Tuesday, October 21, 2008

09/16/67 Excerpts From: Multimedia - Massaging Senses For The Message

Excerpts from:
09/16/67 - New York Times
"Multimedia: Massaging Senses For The Message
by Grace Glueck

A new method of communication is developing in our society - the technique of multimedia.

It's jarring combinations of stimuli - sounds, lights, colors, smells and moving images - aim at reaching audiences by a supersaturated attack on all the senses, not just eye or ear. The multimedia technique is helping to convey information, provide entertainment, create esthetic experience, sell products and even further medical research.

"Total Environment" discotheques such as Cheetah and the Electric Circus in New York have left the old drink-and-girlie nightclub formulas far behind, turning on their patrons with high-decibel rock 'n' roll combined with pulsing lights, flashing slide images and electronically tinted "color mists."

Several multimedia consultant companies now stand ready to give advice on electronic multimedia environments for fashion and trade shows, discotheques and rock 'n' roll groups.

One such is Sensefex, started last January by two former classmates at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Kip Cohen, who is 27 years old, and Josh White, 24. (They have a silent partner, Sam Plaia, with the William Morris Agency - "but he's over 35, so we don't show him," according to Mr. Cohen.)

In a suite of neat, black and white offices on East 60th Street and a small laboratory two blocks away, Mr. White and Mr. Cohen plan shows and environments for clients like Yardley of London, Inc., E.I. duPont de Nemours & Co., the Jefferson Airplane rock group; and the new discotheque Salvation, in Greenwich Village. With a staff of young engineers they produce packages of "hardware" (projectors, control boards, etc.) and "software" (the program material, such as hand-painted slides and audio tapes) for their clients.

"Our three muses are Tim Leary, the Beatles and McLuhan," says Mr. Cohen who, with his long blonde hair, Indian bead necklace and thong sandals, seems ready himself to strum an electctric guitar. "In our daydreams we approach every project with 'how many senses can we involve?' The better we can control everything - light, sound, temperature, humidity - the better we like it." -end

*Josh White and Kip Cohen would later morph Sensefex into the infamous "Joshua Light Show" that was responsible for most of the multimedia presented at the Fillmore East from 1968 - June 1971. Cohen, as well as being the Manager at the Fillmore, was also heavily involved in the production of the Woodstock Festival in August 1969.

08/25/67 St. Marks Place, NYC, NY: "This Is The Destruction Of The 20th Century!"

A mid-60's view of St. Marks Place, looking East and South

08/25/67 - New York Times
"Block Party Held To Create Mall"

St. Marks Place Merchants for it, but Not Residents

Raindrops and flowers gently pelted a thousand people who jammed the pavement, stoops and fire escapes of St. Marks Place last night for a psychadelic block party.

The party was sponsored by local merchants to publicize their efforts to create a night mall by closing St. Marks Place between Second and Third Avenues to vehicles between 7PM and midnight.

But beneath the flow of balloons, daisies, lights and music came grumbles from some older residents and merchants on the block, where Ukranians, Jews and Italians lived in relative quiet before the recent [arrival] of hippies.

"I'm too old for this stuff," said Jerry Polk, manager of St. Marks Baths (seen in the above photo) as he handed turkish towels to middle-aged men on their way to the steam rooms. "St. Marks Place has been the same way for, lo, these 30 years and it doesn't make sense to change now."

"This is the destruction of the 20th century," said a woman huddled in the doorway of 10 St. Marks Place as she watched youths dance in the street under bobbing umbrellas. "The merchants aren't speaking for the average person on this block."

Reason For Petition

About half the merchants said they had signed a petition addressed to Mayor Lindsay asking that cars be barred because they "criuse slowly down this block engaging in the 'sport' of hurling jeers, insults and obscenities at passers-by and residents."

The idea of throwing a block party came to the merchants after several recent parties thrown by hippies attracted large crowds of sightseers. The hippies had protested that the area was "too commercial and too crowded."

Store owners say that the hippies, who sometimes burn money at their parties, are the best customers they've had in years. Most of the new stores in the area sell clothes, jewelry, posters and magazines that appeal to youths.

