Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ruby's Street

1958. Greenwich Village. 

Where do you go when you want to go somewhere?

Nell-mom goes to her studio. But there are days, she says, when she has to walk around or she’ll go crazy. Sometimes she’ll go uptown to the Whitney Museum of American Art which she likes more than the Modern.

Mostly Nell-mom likes tooling around here and checking out the galleries. Her favorite is the Limelight. It’s a photo gallery, with pictures by Brassai, Alfred Stieglitz, Moholy-Nagy, Robert Frank and Imogen Cunningham. Nell-mom really likes her, and she’ll get mad if you say it’s because Cunningham’s a lady. She has one called Adolph Bolm, Dancer 2 but it looks like a gladiator. There’s another called Age and Its Symbols that Nell-mom loves, but I can’t for the life of me see why.

If there’s not a party, my brother Ray is looking for something to listen to. That could be the Village Gate which just opened this year or the Village Vanguard, but Gary Daddy-o says the best stuff is at private parties and I agree. Since Ray’s a saxophone guy jazz is his favorite, but sometimes I drag him over to the park to see a folksinger but he mostly hates that stuff. I just like something different now and again and guitar’s all right with me. Gary Daddy-o even plays it when he’s not playing bass.

My favorite clubs are the ones where they do poetry; a new one just opened just opened is the Gaslight (called “The Scene” in The Beat on Ruby’s Street. They call it a “basket house” because performers pass a basket around at the end of their sets and hope people put some money inside. Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso are both performing there. I think right now my favorite is Chumley’s—if you read my book you’ll know why.

My friend Sophie will see anything but I know her favorites are movies and theater. People down here are tired of the Broadway stuff so they started Off-Off-Broadway as a reaction to Off Broadway, and a goof on commercial plays. You can find actors reading plays at the Caffe Cino at 31 Cornelia Street, where the owner Joe Cino lets people put on plays without knowing anything about them. We like that because who’s to say what’s good or bad? It’s the way it hits you, right?

Sophie’s mom took us to the Cherry Lane once to see a play by William Saroyan and I liked it so much I wanted to be in it. I really liked the part where this guy Joe comes into a bar and falls in love with a woman and she falls in love too, only you know they’ll never see each other again. I think Sophie and her mom thought it would be a comedy. I think it was, kinda-sorta, but it had a lot of sad & lonely in it, too.

What I told you when I started writing this blog is that Beats are changing the art scene because all this stuff just opened and people can’t stop talking about it. What will it be like in twenty, thirty years? Will you still want to be here? Or will the Beats of the future move on to something new?

Hey, what do I know? You tell me.