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Old Chelsea Station to Close Down, Then Stay Put BY DENNIS LYNCH The US Postal Service (USPS) plans to temporarily relocate its operations at the Old Chelsea Station (OCS) on W. 18th St. — possibly less than 1,000 feet away, to 143 W. 19th St. — while a developer builds a condominium space atop OCS, according to a letter the agency sent to local leaders. The USPS could not comment on the actual request for proposals (RFP) the USPS put out in 2015 for the sale of the air rights that would allow the condo, because the RFP won’t close until April 1, said USPS spokesperson Xavier Hernandez, who added that the relocation site has not been set in stone USPS PREPS continued on p. 7

Chelsea Hotel Heyday Denizen Remembers Stanley Bard BY MARY REINHOLZ The old red-brick building on the West Side of Downtown Manhattan was once home to luminaries like Dylan Thomas, Arthur Miller, Joni Mitchell and any number of wannabes and miscreants who needed an affordBARD continued on p. 6

MOM-AND-POP MARCH A month-long celebration of local merchants GVCCC on great local escapes....................page 2 Checking in on the bombing block........page 4 Comedy is UCB’s funny business............page 3 New club will have retro vibe...................page 5

ARE C R E LD ce NYC E nferen Co & o p Ex

017 ning 2 n la p & health r io n e s

This Sunday March 19th 10am – 3:30pm

Walk-ins welcome

Kingsway Events Centers2902 Kings Highway (Between East 29th Street & Nostrand Avenue)

Brooklyn, NY 11229

FREE Admission Register now at eldercaretickets.eventbrite.com or call (718) 260-4552 © CHELSEA NOW 2017 | NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

VOLUME 09, ISSUE 11 | MARCH 16–22, 2017

Ace the De-Stress Test at Chelsea’s Best Recharging Stations BY MARIA DIAZ Working long hours all week long, week in and week out, can leave us feeling quite accomplished — but exhausted. More than likely, many of us aren’t able to hop on a jet to escape to a far off island mid-work week (or even on weekends) for some much-needed rest and relaxation. Luckily, we’re living in one of the best neighborhoods in one of the best cities on earth when it comes to rounding the corner and leaving your workday stress behind. Writing from experience, we at the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce (GVCCC) want to introduce you to a few nearby places that are always ready to provide the perfect recipe for that post-work detox or the right formula for a memorable night on the town.

SLATE NY Do you ever wish you could transport yourself back to those carefree days of youth, when fun and games were all that mattered? Slate is not a time machine — but that’s just about the only thing they don’t have. From ping-pong to pinball, billiards to skee-ball, Slate is all about bringing childhood fun back to our adult lives. Having started off as a small billiards lounge, this two-story venue has transformed with the times. The upstairs area provides space for corporate events during the weekdays, and on weekends speaks to those seeking the nightclub experience. What do local patrons who are really “in-theknow” appreciate most about Slate? The downstairs. The lower level is a hidden oasis where you can fi nd all the games you can imagine. If we haven’t sold you yet, Slate’s menu boasts the talents of celebrity chef, Darryl Harmon. Having been in business for 18 years, Slate knows how to provide their patrons with a muchneeded escape filled with their streetfare food and signature drinks. Be sure to try their cocktails, such as the “Slate Sipper” or the “Sneaky Pete.” Slate’s Director of Branding and Marketing, Jeremy Lieberman, noted that Slate sets itself apart from other nightlife establishments in the area by providing an exclusive experience without the velvet-rope pretension. “Wherever you’re from, whatever you do, we welcome you. We guarantee you can find something fun to do at Slate.”


March 16–22, 2017

Photo by Paul Wagtouicz

Kick back, play around, drink up, chow down, or dance — it’s all fun and games at Slate NY.

Chelsea Now file photo by Dennis Lynch Photo by Akeno Lopez

Slate Saturdays is a solid destination for nightlife patrons of all types.

Slate NY is located at 54 W. 21st St., btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves. Hours: Mon. –Wed., 4pm–12am; Thurs., 4pm–2am; Fri. & Sat., 4pm–4am; Sun., 4pm–12am. Visit Slate-NY.com. Twitter and Instagram: @slateny. Facebook: facebook.com/slateNY.

PETER MCMANUS CAFÉ Hospitality, a sense of history, and a

hearty beer and whiskey list have kept this neighborhood pillar standing tall. Peter McManus Café has been familyowned since 1911, and has inhabited its Chelsea location since 1932. Over the years, McManus has developed a loyal customer base that regards the place as a sort of second living room — something that fourth-generation owner Justin McManus cites with pride. McManus Café is a neighborhood bar

Fourth-generation Peter McManus Café owner Justin McManus serves up a wellpoured Guinness.

in a neighborhood that doesn’t seem to have too many mom-and-pop shops left. Aside from the welcoming feel and deep-rooted history, Justin noted that McManus’ hours (open until 4am) attracts people from all walks of life, during all hours of the day. Whether you are a college student, a Wall Street worker, or even a celebrity, this classic RECHARGE continued on p. 9 .com

UCB House Teams Are Serious About the Business of Comedy BY SEAN EGAN “Like a lot of the city, Chelsea has been changing from a collection of strange, dingy spaces to fancy new buildings. And where would you most like respite from that? In a grocery store. But what’s even better than a grocery store? That’s right, a basement. There’s something about a basement,” asserted Sue Galloway, a performer with The Law Firm at Chelsea’s Upright Citizen’s Brigade (UCB) Theatre, explaining the longevity of the venerable sketch and improv mecca adjacent to Gristedes. There, in the supermarket’s belowground space, is where “people who barely qualify as adults, except in numerical assessment, pretend to be whatever they think is funny. Basements are inherently subversive.” Connor Ratliff, of UCB’s The Stepfathers, was a tad more direct in his assessment: “NYC is expensive, and UCB does shows that are both high quality and super-cheap. … They will cost you a fraction of the price of even a single ticket to a Broadway show, and I bet you’ll like them 10 times better,” he claimed, highlighting the attractive $5–10 price tag. “It has kind of created its own ecosystem, because the audiences are great — in part, because of the low ticket price.” It is exactly that winning combo of affordability and consistently subversive, high-quality performances that keep locals and out-of-towners coming back to UCB. The theater’s namesake group was founded in 1997 by comedy heavy-hitters Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh (whose surreal sketch show ran on Comedy Central from 1998–2000), and since 1999, the UCB Theatre has become a reliable improv training ground and NYC comedy institution, with their weekend “house teams” being particular highlights of the jam-packed schedule. The Stepfathers and the Law Firm are two such teams, and perform weekly on Fridays. The Stepfathers, as the longest running UCB show outside of their flagship “ASSSSCAT 3000,” have found longevity in pairing their distinctive comedic voice to longer-form improv. Each show is split into two halves, and each more or less focuses .com

Photo by Andrew Bisdale via facebook.com/ucbtny

Long lines are a familiar sight outside the UCB Theatre on W. 26th St.

Courtesy UCB

The Stepfathers, pictured here, choose to escalate dark and weird situations by taking their time with the material.

