Gothamist points to evidence that the Rent Guidelines Board will raise rent-stabilizied rents by 6.7%. The next public hearing about rent increases for rent-stabilized buildings will be May 8 at Cooper Union.
My favorite Chelsea Hotel story is actually shooting our music video there. Renting a hotel room, with a balcony, also using the room, for an "afterparty" scene, and the bathroom as a location to play guitars, the stairway (with all the famous art on the walls) The Hotel Chelsea lives and breathes creative energy. My best time there was with my boyfriend, and the worst time was loosing a video camera leaving The Chelsea Hotel after the afterparty for our video shoot. We had quite a party and can't believe we weren't arrested.......
Forced out of the Chelsea by gentrification? Looking for the perfect gift for the yuppies who are taking over your apartment? Well, look no further. Now available on e-bay is this silver spoon with the words "Hotel Chelsea" engraved on them. Little Ashley or Jenna or whatever they're calling their kids these days -- is sure to love it. Best of all, its a double-edge spoon: don't these yuppies realize that, growing up in the Chelsea, little Jenna is bound to become a heavily tattooed, drug-addicted performance artist? Maybe they can sell the spoon to pay for Ashley's psychiatric care. Or better yet, Ashley can use it to cook up her heroin.
Robert French, a public relations professor at Auburn University had plenty of unflattering comments about Starwood's new corporate hotel blog, www.thelobby.com. For one thing, French notes that the site is boring. By contrast, he has nothing but praise for Living with Legends. He writes: "your blog is quite interesting. You should go help the folks at Sheraton/Starwood." Yeah, I bet they would love to pay us too. Hear that Stanley? Maybe we should jump ship. The prospect of a junkie-free bathroom is not without its charm. On the the other hand, what would we write about -- the continental breakfast?
Fine Art Photographer Mia Hanson has lived in the Chelsea Hotel with her husband, Hawk Alfredson since October 2001. We're happy to report that she too shares our belief that the lobby is a portal into another dimension. (Photos by Mia Hanson)
Have you thought of incorporating the Hotel into your moody imagery in any way? Truthfully, I'm nearly haunted by the fact that I haven't done this in any meaningful way yet. I just need to focus on a way to express the soul of the Hotel that is unique enough to pursue. I have participated in many interesting projects concerning the artists who currently live in the Hotel and I think my project would need to go in a different direction. The Hotel is a unique organic installation in many ways shaped by it's management. Ideas will come assuredly and I know that I cannot force this. So, I wait. In the meantime I'll share with you an image of Terezka that I took recently on the 10th floor of the Hotel. The huge skylight works as a lightbox - I just love the natural even light. Skin appears soft and sculptural.
Besides a nice quality of light, what do you feel makes a great image? I look for pictures that capture a moment in time with authenticity. I think that on some level when we look to the artistry of the camera we ask to be shown the beauty that resides in the world and within it's people. Ideology of beauty is varied, but I believe that this is what we all search for. Whatever the beholder determines to be beautiful provides a great source of strength and hope. The presence of an austere landscape can be inspiring since it reminds us of the beautiful silences that we have within ourselves. As the trumpeter Jon Hassell has thoughtfully said, "It's not only the notes that are played, it's the silences between the notes as well."
Maybe you are interested in capturing the silences between the shutter release? This thought reminds me of my relationship with those I have repeatedly photographed. They know all too well of my reputation for waiting. Waiting for what? The Moment! the moment when the subject realizes after sitting a while (or lying naked in the snow) that they can trust that I am on their side (although a little bit warmer perhaps) and their eyes widen and take in that moment of trust with me. When I take someone's portrait I am Being with them in their moment.
There is something going on in your photos. How would you describe it? For me, this is the most difficult question. Whether photographing a person or a place I'm always searching for the soul of my subject. As a photographer, I try to tap into some other frequency of mood and emotion that is there, yet hidden. Unlike the painter who creates from imagination, I'm fascinated with the thought of lifting the veil from our given reality. Mainly, since I know there's something else around us- I can feel it , but I can't see it and that's frustrating. I'm always wishing that a ghost will make an appearance for my camera...
Ghostly images... Have you seen works produced with a Kirlian camera by any chance? The contact print studies of organic objects are exciting regarding their scientific importance, yet the "aura portraits" are less compelling. You would think photographing with magnetic energy should be reason enough for anyone to get their own Kirlian and have a go at it. I know I've been saving my pennies for one. I look forward to exploring this energy creatively.
If you could design your own camera, what would it be like? I don't have a name for this hypothetical camera, but it would have simultaneous sensitivity for capturing both white light and magnetic frequency. Just imagine how amazing our world would be if we could see in delineations of full color the Other Reality beyond our eyes? With my camera we would then see how the trees might feel their own forest.
