Press "Enter" to skip to content

Whoa, what a Trip! Music Inn jam, Baldwin, grrrl power and much more at this year’s Village fest

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | The Village Trip is set to keep on trucking, returning to the Village this fall for its sixth, event-packed season.

The annual celebration of arts and activism, spanning from Greenwich Village to the East Village and Lower East Side, will run for two weeks, from Sept. 14 to Sept. 28.
Kicking off excitement for this year’s fest was a launch party in May at The Bitter End on Bleecker Street, with performers and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine.

The curtain goes up with “Framing the Village,” on Sept. 5, a “visual prelude” to the Trip, curated by Mark Kehoe, at Moshava Art, at 45 W. Eighth Street. This year’s theme is Identity, as in, “How has the Village/East Village formed and inspired you and shaped your identity?” Artists must live or have lived or have maintained a studio in Greenwich Village or the East Village. (There is an open call for entries through July 21.)

The festival proper starts with a musical bang with a block party on W. Fourth Street on Sat., Sept. 14. The afternoon-long event will center around the historic Music Inn, a Village fixture for more than half a century and a regular stop for the likes of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and George Harrison — when jam sessions would include musicians hanging out at Allan Block’s Sandal Shop next door. (Block was a fiddler, and his daughter Rory played at the Trip’s 2019 festival and is an award-winning blues guitarist.) The event will be built around the legendary David Amram, the Village Trip’s artist emeritus, and will draw on the Music Inn’s regular roster of performers, who still gather in the store for weekly jam sessions.

Singer/guitarist Willie Nile performed at The Bitter End in May, in a lead-up to this fall’s Village Trip. (Photo by Maria Passanante-Derr)

The festival will close with the Trip’s signature free concert in Washington Square Park, which this year features an all-female, grrrl power lineup, including Tish and Snooky, Janie Barnett, and BETTY, Gloria Steinem’s favorite band, who were slated to perform last year when stormy weather nixed the concert.

Other events in the two-week Village-palooza will include the screening of a star-studded Lead Belly documentary at City Winery, featuring members of the pioneering singer’s family; the Latin big band jazz sounds of Bobby Sanabria; a centennial celebration of writer and civil rights activist James Baldwin, featuring new music inspired by his words, plus readings from some of his most famous work; Professor Ruth Feldstein’s lecture on Black women entertainers and their role in the civil rights movement; jazz singer Janis Siegel and friends celebrating composers Cy Coleman, and pianist/composers Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn; music of the iconic singer/songwriter Laura Nyro; music inspired by the art of Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keefe and Jackson Pollock; the Trip’s popular annual Guitar Fest; David Amram on music “inspired by the Bard”; Irish music; and a concert that promises to transport listeners to an “1890s Lower East Side tenement courtyard for the distinctive mix of cultures and music that so influenced later generations of composers.”

Also performing at The Bottom Line was singer Diane Garisto of Stoned Soul Picnic, The Laura Nyro Project. (Photo by Maria Passanante-Derr)

Liz Thomson and Cliff Pearson, the festival’s joint artistic directors, said the Trip is raring to rock.

“This year’s Village Trip is going to rock the Village — both East and West,” they said. “We’re thrilled to be adding the Blue Note to our roster of partner venues. And starting a relationship with The Clemente means we’re extending our reach in the Lower East Side and the Latino communities there.

“We are honored to be working with the Lead Belly family for the New York City premiere of the documentary ‘Lead Belly: The Man Who Invented Rock ’n’ Roll,’ and with Gail Papp, who is joining us once more when Artist Emeritus David Amram presents an evening of music he composed for Joe Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park.

“There’s much more to come, including details of ‘James Baldwin 100,’ a series of events which will look both backward and forward, using new music by contemporary composers and Baldwin’s own words to celebrate his centennial. Chiming with that, Professor Ruth Feldstein’s Village Trip Lecture will reflect on Black women entertainers and their role in the civil rights movement. Mark your calendars, tell your friends!”

William Anderson and Joan Forsyth, the Trip’s directors of classical and new music, said this September’s events will hit new high notes.

“Downtown’s history of classical music is rich and vibrant,” they said. “The Academy of Music and the first Steinway Hall were on 14th Street, near where Dvorak began his ‘New World Symphony.’ Gershwin grew up on the Lower East Side. And in Little Italy, Astor Piazzola birthed modern tango. The scene is no less vibrant today, with four flourishing music schools and hosts of young musicians following in the footsteps of the many who went before them.

“Once again, our classical and new music program will connect past and present, exploring and celebrating the Village — East and West — as an artistic gathering place where musical forms and ideas collide in languages as varied as those spoken on its crooked streets. As always, it will be an exhilarating ride.”

For more information, visit The Village Trip is a 501c3 organization, so contributions are welcome and tax-deductible.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.