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st. marks place

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Hey! Ho! We Went!

Welcome to the show!

Welcome to the show!

  Since the Ramones figure into the Save the Village: The East Village tour, we thought it made sense to go see the exhibit at the Queens Museum about the real Fab Four, our favorite misfits from Forest Hills.

  Hard to fathom that tee shirts and records and posters we once threw out are now on the wall of a museum. But they are.

   And it is a terrific show. It is up until July 31.

   No Fred W. McDarrah photos, but some wonderful images by Bob Gruen and Roberta Bayley (who lives in Abbie Hoffman's old building on St. Mark's Place).

  Learn more about the Ramones and the East Village that embraced them on the East Village tour.

The Talking Heads opened for the Ramones when they played Bataclan, the Paris club that was attacked by terrorists last year.   

The Talking Heads opened for the Ramones when they played Bataclan, the Paris club that was attacked by terrorists last year.

 

It is a multimedia extravaganza!

It is a multimedia extravaganza!

Songs everyone can still dance to.

Songs everyone can still dance to.

What the Ramones conquered: The World. A model of which is right outside the museum's front door.

What the Ramones conquered: The World. A model of which is right outside the museum's front door.

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OLD/New: Dom Edition

Above: Outside The Dom (from 'Polski Dom Narodowy' or 'Polish National Home', 23 St. Marks Place), where a banner advertises 'Warhol; Live; The Velvet Underground; Live Dancing; Films; Party Event Now,' part of Andy's Exploding Plastic Inevitable series of staged, multimedia events. March 31, 1966. Below: Same spot in February 2016. Photos copyright Estate of Fred W. McDarrah.

Above: Outside The Dom (from 'Polski Dom Narodowy' or 'Polish National Home', 23 St. Marks Place), where a banner advertises 'Warhol; Live; The Velvet Underground; Live Dancing; Films; Party Event Now,' part of Andy's Exploding Plastic Inevitable series of staged, multimedia events. March 31, 1966. Below: Same spot in February 2016. Photos copyright Estate of Fred W. McDarrah.

  With all the buzz lately about the new book about St. Mark's Place (see our November 3, 2015 blog post), thought we'd do an old/new from the hallowed grounds.

   Pretty self explanatory... Pictures do indeed sometimes take the place of one thousand words.

   But to hear the stories behind the Dom, the Electric Circus, the All Saints rehab and the rest of the street, you need to come on one of the Save the Village tours. Both The Artist's World and East Village reference this famous address.

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