Is there any particular photographic genre you would like to see represented and shown more? I greatly admire the staged "Magical Realist" imagery of various Czech photographers. Their well of emotional depth runs deep and they express a passion for life and an empathy for death. The American photographer Joel-Peter Witkin is a Master of morbid staged imagery. His painterly photographs of cadavers carefully placed with other found objects are surprisingly inspiring and beautiful. Witkin is some sort of alchemical wizard if there really can be one of those among us today. It seems to me as if he likes to play the role of a benevolent God asking the maimed players in his theatre to seek out the light. I think that Witkin profoundly expresses the strong human desire to overcome dark forces; Weakness of the human spirit being one of the most destructive of all these forces.
Who is the most famous person you have ever ridden with in the Hotel elevator? Sean Lennon. He seemed a bit nervous. Just stared downward for four flights to the lobby. Maybe he had kaliedescopic mirrors on his shoes. I've spotted Daniel Lanois and Julie Delpy passing through the lobby. Not at the same time, however. Both seemed to be quite charming and convivial.
Any evidence you can share that would bring us closer to the theory that the Hotel Chelsea is actually a portal of entry into another dimension? No evidence yet, but keoliechu phum xizt !!!
Hopkins came out on a dimly lighted stage, walking backwards dressed in a space suit, and asked us to imagine that she was Dylan Thomas drinking his last whiskey at the White Horse Tavern before falling from his barstool, never to regain consciousness, and dying.She asked us to imagine that we were Dr. Cook, who I assume was Dylan’s physician, the one who pronounced his death due to what he called a severe insult to the brain. (Photo by Paula Court)She said that right before his death, Thomas had met with Igor Stravinsky, and they had discussed composing an opera together.This had never come about, but luckily, she, a being of an advanced race that had taken over earth after the extinction of mankind, had been able to reconstruct this opera by randomizing all of Dylan’s words, and combining them randomly with a random sample of all the notes Stravinsky had ever composed.And now, she announced, she was going to perform that opera.
At some point she turned around, slipped out of her space suit, to reveal that she was indeed a superior being, complete with pig nose, flowerpot hairdo, and flowing gypsy robes with tiny airport bottles of Jack Daniels dangling from the fringes.She danced slowly, purposefully, to music of her own composition.Eerily, in a lilting voice, she sang about how the human race had committed suicide by blowing up the planet in a nuclear war.The atmosphere of the earth had been burned off, the planet transformed into a fiery, uninhabitable desert, as the people were fried to a crisp and vaporized.Or something like that.
All this was what Dylan contemplated in that final moment of his life as he was sliding from his barstool, on the way down to the floor.Finally, the last whisky drunk, the earth, in cooling, reduced to a cold ashy ember, Dylan seemed to be transported back to his room at the Chelsea; he sat back in his comfy chair as the performance wound down. (Photos by Paula Court) Don’t worry, the alien assured us, though our race was dead, her people would look after the earth for us; they would just live underground for a few millennia until the planet came back to life.
Hard to believe, but soon we'll be celebrating the blog's one-year-anniversary. It's an excuse to re-post my favorite Slice of Life story.
The Revelatory Work I found a purse in the shared bathroom one morning.It contained the usual junk that women carry around, and a wallet with an ID and forty dollars in it.From the picture on the ID, I could tell that it wasn’t anybody who had any business using our bathroom.I suspected the worst, that she was a junkie who had broken in to shoot up, and that made me feel like taking the money and throwing her purse in the trash just to teach her a lesson.But really I had no evidence of that, and I’d seen her around the hotel, so I asked for her room number and took the purse up to where she lived on the fifth floor. The woman who answered the door was tall, middle-aged, with long, dyed-red hair.She wore bracelets and a flowing, robe-like, Turkish hippie shirt.She had apparently been sleeping, or otherwise indisposed, and at first she didn’t understand what the hell I was saying, but when she caught on she was really grateful: “Oh my God!I didn’t even know that was gone.Oh thank you so much.Let me give you a reward.” “That’s OK.” “No, no.I should give you something for your trouble.I’m so scatterbrained!”She checked her wallet, then said, “Oh, I’m afraid I’m kind of short right now.I’m unemployed at the moment.” “Don’t worry about it.” “Actually,” she said, “I’m a poetess.At the moment I’m composing a long revelatory work of scope and vision that I believe will open the eyes of a great many people around the world.” “Wow,” I said, and then, mercenary son of a bitch that I am, asked, “You think you’ll get some money for that?” “Perhaps,” she said, with a touch of condescension. “Certainly I’m not in it solely for the money.”
“Of course not.”
“Cynthia Blair, by the way,” she said, extending a long, thin hand.
I didn’t hear anything more from Cynthia for a few weeks after that, but apparently it had been bothering her that she couldn’t give me a reward, because one day she showed up at my door.“I still don’t have any money,” she said, “but I have this coffee pot.It’s a nice coffee pot, don’t you think?”
There was nothing nice about it whatsoever.It was an old, used coffee pot.I must have looked rather bewildered, because she clarified her offer: “You can have it if you want.”
I took the pot.“Thanks,” I said.
“I just wanted to give you something for your trouble.”
Now the strange thing about it was, it was a very small coffee pot, apparently for espresso.I had never seen one before.“Uh, how do you use it,” I asked
“I don’t know.I’ve never used it before,” Cynthia said.“I think you just put it on the burner.”
