From La MaMa’s Restoration to the Second Birthplace of Hip-Hop and More: New Programs for July 2023

Did you know that Village Preservation members receive advance notice of our public programs? Our tours and other programs sometimes offer limited seating or spaces. By becoming a member of Village Preservation, you can take advantage of that advanced notice and register before the general public. Find out how to become a member here.

For videos, details, and other media from our past programs, click here.

The Award-Winning Restoration of La MaMa’s 74A E. 4th Street — A Panel Discussion and Tour

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Pre-registration required. 

Location: La MaMa’s 74A East 4th Street

Earlier this year, La MaMa ETC. completed the renovation and restoration of its original theater building at 74A East 4th Street. The individually landmarked building, constructed in 1873 as a German professional orchestral musicians’ association in the heart of what was then New York’s “Kleindeutschland,” later became home to a German singing society, several public meeting and dance halls, the Newsboys Athletic Hall, a laundry, and a meatpacking plant. In the late 1960s, however, it was rescued from abandonment by the scrappy new Off-Off-Broadway theater organization founded by Ellen Stewart, which would become an incomparable powerhouse in its field. 

A years long renovation has restored the building to its historic glory, greatly expanded its capacity to serve artists and the public, and won awards and accolades from across the city, including from Village Preservation at our 2023 Annual Village Awards. 

La MaMa ETC will be joining Village Preservation to convene a panel discussion and presentation by experts from the theater and the restoration team about the work to transform this beloved historic landmark, followed by a tour of the sparkling new space. Spaces are limited. 

To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse — A Book Talk with Author and New Yorker Contributor Howard Fishman

Wednesday, July 19, 2023
In person

Pre-registration required. Spaces limited. 

Location: Jefferson Market Library, first floor theater. 

Join Village Preservation in partnership with Jefferson Market Library for an in-person discussion with musician, playwright, director, and composer Howard Fishman, about his new book To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse. Converse was a pioneer of what’s become known as the singer-songwriter era, making music in the predawn of a movement that had its roots in the Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 1960s. It was while living alone in a studio apartment at 23 Grove Street that Ms. Converse wrote almost all of her “guitar song” catalog. The book is a mysterious true story of a mid-century New York City songwriter, singer, and composer whose haunting music hasn’t found broad recognition–yet.

When musician and New Yorker contributor Howard Fishman first heard Connie Converse’s voice on a recording, he was convinced she could not be real. Her recordings were too good not to know, and too out of place for the 1950s to make sense—a singer who seemed to bridge the gap between traditional Americana (country, blues, folk, jazz, and gospel), the Great American Songbook, and the singer-songwriter movement that exploded a decade later with Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.

Fishman expertly weaves a fascinating narrative of her life and music and ultimately places her in the canon as a significant outsider artist, a missing link between a now old-fashioned kind of American music and the reflective, complex, arresting music that transformed the 1960s and music forever.

Brittany Spanos, a Senior Writer at Rolling Stone, will be interviewing Howard Fishman. Since 2015, she has written numerous features, reviews, and essays on the history of popular music and current music topics. Outside of writing, she hosts two podcasts for the publication: Don’t Let This Flop and 500 Greatest Albums. Prior to taking on her role at Rolling Stone, Spanos worked as the Clubs Editor at Village Voice, handling concert listings for the paper while contributing interviews and reviews to its music blog. 

Pioneers of Greenwich Village, with author Laurie Lewis

Thursday, July 27, 2023  
6:00 pm
Zoom Webinar

Pre-registration required.

Author Laurie Lewis will present “The Pioneers of Greenwich Village,” a lecture based upon her book “New York City Firsts: Big Apple Innovations That Changed the Nation and the World.” Lewis researched the many New Yorkers responsible for pioneering discoveries, inventions, breakthroughs, and innovations in the arts, engineering, commerce, food, government, civil rights and social justice, music, religion, sports, and many other areas. For this lecture, she’ll focus on the many Greenwich Village residents found on that list and their incredible innovations that changed the landscapes of our lives. Get ready to hear more detail about old familiar names and explore new ones as you learn about how the world was changed from our doorstep.

Laurie Lewis’s book New York City Firsts combines her love of New York — she’s a licensed NYC tour guide — and her research and story-telling skills. A full-time freelance editor and writer for more than 30 years, Laurie provided a practical approach for one of the most difficult questions for freelancers in her award-winning book What to Charge: Pricing Strategies for Freelancers and Consultants. As a tour guide, Laurie’s jaunts through Greenwich Village include a literary tour and a noshing tour. She also publishes a newsletter through Take a Walk New York.

The 2nd Birthplace of Hip-Hop: 50th Anniversary Walking Tour

Monday, July 31, 2023 
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Outdoor Walking Tour

Pre-Registration is Required. Spaces are limited.

Meeting Place: Washington Square Park 

Did you know that the first place in NYC where all four Hip-Hop elements were presented together for the first time outside of the Bronx was at a club/concert hall in the East Village? 

Did you know that rappers like Mos Def and Biggie got their start at an open mic show in the West Village? 

The 2nd Birthplace Tour (Hip-Hop 50 Tour) is a two-hour walking tour (10 stops) that honors the artists and entrepreneurs, and explores spaces and sites in the Village that were pivotal in introducing Hip-Hop cultural elements (Bboying, Djing, Graffiti, Fashion and Emceeing) to the world. During a pivotal 20-year period in Hip-Hop history (1979-1999), nightlife venues, art galleries, walls, and parks throughout the Village functioned as a secondary incubator and stage for Bboys, graffiti artists, emcees, DJs, and designers creating what we now call Hip-Hop Culture. 

July 5, 2023