and getting him signed to both labels. www.garylucas.com

Daniel Portland is a conceptual artist and writer. He holds a master's
degree in arts politics from NYU and his research interests include queer time and space. http://www.ohrenoir.blogspot.com

London-born but New York-based, Simon Reynolds is a freelance journalist and author. His books include Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-84, Energy Flash: A Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture, Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews and Overviews, and Bring the Noise: 20 Years of Writing About Hip Rock and Hip Hop. He operates a number of blogs clustered around http://blissout.blogspot.com/

Bill Ruyle has been a percussionist/composer/collaborator for new music, dance, and theater in NYC and abroad since 1974. He has performed with the ensembles of Peter Zummo, Jon Gibson, Peter Gordon, Bill Obrecht, Scott Johnson, Phillip Johnston, "Blue" Gene Tyranny, Bob Een, Naaz Hosseini, The Feetwarmers, The Manhattan Marimba Quartet, Last Forever with Dick Connette, Newband, Counter)induction, Arthur's Landing, Compton Maddux and the Dirt Simple Band, and The Hudson Valley Philharmonic. He first met Arthur Russell while studying at the Manhattan School of Music.

Sukhdev Sandhu is the author of London Calling: How Black and Asian Writers Imagined A City (2003) and I'll Get My Coat (2005). His latest book, Night Haunts: A Journey Through The London Night (2007), has been developed as a series of site-specific performances and soundworks in collaboration with Scanner. He is the Chief Film Critic for the London Daily Telegraph, and Director of Asian/Pacific/American Studies at NYU.

James Merle Thomas is a San Francisco-based curator, writer, and researcher. He is currently completing his PhD in contemporary aesthetics and politics at Stanford University. His most recent curatorial project, "I'm Sorry, But This is How I Learn" explores the relationships between repetition and pedagogy in art and performance, and is touring Europe and the United States throughout 2009-2010 (Kunstverein, Munich; Artist's Space, New York City).

Matt Wolf is a filmmaker in New York. His documentary Wild Combination about Arthur Russell was released theatrically and on DVD by Plexifilm and is currently airing on the Sundance Channel. He is finishing a documentary in collaboration with New York City Ballet Dancers about the landmark 1958 ballet Opus Jazz by Jerome Robbins for PBS Great Performances.

Peter Zummo is a musician focusing on the trombone, a composer of works and processes for interactive ensemble, and a band-leader, engineer, and producer. His work is informed by four decades of performing for other composers and band-leaders. He also collaborates with artists in theatre, dance, poetry, film and television.

The conference organizers Peter Gordon (Bloomfield College), Tim Lawrence (University of East London), and Sukhdev Sandhu (New York University) would like to thank Toriono Gandy (technical director) and Kit Fitzgerald (video documentation) for their help. They would also like to acknowledge the English Department at NYU, Bloomfield College, the Centre for Cultural Studies Research at the University of London, the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music at NYU, the Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies at NYU, the Colloquium for Unpopular Culture at NYU, and the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis for their help in sponsorship and space to support the conference. Thanks also go to the New Media Department at Concordia College, New York, as well as the Creative Arts and Technology Division at Bloomfield College for additional assistance. This brochure has been printed by Categrafica at Bloomfield College.


More Lost Downtown

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UPDATED WITH CORRECTED TIMES

We want to take special notice this week of a rapidly approaching conference co-organized by our colleague Sukhdev Sandhu, also to be held at NYU: Kiss Me Again: The Life and Legacy of Arthur Russell. The conference will take place primarily at 721 Broadway, Ste. 612 -- Tisch Performance Studies -- with other events happening at Housing Works Cafe, Public Assembly, and Bar 169.



Russell lived and worked in New York from the early 1970s to his AIDS-related death in 1992. He was instrumental to a range of music scenes downtown, from his work as a curator at the Kitchen, to his recording of underground dance music under the names Loose Joints and Dinosaur L, to his performance with vocals and cello in the ghostly compositions known as the World of Echo. Although his work and influence was far-reaching, only recently has he begun to receive widespread public recognition, including the release of many long-lost songs and new interest in his biography by Matt Wolf, Tim Lawrence, and others.