“It needs a basket or something to go inside, but maybe you can find one of those.”
“Oh yeah, I’m sure that’ll be no problem,” I said, unable, despite myself, to suppress a hint of sarcasm.“Thanks.It looks real good.”
We stood there in the doorway for a moment, not knowing whatmore to say to each other.Finally, I asked, “How’s the revelatory work coming?”
“What?Oh, very well, thank you.I believe it’s being well received.”
“However, as I’m sure you must realize, these things take time to be resolved, and in the meantime the mold is growing thick all around us.”
Cynthia turned to go.But then she thought of something and turned back and said, “Oh, by the way, I’d rinse that pot out if I were you.I had bleach in it.”
I wondered, but I didn’t ask.Something for the trash after all.
Tuesday, April 25, 10:30 p.m. Susanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny invite you to celebrate Kembra at Happy Valley Tuesdays. DJ Alexander Technique & Princess Superstar. donwstairs: DJ Ryan; Show: Kembra from the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black. Hosts: Sophia Lamar, Kim Aviance, Miranda Moondust, Andrea, Theodora, and Amanda LePore. 14 East 27 St., NY NY
Saturday, April 29, 9:00 PM Howl for 50 Years. A half century after its first publication by City Lights Books, poets and writers from many countries celebrate one of the founding documents of the global counterculture and honor Allen Ginsberg’s lifelong commitment to freedom of expression. (FREE) The New School Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th St, NY NY
Sunday, April 30, 1:00 - 6:00 p.m. The Tribeca Open Artists Studio Tour offers a rare opportunity to visit the lofts and studios of working artists. Last year, we visited the loft of a painter who, upon learning that we lived at the Chelsea, confided in us that the Chelsea Hotel was where she had carried on a love affair for many years. The year before, we met an interesting artist who never left his studio after 9/11. He hid under his bed when they came to ask residents to leave because he was afraid that his landlord would take control of his rent-stablized studio if he left. C.J. Collins, whose work is pictured on the left, always has an interesting display, plus wine and snacks.
The Villager reports on the opening of the Water Museum. The opening, which coincided with the United Nations World Water Day, featured water-related art and interactive displays from several West Chelsea galleries. The Water Museum is the brainchild of Asher Shomrone, who grew up here in the hotel.
Acccording to resident fashioninista Sally Singer: "Fashionwise, it's not a bad time to be pregnant," says Sally Singer, the fashion news director at Vogue.
When people get thrown out of the Chelsea they sometimes land next door at the Carteret building. And you can often find denizens of the Carteret hanging out in the lobby of the Chelsea as well. The Carteret does however have one amenity of which we all at the Chelsea are envious: a laundry room in the basement. All we have is an overpriced night club with a doorman who won't let us in anyway. If you didn't score that brochure of the Hotel Chelsea which was available on e-bay last week maybe you can acquire this undated postcard of the Hotel Carteret. You can see the Hotel Chelsea to the right.
Noted advocate Robert Egger, the founder of DC Central Kitchen and author of "Begging for Change," was recently a guest at the Hotel Chelsea. He had this to say about the hotel on his blog, "but I was staying at the Chelsea Hotel on my recent romp through NYC... it’s a real creative hole in the wall, and I do mean HOLE. But, if you ever stroll past 7th Avenue and w 23rd, walk a few yards down the road and take a gander at that old stack of bricks and imagine all those folks walking through her front doors."In an interview with this blog he reveals, surprise, suprise, that he knows all about our little vortex!
What do you do? I run the DC Central Kitchen, which is a little like City Harvest in NY, but we added a job training angle. I was in NY to speak at a gathering that the Better Business Bureau had put together to discuss nonprofit accountability and impact. How'd you become involved in advocating against poverty? I ran both punk and jazz nightclubs in DC during the 80’s, when homeless folks really began to appear on the streets in numbers too big to ignore, so I volunteered to serve meals to folks that slept on the steam grates around the federal enclave. After my first night out, I wondered where the food came from (they bought it) and why we didn’t do anything to help people after we fed them, so I proposed that they collect the unserved food from restaurants, hotels and caterers, bring it to a central kitchen and train folks for jobs while they prepared meals for shelters, drug treatment centers, senior programs, etc…Nobody would do it, so I ended up starting the Kitchen back in 89…and the rest is, as they say, history.
Was your most recent visit to the Chelsea your first? No...I stayed there in the early 80's, when a group of us came up to NY for the premiere of Koyaanisqatsi. God bless it, it hasn't changed at all.
Did it live up to your expectations? It did then, and it did again….there is only ONE Chelsea Hotel!!!!
What inspired you to stay at the Chelsea? I needed a dose of the air you can only breathe there. A stay at the Chelsea is not without it’s rough edges, but the connection with bold thinkers, creative genius or just flat out fuck-ups is just too much to pass up, even if the stays are 10-20 or 30 years apart.
Do you think that there is a creative energy at the Chelsea? There are three great vortexes in the US….Joshua Tree, Graceland and the Chelsea. No lifetime is complete without a pilgrimage to each.
