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allen ginsberg

This ain't no mudd club... well actually....

Outside 77 White St.

Outside 77 White St.

The Mudd Club operated from 1978 to 1983 and was named after Samuel Alexander Mudd, the doctor who treated John Wilkes Booth after he shot Abe Lincoln.

It functioned as an antidote to the uptown glitz of Studio 54 and the laundry list of folks who performed or hung out there is a Who's Who of downtown cool.  

Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs performed there, as did bands like Talking Heads; Keith Haring curated a 4th floor gallery and regulars included Lou Reed, Jean-Michel Basquiat and his girlfriend Madonna, Anna Sui, John Lurie, Debbie Harry, Nico and so on.

Our strongest Mudd Club memory (many are fuzzy due to youth and whatever else was in our system) was the night before Halloween in 1979, when we should have been home doing geometry homework for Mr. Fisher's class. Instead, we were assigned by Fred W. McDarrah to go with camera to the party for the movie Quadrophenia and take some snapshots.

Much of the evening was spent with Stewart Copeland and his Police bandmate Sting, who played The Bellboy in the movie.  Sting was pissed that people weren't paying more attention to him as I recall. He was unable to fathom why Lydia Lunch or Betsey Johnson attracted a crowd but he was able to sit virtually unnoticed on a staircase with a dork high school kid as his only sycophant. Their Reggatta de Blanc album had just been released and they were hardly the global music superstars they were about to become.  

While the locale is not on any of the Save the Village tours, it is an important part of the downtown counterculture history.   

Artist Ross Bleckner bought 77 White Street in 1974, and sold it in 2004 to developer Mark Ravner of Blake Ryan Realty.  Ravner converted it into six luxury full floor condo residences which sell for up to $8 million each.

Artist Ross Bleckner bought 77 White Street in 1974, and sold it in 2004 to developer Mark Ravner of Blake Ryan Realty.  Ravner converted it into six luxury full floor condo residences which sell for up to $8 million each.

The Iceman Cameth... So others did too

Plaque in Golden Swan Park at corner of West 4th St. and Avenue of the Americas. It is the same West 4th St. that Bob Dylan sings about and lived on.

Plaque in Golden Swan Park at corner of West 4th St. and Avenue of the Americas. It is the same West 4th St. that Bob Dylan sings about and lived on.

Big reason folks like the Beats and Bob Dylan came to the Village was to follow in the achieving creative footsteps of folks like Eugene O'Neill.

As the plaque above says, the bar that was the inspiration for "The Iceman Cometh" and the off Broadway venue that hosted its premiere were both in Greenwich Village.

The Beats and Bob Dylan Walking Tour passes by this corner and many other important locations in the Village literary canon.

Special holiday tour added Saturday November 28th at 12 noon.  

The location of the former Hell Hole is now a park often used to host recycling efforts.

The location of the former Hell Hole is now a park often used to host recycling efforts.

Dylan and Beats tour announcement

Dylan Salutes, Christopher Park, Sheridan Square, January 22, 1965. Photo by Fred W. McDarrah.

Dylan Salutes, Christopher Park, Sheridan Square, January 22, 1965. Photo by Fred W. McDarrah.

This is the press release that went out the other day about the new tour:

Bob Dylan and the Beat Generation poets - Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Peter Orlovsky, Gregory Corso and the rest - all were products of a postwar culture that lauded Eisenhower and the Military-Industrial complex, Father Knows Best, the John Birch Society and the KKK.

  In song and in verse, Dylan and the Beats rebelled against that way of life and became touchstones of a new generation.

  Fred W. McDarrah, the longtime Village Voice photographer and picture editor, was right there with his camera as it happened.  


  The worlds of Dylan and the Beat poets overlapped in many ways. The Beats and Bob tour will visit the coffee houses, clubs, and other venues (some remaining, some not) where the Beats made literary history. And when Dylan met Ginsberg in Ted Wilentz's apartment above the 8th St. Bookshop in 1963, the two began a lifelong friendship. Dylan was well familiar with the Beat poets when he left Minnesota for Greenwich Village in 1961. The tour stops at the MacDougal Street club were Dylan first performed, the bars he frequented and often performed at, and some of his Village homes, hangouts and hideouts.

  Every ticket on every tour includes a keepsake postcard packet of iconic McDarrah images and the tours go to the same locations to see how they have changed,  how they are the same, and to hear the stories behind the famous photos.

