On Monday, September 16th, GVSHP and our co-sponsor The New School for Public Engagement will present a screening of the documentary film, “For the Records” by Emily Judem and Hazel Sheffield. The subject of the film is the record store Bleecker Bob’s which closed last April after 45 years of doing business in Greenwich Village, 32 of those years at the 118 West 3rd Street location. We presented this film last February but many people were unable to attend, so we are pleased to have this encore presentation. Emily Judem will be available for a question-&-answer session following the screening.
You might be wondering why a store called “Bleecker Bob’s” was located on West 3rd Street, in the proposed South Village Historic District. It was in the late 1960’s that two men, Robert Plotnik, an attorney, and Al Trommers, a record collector, opened a record store at 149 Bleecker Street. Trommers already had a nickname, “Broadway Al” so he decided that Plotnik needed a nickname too. Since the store was located on Bleecker Street, he started calling his partner “Bleecker Bob” and it stuck. A few years later Robert “Bleecker Bob” Plotnik left the partnership and opened his own record store on West 3rd Street, calling it “Bleecker Bob’s”.
The location 118 West 3rd Street already had a rich musical history. For years it was the Night Owl Café, where musicians such as the Lovin’ Spoonful, James Taylor (and his pre-solo-career band) the Flying Machine, Fred Neil, and even Jimi Hendrix performed. So it seemed to make sense that Bleecker Bob’s didn’t keep normal retail business hours, instead staying open until the late-night hours when people spilled out of the bars and clubs with music in their ears. Bleecker Bob’s became a favorite hangout of the music crowd, in part because of the records that were available there (and not everywhere else) and in part because of its quirky atmosphere. Bob himself befriended legendary musicians such as Debbie Harry, Frank Zappa, David Bowie, and Robert Plant, and they could be seen visiting the store.
Needless to say, the recorded music industry has changed, and the way we acquire recorded music has changed. The record stores of what is now a bygone era are the primary casualties. What is gone can never be brought back, but thanks to Emily Judem and Hazel Sheffield we have this documentary film filled with interviews with those who worked and shopped there, those who personally knew Bleecker Bob, and images of the store as it looked in its final days.
If you are interested in attending this screening, please contact us at email@example.com.