What's the best/worst thing that happened to you at the Chelsea? They both happened at the same time…I was asked…”Hey, do you still sell crack” by a homeless guy as I walked out the door. It made me laugh out loud, but I always hate to see folks who are left out and living on the streets.
Did you have any star-sightings? Moving too fast to check this time around. But there was a great punk kid with a wicked blue mohawk getting his mom to take his picture taken out front when I arrived. I bet he’ll be famous one day.
What's your favorite Chelsea Hotel story? Sid and Nancy….love kills.
Over at USA Today's Hotel HotSheets blog, they point to the increasing number of corporate hotel blogs. Ever vigilant in following our competition, here are a couple of blogs that USA Today missed -- Hooters in Las Vegas and Isle of Eriska, a Scottish hotel. Apparently we need to increase the number of stories that we write about junkies and roaches because USA Today writes that the Hotel Chelsea blog is generated by the hotel. "Once the domain of journalists, travel writers and folks with a good chunk of time on their hands, the hotel blogosphere has had a few more entries lately, and these come from the hotels themselves. I told you about the Chelsea Hotel blog recently, but Apple Hotels in NYC has a blog now, focused on travel to and around Manhattan. It's obviously not for a wide audience, but if you're heading to NYC, it's worth a look." (Source: USA Today Hotel Hotsheets)
Also this week, an article in The Wall Street Journal reports that "Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. is the first major hotel company to make the leap into the blogosphere with a new Web log called TheLobby.com."
I was coming into the hotel the other day, when who should I run into checking in at the front desk but that Earl guy from "My Name is Earl." I nodded to him, and then I stood there waiting for the elevator, but I noticed that that Earl guy kept staring at me. What, is he waiting for me to acknowledge him, I wondered, to ask, hey, aren't you that Earl guy? Maybe even ask for his autograph or something? Well, I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction. The elevator came, and, with Earl still staring at me, I got on and went up. It wasn't until I got to about the third floor that I realized, hey, I know why he was staring at me: it's because I'm carrying this 5 foot tall painting that I just found in the trash. I'm sure he was thinking, wow, there's one of those crazy Chelsea artists I've been hearing so much about; the bohemian weirdness is starting already.
When I got to the eight floor I told a bohemina girl about my recent star sighting, but she seemed more interested in the painting. (Ed Hamilton)
Monday, April 17, 8:00 pm Celebrate National Poetry Month and the 50th Anniversary of Allen Ginsberg's epic poem "Howl" with Mark Doty, Ann Douglas, Margo Jefferson, Philip Lopate, Rick Moody, and Jason Shinder. Miller Theatre, Columbia University, 2960 Broadway NY NY
Tuesday, April 18, 10:30 p.m. Susanne Bartsch & Kenny Kenny invite you to celebrate at Happy Valley Tuesdays. 14 East 27 St. NY NY
Thursday, April 20,Opening Reception May Wilson - the woman under whose bed Valerie Solanas stored the gun she used to shoot Andy Warhol - is one of the artists whose work is to be included in "Constellation". Wilson was also the subject of a 1969 documentary - Woo Who? May Wilson. A small full-color catalog accompanies "Constellation" with essays by Vince Aletti, Peter Frank, Sur Rodney (Sur), Robert M. Murdock and William S. Wilson. (via www.warholstars.org) Pavel Zoubok Gallery, 533 West 23rd St., NY NY
Friday, April 21 On display until May 20 at the Daniel Reich Gallery is SCOLI ACOSTA '...Day was to fall, as night was to break..' Based on the play between dawn and dusk in the Terrence Mallik film Badlands (1973), Acosta’s ...day was to fall as night was to break... portrays the American landscape in ways both metaphoric and realistic. DANIEL REICH GALLERY - 537 W 23 ST NY NY
Saturday, April 22, 8:30 p.m. Former Chelsea Hotel guest Dan Bern will be performing along with Kaki King. If you're lucky he'll perform "Chelsea Hotel," one of my favorites. Carnegie Hall, 154 W. 57th St. NY NY
If you have a relevant event that you would like featured in "All Tomorrow's Parties," please e-mail the information to email@example.com.
It was last Spring when we first met Robert and for a while it seemed like he was going to be one of those tourists who just never leaves. And in a sense, he hasn't left. He's over in Australia blogging for the love of the Chelsea. Except for the occasional party that lasted until dawn he was a great neighbor! We're fairly certain he'll pass through the Chelsea's doors again. If he's lucky, he'll be in time for the reoccurance of that god awful stench.
1. What do you do?That's a cruel thing to ask a man having a mid-life crisis. I am a writer, I guess. Most of my adult life has been spent partying, reading and collecting degrees. I'm the cliche of the eternally unfinished PhD. My specialty is political-history or, if you believe my supervisor, becoming distracted. My real interest is cultural history.
