ABC No Rio: Packing Up Ahead of Rivington Street Demolition, Rebuilding

Photo by ABC No Rio, 2014.

Photo by ABC No Rio, 2014.

It’s been talked about for years. Now ABC Rio is making final plans to move out of 156 Rivington St., a crumbling building that will be replaced by a new home for the radical arts center.

Director Steven Englander told the New York Times that the last art shows will happen next month before the building is cleared out at the end of June. Demolition is possible by the fall of this year. ABC No Rio has been ensconced in the  tenement since 1980, as the Times put it, withstanding “speculation, rising rents, a protracted eviction battle with the Giuliani administration and more, becoming a defiant symbol of an ungentrified New York.”

More from the story:

Although the razing and rebuilding have been planned for years, delayed by red tape and rising costs, the decision to act now came after developers recently paid $30 million for a former matzo factory next to No Rio that they plan to replace with million-dollar condos. Given No Rio’s age and condition, the structure seemed unlikely to survive the demolition next door. So, No Rio’s member collectives have begun preparations to “go into exile,” as some have put it, until their new building is completed. A few weeks ago the group’s zine library, one of the more prominent such collections in the country, moved to Clemente Soto Vélez, a community center on Suffolk Street, where No Rio’s director, Steven Englander, will also have an office. Volunteers have been packing up inside the third-floor darkroom. And organizers of the center’s weekly Saturday afternoon punk shows said they would shift performances to other places, including Silent Barn in Bushwick, Brooklyn, starting in July.

In the 1990s, ABC No Rio fought off attempts by the city to sell off the building to developers. But the organization committed to renovating the fragile tenement. That renovation project morphed into a campaign for a brand new center. The group has raised $1.6 million in private donations and secured more than $6 million in grants. You can read more about the new facility here.

Weekend Guide

From "Anchises" at Abrons through Sunday

This weekend is packed with great performances on the Lower East Side.  Here are some top picks for events happening in the neighborhood:

  • Don’t forget to get your act together and audition for the Lower East Side Talent Showcase. They are seeking singers, actors, dancers, bands, comics, poets, and novelty acts.  Auditions will be held this Friday from 6-9pm and Sunday from 3-6pm at Abrons Arts Center –  466 Grand Street.

Clothesline Benefit Art Sale is On at ABC No Rio

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Make sure to catch the Clothesline Benefit Art Sale at ABC No Rio tonight and tomorrow night from 7p – 10p.  Various works on paper will be "strung up" with many surprising things "hanging on the line".  Proceeds benefit the ABC No Rio Building Fund.  Free admittance, all art $25 – $50.

“Books Through Bars” Hosts Bingo Night at ABC No Rio

Nav_over_06 Duncan Meisel, one of the hosts of "Books Through Bars Bingo", has asked us to spread the word about their upcoming event at ABC No Rio, this Friday at 8pm. Duncan writes:

Books Through Bars is out of money, so we're playing cheap/fun/awesome Bingo to pay for postage to keep sending packages full of books to folks incarcerated in America's broken prison system.

It's free to get in, cheap ($1!) to play, and we'll have beer from the Brooklyn Brewery for sale.  Plus you'll be playing for totally rad prizes from places like:

NY Adorned Tattoo Shop, Bluestockings Bookstore, Le Poisson Rouge, St. Marks Bookshop, NYC Hall of Science, the Angelika, IFC Film Center, the Beehive Collective and much more. 

Dope beats from DJ No Flag, color commentary from the loudest nun you know – basically, you should be there.

Pong on Grand St., Chester at ABC No Rio, and a Sweatshop Cinderella on Eldridge

Arts watch

If you are staying out of the fray of the CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival, there are still plenty of events happening on the Lower East Side this evening:

As we've mentioned, the guys from Grand Opening are "re-opening" PONG this afternoon on Grand Street.  Stop over for a pick-up game of ping-pong, or become a member and compete for a
chance to win the L.E.S. Cup, in a season-ending tournament that will
reveal the most talented table tennis players in the Lower East Side.

Tonight at ABC No Rio you can catch some standup from Christine Nangle (Saturday Night Live), storytelling from Seth Lind (Thank You Robot, Told) and sketch comedy from Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting (Edinburgh Fringe Festival). The night of comedy, titled, Don't You Find Us Charming?, is hosted by Bushwick's favorite improv team CHESTER.  Admission is on a sliding scale ($3-$8) and the laughing starts at 8pm.

