Friday, September 12, 2008

Howl! Downtown "Low Life" fun

A crazy atmosphere reminiscent of an old-fashioned carnival was the order of the day in Tompkins Square Park on Sunday, Sept. 7. Tony Sawicki and I trekked to downtown Manhattan and stopped backstage at the annual Howl! Festival, named in honor of the groundbreaking poem by Allen Ginsberg.

AKA Howlucination! Low Life City, this outdoor theatrical showcases the urbane culture of Manhattan ’s Lower East Side –- and especially the Bowery — in decades past. Ragtime music alternated with modern experimental rock. Performers sported period costumes characterized by top hats and tails for the men and ostrich plumes, lace and gowns for the ladies. The stage crackled with avante garde energy.

Backstage frenzy prevailed with performers dashing about frantically in various stage of undress, some rehearsing last minute dance moves while others swapped spit with old friends and colleagues. Flashbulbs popped as photographers from the local press captured the madness for posterity. Tony and myself oscillated between taking stills for DishMiss, shooting video for Under the Pink Carpet, and generally having a blast with a colorful posse of downtown pals, including Adam Joseph (who appears with us on A Four Letter Word DVD), Nasty Canasta and Johnny Porkpie (who perform with me at Sexahol Review) Chi Chi Valenti, Johnny Dynell, World Famous *BOB*, Michael Formika Jones, Epiphany, Acid Betty, Dirty Martini, Hattie Hathaway, Joey Arias, puppeteer Basil Twist, Tigger, Trina Rose, the Dueling Bankheads and many others.

Legendary diva Lady Bunny even made a surprise appearance, not soooo surprising since Tompkins Square Park was the original home to her Wigstock Drag Extravaganza!