help keep the VILLAGE in the EAST

Antifolk Festival, August 19-26

Let's respect the history and launch the future of the East Village, LOISAIDA, Village, or whatever our nicknames have been for New York's most dynamic cultural engine. HOWL!, The "1st Annual Festival of East Village Arts," begins August 20.

While it sure ain't just about Wigstock, we're ecstatic to see the Lady Bunny return three days later - all the way to her roots, to Tompkins Square Park, as part of this new Festival.

All hail the mission statement of the HOWL! organizers, FEVA:

Mission Statement

Founded in 2002, the Federation of East Village Artists honors the historic role of the East Village as the cradle of the city’s, if not the world’s, counterculture. We stand on the shoulders of the gods and the ghosts that have come before us, committed to preserve our unique history and to create opportunities for the next generation of visionaries to flourish. The neighborhood that has spawned the Living Theater and Independent Film, been home to poets from Auden to Pinero, to musicians from Charlie Parker to The Ramones, blank canvas for Haring and sanctuary for Basquiat, long-time stomping ground for generation after generation of beatniks, hippies, yippies and punks, cannot go the way of the dodo bird. FEVA will fight for the rights of local artists for health insurance, professional services and affordable housing. FEVA will provide an emergency relief fund for those in need, will connect local artists with local schools, will bring public art to our gardens and to our streets. FEVA will also create a Smithsonian of the Counterculture, a combination archive, museum, performance space and gallery to preserve our rich past and inspire the artists of the future. Artists are a natural resource, precious as light, air and water and just as crucial to the city’s economic and spiritual environment. FEVA will advocate on behalf of this great community of experimenters and iconoclasts, to insure that its existence is not imperiled and that the legacies of Emma Goldman, of The Fugs, of Allen Ginsberg endure for generations to come.

We're gonna get art (by genuine artists and other genuine people), a poetry festival (free in every way), a film festival (no awards! no awards!), EV homie Charlie Parker (resurrected!), an Antifolk Festival (Dylan meets Sex Pistols), all the "Way the F**K Off-Broadway people (including, just for starters, Dirty Martini, Rev Jen, FACEBOY, PORNO JIM, The Bitter Poet, World Famous *BOB*) and a nutty everybody-loves-a East Village parade, "The Pantheon Processional," at the Astor Place Cube (honoring local luminaries from the past, present and future), and all of that just richness and culture goodness just scratches the surface.

This delightful extravaganza seems to be virtually an entirely volunteer-staffed labor of love for the people behind it - as in "I've got an idea, let's put on a show!" This downtown knows how.

Also, while it's very nice to memorialize the past, this thing is at least as much about the future. It better be, because without a howling future the entire Village will end up being about nothing more than real estate.

We gotta go. August. What the hell did we eschew that country place for, anyway? What country place? What country?