Photo by Arin Sang-urai

The Law Firm’s rapid-fire brand of laughs features veteran improv comedians at the top of their game.

on one scenario, letting it marinate and grow over its extended running time, gradually getting weirder and

funnier. At the last show this writer attended, the first half chronicled a twisty trip to Mexico; the sec-

ond featured a woman dog sitting for her distressingly pooch-obsessed parents. For Ratliff, a six-year veteran of the team, the key to the show’s success is the group’s willingness to slow things down, and dig into a situation. “There are great teams that play very fast,” he explained. “But I think there’s a patience, and knowing, in feeling comfortable taking time to do something.” “I think that sometimes that’s a strength of the team, is the confidence to know that the funny thing doesn’t have to happen five seconds into the scene, that you can actually build to something slower,” he continued, highlighting the performers’ trust in one another, even if their end game isn’t immediately apparent. “For me, the beauty of it is the cooperative element; that you’re actually watching a team really work together to try to create the same thing. Ratliff also prides The Stepfathers for allowing themselves to flirt with dark, weird material, and their ability to handle more emotional scenes well. “The team is unafraid of going to very strange places,” he said. “I think the team sometimes relishes the danger of not knowing where something’s gonna go.” “Comedy should have some danger to it,” Ratliff elaborated. “And I think The Stepfathers, even though we’re a veteran team, I think it’s still a dangerous team” — as the aforementioned show, which involved some prominently featured (hysterical) bestiality, can attest. Still, he went on, “You want to be dangerous in a smart way, not a stupid way. And you want to be stupid in a smart way too.” In contrast to The Stepfathers’ long-form game style of improv, The Law Firm plays things much more “fast,” with performers switching between scenes quickly and effortlessly, as the situations increase in absurdity. One show can find the team spiral from telling the story of a childlike terminally ill man, to checking in with a pair of inebriated cops, to a singularly surreal porn parody prominently featuring Six Flags. UCB continued on p. 8 March 16–22, 2017


Deadline Looming for Chelsea Bombing Grant Program BY DENNIS LYNCH Following the pressure cooker bombing that rocked Chelsea on Sept. 17 2016, many small businesses along the affected block (W. 23rd St., btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.) have filed their insurance claims and carried on — but some are still tying loose ends on claims for the thousands of dollars in damage caused by the explosion. New York state started a disaster recovery fund, the Chelsea Bombing Grant Program, shortly after the blast to “provide assistance to businesses and property owners, residents and employees affected by the bombing” as compensation for losses not covered by “insurance or other sources.” The deadline to apply (via dhses. ny.gov/recovery/chelsea) is March 31. Chelsea Now recently visited some businesses on W. 23rd St. to see how owners handled, or how they are still handling, the process with the state and with their own insurance companies. Many businesses were lucky enough not to sustain any physical damage from HOUSE HOUSE CALLS CALLS


Photo courtesy Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

L to R, at King David Gallery on Sept. 21, 2016: State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, gallery owner Daniel Peretz, Councilmember Corey Johnson, State Senator Brad Hoylman and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Peretz said he was going to purchase terrorism insurance after suffering tens of thousands of dollars in damage in the bombing.

the explosion, but many of them did suffer economic losses that can be reimbursed through insurance (only one business on the block, Orangetheory Fitness, at 124 SAME DAY SERVICE AVAILABLE


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W. 23rd St., had private terrorism insurance). The police cordoned off the block of W. 23rd St. between Sixth and Seventh Aves. for two days, bringing business to a halt. A cashier at Garden of Eden Marketplace (162 W. 23rd St.) recalled being stopped by police on her way to work, and said that business was still slow in the days after the street reopened. Pascal Goupil, owner of La Maison du Macaron (132 W. 23rd St.), said he was lucky that his business didn’t suffer any physical damage and that no one was hurt, but said he lost out on some business in the days following the attack and filed a claim to recoup those losses. “Our insurance covered it, so there was no problem. We filed the claim and everything was taken care of,” he said, adding that he didn’t need to take advantage of the state program. The state also helped business owners file their claims with their private insurers. A NY Department of Financial Services (DFS) spokesperson said there were “no issues to speak of” with private insurers that required the state to step in, and that all claims the state assisted with had been resolved (DFS did the assistance work, while the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services administered the state compensation fund). King David Gallery (131 W. 23rd St.) was one business that asked for assistance filing a claim. Owner Daniel Peretz, who was out of the country at the time of this story’s publication, said he estimated his

gallery saw $70,000–$80,000 in damage during a conversation in October. Peretz did not have terrorism insurance, but vowed to get it after the bombing. He expressed disbelief that a government terrorism damage reimbursement program didn’t exist until after the bombing outside his storefront. The owner of Landmark Wine & Spirits (167 W. 23rd St.) received some paperwork recently, according to employee Binod Bhattarai, who also spoke with Chelsea Now during the Sept. 24 small business crawl organized to attract people back onto the block shortly after the attack. “Only the people working here were affected; I was here,” Bhattarai said. “It was quiet after but its better now.” The Sept. 17 bombing injured over 30 people in the area. It was one of four intended bombings allegedly perpetrated by Ahmad Khan Rahimi, a Afghani New Jersey man who authorities said was inspired by Islamist extremist groups including the so-called Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda. Rahimi faces life in prison on eight counts for his bombing spree, which ended in a shootout with police. His lawyers most recently secured a delay in his trail, initially set to start on March 27 and now moved to Oct. 2. The blast on W. 23rd St. was strong enough to throw the dumpster in which Rahimi placed his pressure-cooker bomb more than 120 feet and blow out windows 400 feet away. .com

Throwback Vibe is New Club’s Groove

Courtesy Winick Realty Group

The facade of the 161 W. 23rd St. space that will be Retroclubnyc come spring.

BY SEAN EGAN “I spent a lot of time going out, checking out the nightlife in the city, and just not seeing any venues that really cater to a slightly older crowd,” explained Jeff Wittels. “I wanted to bring this back to New York.” This line of thinking resulted in the forthcoming Retroclubnyc — a club Wittels will run, catering to guests 35 and older and focusing on throwback music from the ’70s to today. The venue secured a space at 161 W. 23rd St. (btw. Sixth & Seventh Aves.), the former home of Meridian, and just last week Winick Realty Group signed a 10-year lease on the location. According to Wittels, they’re aiming for an early-spring opening date on the two-floor, approximately 200-capacity club. The heart of the venture, though, is the music — a sphere Wittels has significant experience with. “I have a massive personal collection of vinyl. I mean, I did DJ work many years ago, so I’m going to be personally handling that whole aspect of it,” said Wittels, who favors danceable cuts. “We’re going to have turntables, vinyl — it’s going to be a little bit of a throwback.” The throwback vibe will even extend to the imbibing options. “We’re going to have kind of a retro drink menu also, specialty cocktails, which is going to be pretty cool — bringing back some of the drinks from back in the day,” said Wittels, who noted that the menu (in addition to their light food options) is still in development. “That’ll be fun for people who haven’t seen that in a while, and also for people who just have never experienced some of the older drinks.” Wittels, did ensure, however, that the .com

decor would not indulge in kitchy trends from decades past. “It’s not going to be corny; it’ll be fun. It’ll be new, interesting, chic,” he commented, noting that they’re currently in the design phase. Though the opening is a ways off, buzz has already been building via the two Instagram accounts that Wittels runs — @Retroclubnyc and @Vocalclubnyc, which highlight the kinds of old school songs that will be the club’s bread and butter, and singer-songwriters and live acts Wittels enjoys, respectively. It’s a division that will also manifest itself in the club. “It’s a two-name venue, which is unique. It’s Vocalclub and Retroclub, and you’ll see that right on the front,” revealed Wittels. “We’re going to have live music earlier in the evening, and then switch over to more DJ music.” Bridging the gap between the two, Wittels also noted that he plans on working with live cover bands to play old hits as well. “There’s been a lot of positive response from the neighborhood already; and people slightly older are really excited about having a place to go to,” Wittles asserted, noting that he’s only heard positive reactions. “Chelsea’s just a fun area; it’s near the High Line, it’s near Meatpacking — everything’s there. It’s just a nice part of the city,” he said, theorizing that its easily accessible location could attract guest from all across the city. Ultimately, for Wittels, it’s about creating a friendly, positive experience to stand in contrast to many of the less-welcoming, trendy options in the Downtown area. “I want [guests] to feel like they’ve had a good time, they’ve had fun, and enjoyed themselves,” concluded Wittels, who wants people to leave “excited and happy to come back.” March 16–22, 2017


To Stanley Bard and His Crucible of Creativity BARD continued from p. 1

able place to crash. This onetime crucible of creativity is nearly empty now, a ghostly construction site as renovations at the world-famous Chelsea Hotel drag on. All the paintings and sculptures that once hung on the lobby walls or dangled from the ceiling, many donated by grateful residents in lieu of back rent, were put in storage years ago or reportedly sold after Stanley Bard, The Chelsea’s late, longtime proprietor, was ousted in 2007 from his position as manager and majority owner by the hotel’s board of directors. I knew Bard back in the day and believe that coup broke his heart. The son of Jewish immigrants from Hungary who grew up in the Bronx, Bard ran the Chelsea for about 50 years, acting as a “Robin Hood of innkeepers,” sometimes lending tenants money, overlooking their overdue bills and encouraging their artistic ambitions. “When Timur Cimkentli, a photographer, owed back rent, Mr. Bard hired him as a bellman,” The New York Times noted on Bard’s passing last month. Although he earned a degree in accounting from New York University, Bard clearly wasn’t consumed with worry about the bottom line. He began working at The Chelsea as a plumber’s assistant a decade after his father became a stakeholder in the hotel in 1947, became manager 10 years later upon his father’s death, and died in Boca Ratan, Florida on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. He was 82 and suffered a massive stroke, according to Ed Hamilton, author of “Legends of the Chelsea Hotel: Living With Artists and Outlaws in New York’s Rebel Mecca” (2007). Hamilton is one the remaining residents at the hotel. He writes a blog about The Chelsea from the single-room-occupancy (SRO) unit he shares with his wife (chelseahotelblog.com).

