Thursday, February 2, 2012

Heart of Glass

Philip Glass turned 75 on Tuesday. And the composer is the subject of Steven Thrasher's cover story this week at The Village Voice. Among other topics, Glass discusses the neighborhood he has called home since the 1960s.

Some excerpts:

"The Bowery used to be synonymous with people who lived on the street and were alcoholics," Glass says with little nostalgia of many veteran Villagers. "In the '80s, if you wandered over to Avenue B . . . there would be people walking in the middle of the street hawking drugs! Just announcing what they had for sale! It was that open.

"I am not sorry to see that part of the East Village disappearing. It was a very grungy part, you know?" He admits that Tompkins Square Park "is much better than it used to be. ...

Still, Glass is aware (and sad) that many of the economic realities that allowed him to become an artist, back when the East Village was a neighborhood of Ukrainian immigrants and Yiddish theaters, no longer exist.


"It was very common when I was a kid — I call myself a kid until I was in my thirties; that would have been until the late '60s and early '70s — it was very common to find a loft in the East Village . . . empty synagogues and that type of thing," Glass says. "You could find a loft for $150, $200 a month.

"Now, that's impossible," Glass says, though it never stops the Big Apple. "One of the things that's made New York so impressive is the constant wave of young people looking for fame, fortune, art, whatever, something."

Read the full article here.

1 comment:

Hey19 said...

Glass is all over the place these days. Interesting guy right? Certainly unique, cool he identifies so much w downtown NYC.

There is a quote my dad uses a lot, I think its Coltrane on Ornette, and I am going to get it as wrong as I prob got the attribution, but I always think of it when I listen to most of Glass' stuff; "Ive listened to him high, stoned and drunk, and its still jive".