The block party featured a psychadelic light show - a series of flashing designs and colors flashed on the white walls of a men's rooming house. The Electric Circus, a local discotheque, provided the electricity for the bands and records.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Bush Tetras Bassist Laura Kennedy Needs YOUR Help

NYC Noize Rockers the Bush Tetras original bass basher Laura Kennedy is in serious need of a liver transplant. A new blog, Laura Kennedy Liver Fund, has been set up for her. I've added the link to the permanent list on the right as well. You can read about her medical situation, leave messages for Laura, and most importantly, MAKE DONATIONS.

You can also find out all the details on the upcoming benefit shows planned to help raise money for her medical bills, living expenses, etc. The first of these shows takes place in NYC this coming Sunday night, October 26th, starting at 7:00pm at Cake Shop (152 Ludlow Street). The Bush Tetras will perform along with many special guests and old friends. Admission is $15.00 minimum donation. For complete lineup details, click HERE.

Another benefit show is being planned in Minneapolis, Kennedy's current home. Hopefully the show here will feature the Bush Tetras as well. Full details to follow shortly...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New Dictators Videos!

Be sure to stop by Dictators.Com and check out some of the great fan-filmed videos from their recent shows in Spain! DFFD!!!

07/15/67 Just Trippin' And Fruggin' At The Electric Circus

07/15/67 - New York Times
"Swinging In The East Village Has It's Ups And Downs"
by John Leo

Hundreds of negroes and whites from all over the city and from Connecticut, New Jersey and Long Island are converging in the East Village these nights to dance at the old Polish National Dancehall building at 23 St. Marks Place.

The whites head upstairs to the Electric Circus, a cavernous psychadelic discotheque with live and recorded music, $75,000 worth of sound equipment and a dazzling array of light effects and special acts.

Negroes go downstairs to The Dom, a traditional dimly lighted club with bare walls, a juke box and a small, crowded dance floor.

"Upstairs is the world of fantasy. The real world is down here," said Tony Scott, whose jazz group plays at the bar of The Dom, a seperate annex with no dancing and mostly white customers.

"I think The Dom is groovy," said Jerry Brandt, 28-year-old co-owner of The Electric Circus, "but when you're finished with reality, come up here."

The Dom, formerly a white neighborhood bar, caught on among Negroes about two years ago when the Negro playwright LeRoi Jones was living on the block and the Black Arts Theatre was across the street.

The trend was started by Negroes who knew the Village and were fleeing the high prices and tourists of McDougal Street. Now The Dom attracts nurses, secretaries and musicians from as far away as East Orange, NJ and Huntington, Long Island. Some dance until 3AM, get home at 4:30 and are back at their desks by 9.

"No one can tell you how it got to be the "in" place," said a Negro bus driver, "but it has the right atmosphere, the right music, the right people and an admission fee, usually $1.50, that keeps out the people who come to drink or stare instead of dance." On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, girls are admitted free.

Upstairs at The Electric Circus, which opened June 27, the scene is more important than the dance. As they Frug, the environment seems to be frugging along with them. Stars glower in a black sky. The curved walls crawl with huge protoplasmic blobs of colored light throbbing with the beat.

Jugglers, trapeze artists and a man on a pedestal, intently eating an apple, are side attractions. Every now an then, there is a planned commotion on the floor. A man might dash onto the floor trying to fight his way out of a straightjacket. There's great applause when he succeeds.

On a second level, there is a hippie puppet show, with mystical incantations, and a Bhudist monk puppet immolating himself. There is also a resident astrologer. Fun and games are available in the Great Expectations room, sometimes known as "the playpen," and patrons are encouraged to have their faces painted. No liquor is served, only items such as milk shakes and egg creams.

Everything is designed to attack the senses and break down inhibitions. Girls are notably spontaneous. "Here they just dance at you until you pick them up," said Jim Wimberly, one of four bouncers in short karate kimonos. "I've been at the other places, but I've never seen anything like this."

Downstairs at The Dom, the man retains the initiative. There are few frills and services, and even liquor is relatively unimportant. On a recent night, the owner closed the bar and pushed back the tables to spread the dance area.

The Dom is not purposely segregated, although the head cashier, a white, often tries courteously to turn away whites, particularly on Monday nights. Many of the regular patrons are said to be unusually resentful of whites intruding at a successful Negro club.

