All posts by Liz Thomson

Suzanne Vega playing to the crowd at The Village Trip

What a Trip!

The Village Trip 2018

Bathed in glorious late September sunshine, on the last weekend of September Washington Square Park and the surrounding streets were a mecca for all those who appreciate the history and heritage of Greenwich Village and who want to celebrate and preserve it. From its Thursday evening launch at the historic Washington Square Hotel to Sunday’s closing folk festivities at the fabled Bitter End, The Village Trip honoured some of the many figures whose careers were born in the Village and who went on to leave an indelible mark on the world.

Among them: David Amram, multi-instrumentalist and composer, who arrived in the Village in the 1950s and who has worked with such diverse and revered figures as Leonard Bernstein, Charles Mingus, Arthur Miller, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Hunter S Thompson, Joseph Papp and Jack Kerouac, with whom he performed the first ever jazz/poetry readings in 1957.

The Village Trip was honoured to feature David Amram as Artist-in-Residence and he performed with energy and generosity at every event. He said:

“I am basking in the glow of an AMAZING event that you somehow put on and made into a MIRACLE!!!!!

“Gearing up for next year and will do anything i can do to help (if you need any help in fundraising and need entertainment or furniture moving or whatever!)

EVERYONE I spoke to and who spoke to me LOVED EVERYTHING that took place!!

“You should be as proud of what you dreamed of and DID, and know that we are all equally grateful.


“It was a true honoring of dear friends no longer with us and honored and inspired many young creative people today who are here and who will redefine that spirit in their own way!”

David Amram

A full Village Trip album plus video clips will be published shortly. Meantime, here’s a few photos that capture the flavour.

From left: Musicians David Massengill, Diana Jones (and Birdie), and David Amram; Thom Duffy of Billboard; Arthur Levy, journalist and musician, and wife Andrea; and Joel Siegel, lawyer, musician and executor of photographer David Gahr in the Lobby of the Washington Square Hotel following the opening party

Artist-in-Residence David Amram makes his Village Trip debut with ‘Amazing Grace’ at the opening party

Professor Cecilia Rubino of the New School (center, in blue) and actors following the performance of scenes from Eugene O’Neill

From left: Vic Juris, Andy McKee, Joanne Brackeen and Billy Harper, jazz maestros and faculty from the New School, come together for a unique concert celebrating Jazz in the Village

Right: Jazz students from the New School play a late-night Jazz Jam with David Amram

Standing room only for Professor Lucy McDiarmid’s lecture on Edna St Vincent Millay,
‘Kissing in the Village’

David Amram with daughter, musician Adira Amram, and actress and film producer Suzanne Hayes-Kelly, following their performance of Jack Kerouac jazz/poetry

Pianist Yoshiko Kline and saxophonist Ken Radnofsky perform the world premiere of David Amram’s Greenwich Village Portraits. In the background, Conrad Kline’s accompanying film plays

Bringing It All Back Home to Washington Square: VickiKristinaBarcelona win an enthusiastic reception as they open the proceedings; Suzanne Vega doffs her top hat to the Village, where she came to fame; Martha Redbone, all the way from Kentucky via Brooklyn, wows the crowd as the sun sets over the Washington Square Park. David Amram, who sprinkled his special brand of magic at every event, offers an entr’acte performance of Phil Ochs’ touching ‘When I’m Gone’

Talkin’ New York Folk Revival, a heartfelt celebration that conjured up the spirits of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger and many others, took place at the legendary Bitter End on Bleecker Street. The Village Trip finale, it featured Tom Chapin and the Chapin Sisters, Happy Traum, Diana Jones and David Massengill, with Michael Mark on bass. David Mansfield, fiddler star of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue, was the special guest and the irrepressible David Amram sprinkled yet more magic, recalling encounters with Guthrie and many others. 

Many thanks to everyone who helped make The Village Trip happen, not least our sponsors and partners, and all friends and family whose support and love enabled us to launch this cherished project. Thank you also to the many people, in the Village and beyond, who helped – artistically, practically, logistically. Please know how deeply we appreciate your time, patience and kindness.

We couldn’t have done it without you. 
See you all for The Village Trip 2019!

Suzanne Vega

Suzanne Vega returns to her roots

Singer-songwriter whose career was born in Greenwich Village returns to headline Bringing It All Back Home to Washington Square

Suzanne Vega – whose career began in Greenwich Village in the new folk revival of the 1980s – is to headline Bringing It All Back Home to Washington Square, the free concert in Washington Square Park which is the focal point of The Village Trip.