  The Beats and Bob tour is the second in a series of four Greenwich Village Walking Tours based on the photographs of McDarrah, including the ongoing Save The Village tour, and two tours starting later this fall, the East Village tour and the Artist’s World tour.

  Tickets are $25 (Adult) and $15 (Students, seniors, individuals with a valid library card, or a membership in a Historic Preservation Society, Group or Association) and every ticket includes a keepsake postcard packet.

   All tours are available for private bookings; custom or combination tours can be arranged. For tour schedules, to make reservations and for more information, go to SaveTheVillageTours.com.


  MEETS AT CORNER OF MACDOUGAL ALLEY AND MACDOUGAL STREET


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   The original Save the Village tour now joins the New York Knicks, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and dozens of all you can eat sushi joints, on Groupon.

  https://www.groupon.com/deals/save-the-village-tours

Some neighbors

Plaque outside 82 Washington Place

Plaque outside 82 Washington Place

Willa Cather and Richard Wright both lived at 82 Washington Place.

John Philip Sousa lived next door at 80 Washington Place.

Diane Arbus was across the street at 71 Washington Place.

At 88 Washington Place was where "Ashcan" painter John French Sloan lived. This was also the location of the Fronton, a speakeasy from 1923-26 that was popular with New York Mayor Jimmy Walker and poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. Both lived within walking distance. Walker on St. Luke's Place and St. Vincent Millay on Bedford. Her middle names comes from the former hospital on West 11th St., where she was born. Fronton proprietors Jack Kriendler and Charlie Berns, moved uptown and founded the famed 21 Club. 

Just another single block on a quiet Village street, with a noisy history. 

Been musing with some local folks about a Bob Dylan plaque. The Beats and Bob Dylan walking tour passes a plaque for Poe, who Dylan and Ginsberg read, a plaque for the San Remo, where both drank, and 10 other spots significant in the Dylan canon (plus dozens of other plaques for everyone from baseball player Hank Greenberg to American Revolution figure Tom Paine).

As the tour shows, Dylan was all over the Village for a very long time. Still casts a long shadow.

Thomas Paine wrote "Common Sense" at 59 Grove St.

Thomas Paine wrote "Common Sense" at 59 Grove St.

Thomas Paine's old house at 59 Grove St.

Thomas Paine's old house at 59 Grove St.


82 Washington Place the other night.

82 Washington Place the other night.

Lousy photo of plaque outside 80 Washington Place, where John Philip Sousa lived back when Woodrow Wilson was president.  

Lousy photo of plaque outside 80 Washington Place, where John Philip Sousa lived back when Woodrow Wilson was president.  

Happy in the House

Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg, among others, pose for a group portrait by Fred W. McDarrah at a recording session, Record Plant studio, New York, November 13, 1971. Pictured are, from left, David Amram, Dylan, Happy Traum, Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky (kneeling, fore), Denise Mercedes, Allen Ginsberg, Sadi Kazi, John Sholle, Arthur Russell, and Ed Sanders.

Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg, among others, pose for a group portrait by Fred W. McDarrah at a recording session, Record Plant studio, New York, November 13, 1971. Pictured are, from left, David Amram, Dylan, Happy Traum, Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky (kneeling, fore), Denise Mercedes, Allen Ginsberg, Sadi Kazi, John Sholle, Arthur Russell, and Ed Sanders.

  The big Folk City show at the Museum of the City of New York has had a handful of concerts to go along with the fabulous exhibit (of lyrics, instruments, maps, recordings, albums, clothing, memorabilia and of course photos by Fred W. McDarrah).

  We ran into one of the above photographed musicians the other night at one of the MCNY concerts. Not Bob Dylan, but Happy Traum.

  Happy is most famously known as one half of Happy and Artie, a duo he began with his brother. They released three albums, Happy and Artie Traum (1970, Capitol), Double Back (1971, Capitol) and Hard Times In The Country (1975, Rounder). He is a folk legend, having first appeared on record at a historic session in 1962 when a group including Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger and Dylan gathered in the Folkways Records studio to record an album called Broadside Ballads, Vol. 1. With his group, The New World Singers, Traum cut the first recoded version of Blowin' in the Wind and sang a duet with Dylan, who performed under the pseudonym Blind Boy Grunt, on his anti-war Let Me Die in My Footsteps.

  On this night at MCNY the performers were The Chapin Sisters and Eric Andersen. The sisters are at best marginally talented and coast along on the memories fans have of the short but brilliant career of their uncle Harry, who died in an accident on the Long Island Expressway in 1981.   