Also, tonight at The Museum at Eldridge, Historian and filmmaker Suzanne Wasserman discusses and shares a rough
cut of her newest project, a short film on Yiddish writer and
force-of-nature Anzia Yezierska. The event is part of the museum's Academic Angles Series on immigrant history. Admission is FREE.

Arts Watch

Vickie_logo3b.0 Tonight's New Filmmakers series at Anthology Archives focus is "Women Behind the Lens". With Eye Am experimental, narrative and documentary shorts made by
women. Featuring the works of Naomi White, Oriana Fox, Alana
Kakoyiannis, Akosua Adoma Owusu, Naiti Gamez and Kim Hall.

Barackandmichelleobama_poster_th Make sure to catch Kurt Kauper’s portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama at Deitch Gallery (76 Grand St.) The work focuses on making portraits of our President and First Lady in a way that avoids common polarities and instead "confronts through neutrality the expectations that a viewer would likely bring to the paintings."

Triplebill The musical recording label AUM Fidelity will present a "triple bill" tomorrow night for an evening of jazz at Abrons Arts Center. Saxophonist David S. Ware performs at 8:00p, followed by the Darius Jones Trio at 9:00p and William Parker and the Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra at 10:00pm.

Zine_tempslave
Also tomorrow night ABC No Rio presents a FREE panel Zines and Beyond: Independent Publishing in the Real and the Virtual. Panelists will include Michael Carter, Jim Fleming, Fly, Billy Miller and Seth Tobocman, inviting them to share their experiences and explore the role of DIY publishing. Zines
and Beyond
is the final event of Hanging Out at No Rio, a 6-month
project that invites nine artists to explore ABC No Rio, its history,
and the changing face of the Lower East Side, curated by Erin Sickler.

Monday News Links

State politicians are warning that chaos will ensue in New York City's schools if the paralyzed Senate does not act to extend mayoral control by tomorrow night.

On Friday, police arrested two teens in connection with anti-Semitic acts on the Lower East Side.

Did Mayor Bloomberg suggest he supported the idea of reopening Park Row? Some Chinatown residents say he did, but the mayor's office denies it. The Downtown Express has the details.

This afternoon at 5pm, Norm Siegel, public advocate candidate, will be holding a campaign event in Columbus Park.

We reported it last week – now the Times has details of the lifeline being offered by the city to the cultural and community center, ABC No Rio.

Paparazzi/screaming girl alert: Rob Pattinson will allegedly be on Orchard Street near Grand today, shooting his new film, "Remember Me."

CB3 Wrapup

We've already reported some of the news from last night's Community Board 3 meeting (see below). Here's a recap of the other noteworthy items discussed:

  • Dominic Pisciotta was re-elected as chairman of CB3. He held off a challenge from Barden Prisant, winning 29-12.
  • Pisciotta announced that the community boards appear to have (mostly) dodged the Bloomberg administration's budget cuts. The reduction in next year's budget will be less than 2-percent, unless there's a need for mid-year reductions. Each board will receive about $198,000.
  • CB3 has sent a letter to Councilman Alan Gerson's office expressing disappointment that it wasn't included in a recent meeting to discuss the potential rezoning of the Bowery.
  • A committee vote will take place next month on a set of principles for the redevelopment of the Seward Park Urban renewal Area. 
  • Borough President Scott Stringer and Councilman Alan Gerson have provided funding for the rebuilding of the ABC No Rio art center.

CB3 Wrapup

We've already reported some of the news from last night's Community Board 3 meeting (see below). Here's a recap of the other noteworthy items discussed:

  • Dominic Pisciotta was re-elected as chairman of CB3. He held off a challenge from Barden Prisant, winning 29-12.
  • Pisciotta announced that the community boards appear to have (mostly) dodged the Bloomberg administration's budget cuts. The reduction in next year's budget will be less than 2-percent, unless there's a need for mid-year reductions. Each board will receive about $198,000.
  • CB3 has sent a letter to Councilman Alan Gerson's office expressing disappointment that it wasn't included in a recent meeting to discuss the potential rezoning of the Bowery.
  • A committee vote will take place next month on a set of principles for the redevelopment of the Seward Park Urban renewal Area. 
  • Borough President Scott Stringer and Councilman Alan Gerson have provided funding for the rebuilding of the ABC No Rio art center.