Also on the bill are Martha Redbone, whose singing is an exhilarating fusion of R&B, soul and Native American influences, and VickiKristrinaBarcelona, the three-part harmony trio of songwriters and multi-instrumentalists comprising Rachelle Garniez, Amanda Homi and Terry Radigan who together “reimagine” the Tom Waits songbook. Continue reading Suzanne Vega returns to her roots

Girl wih guitar 1967. Photo by David Gahr

The Village Trip: Press Release

September 27 – 30, 2018

Music | Poetry | Theater | Photography

Suzanne Vega to headline concert in Washington Square Park

Premiere of Greenwich Village Portraits for Saxophone
and Piano by David Amram, Village Trip Artist-in-Residence

A new festival will celebrate Greenwich Village as the historic forge in which much of 20th century American culture was hammered out. Taking place over the last four days of
September and based out of the fabled Washington Square Hotel, the inaugural Village Trip will honor the lives and work of Edna St Vincent Millay, Jack Kerouac and Eugene O’Neill, all of whom spent their formative years in the Village, and the work of photographer David Gahr.

It will also celebrate the legendary Village jazz heritage with two events in partnership with the New School: a concert at the Stiefel Hall by Billy Harper, Joanne Brackeen, Vic Juris and Dave Douglas, and a post-concert Jazz Jam at the Washington Square Hotel’s North Square Lounge featuring students from the School of Jazz sitting in with multi-instrumentalist and composer David Amram, who has worked with Leonard Bernstein, Joseph Papp, Charles Mingus and Hunter S Thompson, among others, and whose film scores include The Manchurian Candidate.

Amram, who is The Village Trip Artist-in-Residence, has worked in Greenwich Village since the 1940s, and created Jazz/Poetry with Jack Kerouac. He will perform Kerouac’s Blues in the Afternoon at the Jefferson Market Library, where Kenneth Radnofsky and Yoshiko Kline will give the world premiere performance for saxophone and piano of Amram’s Greenwich Village Portraits – three movements dedicated to his late Village friends Arthur Miller, Odetta and Frank McCourt.

Suzanne Vega, whose career began in Village clubs and coffeehouses more than 30 years ago, headlines a free concert in Washington Square Park. Bringing It All Back Home to Washington Square will honor the musical heritage of the Village, whose siren call drew a student dropout from the University of Minnesota whom the world would come to know as Bob Dylan. Says Vega: “ I am happy to be doing this show in Greenwich Village, where I spent a lot of time in the eighties. I first ventured down to Folk City afraid to cross the threshold because I knew Bob Dylan had started there. But I was thrilled to be accepted by the gang of poetic songwriters I found. And it’s always good to be back.”

Continue reading The Village Trip: Press Release

The Village Trip Poster by Lori Loebelsohn

Memories and reflections of Greenwich Village

Artist Lori Loebelsohn was a teenager in Brooklyn when she first set foot in the Village. She was immediately hooked and was soon living there, an art student with Washington Square Park as her campus. The richness of her experience, and her longstanding connections with the Washington Square Hotel, have now inspired an evocative poster for The Village Trip… Continue reading Memories and reflections of Greenwich Village

Danny Kapilian

Danny Kapilian announced as producer of The Village Trip’s concert in Washington Square Park

Danny Kapilian is to produce Bringing It All Back Home to Washington Square, the Saturday afternoon concert that is the centerpiece of The Village Trip.

Kapilian is a Brooklyn-based producer of high-profile live music events, tours, and festivals. His original productions are often unique conceptual events that bring together renowned artists from a variety of genres. Continue reading Danny Kapilian announced as producer of The Village Trip’s concert in Washington Square Park

It was a time! Playing the Night Owl

Ian SeebergIan Seeberg and his band the Gingermen played Joe Marra’s legendary Night Owl in the 1960s, one of many clubs around the crossroads of MacDougal and Bleecker

Every night the streets of Greenwich Village in the 1960s were filled with a riotous blaze of neon lights and patchouli oil; a teeming, bell-bottomed sea of peace and love with no shortage of feathers, headbands and beads. Wherever you looked indelible images appeared: a darkened doorway becoming an impromptu stage for someone to muse mystically on a native flute, fervent chanters intoning through clouds of incense, strange figures emerging out of the night fog of Washington Square looking like lost Indian scouts for General Custer – and all of it set to the endless soundtrack of ringing guitar music pouring from clubs up and down the streets.

Continue reading It was a time! Playing the Night Owl