July 20, at the cavernous and deep sofa-ed 139 Ludlow Street lounge’s Cinema room authors Clayton Patterson and John Strausbaugh talked about some of the subjects of their new book OFFBEATS: Lower East Side Portraits ( Cool Grove Press) — mini biographies of extra-ordinary some dead and some alive denizens that could only have emerged from or wound up in the East Village and the L.E.S. or Louis(aida). Clayton spoke at length about NY artist LA II (Angel Ortiz) —one of the bios in the book—and the latter’s personal and artistic relationship with Keith Haring, fresh from PA, working his street lamp base chalk draw(r)ings of crawling babies. I used to live on 191 Christie street for a few years and there Haring worked during daytime and where at night swarms of street hookers in bright tropical colored clothing would play hide and seek (moving in unison like a flock of fish) around building corners, escaping the line of sight with cops in patrol cars. Shy me shared my joint with Keith and Angel at the Roxy opening for Madonna’s coming-out show as a disco diva. In the mid 80’s for 5 years I lived on 8th street between C and D across from an abandoned building on 8th which was a supermarket for crack. Wooo. Also there were some sleepless nights when blood curdling screaming fights went on right outside my window. Art galleries were sprouting like mushrooms as was the fusion of Grafitti and Art on the walls then into the galleries themselves. Having been in NYC since 1969 I used to go to the E. Village to hear Jazz legends at legendary music spots. There were so many Black musicians, writers, artists and gallery owners who lived and worked in the EV then that I naturally missed finding them in this nevertheless impressive collection of iconoclasts that could only have lived and evolved in LES. Strausbaugh wrote and spoke about Lionel Ziprin, one of the the more esoteric of individuals covered here. Who has the book of Raziel? What other technologies did he reveal to Noah? The importance of genetic diversity? —Tej
The launch of the Offbeats took place at the CITY LORE on July 11th and was hosted by City Lore coordinator Molly Garfinkel who also celebrated author Clayton Patterson and wife and partner Elsa Rensaa’s lives and accomplishments as artists, activists and community scholars—as reported in the VILLAGE SUN (July 24, 2022) Thank you! Lincoln Anderson of the Village Sun.
Here can be viewed the audio recording of the event at City Lore, courtsey of 8 BALL RADIO