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Gay Pride Walking Tours! East Village Walking Tours!

Before you hit the beach go on a Save the Village tour!

Before you hit the beach go on a Save the Village tour!

  The weather is HOT. As are the 2017 series of Save the Village tours. 

  Here's a great story from Untapped Cities last week about the new Gay Pride tours for the month of June.

  Book one today. Or two. There are actually four different tours.

http://untappedcities.com/2017/06/05/gay-pride-in-nyc-through-the-lens-of-fred-mcdarrah/

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Anyone Remember Abbie Hoffman?

The '60s figure lived at 30 St. Mark's Place from 1967 to 1974. First in the basement, then apartment 4D.

The '60s figure lived at 30 St. Mark's Place from 1967 to 1974. First in the basement, then apartment 4D.

  Abbie Hoffman, the brilliant 1960s social activist, anarchist and media darling, died of a broken heart.

  He killed himself in 1989 after deciding his life's work of political activism was meaningless in the wake of Ronald Reagan and the nation's rightward shift.   

  His best years were spent on St. Mark's Place where he entertained John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Norman Mailer, Allen Ginsberg and countless others. Also, The Fillmore East was around the corner so any rock group that played there that was politically inclined also would stop in - such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, the MC5, etc.

  He was part of the famous Chicago 8, a founder of the Yippie party, he threw dollar bills onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to watch traders fight for the cash (afterwards the Stock Exchange spent $20,000 to enclose the gallery with bulletproof glass),  a fugitive who reinvented himself as upstate environmentalist Barry Freed, the author of "Steal This Book," and a true icon of the era. Fred W. McDarrah photographed his 1967 wedding in Central Park.  

  The FBI file on Hoffman was 13,262 pages long. Impressive.

  We need more like him, and his connection to St. Mark's Place is an important part of the street's political history.

  More discussion of Hoffman is on the various Save the Village tours.  

St. Marks is the Place

Adam Horovitz (R) and wife Kathleen Hanna at book party for new book chronicling history of St. Mark's Place

Adam Horovitz (R) and wife Kathleen Hanna at book party for new book chronicling history of St. Mark's Place

Cover of "St. Mark's Is Dead," by Ada Calhoun

Cover of "St. Mark's Is Dead," by Ada Calhoun

The East Village/Save the Village tour, starting this month, all of a sudden has a news peg. Hot new book is out this week about St. Mark's Place. Was excerpted in the New Yorker this week (with the requisite Fred W. McDarrah photo of St. Marks Place denizens in the 1960s http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-many-lives-of-st-marks-place). Author Ada Calhoun also had an OpEd piece in the Sunday Times. And she is on the cover of the Village Voice. And...

Of course the book has plenty of McDarrah photos. One that is on this web site - but not in the book - was featured by Calhoun at an event at Cooper Union's Great Hall Monday night. The photo is of Jerry Rubin waving a machine gun on St. Mark's Place.

Sad to say I doubt a lot of the people at tonight's event knew who Jerry Rubin was. There were a lot of old timers there - store owners, junkies, musicians, characters, etc. But for better or (I say) worse, names like Jerry Rubin, the Village Voice or Beat poets don't resonate as much in today's youth culture as I think they should.

Ada Calhoun on the Cooper Union Great Hall stage with a Fred W. McDarrah image of Jerry Rubin on St. Mark's Place on the screen behind her.

Ada Calhoun on the Cooper Union Great Hall stage with a Fred W. McDarrah image of Jerry Rubin on St. Mark's Place on the screen behind her.

(Case in point: I had a cracked tooth pulled the other day. The man with the pliers was a younger guy from the San Francisco Bay area. We chatted about the usual things. Seems he had never heard of the City Lights bookstore WHICH IS IN SAN FRANCISCO, the Beat Generation literary movement or any of its poets, or the Village Voice newspaper. Yes he was a dentist. But a basic cultural education/background just isn't part of the social curriculum anymore it often seems.)

Anyway, Calhoun gave a delightfully brief and funny compact history of the street, then gave way to a band made up of some of her friends, including Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz and his wife Kathleen Hanna and downtown performers like Murray Hill and Bridget Everett, the bawdy cabaret singer.

They did some Ramones songs, King Missile's classic, "Detachable Penis"  and Lydia Lunch's "Saint Marks Place." And some others I did not recognize.

Her young son Oliver joined the band briefly and she pointed out a lot of her friends and other people in the audience that helped her on the making of the book, including her dad, noted art critic Peter Schjeldahl. And Gloria S. McDarrah, who patiently went thru 50 years of St. Mark's Place photos last year for Calhoun to select from.

Anyway, but the book. Read it. And see it come to life by going on the East Village/Save the Village tour.

The St. Mark's Zeroes.

The St. Mark's Zeroes.

Calhoun and son Oliver with her parents right behind her

Calhoun and son Oliver with her parents right behind her