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philip glass

Very Full-Phil-ing, the people you run into

Chuck Close, Phil/Watercolor, 1977. The original is about 6 feet by 6 feet. Watercolor and acrylic on paper. © Chuck Close, via PaceWildenstein, New York. Photo by Ellen Labenski.

Chuck Close, Phil/Watercolor, 1977. The original is about 6 feet by 6 feet. Watercolor and acrylic on paper. © Chuck Close, via PaceWildenstein, New York. Photo by Ellen Labenski.

  One sees a lot of famous faces in the Village. As a former gossip columnist who still keeps up on things and looks at a lot of photos, I still miss plenty, of course.

  At dinner recently I saw Alan Cumming - at a low end red sauce joint in the East Village. Another dinner had Tony Danza one table away (alas, no Alyssa Milano!).

  Lily Tomlin (!) walked up to me on Prince St. and asked for directions. Kim and Kayne have an apartment right across the street from me (can't they afford better!?).

  Bob Dylan is no stranger to my elevator. No necessarily recently, but an old pal of his still does live upstairs.

  As a kid, I'd play with Naomi Wolf, Robert Downey Jr. and Matthew Broderick in Washington Square Park.

  David Byrne, Steve van Zandt, Susan Sarandon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Lou Reed and Philip Seymour Hoffman (before they both died): always out and about.

  Though really, who cares. Celebrities are people too. Generally.

  But today I stopped, stared, chatted, and asked to take a photo of one. On 14th St., just off the Save the Village tour route, while heading from the Greenmarket to the gym, I was passing the Guitar Center music emporium and saw the legendary minimalist composer Philip Glass.

  OK, not Sean Lennon or Julia Roberts or Sofia Coppola or Alec Baldwin (all Village denizens).

  This guy, however, is better: one of the most influential music makers of the late 20th century. He has been part of the downtown scene since about 1967. Compositions like The Photographer and Einstein on the Beach should be familiar to people, and he has composed everything from operas to Academy Award nominated movie scores and other orchestral works. 

  Polite too, to a jackass who had just stopped him on the street. Last time I had bumped into him was at Tower Records, I gushed, when I introduced him to my son, and showed the kid Glass' records in the rack. He said he remembered, as "really, I don't get recognized very often." But he may have just been being polite. And I had interviewed him in the distant past.

  Anyway, I let him flee, which he did, into the Guitar Center. After publishing his memoir, Words Without Music, earlier this year, he's back to making music.

  Go listen to it.    

Philip Glass on 14th St., December 9, 2015.

Philip Glass on 14th St., December 9, 2015.

  

Old/New

The corner of Prince and Wooster Streets in 1972

The corner of Prince and Wooster Streets in 1972

  The restaurant FOOD was Soho at the beginning. And it is central to the new Artist's World tour in the sense that the tour doesn't use the word "juxtaposition," "derivative" or "brush stroke" in its narrative.

  The tour is more about their world, not necessarily their work. You can get that elsewhere, or at a museum or out of a book. Not many books feature what Pop or Minimalist artists ate for dinner. But that kind of stuff is important to any culture or civilization.  

  As the New York Times put so well in the obituary for FOOD co-creator and downtown artist Gordon Matta-Clark, "The restaurant lasted not quite three years in its original incarnation, as the artists who cooked in it and who ran it, more as a utopian enterprise than a business, burned out or moved on.

  "But many of the vaguely countercultural ideas fostered there — fresh and seasonal foods, a geographically catholic menu, a kitchen fully open to the dining room, cooking as a kind of performance — have now become so ingrained in restaurants in New York and other large cities that it is hard to remember a time when such a place would have seemed almost extraterrestrial....

  "Artists were also invited weekly to serve as guest chefs, and the whole dinner was considered a performance art piece. One of the most fabled, costing $4, was Matta-Clark’s 'bone dinner,' which featured oxtail soup, roasted marrow bones and frogs’ legs, among other bony entrees. After the plates were cleared, the bones were scrubbed and strung together so that diners could wear their leftovers home.

  " 'It looked like an anthropological site,' said the artist Keith Sonnier, another guest chef and a member of the extended FOOD crowd, one that also included members of Philip Glass’s ensemble, dancers from Trisha Brown’s company and other artists like Robert Kushner and Donald Judd, who lived in SoHo before it was called SoHo."

  Learn more about FOOD, what the artists ate, and where they lived, worked, played and drank on the new tour, Save the Village: The Artist's World.

The corner of Prince and Wooster Streets today. It is branch of Lululemon, the high end (is there any other end?) yoga gear store - but only men's clothes. Ladies are in the store across the street. Barf.

The corner of Prince and Wooster Streets today. It is branch of Lululemon, the high end (is there any other end?) yoga gear store - but only men's clothes. Ladies are in the store across the street. Barf.