15 December 2017

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Alex Abramovich

Tuli Kupferberg and Ed Sanders met in New York City in 1962, in front of the Charles Theater, two blocks north of Tompkins Square Park. Kupferberg was selling issues of Birth, a mimeographed publication he'd started in the 1950s. Sanders, who'd just launched his own mimeographed magazine, knew a few things about him. 'I'd seen his picture in a number of books,' Sanders later recalled. 'I learned a little bit later that he was the guy "who'd jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge", as described in Howl. (Actually it was the Manhattan Bridge.) I later asked him why. He replied, "I wasn't being loved enough."’

5 April 2017

Act Up at 30

Moira Donegan

Everyone was wearing the same T-shirt: black, with a pink triangle near the neck and white letters underneath, SILENCE = DEATH. The crowd was about three hundred strong, filling a side street in New York’s West Village, and many were carrying the same image on signs. An elderly man in a leather jacket spoke into a microphone. ‘In 1989 we shut down trading on the New York Stock Exchange, the only time trading has ever been stopped by a mass demonstration!’ There were cheers. ‘In 1992 we held the Ashes Action, where we dumped the ashes of Aids victims onto the White House lawn – right in George Bush’s backyard!’

17 November 2016

On Spring Street

Alex Abramovich

‘I wrote criticism as a mercenary and would never have written it otherwise,’ Donald Judd wrote in 1974. ‘Since there were no set hours and since I could work at home it was a good part-time job.’ Caitlin Murray quotes this in her introduction to a new collection of the artist's writing. Like everything I’ve read by Judd, it's matter of fact, utilitarian – plain in ways that conceal the effort that might have gone into the actual work.

18 December 2015

In the Poets’ Building

Alex Abramovich

Last month, I took the 6 train down to Spring Street to hear Richard Hell and Luc Sante read together at McNally Jackson Books. Sante read first, from his brilliant, unclassifiable book (history? miscellany? catalogue? atlas? threnody? love song?), The Other Paris: 'Until not so long ago it was always possible to find a place in the city,' he said.

16 December 2015

Heaven and Hell and Robert Hughes

Inigo Thomas

Saturday Night Fever was based on a story for New York Magazine by the British rock critic Nik Cohn. ‘The Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night’ was ‘true’, Cohn said. ‘While Manhattan remains firmly rooted in the sixties, still caught up in faction and fad and the dreary games of decadence,’ he wrote, ‘a whole new generation has been growing up around it, virtually unrecognised. Kids of sixteen to twenty, full of energy, urgency, hunger. All the things, in fact, that the Manhattan circuit, in its smugness, has lost.’ Years later, Cohn revealed that his story was based on people he'd known in Shepherds Bush.

12 January 2015

Operation Stand-Down

Alex Abramovich · The NYPD

For the better part of a month, New York's police have been throwing temper tantrums, turning their backs on the new mayor and refusing to do their day-to-day jobs, prompting the New York Times to publish a series of admonishing, incensed editorials. 'What New Yorkers expect of the Police Department is simple,' one said: