REVIEW OF 2022: Let the Good Times Roll
For a slide show with captions, click on the images
And they did, across two weeks and three weekends, Greenwich Village and the East Village – Washington Square Park to Tompkins Square Park. The Village Trip celebrated the neighborhoods, showing off not just their great legacies but also their continuing vibrancy. The spirit – artistic, activist – of which Robert Snyder, Manhattan Borough Historian, spoke of in his inaugural Village Trip lecture, titled “Global Greenwich Village,” was everywhere evident. At the Nuyorican Poets Café, where David Amram, Bobby Sanabria, Jennifer Jade Ledesna, Marcos de la Fuente and Loisaida musicians celebrated the Beats and bebop in an evening organised by Lyn Pentecost and Pepe Flores of La Sala de Pepe y Foto Espacio, the infectious joy and energy of the evening made it seem that all things are possible. As Charlie Parker said: Now is the time! Amen to that.
What Maestro Leonard Bernstein called “the infinite variety of music” was on offer: Classical and New Music at St John’s in the Village, Tenri Cultural Institute, and the Players Theater. William Anderson thoughtfully curated concerts that crossed genres, pushed boundaries, and took us on any number of stimulating journeys criss-crossing the rich musical history of the Village, East and West.
There were premières – from David Amram, Gene Pritsker and Suzanne Vega, the latter inventively paired with Composers Concordance. There was jazz in all its vibrant glory. Amram and Sanabria and a host of friends raising the roof at Joe’s Pub as they celebrated The Children of the American Bop (and Mambo) Night.
The great Janis Siegel, in another sold-out gig at Joe’s, sang an exquisite and heartfelt tribute to her beloved New York City. And of course, there was Janis and Jamie Bernstein, the Maestro’s daughter, and their friends with an exclusive and utterly enthralling evening honoring Wonderful Town, a musical set in mid-century Greenwich Village bohemia. It’s getting an Uptown transfer – need we say more!
The highlights were too numerous to mention, but for many the star-studded reading of On the Road, directed by David Deblinger of HB Studio, with live music from Jack Kerouac’s old buddy David Amram, was way up there. Questlove was in the audience! And emotions were high as we celebrated the late great Phil Ochs at a sold-out concert at the Bitter End, a club Ochs knew well and played often. Peter Yarrow was in the audience – Peter, Paul and Mary played their debut performance in the club back in 1961!
History honored, history made across a few blocks of Downtown Manhattan that have given more to the world than any other.
“I think I can speak for everyone when I say that yes, we had as much fun as it looked like we did,” said Lisa Gutkin, Klezmatics singer-songwriter and fiddler after the band’s backyard gig in Washington Square Park. “It was fabulous to see so many of our long-time fans. But also, I loved watching people who were just wandering into the Park join the dance line and go crazy. It was indeed thrilling.”
Thank you all for coming. It’s been quite a Trip! See you same time, same place next year.
And if you can, please consider making a donation so the fun and fandango, the hi-jinks and high ideals of The Village Trip, can continue. Next year will be the fifth festival – let’s make it really special.
Always remember – it takes a village!
Liz & Cliff