San Francisco-based Start Up, Fandalism, to Hold Musicians’ Jam Today, Sat’y, October 6th, 12-3 p.m., at Washington Square’s Garibaldi Plaza

Fandalism, a San Francisco-based site that connects people passionate about music worldwide, is having a meet up and jam today, Saturday, October 6th at WSP by Garibaldi Plaza (east of the Fountain) from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

The site is a really nice way for artists to showcase their work and unite with other musicians.

For today’s event, 500 people have RSVP’d via Facebook! This should be interesting, to say the least! Check it out.

Washington Square Park Folk Festival Returns for Year Two at WSP This Weekend (9/15 & 16, 2012)


For the second year in a row, the Washington Square Park Folk Festival will take place for 2 days at the park this coming weekend on September 15th and 16th. I spoke to Eli Smith, the organizer, a musician and host of the Down Home Radio Show who also produces the Brooklyn Folk Festival (now in year four) about the upcoming festival at the park and year two!

This is your second year doing the festival at Washington Square Park. What did you learn from last year?

I thought it went great. I felt it could have been bigger. Last year, we had 9 bands; this year we have 13. We’ll set out more chairs! (laughs)

(Ed. note: Last year, there was a bit of a chair issue. There did not seem to be many set out!)

When did you find out you got the go ahead for year 2?

They told me right away after the first festival that they wanted it to continue. I was relieved when I checked in six months later to find out that it was [definitely] confirmed.

Rebecca Ferguson, the Park Administrator, whose idea the festival was, recently left her position. How has that impacted things?

She was super cool and kept on it as her final project of the park.

The folk music I saw last year was a bit more blue grass and string-oriented than perhaps what some think of when they hear the term “folk music.” Some might consider it to be a bit more “pop” such as the music associated with artists like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, for example. Are there different types of what is considered “folk” music?

Folk music is a very wide, expansive genre. With [advent of] Bob Dylan {and his success], seemingly anyone who wrote their own songs was considered folk music. in my mind, folk is the more traditionalist, old-time string and blues as well as some wonderful and talented singer-songwriters. The festival will have something for everybody – a wide range of what people think of as folk music and think of as Washington Square Park. We’ll also have some venerable performers with a history in Washington Square Park including Tracy Schwarz and Ginny Hawker. Schwarz played in WSP with the New Lost City Ramblers in the ’50s and ’60s. John Cohen, also of the New Lost City Ramblers, has a history at the park as does Randy Byrnes who played in the park in the ’60s and ’70s. The festival will feature those with a history of performance associated with the park as well as young talent from the city.

You have a lot of different sponsors for the festival, including Mario Batali. How did that come about?

Becky [Rebecca Ferguson] took care of that from her connections from Washington Square Park. Of course, Matt Umanov from Matt Umanov Guitars was the one who first recommended me to do the festival [last year]. Also, the Washington Square Hotel and Mario Batali Foundation. It’s super nice of them to kick in like that. I heard that Mario Batlai lives in the area of the park and is super into music. I started buying his pasta sauce.

I didn’t know he had a pasta sauce. Where do you buy it?

I buy it at Fairway. (laughs) I think he stopped by one day last year. (segues)

I also was contacted by Occupy Wall Street as there’s going to be an Occupy Wall Street Action at the same time on Saturday. We’re trying to give each other space.

* * *

Stop by Saturday, September 15th * 2-8 p.m. and Sunday, September 16th * 1- 8 p.m. It’s free!

There is further description of the Festival at the Parks Department web site and a breakdown of the performances at the Festival’s site.

This Blog on last year’s festival!

Make Music NY comes to NYC Public Spaces including WSP’s Garibaldi Stage Thursday, June 21st 12-4 p.m. and 6-7 p.m.

Make Music NY — at which there are “over 1,000 free outdoor concerts on a single day” at NYC public spaces — will happen again this year on the first day of summer, Thursday, June 21st! The event comes to Washington Square and the Garibaldi Stage (which has the action at the park, just east of the Fountain) with a solar powered stage in the afternoon.

Songwriter’s Beat from 12 noon to 4 p.m.:

Songwriter’s Beat is one of NYC’s premiere nights for performing songwriters – where all are encouraged to perform new material in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere.

Founded by NYC singer-songwriter Valerie Ghent in 2000, Songwriter’s Beat has presented over 330 songwriters from around the world, hosted over 50 benefit concerts, produced seven annual festivals plus a song contest and has fostered the creation of hundreds of new songs.

Lineup to include: Solar Punch, Marla Mase w/ Tomas Doncker, Valerie Ghent, Fred Gillen w/ Hope Machine, Deborah Berg, Ann Klein, Roshni, and Lucy Foley.

Mass Appeal : Clarinets 5:45 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.

From the choir: For the fourth year, our clarinet choir is performing in the Make Music New York music festival. We’re playing on June 21st, from 6 to 7 pm, in Washington Square Park. It’s free, the setting is beautiful, and the sound is terrific! We’re playing a mix of great old and new pieces by Brahms, Dvorak, Mozart, Grundman, and Ravel, among others.

Everything’s free! To find another location in the city, visit this page.

Make Music NY website.

French Film #2 “On the Green” at Washington Square Tonight: La Guerre Des Boutons (War of the Buttons)

Wonderful atmosphere and energy last week for French film #1 “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” part of “Films On the Green” a program featuring French films presented at parks throughout the city all summer by the French Embassy and the Parks Department. It is definitely worth going at least once to see a film at WSP under the Arch/on the Fountain Plaza. (Last one this summer as far as I know unless more are being planned.) Tonight, Friday, June 15th 8:30 p.m. Free.

the set up by the Arch

the audience awaits the start of the film…

excellent DJ from WNYU pre-screening

the film under way

Full info for tonight’s film WAR OF THE BUTTONS | LA GUERRE DES BOUTONS Directed by Yves Robert, 1962, France, Comedy (English subtitles).

Next Two Fridays Free French Films at the Park Beginning Tonight, Friday, June 8th (Next One: Friday, June 15th)

For the fifth year, The Cultural Services of the French Embassy and the City’s Parks Department present French films over 8 Fridays in New York City parks with Washington Square Park hosting two screenings, the first, tonight, Friday, June 8th and again next Friday, June 15th. Each film will be preceded by a DJ from WNYU playing music. Tonight’s film is by the Arch.

Tonight, Friday, June 8th, 8:30 p.m.:

THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO | LES NEIGES DU KILIMANDJARO
Directed by Robert Guédiguian, 2011, France, Drama/Romance
French with English Subtitles, Not rated, 107mStarring Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Ariane Ascaride, Gérard Meylan, Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, Anais Demoustier, Julie-Marie Parmentier

Despite losing his job, Michel lives happily with his wife Marie-Claire and their loving family and friends in Marseille. His happiness is shattered when he and his wife are robbed at gunpoint of their life savings by two mask-wearing thieves. The shock is even more devastating when they discover who the perpetuators are…

Based on the poem Les Pauvres Gens from La Légende des Siècles by Victor Hugo, Lévy et Hetzel, 1859, France. How Good are the Poor from The Legend of the Ages, published in the United States by Oxford University Press, 2004.

Next Friday, June 15th, 8:30 p.m.:

WAR OF THE BUTTONS | LA GUERRE DES BOUTONS
Directed by Yves Robert, 1962, France, Comedy (more…)

Village Children’s Halloween Parade Marches Around Washington Square Today

The 21st Annual Greenwich Village Children’s Halloween Parade precedes the big one which starts at 7 p.m.! and winds its way around Washington Square Park this afternoon. Children and families gather at 3 p.m. at the Arch. Hosted by Community Board 2 and N.Y.U., the parade starts marching at 3:30 p.m. It will make its way to LaGuardia Place between Washington Square South and West 3rd Street where there will be candy, rides, face painting, music and other entertainment. This goes until 6 p.m.

Washington Square Park Folk Festival This Weekend September 17th-18th


Eli Smith, host of the DownHome Radio Show, was hired by the city’s Parks Department to produce the first ever Washington Square Park Folk Festival this coming weekend Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th on the Garibaldi Stage (eastern end). Smith will be MC and also perform on Sunday with his band, the Dust Busters.

Here’s the schedule:

Saturday Sept 17th:

2pm The Calamity Janes – old time string band
3pm Feral Foster – original songs and blues
4pm East River String Band – country blues & old time
5pm Whiskey Spitters – country blues & old time

Sunday Sept 18th

2pm Bob Malenky – country blues
3pm Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues – jug band music
4pm The Dust Busters with John Cohen – old time string band
5pm Willy Gantrim & the Phantoms – original songs, country & blues
6pm Peter Stampfel and the Ether Frolic Mob – make a wish for a potato

On his web site, Smith writes:

2011 also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1961 “Washington Square Folk Music Riot” when the City tried to revoke the permit for folk musicians to play and sing on Sundays in the park.  They needed to clear undesirable people out so that they could  satisfy local real estate interests and I heard possibly enact a crazy plan to extend 5th ave. through the park! Luckily folkies resisted the attempt by the police to kick them out of their public space, resulting in the “riot,” and the planned extension of 5th ave never materialized. Lately there’s been a film made about the “riot” and the film will be screened at the festival, check it out… coverage of the so called riot has been offered by The Indypendent and NPR.