Photo by Mary Reinholz

A photo of Stanley Bard, The Chelsea Hotel’s former owner, that was left atop the hotel lobby’s fireplace after he died last month.

About 50 rent-stabilized tenants also live in the 12-story Victorian Gothic edifice with wrought-iron balconies that was built sometime between 1883 and 1885 on 222 W. 23rd St. It was here where Arthur Miller went to write “After the Fall,” the play about the 1961 breakup of his marriage to Marilyn Monroe. He stayed for six years and described The Chelsea in a memoir as a spot where “you could get high from the marijuana smoke in the elevators.” “This hotel does not belong to America,” he wrote. “There are no vacuum cleaners, no rules and no shame.” Elsewhere, according to The Guardian, he paid tribute to the two prevailing atmospheres he experienced: “A scary and optimistic

You’re invited to join us in honoring

chaos which predicted the hip future and at the same time the feel of a massive, oldfashioned, sheltering family.” Other notable residents included William Burroughs, who wrote “Naked Lunch” at The Chelsea, and Bob Dylan, who penned “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” there. Full disclosure: This lowly writer from Los Angeles pecked out an overwrought short story on my portable typewriter that was published in the prestigious Evergreen Review while I was holed up at the Chelsea in the early 1970s as a newcomer to the city. While living at the hotel, I also won a writing competition to become a columnist for the New York Daily News, tangled with Beat poet

Gregory Corso (a hero of my youth), and worked for renowned independent filmmaker Shirley Clarke, who resided in a triplex in a roof garden atop The Chelsea. As for Bard, he gave me a break on rent for my cramped high-ceilinged space when my finances went south for a time, and also later when I signed a lease for an apartment owned by The Chelsea and connected to it by an underground tunnel. I hadn’t seen him for nearly 40 years when he died, but wept at the news of his passing, even though I remember the hotel mainly as a glorified flophouse with addicts on my floor (one died of an overdose while his girlfriend wailed in the BARD continued on p. 16

You’re invited to join us in honoring

Jillian Weiss

Edie Windsor

Executive Director Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund

Succesful Plaintiff in lawsuit that struck down Defense of Marriage Act

Thursday, March 30

Thursday, March 30

A portion of proceeds will be donated to not for profit local LGBT and community organizations

A portion of proceeds will be donated to not for profit local LGBT and community organizations

Tickets: www.gaycitynews.nyc/impact

Tickets: www.gaycitynews.nyc/impact


March 16–22, 2017


USPS PREPS continued from p. 1

just yet. In a March 15 email to Chelsea Now, Hernandez noted that no final decision has been made about the restoration of OCS, and that any restoration “would be part of discussions between the Postal Service and the proposed developer.” The USPS plans to share more details of construction and the temporary relocation at the Mon., April 17 meeting of Community Board 4’s Chelsea Land Use Committee (6:30 p.m. at 353 W. 30th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.), which is open to the public. After the April 17 presentation, there will be a period of public comment (at least 30 days), according to USPS Realty Asset Manager Gregory C. Lackey. So far the close proximity of the temporary site to OCS has been well-received by the community, according to Bill Borock, the president of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations as well as president of the 100 West 19/20 Street Block Association (their area of coverage includes the proposed temporary site). “The community is happy in that sense. I can’t speak for everyone, but I would think everyone’s happy it’s close by and that the 18th Street station is being kept,” Borock said. A USPS representative shared details of the plan with Borock, who told the representative there were some concerns about increased noise and exhaust brought on by postal trucks, along with the loss of parking spots. The representative told him residents of the building on W. 19th St. where the temporary post office will be located were involved in the negotiations for its use, and said that trucks would visit the temporary site five or six times a day and stay there for 15 minutes at a time. Construction on OCS may take up to three years, the representative told Borock. The street has “been a source of contention” with traffic and noise issues “for years,” Borock said, mostly because of trucks delivering goods to Metropolitan Pavilion’s loading dock. There’s also a fire

Photo by Scott Stiffler

The USPS wants to move services from the Old Chelsea Station, pictured here, to a temporary location while a private developer builds condos above the station.

station and planned construction across W. 19th St., which could compound congestion. A representative for the 143 W. 19th St. building did not return a request for comment. The USPS put out the request for a condo after fierce community opposition to the agency’s 2013 plan to permanently relocate services from the 80-year-old building and sell it to a developer to demolish and replace. The USPS does not utilize all of the building and couldn’t afford to stay there with electronic communications putting the squeeze on revenue, reps said. But locals didn’t want to see the twostory, red brick Colonial Revival post office go, and they petitioned local, state, and federal elected officials to fight the plan. They won that fight by the end of 2013, and two years later the USPS put out the RFP to sell the post office’s air rights. At the time, State Senator Brad Hoylman said the USPS acknowledged that “selling the Old Chelsea Station and leasing new space elsewhere in the city simply doesn’t make sense.” The nearly 42,000 square-foot struc-

You’re invited to join us in honoring

Donna Lieberman Executive Director New York Civil Liberties Union

Thursday, March 30 A portion of proceeds will be donated to not for profit local LGBT and community organizations

Tickets: www.gaycitynews.nyc/impact .com

ture was built in 1937 and was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. The listed architects are Eric Kebbon and Paul Fiene, according to the National Register. Fiene is responsible for the two bas-reliefs in the lobby locals have cited as particularly important to preserve. The federal government hired the Woodstock, New York-based sculptor to do the bas-reliefs as part of New Deal eco-

nomic stimulus spending. The two panels (called “Deer” and “Bear”) depict natural scenes and are covered in silver leaf. A USPS representative said in 2015 that 5,000-6,000 square feet of the existing building would be converted for condo use, and word of a gym or other amenity has floated around. The RFP allows for just over 59,000 square feet of residential space in eight stories above the existing post office.

LIFT, the gold standard in personal training and wellness programming founded on East 57th Street in 1996, brings it’s training expertise to Chelsea at 520 W. 21st St.

