Next Wednesday I’m going to be reading at the KGB Bar in the East Village in New York. I didn’t know much about it, except that it is a storied venue for readings and the Rutgers MFA program does its readings there, and I wanted to see it before I read there.
It’s 1960s, even 50s, East Village slightly subversive chic. I lived in the West Village in the 60s and in those days, you didn’t go into the East Village; it was too dangerous. It felt slightly forbidding to me, though that was just the ghost of the old days. It’s gentrifying quickly, with little boutiques and nice housing stock that has tidied itself up a great deal since the 1960s.
To get to the KGB Bar you go to 85 East 4th Street, open a nondescript red door (made me think of a speakeasy), pass the Kraine Theatre and ease up the white marble stairs to the bar, a dark red place redolent of history — the history of people reading all manner of writing.
Tonight a children’s book writer and illustrator were reading their book, and at the beginning, the author said there would be “some entertainment” afterwards. The entertainment was a luscious young lady dressed like and made up like a marionette. She danced marionette-style for a while to marionette music, and then she took most of her clothes off, a little at a time. I hasten to add that I have nothing like this planned for next Wednesday, though it would thrill me to have somebody else tell their dating story after I have read mine. Hey, everyone has a dating story, right? If not their own, then their mother’s.
While you’re in the neighborhood, you could go to Korzo Haus, the little hole in the wall restaurant at 178 East 7th street near Avenue B, which serves deep fried hamburgers. Live a little!