2. When did you stay at the Chelsea?
My first visit was a crazed five nights over New Year 2003-2004. It's a long and humiliating story. A projected trip was brought forward the moment that a NY contact learned the closing date for Taboo [the doomed Boy George penned musical]. We scrambled and I arrived on borrowed money and borrowed time. That was the New Years Eve that NY went onto Orange Alert. My first time out of Australia and I make it to JFK for the biggest post S11 lockdown to that date. Of course, I had no idea that the military with machine guns everywhere were unusual or that the choppers patrolling the avenues were not exactly NY in 'normal' mode. I only found out when I worked out a way to make the television in my room work.
My second visit was much more planned. I spent six weeks at the Chelsea and did the Tonys awards, the after ball and all the shows. It was absolutely the best six weeks of my life.
I have never felt more welcome, comfortable or secure.
3. What inspired you to stay at the Chelsea?
I was called.
I can't cite a time that I became conscious that the Hotel existed. I started on things Warhol at age 14 and turned into a naughty punk kid not much later. The Chelsea just is. If I hadn't been able to stay there I would have done things very differently, had a very different adventure. The main purpose was to live in the Chelsea way for as long as my little Aussie dollars could keep Stanley happy.
4. Who is the most famous person you've ever ridden with in the elevator?
Ethan avoided me! I was mortified. Rufus Wainwright went as far as leaving the country to avoid me. Jean Paul Gaultier joined me, destined for the Penthouse it seemed, for one ascenscion. Johnny Knoxville was a pleasant surprise but nothing was as exciting for me as Renee Ricard. Does Boy George count given that he was my guest?
5. What's your favorite Hotel Chelsea story? Every single thing that has happened since the building was conceived. It is one story with a lot of threads.
During my stay, the night that the people in Stars Wars costumes invaded the foyer en masse counts for the absolute unlikeliness of it all. One might expect a lot at Hotel Chelsea but Darth Vader fetishists caught me well off-guard.
I think that I drank a small former Soviet state worth of vodka the weekend that the burlesque dancers were in.
I took immense pleasure watching the painter in the lobby slowly recreate the place. Some of the most special moments were quite simple, a visit from Libby the cat or having a day in bed to recover from 3 nights non-stop in SF by pretending to be Janis Joplin, so messed up that I could only call the deli. We just don't have that kind of luxury here. [or authentic onion roll!]
I sat and watched Manhattan until dawn in my window-bay one morning. Several hours passed easily just taking it in.
6. What's the best/worst thing that happened to you at the Chelsea? Apart from the dumpster on Level 8, you mean? best: I learned what it is that makes me a worthwhile person worst: having to leave
7. What in the world inspired you to launch 23rd & 7th: For the Love of the Hotel Chelsea?
I half blogged the trip but I was having too much fun to be thorough. Nearly a year later, things worth sharing still occur to me. I'm an unrepentant information junkie, I might as well share my scavengings.
Hotel Chelsea makes a good linking theme for my blog. It is quite reasonable to say that most of my great obsessions have a connection back to 222w23. Back as far as Lily Langtree, indeed as far back as the anarchists who first conceived the building as a co-op, it has been home to people who figure large in my life. Being an emeritus punk-rocker with an Andy Warhol obsession and a love for twentieth century American drama makes the place hard to avoid. Only GB Shaw remains 'untied' at this stage. The people who have passed through that hotel extend through philosophers who have shaped me to the artists who have interpreted my world and the little known revolutionaries who I am proud to claim as cultural ancestors.
Establishing the blog when I came home has given me somewhere to test all the things I learned in NY, mostly stuff about believing in me. Slowly but most surely I have started to think of myself as 'a writer' again. The blog keeps me engaged with the Hotel in a way that is productive and it keeps me in touch with other Chelseaphiles. I sometimes fear killing my readers with Liza Minnelli news but no fatalities have been reported yet....
The Chelsea Effect -which is real- has settled and I'm working on a small play. The goal is to find the almost lost language of working class Australia, my people.
My business card says dilettante, cultural critic, burden on the health-care system and consultant. I'm thinking about replacing consultant with 'life-coach'.
Gothamist also points out a real problem:the hotel is just too damn expensive.If you’re a young, struggling writer or artist –unless you have a trust fund – there’s no way in hell you can afford to live here.This of course goes against the century-old tradition of the Chelsea.How else do you think all those famous people came to live here?Most of them weren’t famous when they moved in.As one of our most illustrious residents recently said to me, “Looks like we’re at the tail end of the comet here.”That’s why we started the blog, to try to preserve some of the contemporary going ons around here before we’re all overrun by yuppies. (Hell, I don’t even know any yuppies who can afford this place anymore.)
Jen also dreams of blogging from Leonard Cohen’s room for a day. We think that room is already occupied, but we suggest that she blog from the lobby.(Free WiFi and the chance to hobnob with eccentric locals.) Plus, it’s the heart of the hotel – in the exact same way the little girl’s room is the heart of the house in the Poltergeist movies. We would blog from there ourselves, but we're afraid of being sucked into the vortex of madness and never again emerging with our sanity intact.Good luck on that! (Let us know if you decide to do it, and we’ll come down and meet you.)
