Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Out and About in the East Village

In this weekly feature, East Village-based photographer James Maher provides us with a quick snapshot of someone who lives and/or works in the East Village.

By James Maher

Name: Angel Eyedealism (and Marlena)
Occupation: Stratospheric Coloratura and Performance Artist
Location: 7th Street and Avenue B
Time: 12:55 on Monday, Dec. 10

Well, I’m incredible. I’m from a small town in New York State but I’ve lived in the East Village since 1983, with the exception of a few years in Europe. I’m a singer and performance artist, a Theremin player and an astrologer.

I performed around the neighborhood for many years. I was just drawing up my résumé and I’m a Stratospheric Coloratura — that’s my vocal range. It means that I have a really huge opera voice. I realized that a lot of the venues in New York that I’ve performed at are no longer around. CBGBs — I left that on the résumé. The neighborhood has changed a lot over the years and you can bitch and moan about that, but it still has magic for me. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. The tour bus comes around and goes, ‘There she is!’

I’ve got so many stories, although I’m not fully awake right now. I never walk out with my makeup this fucked up; I still have my eye makeup on from last night. I worked at a gay club last night. Last night I was reading tarot cards at a gay disco. That sounds like a Smiths song. Right now the sun is in Sagittarius and the Moons in Scorpio. It’s gonna be the end of the world soon so it’s good that you’re interviewing me now. There’s supposed to be a big shift in the consciousness on 12-12-12. Some say it’s the end of the world and some says it’s a shift in consciousness.

I write these crazy songs. [Sings] I’m a tranny-chasing lesbian, I’ve got a reason to go on. I’m a part-time thespian, I am waiting for the call. I am waiting for that call. Oh, finger-fucking transgen, rock my, rock my generation! I’ve got a new band called the Fake Pussy Shadows. I do opera, A cappella, and spoken word with electronic music, but my new band is electronic, laptop, keyboard, bass, guitar, and I play the theremin. It’s dance music.

Last month I lost my job. I lost my job at Lucky Cheng's because they found out after 15 years that I had a real pussy. [Sings] I decided long ago never to walk in fake pussy shadows. If I fail, if I succeed, at least I’ve got a real pussy. So that’s why I started the band The Fake Pussy Shadows. It was devastating: The storm, the blackout, getting fired at the same time.

Lucky Cheng’s moved uptown and said they’re now a toned-down drag restaurant. It’s horrible; it’s character-less. The walls are brown; the furniture is black with some leopard spot pillows. That’s it. There are a few cheap Chinese lanterns over some bare bulbs. There’s no character.

I’ve been fired from all of these gay and drag queen events recently because they say I’m too controversial. It used to be that the gay and drag queens wanted a wild-and-crazy diva to come in and do unusual, Avant-garde stuff. It’s where even Bette Midler back in the day broke in her new, weird material. In her time, in the 1970s, she was very Avant-garde and she’d perform in gay bathhouses.

But now, they want to hear Britney and Madonna and Christina. ‘We’re normal now; we want to listen to normal stuff now; we’re normal.’ And that’s really sad for me. I’m resorting now to going back to a heterosexual audience, but heterosexual men are so literal. Like I say, [Sings] Sometimes I feel like a crack-whore on Sunday, and they go, ‘Oh my god, you smoke crack and are a whore?’ No, that’s just how I’m feeling!

But things come around. Maybe gays will get back to being Avant-garde interesting, cause they’re just trying to be accepted now. But it was hags like me that helped with all of that.

James Maher is a fine art and studio photographer based in the East Village. Find his website here.


xootrman said...

Well that James has done it again. Yet another character that I know at least by sight. That makes 5 that fit into that category and I have only been following his postings for the past five weeks. I suppose that must be because I've lived in EV for 35 years. Good one James!.

Anonymous said...

Wait, what days it he world suppose to end? I thought it was the 21st? Now it is today? Uh oh, I did grocery shopping last night.

marjorie said...


(Anonymous 9:10, sorry about the groceries. Eat fast.)

Spike said...

I'm pleased as peanuts there are still a good number of nutcases left in this neighborhood.

glamma said...

Nice that's my friend!!! What up Angel, you look fabulous as ever mi amor

Anonymous said...

Finally know someone:)

Have had too many egg-nogs said...

Definitely not Lady Gaga. Has more character and soul than Lady Gagster would ever have. What the Lady gag wish she were.

People/person of the East Village/NYC, not that condescending Humans of New York run by a racist and offensive transplant from the South.

And James Maher better put an intellectual copyright and trademark on this series before that ignorant HONY steals it. And James also should write or publish a book about this series. That should be worth $3.5 million and way better than that self-absorbed Girl. And James would never ask his lawyer to take down these posts in EV Grieve's site.

Marty Wombacher said...

I agree about the book idea for this fabulous series!

Barney said...

I read this eight times. There is so much to comment on I don't know where to begin. Best interview yet!!! This is a great series.

BabyDave said...

You said it, Spike. Long live this glorious freedom of thought and expression.

Anonymous said...

I've seen this woman around the neighborhood for as far back as 20 years. I don't know her personally but when I do see her around now it's good to be reminded that there are still some hold-outs from the older more authentically cooler days of the East Village instead of the carbon copy sorority sister types that seem to dominate the landscape at the moment.

James Maher said...

Forget the book - I'm still worried how I'm going to find anything close to this for next week!

I'm really happy you all are enjoying this series. It's been an absolute pleasure and wonderful experience to be able to do this.

Maybe I'll think about a book in a year or so, and I love the encouragement, but for now it's tough enough to think about next week. :)

Also, does the fact that this interview ran on 12-12-12 freak any of you else out?

VH McKenzie said...

I'm on the same train as everyone else! I've seen Angel/Marlena around the neighborhood for over 25 years -- never knew her name nor her story and am delighted that James has included her in her series.

Nice to "meet" you, gurl!

And yes, a book is totally in order here. I'll buy a copy.

Laura Goggin Photography said...

Another great piece!

The less Normal, the better. :)

Anonymous said...

James - I love this series. A suggestion for your next interview - Kevin parks the bikes for the Hells Angels. He's a bouncer too. When I moved to the East Village I made my girlfriend give up her amp to make room for me in the apartment. She gave the amp to Kevin. We love hearing him argue from our window. Please interview him.

Marcos said...

Does anyone know anything about the guy outside of Key Food with the rolling-walker with a seat? He always says something like, "A little help on the way out? If you have it." I give what I can but I'm not working right now so it's not much. I haven't found a natural way to ask about his situation so I thought I'd ask here.

Janos said...

Great piece!

Anonymous said...

I suggest speaking with Bingo, manager of the Continental. He's usually working the door, with braids in his beard. He's also a musician and a sculptor and vegan. I don't how he can look so scary and be one of the sweetest guys but he's sure seen a lot of change from his spot at the door.

Anonymous said...

Very well put, Anon 1:17 PM:

"t's good to be reminded that there are still some hold-outs from the older more authentically cooler days of the East Village instead of the carbon copy sorority sister types that seem to dominate the landscape at the moment."

Thank you for this great series!

James Maher said...

Thank you all for the ideas. I welcome more if any of you think of interesting neighbors, especially as it gets colder and tougher to stop people on the street. I've been wanting to get someone associated with the Hells Angels for awhile, but haven't been sure how to do that in a way where they might give me the time of day.

Anonymous said...

Another great entry. But how about, for balance, profiling some of the newly transplanted, the "woo" ers or whatever you want to call them. I am actually interested in a deeper look at some of these people who make up the new wave of transient residents. Because like em or not, we live alongside them just the same.

angel eyedealism said...

thank you so very much,james for not censoring me,and allowing my speech to flow freely.yes,it both freaked and delighted me that this came out on 12/12/12!but just a day later my beloved dog marlena collapsed on this very spot,and my friend robyn and i carried her to a vet,where underwent major emergency surgery!
the village vet mosovich was astonishingly gentle and caring,and saved marlena's life!i'm grateful for the help and prayers of my east village friends and neighbors.
wishing you all a bright, sparkling holiday!love,
angel eyedealism

James Maher said...

Yes anon 1:30, there will be some newer residents as well.

Angel so happy you commented! I'm happy to hear that Marlena is okay - sounds like it was a rough day for you. Happy holidays and thank you for opening up your incredibly interesting and inspiring life to us all. :)

angel eyedealism said...

hey james,
well i usually dont agree to have my photo taken by random strangers in the street,yet when approached in such a friendly and upbeat manner,i just had to say,'yes'.thanks for your kind wishes regarding marlena.
she is doing great!rock on james,and continue to inspire us with stories of nyc street life,turning strangers into friends!

Angel Eyedealism said...

Dear James,
My beautiful Marlena has died.
She was a true East Villager,
and a beautiful creature.'She's in the breeze.She's in the breath i breath.'my gratitude to you for immortalizing my beloved dog in your East Village blog.
Angel Eyedealism

James Maher said...

Angel I'm so sorry to hear that - That is so sad. I am happy we were able to immortalize her here as well. If you would like a copy of the photo please send me an email at :(