Over at the New York Times East Village Blog there is a small piece entitled: A Literary Tour of the East Village. Now there are of course a couple of places that I feel were left out. Namely of course the Sidewalk Cafe. And yet one must ask what claim to literary fame does the Sidewalk Cafe have? I don't know. We don't deal in fame on this scene, as far as I can tell. And of course literary is often limited to the written/spoken word Which is ironic, given that some of the landmarks are Ginsberg related, and my understanding was that Ginsberg was ecstatic at the advent of Dylan and what he thought was the reunification of music and poetry in Dylan's work. Of course once you start going into music venues, perhaps the list gets unwieldy. Or maybe it stops in most mainstream thought at CBGB's. Plus music doesn't have to be literary. I might not put CBGB's on a literary tour just because the Ramones played there, but once we start talking Patti Smith or David Byrne well there might be room for debate. You see my drift.
Now I don't know if Dylan, Smith or Byrne ever passed through the Sidewalk, but there are poet/singers of equal or almost equal worth that called the Sidewalk home for a number of years. I guess J.J. Hayes's Amazing Antifolk Explicator and Philosophic Analyzer came into being upon the realization that there was stuff coming out of this Scene that was objectively as good as, almost as good as, or better than a lot of what critics and fans consider to be the greats. And so I try to make the literary case for the music.
But limited as I am in descriptive talents I am better at pointing and suggesting. Now why you would want to take my suggestions is beyond me, but it might be a good starting point so that we have a common point of reference. This Saturday there is The Debe Dalton & Dan Penta Tribute Night at the Sidewalk It speaks for itself, but here you have a chance to hear the songs performed by other than the writers of those songs, thereby allowing you to judge the songs as independent literary creations. Go. Then Please come back and comment. We can begin the discussion of whether the Sidewalk Cafe should be a literary landmark. Plus there's Crazy and The Brains and Rachel and Dan.
Sunday by the way is Barry Bliss, Larkin Grimm and Talking Stick with Yossarian Feedback. Barry I have written of, Larkin I really dig, but have not written about. Talking Stick hit some heights with Yossarian Feedback a few weeks ago that were just stellar, and spoken wordy and well literary.