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 Wither New York Bohemia?

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lump516 Posted - 09/19/2005 : 11:26:20
A question raised by two books I've read in recent months; Mr. Bergmann's book about Mr. Shepherd,and The Ghastly One, the biography of an odd-ball film and theater director named Andy Milligan (who specialized in the kind of grind-house fare that showed up in Times Square theaters).

Mind you, Shepherd was much more successful than Milligan, but they were both Midwestern transplants to New York bohemia in a way--outside of the radio stuff, Shepherd was not only appearing in other people's theatrical productions, he knocked together one for himself. Milligan, who arrived in New York in the late 1940's after a stint in the Navy, worked as an actor, puppeteer, set and costume designer, ran a successful dress shop, and then began mounting stage productions at the Caffe Cino and the La Mama in Greenwich Village, specializing in odd productions of obscure plays by well-known playwrights (Williams, O'Neill) or violent Restoration tragedies such as The Glittering Gates.

I mention all of this because I don't think if could happen in New York anymore--I read an interview with John Malkovich recently and he was asked why his theatrical work was still based in Chicago, where he had helped to found the Steppenwolf company--very simple, he said--the theater community is much more vibrant in Chicago--people could still afford to starve there.

Which is true. The odd thing is, these days, most of the really important work in theater and music, etc., is out in what 50's New Yorkers would think of as the sticks--L.A. has a booming theater scene, Minneapolis has produced a slew of seriously funny people, as has Chicago--and mostly because there are parts of town with dumpwater apartments and moldering store fronts where people can live and work cheaply. New York and San Francisco, for whatever reason, are getting so expensive that only millionaires can afford the rents--and people who are already millionaires are not that imaginative any more--I suspect Woody Allen was much funnier when he lived in Brooklyn.
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fudge Posted - 09/22/2005 : 06:58:08
Portland, Oregon has a similar problem-they've 'revitalized' the city by pulling down the old neighborhoods and building million dollar condos-and now only recently has anyone noticed there are no children down town...families cant afford to live there...same with artists...cities end up with a lot of nice looking buildings and no character-or characters-might as well be a hollywood set, with just store fronts and nothing behind or inside...
Dan Posted - 09/20/2005 : 11:42:05
Expensive Manhattan living long ago priced out the bohemians. Greenwich Village now offers million-dollar condos and $2000/month apartment rentals. You see more models than 'artists' down there today. Some of the creative community moved to the Lower East Side, only to be priced out again. Brooklyn neighborhoods like Williamsburgh and Greenpoint are now home to a growing number of artists, until they get too expensive.

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