LIFT is staffed with only the best independent personal trainers in Manhattan and has continued to thrive for 20 years due to its highly personalized approach for all levels of fitness All independent trainers welcome. For questions, or to schedule a tour, contact Carol at 212-688-3304 or liftchelsea@gmail.com March 16–22, 2017


UCB continued from p. 3

Galloway — performing with The Law Firm since 2008, associated with UCB since 2002, and whose other notable credits include “30 Rock” — accurately and succinctly describes their shows as “kind of crazy.” “We like to ‘follow the fun.’ So if there’s something really fun that happens, or silly — this is kind of an improv term — we ‘blow it out’ as far as we can, because that’s fun for us; to heighten and make that one silly thing as ridiculous as we can,” revealed Galloway of the team’s methods. “We sort of take it to a bit of a further degree, and I think we just have a particular silliness,” Galloway said, citing her teammates’ versatility as both utility players and unique performers as a reason for the group’s infectious chemistry. “When we see each other it’s just easy,” Galloway said. “It’s nice for us to kind of just, like, share our love for each other onstage.” While the two groups have very distinct sensibilities, they both share the same livewire energy common to many UCB shows — which manages to keep things interesting for the audience, as well as performers who’ve been doing improv for years. “There is something very much at stake every week when we step out, that we have to prove ourselves to the audience,” noted Ratliff. “That’s actually part of the beauty of the art form: No

Via facebook.com/ucbtny

In addition to its Chelsea anchor space, there’s UCB East at 153 E. Third St.

matter how good you get at it, there’s always the risk of failure.” He also stressed that he’s still often surprised and “genuinely taken aback” by his teammates at times. “If they’re surprising to me, who’s in there week in and week out, they’re gonna be certainly surprising to an audience,” he asserted. “The thing we say at UCB is, ‘Don’t think,’ ” said Galloway, describing the thrill of performing each week. “There will be times when you’re in

the show and you’re so deep inside it that you’re not thinking, you’re just, I don’t know, it feels like something has taken you over and is making the connections for you.” Ultimately, though, for UCB and the performers, their success comes down to producing an entertaining evening, and giving the audience a hilarious, unique experience. “I think if I was a person visiting from out of town and I went to see a show at UCB, it would still feel a little bit like I was ‘discovering’ something cool,” posited Ratliff. “It’s really the best place that I know [of] to find your comedy voice. One reason it’s been successful is that so many talented people are drawn to it and find success in the greater entertainment world. Then others, seeking the same, come to the cradle. … It’s like an ever-evolving, supercheap graduate school in an easy to get to area,” said Galloway, noting that the communal spirit of the theater helps elevate the comedy. “Our work comes from a place of love and passion, interest in humans and our relationship to the world. But also, you know, farts.” The Stepfathers perform Fridays at 9 p.m. The Law Firm performs Fridays at 10:30 p.m. At the Chelsea UCB Theatre (307 W. 26th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). For tickets ($10 per show), visit ucbtheatre.com (standby is also available at the door). Facebook: facebook.com/ucbtny. Twitter: @ucbcomedy.


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March 16–22, 2017


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(The Crazy Life)

Arts at Hudson Guild are supported in part by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, NEw York City Department of Cultural Affairs support provided by Milton and Sally Avery Foundation, Susan & Tony Gilroy, Emily Meschter & Jolie Stahl.


Chelsea Now file photo by Dennis Lynch

A crowd packs Peter McManus Café, which has been in business on Seventh Ave. since 1932. RECHARGE continued from p. 2

pub is a place to escape, recharge, and connect. McManus values the part they’ve played in creating lasting memories, and has the stories to prove it. Grandson Justin described Jack McManus as (to put it mildly) “larger than life.” The tales he’s remembered for still make the rounds — so come stop by and hear a few (or tell some of your own) while you down a well-poured Guinness and enjoy corned beef that’s as authentic as the people who serve it. Peter McManus Café is located at 152 Seventh Ave., at W. 19th St. Hours: Mon.–Sat., 11am–4am; Sun., 12pm–4am. Visit petermcmanuscafe.com. Twitter & Instagram: @ mcmanusnyc. Facebook: facebook. com/mcmanusnyc.

Courtesy Sons & Daughters of NYC

Sons & Daughters of NYC has earned its way onto several NYC nightlife “best” lists.

SONS & DAUGHTERS OF NYC Where should we go to eat? Where can we go dancing? How should we spend our Friday night? These were all questions owner Noah Weinstein faced as a Manhanttanite looking for fun with friends. He found the answers — and in doing so, decided that the good times enjoyed by his inner circle were something he could provide to a larger population. After running his own event marketing business for seven years, Sons & Daughters of NYC was founded as the space Weinstein needed. At Sons & Daughters, you can be confident in the quality of the food, drinks, and experience. The venue has earned its way onto numerous lists highlighting the best of Manhattan nightlife — including best new bar, best cocktail, and best brunch spot roundups. Proud yet unpretentious, this neighborhood business welcomes its patrons with warm service, seasonal menus, and even an outdoor patio that’s a perfect location for some people-watching. .com

Courtesy Sons & Daughters of NYC

Sons & Daughters’ iconic Steak & Eggs dish.

With the promise of warmer weather comes a whole new experience: Sons & Daughters will be launching its latest menus in April — but be sure to try the customer favorites that are here to stay (the Peruvian chicken with fried yucca has become an iconic menu item). If looking for a place to hold an intimate after-work gathering, the events staff will treat you like royalty. We know this from experience, as the GVCCC

recently held one of our monthly networking events there (and we can’t wait to go back!). Sons & Daughters of NYC is located at 85 10th Ave., btw. W. 15th & 16th Sts. Hours: Mon.–Fri., 5pm– 2am (12pm–2am, beginning April 1); Sat., 12pm–2am; Sun., 12pm–6pm. Visit sonsanddaughtersnyc.com. Instagram: @sonsanddaughtersnyc. Facebook: facebook.com/sonsanddaughtersnyc.

Maria Diaz is the executive director of the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. For info, call 646-4701773 or visit villagechelsea.com. Twitter: @GVCCHAMBER. On Facebook: facebook.com/GVCCHAMBER. March 16–22, 2017


Stand For Tenant Time for Council Action Safety: The Specifics Talking Point

on Tenant Harassment BY PAUL SCHINDLER You can’t swing a dead cat in Manhattan without hitting a politician willing to denounce President Donald Trump in no uncertain terms. Among the justified knocks on the new White House occupant is that his agenda will have a corrosive impact on the faith Americans place in the power of government to play a positive role in their lives. Healthcare, protection of the environment, productive relationships with longtime US allies, and the tradition of welcoming immigrants to our nation all seem to be on the chopping block. It’s all for the good that New York’s elected officials are willing to mount resistance to the odious and often ill-conceived initiatives of the new president. But, at this critical moment, opposition is not enough. Progressive leaders have a responsibility for showing they can bring meaningful improvements for those who elect them. Our local politicians must seize the initiative. One place where the City Council can play a hugely productive role is in protecting millions of rental tenants from harassment by landlords, particularly unscrupulous ones eager to replace rentstabilized residents in their buildings with new tenants willing to pay higher rents. The Council is currently weighing a package of 12 reforms, dubbed the Stand for Tenant Safety legislation, that would shine a much-needed light on the processes of landlords undertaking significant renovations of their properties. In too many cases documented by tenant advocacy groups and elected officials, landlords use such construction as a means of harassing tenants and forcing them to leave. This outrageous practice must stop.


March 16–22, 2017

The measures under consideration would increase city oversight of such construction and make agencies accountable for carrying out such responsibilities, require landlords to correct emergency problems that necessitate tenants vacating their premises, stiffen fi nes for bad behavior by landlords and strengthen the city’s leverage in collecting such fi nes, provide transparency on what representations landlords have made about their renovations and what rights tenants have while they are being undertaken, and enhance coordination among the major city agencies responsible for tenant health, safety, and security. There is no doubt that the 12 proposed measures enjoy wide support. Eleven members of the Council — including seven from Manhattan — are sponsors of one or more of them. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer held a January forum where she championed the package of reforms; and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, an eighth Man hattan representative, endorsed the broad outlines of the package in her recent State of the City Speech. Still, of the 12 bills, which were fi rst introduced in 2015, fi ve have not yet gone before Brook ly n C ou ncil member Jumaane Williams’ Housing and Buildings Committee. It’s time for Williams to hold hearings on the remaining bills and for MarkViverito to move the entire package to the Council floor for an up or down vote. New York City has an opportunity to show what progressive government can deliver for its citizens — but for thousands of residents citywide facing hostile landlords, time is of the essence. Paul Schindler is editor of our sister publications, Manhattan Express and Gay City News.

