Posts Tagged ‘East Village’
June 11, 2012 | by Craig Hubert
Taylor Mead is dishing gossip. “For our final exam”—in boarding school, where he studied English with the novelist John Horne Burns—“he said, write four hundred to five hundred lines of poetry from memory. It was unbelievable. He killed poetry for me. I haven’t been able to read more than two poems a month since.” Burns would later write a novel loosely based on his time teaching at the school, rife with homosexual undertones. Taylor said he would have enjoyed school if he knew all the great stuff that was happening behind the scenes. “If they want me to make a commencement speech, they better fasten their seat belts,” he joked.
Taylor sat across from me at a small table near the front door of Lucien, a French bistro on First Avenue near the corner of First Street. When I walked in the door, the legendary East Village resident and professional bohemian was already sipping from a glass of Dewar’s, waiting patiently. Lucien is Taylor’s favorite restaurant; it’s one of the few places he leaves the apartment for. At eighty-seven, he still resides in the neighborhood he has called home, more or less, for more than four decades. Now, though, he has trouble walking more than a few blocks. Read More »
March 19, 2012 | by Josh Dzieza
It’s not immediately clear that there’s an art show happening at Von. The Bleecker Street wine bar always has art up, often the work of Charles von Herrlich, the bar’s owner. If anything, the pieces now hanging seem more eclectic, less unified, than usual. There are photo collages, street art, and a shattered mirror pressed into a rounded ceramic cone. There are no titles or names. The most obvious clue that there’s a show on is a handwritten sign saying that it continues downstairs.
“The guiding logic was that I know everyone in the show personally,” explains Emil Memon, the genial Slovenian expat who curated the show. On the Sunday night before the show—or the Monday morning, he corrects himself—he was “swept up in the big craziness of the Armory and wanted to do something more independent, more democratic.” He immediately e-mailed, texted, and called dozens of artists asking for pieces—and Charles, asking whether he could use the bar. He put the exhibition together in four days. “It wouldn’t have been possible even two years ago, without the smartphone and Facebook.”
Emil talks a lot about how technology helped him get the show together, but as he talks it becomes clear that he built his social network the old way: by hanging out in galleries and East Village bars and by being very enthusiastic about everything everyone is doing. When I ask people how they know Emil, most say “from around” with a look that says, How could you not.
An example of what around can mean. Andrew Strasser, who has an ominously lit video downstairs of himself getting hosed with Diet Coke, met Emil late one night at Vaselka while they were waiting for their checks. Later he brought Emil along as muscle in a job interview with Santos Party House. “I thought it’d help to make them wonder who this weird old guy standing there was.” Andrew says that he found out he was in the show when he saw his name on the flyer.Read More »
October 6, 2011 | by Natalie Jacoby
Yesterday, Lorin wrote about St. Mark’s Bookshop—“where the staff knows how to spread the word about good writing, face to face, hand to hand”—and the importance of keeping independent booksellers like this one alive.
We meant every word of it, and to prove it, we’re offering a special discount to St. Mark’s patrons. Beginning today, when you buy a copy of our fall issue at St. Mark’s, you’ll receive a coupon good for 25% off a one-year subscription to The Paris Review, starting with our next issue (it’s good for T-shirts, tote bags, and mugs, too).
It’s our way of saying thank you for supporting this beloved East Village institution!
October 5, 2011 | by Lorin Stein
St. Mark’s Bookshop is the one of the last booksellers in the East Village. Since 1979 it has been famous for its collection of fiction, poetry, and criticism. With just 2,700 square feet, it always manages to stock the best new books and literary magazines—things that would get buried in a less selective store. Pace the Bloomberg newswire, you could find most of these things online. But first you’d have to look—and St. Mark’s teaches you what to look for.
The staff don’t just select the stock, they proselytize on its behalf and, in their small way, help hold the neighborhood together. Once a friend of mine went up to the information desk and asked the clerk to restore his faith in the contemporary novel. Another time, another friend asked where to find flowers on a Sunday. Both left satisfied. That’s the kind of store it is.
Now it seems St. Mark’s Bookshop may close—not for lack of customers, but for the same reason that the East Village lost its Ukrainian diners: if you’re selling pierogi or paperbacks, it’s hard to make $20,000 every month in rent. The owners of St. Mark’s have asked the landlord—the Cooper Union—to lower that rent by $5,000. Friends of the bookstore have circulated a petition and have gathered some 40,000 signatures supporting this request.
We at The Paris Review have a stake in St. Mark’s Bookshop: the store sells between 150 and 200 copies of each issue of The Paris Review. That’s more than we sell in most cities. It’s more than we sell off our own Web site. Magazines like The Paris Review need good bookstores, where the staff knows how to spread the word about good writing, face to face, hand to hand. To our way of thinking, New York needs bookstores, too, or it will no longer be New York.