Mario Batali‘s Foundation is involved somehow in sponsoring this event. I’m going to talk to Eli Smith and find out more about the festival but wanted to get the info up!

This weekend at Washington Square – Sept. 10th & 11th; Community Wellness Fair and Theater for the New City Street Theater Production

Saturday, September 10th 1-5 p.m. Holley Plaza (Western end of the Park) —
“Get Your Wellness On” Suicide Awareness & Prevention

The NYC Chapter of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a main sponsor of this Fair, which will consist of music, yoga classes, massages, and tables with important information on mental health and suicide preventionCome visit the Arts & Dreams table and make an affirmation drawing for free!

Sunday, September 11th * 2 p.m. * Garibaldi Stage (Eastern end) —
Theater for the New City Street Theater: “BAMBOOZLED! Or THE REAL REALITY SHOW”

Theater for the New City returns to Washington Square Park for their 35th Annual Summer Street Theater Tour with “BAMBOOZLED! Or THE REAL REALITY SHOW.” It’s billed as “a rip-roaring Musical, a little Operetta for the Street. Funny and enjoyable street theater performance for the whole family.” The production has been touring throughout the five boroughs since August 6th and will continue through September 18th.

ABOUT Theater for the New City’s Street Theater:

TNC’s award-winning Street Theater always contains an elaborate assemblage of trap doors, giant puppets, smoke machines, masks, original choreography and a huge (9′ x 12′) running screen or “cranky” providing continuous movement behind the actors. The company of 27 actors, twelve crew members, two assistant directors and five live musicians shares the challenge of performing outside and holding a large, non-captive audience. The music varies in style from Bossa Nova to Gilbert & Sullivan. Complex social issues are often presented through children’s allegories, with children as the heroes, making these free productions a popular form of family entertainment.

Both events are free.

Young Dancemakers Company Performance At the Arch Today, July 22nd, 6 p.m.

Young Dancemakers Company Performing Mark Morris Repertory

Today, Young Dancemakers Company, a dance ensemble comprised of New York City public high school students who create and perform their own choreographed work at free concerts throughout the city, will perform at the Arch at 6 p.m.

New York Times:

Selected by audition, the teenage members of Young Dancemakers each year present their own works and one by a well-known choreographer: in this case an excerpt from José Limón’s “Psalm.” Even audience members get in on the act: directed by Alice Teirstein, every show ends with “Dance With Us,” an opportunity to go onstage and improvise with the company.

Friday, July 22nd at 6 p.m. (rain date, Saturday), Washington Square Park, the Arch.

It’s unlikely it will rain as the forecast is sunny and expected to reach 100° in the city today.

They may want to improvise and leap from the Arch right into the fountain!

In the News: Washington Square Music Festival

Today’s New York Times features a review, Unusual Sounds to Play in a Park,” of this week’s concert by the Washington Square Music Festival (it was the second performance of the season):

The programming at free outdoor summer events often favors standard repertory, but the Washington Square Music Festival veered far off the beaten path with a concert called “The Joy of Unfamiliar Music” on Tuesday evening. A large crowd braved sweltering weather to hear the Festival Chamber Ensemble play works by Berio, Emmanuel Séjourné, Corrado Maria Saglietti and Vincenzo Gambaro.

Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in D minor (BWV 1052) was the only chestnut in the lineup, and it was offered with an unusual twist. The marimba player Pius Cheung, who has transcribed Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations for his instrument, played the solo part with flair, although the softer passages were sometimes barely audible despite amplification, and there was some shaky ensemble work.

More at the New York Times.

Of course, braving the “sweltering weather” was not easy for those in the audience because the amazing two trees that previously surrounded that location amidst the walkway were chopped down. I was told people were complaining at the premiere performance July 12th that there are no trees and therefore no shade to absorb some of the heat. The designer told me personally that those two trees would not be axed – but they were. If they still remained, the stage would have some shade. (There’s a lot of tree issues going on at the park right now.)

There’s no mention in the review of the low stage (which was 36″ high and is now 28″) and how this affected sight lines. (Previous WSP Blog coverage here.) I have not attended a performance this year so I cannot report personally yet.

There are two more concerts of the Washington Square Music Festival Tuesday, July 26th and Tuesday, August 2nd. All shows begin at 8 p.m.