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during the Howl Festival in New York 2004
161 Essex Str. | New York |  more information

HOWL! poster, New York 2004


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PLOT: A group art show of artists who have worked on the LES for more than two decades, and a few of their friends. With Jim Power, Taylor Mead, Peter Missing, David Leslie, Spider Webb, Elsa Rensaa, John Penley, Robert Parker, Jerry Pegane, Angel Orensanz, Marco, Boris Lurie, Shalom, Casanova, Louis Cartwright, Heine, Greg Fuchs, Herbert Huncke, Maze, Anthony Robinson, Jeffery Lerer, James Romberg, Marguerite Van Cook, Yuri Kaprolov, Eric La Prada, Anton Van Dalen, Tom de Vita, Steve Bonge, Clayton Patterson, Ann Ardolino, Dietmar Kirves, Mathilda Wolf, Peter Meseck, Seth Tobocman, Mac McGill, Julius Klein, Tomek Wendland, Jim C. and featuring Q. Sakamaki. Andrew Rossi, who is quickly establishing a name for himself as an independent documentary film maker will shoot part of a film about Jerry Pagane that night.

In New York, gentrification is about as inevitable as death and taxes, and no one knows this better than the restaurateur Phil Hartman. The owner of the Two Boots pizza empire, Hartman has been in the East Village all along, from the Save the Robots era to the $800-per-square-foot-condo years. Last summer, sensing that his neighborhood could use a nudge back toward bohemia, Hartman launched the Howl! festival of concerts and readings—named, of course, for Allen Ginsberg’s greatest poem. “We had overflowing crowds at many events, particularly at Wigstock,” Hartman remembers. “There was so much good karma out there that we didn’t have any of the problems that most outdoor festivals have, namely noise complaints.” For its second year, the festival has grown—“We’re about 50 percent bigger in terms of artists and venues with this year’s festival,” Hartman says—but the real difference, of course, is the Republican National Convention. Indeed, the highlight of this year’s festival—which runs from August 17 to 24—will likely be the closing-night party at Webster Hall, “Welcome to the RNC,” where the smart folkie Dan Bern will perform and activist groups like the ironists known as Billionaires for Bush plan on appearing. And in the fall, says Hartman, his organization, FEVA (Federation of East Village Artists), is going to expand beyond the festival: “We’re going to have a monthly event called ‘Saturday Night FEVA,’ and we’re looking to build about 50 artists’ studios on Avenue D between 7th and 8th streets. So many of our artists can’t afford to stay in the city—that has to change.”—Ethan Brown, in: new york mag on Aug 17, 2004

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