If you can’t get a permanent room at the Chelsea, don’t kill yourself yet.William Burroughs’ old cabin in Kansas is for sale on E-Bay.Its been surrounded with wooden decks and in every other possible way yuppified, and would no doubt be unrecognizable to Burroughs today.But at least it still has the basement where old Bill used to store his windsurf boards!It comes complete with a (no doubt exhaustive) William Burroughs book collection, and is priced to move at $159,950.Oh, and homeowner’s dues are a rock bottom $15.00 for which you get hamburgers and hotdogs at the annual cookout.No word yet on the local cost of the obligatory heroin.(This far out in the sticks you might have to settle for OxyCotin, “hillbilly heroin.”If so, it may be best to stay in NY, close to your reliable sources.) The wealthy sellers – who have probably never even tried heroin! – have even given the cabin a cutesy nickname.They call it “Mugwump Heaven.” (via Luxist)
In other dead-author’s-homes-for-sale news, the Dorothy Parker Society reports that Parker’s former home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania is on the market.What Fresh Hell Is This!
The world over, the Chelsea Hotel has become the gold standard for luxury hotel accommodations.Or else, the standard for something a bit less reputable.In New York Magazine, we read of a Paris hotel: “If you like mingling with the eccentric regulars at the Chelsea Hotel, You’ll love the Hotel Costes.”And in the Birmingham Post: “Given all this [that is, celebrities visit and one of them threw a TV off the balcony], you’d think the St. David’s would be the Welsh answer to New York’s Chelsea Hotel, but far from it.It’s serene, sleek, and wonderfully quiet.” Everybody seems to have an inferiority complex: are we as good as the quirky old Chelsea? Or: certainly we’re not as bad as that godforsaken Chelsea!They act as if travelers are searching the world over for another Chelsea—or maybe, something like the Chelsea, but not quite so real.Maybe a place where the writers and artists are portrayed by actors—though not the kind of actors that live here! Actually, this reflects our own ambivalence about the place: we love it and we hate it too.It’s a real hoot to run into schizophrenics roaming the halls, and to have drunken fools barging into your room in the middle of the night--except that sometimes it’s not.It’s like the city itself: what’s good about it--the crowds, the excitement, the nervous energy, the feeling of being a part of something larger than yourself--is also what’s bad about it, as you can easily be overwhelmed by these things.The Chelsea Hotel is a microcosm of New York. Our advice?Give it up, wannabees! The Chelsea Hotel, like New York itself, cannot be imitated.You just can’t make up the shit that goes on around here.
One Easter Sunday morning my girlfriend and I were walking along the Hudson River. Recently they’ve been cleaning up the waterfront, planting trees and grass, attempting to turn it into one long park, so you can walk or bike all the way around Manhattan Island without having to go out into the city.They’ve gotten pretty far along on this plan by now, but on that particular morning they were just beginning, and so the waterfront was pretty rough in spots. We take long walks, and by 11 o’clock we were all the way up in the seventies, near the Trump Towers, which were still under construction.Traffic was light and there was no one else around, only the occasional bike rider.We were passing a little patch of scrub brush and weed trees, a place where there was no floodwall and the banks of the shore were lapped by the waves washing up from the river.The little wooded area was filled with garbage that had drifted up amidst the debris of twisted steel wreckage and ruined concrete pylons.Over beyond a chain-link fence, there was someone rooting around in a pile of trash that had washed up on the shore, pulling at a big mass of rope and seaweed that had tangled around some rusted steel cables.Though I could see that the man was busy, it seemed so odd, so incongruent, that I had to yell down: “Hey, what are you doing down there.” “Oh, good morning,” the man said.“I’m searching for driftwood.”
He approached the fence.A little man in his fifties, still appearing youthful, thin, with piercing gray eyes, he was dressed in a sort of peasant costume: an old shearling vest, lace-up boots, and an old gray hunting cap with earflaps.“I use it to create art,” he said.
“Kinda slim pickin’s in the city, ain’t it?”
“You’d be surprised,” he said.He picked up a bundle of sticks from the brush nearby; he had tied them together with an old yellow rope.“I’m working on a special project for today,” he said as he untied the bundle.“A nest to use as a centerpiece for an Easter brunch I’ve been invited to.”
The man showed us how several pieces of wood fit together, interlocking, like a puzzle, with the minimum of twisting.He knew how to place them in such a way that they did come together to from a sort of nest, hollow in the center, upturned around the edges.
“That’s really nice,” my girlfriend said.It did look like it would be a pretty interesting—albeit unsanitary--centerpiece for a table.
“This is approximately what it will look like, but as you can see I need another piece to go in here—like this.”He wove his fingers into the piece to demonstrate.“Who knows, though?.It’s what I find that determines the actual shape.In the end it may look totally different than this.”
“But still,” I said, “a nest.”
“Yes, of course, still a nest.”He glanced around as he spoke, as if eager to get back to his work.
“You’re kinda far afield,” I said.
He looked at me like he didn’t know what I was talking about.
“I mean, aren’t you running kind of late?That is, if you’re gonna get to brunch.It’s already eleven.”