BY PAUL SCHINDLER The following 12 bills, currently before the City Council, are aimed at improving oversight of building construction and renovation by landlords to prevent them from using that to harass tenants out of their homes. The measures, fi rst introduced in 2015, are sponsored by 11 councilmembers and supported by Stand for Tenant Safety (standfortenantsafety.com), a citywide coalition of community organizations. Intro. 918, sponsored by Lower Manhattan Councilmember Margaret Chin and Brooklyn Councilmember Carlos Menchaca: Requires Department of Building (DOB) inspection, rather than developer self-certification, for proposed construction where more than 10 percent of units are occupied and for buildings owned by a person who has been found guilty of tenant harassment. Intro. 924, sponsored by Brooklyn Councilmember Rafael Espinal: Requires DOB to issue orders to correct simultaneously with orders to vacate where safety conditions warrant, so that landlords don’t use unsafe conditions as a pretext to drive tenants out. Intro. 926, sponsored by East Side Councilmember Dan Garodnick: Establishes a three-year interagency task force among the DOB, Housing Preservation and Development, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Department of Environmental Protection to coordinate a citywide policy toward tenant issues arising from residential rehabilitation and renovation construction work. Intro. 930 and Intro. 931, sponsored by East Side Councilmember Ben Kallos: Expands the category of buildings where landlord Environmental Control Board fines can be subject to a lien on which the city can move toward foreclosure in the event that fines are not paid, and including apartment buildings with 20 or more units where those fines have hit $60,000 or more. Intro. 934, sponsored by Brooklyn Councilmember Stephen Levin: Creates a Real Time Enforcement unit to conduct inspections of work being done without a permit within

two hours of a complaint, carry out periodic and ongoing inspections of permitted work that alters more than 10 percent of an existing building or creates an addition, and publish online annual statistics on DOB’s performance in accomplishing these goals. Intro. 936, sponsored by West Side Councilmember Mark Levine: Strengthens the requirements for landlords fi ling a tenant protection plan as part of the DOB permitting process and makes those plans available online at DOB. Intro. 938, sponsored by Brooklyn Councilmember Antonio Reynoso: Creates a watch list for contractors who have performed work without a required permit within the preceding two years and increase inspection requirements for sites where they are working. Intro. 939, also sponsored by Reynoso: Increases the penalty for doing work without a permit in one- or two-family dwellings to eight times (previously four times) the amount of the permit fee, with a $1,000 minimum (up from $500). For larger buildings, it increases the penalties to 28 times the permit fee (up from 14 times), with a $10,000 minimum (up from $5,000). Intro. 940, also sponsored by Reynoso: Increases the penalties for a violation of a stop-work order from $5,000 to $10,000 for the first violation and from $10,000 to $20,000 for each subsequent violation. Intro. 944, sponsored by West Side Councilmembers Helen Rosenthal and Corey Johnson: Requires on-site building permits, also available online at the DOB website, to identify the occupancy status of a building undergoing construction to prevent landlords from falsely claiming the structure is empty in order to expedite the permitting process, and penalizes those who provide such false information. Intro. 960, sponsored by Lower Manhattan Councilmember Rosie Mendez: Requires landlords to post a “Safe Construction Bill of Rights” at least 14 days prior to the start of construction work, in addition to the required tenant protection plan. .com

POLICE BLOTTER PETIT LARCENY: Get thee to a shrubbery

man said — though that explanation didn’t do much to stop the 33-year-old from being arrested.

It seems as though the fickle demands of the Knights Who Say “Ni!” have had a perceptible impact on our very own Hudson River Park. As a 50-year-old park employee reported to police on Fri., March 10, between March 3 and 8, some unknown party stole 15 inkberry shrubs from the northeast corner of the park by W. 27th St. (at the West Side Highway), worth a total of $750. What’s more, the man reported that this has been an ongoing issue since May of 2016. There are currently no leads as who would need to steal so many shrubs, though presumably the culprit will be wearing chain mail and banging together coconut halves.

CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE: Drugs for love At around 11pm on Thurs., Mar. 9, a man approached an undercover shield on the 300 block of W. 16th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). In order to try to woo the officer, he coyly offered him a cool $100 along with an amount of a controlled substance in return for sexual intercourse, as one does in these cases. Shortly thereafter, the arresting officer observed the man hand the undercover shield that controlled substance, sealing his fate. “I wasn’t selling drugs, I just wanted sex,” the

MIDTOWN SOUTH PRECINCT: Located at 357 W. 35th St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Inspector: Russel J. Green. Call 212-239-9811. Community Affairs: 212-239-9846. Crime Prevention: 212-2399846. Domestic Violence: 212-239-9863. Youth Officer: 212-239-9817. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-239-9836. Detective Squad: 212-239-9856. The Community Council meets on the third Thurs. of the month, 7pm, at the New Yorker Hotel (481 Eighth Ave., btw. W. 34th & W. 35th St.). Visit midtownsouthcc.org.

HARASSMENT: Sickly smoker At around 6:30pm on Fri., Mar. 10, a female patient walked into Mount Sinai Urgent Care (309 W. 23rd St., at Eighth Ave.) to try to see a doctor — though in her hurry, she failed to put out her cigarette inside the facility, and was asked to leave. According to the employee who reported the incident, the prospective patient — who also appeared to be intoxicated, naturally — became irate and started shouting after being asked to leave. Eventually, the fuming female left, but, as they don’t want a return visit, a police report was filed. Fortunately, the 47-year-old left her information at the desk, making that request entirely enforceable.

LOST PROPERTY UNCLASSIFIED: No Chainz In a surprising turn of events, a man who is decidedly not famed rapper 2 Chainz lost two costly fashion chains during a night on the town last week. The Brooklyn man, who is not, in fact, a Grammy-winner, was reportedly at the club 1 Oak (435 W. 17th St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.) partying in the early morning hour of Sat., March 11. The man, who did not top the charts with the song “Birthday Song [Feat. Kanye

THE 10th PRECINCT: Located at 230 W. 20th St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). Commander: Capt. Paul Lanot. Main number: 212741-8211. Community Affairs: 212741-8226. Crime Prevention: 212-7418226. Domestic Violence: 212-741-8216. Youth Officer: 212-741-8211. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212-924-3377. Detective Squad: 212-741-8245. The Community Council meets on the last Wed. of the month, 7pm, at the 10th Precinct or other locations to be announced.

You’re invited to join us in honoring

Therese Rodriguez CEO Apicha

Thursday, March 30

West],” decided to leave around 3:20am in a cab, but did not remember the ride very clearly due to his profound intoxication. When he woke up at his apartment around 9am, the non-Def Jam signee discovered that his two David Yurman chains (worth $12,500 apiece) were missing, and (because of his drunkenness) did not remember anyone removing them. It is currently unclear how many chains the 28-year-old — who, I cannot stress enough, was not born Tauheed Epps in Georgia, 1977 — is now in possession of, though he’s seemingly being punished for stealing the entertainer’s one gimmick.

PETIT LARCENY: Rite raid Heartburn and a bad hair day are probably the least of this thief’s problems now. At 1:30pm on Fri., Mar. 10, the loss prevention employee at a Rite Aid (282 Eighth Ave., at W. 24th St.) witnessed a man attempt to surreptitiously put a number of items in his bag and then try to leave the store without paying. He was promptly stopped, where it was found out that he was trying to leave with an absurd collection of merch worth $576.16: 15 different containers of Pepcid, three more of antacid, eight containers of CK Spray, two containers of Advil and another kind of body spray, and, for whatever reason, a pair of curling irons. The 40-year-old Brooklyn man was arrested.

CASH FOR GUNS $100 cash will be given (no questions asked) for each handgun, assault weapon or sawedoff shotgun, up to a maximum payment of $300. Guns are accepted at any Police Precinct, PSA or Transit District.


THE 13th PRECINCT: Located at 230 E. 21st St. (btw. Second & Third Aves.). Deputy Inspector: Brendan Timoney. Call 212-477-7411. Community Affairs: 212-477-7427. Crime Prevention: 212-477-7427. Domestic Violence: 212-477-3863. Youth Officer: 212477-7411. Auxiliary Coordinator: 212477-4380. Detective Squad: 212-4777444. The Community Council meets on the third Tues. of the month, 6:30pm, at the 13th Precinct.