Anderen was accompanied by Michele Gazich on violin and viola, Inge Andersen on harmonies, and Steve Addabbo on electric guitar

Anderen was accompanied by Michele Gazich on violin and viola, Inge Andersen on harmonies, and Steve Addabbo on electric guitar

  Anderson is a genuine talent who performed chestnuts such as Violets of Dawn and Come to My Bedside and the civil rights song Thirsty Boots. He has over the years played with most of the above photographed group and has released about 30 albums. He now lives in Europe where there is a more vibrant folk scene.   

  He spoke between songs about his experiences singing on MacDougal Street and at the Gaslight, one of the stops on the Save the Village: The Beats and Bob (Dylan) tour.  

Andersen came out to meet fans after the performance.

Andersen came out to meet fans after the performance.

Andersen signing autographs.

Andersen signing autographs.

SOME PRESS FOR NEW BEATS / DYLAN TOUR

Both Bob Dylan and his pal Allen Ginsberg would come, separately, to feel the vibe of Edgar Allen Poe. In its infinite wisdom, NYU tore the place down and left a plaque and a façade (below).  

Both Bob Dylan and his pal Allen Ginsberg would come, separately, to feel the vibe of Edgar Allen Poe. In its infinite wisdom, NYU tore the place down and left a plaque and a façade (below).  

The new tour The Beats and Bob (Dylan) kicked off the other day.

So far so good. The connections and relationships between Dylan and Ginsberg, Kerouac and friends are fascinating to explore. And so much took place in the South Village.

http://gvshp.org/blog/2015/11/10/the-historic-south-village-home-of-the-beats-and-bob-dylan/

Our friends at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation made mention.

The tour passes the pictured Edgar Allen Poe location. Dylan and Ginsberg would both make regular pilgrimages to the spot and meditate about Poe. Both men often referenced Poe in their work.

Dylan's 1965 song "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" for example makes reference to "Rue Morgue Avenue" which is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe published in Graham's Magazine in 1841. It has been recognized as the first modern detective story

In the Summer of 1939, when 13-year-old Allen graduated from grammar school he listed Poe as his favorite author.

In May 1944, he published in the Columbia Jester Review, "A Night in the Village with Edgar Allen Ginsberg" according to Ginsberg's Estate's web site.

And famously, from "Howl".... "who studied Plotinus Poe St John of the Cross telepathy and bop kabbalah because the universe instinctively vibrated at their feet."

"Everything leads to Poe,"\ Ginz once said. "You can trace all literary art to Poe's influence: Burroughs, Baudelaire, Genet, Dylan...It all leads back to Poe."  

Save the Village: Walking Tours of the Photographs of Fred W. McDarrah / The Beats and Bob leaves from the corner of MacDougal Street and MacDougal Alley every Tuesday at 2 pm, or privately by appointment.    

Where Poe never actually lived, but a reasonable copy thereof.

Where Poe never actually lived, but a reasonable copy thereof.




New Tour Starts Soon

A section of Washington Place next to Sheridan Square Park was renamed in honor of folk legend and Dylan pal Dave Van Ronk. His ex-wife lives near this sign and the Van Ronk name is still on the outside buzzer.

A section of Washington Place next to Sheridan Square Park was renamed in honor of folk legend and Dylan pal Dave Van Ronk. His ex-wife lives near this sign and the Van Ronk name is still on the outside buzzer.

The Beats and Bob(Dylan) Tour gets underway November 10.

We had mused about it earlier. And while we were preparing the Literary/Beats tour, and out doing the Save the Village walking tour, it became clear. Sadly, few people know, remember, had to read in school, or know much about Village literary legends like Willa Cather, Edith Wharton, John Dos Passos, ee cummings, Djuna Barnes, Henry James, William Styron, Theodore Dreiser, John Reed, etc.

But most people know of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. And of course everyone knows Bob Dylan. So we'll keep mentioning the vintage Village literary crew. Maybe it'll spark some interest.  And we'll focus on what the people know, and seem to want. 

Allen and Bob met in the Village, at a party above the old 8th St. Bookshop in 1963, and became lifelong friends. They were both products of the Eisenhower '50s, and rebelled against it in their own ways. The world of the Beats and the Folk Music scene that Dylan migrated to both were centered on the same Village street (MacDougal) and both socialized and performed at the same venues.

So a tour that tells their concurrent tales seemed like a smart way to move forward.

Hope you all agree! 

The original Save the Village Tour will continue, of course. And soon the Artists tour (more overlap with Allen and Bob. Was quite a different world back then) and the East Village tour will both kick off.