The daylong conference on Saturday, beginning at 10 am, will feature Mustapha Ahmed, Bob Blank, Joyce Bowden, Ernie Brooks, Peter Gordon, Steven Hall, Steve Knutson, Elodie Lauten, Tim Lawrence, Tom Lee, Gary Lucas, Simon Reynolds, Will Socolov, Peter Zummo & others, including a screening of the recent Arthur Russell documentary Wild Combination (filmmaker Matt Wolf will be on hand for Q&A). I can't praise this movie enough and really encourage anyone who hasn't yet been exposed to Russell to take advantage of this screening. (The movie's also readily available on DVD.) The prior evening (Friday) at 9 pm Steven Hall and Joyce Bowden will perform Arthur Russell songs at Bar 169.



Saturday evening, from 7 to 10, Housing Works Cafe will host more performances of Russell's music -- by Mira Billotte, Joyce Bowden, Peter Gordon, Steven Hall, Nick Hallett, Rachel Henry, Alex Waterman, Peter Zummo and others -- along with a booklaunch for Tim Lawrence's  Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-92, which will be officially released by Duke University Press next month. From 10 pm to 4 am, Public Assembly (70 N. 6th St. in Williamsburg) will host a dance party, with a $10 donation at the door to benefit the AIDS charity God's Love We Deliver.

If you can make it to the 4:05 mark in this song and not spend the rest of the day smiling, I'd suggest you've got some work to do. Then again, who among us doesn't?
 


Previously.


Get up and do your thing

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Speaking of Lost New York:



The Bowery Boys have one of their great Friday nightlife posts up this weekend. Don't miss it.



Via Grieve: Today in Tompkins Square (assuming the rain hold off, but maybe even then), a few local acts of some historical significance will take to the stage, including David Peel and the Lower East Side:

peel.jpg

Here's Peel and the group in early 1972 on the David Frost Show -- with special guests John and Yoko! "Merle Haggard has the Okie from Musckogee ... Our people have the hippie from New York City!"



Here's John on how he met David Peel in Washington Square Park:



For some reason the last post made me think of this:


Rodgers and Hart, 1939. The antithesis of this one, really, isn't it?


Chelsea Hotel No. 2

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The concept behind the extraordinarily rewarding The New York Nobody Sings, which I mentioned here a little while back, must be contagious: half the things I think about posting here lately seem to come in the TNYNS form of a YouTube clip with a little commentary.

Last week's Bowery Boys podcast on the Hotel Chelsea, for instance, made me think of one of my favorite of Leonard Cohen's New York songs, from the 1974 LP New Skin for the Old Ceremony. This clip comes from a 24-minute short film, I Am a Hotel (1983), co-written by Cohen and directed by Allan F. Nichols. It aired originally on a Toronto TV station, I believe, though this version seems to have subtitles in Dutch or some Scandinavian language I don't recognize:



In addition to the best oral sex reference in any pop song I know of, "Chelsea Hotel No 2" boasts those endlessly quotable self-deprecating music snob lines:

And clenching your fist for the ones like us
who are oppressed by the figures of beauty,
you fixed yourself, you said, "Well never mind,
we are ugly but we have the music."

I could link to other great LC NYC songs -- the awesomely epistolary "Famous Blue Raincoat," or the synth driver "First We Take Manhattan" -- but for now I'll just offer video of Conspiracy of Beards, the San Francisco-based all-male Leonard Cohen cover chorus, singing "Chelsea Hotel" on the PATH train from NJ to NY. I was lucky enough to catch them at Bowery Poetry Club a couple years ago. If you ever have the chance, don't miss it:
 


I'm one of those lady teachers,
A beautiful hostess you know,
The kind the Palace features
At exactly a dime a throw.



That's how Rodgers and Hart immortalized the Taxi Dance craze of the 20s and 30s. Taxi dances and other bits of detritus from New York's past will be the subject of tomorrow night's Tenement Talk at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. The featured speaker is David Freeland, whose book Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville was reviewed and excerpted in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. Grieve posted excerpts of the excerpt here. You can catch more of Freeland's New York stories at his blog, gothamlostandfound.com

The talk starts at 6:30 tomorrow night (8/11); RSVP from the museum's website.

 


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