A portion of proceeds will be donated to not for profit local LGBT and community organizations


Tickets: www.gaycitynews.nyc/impact



March 16–22, 2017


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March 16–22, 2017


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March 16–22, 2017





on Ma rch 8, gat he r i n g s of w o m e n , with the support of allied men, marked International Women’s Day, by calling for gender equalit y a nd a n end to v iolence against women. With Donald Trump in the White House, the events carried a strong message of resistance — on i s sue s f r om r e pr o duc t i ve choice to immigrant rights. O ne g r oup m a r c he d f r om Columbus Circle near Trump International Hotel to Fifth Av e . n e a r T r u m p T o w e r. Later, as dusk approached, demonstrators gathered in Washington Square Park.


March 16–22, 2017



TOP DRIVER DISTRACTIONS Using mobile phones Leading the list of the top distractions behind the wheel are mobile phones. Phones now do more than just place calls, and drivers often cannot pull away from their phones, even when driving. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, studies have shown that driving performance is lowered and the level of distraction is higher for drivers who are heavily engaged in cell


phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.

Daydreaming Many people will admit to daydreaming behind the wheel or looking at a person or object outside of the car for too long. Per-

haps they’re checking out a house in a new neighborhood or thought they saw someone they knew on the street corner. It can be easy to veer into the direction your eyes are focused, causing an accident. In addition to trying to stay focused on the road, some drivers prefer the help of lane departure warning systems.

Eating Those who haven’t quite mastered walking and

chewing gum at the same time may want to avoid eating while driving. The majority of foods require a person’s hands to be taken off of the wheel and their eyes to be diverted from the road. Reaching in the back seat to share some French fries with the kids is also distracting. Try to eat meals before getting in the car. For those who must snack while en route, take a moment to pull over at

a rest area and spend 10 minutes snacking there before resuming the trip.

Reading Glancing at an advertisement, updating a Facebook status or reading a book are all activities that should be avoided when driving. Even pouring over a traffic map or consulting the digital display of a GPS system can be distracting.

March 16–22, 2017


BARD continued from p. 6

shadowy corridor outside his room and police radios crackled). Hamilton, an obvious fan of his dwelling place, described Bard in his obit as “the guiding spirit of the greatest experiment in bohemian living in the history of New York, if not the world... .” There was no makeshift shrine outside The Chelsea to memorialize Bard, like the one that appeared for singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, a former resident, who died late last year at the same age of 82. But there were wilting poppies in a vase on top of the lobby fireplace and two photos of Bard, along with notes citing the dates of birth (June 16, 1934) and death, “in loving memory” when I stopped by hoping to interview Hamilton and the leader of the hotel’s tenant association. Both did not return calls. “It’s sad,” said an actress of a certain age, who has lived at The Chelsea with her husband since the early 1960s, as she passed by the reception area, staffed by a uniformed female employee of a security firm. “He had been ill for several years,” she added. The actress declined to give her name but acknowledged that Bard had helped “people he liked” at the hotel. His corporate successors are clearly more interested in profits and sprucing


March 16–22, 2017

up the hotel than Bard ever was. Joseph Chetrit of the Chetrit Group purchased The Chelsea for about $80 million in 2011 and, shutting it down for new guests, began repairs. His renovations spurred a lawsuit from the place’s rent-stabilized tenants, who claimed the dust and debris created health hazards. The suit was settled in 2014 by Ed Scheetz, CEO of King & Grove boutique hotels, who bought out Chetrit, a former partner, and an associate for an undisclosed sum. Scheetz, however, apparently exited the scene last year. Robert Born of BD Hotels is now running the show, according to online reports last year in The Real Deal. One thing is clear in all these comings and goings: The Chelsea Hotel without Stanley Bard will never be the same again. And people like me who lived there during his heyday will never forget him or the people they met at his funky establishment. Before and after my nine-month stay, I interviewed celebrity guests there, including Jane Fonda, Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman and Maurice Girodias, legendary publisher of the Olympia Press, best known for putting in print such banned masterpieces as Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” and Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer.” Girodias also published the “SCUM Manifesto,” the notorious anti-male screed written by actress and panhandler Valerie

Solanes, who shot and nearly killed Andy Warhol in 1968. Solanes used to hang around The Chelsea. “She looked rather sweet in her prison uniform,” Girodias told me in wry tones from his room for a piece I wrote about Solanes for the Los Angeles Free Press. Before moving into The Chelsea, I profiled Viva, the Warhol superstar, for a New York Daily News feature. She went on to raise her two daughters at the hotel and “liberated” an adjacent room next to her apartment. Viva also resisted paying rent, reportedly telling Bard her space was a “hellhole” in one of their publicized disputes. Eventually, he took her to housing court. Viva was forced out in 1993 after she failed to pay her $920-a-month rent for two years. “No more Chelsea Mornings for Viva,” blared a story I contributed to the nowdefunct New York Newsday. Yes, there were limits to Bard’s largesse. As Ed Hamilton and others have noted, Bard, a short, energetic man, well-dressed and well-spoken, appeared to be oblivious to some of the horrors at The Chelsea. He would never admit anything was wrong about his beloved bohemian haunt. I once indignantly described to him the junkie blood and vomit left by addicts in the communal bathroom I shared on the fourth floor.

“Miss Reinholz, Miss Reinholz,” he said, in incredulous tones. He was always polite to me. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. We don’t have those kinds of people here.” In 1978, several years after I had left The Chelsea, Quentin Crisp, the gay British writer and raconteur, told me his reason for staying there even after a fire broke out in a nearby room. “I love squalor,” Crisp said. That same year, I also interviewed the great English-American writer and dramatist Christoper Isherwood, who lived in Santa Monica and checked into The Chelsea when he visited New York. During an interview for the arts section of Women’s Wear Daily, I asked Isherwood to describe his reaction to the recent fatal stabbing at the hotel of Nancy Spungen by punk rocker Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols. “Oh, they only do that sort of thing on the other floors,” Isherwood replied airily. Word came back to me from two editors that Bard was infuriated by Isherwood’s comment. He apparently regarded it as heresy and considered my article an expression of ingratitude from a former tenant he had helped. So sorry if you felt that way, dear Stanley. You made a difference in my life and so did your family-run hotel. Many thanks and RIP.



March 16–22, 2017


Current Sessions Choreographs Its Next Move Series seeks new talent to tackle ‘resistance’ theme

Photo by Corey Melton Photo by Michael Gordon

Alexis Convento founded the Current Sessions, a fusion of performance art and dance, in 2011.

BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC The word “resist” is enjoying an upswing in popularity as of late. For those who oppose the current administration it is a state of mind, a clarion call, a political action, a verb to emblazon on banners, and, of course, a hashtag. But what does resistance look like — how does it manifest — when it comes to art? Alexis Convento, founder of the Current Sessions (TCS), is looking for dancers, choreographers, skateboarders, bodybuilders, martial arts practitioners, visual artists and others to explore the theme of resistance for an upcoming series. As a performing arts organization, TCS has been presenting such curated mixed-bill series at the East Village’s Wild Project since the summer of 2011. “Participating artists will develop choreography from the disobedient and destabilizing to the imaginative and the revolutionary,” Convento said in a recent email to Chelsea Now. “Resistance looks to further classify movement into a broader spectrum by challenging systems of making and observing dance.” Convento said the theme feels like a protest of sorts, especially when connected to the current administration. “Many marginalized groups — black and brown bodies, LGBTQIA, natives, and immigrants — are the most vulnerable,” she said. “I want to make sure that stories from these people are presented; however, TCS needs to be diligent on creating a space that can


March 16–22, 2017

feel safe, is approachable, and open to critique, for both those presenting work, and those attending the event.” Convento met with this publication at Ludlow House social club (139 Ludlow St., btw. Stanton & Rivington Sts.) before the election, and said she was considering resistance for this year’s series’ overarching theme. For each of the more recent series, there was an overarching theme, with each evening having its own sub-theme, she explained. For instance, the last TCS series addressed the overall theme of value, with one of the evenings focused on debt, she said. It is a way to be able to curate the works to have a through line, Convento said. She called it “magical” when two choreographers use the same movement phase with different intentions and staging. In Jessica Pretty’s piece called “the third.,” she did a lot of gestures — like throwing her hands up — that evoked Black Lives Matter while she faced the audience, Convento said. Another choreographer, Bobbi Jene Smith, also used the same hands up movement in her work “Desert,” but did it facing upstage, away from the audience, she explained. Sessions’ move toward social issues marks an evolution in what the organization presents — it started out more focused on spontaneity of movement. In 2011, Convento was working with performance artist

Fana Fraser performed her work, “Stillbirth,” last August as part of an evening that examined credit.