The Electric Circus has some Negro customers, particularly on weekends, but on a recent night, the only nonwhites there were employees and Lampman, a Negro performerin white tie and tails who does unexplained angry growls and then retires to heavy and unexplained applause. His autograph is prized.

In general, Negroes don't know about the Electric Circus or dismiss it as bizarre or over-priced at $3.50 weekdays and $4.50 on weekends. Some confuse it with Andy Warhol's Velvet Underground - the previous tenant.

The Electric Circus is basically an expression of hippie culture, which professional youth-watchers find to be a movement by the sons and daughters of upper-middle-class white families. There a few Negro hippies.

Waving his arm toward the Electric Circus, Sam Johnson, a Negro, said: "Man, do you think we're running away from middle-class culture? That's a scene we never made."

Hippies are almost as scarce as Negroes at The Electric Circus these days. The hippie community is enthusiastic about the Electric Circus but can't afford the admission price. The management has announced that people in bare feet will be let in for 50 cents, and hippie leaders are negotiating with the management for other concessions.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

06/27/67 - Electric Circus Turns On In NYC

A circa. 1969 poster for the Electric Circus clubs in NYC and Toronto.
(Graphic via Ideal Posters.Com)

06/11/67 - New York Times
"Party Will Turn On Electric Circus"

Benefit for Kennedy Charity Is Set In St. Mark's Place

Senator and Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy are honorary chairmen for a benefit party opening the Electric Circus at 23 St. Marks Place on July 27. Proceeds will go to the Children's Recreation Foundation, which the Senator helped to found last year.

A previous benefit for the foundation, a $1,000-a-couple dinner dance scheduled for last Wednesday at El Morocco, was postponed because of a recent death in Mrs. Kennedy's family.

Tickets for June 27 at $15 a person may be obtained from the Electric Circus, 223 East 62nd Street.

Chairmen for the party are Mrs. Susan Burden and Stanton Freeman and Jerry Brandt, creators of the Electric Circus, a theatrical presentation of mixed electronic media.

After opening night the Circus will be open six nights a week, Tuesday through Sunday, on three floors in the building at 23 St. Marks Place, which already houses The Dom and a Polish Dance Hall. In the main room guests will dance to live music, and watch occasional circus acts such as tightrope walkers, sword swallowers and clowns.

Two rooms will be set aside as quiet areas for sitting, and smaller rooms upstairs will be used for electronic games. Liquor will not be served, but cold food and hot and cold coffee will be available. The decor is by Ivan Chermayeff.

On the committee for the opening night party are Senator Kennedy's brother-in-law and sister, Mr. and Mrs. Stephen E. Smith; Truman Capote, the author; Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., the historian; Diana Vreeland, editor of Vogue Magazine; George Plimpton, editor of The Paris Review; and Nicholas Hyams, director of the Circus.

Others are Warren Beatty, the movie actor; William Talbert, the former tennis champion; Phil Ochs, the songwriter and singer; Michael Love, a member of the Beach Boys; Prince Payna Souvanna Phouma and the Rev. Al Carmines of the Judson Memorial Church.

The beneficiary provides funds for recreational projects and facilities in the disadvantaged areas of the city.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pre-Punks Let Their Freak-Flag Fly At Mercer Arts Center Part VII


