We are really excited to hear about this event which has not been widely publicized. It is the 40th anniversary of an important time and place in the East Village that spawned a new generation of art and activism. Lydia Lunch, James Chance, CHARAS and Missing Foundation were all true pioneers and part of what made the downtown and East Village scenes so exciting. When you read the bios below you can see how this downtown community of artists integrated and unified an immensely diverse set of influences and how what eventually became the community gardens and public spaces, like Tompkins Sq and La Plaza, played a major part of that.
From the Facebook even page (LINK):
“Join us for a party for the 40th anniversary of one of NYC’s most forward-thinking venues, a storied legacy of the 1970’s downtown art scene: La Plaza Cultural, a green, multi-use, civic, performance space, spread over a third of a city block on east 9th street at avenue C. The evening will celebrate downtown NYC’s legacy of visionary, outsider music and art, social activism, community, and sustainable design.
La Plaza was the brainchild of guerrilla activists, including the Latino group CHARAS, who seedbombed the trash-filled vacant lot in 1976. La Plaza’s founders and early supporters included era-defining artists such as Buckminster Fuller, who built one of his geodesic domes onsite, the anti-architect Gordon Matta-Clark and legendary street artist Keith Haring. Its 40th anniversary party will feature performances by legendary artists of the period and emerging artists alike.
Sal P (of Liquid Liquid)
Etienne Pierre Duguay
“Birth” by FOLD
A Gnostic, profeminist retelling of the Adam and Eve story, “Birth” by FOLD is an immersive, ritual performance that draws on the legacies of Brecht’s Epic Theater and Antonin Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty, forging a response to the politics of oncoming global collapse and late capitalist ideologies of identity. A tragic family narrative of creation, hubris, perversion, loss, and generational struggle, Birth simultaneously evokes and critiques nostalgia for the “golden age” of 1970’s downtown grittiness and its relationship to sanitized neoliberal urbanism. Based in a synthesis of the Western Hermetic tradition, Vedic cosmology, and quantum physics, “Birth” suggests a path to elucidation beyond the polarities of conformity and authenticity, materialism and spirituality.
Lydia Lunch is an American singer, poet, writer, actress who has appeared in films that include Black Box, Mondo New York, and Kill Your Idols. She co-wrote the art-cult favorite “Fingered” with Richard Kern. The Boston Phoenix named Lunch “one of the 10 most influential performers of the 1980s.” Her work typically features provocative and confrontational noise music delivery and has maintained an anti-commercial ethic, operating independently of major labels and distributors. Lunch’s moniker was given to her by Willy DeVille because she stole food for her friends.
James Chance is an American saxophonist, keyboard player, songwriter and singer. Chance has been playing a combination of improvisational jazz-like music and punk in the New York music scene since the late 1970s. His music can be described as combining the freeform playing of Ornette Coleman with the solid funk rhythm of James Brown, though filtered through a punk rock lens. James’ live performances with the Contortions would often end in violence when Chance would confront audience members.
Missing Foundation/M7H, (Peter Missing): musician, noted activist, painter, and founder of the influential underground industrial band Missing Foundation, was one of the organizers of the protest against the notorious curfew in Tompkins Square Park in 1988. The earliest incarnation of Missing Foundation, which was founded in Hamburg in 1984 by Peter Missing, included Sascha Konietzko and En Esch of industrial act KMFDM. Peters’s art has been shown in MoMA, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Getty Institute, and the Stadt Museum in Berlin. His famous mark of an upside down martini glass with three strikes has become a worldwide symbol of the need for planetary transformation. Missing worked many years as a film set designer in Hamburg and taught art to troubled youth in different German schools.
Salvatore Principato (Sal P) is a dj, producer, performs with 178 Product, Fist of Facts, and is the vocalist for Liquid Liquid. Following a long hiatus after dissolving in 1983, Liquid Liquid has been performing globally since 2008. They are best known for their track, “Cavern,” which was covered by the Sugar Hill Records house band as the backing track for Grandmaster + Melle Mel’s old school rap classic, “White Lines (Don’t Do It). Liquid Liquid’s music is essentially groove-based and influenced by a variety of sources, including funk, dub reggae, Afrobeat, and punk in its do it yourself garage approach. As a vocalist, Salvatore Principato is known to use his voice as an instrument, focusing more on pitch and rhythm than words and lyrics.
Collin Crowe is an electronic musician & video artist based in Brooklyn NY who plays at yoga classes and dank basements depending on his mood.
SenseNet, formed in late 2015, is a Brooklyn-based band. A darkwave/dark synth group, it is heavily inspired by cyberpunk and retrofuturist aesthetics, as well as anti-corporatism and technophilia. The members, which include Rob Interface (synth/drum machine), Drea Mantis (vox), Riq Nazti (e guitar), are all NYC natives. Drea also plays in The Hot Solids (an Electro No-Wave band) and Enrique fronts his own project called Elefantkiller (a Thrash-Metal band).
Founded in 2015, FOLD is an ensemble and production company based in Brooklyn, NY, which creates film, installation, and live performance. FOLD develops intensely physical work, often drawn from the history of esotericism, that merges seemingly incompatible realities, dissolving boundaries between performer and spectator and exploring the extremes where transcendence meets alienation, radical embodiment, and metamorphosis. Past work includes Antonin Artaud’s Spurt of Blood at the French Embassy’s Albertine bookstore, Cosmogony at Pioneer Works, ARAS at the C.G. Jung Center, and MIND at Good Work Gallery and the Schoolhouse.
Directed by: Etienne Pierre Duguay
Written by: Eli Epstein-Deutsch and Etienne Pierre Duguay
Music by: Collin Crowe and Etienne Pierre Duguay
Produced by: Eli Epstein-Deutsch, Etienne Pierre Duguay”