Narcissister (narcissister.com), and through her met Ana Mari de Quesada. De Quesada, now the producing artistic director of the not-for-profit Wild Project, had a few nights available at the space and emailed Convento asking to see if she wanted to produce a night at the venue. “At the time, for some reason, I was like, ‘Yeah!’ ” Convento recalled. “I had no experience in production or administration. That’s all self-taught from Current Sessions.” Originally from Philadelphia, Convento said she has been in the dance sphere since she was three, and was trained in ballet as well as tap and hoofing from the ages of 10 to 17. She moved to New York to get a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance, a joint program at Fordham University with the Ailey School. Trained in Balanchine and Vaganova methods, Convento learned Graham and Horton at Ailey, graduating in 2008. Before starting TCS, she did the whole route of auditioning and had an agent, landing a French tour with Mylène Farmer, whom Convento said is like the Madonna of France. Her experiences motivated her to discover a broader range of expression, and want to fuse performance art with dance. She had begun to make her own work when de Quesada approached her about the night at the Wild TCS continued on p. 19 .com


>`SaS\bSRPg Photos by Corey Melton

For its last series, choreographers explored aspects of “value.� Bobbi Jene Smith performed her piece “Desert� on an evening that focused on the theme of credit. TCS continued from p. 18

Project (195 East Third St., btw. Aves. A & B; thewildproject.com). “She was onboard,� de Quesada said in a phone interview. “She took the challenge.� Convento ended up linking up with friends of friends, who were interested in creating dance pieces for the night. Allison Jones, Jonathan Royse Windham, Yin Yue, Genna Baroni and Yarden Raz were the first choreographers TCS presented for two shows in July 2011, Convento said. “I hired one lighting designer. I had no idea I needed a sound designer,� she said with a laugh. “It went really well — surprising, with the lack of coordination and the lack of the time to prepare.� After the show, Convento said they received a lot of compliments about how the works felt cohesive yet distinct. The choreographers, she said, were working in a similar branch of contemporary dance called Gaga — a movement language created by Ohad Naharin. “I think because of the success or the praise that we got after that, I was curious to email Ana Mari from the Wild Project to get to see if there was some more time that she wanted to give to us, and we had our second one in November,� Convento said. TCS has been housed at the Wild Project since then. “What I really love is the community of choreographers that they bring in,� de Quesada said. “It’s introducing dance to many people. It’s amazing to see them express different things.� Convento said, “Wild Project is smaller, more intimate, so a lot of details in the work really shine through there.� The Current Sessions has received funding through a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council grant, and is also looking to branch out to pair with other organizations on curatorial per.com

formance series, Convento said. “The more and more we’ve been doing this, the more and more we’ve been realizing we’re a service to artists; it’s not just a show,� she said. “We put in a lot of effort to communicating with the artists and working with the artists beforehand to make sure that they feel okay, and that they feel safe to present.�

This year’s honorees include: Governor David Paterson

Anthony Nicodemo

Ana MarĂ­a Archila & Andrea Batista Schlesinger

Eunic Ortiz Elisa Padilla

Christopher Bram

Leo Preziosi, Jr.

Lisa Cannistraci

Charles Rice-Gonzalez

Staceyann Chin

Manny Rivera

JD Davids

Doug Robinson

AndrĂŠs Duque

Therese Rodriguez

Bryan John Ellicott

Allen Roskoff

Ashley C. Ford

Robyn Streisand

Suzanne Goldberg Oriol R. Gutierrez

Christopher Tepper & Paul Kelterborn

Bishop Zachary Glenn Jones

Jennifer Flynn Walker

Howie Katz

Jillian Weiss

Terrance Knox

Edie Windsor

Donna Lieberman

Mel Wymore

Carmen Neely

Emanuel Xavier >`SaS\bSRPg(

Gregory Holt performed “Movements 2,001-2,250� in an evening that looked at debt.

List in formation

Convento hopes to spur conversations among the artists and among the audience. “I believe that these stories can promote change, can allow one to process and heal, and to hopefully uplift and bring together a community,� she said.


To apply for the August series, “Volume VII: On Resistance,� visit thecurrentsessions.com/up-next — which also has info on April 14 & 15’s “TCS x Roya Carreras: The Big Balloon� (at the Wild Project) and Convento’s June 3 & 4 curated programs (part of the La MaMa Moves festival).

Post your congratulations message in the special keepsake issue proďŹ ling the honorees on March 30, 2017 A portion of proceeds will be donated to not for proďŹ t local LGBT and community organizations

Contact Amanda Tarley For More Information: 718-260-8340 | amanda@gaycitynews.com

gaycitynews.nyc March 16–22, 2017


The Liverpool Longing of ‘Penny Lane’ A granny song’s milestone sparks remembrance of nostalgia past BY JIM MELLOAN Soon after my family moved from New Jersey to London in the fall of 1966, we started paying a lot of attention to the music, largely through “Top of the Pops,” the half-hour Top 20 countdown TV show that came on the BBC every Thursday at 7:35 p.m. We got to know acts pretty much unknown on the other side of the pond: Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich; Val Doonican; Des O’Connor. We endured seven weeks of Tom Jones’ “Green, Green Grass Of Home” at No. 1 (my mom purchased a copy), but it was a little while before we heard from the Beatles. They had released the “Revolver” album and their most recent single, “Eleanor Rigby”/“Yellow Submarine,” in August of 1966. They broke their silence in midFebruary of 1967 with the release of another double-A-sided single: “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields,” and in doing so ushered world culture into an entirely new era. It was the beginning of the late ’60s, the time span of just three or four years that most people think of when they think of the ’60s. It was soon clear that the single was a must-have for our household, and Mom bought a copy. The cheery melody, brass section, and nostalgic lyrics of “Penny Lane” were right up Mom’s alley, of a piece with Paul’s laterreleased songs “When I’m Sixty-Four” and “Your Mother Should Know” — what John used to call his “granny songs.” “Strawberry Fields” was also a nostalgic song about Liverpool, but of a completely different sort. “Let me take you down,” John proposed, to a place where “nothing is real.” I don’t think we knew this song when we got the disc. It was much darker, stranger. The recording of John’s voice sounded so weird that it caused my dad to wonder if there might be something wrong with our record player. The group had just begun work on what would become the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album, and

Via visitliverpool.com

The Penny Lane of Paul’s song refers to the name of a busy bus terminus at a Liverpool roundabout.

the two songs were originally meant to be included on it. But manager Brian Epstein wanted a new single, and producer George Martin decided to give him those two, which he thought was their best work yet. He later expressed regret that they weren’t part of the album. Both songs featured a multitude of instruments and orchestration that surpassed anything the Beatles had put out thus far. Along with the single they released a pair of promotional films, which aired on “Top of the Pops” on February 16. It was everyone’s first glimpse of the Beatles with — gasp! — facial hair. The films are one of the first examples of what came to be known as music videos. Strawberry Field was the name of a Salvation Army children’s home near John’s childhood home. He and his friends used to climb over a wall to play in the garden next to the building. John’s Aunt Mimi used to warn him not

