Farewell Bar82!! This lower east side joint is closing at the end of March. The last open mic is this Wednesday March 27th at 7PM. It’s called bar82 because it’s on Second Ave between 8th Street and Saint Marks. I’ve been playing at bar82 for years mostly because it’s an excellent sounding room. It’s a separate backroom (with a door) where comedians and musicians would perform. The separation from the bar and pool table area gave the space a focused air. This was a performance space. If you were to step into the space it was to perform or to watch/listen to the performers, if you wanted to jibber-jabber you could go out to the bar. There were candles on the tables in the otherwise dark room with the exception of the light on the platform stage. A beat-up spinet piano covered with various decorative knick-knacks and doo-dads. The fact that the place attracted a variety of performers like Stephen Konzen (The East Village Magic Man), Walter Gambine (performance artist), and Matthew Silver (performance artist/comedian) was a clear indication that this was a safe place to try anything. When I first played there, the open mic was hosted by the illustrious Wayne Kral who had a following and a style all his own. Things kind of went off the rails for Wayne there for a while, he seemed dogged by varying streaks of bad luck and was “let go”. The management then hired Jason Trachtenburg (of the notorious Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, indie-vaudeville conceptual art-rock pop band originally from Seattle). Those of us loyal to the former host were leery at first, as is natural in awkward situations when someone has been fired. I warmed up to Jason upon hearing/seeing his performance, he’s definitely working an angle that’s not easy…although I’m not even sure what it is, is it tongue-in-cheek? …not sure but he gives 100% and that’s good company to keep. So I suppose bar82 is closing due to rising rents as is so often the case in these scenarios which are becoming uncomfortably familiar ahem The Living Room, The Backfence (other joints set to close). Where will we go? What ever will we do?? What we always do, find another place to play. Even when there is NO place to play we’ll play and go where the roads take us!! I’ve been digging the Freakbeat scene of late (1960s British, garage-type rock) so I leave you with The Action produced by George Martin Have a great week all!! -p


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