“Oh, is it that late?!I’d better hurry!” he said.He walked back down to the river to resume his scavenging.
“By the way,” I called after him, “what are you going to put in the nest?Eggs?”
He turned back to face me.“Eggs?” he said, as if the thought hadn’t crossed him mind.“Well, I suppose you could. And certainly it could be used to hold many other things besides.”He appeared to be giving the matter thought.“Things related to Easter,” he said.“Yes, certainly, eggs.”
I guess I hardly need to tell you the punch line.Though I didn’t know the man, I had seen him around before, and that was the reason I spoke to him in the first place.First floor maybe, since he didn’t ride the elevator. Of course he was from the Chelsea Hotel. (Copyright 2006 Ed Hamilton)
Tuesday, April 11, 10:30 p.m. Susanne Bartsch & Kenny Kenny invite you to celebrate the fabulous Patrica Field Store & the launch of the sensational Amanda Lepore Doll. Show: Auction of Amanda Lepore doll with all proceeds going to DIFFA. DJ Tommie Sunshine; downstairs: DJ Ryan; Hosts: Sophia Lamar, Kim Aviance, Miranda Moondust, Andrea, and Amanda Lepore. door: Theodora/Andrea/Adam 14 East 27 St. NY NY
Wednesday, April 12 For our readers who live in Phoenix, and we know we have a few, former Chelsea Hotel resident Casebeer has a show at the Barrio Cafe. (via Homo Ludens) 2814 N. 16th St., Phoenix, Arizona
Thursday, April 13, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. It's Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Whole Foods Market Chelsea will host Demofest, a storewide sampling soiree. I think they mean a storewide stampede. Whole Foods, Corner of 24th & Seventh Ave., NY NY
Friday, April 14, 8:00 p.m. If the Three Penny Opera isn't your cup of tea, try "The Music Teacher." Written by former Chelsea Hotel resident Wallace Shawn and his brother, "The Music Teacher," is the story of a younger teacher and his brilliant female student who conceive and perform a new opera. Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane, New York, NY
Once again, over on E-bay you can purchase a bit of the Hotel Chelsea's history. Currently, the bids are at $9.00 for a Hotel Chelsea brochure that folds open to reveal a six panel map of New York City. A room with an adjoining bath (meaning two other rooms shared the bath) would set you back $1.50 per night.
Welcome, members, the banners cry. Welcome to the old Chelsea Y. Show your cards. Towels on the house. They come one by one with their sneakers on. They come, but they won't smile, won't say hi.
They're fit and ready, Kim, Freddy and Jerry. Soaked to the skin with desire to win, they stretch their wills riding treadmills, bikes, and strength machines. Some strive for an easy ride, some hit the pedals hard. Some prize the warning device, some discard the skeptical heart. When the latter drums fast, fingers seek the pulse.
Spry legs, up-to-the-minute fresh, speed ahead along the foot-race track. An old couple, Twin Rabbits nicknamed, struggle at snail's pace to gain the journey's end. Some die-hards dance to aerobic tunes. Fat-burning seniors wait their turn.
Some, full of vinegar and piss, stubbornly cruise the swimming pool. Strapped with masking goggles and tight caps, they shoot their laps half-hour exact. (The rules of the house.) Water lovers, skinny in name only, make waves to bury their shame.
Some lift weights, score few sweet points. Some sweat it wrong, offend muscles and groins. Inept or not, they feel like daredevils as well.
Good and tired, they take their ease into the locker rooms, relax the weary feet and heave a sigh of relief. For some who like it hot, sauna and steams are at hand's reach.
"They know the bitter truth," remarks the hilarious Dr. Ruth. "It takes more than lifting weights," to lift the spirit, lighten the mood, kiss the calories goodbye. That's why," she sighs, "they won't smile, won't say hi."
Anticipating the best from the scale, "Wait," they say, "Watch your beef." Gee! How they hate what they see. "It takes a fool," they whoop, "to lose one damn ounce." They vow to cut on the nuts, screw the ribs and the stew, skip the side dish, fight to the last ditch.
Oh, my! No wonder they won't smile, won't say hi. Copyright 2006 George Chemeche
Lipstick academicCamille Paglia has come out with a new “book” in which she critiques the forty-three greatest poems in English literature.Excuse me, but didn’t her fellow blowhard Harold Bloom come out with something similar a few years back?Something about the hundred works of literature that all literate humans must read?Then, as now, the stated purpose is to educate the unwashed masses as to the timeless values of literature/poetry.Then, as now, the real purpose is to incite controversy among academics and intellectuals.Or maybe it’s just to turn lecture notes into cash.
Paglia wants people to get worked up over the fact that their favorite poems and/or poets were left off the list.I’m playing into her hands, I know, but OK, I’ll bite.She neglects several Chelsea poets, including: Allen Ginsberg, Dylan Thomas, Derek Walcott, and Bob Dylan.Leonard Cohen fails to make her list because, apparently, she believes his work to be unknown in the U.S.(So, no “Famous Blue Raincoat.”)She does include Joni Mitchell, though not of course “Chelsea Morning”, but rather “Woodstock”.
