Here’s an article from The New York Times about the closing of Le Figaro, the beat/folk/hipster landmark coffeehouse at the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal streets in Greenwich Village: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/22/the-lost-village-mystique-of-le-figaro-cafe/index.html/partner/rssnyt/
Here’s a photo of the place:
I spent many an idle moment — and was idle for many a spent moment — at this place, at least until I decided that the Caffe Reggio up the street was somewhat cooler and cozier and a little less obviously touristy, and that Caffe Reggio was also more conveniently located across the street from my favorite bar, the Kettle of Fish, and a favorite hangout, Folk City, which was around the corner.
Anyway, Folk City’s gone. So’s the Kettle of Fish. So’s the Village Corner up the street, where this blind guy named Lance Hayward used to play piano and sing and drink TALL glasses of straight bourbon like he was drinking tall glasses of water.
Caffe Reggio, I’m happy to report, is still there on MacDougal Street:
And here’s a very important P.S.: I wrote recently about the death of Isaac Hayes. Well, in the movie “Shaft,” who do you think is the man that meets with a Mafia contact at none-other-than the Caffe Reggio? That’s right. Shaft. John Shaft. Can you dig it?!
A friend complains that I claimed to have written about the late, great Isaac Hayes — but all she found on my post about his death was a link to a youtube video. OK. She’s right. Here’s what I think about Isaac Hayes.
He was larger than life and hard to ignore — but his genius was still overlooked. The video I posted showed a performance by the head-shaved, bare-chested, gold-chained, half growling/half-crooning Isaac Hayes of the “Shaft” era. But we’re also talking about a great songwriter and producer for the legendary Stax records. He wrote “Hold On I’m Coming” and “Soul Man,” the songs by Sam and Dave. He helped shape R&B, soul music, disco and hip-hop. He played piano on Otis Redding sessions. He did an 18-minute-long interpretation of Jimmy Webb’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” He “rapped” before they called it rap. He’s a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He won two Grammys and an Academy Award. He was the voice of the Chef on “South Park.” His performance was one of the highlights of the concert and film “Wattstax.”
Ladies and gentlemen…”Black Moses…” lead singer/arranger for Isaac Hayes and the Soul Men, heaven’s coolest celestial choir.
One day soon — I promise — I will write a little bit about the time I saw Chaka Khan and Rufus perform in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Meanwhile, here’s a link to video of a live performance in 1973 by the late, great Isaac Hayes. who died today (08/10/2008):