Sunday, February 20, 2005

Meeting New York's best clergywoman, Reverend Jen

Riding the subway yesterday, I was caught on a train that was going local rather than express. The A train, one of the worst train lines in the city in my opinion, was slugging along down the West Side of Central Park. Hordes of tourists and others babbled on in their clueless white language of annoying small talk. An old man nearly fell on top of me when the train lurched forward (yes, I offered him my seat but he didn't take it).

At one stop who should sit next to me but Reverend Jen, the Lower East Side's greatest advocate and artistic saint. I have read poetry at some of her anti-slams, and she somewhat remembered me. She was heading back home from shopping for more shelves for her apartment/troll doll museum, which you can visit if you have an appointment.

Jen's weekly anti-slam is an interesting event to attend, and I should go there more often. One gets to do whatever one wants to for six minutes, rather than the normal three minutes. The anti-slam venue, a theater and art space called Collective Unconscious, has moved away from Rev. Jen's beloved Lower East Side to Tribeca, due to greedy real estate developers buying up and demolishing buildings to put up luxury apartments. Rev. Jen and others are fighting what is often an uphill battle to preserve the character of the Lower East Side. She and I lamented the demise of the Freakatorium, a museum of the freakish and the unusual that formerly resided on Clinton Street.

I promised the good Reverend I would stop by her anti-slam at its new location. You should too.

No comments: