Wednesday, August 16, 2006
"Howl "No More
Last summer at this time we were in the midst of the "Howl" festival . "Howl", supposedly a local arts festival , over the few years that it was held became large , big- time- corporation supported and not that much representative of the East Village artists and arts scene .The festival co-opted many of the older local yearly events and mixed them into a much larger , less neighborhood and less intimate affair in the late summer .Certainly the Federation of East Village Artists (FEVA ) which was the organization behind "Howl" didn't represent or include the majority of East Village artists . Jim"Mosaic Man" Power wasn't ever in any significant way included . Indeed he was generally dismissed as just an irrelavent local" character" that generally created problems . No matter all the extant evidence of work done in the neighborhood on walls ,sidewalks and lamp posts Jim was never ever considered by FEVA as significant enough to be included in any significant way. Not everyone was happy with "Howl" and some ,including Jim , actually made their own smaller celebrations to provide an alternative to "Howl" .
Last year during the "Howl"festival some of the anarchist and squatters held a festival of their own called "Squatterfest"in the east cemetary yard of St.Marks- in- the -Bowery church. On the last night of their festival they held a dance on top of the Winthrop burial vault dancing for hours to hard core ,bathed in red light, on top of the cross on the door of the vault with some dancers wearing pentagrams .
On the last day of "Howl" last summer, Jim and "Biker Bill" Walker held their own celebration in the midst of the Howl" street fair on St. Marks Place . At the "Cave" Jim and Bill hung a huge flag on the front of their building and quietly celebrated the veterans of the East Village . Jim was in the Army signal corp and Bill was a Marine and both are Vietnam veterans .The picture included would not have been taken had not the commander of the 9th precinct, inspector McCarthy, not said "Bob you 've got to take that picture of Jim and the flag" . I , of course , turned around and looked at the flag and then took the picture above .
There were even some in the neighborhood last summer that were so happy that "Howl "was over, that during the dissassembling of the big stage that had occupied a large part of Tompkins Square Park they drummed contiuously until the stage was completly gone from the park.
And now this summer, finally "Howl" will be no more .
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