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March 16–22, 2017

to play there, and he would respond “They won’t hang me for it.” “Nothing to get hung about” means literally that — nothing to do with so-called “hangups,” which at the time was really an American expression. The lyrics explore the age-old condition of difficulty in relating to others, and yet “it all works out. It doesn’t matter much to me.” In a perfect rendition of semi-coherent stoned rambling, expressing the vital urge to make oneself understood and blowing it completely, John sings, “Always, no, sometimes think it’s me. But you know I know and it’s a dream. I think, er, no, I mean, er, yes, but it’s all wrong. That is I think I disagree.” When John brought the song to the band, Paul took up the challenge. He would write his own Liverpool nostalgia song as a counterpoint, and his would be bright and sunny. The name Penny Lane actually appeared in an early draft of the lyrics for John’s “Rubber Soul” song “In My Life.” Penny Lane is the name of one of the Liverpool streets that came together at a busy bus terminus that went by the same name; the song is about the roundabout there. Paul and John would have to change buses at the terminus when they went to visit each other. Paul sketches an idyllic tableau, with the banker with a motorcar, the fireman with an hourglass and a portrait of the

queen, the nurse selling poppies from a tray, the barber showing photographs of every head he’s had the pleasure to know. For a long time, re: the banker, I thought the line was “the little children have an M behind his back,” and I wondered what that meant. The slyest lyric is “a four of fish and finger pies,” a kind of chain pun in which “four of fish” means fourpence worth of fish, “fish and finger” alludes to fish fingers, and “finger pies” is Liverpool slang for the very intimate kind of fondling that might go on with couples in the bus shelter. Paul called it “a nice little joke for the Liverpool lads who like a bit of smut.” At the American School in London we got to go to nearby Regent’s Park on our lunch breaks during that magical Spring, and as a budding song parodist with such gems as “Stranglers in the Night” and “Meet the Stinker, Polaroid Stinker” under my belt, I found common ground with my friend Dick Wilson, who would sing, “Cellophane is in my ears and in my eyes.” It was the colorful, cheerful heart of the Swinging London era. In the US, it would soon be the Summer of Love. The single was kept out of the No. 1 spot in the UK by Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Please Release Me.” Here in the US, “Penny Lane” was at the top spot just for the week of March 18, 1967 — 50 years ago this week. .com

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March 16–22, 2017



March 16–22, 2017



PUBLISHER Jennifer Goodstein

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ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Gayle Greenberg Jim Steele Julio Tumbaco

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Playboy Belongs in a (Vegas) Museum BY LENORE SKENAZY Playboy magazine used to be the illicit thrill that men of all ages hid in their sock drawers. Now it is more like the socks. Even though the magazine recently decided to add naked ladies back into the mix (no nudes, it seems, was bad nudes), it is still hard to get excited by Playboy anymore. But to give props where props are due: It is also hard to imagine we would ever be as blasé as we are today about sex, and even women’s lib, if it weren’t for Hugh Hefner and his crazy 1953 creation. Hef was a frustrated cartoonist at the time, working as a copywriter for Esquire. When his request for a $5 a week raise got turned down, he decided to strike out on his own. Somehow he pulled together $10,000 and prepared to launch a racy new magazine: Stag. Fortunately for him, the name “Stag” was already taken. So instead he called it “Playboy.” The first edition featured a centerfold (a word we wouldn’t even have without Hef!) dubbed, “Sweetheart of the Month.” By the very next issue, the centerfold was rechristened “Playmate.” And as author Julie Keller has mused, “There is a vast ideological gap between the words.” There sure is. “Sweetheart” harkened back to courtship. But a playmate is someone you play with. It is fun, but it isn’t forever. Thus began the smashing of taboos. The genius of Playboy was not that it published naked young flesh. You could buy dirty pictures even then. As Time Magazine noted in a cover story on Hefner at the height of his career — 1972, when Playboy was selling 7 million copies a month — “He took the old-fashioned, shame-thumbed girlie magazine, stripped off the plain wrapper, added gloss, class, and culture.” And how! As its subscriber base grew, so did Playboy’s reputation as a purveyor of taste, showcasing some of

the best writers around. So, yes, obligatory joke here: You really could read Playboy just for the articles. Then again, you could read The New York Review of Books for the same thing. Did you? Enough said. The lofty writing not only provided gentlemen with an excuse for their subscriptions, it helped change the entire perception of non-marital sex from dark, dirty doings with prostitutes to a sophisticated pastime men pursued with willing women of their own class. This, of course, required willing women. And that required a revolution. Hefner himself has said he was a feminist before it was cool. Exactly how feminist remains one for the gender studies classes. Sure he “objectified” women’s bodies. But he also supported birth control (he had to), premarital sex (ditto), and sexual pleasure for both partners (why not?). Ironically, one thing he did not seem to believe in was actual, earthy sexiness. Peter Bloch, a former editor at Penthouse, recalled being disappointed by his Playboy subscription every month. “The girls were very cute, but they were photoshopped and in weird poses,” he lamented. “Any woman I saw walking down the street seemed more sexy.” It’s possible that’s because Hefner wasn’t really selling sex; he was selling lifestyle. The women were simply part of a modern man’s lair, along with a

wet bar and hi-fi. That’s why Hef made sure all the advertising was aspirational. Howard Lederer, the magazine’s ad director, told Time in 1972: “We don’t want a reader to suddenly come on an ad that says he has bad breath.” Martin Pazzani was brand manager at Smirnoff Vodka back in Playboy’s heyday. “We spent tens of millions” on Playboy ads, recalled Pazzani. Today he is the head of a premium Tequila, Tears of Llorona, which does not advertise in Playboy — or any magazine. That’s part one of the one-two punch that knocked the wind out of Playboy. “The Internet was a problem for just about every existing media enterprise,” said Nat Ives, executive director of Advertising Age. Of course, the Internet provided more than just a new ad medium. It provided more porn than all the Playmates of all time. “Playboy changed the landscape, and then vice versa,” pop culture historian Robert Thompson summed it up. Today the bunny logo, once so titillating, looks like something from a ’70s time capsule. But because it is still one of the most recognizable brands one earth, publicist Richard Laermer came up with a great idea for it: Open a Playboy Museum. Do it in Vegas. Showcase the man, the mansion, the magazine. Trace their trajectory across the times they changed. Fill the gift shop with Playboy overstock — mugs, sunglasses, and key chains. And in the cafe, serve Heffacino. Bunnies! Male, female, and gender fluid, all wiggling their tails. Just like that, Playboy goes from creaky to cheeky again, and is celebrated for its amazing place in American history. Not just its place in the sock drawer. Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker who authored the book, and founded the blog, Free-Range Kids (freerangekids.com).

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March 16–22, 2017


Attention Seniors and Caregivers

E R A C R E D L E NYC nce Ex

e r e f n o C & o p

7 1 0 2 g n nni a l p & ealth h r o i n se

This Sunday! th

March 19 sAMnPM KINGSWAY EVENTS CENTER 2902 Kings Highway (Between E. 29th Street & Nostrand Avenue)

FREE Admission Register now at eldercaretickets.eventbrite.com or call (718) 260-4552 Walk-ins welcome FREE Valet Parking FREE Coffee, Tea & Refreshments

Brooklyn, NY 11229 The event will feature informational seminars and more than 80 vendor booths showcasing a variety of facilities, products and services such as assisted living, home care, pooled trusts, legal advice, insurance options, massage, neuro-feedback, osteopathy, skin care, elder care options, community wellness initiatives, chiropractic, and more.

SEMINAR SCHEDULE 10:30 am Seminar 1: Urology in the elderly Seminar 2: Debunking Popular Myths About Elder Care

11:30 am Seminar 1: Safety Concerns of Seniors: Fraud, Fear & Facts Seminar 2: What you need to know about Vascular Health: Important concepts and misconceptions

12:30 pm Seminar 1: Navigating Your Home Care Options Seminar 2: Medicare and Medicaid Planning

1:30 pm Seminar 1: Wills, Trusts, Beneficiary Designations, and Estate Planning Seminar 2: Understanding Managed Long Term Care- MLTC

2:30 pm The Benefits & Pitfalls of Probate

FREE ADMISSION. Register now at eldercaretickets.eventbrite.com or call (718) 260-4552. Walk-ins welcome. Coffee, tea and refreshments will be available at no charge. Food will be available for purchase.

If you would like to exhibit or be a sponsor call Cliff Luster at 718-260-2504 or email cluster@cnglocal.com

SPONSORS The Allure Group


March 16–22, 2017


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