Photo credit: Scott Ellison Smith
On Tuesday afternoon, we were lucky enough to catch a live performance of Soundcheck with John Schaefer at WNYC‘s new downtown performance space, The Greene Space. The show — featuring a discussion between the host, Santi “Santigold” White, Lou Reed, and Mary Rowell from the string quartet Ethel — and performances from the latter two artists — was the first live broadcast in the room’s history. It kicked off a 10-day festival celebrating the new venue, which got a nice write-up in The New York Times last week. Additional live radio shows in the near future include The Brian Lehrer Show (with guest Paul Krugman) and The Leonard Lopate Show.
The Greene Space, which is located at street level on the corner of Varick and Charlton Sts., is a multimedia space that includes video cameras, LCD screens, and room for a live audience. Programs can be streamed live on the Web, as well as shown via video feed.
During the discussion portion — you can hear the audio on WNYC’s Web site — the host and guests debated whether the downtown art scene was dead. All agreed that there were a couple places in Manhattan where the art scene is still alive (notably The Stone on Avenue C), but most of it has moved to Brooklyn.
At one point, Schaefer posited that this wasn’t a new occurrence. “Didn’t the Village Voice declare it dead in like 1978?,” he asked. Reed, who was appropriately sporting a Coney Island t-shirt, drew laughs with his answer: “They can’t even sell the Village Voice. Who cares what they say? That’s why they have to give it away.”
To end the show, Reed played his song, “Juliet Had Romeo.” He seemed to take a punk rocker’s glee in using a couple of choice four-letter words. WNYC’s producers used the delay to blip them. Everyone went home happy.
Photo credit: Matthew Arnold