PART VII - Additional Information


01/12/70 New York Magazine - 'Broadway Off-Central'
12/..../70 Village Voice - 'Life And Death In The Broadway Central'
11/02/71 New York Times - 'Mercer Stages Are A Supermarket'
12/22/71 New York Daily News - 'Theatres By The Bunch'
03/12/72 Bergen County (NJ) Sunday Record - 'Historic Hotel Home for Theatre Dream'
03/18/72 New York Times - 'Going Out Guide'
03/30/72 Village Voice - 'A Pinch Of Moog, A Dash Of Light'
10/26/72 Rolling Stone - 'New York City's Ultra Living Dolls'
10/26/72 Rolling Stone - 'Random Notes'
11/16/72 Village Voice - Teenage Lust Concert Review
08/04/73 New York Daily News - 'Village Hotel Falls; 17 Hurt'
08/04/73 New York Daily News - 'The Walls Came Tumbling Down'
08/..../73 New York Daily News - 'Bitterness And Sadness Grip 150 Hotel Victims'
08/04/73 New York Post - 'Probe Hotel Collapse; Six Still Missing'
08/04/73 New York Post - 'And Their World Crumbled...'
08/04/73 New York Post - 'He's Dead! He's Dead!'
08/04/73 New York Post - 'From Rags To Riches'
08/04/73 New York Times - 'Broadway Central Hotel Collapses'
08/04/73 New York Times - 'Mercer Arts Center Is Undamaged, Mostly'
08/04/73 New York Times - Dazed Survivors Describe A Kaleidoscope Of Terror'
08/05/73 New York Times - 'Hotel Had Been Fined Before Collapse'
08/05/73 New York Times - 'Rescuers Search Despite Danger'
08/05/73 Sunday News - 'Eye Illegal Work On Fallen Hotel'
08/06/73 New York Daily News - 'Man's Body Found In Collapsed Hotel'
08/06/73 New York Times - 'Body Of Elderly Man Found In Ruins Of Broadway Central Hotel'
08/07/73 New York Post - 'Survivors Of Collapse - 20 Pets'
08/07/73 New York Post - 'Found A Second Body In Rubble Of Hotel'
08/07/73 New York Times - 'Mercer Arts Center Rises From Rubble; Plans To Reopen'
08/07/73 New York Times - 'Officials Doubt Inspections Will Avert Future Cave-Ins'
08/07/73 New York Times - 'City Council Unit Calls Hotel Collapse Inquiry'
08/07/73 New York Daily News - 'Inspections Ordered On Pre-1901 Buildings'
08/07/73 New York Daily News - 'Hotel Collapse Leaves Plays Without Theatres'
08/08/73 New York Daily News - 'Tale With A Happy Ending'
08/08/73 New York Daily News - 'To Dog In Fallen Hotel, Firehouse Is A Home'
08/08/73 New York Daily News - 'Wrecked Play 'Cuckoo' Finds A New Theatre'
08/08/73 New York Times - 'Hotel Inquiries Are Started As 2nd Body Is Found'
08/08/73 New York Post - 'Mercer Arts Center Digs Out'
08/09/73 New York Times - 'Theatre Owner Reports Warning Of Hotel Collapse'
08/09/73 Village Voice - 'The Life And Death Of The Broadway Central'
08/10/73 New York Times - 'Inspection Report In February Termed Condition Of Hotel'
08/10/73 New York Times - 'Operator Of Hotel Denies Blame'
08/11/73 New York Times - 'Two More Bodies Found In Rubble'
08/??/73 (Unknown Publication) - 'Rock Group Rolls Out Of Hotel Just In Time'
08/16/73 Village Voice - 'Welfare Hotels - These Questions Must Be Answered'
08/19/73 Bergen County (NJ) Sunday Record - 'Hotel's Fall Was Also A Cultural Disaster'
08/24/73 New York Times - 'Inspector Says Hotel Got Warning Of Hazardous'
08/24/73 New York Times - 'Hotel Owners Win A Delay On Raizing'
09/06/73 Village Voice - 'Patterns Of Reality'
09/13/73 Rolling Stone - 'New York Confidential'
10/05/73 New York Post - 'Hotel Wall Blamed In Collapse'
10/15/73 New York Post - 'City Probers Checking Hotel Collapse Inquiry'
10/15/73 New York Post - 'Broadway Central Sued for $3M'
10/25/73 New York Post - 'A Switch On Collapse Testimony'
11/01/73 New York Post - 'City Cites Abuses In Hotel Collapse'
11/02/73 New York Times - 'B'way Central Cave-In Laid To Owners Failure To Fix Wall'
11/12/73 New York Post - 'B'way Hotel - Was Wall Removed?'
11/20/73 New York Times - 'Sued Owners Sue Over Hotel Collapse'
06/15/83 New York Times - 'City Freed Of Liability In '73 Hotel Collapse'

More Information On Mercer Arts Center - 'The Kitchen'

http://www.vasulka.org/ - Click On 'The Kitchen'