Archive for September, 2011

Live at the Village Vanguard Over the Internet

The Village Vanguard a Village Icon

So what’s new at the Village Vanguard? Believe it or not, you can enjoy the great sounds emanating from this epicenter of avant garde music anywhere that you have access to internet. A new monthly series from WBGO-NPR will be broadcasting “Live at The Village Vanguard.” Jazz will be featured in the way only the Vanguard can muster, using the special effects of a multi-platform integrated with great music to create a complete and unique artistic experience.

The Village Vanguard

All you need to do is surf on over to the WBGO website. You will then be able to listen and watch the concerts at the Vanguard in real time, and even have a chat with the Special Projects Coordinator at WGBO, Josh Jackson, who is also the host. The conversation is live through the chat room on the web site, and you can discuss the performance in real time as it is happening.

Go check it out. The upcoming concerts featured will be Roy Hargove Quintet on Wednesday, May 25th; Mark Turner Quartet on Tuesday, June 21st, and the Heath Brothers on Wednesday July 6th.

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Upright Citizens Brigade Theater is Where the Comedy Is

Looking for a night of comedy in the Village? You need look no further than the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Situated in Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street right off of Eighth Avenue, you will be seeing some of New York’s best, but as yet little-known comedic talent getting their starts in this mecca of sketch and improvisational comedy.

The atmosphere, despite the fact that it is a comedy house, (which has a reputation for sometimes being a bit harsh with young talent,) is calm and friendly. The price is eminently affordable, with most evenings charging only $8 for entry.

Every Sunday at 9:30pm the UCBT presents what they call Asssscat 3000, a wild ride through long-form improv often featuring guests from SNL or The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

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Restaurants in the Theatre District

Newcomers to New York may feel lost and overwhelmed, especially in Manhattan- and rightfully so! The city is filled with hundreds of different attractions, busy streets and endless avenues.

A popular scene is the Theatre District, which is where the majority of Broadway theatres, cinemas, restaurants and hotels are located. Current popular Broadway shows include the timeless The Lion King, the spectacular Wicked, the notorious Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark, Rock of Ages and many more!

Restaurants and hotels abound in the area, so tourists and Broadway lovers have endless dining options as well. Re Sette is one of the more popular eateries, serving Barese regional dishes and offering a relaxed atmosphere in the center of one of the liveliest neighborhoods in the city.

Triomphe, at the Iroquois Hotel owned by Shimmie Horn, is another popular restaurant, with a seasonal menu and sophisticated atmosphere. The Triumph Hotel restaurants are a favorite of Zagat reviewers, and have been called “tasteful Midtown gems”.

For an authentic Roman feel, many enjoy the Trattoria Dopo Teatro on 44th Street. The new chef, Giuseppe Guglielmo Amoroso, studied the culinary arts in Rome and Geneva, and his dishes add to the unique interior of the restaurant.

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McSorley’s Old Ale House


Founded in 1854, McSorley’s boasts that it is the “oldest continuously operated saloon” in New York. Walk through the doors and history just pounces on you through the hallowed walls and sawdust covered floors. Such notables visited, from Lincoln through Lennon (John, that is) but if you happened to be a woman, you were not allowed entrée until the year 1970!

It is said that Woodie Gurthrie began the movement to organize unions at a front table with nothing but his guitar and inspiring words, while feisty civil rights lawyers Faith Seidenberg and Karen DeCrow brought old McSorley’s all the way to the Supreme Court just to get inside the joint.

Come down for a pint and drink it down with a bit of history a McSorley’s Old Ale House, located at 15 East 7th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

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Stomp at the Orpheum

Orpheum Theater New York


History abounds at the Orpheum Theatre, located on 2nd Avenue right near the corner of Saint Marks Place in the heart of the East Village. There is evidence that it was a garden where concerts were held during the 1880s, but a theater was built on the site in 1904. During the exciting days of Yiddish Theater in Manhattan “Player’s Theater” was the venue, and it was part of what was known as “Jewish Rialto” which existed all along Second Avenue during the early years of the 20th century.

Films took over the theater during the 1920s, but theater returned in 1958 when “Little Mary Sunshine” was the first production, opening in November, 1959. The Orpheum was known for some fabulous shows, including Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” produced in 1962; “Little Shop of Horrors” in 1982 and David Mamet’s “Oleanna” in 1992.

Today the Orpheum is the home of “Stomp,” which opened in 1994. Stomp has until now had over 5,000 performances of its unique, percussion extravaganza. Stop by the Orpheum for a taste of history and amazing contemporary theater.

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After Thirty Years Life Café Shuts Its Doors

Life Cafe Jonathan LarsonLife in the East Village will definitely not be the same without the iconic Life Café around to sit a while and watch the people go by. After thirty years on Avenue B and East 10th Street right across the street from Tompkins Square Park.

The reason for the closure was posted on the restaurant’s web site, explaining that repairs which were promised by the landlord a year ago, which were never carried out, is forcing the closure until the crucial repairs are completed. The website posted that: “On this auspicious day of 9/11/11, after 30 years in business, I am closing Life Cafe East Village this evening ‘until further notice.”

It is expected that after the repairs are finished the café will re-open:
“We anticipate a rebirth of Life Cafe sometime in the near future. Thank you for your loyal patronage over the years.”

Jonathan Larson wrote parts of his Broadway hit “RENT” while sitting at a table in the Life Café, and the restaurant itself was also a feature of the action in the show.

“Life Cafe became a space for artists to meet, talk, exchange ideas and perform,” read a passage from the restaurant’s website. “On cold winter days, people came to keep warm because their apartments were freezing cold.”

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The Metropolitan Playhouse

Located at 220 East Fourth Street between Avenue A and B, The Metropolitan Playhouse has been honored with the much coveted Obie award for excellence in off-Broadway theater. Located in the heart of the East Village, The Playhouse is dedicated to exploring the unique American identity as expressed through the great literary heritage of the American culture.

The Metropolitan Playhouse focuses not only on revivals of classic American plays, but also new, original theater which has its inspiration within the rich culture of the American experience. The playhouse takes pride in its ability to bring lesser known plays from the past back to life, while also having the wherewithal to produce new, modern works which may be adaptations of American writing, including poetry and prose.

As Cindy Pierre of Stage and Cinema has stated, “Metropolitan Playhouse productions are always full of wonder and grace.”

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