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village voice

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Warm Weather Walking

Preparing the selfie stick before last Saturday's tour.

Preparing the selfie stick before last Saturday's tour.

 Global warming as some advantages: no one is really ever that cold on a tour these days!

 Spring has sprung and tourgoers are marveling at how much things have changed, even from last season (the repeat visitors, that is).

 Mainly that so many more storefronts are vacant. It's sad.

 Come see it all for yourself on a Save the Village tour today!

 And remember the June tours are geared for Pride Month with new stops and photos.  

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Thanks for the good words

The most recent Trip Advisor accolade, posted this week:

FIVE STARS

I was lucky enough to go on a tour of the Village with emphasis on places Bob Dylan lived, performed, sat for pictures, etc that was led by Tim McDarrah, Fred McDarrah's son. Fred was photographer for the Village Voice for many years and it is no surprise that Tim has an insider's consummate knowledge of the Village. Highly recommended...

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Tangled up in Admiration

  Congratulations to the winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, Bob Dylan.

  Here is a vintage Fred W. McDarrah image of Bob, standing in Sheridan Square, outside the offices of the Village Voice, on January 22, 1965.

  The Save the Village: The Beats and Bob Dylan tour goes by this locale, and features several classic Dylan photos. 

  Sign up for a tour today!

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Re-Joice. Sort of.

The stretch of Christopher Street where the Lion's Head bar once served ink stained wretches and the folks they covered was renamed after its former owner in 1999.

The stretch of Christopher Street where the Lion's Head bar once served ink stained wretches and the folks they covered was renamed after its former owner in 1999.

After Bobby Kennedy was shot, Pete Hamill, who was next to him when it happened, wrote about it in the June 13, 1968 Village Voice:

"We knew then that America had struck again. In this slimy little indoor alley in the back of a gaudy ballroom, in this shabby reality behind the glittering facade, Americans were doing what they do best: killing and dying, and cursing because hope doesn't last very long among us."

La plus ca change, huh? Americans doing what they do best. Kill people.

The tie here is that Kennedy's career in electoral politics is due to Hamill, Jack Newfield, the Village Voice and the Lion's Head.

And Wes Joice, who owned the bar from the early 1960s until 1994, before dying of lung cancer in 1997.  

All discussed on the Save the Village tour.

In his book "A Drinking Life," Hamill wrote about the Lion's Head:

"I don’t think many New York bars ever had such a glorious mixture of newspapermen, painters, musicians, seamen, ex-communists, priests and nuns, athletes, stockbrokers, politicians and folksingers, bound together in the leveling democracy of drink."

It was in Joice's joint - steps away from the offices of the Voice - that Hamill and Newfield convinced Kennedy to make the surprise move to run for the Senate from New York in 1964.  (Some say Kennedy decided to run for the Presidency there as well, but these are likely altered versions of the Senate story, as he made that decision after meeting with a hunger-striking Ceasar Chavez in California in early 1968.)

Pete and Jack wrote for the Voice, knew Kennedy well, all were Irish and enjoyed an occasional pint, and the deed was done.

One of Kennedy's biggest campaign rallies that fall was also in the Village, captured by Voice photographer Fred W. McDarrah. Kennedy evoked Beatlemania by Balducci's when he leaped  on the back of a flatbed truck with local pol Assemblyman William Passannante during a campaign event.

First, go and read this.

http://www.villagevoice.com/news/pete-hamills-eyewitness-account-of-robert-kennedys-assassination-6692381

Then take the Save the Village tour.  

Art tour ready to go

420 West Broadway, the first big time SoHo gallery building, on Thanksgiving 2015.

420 West Broadway, the first big time SoHo gallery building, on Thanksgiving 2015.

420 West Broadway, the first big time SoHo gallery building, on opening day in 1971. Photo by Fred W. McDarrah

420 West Broadway, the first big time SoHo gallery building, on opening day in 1971. Photo by Fred W. McDarrah

   Save the Village: The Artist's World, a new walking tour of the photos of Fred W. McDarrah, kicks off December 5.

   Virtually every important postwar art trend matriculated below Manhattan's 14th St. 

   The Abstract Expressionists and the New York School, the nascent Soho and use of repurposed industrial spaces as studio and gallery for Pop artists, performance and site-specific installations, the East Village graffiti galleries and Edward Hopper's Nighthawks - arguably the most famous American painting of them all - all happened within walking distance of each other.

   Fred W. McDarrah, the longtime Village Voice photographer and picture editor, was right there with his camera as it happened. His iconic art world photos are the basis for this new walking tour.

   See where Robert Rauschenberg inadvertently started the sushi craze in New York City over 40 years ago. What other tour can offer you that!?

  While McDarrah's 250,000-image archive is an encyclopedic catalog of the people, places, movements, trends and events of the New York scene over the second half of the 20th century, his collection of photographs of artists is truly unique and often the sole visual record of a special time and place in the history of American art.

  The Artist's World tour, based on a 2015 exhibition at Chelsea's Steven Kasher Gallery that featured vintage photos from McDarrah's seminal 1961 book The Artist's World, is the third in a series of four Greenwich Village Walking Tours based on the photographs of McDarrah, including the ongoing Save The Village and The Beats and Bob Dylan tours, and starting later this fall, the St. Marks Place/East Village 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.

 

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