Tuesday, February 9, 2010

EV Grieve readers inspire Aces and Eights to do something worthwhile with the bar's upstairs space

As you may recall from last August, we had several posts on Avenue A's Aces & Eights and the bar's general manager, Tom Michaelsen... (You may refresh your memory here.)

While, for instance, Aces & Eights LES helped raise $1,200 for UNH (United Neighborhood Houses)... they were still serving up the beer pong, as Michaelsen said, "that much maligned representation of jockdom and fratholiness you all despise (possibly because you didn’t make the Varsity team in high school? Don't worry, neither did I.)"

Later, he wrote: "I'd love to get ideas from the community as to how we could improve your quality of life. If anybody has anything constructive to say, I would love to hear it."

And now, starting Thursday...



Well, let's go right to the news release that Michaelsen sent me:

Aces & Eights at 34 Avenue A, brings back the glory days of East Village art with a fun exhibition of evocative, post-pop photographs by Curt Hoppe in a lively, lounge setting. Who could be more perfect for the bar’s first foray into serious art than the legendary Hoppe, who as a young artist was one of the most talked about stars of the notorious “New York / New Wave” show at PS1 which helped launch the careers of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Mapplethorpe and others, back in 1981.

For most of the last twenty years, Hoppe has keapt a relatively low profile steering clear of downtown shenanigans for a lucrative career making exquisite photo-realist paintings of scenes in the Hamptons. Hoppe has always used his own photographs for his paintings. Recently turning his camera on city scenes, he has accumulated a profusion of exciting new images, and began thinking about exhibiting the photographs themselves. When Aces and Eights called, it seemed the perfect opportunity to give the new work its first public test.

Aces & Eights’ decision to show art was an outgrowth of the spirited exchanges on EV Grieve’s neighborhood blog between then general manager Tom Michaelsen and East Village residents concerned about the bar’s Upper-East-Side, preppy reputation. “Our style is sometimes a little different,” says Michaelsen, “but there is much about East Village culture that we share and we’re proud to be part of the community and its history.”


OK. I love Hoppe's work... and I see this as a positive step for the bar...I'm curious what other people think...

12 comments:

Jill said...

Congrats on your blog making positive change. Last night's CB3 SLA meeting was not hopeful.

EV Grieve said...

Thanks, Jill. Any highlights that you care to share?

Jeremiah Moss said...

nice to see people are listening! the art looks great and i'll look forward to checking it out.

of course, i can't help looking at this with a jaundiced eye. is it a tactic to win over the neighborhood critics? a calculated publicity strategy exploiting the virality of blogs?

having art shows does not place beer-pong shenanigans above reproach. let's see if there are business-wide changes that accompany this art event--or if it's going to be art upstairs and frat-holes-as-usual downstairs.

the EV blog mafia will not be won over with bread and circuses!

that said, i hope the intention behind this move is sincere.

Melanie said...

I will check the show out.

Goggla said...

The way I'm interpreting "a fun exhibition . . . in a lively, lounge setting" is they are just throwing art up on the walls without changing anything else. Please let me know if this is incorrect.

Melanie said...

Do you know when the exhibit is open??details please.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Curt Hoppe is alive. Last time I saw him was c. 1979 in Screw Magazine's art department. What was his nickname? Speedy Alka Seltzer, something like that.

Jill said...

I am not happy about the rubber stamping of transfer licenses by the CB3. I understand the CB's point that businesses should be able to sell when they have equity in their business, and I do support that concept, but in the case that came up last night, the bar has been closed for quite some time. So as I understand it, if there is nothing else left but an empty retail space and a liquor license, the equity is 100% in the liquor license and amounts to trafficking in liquor licenses rather than selling a legitimate business.

And that also means that once a space is a bar, there is absolutely no going back no matter how many other bars they've approved within a 500 foot area, or in a resolution area.

EV Grieve said...

The opening is Thursday night from 8:30 to 10:30... imagine the art can be seen whenever the bar is open...

Anonymous said...

I say let's not look a gift horse in the mouth--- at least Michaelsen was willing to listen.

EV Grieve said...

@ anon 2:21

Agreed, anon.

EV Grieve said...
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