I guess I shouldn’t be complaining, since at least one Chelsea poet makes the list, but it just seems rather odd: Joni Mitchell rather than Ginsberg?“Woodstock” rather than “Howl”? “Woodstock” is a pretty good song, one of my favorites, actually, but great poetry?Get real, Camille.Here are the first few lines of “Howl”:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving
Dragging themselves through the Negro streets at dawn looking for
an angry fix...
Paglia describes this poem as “...garish, stagey, hammy.”As opposed to:
We are stardust, we are golden,
We are billion year old carbon.
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden.
I’m missing something, apparently.I guess you had to have been there.
(Paglia’s book, Break Blow Burn, actually came out last year, reputedly sparking controversy, but I just didn’t notice until now.) (Source:Tronto Star)
I was coming out of Whole Foods on 7th Ave. around the corner from the Chelsea when I heard a loud crash. A guy in a blue SUV had rear-ended a cab at the corner of 24th street. Despite the loud noise, it was clear that neither of the cars had been damaged. A middle-aged man in a shirt and tie sprang out of the SUV and ran to the window of the cab and started apologizing profusely: “Oh my God I’m so sorry!I’m sorry!I’m sorry, I am so sorry!”
The cab driver, who looked Indian, got out to look at the damage.“Oh, don’t worry about it,” the cab driver said. “It’s nothing.”
The SUV driver then burst into tears and dropped to his knees, begging forgiveness.He would have embraced the cab driver around the knees, had not the Indian man scampered nimbly out of the way.Instead, the SUV driver started kissing the bumper of the cab, and weeping.
There were some Whole Food workers standing nearby, taking a cigarette break.They had seen the whole thing, and now they called out: “Dude, get up!It’s nothing, it’s no big deal!There’s no need to act like that!”
The cab driver, too, kept repeating that it was nothing, that there was no damage.Still on his knees, the SUV man continued to apologize.
All I could think of was that the SUV guy must have been having a bad day, and had finally reached his breaking point.All it took was that one incident to send him over the edge. New York will do that to you. It could have been anything; it just turned out to be that one thing. The cab driver was helping the man to his feet as I walked away.Having just braved the nightmarish shopping experience of the Whole Foods, I thought I could empathize especially well. (Copyright 2006, Ed Hamilton)
Monday, April 3, 8:00 p.m. Mike Sharpe, Professor Arturo, Thaddeus Rutkowski, and Andrew Kaufman will be reading at The Library Lounge biweekly poetry and prose series. (Thad at the Chelsea.) The Telephone Bar,149 2nd Ave., at 9th St. Monday, April 3, 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. Sex Workers/Bloggers, including famed Chelsea Girl, will read from their work at the New York City Perverts' Saloon. I recently asked Chelsea Girl if she had a personal connection with the Chelsea Hotel, "Have I! And how! Actually, I had a friend who lived in the Chelsea Hotel once a very long time ago, and I used to visit him in his cool-kat condo. Also, Darren of Rising Dragon Tattoo, located in the historic Chelsea Hotel building, did four of my tats. Oh, and I love the bar at that freaky-deaky Spanish restaurant. It's a goof." Perhaps we should spend a little more time talking to Chelsea Girl. Galapagos, 70 North 6th Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Tuesday, April 4, 10:30 p.m. As always, Suzanne Bartsch and Kenny Kenny present Happy Valley Tuesdays. (Photo from flickr.) 14 East 27th St. NY NY Wednesday, April 5, 12:00 - 6:00 Between the Linesa group exhibition curated by Nick Mauss closes April 7. So stop by to view works by Tariq Alvi, Charles Henri Ford, Daniel McDonald, Lorraine O'Grady, Ken Okiishi, Pauline Olowska, and Kianja Strobert, arranged in counterpoint to the Janis Ian song, "Between the Lines." Daniel Reich temp. Space, Room 103 (2nd Floor) Hotel Chelsea, 222 West 23rd St. NY NY
It was great to see the Chelsea again. Different room... same ramshackle deal, things not working, shabby, but bags of atmosphere and we're rather in love with the place. It’s perfectly clean but most definitely NOT to everyone’s taste... It occurred to me as I was trying to undo the curtain tie-backs (held on to loose screws by worn holes and strings of damaged thread hanging off said tie-backs), kick the air-con into life and unglue the rickety shutters, how shocked some people would be paying over $200 a night for such bedraggled bohemia… but then you are slap bang in the heart of Chelsea and you can walk everywhere. I like the corridors best… endless art-filled passageways, brown and dark, smelling either of joss-sticks or weed, or just plain musty and old. Every door is different… painted signs and marks. People have personalized the place over decades and it does feel like an apartment block rather than a hotel and that was the original intention. It is currently 50% residential I believe. The owners describe it as ‘a rest-stop for rare individuals’… How marvellous! That’ll be us then.
Washington D.C. based photographer Elvert Barnes was in New York last week and since we're so photogenic he stopped by and took a few photographs. But the big mystery is why are those chairs empty. Where are Dave and Robert?